July 5, 2015

July 5, 2015 was a beautiful day. I wandered around close to home taking photographs. It’s amazing how much I seem to see in a place I’ve seen so many times. I began to doubt that I was capturing anything worthwhile, but then decided to keep going and shoot what I felt like shooting. I seem to be getting more shots I keep lately. Maybe I’m just being more self indulgent than usual.

A few years ago our community was getting a new condo development called Giraffe. We were excited because it would have been a contemporary/environmental build and stood to revitalize the corner of Dundas West and Bloor. The developer ran into difficulty. I bet a lot of people lost a lot of money and never got new homes plus the entire north west block at Bloor and Dundas is empty. The superficial marketing facade for Giraffe is falling off, and the whole place is just a derelict, dirty waste of space. This window in the image below use to be the street facing display of the sales office. The brown paper installed after the project died has crumpled in on itself. I cropped in the ratio of large format frame size 4:5. There’s something I like about the awkwardness in this image.IMG_5471Across from the abandoned Giraffe block is a huge dental office. It sits in the bottom of a very brutalist tower. I try not to look up because it’s so depressing. The only thing that could help this place would be a demolition. Despite this I’m obsessed with tired looking vertical blinds and the main floor has a lot of them. They actually seem to be working better than most vertical blinds. I like these in particular for the simple geometric abstraction, the symmetry between blinds, the reflection on the glass from across the street and the different shadows that are cast on each element of the blind. IMG_5473The backside of orange, wooden, construction signs draws me in lately. Here the sign and it’s wooden support are in front of a newish hydro pole. The grass is super healthy with all the rain we’ve been getting so the colours work nicely here. Note: this is taken on a downward and off center angle. I’m getting more comfortable with asymmetry and and less interested in perfect alignment.IMG_5439Inside a vacant dry cleaner, from outside through the window. Peg board and concrete. I remember it as being more blue, but this is close.IMG_5499Places like this one below fascinate me. This is the embankment wall of an overpass for the subway train to travel on across from High Park. This is just east of High Park station. I assume the cream colour block of paint is covering up some graffiti. Hopefully just tagging because graffiti to me is better than blank concrete. Tagging is a from of vandalism that to me is the lowest of the low. Say something, even if it’s stupid. Tagging is just arrogance and self interest. It’s boring and useless. The only thing tagging does is create these swaths of paint that I find interesting.IMG_5505In the Bloor West Village this is part of the facade of the No Frills and what I’m guessing is the back side of a no parking sign.IMG_5514

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Laird has been a bit of a journey. I’ve now walked the same route for 4 days and I’ve finally got some other shots I like. It took a while. Because of this I’m beginning to think when I don’t get anything I like it’s all just attitude. I think the shots are there always, there’s always an interesting angle or way to look at the same things even if they are everyday. I just have bad days or weeks, or months and can’t capture them well.

I was calling this shot Oh Canada on Facebook. I’m still not 100% on this one and I may go back and revisit the place but by then I imagine all the leaves will have fallen. This is a self-storage place off of Laird behind the Mercedes dealership and the Marshalls store.

Below is a paint booth from one of the many car and truck places along the Laird strip. I really love the weird clinical look of spray booths and this one is awesome. I shot it very quickly and was pleasantly surprised when I got it home and had something I could use.

It’s not straight on which I’m happy about too.

This space below was at one point a post office. I’m guessing it will end up being the sales office for a new condo. The cold horizontal and vertical lines created by the metal stud walls makes me happy. There’s a little lens distortion that I have to fix, but overall it’s pretty clean.

This is the receiving dock of the Brewer’s Retail in the new Longo big box mall.

This one’s just sort of funny. It’s the weirdest place… I guess they make pie or they’re a graphic design place.

These flowers below were found on one of my first trips to Laird. It’s very suburban and in a weird flux between the small industrial/retail stuff that’s always been there and the new big box more “modern” junk. I like this image. I thought about the shot the whole day that I originally took it and when I finally got home and looked at that evening there was something bugging me so I went back to reshoot it today. I wanted to remove a very obvious shadow of myself and a glaring red stoplight from the reflection.

The return visit ended up being later in the morning and the day was sunny. The worker/owner in the dry cleaners had also moved the Visa sign for some strange reason.

These are fake flowers in a window of a modest dry cleaners that’s privately owned. I went inside to ask the person working there if they minded and they actually smiled. They were very pleasant and had no problem with me taking photographs as they toiled away inside. That makes this picture mean more to me. The woman was a bit older than me but seemed way older, she also seemed very happy and at ease with life.

Despite the fact that these are fake there’s something genuine about them. They’re obviously cared for and I think they’re also well arranged. The shop person’s intent was to make people –and perhaps themselves– feel good, not just to market to them and bring them in the shop. At least that’s what I imagine.

The flowers themselves are in an exaggerated full bloom. I don’t think you really see roses like this very often. They will also perpetually be in this state. I think I’d like to return and take more photos as time moves on. There’s a funny optimism I see when I look at this image.

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