As much as I love photographing people I have always had an obsession with light. Sometimes when people ask me why I want to photograph them I have to honestly say that they have beautiful light falling on them. For me the characters and the content are always important, but if I don't love the light I often just won't photograph it. James Turrell is one of my favourite artists and he has a lot of shows going on this summer, I hope that I will get to go to NYC soon and see his installations of light at the Guggenheim. Read a great article about Turrell here.
These trips to the park have been a great way to end my days. After my daughter goes to bed I sling my camera onto my shoulder and do my loop around the park. I do this loop so often now and it is never the same. Every time there is a different interaction, a different group of people and a different quality of light. As well as trying to take interesting images and do the park justice, these walks have also been a great way to connect with strangers. This is something that I rarely do in Montreal. Montrealers don't seem to talk to each other the way that people do in some other cities. I don't know if this is because we are never sure what language to start in (I love the interaction between two anglo strangers speaking to each other in french) or what, but I am realizing that Montrealers are not cold, and are in fact very warm to strangers who start up a conversation. In fact everyone seems poised and ready to talk to someone who approaches them, and every time I interact with a stranger I leave feeling happy that I did. So talk to strangers Montrealers! It's pretty fun.
Recently I have been spending some of my evenings in the park photographing the people who use it and the scenery that catches my eye. I live very near Park Jeanne Mance and Mont Royal Park, and I visit the park many times a day with my daughter. Even before having a kid my husband and I would spend a lot of time in the parks around our house. In the Mile End/Plateau neighbourhood few people have their own private patch of earth and so the parks become our backyards. That is where you meet friends, have a picnic and a drink, play games, have a party, go swimming, or read a book when your apartment is too hot. Montreal's parks are so well used it is amazing. On a nice night hundreds of people will be peacefully occupying a single park. It is really such a wonderful thing to see and so I wanted to try to capture some of this convivial spirit. The images above were taken on my first photographic foray into this potential project. It was one of the first nice Sundays of this season and so many people were in the park enjoying the weather and the tam-tam beats. I have been photographing in the park for a few weeks now and incredibly everyone that I have approached to photograph has said yes. I think that the Hasselblad helps but none the less I was amazed that in this internet age people were so willing to be photographed by a stranger, so thanks everyone. I'll be visiting the park again soon.