Monday, 18 September 2017

We Are Stardust

“Today we can tell the story of our beginnings in a wonderfully dramatic way, borne out of the explosion of a giant star 4.5 billion years ago. From the stardust of that explosion, every atom in our bodies began a long journey, through transformation after transformation, to who and what we are today. There are atoms in our bodies that were once in the Buddha, in Jesus...We are stardust become human.”

- Michael Morwood, Australian theologian
and former Roman Catholic priest

I begin this blog post at the corner of Yonge and Dundas Streets in downtown Toronto. It is one of the busiest, most dynamic street intersections in Canada – suffused with Michael Morwood’s “stardust become human.” It’s also grubby, noisy, pushy...and I love it. One of the great pleasures of my three decades of living in Toronto was regulalrly standing at this intersection, breathing in its energy and vigour. Not coincidentally, it is also a terrific location for street photography. Which is what I was doing last Tuesday afternoon for about an hour. And because I am now a senior, people tend to ignore me...which is why I was able to stand there with my camera and record over 500 photos without being challenged once. Ah, the joys of being can get away with so much!

Street photography has become one of my great passions. The simple act of observing the vast array of faces is rewarding enough in itself, but being able to record those faces in all their glory is a delightful bonus. Stardust become human, indeed.

At the October 1st meeting of the Prince Edward County Photography Club, I am scheduled to make a presentation about street photography - a great opportunity to clarify my thoughts and approach to this fascinating area of photography.

I hope you enjoy these twelve photos of Toronto’s Yonge/Dundas area, plus another four similar photographs recorded at the wonderful Milford Fair in Prince Edward County on Saturday.

Toronto International Film Festival line up

Don't ask...I don't know.

Toronto International Film Festival line up.

Milford Fair Parade

Milford Fair booth

Milford Fair conversation

Milford Fair...chanelling Minnie Pearl!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Inner Life of Inanimate Things

“Still lives that won’t hold still...”
- Teju Cole

The latest New York Times Magazine (September 10, 2017) included “On Photography”, Teju Cole’s always-welcome monthly column. Today, he wrote a textured, multi-layered appreciation of Marie Cosindas, the great pioneer of colour photography who died recently at the age of 93. (link) I always enjoy reading Cole’s intelligent, nuanced opinions about photography, his thoughts on Marie Cosindas being no exception.

One of his lines resonated very strongly with me. Cosindas’ work, Cole said, “...constituted a highly personal vision of reality enamoured of theatrical effects and attuned to the inner life of inanimate objects.”

The concept of inanimate objects having an inherent reality separate from the human perception of that reality has always fascinated me. I’m beginning to realize that this inherent reality has become an important theme in my photography. Treating inanimate objects with respect and dignity encourages me to see them as part of life’s continuum and to perceive their particular beauty as life-affirming. I need to do more thinking about this idea in the months ahead, but I offer these images as Step One of the process.

All the photos were recorded this week, most at the Picton Fair on Friday. Enjoy!

Tractor Seat

Cascading Stuffed Animals on the Midway

And Angry Tractor? Looks like an Angry Bird!

Royal Canadian Air Force Cadet Mannequin

Prince Edward County Curling Club

Sail Boat on Frankford Road, North of Belleville

Screwed - Totally Screwed! Part of the Antique Tractor Collection

Monday, 4 September 2017

"Making My Own Voice"

“I think I have tried to be aware of the world around me...
I am more concerned about making my own voice,
which I hope interprets into the abstract.”
- Shelley Niro, Artist

The inspiration for my blog post today comes from an interview that Shelly Niro gave to Becky Rynor in the current National Gallery of Canada (NGC) magazine (link). Ms. Niro, a multimedia artist who won the 2017 Scotiabank Photography Award, lives in Brantford, Ontario, and is a member of the Six Nations Reserve, Bay of Quinte Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) Nation, Turtle Clan. I find her work to be engaging, humorous, and multisensory. Several pieces of her work are in the permanent collection of the NGC.

I hope she will do another interview for the NGC in which she expands on how she uses her art to find her voice – she has one of those voices that we all need to listen to.

With the greatest sense of humility and gratitude to Shelley Niro, I hope that I am following a similar path to discovering my own voice as a photographer, especially now that I call myself an artist.

Thank you, Shelley Niro, for your inspiration.

The photos that follow were all recorded in the last seven days. Enjoy!

Quinte Exhibition, Belleville

Quinte Exhibition, Belleville

Quinte Exhibition, Belleville 

Quinte Exhibition, Belleville

Quinte Exhibition, Belleville

Quinte Exhibition, Belleville

Quinte Exhibition, Belleville

Quinte Exhibition, Belleville

Yard Sale

Signal Brewery, Corbyville

Bulk Barn Candies

The Oops!! Store, Rossmore

The Oops!! Store, Rossmore

Rednersville-Albury Community Church

Rednersville-Albury Community Church

Rednersville-Albury Community Church

Stonedragon Studio, Carrying Place