Japanese

While I was taking these two shots at Yonge north of Davenport I met an old Japanese Canadian. I think I enjoyed talking to him for about 30 minutes–as much as he liked talking to me. We chatted about New York, Vancouver, Toronto, cameras, Japanese, and steaks. His friends are all dead, and although he might just have been telling me a story, he has no family in the city. He was born in Vancouver. I think he said he was 88. All his family has gone back to Japan. He smiled and laughed as he told me he was depressed. Maybe I’ll have to go back looking for him someday.IMG_2971The conversation made me think of Wayson Choy. He’s a Canadian of Chinese descent. I read The Jade Peony in the late 90s and it’s stuck with me. It deal with Vancouver and growing up as a child of Chinese immigrants, and touches on how Canada and Chinese Canadians treated the Japanese in Vancouver during the second world war. Maybe it’s time to read it again.

These two shots are in the windows of a closed building that may have been a furniture store. They looked distinctly out of place. They’re in display windows but they don’t look like display items. I had the feeling they had been there for years. IMG_2969

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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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Outside

This is another ongoing series. I think I started shooting this stuff about 8 years ago.

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The image above was taken quite a while ago. Since that time this little gallery on Queen near Symington has had the blinds drawn and I’ve never been able to capture it again. i’ve probably gone back a few times every year to check. I still really like this image, it’s about art, my aspirations, and the beauty and potential of emptiness.

The pictures in Outside are predominantly taken through window glass. I rest the lens directly on the window and it works as an ad hoc tripod or stabilization tool. This in turn allows me to shoot in low light for long exposures while still hand holding the camera. it gives me a nice depth of field which emphasizes the expository nature of my work. Expository is a word that David Balzer used to describe my Waiting series and I use it all the time now. It’s perfect.

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This above piece was part of the Art Gallery of Mississauga’s Eat, Drink, Man, Woman show held last year. Tara Marshall was nice enough to select 3 pieces of mine for this thematic that focused on our relationships to food. This is taken in Little Korea. It’s a shot when the property was up for rent. Now it’s a fully functioning BBQ place. No more pink.

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A vacant garage on Dundas West, west of Jane.

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A decommissioned small police station on Davenport.

I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of this series.

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