A shift in perspective

A woman stands looking at a wall of Brodie's photographs in Cafe Pyrus.

Photos by Hannah Love Yoon

Environment student captures the urban shift in China

Third-year Environment student Brodie Vissers travelled to China last year to help build a community centre and skate park in Yunnan province. When he arrived in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, he visited thriving villages but by the time he left, those same villages had been torn down for new development. Brodie took photos of this transition throughout his stay, and this month he exhibited those photos for the first time in Café Pyrus in Kitchener.

The exhibit, Before It’s Lost, groups Brodie’s photos from his trip into four themes: Piles of Rubble, Windows and Doors, One Last Rediscovery, and Stragglers. The opening night of the exhibit also featured a video of a skateboarder travelling through one of the featured villages, and a performance by local band, Loveisonyourside.

Brodie addresses the audience at his show opening.

As an urban planning student, Brodie was naturally inspired to document the transition happening in front of him in Kunming. “This photo exhibit was a reflection on the urban transition that is going on currently in China, as well as all over the world. I wanted to observe this transition and document this moment in time when an older village in the city was being demolished to make way for modern development,” he shared.

Audiences have responded positively to his show, with intrigue in the collection and in the story behind the photographs. “I'd definitely consider it a success already. We had quite a number of people at the opening event, and we were able to show the video behind the photos as well. That was where the majority of the photos were actually sold,” Brodie said. He is hopeful that he will be able to give some of the proceeds to the Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area.

Brodie is looking forward to exhibiting more work and collaborating with other artists in the future, but for now he is focusing on refining his photography skills, and drawing inspiration from his everyday life as a student at UWaterloo.

You can see Brodie’s exhibit yourself at Café Pyrus until June 30, and you can read more about his work in the Guelph Mercury.

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