This Saturday I will be attending Barbegazi, a winter action sports festival, which has descended upon Montreal’s downtown core in time to kick off the city’s highly anticipated 375th birthday celebrations. This year the organizers have extended the festivities to span 2 weekends rather than its usual 1, providing ample time to enjoy this immensely fun wintertime event. While most of the spectators are excited to have a go at the winter obstacle course, arm-wrestle mascots, or simply enjoy themselves by one of the many fire pits scattered around the site, I am excited for this festival for an entirely separate and distinct reason.
You see, last year Barbegazi was held at the beginning of March, which so happened to coincide with the very beginning of my project… in fact, I had only attended 1 other festival beforehand. 10 months ago I was a different person, a different photographer. Having been much more timid than I am now, combined with a lack of confidence in my abilities, I allowed my vulnerabilities to take over and produced a set of disappointing images—in short, they sucked. But now, as it would seem, I am getting a second chance.
Second chances don’t come around often in life—and even less so in photography—no matter how hard I have hoped and wished for some. A chance to make things better, to fix what has gone wrong. When they do appear, second chances are notorious for showing up unannounced… like running into an ex on the street for the first time since the break-up. You don’t have time to plan what you’re going to say, or how you look; it just happens, leaving you dumbfounded and feeling stupid. This time, however, I saw it coming a mile away.
I have been anticipating this event ever since the dates were announced a couple of months ago (a perk of having to maintain an incredibly accurate and up-to-date schedule) and this time, I’m ready. Over the past 10 months I’ve learned so much about photography, about people. But perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned as a photographer is to not waste an opportunity to capture an image, as most times the shot will not still be there when I go back for a second look.
Luckily, I now get to take advantage of such a rare opportunity, I get my “do-over”. And while I still suffer from bouts of shyness and insecurities—I’m only human after all—I have experience on my side, and a few new tricks up my sleeve. I won’t let this bit of good fortune get away from me, not this time.