Photo Essay #19: Backstage in Ottawa’s Little Italy


20171125-DSCF0185-Edit-X-T2.jpg20171125-DSCF0185-Edit-X-T2.jpg

Over the course of the autumn I spent every Saturday afternoon in Ottawa’s Little Italy neighbourhood that surrounds the SPAO (School of the Photographic Arts Ottawa) facilities.

As part of the Challenges course I was taking, we had a regular walkabout (only 1 hour) in order to try to find something to shoot for that week’s theme/challenge. More often than not, I would find someone or usually something that caught my eye.

Little Italy is transforming itself. What used to be a working-class immigrant enclave in an old lumber town is now gentrifying and is slowly become out of reach to its traditional residents. High-rise condos and shiny new townhouses are slowly crowding out the 100-year-old wood-frame homes that dominate the area.

I’ve tried to capture the essence of today’s Little Italy; come back in 6 months and it will have changed.

Ottawa's Little Italy (5/5)Ottawa's Little Italy (4/5)Ottawa's Little Italy (1/5)Ottawa's Little Italy (3/5)
Ottawa's Little Italy (2/5)

#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1513550279182_53233 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid { margin-right: -20px; }
#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1513550279182_53233 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid-slide .margin-wrapper { margin-right: 20px; margin-bottom: 20px; }

Photo Essay #18: The Cars of Little Italy

Being a native Montrealer, I find Ottawa’s Little Italy somewhat underwhelming. It’s the littlest and least Italian Little Italy I think I’ve ever seen!

Little Italy in Ottawa is loosely defined as Preston Street, from Carling in the south to Somerset in the north, with the surrounding blocks pulled in for good measure. It’s a working-class neighbourhood that is undergoing transformation. Like all good 21st-century transformations, that means genrification. The modest, hundred-year-old single family homes are giving way to condos, or being torn down and replaced with dwellings that the traditional residents could never afford.

I spent 8 Saturday afternoons in a row in Little Italy this fall and got to know the area. One thing that struck me was the relative lack of people. There are cars everywhere, and the accoutrements that go with them: dealerships, garages and parking lots.

Cars of Little Italy 2/5Cars of Little Italy 4/5Cars of Little Italy 3/5Cars of Little Italy 5/5

SPAO Challenges

This fall I decided to enroll in the Challenges class at the School of Photographic Arts Ottawa, an engaging 8-week course led by the inimitable Mike Vuckovic.

The class was all about expanding our creativity whilst setting limits for ourselves. We got to learn about various photographic styles, methods, and studied the works of the masters.

Each week, Mike would provide us with a deceptively “simple” challenge for the week. That theme, always open to interpretation, would guide what we’d have to shoot and ultimately share the week after. The sharing was always a single print (8×10 or larger) of an image made during that week that represented our interpretation of the challenge.

Some weeks’ challenges were easier than others. I tend to interpret things very literally, which didn’t always help me get my creative juices flowing… but other weeks, the theme resonated and I had a hard time choosing only one image to print & share.

Now that we’re at the end of our course, we’re going to share not only our choice for the final challenge, but also our outtakes.

Week 1 – Points of departure

View fullsize


My pick of the week.My pick of the week.

My pick of the week.

View fullsize


The outtakeThe outtake

The outtake

Week 2 – Juxtaposition

View fullsize


My pick of the weekMy pick of the week

My pick of the week

#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1512186163305_53001 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid { margin-right: -20px; }
#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1512186163305_53001 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid-slide .margin-wrapper { margin-right: 20px; margin-bottom: 20px; }

Week 3 – Isolation

View fullsize


My pick of the weekMy pick of the week

My pick of the week

#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1512186163305_80692 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid { margin-right: -20px; }
#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1512186163305_80692 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid-slide .margin-wrapper { margin-right: 20px; margin-bottom: 20px; }

Week 4 – Flow

View fullsize


My pick of the week.My pick of the week.

My pick of the week.

#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1512186163305_104240 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid { margin-right: -20px; }
#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1512186163305_104240 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid-slide .margin-wrapper { margin-right: 20px; margin-bottom: 20px; }

Week 5 – Self-Portrait

View fullsize


My pick of the weekMy pick of the week

My pick of the week

#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1512186163305_124897 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid { margin-right: -20px; }
#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1512186163305_124897 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid-slide .margin-wrapper { margin-right: 20px; margin-bottom: 20px; }

Week 6 – Metaphor

View fullsize


My pick of the weekMy pick of the week

My pick of the week

#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1512186163305_192450 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid { margin-right: -20px; }
#block-yui_3_17_2_1_1512186163305_192450 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid-slide .margin-wrapper { margin-right: 20px; margin-bottom: 20px; }

Week 7 – Stranger + Apple