Exploring

IMG_3216 - 2000-01-01 at 00-00-25 IMG_3154 - 2000-01-01 at 00-00-24 IMG_3172 - 2000-01-01 at 00-00-02 IMG_3190 - 2000-01-01 at 00-00-42 IMG_3198 - 2000-01-01 at 00-01-34Exploring the city has occupied me now for close to twenty years. It now seems like such a small place after all the wandering I’ve done.

Close to where I live there are public tennis courts. They sit on the edge of a small park at the end of Franklin Avenue. The edge of the park and those courts also rests above the west side of Symington Avenue. This is the wall directly under the tennis courts. I imagine the white painted squares are  compliments of the city and serve to cover up some tags or graffiti. I was taken by the triptych of panels, the wild and unruly weeds and plants and the discarded cardboard from a twelve of Budweiser.IMG_3105On the north side of Queen Street West just west of John Street is this place. Back a few years ago it was an average bookstore called Pages with aspirations to be a good bookstore, but it went out of business before it could achieve its dreams. It now looks like the space is being used as yet another condominium sales office focusing on the kitchen design of the units. It’s either that or this is actually a kitchen design store.IMG_3117It’s been a while since I’ve wandered in the alleys around Richmond and Queen. I spotted this down a passage beside the restaurant Jules. It’s simply a dumpster that someone has hired to renovate some place. I was drawn to the three rectangular planes created by the doors and the sides of the dumpster. There’s also a wonderful distressed texture of scratches on both doors. The ramp is another trope that seems to be surfacing in a few of my images lately. I not sure what that’s about, but here it is again.IMG_3138On the west side of Spadina just north of Queen is another empty condominium sales office. In this instance for a sadly marketed place called Trend. This is a view into the sales office. The wall mural must have been made in the hopes of making the prospective buyers feel like stars. If they had been in marketing they would have quickly seen through the sad psychological ploy, turned around and left. I bet these places when completed will be as cheesy as the graphics.IMG_3142A few years ago I fund a little treasure trove of spots to photograph in the Bay and College area. I went back this week to see how the area had changed and discovered this service driveway behind a large condo building. I’m guessing these are air intake or ventilation exhaust pipes, at least the candy cane looking ones. I’d further suppose the controls or gauges beside are unrelated. Whatever this array of stuff is, it’s so pristine that it looks fictional to me. Of course the concrete drive is sullied with flecks of gum and other detritus, but the landscape is sort of surreal and strikes me as very Thomas Demand looking.IMG_3062 - 2000-01-01 at 00-00-07IMG_3071 - 2000-01-01 at 00-00-09Another plywood ramp in a section of the still-vacant main floor of the MaRS building on University south of College.IMG_3076 - 2000-01-01 at 00-00-07

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Lost

Lost. I like getting lost in these Google Street View images. More than that I think I would really like to drive the car around and take the pictures in obscure, outback places. It might be a bit frightening but it also would be very cool. Every now and again I could stop and take my own shots with the camera.

I’ll be more diligent as I collect these, however I’ve forgotten where this one is. The coolest thing about it was the fact that this is where the Google Car stopped and stopped taking pictures. I wonder if the driver just got freaked out?

 

The shot below is taken from  a Google Camera that I’m pretty sure is on snowmobile. If you do the traditional Street View on this portion of the map in Norway you can see the Snowmobiles in front and behind of the camera vehicle. This is a shot off to the side of a very desolate but very “highway like” 20 or 30 lane snowmobile track. Very cool.

I’ve seen a lot of internet/web based art projects. I’ve seen a lot where they just troll around and take Google Maps Street View images and relate them together. There’s something about it that’s attracting me now. It’s weird but I think I’d enjoy this type of work. Simply documenting for documentations sake. Mapping the world in a whole new way.

It makes me think that I could create a project that reverses the scope of these current Google projects. I could simply pick a square metre of land and map that out in macro. You could zoom into the crazy detail of soil and ground like you do in street view, but I’m not quite sure how to create “roads”. Maybe I could create my own.

This is in Japan on the tip of an Island called Ishigaki. I can make the photos actually look pretty good. I’ll keep exploring and posting. I think this one is another of Japan. As I mentioned, I was getting lost.

I love the composition in the following shot from Alaska. It’s not the easiest thing to find a compelling vantage point and a suitably interesting subject that fits with my general aesthetic. This is my favourite to date. Although the little dirt pile from Japan is pretty well arranged.

I have a system for finding these. Basically I look at the Google map of the world then drag the Streetview icon onto the page which then shows in which countries and areas Streetview has been done. In general you have to stay away from mainland U.S.A.  This would have been the first market to get shot by Google and the quality of the images reflects this. A favourite area is Finland. I’ve always been curious about Finnish culture so it seems natural to explore. For this image I just looked for costal areas and for the distinctive blue network of lines that is Streetview. Then I dropped the little man icon as far to the north as I can go, usually at the end of a particular photographic route. That’s how I found this rather desolate wind farm at lands end Norway.

Taiwan is a more recent interest. I was staying away from cities but now find it very similar to exploring on foot here in Toronto. This opens a world of possibilities. The image below I found on a series of roads that run along the path pof various rivers in the city. This is a break wall between the river and the street, I’m not sure who the little house is for, but my guess is it might just be a rain shed for local fishermen who worked the river. It could also be some sort of observation booth for when the water levels rise.

Kunagami District in Japan looks beautiful. The roads that traverse the coast are beautiful and seem relatively quite and almost rural. There are tons of tunnels through mountains in this region as well. I love this incursion of road into nature and that the engineers actually figured out it would look amazing if they left the rocky outcropping at the side of the highway.

This is on Cape Collinson on Hong Kong Island. This road actually ends at the entrance to a barbed wired high fenced correctional facility. I liked this image because of the two forks of the pathway climbing the side of the mountain and the rocky outcropping in the background. This in combination with the knowledge of the prison just a short way off adds to the interest for me.

I spent a while exploring Singapore. The following shots are what I think of as digital signatures from the Google Car drivers of Singapore. The only way you can find these Google Streetview images is to zoom in on the Singapore section and when you pull the Streetview icon across onto the map you look for single dots of blue Streetview legend. Each of these dots seems to be labeled with a photographers name and when you take a look at each spot it shows a different single photo view rather than the traveling camera views from the top of cars. I think these are the Google photographers fooling around and leaving their marks on the maps. Whatever they are I find them fascinating. The image below captures my imagination because the women are strangely dissected by the camera’s capture methods. These ghostly images are very cool.

The couple on the beach had the signature for Charles Momeny and I particularly liked this composition and the vouyeristic nature of the shot itself. 

More recently I’ve been traveling through Bulgaria. Here’s a nice sort of Holiday Inn Art Sale sort of image.

and someplace in Russia

 

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