CFL road trippin': photographer stops in Hamilton during cross-country tour

For 70 days, Montreal photographer Johany Jutras will travel through nine cities and 9,000 kilometres to capture the culture of the Canadian Football League.

Montreal photographer Johany Jutras turns her lens to football fans

Montreal photographer Johany Jutras is in Hamilton this week, the second stop of her 70-day road trip across Canada for a photo book on the CFL. 2:23

For 70 days, photographer Johany Jutras will travel alone through nine cities and 9,000 kilometres to capture the culture of the Canadian Football League's fans.

And by the early accounts from her travel, documented on social media, she'll be anything but alone.

"Crossing the country, taking pictures, making a photo book out of it," Jutras said at Tim Hortons Field, at the beginning of her week in Hamilton. "This is kind of a dream."

Hamilton is the second stop on her nine-city, cross country tour.

Her dream will be printed in a 112-page coffee table photo book, one that documents her road trip across the country, stopping a week in every city.

Instead of turning her lens toward the action, she's turning it back at the fans, going into their superfan dens and their tailgates. She wants to take a look at what makes CFL fans tick, how they celebrate their teams and how they watch each game.

The 28-year-old photographer has been shooting professionally since 2010 as a freelancer for French-speaking dailies in her home city of Montreal, and for the CFL as a sideline photographer for the Montreal Alouettes.

Her passion started as a distraction while watching her three younger brother play football. She began taking photos of them at games, posting them online.

"I'm far, far from the players, behind my lens, no one knows what I'm taking pictures of," Jutras said. "And the players, when they play, they don't lie, they don't fake, they don't act. That's real."

The book is no different, just at the fans and not the players. It's a personal project, she said, and one with no publisher as of yet.

"It's my decision," Jutras said. "I want it to stay like that."

Free of the restrictions of a publishing house, as she puts it, Jutras has launched a crowdfunding campaign which lays bare the reality of her endeavour. It will cost more than $20,000 to do the trip — and that doesn't include a wage for Jutras, or gear that is being loaned to her from Nikon.

Before the weekend started, she has raised $8,200. Despite this, she is far from worried. She said feels that the road trip will gain steam as it continues west — Hamilton is just her second stop. Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Edmonton Calgary, Vancouver and finally, Montreal, is her official route.

The book itself is due to come out at the 2015 Grey Cup in Winnipeg. So far, the reaction has been positive from teams and the league. She's been on rooftops over the Redblacks' new stadium in Ottawa, and inside a coach's man cave.

"Everybody's like, 'Wow, that's a great project, we needed that… We needed a book about the culture of the fans and about our league," Jutras said.

When she spoke with CBC News, she had yet to get a taste of Hamilton and its fans. "Ask me on Tuesday," Jutras said with a smile, when asked about what she sees in Tiger Cat fans compared to the rest of the CFL.

You can follow along with her on Twitter, Instagram and her road trip blog.


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