“Let's be real. Sudbury is awfully awesome.”
An overwhelming number people possessing this collective thought pattern made their love for their city know at the launch — literal, and even more literal — of We Live Up Here.
Copies of the book flew some 20 feet from a catapult on Elgin Street Nov. 8, marking the official “launch” of the collaborative photo book.
More than 800 photos were submitted for consideration in the book, designed to depict “real” Sudbury. You know, That Place With The Big Nickel, Crater Sudbury. You tried to leave, but you came back. It's the city were we vote Chuck Labelle for Mayor and we cheer for a dead wolf on a wire.
That place. The city we always find ourselves returning to and loving, despite its imperfections.
“As it turns out, we're not alone in thinking this,” said the team behind the photo book. Andy Knapp and Christian Pelletier received an overwhelming amount of support and love from the community during the duration of the project. More than 300 photos made the final cut, courtesy of some 120 photographers.
The photos aren't like something one would see in a Sudbury tourism pamphlet — instead, they are much more honest reflections of the city. When they started out, Knapp said he was looking for “anything awesome, sexy, dirty, stunningly boring or uncompromisingly beautiful.”
“We want this book to capture Sudbury’s culture exactly as it is,” weliveuphere.com reads.
And that's exactly what the finished product is.
Photographs illustrate everything from Elm Street sunsets to quads pulling tobogganers across a frozen lake. There are cityscapes and shenanigans, spectacular scenes and so many well-known faces.
“It's inspiring,” Knapp said. “It's energizing.”
“We're putting this effort in to create this project, and everybody is collaborating,” he said. “Everybody is giving everything they have to us. We're putting energy in, but people are giving us energy, so its easy to spend that time on the project.
“It's all about getting engaged, getting involved, putting that time, love or effort into whatever it is you do best or believe in.”
Nicholas Dutrisac was one of many to have photos in the final product. When he wasn't twisting and shouting on the dance floor during the launch party, he had time to reflect on why he was so eager to be part of the project.
“I am here to be part of this beautiful assembly of creative minds,” he said.
“I saw We Live Up Here on my phone, and saw they were taking submissions. So I entered a couple pictures, and a couple of them got chosen for the project. I really love it because I'm part of the growing Sudbury arts scene. It's fresh, its new, it's developing — it's just fantastic. I'm so happy to be part of it.
“Projects like this really get creative minds together.”
The project was inspired by a similar undertaking by a couple from East Vancouver called This Is East Van, according to Knapp.
Imitation being the highest form of flattery, the Sudbury crew borrowed their idea to make a book of their own. Along with coffee table publication, We Live Up Here was also behind the buttons and stickers with fun statements about the city printed on them.
The first run of books has nearly sold out, but for those still looking to get their hands on a copy can look forward to a second run.
To pick up a book, or for more information, visit www.weliveuphere.com.