The Danforth

The Danforth was good to me this morning. I’ve always loved this wall and it makes an interesting shot. I think I like almost everything about this picture. I’ll print it 36 x 36 and it will be in the next show. It’s the perfect confluence of weird colours, shapes, and arbitrary line. There’s a Starbucks just a little west of this. The wall is the western most point of a strip of retail just east of The Holy Name Parish church. I imagine the cords coming out of the wall are simply old school electrical, although they look like rope. I’ve seriously looked at this wall for years and found something neat about it. This morning when I try to think of why my mind turns to the sites I’ve been visiting recently to look at contemporary art. I can’t say I’m completely enamoured with them, but I do like the otherworldly randomness that they evoke.

The next two images are interesting but I’m not sure if they’re keepers. There’s a bridal shop on the south side of the Danforth around Chester. These are taken through the windows before it opens. I do like the funny self-portrait which –in the second of the two images below– makes it look like I’m wearing a wedding dress. These are both cropped in a 4:5 ratio in preparation for trying out the new view camera. I like the proportion better than the standard 35mm ratio of 2:3. I also like the dress image because I’ve broken one of my cardinal rules which is not to position myself so I’m looking up or down. Its weird I know but it’s become a habit that’s very hard to break.Finally this chair was nicely placed. It captured the sun at the exact minute I was walking by. Weird stuff happens.

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Self Portraits

I’ve always been interested in other people’s self portraits but never really into doing them myself. It just seems odd. Despite the reservations I had to shoot an image of myself for TIAF this year. I’m a little yellowish, but I think that’s my natural colour. Slightly pinkish with yellow highlights and a good dose of mottled beige-orange bits.

This is a bit passportish (thanks Elias), but it’s also a bit Chuck Close-like at the same time. I think it would make a good large print simply because of the detail captured by my camera. You can click on the image to see it a bit larger and get the idea. Chuck Close scale is what I’m thinking, but who wants a huge picture of me? Creepy.

The great discovery with this image was that my studio space in the basement can work with ambient lighting. There’s very little light down there right now and it doesn’t seem to matter. Four compact fluorescent bulbs do the trick for now, although I do want to get a soft box, and maybe two half decent strobe lights and stands.

I used Photoshop to; even-out the background and remove some weird shadows, do some colour adjusting and add bit of contrast. The only other thing I did was remove an annoying dot in between my eyes that must be a residual chicken pox scar. I have crazy old man eyebrows if you look close enough and–believe it or not–this is me smiling. If I consciously try to smile for the camera I get it all lopsided. This image was the result of about forty attempts. Now that I read this through that last bit gives me an idea.

I could learn to smile for the camera. I can shoot photographs of myself until I get the smile right. I think there might be hundreds of attempts, but hopefully I can learn how to manipulate my face into something that looks genuine and warm. This in itself is funny to me. I can work hard to create the illusion that I’m genuine and warm.

Just thought of this one below when I was fooling around.

This is the first time I’ve used the large format camera my awesome neighbour gave me. Unfortunately I’ve just used it as a prop in this picture but over the winter I plan to actually use it. I like the idea of using myself as an unwilling model. It’s the closest I’ve come to shooting an actual person.

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