A member of the hoi polloi who take pictures nobody cares about. I started doing it with some level of serious intent circa 1969, after having used a variety of family snapshot cameras as a kid. By the mid-70’s, I had taught myself to develop film, and I was burning and dodging black and white prints during late night sessions in my studio apartment on weekends when not at sea with the navy. Unfortunately, most of that early work was lost a long time ago, except for a few fading prints without the negatives, and some Polaroids from as early as 1967. I stopped setting up bathroom darkrooms in the middle of the night when a family came along, and I’ve been a straight from the camera kind of guy ever since.

In the real world of making a living, I was a regular force naval officer for a while after graduating from university in 1974. After the navy, I was a public servant in the Secretary of State department for 11 years, where I eventually headed its military section embedded within National Defence Headquarters – a Lieutenant Colonel equivalent civilian position. I later freelanced as a defence contractor in naval technical documentation.

More than a decade after leaving the navy, I got itchy feet, left the public service for the private sector and rejoined the military as an army reservist. During that time, I fully retrained as an army transport officer, gradually becoming what we used to call a militia bum for seven years. I couldn’t go overseas because of a medical category, but I did serve on several full-time call-outs as well as the usual weekend warrior stuff. I was command and staff qualified and I had accumulated significant peacetime field experience with both regular and reserve forces when chronic renal failure forced me to resign. I ended up spending four years on hemodialysis, until I received a kidney from the waiting list. It’s still working many years later, though not without complications attributable to long term immunosuppression.

These days, in my increasingly ripe old age, I have no extra money for anything, so I mostly take pictures within walking, cycling or public transit distance of my apartment in Ottawa, Canada. When I do, I’m only interested in what’s in front of the camera. The art is in the reality. To me, made photographs à la Ansel Adams and his latter day following of image editing practitioners are meaningless visual junk… but hey, if you’re one of them, nothing personal.

Pierre Lachaine