Joannie Lafrenière, Hochelaga – Montréal en mutation — Michel Hellman

[Fall 2023]

By Michel Hellman


Musée McCord Stewart, Montréal
31.03.2023 — 10.09.2023

When the director and photographer Joannie Lafrenière was approached by the McCord Stewart Museum to take part in the second edition of Evolving Montreal (a program of photographic commissions on the theme of transformation of the city’s neighbourhoods), she had no doubt about the district she would choose. For Lafrenière, it was love at first sight when she moved to Hochelaga almost twenty years ago – an impact “almost as powerful as my encounter with photography,” she says. With contagious enthusiasm, she presents the luminous portrait of a living environment and its inhabitants in Hochelaga, an intimate visit to the heart of a constantly changing neighbourhood.

Hochelaga, in the eastern part of Montreal, was long considered home to the city’s francophone working class. The factories built there in the nineteenth century drew hordes of labourers from the countryside. When the economic crisis hit, however, many factories closed, and in the 1970s and 1980s the neighbourhood became synonymous with poverty, violence, and unemployment. The revitalization of recent years has led to frenetic, rapid gentrification, which has caused conflict, price increases, real estate speculation, and renovictions that affect mainly the poorest people – those who helped to shape the district and form its identity…

[ Complete issue, in print and digital version, available here: Ciel variable 124 – SEEING THROUGH IMAGES ]
[ Complete article, in digital version, available here: Joannie Lafrenière Hochelaga – Montréal en mutation — Michel Hellman ]