Inspired by Joel Sternfeld's photobook, “Walking the High Line”, my photography delves into the rich history and complex interplay of untamed nature and urban development in Ottawa's LeBreton Flats.
LeBreton Flats, situated on the banks of the Ottawa River, was once a thriving industrial and residential area. In the early 20th century, it was home to a diverse community, with businesses, homes, and a vibrant cultural life. The “Flats” underwent urban expropriation in the 1960s, only to remain vacant for the next 40 years. While some redevelopment has now occurred, large swathes of the Flats remain vacant, allowing nature to reclaim these areas.
The current state of LeBreton Flats reflects the broader issues of environmental conservation and sustainable urban planning. It reminds us that, often, nature's untamed beauty is lost in the process of urbanization, emphasizing the need for responsible development practices that consider the value of preserving wild landscapes.
Through my photography, I seek to capture the essence of this struggle and transformation. I've endeavoured to maintain a similar picturesque quality to the High Line photographs, exposing both a beautiful and at the same time ratty feel for the landscapes.
LeBreton Flats serves as both a cautionary tale and a source of inspiration, illustrating the ongoing dialogue between humanity and the natural world, where the untamed aspects of nature often bear the brunt of human transformation.