Aug 7, 2015 and I took my camera to work. It’s a bit awkward on my 15km bicycle trip simply because of the weight. I have a new process though. I use to walk a lot and shoot, now I ride and research with my iPhone. Often posting to social media and generally living with images for a few days. If I’m still interested I take my big camera out and re shoot using the iPhone images as a reference.
My work trip takes me along Overleigh in Toronto’s East end. Before Overleighh hits Don Mills there was a Target. The middle shot was taken months ago on one of these journeys, the top and bottom images below were taken this week.
These are examples of images that I take because I love how photography of found objects and landscapes can often emulate what might be considered painterly or sculptural tableaus.
There’s always an element of contemplation in my work, but I avoid calling it minimalist. I’ve begun to dislike that term. Minimalism is bandied about by people as a term that can simply be exchanged with simple. I don’t find the attached images simple.
No picture of any vacant Target store can be politically uncharged. The successful U.S. chain bulldozed into the Canadian market thinking they knew everything and planned to easily covert that U.S. success. How the mighty have fallen since.
Because my day job deals with larger retailers in Canada I have a tie to this failure and opinions about it. I don’t feel this is the forum to discuss that, nor do I feel I have strong enough opinions to want to discuss them. These pictures to me though comment to a degree on commercialism, consumerism and U.S. Canada relations.
Today I found glory on Broadview through the windows of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I went to take pictures of the satellite dish that sits in their parking lot but ended up peering through the windows into the foyer of their church. A foyer that looks like it might not be used too much. I’m glad nobody was around because I guess I was technically trespassing on Mormon land. I don’t know any Mormons, maybe there not bad folks.
Just a reminder to see a bigger image than below just click on the image itself and it should open in a larger widow so you can see more detail.
Anyway the satellite dish ended up being not so interesting because it was behind a fence and I couldn’t get a clear shot. While I was looking though I realised that the entire parking lot was completely empty and by extension the building was probably vacant. I plucked up enough courage to look through the windows where the vertical blinds were not drawn and I saw this. Iw as smiling when I shot it.
The most remarkable thing is that i’ve passed by here on my bicycle and on the bus at least 1000 times and I never thought to explore this block on foot. IF I had I might have discovered that at least during the week in the mornings there’s no one around the building and no one to get all bent out of shape when I take photographs. I think that’s one of the most amazing things. We all pass by so much stuff without ever giving it a second thought. If I could stop doing that I think I’d discover a lot more exciting stuff to shoot.
The image below was shot earlier this same morning on the the Danforth east of Donlands subway stop. Today instead of getting off at Broadview and busing the remainder of the trip to work, I went five or six stops further on the subway and then walked and took photographs as I made my way back to Broadview. I shot the image below of an empty retail window. I’m not sure if someone is storing the pianos in here, trying to sell them or they are left over from the last occupant. Regardless this piano and chair had a nice casual and natural composition that I like.
I’m not sure what this place was but apparently it was closed because the block at this particular place in the city has been sold to make way for condos. This is just north of the North East corner of Yonge and Davisville. The building is on the corner of Yonge and Millwood. Just south of this place is another huge empty retail place that was an LCBO. Weird that the LCBO up there has been so nomadic.
The light in here was brilliant. I’m going to return tomorrow and see if perhaps I can get crisper files. Right now these images are quite grainy because it’s all low, available light. I’d love to shoot them on large format film, but that’s not going to happen soon and I bet this place is torn down before then. That’s even more likely because it will be a while before I get my act together with the large format. I should get a new bellows for the thing in a week and that’s a good step in what I’m sure will be a long journey of discovery.
It’s definitely a lot of purple. It also has the feel of a financial institution on the exterior. It’s very TD-Canada Trust looking but I doubt I’ll ever know what it was. It’s also been empty for a very long time. The Google Streetview image doesn’t give anything away, but you can see it was a bank at one time.
The light is truly spectacular. There are a lot of windows on two sides of the building. It also helps that there is nothing too tall in the area surrounding so the morning sun can make it’s way through the glass despite the crazy sunrise angle.
The shots I got today will be uploaded tonight, and they are much more subdued. There was no sun this morning but as I expected they are way more crisp, which i like for the possibility for printing large which has become sort of a habit. Although I love the sunlight, I like the images without it way more. See below.
Evans Ford Lincoln was on Dundas West just east of the 427. Technically I guess this part of the city is Etobicoke. This whole area is a crazy wasteland. I can see why people in Etobicoke think and value different things than people in the city core. I also realise this is not what the majority of Etobicoke looks like, but this strip is really depressing and at the same time intriguing.
Having said that the building has been impeccably cleaned out. The interior of the showroom and sales floor is as neat as a pin. The exterior is obviously going to seed, but it still has all it’s windows and their relatively clean. There’s also little to no graffiti. Why bother tagging this place, no one’s going to see it. The exterior signage has all been removed but you can read “Evans” all over the building where the exterior surface has weathered around where the signage use to be.
These are a little darker feeling than I thought they would be. I like them, but I can see why someone might not. It’s an ancient space. I think of Cuba, or at least images I’ve seen of Cuba. A real sense of this place has seen better times. The ceiling looks tin and the back wall is a testament to how old the place is. Lathe and plaster construction was predominantly pre 1930s in Toronto after that plaster board came into widespread use.
I happened upon this on my way to work the other day. It’s on the lower portion of Pape just a few blocks above Bloor. Curiously the whole strip of retail and residential that is Pape has changed very, very little in the 15 years that I’ve frequented it. This is truly the land that gentrification forgot.
I keep coming back to these images. I’ve just decided these will make up the new Bau-Xi Photo show. I’ll shoot over the next few months and hopefully have 15 to 20 solid images for a show. I’m thinking of getting up very early tomorrow and trying to catch a new Scotia Bank on Bloor around Ossington before it opens and is completely finished. the colour of the redish orange ATMs and the blank empty walls should look pretty spectacular.