From 1934 to 1979, street photographer Foncie Pulice set up his camera on Vancouver city sidewalks and snapped candid shots of people strolling by. For almost half a century, he took thousands of photos, unwittingly capturing moments in time, the history of a city, and the lives of British Columbians.
Now documentary filmmaker Melanie Wood and British Columbia’s Knowledge Network are bringing these photographs together – collecting them from albums around the province and giving them a public home. Photo negatives of Foncie’s images do not exist. He destroyed most of them when he retired. Until now there was no central archive or collection.
Here are some thoughts from one of relatives of the subjects of this photo:
“It was 1939. Walter Schweb and 15 year old son Ernie, farmers from Interior, travelled on railcar with sheep to market in Vancouver. War had been declared, farm stock profits were high, so flush with cash they strolled down Vancouver streets that were lined with unemployed men. Because the pair appeared poor and smelled of sheep they were denied service in a restaurant. They visited a second hand shop full of clothing sold by men to buy food. They bought all new duds for a few dollars and had their Foncie photo taken.”
This is a story about Vancouver, about British Columbia, and about it’s people… so they need your help. Visit Knowledge.ca/FonciesCorner to add your photos and stories to the collection.
We’re sharing a couple of Foncie photos here on V.I.A. each week leading up to the premiere of the documentary film being released in the summer. Share your memories (or the ones you find in your parents’ and grandparents’ archives) and become a part of Vancouver’s history!