Sunlight

I’m fixated on Sunlight. I’m not sure where and when this began, but the ancient bottles of hand washing soap are intriguing me lately. I’ve bought a few and started fooling around with them.

There are two sizes. The smaller size has a traditional label that’s stuck onto the container in the manufacturing process. The larger has screen printed  graphics applied directly to the plastic bottle.

My original thinking was that these would play a part in a still-life project I’m working on that plays with the deceptive nature of photography in a post-Photoshop world. These still-life projects would involve protracted analog procedures set up to mimic simple Photoshop effects. The first one I’m continually planning and thinking about is to paint objects to resemble their monochromatic Photoshop versions or in plainer english paint stuff in black and white and then shoot it in colour, the result will “look” black & white. I’ve been planning this in response to some recent debates and my own feelings about the belief some photographers have, that black and white prints immediately suggest that the work in question is artistic.

This first pair of images are a study for the end project. The monochromatic version of the bottle in the second image is achieved by removing the colour saturation of the original image in Photoshop. The plan is to print this Photoshopped photograph and then use that as a tonal guide to paint the actual yellow bottle in grey-scale to match. Then I’d photograph the painted object again in colour and print that. The result will be an object painted black and white but depicted in a colour photograph.IMG_4040IMG_4040GSThis project will be better without the labels. I think everyone can tell what the object is without the branding. Below is an image of the smaller bottle with the label removed which works well. The second image below is the larger bottle. I can’t just paint in acrylic over the existing label. I tried that and acrylic paint just doesn’t stick to plastic so the shot below shows me applying a gesso base that I hope will prepare the surface of the plastic to accept the yellow, and then black and white paint better.

Stay tuned to this gripping story as it progresses.IMG_4087 IMG_4096

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The End of 2014

The end of 2014 or the year of construction. Our neighbourhood has been marked by major infrastructure and housing projects but I feel like were not the only ones. There’s major renovation going on at the corner of Avenue Road and Yorkville with Yorkville Plaza. When I check it out on Google Maps and think about it, that construction has been happening for 2 or 3 years.  The shots below are of the old sales office and a close to completed doorway.IMG_4127 IMG_4124In the Junction Triangle we’ve been besieged by both the UP railway line construction and a major townhouse development. The orange tarps cover the work being done on the rail bridge across Bloor at the Bloor Go Station which will double as an UP Station.  IMG_4106I will be pretty happy to see the end of these railway ties. The smell of creosote is crazy strong every time you walk by them. I do however think they look pretty neat stacked up like this.IMG_4101Also, found: one right handed pink latex glove. If someone was washing up on the path and lost this I can tell you exactly where it is. It’s nestled snuggly on the West Toronto  Rail Path surrounded by aging dog feces. Word.IMG_4105

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December 2014

For some reason the first day of shooting in a month saw me searching out walls, floors, and objects in a creepy sort of series of found sculptures.

I had taken a vacation day form work and dropped off some work that sold in a recent auction. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when that happens. When things sell at auction. Despite the fact that I’m donating the work and the cost is all mine, it’s nice to see things sell. The latest fundraiser was Gallery TPW’s Photorama. I’ve been donating for about seven years. This year was the gallery’s most successful event ever. It’s also the first show in their new home– a home I imagine they’ll be in for the next 20 years. It’s on St. Helen’s Avenue in a row of repurposed industrial units that includes Daniel Feria and Clint Roenisch Galleries. The space is amazing even in it’s unfinished state. The shot below is of the main gallery space with it’s 18 foot high ceiling. The plywood on the floor was affixed to the walls in a strip around the perimeter of the space and the donated works were hung on that plywood. In future if anyone is looking to purchase lens-based work, at very reasonable prices, this is the place to do it You can get a feel for the work they’re selling here on the Photorama 2014 page of The Toronto Photographer Workshop’s website.IMG_3914There are a row of store fronts–maybe five or even six–that contain a cabinetmaking business and have done for at least fifteen years. I’ve shot through the windows of one or two of them on occasion. It finally looks like they are downsizing a bit. They most likely own the buildings and leasing one or two is going to bring them in a lot of money. Ossington could use a few more restaurants as well. Seriously there must be fifty restaurants and bars on that strip now. The “for lease” sign has fallen out of the window and onto the floor. The tiles on the wall silhouette what I’m guessing once would have been a kitchen cabinet display, and the floor is simply awesome, even though it’s not trying to be.

Sometimes I think that my image making has slowed down because the city has gentrified so much. I find fewer and fewer places that reverberate with the past in a way that I’m interested in capturing. It’s not a bad thing, but I find this type of history more interesting than pristine, immaculate, well designed interiors.

I’ve also been thinking about art lately. I’d like to think of myself as an artist, but maybe I’m more of a documenter. Photography for me is about recording things that others don’t see and that will never exist again. Maybe I’m an artist in other mediums.IMG_3921Further down Ossington it started to sink in. I like things leaning against walls. I like stuff on floors and the horizon line between floors and walls. I like found art. This image below reminded me of a Twitter post from a very cool artist/mathematician/architect. He’s got a blog that’s mostly art openings/exhibitions mixed with his own work and he throws some interesting math stuff in. The blog can be found here at Monochromatic-Axonometric. He once found a door and posted the pic on Twitter, so in the shot below I was answering him back. The door conversation could go on indefinitely in the city, only eclipsed by the mattress conversation. Tumblr maybe? I’m sure several exist.

I also notice weird things about photographs. In this shot below the door appears larger on the right end. That’s simply because the right end is closer to the lens by virtue of it being further from the wall. Although I’m drawn to horizontals and verticals, the uniformity of those is impossible to achieve. Its an imperfect world thank goodness.IMG_3926Further down Ossington is a cigar manufacturing place.. at least they have something to do with cigars. They might just be a wholesaler or something. I’m sure they still have a clientele, but its hard to imagine they wont sell soon to realise the huge real estate demand on this strip.

This is the building’s north wall, painted to resemble a tobacco field. Admirably realistic but sadly in need of a touch up. The single palette resting against the foreground of the landscape made me laugh. It’s pedestrian and understandable but it completely destroys the illusion of the wall mural. IMG_3933Still further south and east, in the alley south of Queen Street that runs parallel to it I found the next two shots. The graffiti in this area is pretty spectacular in and of itself, but as a subject doesn’t really interest me. I mean I enjoy looking at it, and its more art than some art is, but as a photographic subject it doesn’t work for me. Combine the colours and pattern though with an absurd collection of used and useless bicycle tires and inner tubes and viola. It’s now sort of funny, or engaging to me.

I had to really push myself not to get down to take a straight on shot. The expositorial thing is so ingrained in me that I find anything that shows weird up/down perspective disturbing and although it’s only slightly distorted because of the downward angle I shot on, I still want to go back, crouch down and capture it with perpendicular verticals. IMG_3959 IMG_3971

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