“All he needed was a wheel in his hand and four on the road”.
“The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great, that I thought I was in a dream”.
– Jack Kerouac, On the Road: the Original Scroll
Better known as Bank Street, Ottawa Road 31 stretches from Parliament Hill, in downtown Ottawa (Canada), to the small rural community of Vernon, some 34 km to the south. Although the issue is open for debate, Bank Street is regarded by many as Ottawa’s longest road.
For as far as I can remember, I have enjoyed travelling and been attracted by the promises that road trips offer. Over the years, my desire to meet new people and discover new places has never ceased growing and has fueled an ongoing passion for street and documentary photography. More than once have I daydreamed about transitioning towards professional photography, to the point where in fall 2019, I decided to take my first – baby – steps in that direction by taking a sabbatical leave dedicated to photo projects at home and abroad.
Months later however, the world ground to a halt and my aspirations were shattered, along with those of millions of other people.
As a result of the travel restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was forced to unpack my suitcase and cancel several trips that I had planned for the spring and summer. Still craving adventure, I resolved to turn my lens towards my own backyard, hop in my car – sometimes on my bike – and look for my kicks on Ottawa Road 31. Hoping this would allow me to shrug off the wanderlust that I felt, I embarked on a journey during which I relentlessly chased images that evoke past and dreamed travels, and highlight Bank Street’s diversity.
Inspired by seminal photo books such as Robert Frank’s The Americans and Alec Soth’s Sleeping by the Mississippi, The Longest Road was shot over a six-month period in summer and fall 2020. Mixing portraiture, landscape and street photography, it proposes an intimate visual exploration of the people, buildings and landscapes that make up Ottawa’s longest road, and acts as a metaphor of my persistent longing for travels and a change of scenery.
“Roads were made for journeys, not destinations”. ― Confucius
Get a copy of “The Longest Road” on Blurb.