Characters Under Vancouver 1972-1982
Film at night and the extended photographic inuiry of a specific place all of which became signature features of later books such as City of Darkness and City of Darkness Revisited about the infamous Kowloon Walled City Phantom Shanghai and Hanoi Calling Under Vancouver is the first comprehensive collection of Girards early photographs of Vancouver Made in and of the moment a young photographers earliest engagements often featuring the underside of the city the pictures now form an unintended photographic record of a Vancouver that has all but disappear.
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Greg Girards photographs of Vancouver from the s and early s show us the citys final days as a port town at the end of the railway line Soon after Vancouver began to be noticed by the wider world Expo is generally agreed on as the pivotal moment the city began refashioning itself as an urban resort on natures doorstep and attracting attention as a destination for real estate investment At that time long before post security concerns sealed off the working waterfront from the city many of Vancouvers downtown and east side streets ended at the waterfront.
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An area filled with commercial fishing docks cargo terminals and bars and cafes for waterfront workers and sailors Pawn shop windows downtown displayed outboard motors chainsaws and fishing gear Wandering these streets living in cheap hotels Girard photographed the workaday and night world of the city where he grew up The photographs in Under Vancouver were made before Girard began earning a living as a magazine photographer later establishing a formal practice as an artist They reveal an early interest in the hidden and the overlooked the use of color.