Street photographers turn love for Saint John into short film.
Saint John’s unique landscape and architecture has been inspiring photographers for ages. It’s sharp corners and unusual angles catch and release the light in new and exciting ways by the minute. And for lovers of street photography, you’d be hard-pressed to find another location on the whole east coast with as many colourful characters as those of our favourite harbour city.
But Saint John isn’t one thing to anyone. It never has been. It’s a combination, or a sum of all parts, that reflect a distinct New Brunswick identity forged from day one. And it’s this distinction that first attracted a group of photographers to begin their own project documenting their interpretations of the community, a project that would eventually grow from an online gallery into a short film.
“The project came out of a separate street photography project,” said Raven Blue, one of the creative minds behind Homeless, a short film set to debut as part of Third Shift, Saint John’s annual night of contemporary art exhibitions. “Last year some friends and I started having group photography expeditions. We created a Facebook group, Saint John Street Photography. We would select a street and go there as a group and wander off on our own to take photos around neighborhood. We would then come back and share our photos, and post them to the page. In the process I learned a lot about the diversity and natural beauty of our neighbourhoods.”
Together with friend and fellow photographer Jeff McLennan, Blue began exploring ways to add an element of live music to the online exhibits they were creating.
“Our goal was always to get as close as we can to capturing the feeling of being in the neighborhood, and we realized that film was the right medium for this,” said Blue. “We experimented a lot to develop a style of shooting that captured the feeling of being there, with minimal camera movement and wide angles.”
Eventually, Cara Cole would join the project as would award-winning Newfoundland-based performer/film composer Rozalind MacPhail, who worked with Blue and McLennan to create the film’s audio component.
“Jeff introduced the idea of having a person who we would follow through the scenes to give the story a narrative and focus, and this is how our collaboration with Cara Cole began,” he said. “Once we began shooting with Cara and reviewed some of the initial footage, we knew this would be special.
“We’ve all played a role in selecting locations and steering the narrative. The three of us grew up in Saint John, so the city is near and dear to us, and we all felt the same way about wanting to capture the city in the way we’ve experienced it.”
Homeless will debut August 18 with outdoor screenings at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30pm on Canterbury Street in the parking lot beside Thandi’s restaurant. The screening will be accompanied with a live performance by MacPhail, who recently won MusicNL’s Female Artist of the Year and ECMA for Electronic Recording of the Year.