Vancouver: October 30, 1972

“Mundane in the extreme” – exhibition captures Vancouver 40 years ago

I’ve featured this work before when it was part of a show at the Surrey Art Gallery. But David Banks sent a link to a Michael de Courcy’s upgraded website which makes the 360 views of Vancouver taken on October 30, 1972 so easy to access.

Background / Vancouver is a portrait of Vancouver, British Columbia captured on a autumn day in 1972 by four artist / friends – Taki Bluesinger, Michael de Courcy, Gerry Gilbert and Glenn Lewis. This photo-mapping initiative was conceived and produced by Michael de Courcy as part of his on-going photographic documentary project of Vancouver’s Intermedia Society made while an artist/member there from 1967 to 1972. …”

de Courcy also provides the artistic statement:

An Artist’s View of the City, October 30, 1972

I first developed the idea of performing a photo-mapping expedition in and around Vancouver, in order to assemble what would be a comprehensive portrait of the city— a sequenced snapshot which when presented alongside my Intermedia documentary material, would effectively anchor our pictured tribal activities firmly within their geographic boundaries.

And the tribe is what we would now call hippies:

So I’m guessing, after a joint or two, these guys went out and photographed whatever captured their eye. Fred Herzog it aint. Much of it is mundane in the extreme: shots of the city and region as it was on a cloudy day in October, not much different than if you went out today and did the same. But there it is: a moment in time, and one that gets more interesting as time passes by.

There are special places that reveal the Vancouver of the early ’70s, notably Kitsilano – especially Fourth Avenue:

Or Robson:

Or Granville:

Intriguing not so much for any artistic interpretation but merely because things, like the photographers themselves, have changed.

More here.

– post by Gord Price

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  • The Angry Taxpayer

    Taki Bluesinger! Wow, haven’t heard that name since my last marriage! 😉

    BTW, think the last pic is downtown Granville, if the landmark buildings to the left and right are markers to go by.

    But still, even though a very young welp at the time, I have many memories of a quieter, more sedate Vancouver.

    If the point of these pics was to show that change is inevitable, point made. But it’s HOW it’s made that is important to many readers of this blog.

    “Back in the day”, civic administrations made changes with little public input.

    Today, civic administrations make a point of showing that they are “enaging” with the public.

    And then go ahead and make the changes they want, anyways.

    Plus ca change…

    • Working Mom

      The last time I attended one of those “..civic administrations make a point of showing that they are “enaging” with the public.” events and it was a joke.

      Anytime someone asked a question or made a recommendation/statement Andrea Reimer and Raymond Louie said “send us an email and we will review…” They said that over and over again during the evening. Yeh – I sent an email and never go a response.

  • Annelise

    The man in the picture looks the spitting image of Justin Trudeau (of course only the upper half)…:-)
    The only thing that changed in 40 years… banks that occupied corner offices then… are now occupying entire blocks.
    Pictures are in Color versus B&W.
    Taki Bluesinger, Michael de Courcy, Gerry Gilbert and Glenn Lewis, great initiative, thanks for sharing and thanks for the memories!

  • Paulette

    Loved the pictures! Nice to go back in time!