Photoessay: “Early Sunday morning” by Julien Coquentin
“Early Sunday morning”
by Julien Coquentin
This series comes from a photographic journal that I keep every day since I arrived in Montreal with my wife and our daughter one year old in April 2010 and for a few months.
It was to learn to shoot by making a poetics of the city and distance, my work at night at the casualty department – I’m male nurse – allowing me to spend part of my life to this work.
From the beginning we lived in Mile End, migratory crossroads where come and go French Canadians and English, Portuguese and Greeks, Italians, Polish and a large population of Orthodox Jews, a district sandwiched between Park Avenue and St Lawrence Boulevard, between the plate and Little Italy, a few blocks to the contours with the boundary of two black lines in the snow: A railroad track and passing trains of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The America that once I started to photograph belonged to a landscape dreamed that I had discovered as a child in front of the television and in the dark of a movie theater, the kids from here made me think of my distant childhood in Aveyron, seasons mingled with my memories, snow and whiteness with cold winters of Aubrac, a clear “boralde” to the eddy of St Lawrence. It therefore would appear to be my mind that, over time, I photographed in the streets but also the memories to come of children who grow up. I liked the morning to find myself in a calm, feel the rain or the heat of the first rays of the sun, and I liked to leave the casualty department, impregnated with the smell and mood of the others, photographing the silence, the snow and his dancing, watching the well-oiled rhythm of a crowd which moves off, night work has the virtue to make swim against the current. From splitted days to pale nights, the trip became wandering, those that Depardon described in his book “eponymous”, real drunken onlooker on the boulevards of Montreal.
Geographical representation of a limited space, this newspaper is also, and perhaps most importantly, a window overlooking the interior on which the viewer will put his forehead to look at himself, because a picture is never that a mirror which reflects our history.
The title of the series “Early Sunday morning” is borrowed from Edward Hopper, who painted this painting in 1930, preserved today at the Whitney Museum in New York. I authorized myself this borrowing first because I recognize myself in the way Hopper watched a city and more generally our civilization, but also because Sunday I think is a particularly day, a silence in time, a little death.
Photography requires attention and it took me staring Montreal to build this series. “Early Sunday morning” is also the testimony of the changing nature of the city, like our face will become hollow over the years, the city constantly changes, dies and is reborn. From the movement of atoms, “hopeless fragility of the city”, I tried to extract two years, here also a silence in time, here also a small death.
Julien Coquentin was born in France in 1976 but now lives in Montreal, Canada. He never studied photography. “I’m just in love with images, shadows and raindrops, gray light and stories … I do not have an expanded curriculum vitae and I walk every day in my city with camera in hand…I am a passer concentrated…photography has eaten my mind for the past three years…”
More of Julien`s work here