enRoute Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. How would you describe your work?

Jerry Pigeon I’m a portraitist and a documentarian.

ER What is it about documenting things that attracts you?

JP I find it amazing to be able to capture moments that will never happen again. There’s also a certain lack of control in photography that I like to harness. For instance, yesterday, I took some photos and the light was beautiful, but I had no control over it. I could have the best ideas in the world, but if the light is bad, I can’t do anything. When you’re documenting, you have to let things go, make your way and be there at the right time.

March 5, 2019
A sign stretching over a street with the word "Hochelaga" written on it.
The marquis on Ontario Street.
A cafe sign lit up at night. Black and white.
Café São.

ER How would you say your work has evolved in recent years?

JP My art has been in transition over the last two years or so. I got a bit tired of photography, so I started working with paper. I print my photos, then mess them up and make collages out of the remnants. This way, I’m able to infuse my images with new emotions.

ER You grew up in Hochelaga. How has shooting such a familiar place changed your way of working?

JP The task of photographing my neighbourhood has pushed my limits. When you’re a photographer living in Montreal, it’s easy to get a little blasé. The Olympic Stadium and Expo 67 don’t do much for me anymore. Documentarians tend to present things in an obvious manner. So I’ve focused on very precise details that touch me personally, even though they may sometimes make the setting hard to recognize.

ER What continues to inspire you in Hochelaga?

JP The neighbourhood has really changed a lot. It would be easy to photograph street people, or anti–gentrification graffiti. But I find it more interesting to document the evolution of daily life in the neighbourhood. It’s an honest place. In Hochelaga, there’s no pretense. What you see is what you get.

A man walking on a street at night in the snow. Black and white.
Ontario Street.

ER What impact do you want your photos to have?

JP My images are not politicized, so I don’t try to stir up that kind of discussion. I simply want to put forth an emotion, whether it’s a good one or a bad one.

ER What would be your dream photo project?

JP I’ve spent a lot of time documenting CrossFit, and I would love to publish a book on the subject. I would also like to follow and document politicians in their daily lives.

ER Why?

JP Politicians aren’t about glamour the way musicians or actors are. I like the challenge of rendering subjects that aren’t very interesting visually, captivating. Taking a good photo of a model is pretty easy. Whereas if you tell me you took a beautiful photo of a minister, I have a lot more respect for that.

ER What are your favourite Instagram feeds?

JP I love the sensibility and composition of @rabbitsparrow’s collages. The photos of @jackdavisonphoto are also impressive – they’re both contemporary and timeless.

A statue of an angel. Black and white.
A statue at Bistro Le Valois.
La Taqueria, a restaurant with Mexican hats hanging on the wall. Black and white.
La Taqueria.
An opaque window at Bistro Le Valois with an opening at the bottom where dishes are stacked.
Bistro Le Valois.
A streetlight, unlit, on a Ontario street at night. Black and white.
Ontario Street.
A Mexican flag hanging in the restaurant La Taqueria
La Taqueria.
A black cat walking past a car's tire in the snow. Black and white
The famous cat of Rouen Street.