This time, as I was perusing through my older photos, I came across a photo taken during the KelbyOne Worldwide Photowalk of 2015. I participate in this event annually as a way to meet other photographers, stimulate my creativity, and maybe win a cool prize. The last two times out, the group I signed up for was doing a walk through Vancouver‘s eastern downtown ending in the Gastown district. This part of the city has been going through some major overhauls in an effort to revitalize the area. To be precise, it is an urban facelift.
This part of the city has fallen far from the grace of its early years as a growing part of a dynamic seaport community. As happens with cities in the throws of progress, the beauty of some vibrant communities can swiftly follow the money out to the prosperous suburbs and palatial view lots. From these vantages, it is easy to enjoy the twinkling of the city lights while forgetting the lives lived beneath their warm tungsten glow. Like the ad fading away on the brick wall in the photo, the value of the product is all that remains of the message. The voice of the urban masses becomes a din; street noise to be tuned out. A cacophony of cash registers calling out beyond the sprawl. Calling others to join the frenzied financial feeding at the capitalist trough of plenty.
Of course, not everyone has a place at this trough. Some reach in with a shovel; some reach out with a hand. A harsh critique; unless you stop to hear the noise. There was One—long ago—who heard the voices amidst the noise. One who found a vantage point to look across the city and wept for its senselessness. One who raised a voice for those who would hear; who were listening. Can you hear it?