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  • by Ashleigh Garwood

DOMINIC BOUDREAULT: Master of the timelapse

Dominic Boudreault describes himself as a motion photographer. Despite the fact he has no formal photography education he is considered one of the masters of the timelapse photography genre.

His monumental work The City Limits is a testament to his skill and vision as a photographer and he has received due recognition. The work went viral, and hundreds upon hundreds of comments on his Vimeo account thank him for the work. Other impressive media mentions of note include appearances on MSNBC’s Today Show and CBC Radio.

Boudreault not only utilizes the availability of new technologies for his self-initiated work, but also uses the forum of social media and social sharing sites to further his photographic career. His work gives new direction to what is possible with photography. Boudreault was born and raised in Quebec City. It was in the Quebec landscapes that he discovered his passion for imagery and photography. He was drawn to time-lapse photography because he felt it was the most accurate way for him to present his vision. His work shifts the nature of photography, as he aims to capture the pace, movement, and relationships of a city, rather than freezing the city in a specific moment.

What led you to explore motion photography?

With time-lapse photography you often see things that you don’t usually see with the naked eye — for example, the stars moving and the speed in which we live. From the top of buildings, as you see the numerous streets and heavy circulation, it can look a lot like a maze of ants. The first time I realized that, I was completely blown away. Since that first moment when I finished editing a clip, I was hooked. I needed to see more.

Do you see motion photography as a relatively new genre?

Yes, certainly. It has become a lot more popular in the last few years, first and foremost because of the lower cost of camera and computer equipment. Time lapse has existed for a long time but was not accessible to most hobbyists. But now, everybody with a digital camera and basic computer knowledge can attempt to make a time-lapse sequence. Also, I think that there is masterful work in time-lapse photography that has been done in recent years, like parts of the movie Baraka for example. I think it has inspired a lot of people, myself included.

Dominic Boudreault

What is the background to City Limits?

With The City Limits time-lapse video, I was trying to show the duality between city and nature. Time lapse was the perfect medium for this project. It allowed me to show cities like never before. I originally planned to visit one or two cities in Canada and in the northeast of the USA, but it quickly snowballed and I was finding myself completely obsessed by the project. I spent a lot of time doing research for this project and I think it helped me achieve my vision. I shot a lot at night because I find that cities become more alive, more magical at night. There are also a lot of bridges and water in the video. Bridges connect people to the big cities. Water shows that nature is a part of the big man-made cities. Everything is connected. That’s a part of what I wanted to express with this time-lapse piece, duality of nature and man.

Were you astounded by the online response?

I was really surprised about the reaction of people. The City Limits quickly went viral and I am very happy that my work touched so many people around the world. I think that people were intrigued because it shows ourselves in a way we don’t see every day.

Any particular shots in City Limits that stand out?

My favourite shot in The City Limits is at 2:38. It’s the shot of the oil tanker at sunset stumbling below the bridge. I say “stumbling” because you can notice the huge boat drifting from side to side. In real time you cannot see this happening but with time lapse you can observe little fascinating unknown details like this one. It was a very pleasant surprise.

Any advice you can share with people starting out in photography?

Not to sound cheesy, but the journey is the reward. You learn so much every time you go out and shoot. You also learn a lot in post-production every time you process a clip. I truly consider this an art form and, like every art form, you need to practice a lot to master it.

The interest in Boudreault’s style of time-lapse photography is proof that photography is evolving, but there is just as much passion and interest surrounding the medium itself. Photography still has the ability to show us the world in a new way and this is very apparent in The City Limits. There may not be as many traditional photography jobs as there used to be, but Dominic Boudreault is an example of just how successful you can be if you are dedicated and involved in photography because you have something to share with the world.

Check out more of Dominic's work at:

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