Some naturally picturesque subjects offer themselves spontaneously to the camera. Walking in the Ahuntsic Park, I saw two seated men playing chess. A classic. On my way back, Robbie was alone at the table. I could then start a conversation with him without interrupting their game. It is later, when his buddy Martin returned to the table, that I took pictures of the players in action.
It was Martin who, seeing my camera, told me Robbie was a photographer. And not just any photographer: Robbie is an argentic photo enthusiast! Not only does he shoot film, but he makes his own prints, even in color, which is somewhat infrequent today. He makes a living from a combination of small photographic contracts such as film-set photo, home renovation work and resale of used equipment for argentic photo. He has done both artistic photography and photojournalistic shootings in places like New Orleans, Cuba and Haiti. He also makes photos for actors’ portfolios.
By chance, an exhibition of his works was running until the next day at the Kozen Gallery, on Duluth Avenue East. I visited it with interest and appreciated his commitment to his work. If opportunity presents itself to you one day see his photos, do not miss it!
I met him again there as I was about to leave. After chatting some more, I also learned that he was a self-taught painter but eventually studied in Visual Arts at UQAM. His parents were both artists. It most likely has something in his life path, although children do not always follow their parents’ route, especially when it is such a difficult one.
Robbie was born in Pointe-Claire and lived in several neighborhoods in Montreal, including in the Plateau for ten years. He also lived for some time in various locations around St-Eustache. He has lived for three years in the Sault-au-Récollet and enjoys the area for its tranquility.
When the time came to do his portrait, he warned me that he did not smile. Something tells me however that there are sometimes cracks under this mask.