Hamilton as I know it. Ontario.
Old 04-16-2018   #1
Ko.Fe.
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Hamilton as I know it. Ontario.

Hamilton in Ontario is post industrial city and one of the largest municipalities in Canada.
It makes me come and return to it. I feel it, it resonates with me and my memories comes of another country.
I'll try to tell about Hamilton here. What I know, before I will forget.
















Taken with EOS300 and Tamron 28-75 2.5 on some ilford film...

As you see, some parts of this half-a-million city is not doing well.
Even local television company for sold for ... one dollar, some years ago...
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Old 04-16-2018   #2
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The Hammer!

Some of my friends who promised never to leave Toronto have been moving to Hamilton over the last few years — mostly because they are getting priced out of their former neighbourhoods.

Looking forward to seeing more.
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Old 04-16-2018   #3
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I'm glad I own in the city. I couldn't handle driving the QEW every day. I swear it's worse than the DVP.
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Old 04-16-2018   #4
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^ That makes it look more dismal than passing through on the train, and we all know what part of towns trains pass through . Peter
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Old 04-17-2018   #5
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Nice series, Kostya. Somewhere I'll probably never visit.
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Old 04-17-2018   #6
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It's always interesting to see these places, post industrial time can be difficult for many towns and of course for people living there. I do not know enough about Hamilton to make more comments but we had a similar situation in Italy in Turin which was a city all based around car industry (FIAT). And many smaller factories working to supply the main factory. Production decreased and the town faced a bad time, much unemployment included.
But than, and it took years the town reconverted itself in a design district and life became better, now it's ok with a new "face" and working opportunities.

Good B&W with Ilford (and with a good photographer!). Thanks for sharing.

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Old 04-17-2018   #7
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This is what it's like in the whole north east of England where I am, pretty bleak. I love to see people using ugly ducking cameras from the 90/00's though
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Old 04-18-2018   #8
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Thank you all for the comments!

Hamilton history is huge (in Canadian 150 years of official age for entire country) and municipality sprawl is wide. It is different city in different parts, I could only tell about places I have been. And I have seen... what I hear and know...

Hamilton reminds me post soviet industrial cities. First year we moved to Canada we met at get to know one big family which escaped from city similar to Hamilton. And I used to work on special metal making plant near Moscow. Summer practice for university students. I was getting to first subway train at six AM and I would met working class people. They were special and they were just like my relatives, who turn radio on at midnight, go to sleep and by six AM the radio will wake them up with Soviet hymn.
My relatives retired before collapse, but family we met here was still in working age. Their metal works dependant city turned into run down place. Instead of working as engineers some of them would drive hundreds of kilometers and get some candies to sell... Some of their neighbors became drug addicts...
Hamilton is about the same. It still smells bad, because steel production is old and toxic due to this. I hear it first from another Soviet steel worker and people who used to live in cities where major steel plants are. And then I smell it for first time...

But most of the factories are gone from Hamilton. I met once one person who was working in the bar kitchen. He told me what before if you don't like it, you walk across and they will take you to another factory. Now all gone and many lives on welfare in generations.
I don't know for how long steel production is going to be in Hamilton...












I used Bessa R2M with Summicron 50 IV and Ultron 28 1.9. Kodak Gold, Ultramax and Fuji Superia films, developed, scanned at home.

Some homes in Hamilton were build for returning after WWII. Some of them are just by the side of steel production plants...



Here is one story from Hamiltonian who used to work at one of those steel plants.
He was young and energetic. He has one job to do, but wanted to try them all.
One of his assignments was to bring heavy rolls of fresh steel to chilling lot near the bay.
This lot was in use for many years and oil was saturating the ground. One day after he put another fresh rolls of steel to chill, the oversaturated ground burst into flames. They were unable to stop it for couple of weeks...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
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I have a fondness for towns like Hamilton. They are all over the South. Over time, "reconstruction" arrived after The War (which should have been called what it was....punishment) and Federal money was cut off, leaving these places to slowly dry up and die. Businesses closed, roads went unpaved because there was no money to pave them, and it got pretty bleak. But to me, in that bleakness there was hope. Maybe it was simply knowing that it would be hard to imagine things getting any worse :]

Those old towns and building have skeletons that still tell tales. You can hear them as the wind blows through the broken warehouse windows. Light shimmers on old, crumbling brick. There's even a word for it I believe, when photographers go into modern day ruins and photograph old, falling apart places. As a kid, we loved places like that. No one bothered us there, and we could play imaginary games that seemed real, more real than our lives. You get a sense that people's spirits are still hanging around.

Of course, the best thing about old places was the stories that were told, and retold. How someone used to own half the place and had the biggest house on the hill, but when everything went to hell they ended up in the poor house. My favorite tale was the one about a river we used to go camp out by called The Singing River. Seems the last of the Indians there, probably the Biloxi Tribe, saw the writing on the wall and decided they were either going to fight a losing battle, or be pushed even further if they didn't fight. The way it was told to us was that they chose a third path....everyone of them, the whole tribe, marched into the river and drowned themselves, singing the whole way. And on full moons, if you listen closely, you can still hear them singing. Or is that just the night wind whistling in the trees?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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It is called abandonment, abandoned photography.
Hamilton is far from it.



I think, more people are coming than leaving. Just like it was mentioned in one comment, because it is cheaper comparing to the rest of GTA and immigration is major factor. In 2017 Italian as second spoken language in Hamilton was replaced by Arabic language.
One story about people moving in, having troubles and its outcome was triggering me to come and walk around in the part of the city where issues were and are.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
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Nice series and I am looking forward to more. I used to drive through Hamilton some 15 years ago and even then it was pretty grim.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
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A few years ago, when I visited a friend who lives in Hamilton, I saw a lovely downtown (gentrification?), and the gorgeous landscape of the Escarpment. I never saw the areas you photographed, Ko. Fe., and I'm also looking forward to seeing more of your Hamilton pictures.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
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Thank you for sharing your connections to this city!
As I mentioned in OP, it is big, it is different and it is charging.
They renamed Industrial Drive to Nikola Tesla Drive. It is local elevated road to pass through industrial area. Like any industrial area it might looks grim.
On previous week they closed another metal factory and let go to 300 people and cut of retirees. It was more than hundred years in Hamilton...

The area of my interest is within industrial area and close. Downtown is getting back to normal. They want to build more high rise condos in Hamilton downtown. Where is talk about it on councils meetings and Hamilton mayor talks about redeveloping with more private business ownership to be involved.

Taken in downtown Hamilton on Main Street:



After fifteen minutes of walk from it on the same street it changes.



Only low rise buildings and it gets very empty on the street, but traffic is steady.
More I walked off downtown on Main, less traffic it was and less open stores it was.



and it is getting close to industrial area.



This store was selling books and else printed which is now usually possible to find in recycle bins:



But greeting cat and store owner are nice.

This area is still beautiful, I could see how many stores and else was open, but... I think, one of the reason for closures is huge shopping area.
Big box stores, banks, restaurants, pubs all in one new no name, same as everywhere single area... This is how grim of globalisation looks to me.
But here is strange twist in the story of this area of Hamilton...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
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Thanks, Ko.Fe. Please keep them coming.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #15
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Thank you!

Hamilton po polsku:



















My mother-in-law last name is polish one.


They made announcement about big investment into Dofasco steel mill.
https://www.thespec.com/news-story/8...ittal-dofasco/
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #16
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So, why I went where in April?
Two streets were vandalised by some local group which is drinking expensive SB coffee and calls them self as anarchists.
They were terrorising local business and activists for more than one year. Open organized confrontation, open talk on FB. Reported to police and nothing was done. Local council told affected business to shut up and take it as cost of business until developers come and they make money on selling of properties.
Confrontation ignored by Hamilton police came to the point then this group went on two streets and was openly vandalizing local shops. It was covered on local and not so radio and Hamiltonians went to these streets to support those who were hit.
Finally one arrest was made...

















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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #17
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Nice series Kostya. Gentrification will probably happen; it's starting to happen here in some post-industrial smaller cities.

I agree about the blight of big box superstores and mall-type shopping complexes. They destroy communities and ultimately the money that usually circulates within a community is sucked out of it by the landlords of these centres, as rents are tied to turnover. Traditional high street shops slowly go out of business.

The other thing that is eating the future of local industrial areas (and therefore employment) is the increase of self-storage facilities, which occupy industrial-zoned real estate but employ hardly anyone.

It will be interesting to follow this series about Hamilton to see the changes as they happen. I hope you continue with it.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #18
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Thank you, Lynn.

Hamilton...
People are not always like else over where. Someone spotted me and yelled across the street - "what is it all about?". Some boy who walked with parents looked at me and - "Hello, mister".

Those two passed by and then yelled something, I hear only "pictures". I told them I'm here to take pictures. They asked me to take their picture,
because they didn't have one for sometime. I proceed with warning, what I'm bad on portraits...



I send this image, but never get reply...
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #19
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Interesting...thanks for posting more images...

robert
pS: not so bad the portrait :-)
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Ursus View Post
Thanks, Ko.Fe. Please keep them coming.
Yes, please ...

Quote:
Kodak Gold, Ultramax and Fuji Superia films, developed, scanned at home.
You've captured the grit quite well!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #21
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Thanks to both of you!

Ukrainian heritage of Hamilton:





















I spend a lot of time in Ukraine, we also had relatives were... So, places like these makes me feel better here...
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Old 1 Week Ago   #22
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Agree it is a nice project and a nice series. Documentary photos? Undoubtedly yes, but the series is much more than that. Postindustrial abandonment comprises decline and emptiness, which induces the feeling of loneliness - and nostalgia. You are involved in the process, fighting it bravely with a camera in hand. I like it.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #23
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Fantastic Ko.Fe. Please keep going.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #24
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Great series of one of those cities in distress.
I used to live in Hamilton, on the mountain, but even in the fifties downtown had those empty street areas - vacant lots - in the small business area near the harbour, a no-go for me.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #25
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Thanks for posting and commenting! Lovely series.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #26
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I live in Europe and went only thrice to Canada but each time it was in Ontario and for some reason I have been in Hamilton. That was not so long ago so I could see the decay, which was surprising for an European prone to - wrongly - think that the social situation was better in Canada than in the Old World.

Nice series, Kostya. You may think of planning a series of portraits of Hamiltonians met in the streets - if possible.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #27
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Thank you all! I feel honored by so many responses with deep connection to me.
I keep thinking how streets photography is empty without people. I did met some while walking for hours, I took portrait on request as you see above, but... I'm terrible, most crappiest portraits taker you ever seen. My wife do tells it to me twice a week, at least. I have only few people asking me to take their portraits after I'll take it once... The only reason they asks second time is because I do it for free.

I'm not sure if I wrote it here, but somewhere. I'll repeat....
One day as typical Russian adept of the West, I have some juices going after hard Friday night. But I have to bring kids to our Russian friends who purchased vacant lot at Hamilton Beach and build their house, just like they did in home town (Yaroslavl).


Bessa R, CS 35, Polypan F.

So, while kids were at friends house I went to magnetic industrial Hamilton.
It has some train models show at the basement of old school converted to community center. I went and parked here first.
Took some pictures:


M4-2, CS 35 2.5, Polypan F.

But yesterday juices were getting harder and harder to circulate. So I took off in the search of light refill.
And here is was. One of the remaining and not rundown pub. They had live music playing I ordered my medicine and went to far corner. To digest and observe. I took this picture where:



This gentleman took a pose for me, I didn't asked, but we both knew...

I have to cut this story now. Nobody was hurt, I went for long walk after it and all was vented out...
It is Victoria Day long weekend here and I was running around town on bicycle. Took some refreshments after it.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #28
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Thank you for sharing...love the pics. I lived in Hamilton for 15 years (West Hamilton), and can tell you that it has been in 'transition' for even longer than that (both East & West). It has been a very slow process, but the pace of change has quickened lately (housing prices being what they are in TO), and I suspect your photos will have a real 'Walker Evans' feel to them, in about 10 years.
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