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West Island photographer aims to build back after devastating fire

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Taylor Halperin is just 22 years old, yet for more than four years, she's been a professional photographer.

"I actually studied nursing, and I started this kind of on the side for fun," Halperin told CTV News. "It turned into a passion that turned into a full-time job."

In 2021, she moved BEEhind The Lens Photography into a new home: a studio on St-Charles Boulevard in Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

Early Wednesday morning, her studio and several businesses next door caught fire.

"I didn't believe it at first. I made sure it was my address," Halperin said. "Now I'm here and I see that my door is blocked off by debris. It's burned down, lights on the ground. It's starting to sink in a bit."

She lost everything, including her camera, props and backdrops for photo shoots.

West Island photographer Taylor Halperin. (Courtesy image)

The most important items were a photo of her grandfather and the camera he gave her.

"In my studio in the back corner, I had a big picture of him framed, a picture of him with his first camera when he was 18 years old," Halperin said. "That picture was burned in the fire. Not only that, but the camera he gave me. It's kind of like losing him all over again. It's something I'll never get back."

Montreal police are investigating the cause of the fire.

A police spokesperson told CTV News firefighters they suspect it was arson because the flames spread very fast. 

Despite a major setback, Halperin still has big plans for BEEhind The Lens.

"The goal is to still be a photographer," Halperin said. "The goal is to still be a studio photographer and have my own studio."

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