MECHANICSVILLE Towards the end of the 80’s I stumbled upon a small working class neighbourhood in Ottawa called Mechanicsville. It was pretty much a self-contained community. You could feel that it was a throw-back of some kind, a neighbourhood that you just knew was destined to be changed by progress, by time, by gentrification. I set about hanging out, getting to know the people who lived there, gaining access and, I thought, some insight. This was a new way of working for me, spending the time, embedding myself, going the same place over and over, rather than grabbing images, like I used to do, as I walked by. When I finished the project the work was exhibited at Gallery 101 in Ottawa. A lot of folks from Mechanicsville came to the opening and, let me tell you, they were not pleased. There were tears and recriminations. They though I had misrepresented their lives and their neighbourhood. Perhaps (probably) I did. I was rocked, their reaction made me think long and hard about my point of view, about my opinions, and about how photography is not a neutral medium. About this time I also got fired from my job, it would seem that I was no longer able to fit into the shapes and forms that society required. It was time for a rethink.