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DZDNMD Diaries: Yimmy Yayo
Photography Yimmy Yayo

These photos capture the laid-back mentality of Montreal

Creative polymath Yimmy Yayo documents the serenity of the UNESCO City of Design, a place partial to its pot

The DZDNMD Diaries is a new travel series on Dazed. We’ve invited four of our favourite globetrotting photographers to document their adventures of inspiration and exploration. In a digital age of Instagram geo-tags, the series in collaboration with adidas Originals, offers a deeper view of the places these creative nomads are checking in to.

“Up until recently I'd essentially been living out of a suitcase” says James W. Mataitis Bailey (aka Yimmy Yayo), the Sydney-born, LA-based creative who has aligned with the likes of Jay-Z, Rihanna, Drake and The XX on staging, design and visual production. “Touring the globe, working with artists like that is like training to never sleep, always being on call. But it makes you resilient, you learn to work in transit and multi-task on the job”. Lending his hand to photography, design and creative direction for global clients including LVMH and Warner Music, Bailey’s journey began in 2008 with the birth of his blog Yimmy Yayo. Packed full of 70s cars, art, sex and rock’n’roll, it topped the late 00s tide of re-blog ready “visual crack”, as he calls it, helping to draw attention to his work. “When I started the blog I was in my final year of my design degree, majoring in art history”, he says, “which has probably been the most important influence on what I do now.” Principally working in digital form, Bailey’s photography is marked by razor-sharp compositioning and an alluring moody aesthetic that’s evolved off the back of formerly shooting only in black-and-white.

For his latest project – the final chapter of our DZDNMD Diaries – Bailey toured the UNESCO City of Design, Montreal. “For a while I’d wanted to go there, not just because of the buzz surrounding the Canadian music scene but also because of its interesting heritage”. Situated in the only French-speaking province of the country, Montreal has a colonial history that dates back to the 16th century – a legacy of successive French and British settlements that materialises in its juxtaposition of old and new architecture. “It’s this beautiful combination of classic French buildings versus the austere, Brutalist concrete structures”, Bailey recollects. Led around the city by a bunch of friends and local creative heros including Justin Saunders, Vincent Tsang, Paul Labonte and Saintwoods, Bailey was drawn to the relaxed pace of Montreal. “I don’t know if it's because they smoke a lot of marijuana ­– I think there's more of a weed culture in Montreal than the binge drinking in Australia or the UK – but people are so much more easy-going than in the U.S., where everyone seems on edge.” Soaking up the atmosphere, Bailey’s documentation of Montreal oozes the laid-back ambiance of the city. Scroll down below to follow his tranquil trip.

"The first thing that strikes you when you enter the city is the architecture – the modern, concrete façades versus the traditional, decorative French buildings. I love how austere the Brutalist buildings are"

"Paul Labonte took me to Café Olympico in Mile End, which is one of the most notable cafés in Montreal. He told me about how Montreal started, how it was one of the major port cities that helped establish Northern America"

"Justin and I were probably the youngest people in this café, Greenspot. The people of Montreal were so lovely, and not on edge at all. I'm sure there are areas in every city where you walk a little quicker or stick to main roads, but St Henri and Mile End were full of an older generation of residents happy to chat and make small talk. In this café most of the old customers were dressed to the nines"

"Everywhere I went people were smoking pot, like at parties they'd smoke before, then sip their drinks slowly after. It's not like the binge-drinking culture you get in the UK or Australia. It may have something to do with why people are so easy going"

"When I'm travelling it's always very personal – I try not to get sucked into tourist spots, I like finding my own routine and living in a new city like I would at home"

"Habitat 67 is one of the most iconic buildings of the city. I actually got kicked out of there because I didn't realise it was private property. It's not just a tourist trap, it's a living landmark"

"There are mostly only fake Christmas trees back in Australia, it's such a trip to finally see and smell real ones"

"I chose to take kind of 'non-conversational' photographs I suppose. I don't want the people I'm photographing to freeze up so I try to photograph them from angles where they can't see me"

"I was really looking forward to seeing this pavilion because I'd seen the iconic photographs of it going up in flames. It was built for World Fair, Expo 67. Apparently it bankrupted Montreal and they still haven't made their money back yet. In 1976 during renovations a fire started and burnt the outer vinyl fabric within minutes and it was never replaced"

And the soundtrack to the trip was...

"There's a drowsy pace to this song that matches the weather and the town I really really love"

See below to glimpse more of Bailey's journey and find out about our #DZDNMD competition

For a special winter edition of #dazedandexposed, we want you to INSPIRE us with your travel photography! Inspired by adidas Original’s new NMD silhouette, show us your global nomadic spirit – summer road trips, winter escapes, jungle adventures, futuristic cityscapes. The best posts will be shared on the Dazed Instagram and featured on as well as the adidas Originals Tumblr

To enter: 
TAG your post #dazedandexposed #DZDNMD #NMD @dazed @adidasOriginals.
TELL US about your best experience in that place in one sentence.

Recent and new posts are best.
Only posts with all hashtags will be considered.
Deadline: January 10, 2016