Documentary photography refers to a popular form of photography used to chronicle significant historical events.
Larry Wolfson's striking images do just that: provide evidence of the teardowns in Vancouver's upmarket Point Grey neighbourhood.
Armed with his Leica M, the photographer patrolled the leafy streets and quiet lanes to research and shoot his subjects — homes set for demolition.
Haunting the land of the affluent, Wolfson, a retired English teacher, played trespasser to shoot the exteriors and interiors of abandoned homes. A visual sneak thief the past five years, he set out to make visual sense of homes waiting for the wrecking ball — torn curtains, sagging walls and smashed porcelain where broken windows afford a splintered view of detritus strewn across a lawn.
Using a variety of wide-angle lenses, Wolfson masterfully captures the ghost-like melancholy that emanates from buildings about to be demolished.
Many of these Wolfson images were seen in a show held this past winter at the Firehall Gallery in Vancouver.
Through his images, Wolfson allows us to sidestep the tedious and oh-so predictable blather of Vancouver real estate, a subject that has led the news these past several years.
Today, across the city, we witness so many tear-downs we take them for granted, incorporating the images into our everydayness. But Wolfson's images compel us to slow down, to take a second look, to consider the images for their aesthetic appeal — to see them as something else entirely.
Wolfson provides an objective, unfiltered view of the sweeping, dramatic change — almost certainly to increase over time — now creating a new cityscape that some of us will hardly recognize.
"For me, these spaces conjure up thoughts of beginnings and endings, and the related melancholy often associated with ghost towns," Wolfson explains.
"Each photograph captures a moment when change is still its early stages, when we might contemplate a nostalgic past, consider a rapidly changing present, and be forced to contemplate an unknown future," Wolfson says.
More of Wolfson's teardown images can be seen here: http://larrywolfsonphotos.com/projects/