Back in April, we featured images taken by local photographer Nic Latulippe.
Latulippe, who was born and raised in Canmore, began taking photos in the winter for a series entitled Canmore: A Tipping Point. The series examined the rapid changes Canmore has experienced due to development and tourism growth.
We recently caught up with Latulippe to find out how he felt after doing the series and what he learned about his hometown.
51° North: What did you learn from your series?
Nic Latulippe: I learned so much from the series.
One of the greatest takeaways was that so many individuals who were close to me, in addition to those within the Canmore community, thought about Canmore the same way – constantly evolving. Little found solace in the town's changes, for most it left a sour taste. This is especially true for those who grew up in and around the community of Canmore. Many also found it very difficult to find the balance between tourism and locality. Tourism, although essential to our mountain town, was often overarching compared to local favouritism/choice. This left many without the hope that the Town of Canmore actually listens to their own population. In other words, it left many feeling helpless with the current direction of tourism, development, and economic change Canmore is currently undertaking. But, things such as the Three Sisters Mountain Village (TSMV) decision, leaves our town with a sense of new found hope in the future.
51: How do you see your hometown now?
NL: There is definitely some hope for the community of Canmore, particularly since the TSMV decision. As previously mentioned, I believe many within the town had lost hope in terms of the public's voice being heard on large decisions, particularly relating to this one. But, now that the public's voice was heard and political action was taken based on this opinion, I believe there is a future for a long-term community in Canmore. To keep this community strong and thriving is another question in and of itself, but as long as we have leaders that listen and voice the concern of our long-time locals, I believe there is hope.
51: What were the most common reactions to your series? What were some of the most surprising reactions?
Every single person who took the time to reach out to me concerning the project all had the same reaction; "I see this too, I've experienced it, and I'm glad it's being spoken about". What's most beautiful about this is that this reaction is not mutually exclusive to Canmore locals, but others from places such as Hornby Island, Squamish, Victoria, and other tourist destinations.
I thought it was beautiful how many people supported the project because of how close to home this photo-series was. I think this is particularly true for people who have lived and grew up in a tight knit community: such as Canmore. Again, this ties back to empathy.
51: What is next?
NL: I love Canmore, but having grown up here doesn't allow me much room to grow professionally and creatively. I've also never experienced ‘the city’, so that's something I feel like I need to do.
For now, I'm currently documenting the ongoing land-defence in Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island. What's going on here strikes quite close to home in terms of environmental conservation and Indigenous sovereignty, so naturally I want to give this cause as much attention as I can. It's quite serious, and the media is not accurately portraying what life is like under the oppression of the RCMP and their special operations units. I'm doing my best to document that as we speak through my photography and written work.
I'm actively updating my Instagram (@nic_latulippe) when I return to cellphone service and will continuously update from my experience as best as I can.