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.

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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.

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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