KW featured in recently published photographic memoir

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Architecture is often synonymous with far away places with large monuments.

For older and more historic buildings, images of Rome and Paris come to mind.

For more modern architecture, images of Tokyo and New York City may appear.

What about Waterloo, Ontario?

Our own backyard can provide interesting ideas and stories through the buildings that are found here.

Philippe Elsworthy recently published Evolving Urban Landscapes: A Photograph Memoir. In this memoir, the buildings and streetscapes of the Kitchener-Waterloo area are the subjects of the book. The book was launched on October 16.

Before the launch, Elsworthy discussed the memoir and shared his inspiration for the book, what he hopes the impact of the book will be and what he hoped the book launch would achieve.

“[The book is called] a photographic memoir, because it really is my own reflections on what I think is important in the region,” said Elsworthy.

Elsworthy’s interest in urban landscapes began as a photographer at University of Waterloo’s newspaper called the Chevron—now known as Imprint. The Chevron, as Elsworthy said, was what helped him get started with photography.

While working on a story, Elsworthy noticed there was a relationship between housing and industry within the area.

“I wanted to show that housing and industry was pretty much intermingled,” Elsworthy said.

As he noted throughout his book, many housing developments in Waterloo were situated near factories and industrial plants.

After university, Elsworthy continued to study product photography to help photograph the products from his cabinetmaking business.

Years later, Elsworthy said that he was asked to be a part of the Building Waterloo Region Festival of Architecture and Design by former champion of the Joseph Schneider Haus, Susan Burke. His contribution to the festival was an exhibit dedicated to showing the region’s architecture.

During the course of the exhibit, which ran from May to September 2014, many people had stories about the local architecture in the area.

Elsworthy even admitted that people knew stories about the buildings that he did not even know.

He was looking forward to meeting people and hearing their stories about the buildings.

When asked about what he hoped would happen at book launch, Elsworthy responded jokingly, “Obviously, I hope they buy the book.”

On a more serious note Elsworthy said, “[I hope] they appreciate the unique nature of the communities in the Region of Waterloo and the unique history, because it does have a unique history from other parts of Ontario.”

It is appropriate that the launch for the book was held at the Joseph Schneider Haus, as it is an important landmark and the oldest building in the Kitchener area, corresponding with Elsworthy’s goal.

At the event, Elsworthy gave a presentation about notable photographs from his memoir and served as an introduction for what can be expected from the book.

While Elsworthy presented his photographs, the room, despite being filled, was near silent.

After the short presentation, the memoir was being sold and signed by the author.

Plenty of the spectators lined up in a cluster to eagerly grab a copy of book.

“I hope people understand that there is a lot of history that remains to be seen if you only look for it,” he said.

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