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Artist Interview - Robert Pinchin

You've clearly found a "home" in urban photography. What's the attraction?

My journey as a photographer has been massively shaped by the cities I have lived in and the environment I grew up in. I was born and raised in Brampton, Ontario, a primarily suburban city adjacent to Toronto. Brampton was the picture of monotonous suburban sprawl as detached cookie-cutter homes populated by identically-


Robert Pinchin

planned neighbourhoods that folded into each other. It was stable and safe, and like millions of others, I can understand why my parents wanted to raise a family there. As a young kid, I wasn’t overly critical of this environment and assumed the whole world was like this.

In early high school, I started skateboarding. This new sport gave me the physical means to travel much greater distances from my house than I could on foot, and I was suddenly able to discover and explore these hidden sides of my city  that had  previously been unknown. I became

absolutely obsessed with discovering interesting urban environments that diverged from the suburbanism I had assumed was all-encompassing. My friends and I would set off on our skateboards in whatever direction, open to absolutely anything we would come across. Railways, undersides of bridges, holes in fences, abandoned factories, storm sewers, we explored it all. Some of my fondest memories are from this time as I began to explore Brampton in a way never previously possible. It was like the curtain was pulled aside, revealing this massive underbelly of fascinating urban forms.

After graduating high school, I was accepted into a handful of universities in Ontario. I was going to study history, but I did not have strong feelings pulling me towards any one institution over another. Instead, my decision was based purely on the cities in which the schools were located. Kingston had a lot of old prisons which I found interesting, but it was a bit far. Similarly, I thought Guelph was nice but kind of uninspiring. Then, I went to Hamilton. Before even reaching the city limits, I had made my decision. Crossing the Burlington Skyway and seeing the towering skyline of smokestacks and furnaces of the steel factories captured my heart in a way that few other experiences ever have. Hamilton was everything Brampton was not. Gritty, textured, layered, rough in places, and just so incredibly industrial. The divergences I had sought out in Brampton were literally what Hamilton was composed of. Hamilton is absolutely everything to me, and it is the reason I am who I am. Moving here from Brampton was a complete paradigm shift in some of the most formative years of my young adulthood. Reflecting  on  my  last  decade here, it is almost impossible to

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