Berlin, Moscow, Vancouver, London

Construction Debris, Olympic Village Site Looking East, Vancouver 2009

© Leslie Hossack

Empty Lot, Olympic Village Site Looking East, Vancouver 2009

© Leslie Hossack

The two photographs shown above were taken a full year before the opening of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, and the clutter of construction is clearly evident. With the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London only 10 days away, final preparations will have reached a fevered pitch.

The site of the 2010 Athletes’ Village in the heart of Vancouver and the main venue of the 2012 Olympics in East London have much in common. Both projects involve the rejuvenation of largely forgotten urban areas.

My own love affair with the Olympics started in 2008. I walked past the Vancouver Olympic Village construction site, and I was a goner. Two years later, a visit to the 1936 Berlin Olympic Stadium and Athletes’ Village sealed the deal.

From that very first glance in 2008, I felt compelled to return again and again to photograph the site of Vancouver’s Village. It was a rare opportunity to witness the construction of a village, and the creation of a community, from the ground up. I quickly realized that I had to visit the London Olympic site to follow its development from 2010 to 2012. I plan to return again in 2014 to explore the impact on East London – a massive example of accelerated urban evolution.

To see my photographs of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Stadium and Village, please visit my website: My images of the London Olympic site will be posted here on Haute Vitrine in the future, along with photographs of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Stadium which I documented in June 2012.

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