What do Clare Kines and Prince Philip have in common?
“There aren’t very many people who get mail with their wife’s picture on it,” says the Arctic Bay photographer, who has had two of his photos picked by Canada Post in the last year to become stamps.
The first is a portrait of his wife, Leah Ejangiaq Kines. “She’d gotten a new parka and I just did a quick session in our living room,” says Clare.
This photo was chosen to mark Nunavut’s 1999 creation, as part of the Canada 150 collection, which consists of stamps commemorating ten significant events in the country’s history over the last 50 years. When Canada Post sought photos for its latest, From Far and Wide, it again called out to Clare.
“It’s doubly cool for me, especially the Canada 150 one, because it’s Leah and it’s Nunavut, my home,” says Clare. “But my family’s got a long history at the post office.” His grandfather returned from the First World War and became the postmaster in Roblin, Manitoba. It’s a position Clare’s father and brother would later occupy. “Three more years and we’ll have 100 years at the post office,” says Clare.
The selections have come with some celebrity, including a ceremony at the Nunavut legislature. The stamps were also temporarily displayed on two aircraft. (That’s nothing new, though: a photograph of an Arctic hare that Clare took used to grace an ATR tail fin.) Clare has also been asked to autograph his stamps and stamp booklets once or twice. He’s hesitant. “It’ll just devalue them,” he tells the seekers.
But the neatest and most surreal experience of all occurred around Christmas.
Packages began arriving with Leah’s face on them.