December 2014

For some reason the first day of shooting in a month saw me searching out walls, floors, and objects in a creepy sort of series of found sculptures.

I had taken a vacation day form work and dropped off some work that sold in a recent auction. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when that happens. When things sell at auction. Despite the fact that I’m donating the work and the cost is all mine, it’s nice to see things sell. The latest fundraiser was Gallery TPW’s Photorama. I’ve been donating for about seven years. This year was the gallery’s most successful event ever. It’s also the first show in their new home– a home I imagine they’ll be in for the next 20 years. It’s on St. Helen’s Avenue in a row of repurposed industrial units that includes Daniel Feria and Clint Roenisch Galleries. The space is amazing even in it’s unfinished state. The shot below is of the main gallery space with it’s 18 foot high ceiling. The plywood on the floor was affixed to the walls in a strip around the perimeter of the space and the donated works were hung on that plywood. In future if anyone is looking to purchase lens-based work, at very reasonable prices, this is the place to do it You can get a feel for the work they’re selling here on the Photorama 2014 page of The Toronto Photographer Workshop’s website.IMG_3914There are a row of store fronts–maybe five or even six–that contain a cabinetmaking business and have done for at least fifteen years. I’ve shot through the windows of one or two of them on occasion. It finally looks like they are downsizing a bit. They most likely own the buildings and leasing one or two is going to bring them in a lot of money. Ossington could use a few more restaurants as well. Seriously there must be fifty restaurants and bars on that strip now. The “for lease” sign has fallen out of the window and onto the floor. The tiles on the wall silhouette what I’m guessing once would have been a kitchen cabinet display, and the floor is simply awesome, even though it’s not trying to be.

Sometimes I think that my image making has slowed down because the city has gentrified so much. I find fewer and fewer places that reverberate with the past in a way that I’m interested in capturing. It’s not a bad thing, but I find this type of history more interesting than pristine, immaculate, well designed interiors.

I’ve also been thinking about art lately. I’d like to think of myself as an artist, but maybe I’m more of a documenter. Photography for me is about recording things that others don’t see and that will never exist again. Maybe I’m an artist in other mediums.IMG_3921Further down Ossington it started to sink in. I like things leaning against walls. I like stuff on floors and the horizon line between floors and walls. I like found art. This image below reminded me of a Twitter post from a very cool artist/mathematician/architect. He’s got a blog that’s mostly art openings/exhibitions mixed with his own work and he throws some interesting math stuff in. The blog can be found here at Monochromatic-Axonometric. He once found a door and posted the pic on Twitter, so in the shot below I was answering him back. The door conversation could go on indefinitely in the city, only eclipsed by the mattress conversation. Tumblr maybe? I’m sure several exist.

I also notice weird things about photographs. In this shot below the door appears larger on the right end. That’s simply because the right end is closer to the lens by virtue of it being further from the wall. Although I’m drawn to horizontals and verticals, the uniformity of those is impossible to achieve. Its an imperfect world thank goodness.IMG_3926Further down Ossington is a cigar manufacturing place.. at least they have something to do with cigars. They might just be a wholesaler or something. I’m sure they still have a clientele, but its hard to imagine they wont sell soon to realise the huge real estate demand on this strip.

This is the building’s north wall, painted to resemble a tobacco field. Admirably realistic but sadly in need of a touch up. The single palette resting against the foreground of the landscape made me laugh. It’s pedestrian and understandable but it completely destroys the illusion of the wall mural. IMG_3933Still further south and east, in the alley south of Queen Street that runs parallel to it I found the next two shots. The graffiti in this area is pretty spectacular in and of itself, but as a subject doesn’t really interest me. I mean I enjoy looking at it, and its more art than some art is, but as a photographic subject it doesn’t work for me. Combine the colours and pattern though with an absurd collection of used and useless bicycle tires and inner tubes and viola. It’s now sort of funny, or engaging to me.

I had to really push myself not to get down to take a straight on shot. The expositorial thing is so ingrained in me that I find anything that shows weird up/down perspective disturbing and although it’s only slightly distorted because of the downward angle I shot on, I still want to go back, crouch down and capture it with perpendicular verticals. IMG_3959 IMG_3971

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Eureka!

Eureka! I took some images I like finally! Thanksgiving weekend has been relatively productive. It did take 7 hours of walking around on Saturday and Sunday, but it feels pretty good. I may actually have enough for a show now in January.

I like this image. So much so that I’d like to use it in the January “Wandering” show at Bau-Xi Photo however there’s a problem. The painting in the background isn’t mine. It’s part of the interior design of this future restaurant in the Burano Condo building at Bay and Grosvenor. The painter’s name is Sandro Martini. I’ve asked him via the contact on his website if it’s OK. I legally have to ask because his image is a big part of my image, it takes up about 1/3 of the frame. I’m not sure he’ll reply, if he doesn’t I think I’ll have to scrap the image, sadly. I do really like this image.

Technically the following image was shot on Friday. I’ve started to head out early and walk part of the 17 km to work so I can shoot. Even if I don’t get anything it’s the effort to shoot everyday. This was taken on Dundas a few blocks before you hit Ossington. I like the dark of the alleyway and how it acts as a natural frame for the square patch containing the greenery and the light.

The shot above was also taken on Bay Street after I shot the Burano picture. This is closer to Bloor. I’ve shot this weird stand-alone structure a few times but it’s windows have always been too dirty to get a good shot. Once upon a time it was a very crappy variety store. It took years but someone has finally figured they could utilize the space so it’s been cleaned up impressively and the windows are actually clear enough to shoot through properly now.

On King Street the area just east of Sherbourne has always been a little rough. This butcher has been there for at least 20 years, and more likely about 50. Although the signs in the window are obviously new. They haven’t faded a bit and printing just wasn’t that good that long ago. Maybe it’s not that old and the owners just have a knack of making it look vintage. I love the white contractor’s van as well. This is also a very popular place to take pics just search images for Seaton Butcher Shop

Behind the Eaton Centre there’s a crazy old church. There’s also a literal rat’s warren of pathways and thoroughfares. There’s even a brick labyrinth surrounded by trees which is nice despite the sketchy people hanging around and smoking on a Saturday at around 8:30 a.m. This wall isn’t part of the church. I’m not quite sure what it belongs to. I liked the way the patchwork bricks play with the changing leaves, the greenery and the architectural arches and curves.

This is one of my favourite interior construction shots to date. The combo of the great green tarp, hose, and covered over graffiti is so organized but random.

I meandered back to an old shooting location. This is a Hydro substation of some sort on Charles just east of church. You can see why they called this style brutalist architecture.

On the Esplanade just west of the St Lawrence Market there are a ton of businesses on top of all the stores and each seems to have multiple entrances like this one. I’m pleased with this shot because of the architectural detail, the almost repulsive colours and the weird angle. I’m typically either 45 degrees from subject or looking at it straight on. This 16 degree thing happens very infrequently and so it feels rather novel.

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Finally more Bay Street. Bay was my saviour location this weekend. If I remember correctly this place was a restaurant. It’s a short little building that stands on it’s own and will be torn down to make way for more condominiums. Through the window I shot this structure which was probably the backdrop for their sales desk. I’ll adjust this image so it’s not quite as distorted as it appears in this shot. I like the bizarre nature of this room in general and the weird chunk of extension cord on the fl

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