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Monday Magazine

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triviaqueen PRO 2:37am, 8 February 2007
The Grid project is featured in this week's Monday Magazine in the arts section:

"Living on the Grid"
By —Amanda Farrell
Feb 07 2007

The Victoria Grid Project peers into the nooks and crannies of Mile Zero

Take a closer look at some of the people wielding cameras around town, and you’ll quickly realise that many of them aren’t tourists—and they’re snapping shots of everything from church steeples to found light bulbs. These photographers are likely part of the Victoria Grid Project, where some locals have decided to photo-document our city, one square kilometre at a time.

The premise is simple: each month, the group chooses a different map grid (from the commonly used MapArt maps) to photograph. The photographers then head out and take pictures within that grid and upload them to Flickr, the popular online photo sharing site. When the month is up, they meet and choose a new grid.

Ada Saab, the Victoria Grid Project coordinator, says she got the idea after taking some photographs in Fernwood and seeing how proud people were of their community and how well they knew its quirky spots.

“People were coming up to me and saying, ‘Oh, you should take a picture of this, you should take a picture of that’,” she recalls.

The experience spurred her to find a way of spreading this feeling beyond Fernwood. After doing some research, Saab found the Portland Grid Project, where professional photographers documented the city of Portland using map grids. It was then that she decided to launch something similar here. In order to drum up interest, she posted her idea on Vibrant Victoria, a local website devoted to the discussion of urban issues.

“I noticed there were a lot of people who would be interested,” Saab says of Vibrant Victoria. “I posted on there and got a huge response.”

Victoria’s grid project shares many similarities with Portland’s, but there are a few key differences. For one, Portland’s project was made up of only professional photographers. In Victoria, contributions from anyone are welcome.

“It’s just a whole bunch of different people. We’re not exclusive,” explains Saab.

Portland chose their grids at random, she says, but the Victoria crew chooses a new grid at their monthly meetings.

“Right now there’s such a frenzy about where to go,” she says, adding that grids may be chosen at random in the future.

Since the project launched in January, over 500 photos from 39 different people have been uploaded. The first map grid, H32, was located in James Bay, but the resulting photos were far from typical shots of the legislative buildings and the Empress Hotel. There are snapshots of murals, parking metres, signs, decrepit houses, gardens . . . the list goes on.

“There are so many different images. Some of them are from the same street,” says Saab.

This month’s grid, J31, encompasses a large part of downtown and North Park, including Cormorant Street, which has been touted by the media as “Victoria’s downtown Eastside.” Saab says the selection of this street was intentional.

“In the media, it’s been shown in a certain light, like it’s awash with human feces, but maybe it’s not really that way. There’s a lot of history there, too,” she adds. “For a lot of people, it captures both a downtown and residential area.” The group also selected this grid in hopes that more pictures of people would end up on the site.

Saab says the monthly meetings of grid project members have been a great way to not only decide what part of the city to move onto next, but also to get a sense of what people are getting out of the project.

“It was so interesting to see how that one month had gone for them,” she says. “I noticed a lot of people were starting to pay attention to their own surroundings.”

While Flickr and Vibrant Victoria have been great for getting the word out and getting the ball rolling, says Saab, she’s working on finding a permanent web host for the project. She’s also hoping it will be ongoing and grids will eventually be revisited.

“We’re hoping it will span over many years,” Saab concludes. “Our city is changing so fast.”
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Ada / dirtyolive PRO 10 years ago
Thanks for posting that, triviaqueen!
I need to pick up a copy.
MOD
Yayagirls 10 years ago
I picked up 4!! LOL
MOD
ngawangchodron PRO 10 years ago
That ought to get some great new photos!
admin
triviaqueen PRO 10 years ago
yeah, I'm glad I had a month to "practice" -- now more people will be looking!
Adam Schuetze 10 years ago
I wonder if we can convince Monday Magazine to publish a monthly spread of photographs.
admin
Ada / dirtyolive PRO 10 years ago
That's a good idea...
I'll check that out.
admin
Ada / dirtyolive PRO 10 years ago
Death by Flickr,
I've inquired about the monthly spread and it looks they are usually pretty tight on space and try to rotate their coverage of the city - makes sense. However, Amanda Farrell, the one who interviewed me, said to make sure to keep her posted on our progress (like getting hosting, etc).

So, we may not have a monthly photo exhibit, but we do have a friend.
admin
triviaqueen PRO 10 years ago
Thanks for checking that out. When we do get a website up and some of the photos posted in the galleries, we might want to consider a press release to other media outlets, too.
admin
Ada / dirtyolive PRO 10 years ago
on it!
MOD
ngawangchodron PRO 10 years ago
How about the Victoria News? ( its owned by the same guys as Monday Magazine
admin
Ada / dirtyolive PRO 10 years ago
That'll be good too.
I would love to have a website up before more media comes though. I have a few leads so I'm going to follow those for the time being.

Great photos so far of the grid this month!
Adam Schuetze 10 years ago
I've already had two people stop me (one was a bus driver) when they saw a shoulder full of camera and tripod, and ask me if I was part of that "photography thing they saw in the paper." We're famous! :)
admin
Ada / dirtyolive PRO 10 years ago
I had a woman stop me when I was out shooting Topaz Heights - a different project for class - to tell me that I might be interested this "grid project thing-a-ma-gig she read about in the paper".

hilarious
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