Old Camera: Old Montreal

There were days when he wouldn’t take many pictures, and others when he couldn’t go two feet without going through an entire roll. I knew that the more he took, the more he would delete in the end – his obsessive editing process narrowed it down to only a few shots. I don’t know what this process involved, but the pictures were taken in February and I didn’t get to see them until July.

He, a Vancouverite, had never felt anything colder than -1, and he had come down the week it came close to hitting -40. Gloves were apparently out of the question while shooting, so after about an hour, he’d come back in and warm up his hands with a glass of scotch.

Using film, the shots he took couldn’t just immediately reappear. Through the lens, he could see the light in a certain way, but once the pictures were developed, the light would look completely different. He was always surprised by the prints.


Walking around Old Port and Mile-End in Montreal, I’d constantly be pointing to things and eagerly asking him to take pictures of them. He would capture what I asked him to, but I’d never know which shots he’d keep or which ones I’d even be allowed to see. That was my part of the surprise.


What he was drawn to wasn’t what I was pointing to. That’s when the magic happened; the pictures he took captured moments I didn’t quite see. And in black and white, the film didn’t just freeze an instant; it sent it back in time. I didn’t expect to remember the moments he photographed, but looking at them now, they’re all familiar. I might not have pointed them out, but I was there.

Story @ Lily Tremblay         Images @ Antonio Verdicchio