South End Grow Op
(with found objects), 2015

Justin Langille

About the Artist

An artist based in Guelph, Ontario who uses photography to develop new insights into the rapidly changing relationships between humanity and the environment in Canada today. In the mid-sized cities and small towns of Southern Ontario– Canada’s most populous and geopolitically powerful region–where his friends and family live, he chronicles the increasingly volatile synthesis between their lives and the ruptured landscapes they depend on for survival. Informed by his background in environmental anthropology and the search for meaning in Canadian landscapes chronicled in the National FilmBoard's archive, he creates images through his participation in civic engagements like water protection, local food production, urban development, and other collective endeavors. He pursues modes of photography that enable him to investigate his own role as a photographer and citizen in the places where he dwells, as well as the significance of his images to the stewardship of those landscapes.

About the Works

This 2015 image of a greenhouse for pot cultivation built from objects on land now slated for condo development is from my forthcoming project Excavator, an original photo book project comprised of my photographs of urban development sites and urban sprawl in Guelph, Ontario. Informed by anthropologist Tim Ingold’s perspectives on human dwelling as a process by which people and the objects they construct ultimately become unified with the landscape, these photographs reconsider common construction zones as transformative vectors wherein human beings, the environment and the manufactured are not separate, but conjoined in an ongoing generative process that preceded the building process and continues afterward. Through our labour and presence in landscapes we live within, our actions are inextricable from the life of the land, as well as its destruction by our own hands. The book will specifically examine sites of construction and development across Guelph from 2014 to 2020, a pivotal historical window in which Guelph expanded immensely in the shadow of the Greater Toronto Area housing bubble, particularly in the city’s south end towards easy access to commuting to the economy of the GTA. Through this work, I aim to provide a new critical perspective on development in Ontario as the Ford government rolls back environmental regulation to allow for rapid development justified by COVID-19 recovery plans.

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.
Ryerson Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.