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Foncie Pulice: The original Vancouver street photographer



We recently took a trip to the Museum of Vancouver to see their Foncie’s Fotos exhibit. For those of you who aren’t aware, Alfonso “Foncie” Pulice was Vancouver’s most famous street photographer. He took approximately 15 million photos from 1935 – 1979.

The exhibit, which is at the MOV until January 5th, featured Foncie’s work along side the works of contemporary photographers who had put together bodies of work inspired by the legendary photographer.

After visiting the MOV exhibition we tried to imagine if he lived in our generation. In a time when more and more people are calling themselves photographers, and owning and accessing cameras and developing photos just keeps getting easier, it really makes you wonder, would his photography still be famous? Would he be remembered for his photos in the same way?

Today we are overwhelmed with methods of photography; we can instantly capture photos and share them on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. With a few touches on the screen of your iPHONE you can edit and share a photo with millions of people from all corners of the world. Generations past did not have this luxury and we’ve turned it into selfies and food and pet photos. This almost numbs the beauty that Foncie based his lifelong career on.

Foncie’s photos of common folk walking down the street in their best outfit are still a thrill for us to look at. This is due to their spontaneity and the beauty in which people used to carry themselves. As technology becomes more advanced we do not realize how fortunate we are to capture and preserve every moment of our lives.

Picture Foncie snapping a photo without different lenses, filters and settings and then working all day and night in a dark room; it makes you breath in his photos in such a different light. Receiving a Foncie photo was special; they were purchased to carry on a legacy.

Contemporary photographers including JCI Makeup Program photographer Angela Fama, John Goldsmith, Brian Howell, and Lincoln Darkes all exhibited their modern take on Foncie’s photos. Although they are beautiful, these photos didn’t excite us in the same way. You can still sense the spontaneity and creativity in their work but it comes with the shadow of the fact that street photography is so common in our lives and that our version often includes making ridiculous faces and capturing drunken adventures.

Roy Wilcox and Jessica Moneo, JCI Fashion Grads

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