I found this new moral dilemma. I’m always finding them.
This idea of shooting the town to express a kind of passive discontent that I felt, this sort of suffocation with the mundane, with routine, the conformity, the ugliness, but not even in a glamorous rock star ugly way, of the big box store malls.
The problem I felt was that I was starting to get to know people in this community who love it here. People who have originated from different countries that actually chose Canada, chose the suburbs, who are happy and thriving. These people actually love the suburbs. In fact some of them like the town of Ajax more than other suburbs they’ve lived in.
I was starting to feel that I was doing my new-found community of people a disservice. How would it make the people I’ve grown to care about feel if I showed their beloved home in any kind of negative light?
Well, I still may explore that, but I felt challenged to look at things in a new way. Not in the way they looked at it, because I can’t see it from their perspective, I can only see it from mine. But I asked myself what that negativity was about.
Back when I was growing up the suburbs there was a kind of darkness that was hidden in the suburbs and it lived in my house. It involved looking the other way. It involved not making waves.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that doesn’t still exist. But I caught myself living in the past with it – almost because it was easy. I knew how I felt. I know I didn’t want to show myself as being the kind of person who sold themselves out and retreated quietly to domesticity either.
But now I wondered if it was possible to show other people a town in a new light, in a way that I wouldn’t feel bad about. Why was I falling back on easy?
I’ve been shooting at night for a couple of years now, long before this most recent project. Night shooting is not something that comes from my past. It’s not something that comes from any idea of who I should be and what I should be doing. It truly is this fascination I have for exploring a hidden world.
And I think this hidden world was what I wanted to show people that live here. Your town is full of town artifacts we haven’t really looked at.
But I don’t seek to show you something that you’ve seen already. I wish to transform what you’re usually used to seeing into something new. Because that was the journey that I needed to take for myself.
In life we often get stuck in roots, we get rooted in the past and our past beliefs, we get attached to the idea of who we are and it prevents us from living in the present, from being present and seeing things new. We get stuck in our own perceptions and into the belief that how we perceive the world is not only correct but is the only way to see the world.