By Taylor Hines
Edited by Tiffany Huang
Global Lives Project Intern
Along the St. Lawrence River you’ll find Pierre Vallée, at the head of a ship, navigating through the night. The Lives in Transit series, presented by The Global Lives Project, showcases raw footage from the daily lives of individuals whose occupations involve moving people and things around the world.
Pierre Vallée, a maritime pilot along the stretch of river between Trois-Rivières and Québec, has been a ship pilot for thirteen years. At age twenty- seven he was appointed as a captain, one of the youngest people to do so. Additionally, he considers himself within the elite since he is one of fifty pilots who is certified by the Ministry of Transport.
Being a Maritime pilot was not always in the cards for Pierre, but once he found the profession he discovered his personality was well suited for this line of work. He said, “While working on the boats you’re outside. You travel. It fits with my personality.” Pierre finds the high level of responsibility to be a motivator for him, “There are people for whom responsibilities stifle them. It motivated me greatly. It’s really what made me choose this career.”
Quebec, a major Canadian province, is predominantly French-speaking. However, Pierre speaks both French and English. His daily life calls for using French to communicate with friends and family, but at work, he speaks English to his crew members. This can cause some tricky situations when the translation isn’t always clear.
Work-life balance can also get complicated when working odd hours. Pierre expressed,“This is a job that is very, very different from other jobs because we leave home for long periods. If you really do not like that, it is something that is hard to do.”
The Global Lives Project featured Pierre when he was 41 years old. His life was recorded for 24 continuous hours, in addition to a life story interview, where he told the story of his birth and what role religion plays in his life. Pierre explained, “I was born December 1, 1971, in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. I am baptized, I’m Catholic, but honestly, I don’t practice much.”
At the time of his Global Lives shoot, Pierre lived in Trois-Rivières with his wife for 15 years. In addition to his role as captain, he also plays the role of a father to his three sons.
Lives in Transit premiered as a video installation at Lincoln Center for the New York Film Festival and has also been exhibited outdoors at Zomba in Malawi, São Paulo in Brazil, and Tokyo in Japan. Our most recent exhibition was located in San Francisco at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum and San Francisco State University. The full 24 hours of Pierre’s life can be found on GlobalLives.org, with featured segments on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Global Lives releases new footage regularly, so follow us on social media to see our upcoming Lives in Transit footage.