Miscellaneous Photographs

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Homeless

Homeless in Vancouver

Homeless in Vancouver
June 26th, 2016 — Three times in the last few months I’ve been confounded by comments about photographs.

The first was during a panel discussion about “The Sinister in Photography” at the Capture Photography Festival. It seemed to be taken for granted by everyone on the panel that any photograph made without the intent of righting a wrong was, maybe not sinister, but certainly suspicious.

The second comment came from a long time documentary photographer based in Vancouver who was apologetic after posting a picture of a homeless person on Granville Street to his Facebook page. This matter would have been of no consequence except that he was offended when I sent him a note saying there was no apology needed.

The third comment came last week from a well known Vancouver art photographer and curator during a discussion at the Vancouver Art Gallery about street photography. He basically said that anyone doing street photography is wasting their time, the best has been done, it’s all repetitive, just a version of necromancy which I looked up and took to mean, “a conjuration of the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events”. Did he mean recording the visual history of a city and its people is of no importance because the genre is artistically stale or is it that there is no history anymore; that history is over?

All this is cause for thought. It’s true that few photographs have changed anything and with the death of newspapers and general circulation magazines it looks likely that pictures taken in the future will have even less power to make an impact. But, what if we tackled a problem in a different way? Instead of ignoring the homeless people on the street, or just being careful of their sensitivities and not photographing them, everyone with a cell phone took a picture of every homeless person they passed every day for a year and immediately posted it to Flickr or a Facebook page called, say, Homeless in Vancouver. That could easily be fifty thousand new pictures a day whizzing around the world on the internet. Would the city take notice? Would the tourist bureau take notice? Would the Chamber of Commerce take notice? It’s certainly a thought.

Note: The picture above was taken at Burrard and Robson Streets in Vancouver.

Two sides of Vancouver

House demolished in Vancouver February 15th, 2016 — Today, just after starting on what I like to call my errands, I came across the above, a perfectly good home on West King Edward being demolished so a much larger house can be built for its new owner. Half an hour later while walking from my car to my first appointment I came across another person’s home in an alley west of Columbia Street. Soon it too will be demolished but for entirely different reasons. Homeless camp in Vancouver

Homeless in Vancouver

Homeless in Vancouver September 30th, 2014 — There is an occupation of Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver by homeless people who are protesting of the lack of progress solving the housing crisis in Vancouver. A few blocks away in the park west of the overpass at Main Street and Alexander there is the tent of a homeless person who is not part of the protest. Almost every time I walk or drive by this park, summer, winter, fall, or spring, there is a structure of some kind against the fence and a person living in it. It’s very visible so I imagine it doesn’t take long for someone to complain and for the city to come by and remove it, temporarily. It’s been like this for years.

No nuns

Powell Street Vancouver 1967
Circa 1967 — Beginning in 1926 the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement distributed sandwiches every afternoon to the needy in the downtown eastside of Vancouver. Last year the nuns sold the building housing their mission to the archdiocese of Vancouver because they no longer had the resources to continue. There are just not enough nuns these days. The archdiocese promised to continue the service but today it was learned they would not.

This picture was previously published in this blog on October 28, 2008.

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