SPRING THAW IN SAINT-LOUIS SQUARE

Montreal can be quite pretty through leafless trees

come back to life

Montreal & Montrealers are like nature at spring time; we come back to life, literally. And so i have, and i decided to take the camera out.

Saint-Louis & Quartier Latin

Saint-Louis district and square is one of this city’s prettiest areas. It is also my home. This district and the Quartier Latin district are central to french Canadian heritage and central in terms of urbanism. The center of town is here.

Quebec Culture

Some of Quebec’s most prominent artists and intellectuals have lived and performed in the Saint-Louis district. The great Michel Tremblay, Émile Nelligan, Pauline Julien, Gérald Godin, Gaston Miron, Gilles Carle, et Francis Mankiewicz have all graced the Saint-Louis streets.

Forgotten Glory

I feel, as a lot of people do i’m sure, that the Saint-Louis & Quartier Latin districts haven’t been treated with respect over the last fifty years. In fact they have been quite dilapidated and smeared to everyone’s loss. A great portion of their architectural heritage disappeared to disrespectful renovations, reconstructions and many terrible demolitions. To some extent, this lost architecture also took a lot of culture with it down the path of the forgotten past.

Cultural decline

These two districts have lost a good half of their heritage since their peak in the 1950s. They aren’t what they used to be in terms of culture either. I hate to say it but judging from the state of my neighbourhood, Montreal is in decline, and has been for a while now.

Photography

Since this specific blog is about photography, let’s talk about it a little… i am easily swayed toward opinionated discourse, haha. My street photography is often lyric and narrative, if not always. It is mostly done with my trusted second body D3100 fitted with a fixed focal 50 mm lens. I love this set up because of its simplicity, its effectiveness. It’s a great camera, a high quality reliable nikon gear. It has limited features and technical capacities however in comparison to my pro cam, hence why i need to get creative using it. I find this is an advantage for developing my handling techniques and creative eye.

Light in architecture and urban photography

I don’t have to tell you that light is everything. You can make good architecture and urban photography in any light, but you can only make exceptional architecture and urban photography in good light, unless you play some photoshop trickery. And if you do, an expert eye will detect that. On this day, the light was interesting, nothing more.

Implications

You can say i am a politicized photographer, i guess… or certainly a conscious photographer. My first and foremost motivation going out on street photography sessions is urbanity, urbanism and architecture. However, my critical mind is inevitably confronted with what i see, what i’ve seen, what i live, what could have been and what i feel should have been. Montreal isn’t just my hometown it is my living space, my hope and fears and even my project.

For a better Montreal

As some of you may already know, i am leading a green public market project for downtown Montreal. It is a very important issue in the quartier latin as there are a couple of big money players looking to take the only available land left in the heart of the city to turn it into high density unsustainable real estate. The Groupe d’Action Citoyenne Marché Voyageur needs your ‘clicks’ to help make sure this public owned lot is re-developed in accordance with the urgent needs of one of this city’s poorest districts, a district that just happens to be the entrance of Montreal to the world — see here the Marché Voyageur Project and follow us on facebook.

Photography & text : Eric Soucy

All rights reserved FI3200/2016