The world around us truly mirrors our lives and habits.
Saturday morning this past April, I found myself sitting in an empty parking lot of a local box store, waiting for the doors to open, for a shopping ritual to start. Abandoned shopping carts, puddles and small garbage piles formed a perfect image of a tired and silly consumerist world. Old rental trucks, half-broken down carts, flat tires show a tired and done cliché. All this perhaps lays bare the ridiculous nature of our consumerist ways.
Earlier this Summer, a casual photo walk with Toronto Film Shooters spawned an idea. Walking and looking, definitely something I don’t do enough of.
Taking a closer look at doorways, I could not ignore the pull. Is it simply a symmetry or is it more mysterious? What are these – foreboding barriers or inviting gateways? Doorways and passageways can both divide and connect. The decision is ours, how do you see. Opportunity or challenge.
I feel a definite need to explore further, stop and look, look into it with more intent.
King Street West is one of those stretches of Toronto’s pavement that has its night and day nature. A bustling hive of commerce by day, this street turns into entertainment central at night. Summer nights and long lines of cabs jam the street, fun seeking crowds fill the sidewalks. The scene so different by night, only the streetcars remain to remind us it is the same King West we know by daylight.
King West – All business by day, all party by night
Photographed on Kodak Tri-X 400 film on King Street West in June 2017.
Spadina Avenue is one of those streets that acts as a window into Toronto’s past. Drawing its name from the First Nations word ishpadina or high ground/ridge, this avenue connects the upscale neighbourhoods at its north end to the lakefront.
To me, this street is at its best on a quiet morning when the past reveals itself in bright sunlight and deep shadows. Steps away from the daily bustle, traces of the garment industry past and passing age of ethnic blocks slowly reveal themselves. These are the fading layers of the history, slowly retreating in the face of oncoming change and transformation. But for now, visible and obvious in the early morning light.
With today’s post, also sharing an electronic e-zine edition that can be downloaded here – Balopticon ePub No.9
Humber Valley Heritage Trail follows the river through rapidly changing rural landscape of Kleinburg and Bolton. Meandering among houses and along the river, the trail offers a unique view of the place we are accustomed to seeing from a speeding car. Early spring makes this a quiet place. River is just emerging from it’s icy sleep and the trail is empty, too cold for the masses still. This quiet transition makes for a wonderful scene, just underneath the surface of the town’s busy weekend.
As this winter winds down, ice gives way to water. In Rockwood, the rush of revival replaces the cold quiet. Rushing waters melt the ice cover. With some of the snow still on the ground, Sun warms the scene, signaling the arrival of warmer days. March in Rockwood, Spring is almost here.
Photographed in Rockwood on March 19th, 2017
Ilford Delta 100 using Mamiya 645 camera.
Leslie Street Spit is an urban wilderness park built on a construction landfill. This city’s historical growth yielded this transformation of the original swamp into a new and unique park. This place inspires anew with each visit and offers contemplative refuge. Changing colours in the stillness of a Winter morning bring together thoughts of two Thompsons. Tommy Thompson, a former parks commissioner that the park is named after, and Tom Thompson, an artist that was a founding influence for the modernist Group of Seven. Tommy helped create the new waterfront, bring about the new waterfront vision. Tom showed us a different view at the world around us. At Leslie Street Spit, the work of the two Thompsons fuses into new inspiration.
Shot on Kodak Ektar 100 film using Mamiya 645 camera.
A few weekends ago, had an opportunity to get the famous falls all to myself, thanks to a bitter cold morning. A roll of Ilford Delta 400 and persistence against the cold, quite an experience. Niagara Falls, sounds and sight like no other. The big thunder and absolute majesty of the falls never gets old, despite of it all being made common by proximity. A cold late Winter morning and I have the falls all to myself. Unusual solitude of a typically crowded place makes this unique occasion. Nothing but the thunder cutting through the cold.
Photographed at Niagara Falls, Ontario, on March 4th, 2017.
Ilford Delta 400 E.I.400, Mamiya 645/Sekor C 45mm Lens – Developed in Kodak D-76. Scanned on Epson V600, Processed in Adobe Lightroom.
My first event after joining The Toronto Film Shooters Facebook group was a winter hike in Hilton Falls Conservation Area. In addition to the great social dynamic of the group, the hike was great way to relax and explore this park. This was my first outing to Hilton Falls during the Winter.
Forests have a different character during the Winter. Quieter and more settled than during other seasons, woods look and feel different under the cover of ice and snow. Winter forest is a world of overstated contrast, even on a flat-light day, and thoughts simply converge towards birches that offer a main counterpoint to dark silhouettes of all other trees.
Tall evergreens add to the variety of this dignified, settled silence. Barren and cold, the landscape still looks inviting and motivating. Weathered bark screams experience, but quietly, show traces of the seasons and ages past. The cold quiet invites reflection but encourages determination as well. There is definite beauty in visiting a forest during dead of the Winter.
Typically, waterfalls are the main attraction of the park. Still, for me, the experience is all about stoic determined trees. Tall old trees dominate with their sense of permanence, experience history of the land, just like the escarpment they stand on.
Black and white film seems to be the most appropriate medium to capture these images. The strength of the contrast and look of the ancient wisdom only seems appropriate for black and white film. For this outing, I chose Ilford Delta 400, my favourite utility film. It captures the calming effect a frozen forest has, perfectly.