The Alienation of Oppression is a 27” x 41” digital colour photograph shot in Richmond, British Columbia in January 2019 at the intersection of Gilbert and Lansdowne Roads. Far in the distance, the large Olympic Rings of the Richmond Olympic Oval can be seen at the far end of Lansdowne. This is an area that has seen a lot of change over the last ten years. Previously, the area consisted of light industrial and commercial buildings, as well as small chunks of forested areas that lined some of the banks of the Fraser River. Today, the Richmond Curling Centre is all that is left of that former period, and the building it occupies certainly stands out as being a relic in need of restoration. The old curling building is being swallowed up and surrounded by much newer and taller buildings, some completed and some still under construction. The large construction cranes loom in the distance, representative of the ubiquitous change that is occurring and a breakneck speed. A quieter and more rural time replaced by a fast-paced concrete jungle.
The photograph was taken at dusk, during the golden hour just after the sun had set. The sky was dark and cloudy, and it began to rain heavily not long after this photograph was taken. The lights of the cars illuminated different things, especially the long shadows of some of the people crossing the street. I found it interesting that these people were each walking alone, and although they were all grouped together none of them were talking to each other, none of them seemed to know each other. The lights of the oncoming car that was waiting to turn caused the figures to be in a silhouette that further blurred elements of their individuality. The light of the golden hour also helped make the artificial street lighting stand out. The green and red traffic lights serve as a reminder of society’s control over the movement of individuals. The individuals are also walking towards the businesses that line the street, highlighted by the TD Canada Trust sign to their left. This, combined with the time of day, could suggest that humanity is at a turning point in its own hero’s journey, as they leave the light of the day for the darkness of the cave they are about to enter.