I had stumbled upon this site documenting the growth and decay of Vancouver’s iconic Main St. It particularly hit home with me because I recognize the buildings and businesses both old and new.
While our debate had once hinged on the goodness of our departed hangouts, we now found ourselves debating which blocks those places used to exist. Like we suddenly didn’t trust our own memories. Where was that junk store where the fantastic lamp was found? The diners and vitamin stores that had burned down and closed up as recently as six months earlier—where exactly had they been? We reasoned that Instagram and Google Street View were remembering this stuff for us now. So why did it even matter?
It was this last question we found ourselves repeating, a week later, at dawn, sizing up the first block of photos at Main and 2nd Avenue. Why exactly does this matter? We still had no answer, but two weeks later, we found ourselves, again in the early morning light, with a camera aimed at the City Centre Motor Hotel on 6th. Over the next five months, we took the equivalent of a 62-block photo—without quite knowing why we were doing it.