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Foncie Pulice, Vancouver's most prolific street photographer, in retrospective at Museum of Vancouver
Foncie claimed that he destroyed all of his negatives, but he did not.
VANCOUVER.- Taking thousands of photos each year and about 15 million photos over his lifetime, Foncie Pulice was Vancouver’s most prolific and beloved street photographer. Many long-time Vancouver families have Foncie photos in their albums – and the stories to go with them. Foncie’s Fotos: Man on the Street, opened at the Museum of Vancouver on June 6, 2013, reveals the life and work style of this Vancouver photographer.

Foncie Pulice shot from locations along Granville and Hastings for almost 40 years. He photographed without discrimination, capturing the full range of ages, ethnicities, and classes that thronged downtown. At a time when personal cameras were rare and family portraits were expensive, Foncie sometimes created the only surviving image of a family member.

“Foncie captured people in motion, literally in mid-stride, stepping with energy into Vancouver’s future,” explains Joan Siedl, exhibition curator. “His camera lens was fixed at about waist height and pointing slightly up, so that everyone appears slightly larger than life, commanding their patch of sidewalk for an instant.”

Foncie claimed that he destroyed all of his negatives, but he did not. The exhibition includes projected images from a surviving reel of over 10,000 negatives shot in May and June 1968 on Granville near Robson. If you happened to walk south on the east side of the 700 block of Granville Street that spring, Foncie may have taken your photo as you passed.

Foncie’s camera, which he donated to the Museum when he retired in 1979, is a gimcrack assemblage of war surplus metal plate on wheels decorated with a red plastic lightening bolt. Its flash was powered by a car battery. The camera used large reels of movie film so that Foncie could shoot for hours on end.

The exhibition has worked in collaboration with the Knowledge Network, which is producing shorts about Foncie that will be shown in the exhibition, as well as a feature documentary that will premiere later in the year. Those with photo taken by Foncie are encouraged to upload and share via “Foncie’s Corner” on the Knowledge Network (http://fonciescorner.knowledge.ca).



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June 11, 2013

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