XCIX
Inside Out
This is the second image of a fire scene since the start of the project.

Although fortunately there were no injuries, this massive fire forced the condemnation of an 18 unit apartment building on Glebe Ave, just East of Bank St. on Monday night. The fire started in the early afternoon, and was still smoldering at 11:20 pm when this photo was taken. It's interesting to see a wall removed; to see how close these spaces are, and how different. A bit like seeing an ant colony with a plexiglas wall.

Having taken the camera to two fires during this project, I am torn about whether it's appropriate or not. Fires are dramatic, and the process of dealing with them is quite fascinating. From that point of view I feel fine. There is a documentary aspect that is also acceptable in my mind. There is a danger that the interest may be seen as prurient, or that occupants may see photography as disrespect. I worry about this.

Showing up at a fire scene with a long lens seems to suggest to passers-by that you are a good source of information and conversation. Many people I talked to were excited at the prospect of the building coming down. However, one person came up to me and matter-of-factly said that the bulldozer was opening her curtains. She was most upset about a painting behind the wall about to be destroyed, was overwhelmed, and decided to leave. I don't think that the painting in the centre of this shot is hers (her apartment is at the extreme left of the shot, middle floor). The red painting, however, stands in for it in my mind. People's belongings and private spaces made plain.

Posted: 2010-01-20.   Shot: .
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3.2 sec   f/10   85 mm   ISO 1250