Raincouver

2 min read by tommykchong. Published in Essays, Stories.
Raincouver, Chinatown Vancouver, Leica M2, 35mm Summicron III, Superia 400.

I liked how the edge of the curtain and the pole framed the woman. Her brightly-coloured umbrella contrasts well in the mostly dark blue background.

Since it rains a lot Vancouver, hence “Raincouver,” it is common to see the city shrouded by dark clouds giving it a dark blue or grey atmosphere. I enjoy the colours of awnings and umbrellas that bring life into otherwise dull looking scenes.

This photo was taken in Chinatown, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Vancouver and an area that is going through many changes. The older Chinese generations have for the most part moved out of the neighbourhood. The majority of new businesses moving in generally don’t have an interest in sustaining Chinatown heritage.

I lived a block away from the scene and walked those streets every day with my camera and over the course of a few years saw many older Chinese businesses close up. Half of them from owners retiring, some from the lack of customers and some from the rising rent prices. I wanted to capture how it looked at the time as I knew it would be a very different neighbourhood in a few years.

“Raincouver” was taken in March 2015, it’s been a few years since I lived in Vancouver. As I write this, I am reminded of how much I enjoyed living in the area and the sadness I also felt seeing the changes happening. I used to have a lot more time to wander and shoot back then.

In Chinatown, you’ll see a lot of love and care in the people there but also some people who are having trouble with substance abuse. It’s a very culturally rich area and with many contrasting themes. There aren’t many tall buildings, it’s usually pretty bright. Helps the red decorations shine.