August 3, 2015

August 3 2015 East of Bathurst on the North side of Dundas West I found a newly vacated and very colourful interior. This was a place called Hair Essentials. It’s moved somewhere and there’s a note to say this in the front window, but I only took a cursory glance. As usual I shot this through that front window. This image is growing on me because it’s just so simple, linear and colourful. The repetition of “almost squares” in the square frame is pleasing to me as well. In particular I really like the white panel f paint on the rear wall and the rectangle of particle board visible in the lower right of the frame. I think I’ll print this if I can crop it a bit cleaner to remove more of the debris in the bottom left of the frame.

IMG_5929 copyI keep thinking of painting and this shot of the treads and jams of a public school entrance way is an extension of that thought process. Built in the late 1930′s the simple stone is solid and nicely abstracted here. There’s a nice illusion happening that makes the composition ambiguous to some degree. The shades of grey, the varied surface textures, and the degraded lines of mortar also capture my attention. otherwise it’s pretty damn boring.
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I’ve seen more of these glass pallets below since I first shot one about 8 months ago. They work well in a square frame and I’m drawn to them for some odd reason. They always appear slightly disheveled and well used. I’ve only ever seen them in green. This particular one is on the West Toronto Rail Path across from the newly constructed UP/GO station at Dundas West which incidentally is almost finished. In just a few more weeks it should be completed and still wildly unaffordable for most people. IMG_5936

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June 21, 2015

June 21, 2015. Sunday, Father’s Day. This post is really yesterday and today. Saturday I walked and today I took the bike out with a definite destination in mind. There were other things to see as well. The first two images were taken in the Junction on Saturday. The whole area was getting ready for the Summer Solstice Festival so the curb lanes where cars are usually parked had been blocked off in preparation for the street closing.

The first image is the base of a city road sign and the asphalt. I liked that the rest of the metal frame Is echoed in the a shadow across the base. To me this portrays the power of light and ability to bend in such a way. Colour yellow is nice as well.IMG_5117This metal billboard skeleton was my first destination. Since the picture a few posts ago of the AGO interior I’ve been thinking about this billboard scaffolding structure and others like it. How it could be another potential painting subject. It was little difficult shoot on such a steep upward glancing angle, I had to crop the original image rather drastically, but this frame works for me for a template for painting.IMG_5119I’ve taken pictures of this place over the years. It’s never had anything in it that I remember, but it’s been freshly renovated to sell or lease. That renovation includes a circular window in this the West facing wall. It’s on the north side of Dupont just east of Spadina. Very close to the Magic Oven cardboard pizza place and the liquor store. In the desolation that is the back parking lot there’s a large city recycling bin and beside there is the largest collection of liquor store paper bags you’ve ever seen.

That said the side window is rather special. It’s slightly tacky with the stucco wall. For some reason I detest stucco wall treatments. Maybe because I can picture the Styrofoam underneath and the technique feels so superficial and so pedestrian and suburb like. The glass faces another building which might actually be the pizza place-associated apartments. The whole time I was shooting I was waiting for some resident to tell me to fuck off from one of the shitty windows that some cheap bastard used to replace the originals.IMG_5162Inside the same, vacant, newly renovated, weirdly attractive building that somebody will rent for some weird store. This is taken through the circular window pictured above.IMG_5164This was my original destination on the Sunday. I had planned to take a picture of an exterior wall that had a nice square chunk jack hammered out of it and backed with plywood however there was a car parked in front of it and when I framed the spot I thought I had liked it didn’t work well enough to press the shutter. I could however see indie through the super-dirty windows and I liked the nice linear layout of the raw framing and the way the light played inside. This reminds me very much of one of the first photographs I took through glass. That image was of a a building on the Dundas West/Roncessvalle transition curve that was a Bank of Montreal then was converted into the existing Starbuck store. I particularly like how the electrical hangs at a nice angle from the top left of the frame and the play of cinder block grey against the wood framing browns.IMG_5170Another shot of that building that’s being renovated on Avenue Road, just North of Dupont. The Skylight here brings a nice glow to the setting.

The windows really were really remarkably dirty. I always get a kick how easy it is to clean them up and make the images relatively crisp by simply playing with the levels and curves in Photoshop. IMG_5181Just south of the interior shots on Avenue road is Del Luca Fine Art pictured below. The gallery appears to have moved, or is in the process of moving. TBCIMG_5182 IMG_5190

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Neighbourhood

The neighbourhood to me is pretty huge. The word alone suggest in the vicinity and to me that means walking distance. In the city I would consider that within 15 km of my home. Most of these photographs however were taken in the last few weeks in the Roncesvalles and Dundas West areas.

The empty salon below speaks of a time when we didn’t worry about area codes. I think that takes it back to at least 20 years ago. Someone is in the process of renovating this space. No doubt they’ll leave the old sign up which is becoming a new tradition in retail that I like. They’ve already resurfaced part of the facade with faux-slate bricks that might be very unfashionable in about 5 years. I took this photo because I loved the empty window space, the confluence of linear planes and the reflection that didn’t include me in the surface of the glass. The pipes that run from sidewalk to wall in the bottom right hand corner of the frame are another draw.IMG_0872

Not close to our house–but still neighbourhood in my mind–is the King and Spadina area. I still like to go into MEC every now and again and I’m frequently at TIW or Soma or something around there. This place is on the south west corner of King and Peter and I’ve shot it through the windows for about 10 years. Someday it will be a condo I guess.

I like how the light plays with the floor, the simple emptiness of the place and the feeling and geometric delineation I get when resting my camera lens against the windows to shoot. Shooting through the window controls what the composition will be to a large extent. I’d like to set up a 24 hour video installation in what appears to be a four TV bank along the right hand side of the frame in the second image.IMG_0899 IMG_0900

Below is the entrance to a Roncesvalle lawers office. It seems standard practice to make lawyers offices dark and uninviting. It’s in a strip of places that include several furriers, a real estate office, restaurant, yoga studio, art gallery (that’s never open) and the sad, sad facade of Hugh’s Room.

It soooo brown and contains a ton of building materials and elements I find hideous and because of that I’m drawn to it. I’m like a moth to flame or a like a Rob Ford supporter to idiocy. The brilliant sunlight worked well too.IMG_0953

Further down Roncesvalles the storefront landscape is changing and I can’t see how this laundromat  in the next picture will survive when a restaurant can pay twice as much rent. I remember the days of washing my clothes in such a place… and I’m thankful I no longer have to do that. I’m spoiled.

The mural has been there as long as I can remember and it’s sort of cute in a outsider art way. Although as I sit here and think about t I can’t believe that places like these and vending machines are still relatively commonplace. Or more correctly, I can’t believe they still all rely on coin operated technology. How long will that last? The crop on this made me happy. I think it breaks a shitload of rules, but I hate those old school cropping rules. They’re almost as annoying as old guys who think Fine Art Photography is shooting naked women in Black & White. IMG_0959

Further south on Roncesvalle was this vacant storefront. Again I was taken with the mirror and how it didn’t show me because of the window angles. The mixture of florescent light and daylight its weirdly appealing too.IMG_0966I got my new camera bag in the mail Friday from…Australia!. After cleaning the house today I set the new bag up to carry my SLR and a lens. It’s a backpack which I’m hoping is more conducive to comfortably walking around for hours. The one shoulder thing has been bugging me for years. I think I’ll try it out tomorrow when I walk down to Queen and Bathurst. I’m so exciting.

 

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Retail

Retail is often the subject of my work. This store front is a Rogers on the Danforth. It’s super-ghetto but the colour is awesome in amongst all that blahhh.

The side of a Jehovah’s Witness Church attached to a Budget Car Rental north of Bloor on Dundas West. I’ve shot this wall for 10 years. Obsessive might be to casula a word for that.

The Abacus Condo Sales Office. Dundas West around Gladstone. Note the coffee cup in the background on the right side of the image. The coffee cup series is another possible body of work. I’m serious.

 

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