This past Friday Uptown Saint John played canvas to both a gallery-hop and a special even called Third-Shift. Third-Shift an event put on by Third Space Gallery that aims to put art in vacant and underused spaces to inspire people and help re-energize the area. I’d just heard of it happening a few days beforehand and had never been on a Gallery Hop either. So I strapped on my walking shoes, grabbed a couple rolls of HP5 out of the fridge and started walking.
I’m happy to accept that there’s an actual creative community in Saint John these days, not just the lunatic fringe present in past years. Third-Shift was inspiring and entertaining, with everything from a small orchestra to light shows, food and friends old and new. It was invigorating to see the streets of my city alive with varied and impassioned creators.
It was hot, too hot for my denim and long sleeves so some people-watching and a cold beverage was on order to begin properly. The new Picaroon’s General Store is in the middle of the action and was jammed. I ordered a cold pint to quaff and found a barrel to occupy.
Roaming from gallery to gallery was an adventure all to itself. Every one was packed to the rafters and broiling. I made a couple circuits so as to see more than the heads of those who had arrived directly before me. It became easier to browse as the night went on, and the galleries cooled. I’ve discovered many local artists work that I’d love to collect.
Walking about on the streets was lovely, with music and conversation you could dip in on and escape from without expectations. Restaurant patios were full, buskers played for tips.
After a couple circuits through the galleries, I turned to people. I find that I’m getting better at street portraits here as I gain confidence in the community. The people and their stories are as beautiful and rugged and worn as the architecture.
As the light fell, I loaded a new roll and did a quick meter for a 3200 push. I am once again thrilled with Ilford’s HP5 and the way it refuses to disappoint. As the ambient light fell and artificial light took over, the HP5 drew every photon out and transformed it into beautiful, rich grain and tone. I use a single stock because I only need to use a single stock.
I’m happy with these photos, but happier still that I connected with neighbours of a similar fabric. I was delighted to speak with more uptown business owners and get their advice on starting up and staying open. One step closer!