Borders and Everyday Life in Montréal – Photo Essay

This photo-essay has been created for Imaginations – Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies, for the upcoming special issue on Urban Borders and Everyday Life (planned for 2013). It is inspired by Doreen Massey’s essays “Travelling Thoughts” (2000) and “Places and Their Pasts,” (1995), select passages of which are quoted below.

Saint Laurent River

“Space is a configuration of multiplicity of trajectories. […] Space is the co-constitutive product with relations/interactions you are also helping to produce.” (Doreen Massey, “Travelling Thoughts,” 2000)

Old Port


“We can no more go back in space, return to whence we came, than we are able to go back in time. What we can do is meet up again; catch up with where another’s history has got to ‘now’; interlace again with another of those multiple trajectories.” (Doreen Massey, “Travelling Thoughts,” 2000)


“You are not travelling across space; you are altering it a little, moving it on, producing it.[…] To imagine space in this way, of course, means thinking time and space together and thinking both of them as the product of interrelations. […] Time may be irreversible but so may be space. Or, rather, it is better not to separate them in this way.” (Doreen Massey, “Travelling Thoughts,” 2000)

Quartier Latin

“Places change; they go on without you.” (Doreen Massey, “Travelling Thoughts,” 2000)

Square St. Louis

“Places, in fact, are always constructed out of articulations of social relations (trading connections, the unequal links of colonialism, thoughts of home) which are not only internal to that locale but which link them to elsewhere. Their ‘local uniqueness’ is always already a product of wider contacts; the local is always already a product in part of ‘global’ forces, where global in this context refers not necessarily to the planetary scale, but to the geographical beyond the place itself.” (Doreen Massey, “Places and Their Pasts,” 1995)

Avenue du Parc

“In all these cases ‘the past’ is seen in some sense to embody the real character of the place. …talking of other places as ‘unspoilt’ (by which we usually mean: it is as we have imagined it to have been in some distant past).” (Doreen Massey, “Places and Their Pasts,” 1995)


“These kinds of (implicitly or explicitly) internalist and essentialist constructions of the character of places, then not only fail to recognize the long history of interconnectedness with elsewhere (the history of the global construction of the local), they also presuppose a particular relationship between the assumed identity of a place and its history.” (Doreen Massey, “Places and Their Pasts,” 1995)

Rue Rachel

“The identity of a place is thus not to be seen as inevitably to be destroyed by new importations. On this alternative reading that identity is always, and always has been, in process of formation: it is in a sense forever unachieved.” (Doreen Massey, “Places and Their Pasts,” 1995)

Train Tracks and Overpass between Mile End and Park Ex



“The identity of places is very much bound up with the histories which are told of them, how those histories are told, and which history turns out to be dominant.”(Doreen Massey, “Places and Their Pasts,” 1995)

Avenue Hutchison

“The identity of places, indeed the very identification of places as particular places, is always in that sense temporary, uncertain, and in process.” (Doreen Massey, “Places and Their Pasts,” 1995)

Boulevard de l’Acadie


“The description, definition and identification of a place is thus always inevitably an intervention not only into geography but also, at least implicitly, into the (re)telling of the historical constitution of the present.” (Doreen Massey, “Places and Their Pasts,” 1995)

Boulevard St. Laurent

“Perhaps a really ‘radical’ history of a place would be one which did not try to present either simple temporal continuity or only spatial simultaneity with no sense of historical depth. A way of understanding which, in the end, did not try to seal a place up into one neat and tidy ‘envelope of space-time’ but which recognized that what has come together, in this place, now, is a conjunction of many histories and many spaces.” (Doreen Massey, “Places and Their Pasts,” 1995)

This entry was posted in Architecture, Art, Montréal, Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Borders and Everyday Life in Montréal – Photo Essay

  1. Vicky says:

    Beautiful photos, my dear!

  2. Desmond says:

    This blog is outstanding. The quotes and images are compiled so well. Please continue the excellent work.

  3. Pingback: Borders and Everyday Life in Montréal – Photo Essay | Quebec Film Video and Photo Locations

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