Hidden stories around us
This is a series of images taken in Britannia Village, Nepean, Ontario, which is my neighbourhood where I have lived with my family for three years now. This place used to be a cottage area due to its proximity to the Britannia Beach and Yacht Club. Today, the neighbourhood continues to have many historical houses which are at least 100 years old and from there, you can see houses representing every style period until today. What is unique about the Village is that it is one of the few places in Ottawa that contains forest (like Mud Lake, an ecological reserve) and riverfront, creating a peninsula for the Village.
As somebody with visual deficiencies, I often find myself thinking about the things I cannot see. Before losing my sight, I used to be a kid who enjoyed playing (for hours) with perspectives: I liked to see the subtle differences between seeing with only my left eye and then only my right eye. I liked to lay on the floor and pretend that the table looming above me was a whole world above my minuscule insect-sized body, or imagine what my world would look like if I were small enough that a shoe box or dollhouse would be a normal-sized house for me. The idea for this series comes from those childhood memories. But this time, I wanted to be able to see the places where I walk and live every day from a higher perspective. I was surprised to find out that from 30 metres in the air, I can hardly recognize my neighbourhood or my home. Everything appears insignificant from that perspective, and that appearance produces a different meaning.
The difference between the shapes used by humans and the shapes used by Nature to create their environment is especially visible from the top. The shapes of the leafless trees, which look like mandalas, and the shapes that human beings use to structure their environment look geometrical. Also, with areal photography we can see the story that is told by the way the forest moves and retreats, human footprints in the snow showing wherever they go, animal footprints and their hiding places, where vehicles can go beyond public access. All this can be seen from the air. It is also interesting to note how tiny people are, to see my species under another perspective, as fragile individuals in a huge entity as big as a species. The shadows of objects and the light are different from the air, adding an objective and alien quality to the perspective, turning familiar things into abstract shapes.
I would like to invite the viewer to observe each of those squares or blocks and imagine that people are living there: sleeping, eating, getting dressed, making love, having sex, crying, planning their lives, raising their children, getting sick, and dying inside.
There are hidden stories under each one of those boxes, and the residents rarely, if ever, see their lives or their homes from a perspective only 50 metres away vertically. We almost never see how insignificant we look from above. Each one of these photos is like an anthill, full of hidden life on the other side.