Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cruella, Interior (October 15 2009)

Happy Hallowe'en, everyone!

This was taken inside my favourite "goth" shop in Montréal, Cruella. It's on Mont-Royal near Coloniale (right where I used to live, actually; convenient).

I wanted to get a couple of shots of the inside of the store, since I enjoy their decor so very much. To manage this photo, I stood behind my friend Jayne as she was looking at some clothing on one of the racks, and shot the picture without staff noticing.
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Friday, October 30, 2009

Drag, Point Pleasant Park (Autumn, 1997)

Technically, this picture was taken by Lucas, I think with one of the Mamiya twin-lens reflex cameras I was able to borrow from NSCAD at the time. I can't recall what inspired the photo shoot, other than, perhaps, my longtime love for costumes (and drag as a kind of costume) and the fact that the tuxedo was a relatively recent acquisition at that point (it was given to me by my mother as a high school graduation gift).

I moved away from Halifax in the summer of 1999, and haven't visited since maybe 2000 or so. Since then they've had a continuing infestation of some variety of tree-eating beetle (Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle, apparently). Worse, in 2003 a hurricane laid waste to even more trees, roughly three-quarters of those in the park. A recent photo of the park brought me to tears, so shocking was the devastation caused by the storm; the setting in which I stand in the photo above has been destroyed. There was something drastic about the change that made me realise how much Halifax is "gone" for me, the Halifax I actually knew when I lived there over ten years ago--this park, one of my favourite places in a city where I never particularly wanted to be, apparently signifies something deeper that upset me only when I realised what was no longer there.
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bicycles, St. Giles & Broad Street (July 7, 2009)

For some reason (other than a kind of symmetry I framed in the image above), I liked this particular street corner in Oxford. To the left is a graveyard that looks at least as old as everything else around the place; I love a nice cemetery right in the middle of downtown (Halifax, N.S. has a good one, too). If you follow this street in the direction my camera is pointed, you'll also see the Eagle and Child, local pub haunt of the famed Inklings literary group whose members included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Leaves/Gravel (November, 1997)

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pride Mohawk (June 23, 2007)

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Plumtree @ HMV (October 3, 1997)

Part of a set that I took at the same show.
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ravens, Tower of London (March 11, 2008)

Hopefully the joke needs no explanation here--well, it's more of an amusing arrangement of visual elements than an actual "joke".

The humourously threatening-looking ravens are, of course, famous residents of the Tower, carefully tended by an assigned Yeoman-Warder.
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Outside York Fine Arts (February 28, 2007)

Can there really be any adequate explanation for this? More importantly, should there be? (Laughs)
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Couch Poser (August, 2002)

Another of my last cat, Winnie. What a little poser.
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lindsay (April, 1996)

Taken in high school, when I was 16. This room, which was a classroom used for English, must have had nice light--I have a few pictures taken in there. Lindsay was a classmate (in the same year as me, though certainly not in many of my classes).

I remember when I showed this picture in a class at NSCAD (probably in one of the continuing education classes I took there, during high school), the instructor was fascinated by it. I think there was something about the half-sentences on the blackboard that was evocative, together with the soft focus (graininess again--it would have been Agfa 400 ISO B&W film) and the evident concentration she has on something being written. This is one of those portraits I took in high school that looks, in retrospect, like a freeze-frame of accidental beauty (I had to shoot when no-one was looking) that has survived long enough that I can look back and call it "precocious".

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Detroit: Look Up (March, 2004)

Detroit and Hamilton, Ontario (where I was living at the time I took this picture) share an interesting common heritage as "has-been" cities, both former industrial heavyweights that took the wrong turn in an economy headed for the informational. However, Detroit represents this shift on a more massive scale, a whole shell of an urban monster left as rotting evidence of unsustainable industry. Though naturally this isn't the whole story for Detroit, it's hard not to come away with a certain impression of massive urban decay that somehow foreshadows some larger, Gilliam-esque post-apocalyptic doomscape spreading throughout the urban centres of North America (see: Los Angeles and Bladerunner, for a similar example).

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Monday, October 19, 2009

AA Road Sign (December 15? 2000)

Taken on the way--well, while trying to find the way--from Auckland up to the Coromandel, in New Zealand. We did end up taking a bit of a detour, but New Zealand is so small that the alternate route merely brought us to the coast prematurely, and we were able to turn around and go back the way we came without much loss of time, and pleased by some extra exposure to the countryside (just southeast of Auckland, heading for the Firth of Thames; beautiful rolling farmland, much of it).

I also took this picture because of the "toilets" sign, I'm sure--in New Zealand both the yellow AA road signs and the available public toilets would seem strange to Canadian eyes, though they are common enough where I grew up. Public toilets are almost always available since they are not inside malls, restaurants or other privately owned/commercial spaces.
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Musical Instrument Museum (May 16, 2007)

The museum was inside the Castello Sforzesco, Milan; the castle contained several museums. This one also included a large hall full of antique keyboard instruments.
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

London Wall (March 4, 2008)

City man chats on his mobile while casually strolling through the remnants of millennia past.

I do enjoy these encounters between the detritus of human history and the casual repetition of everyday life (which is, of course, also history--eventually, or even by tomorrow--more like an accumulation over time that eventually becomes distant enough to earn the name).

This picture was taken when I was on my way to the Museum of London (highly recommended!) with my sister Natalie; so it was not far from the Barbican. The London Wall was of course built initially by the Romans--who also gave their distinctive stamp to the urban layout of Milan and Paris as well as London.
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Highgate Graves (August, 2004)

Another shot of the glorious Highgate. There was no real boundary between grave sites and what looked like a wooded garden crawling with vines. I admit, I wouldn't mind being buried here (after I'm dead, of course).
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Victoria (February 14, 2002)

Taken from the plane window, near the end of a flight from Calgary to Victoria.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Boulevard René Lévesque (April, 2001)

Montréal, where else. Which is where I'm headed today, on the train!
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

AGO in Sunlight (June 4, 2009)

The new Art Gallery of Ontario building, which I believe is much more of success than the recent addition to the Royal Ontario Museum (the somewhat infamous, and overpriced, "crystal" that now seems to dominate most publicity shots of the museum, sadly enough... and which looks, to me, as if some giant-sized rock-collector accidentally dropped a prize piece onto an otherwise nice-looking old building). Oddly, there seem to be very few pictures of the completed AGO building available online, and hardly any that do its design any justice. I have taken a number of photos that I hope will reflect these things more effectively, and I'll post more of them eventually.

The more time I spend staring at this image, the more surreal it becomes. One of the really interesting effects of the light hitting the roof here is that the roof takes on something of the visual quality of tin, if you get close to the metal and the sun is reflecting off it. If you look closely at it, tin (in sheets) has a lot of little patchy bits as a kind of surface patter, and they all catch the light in slightly different ways. The roof of this building, right where the sun hits, is doing something similar--but here the reflective material comprises panes of glass mosaicked together to form a curved surface.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Communist Toilet (August, 2003)

The brand name here is indeed "Red Star" (902-768-3452), which I thought was evocative.

The toilet was near a river, which was encountered on the drive to Lake Erie, Ontario.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Matt, Lucas & Duck (October, 1995)

This photo was taken at Halifax's Public Gardens, which are a small downtown fixture (though apparently they suffered some serious damage after extreme weather than Nova Scotia has dealt with over the past decade or so; it's been almost that long since I visited).

I believe this picture came about because we were discussing how Lucas had, in the past, successfully picked up a duck and held it with no problems. This time he did it while I had my camera handy.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Garden (May, 2005)

This was the first full summer with this garden, and it started to look rather nice. The herb garden by the fence here was initially half that length, but we moved the sleepers (logs) over from the back part of the garden and used them to build another log-length's worth of space for the herbs. that we filled with rotten leaves and dirt from the back garden, then planted the herbs. Flower pots I found in the shed, which looked as if it hadn't been touched for many years.

This garden never got a lot of sunlight, but I always loved the way the late afternoon sun would slant through the back trees, only as it was on the verge of setting, and then the red light would come through the kitchen window.
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Happy Birthday, Kittens (December 10, 2008)

The title of this post refers not precisely to the photo, but to the fact that my cats are actually one year old today. Over time, their age has become somewhat of a joke considering the rapid rate at which they grew from these tiny fluffy little balls of cuteness into... rather large, much-larger-than-expected piles of fluffy cuteness (it never diminished, really). In short, they're very big cats, and very affectionate.

The photo itself was the first picture I caught of the two of them together, which was shortly after I got them in December last year. I named them for characters from Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice". Mr. Darcy is at top-right, and Mr. Bingley is below, staring into the camera.
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Prairie (February 14, 2002)

Taken from a plane coming in to land at Calgary, Alberta. I took a series of aerial shots during the flight into Calgary, many of which turned out as fabulously as this one, thanks to the incredibly crisp prairie sunlight, cooled to clarity by the February chill.

This was one of my favourites from that day. The land and sky meet at a pressure point at the horizon, pushing together where the air seems to brighten and turn white below the clouds. The simplicity of the image highlights all other features, gives the prairie flatness an intensity of compressed browns and tans and beiges, and the sky the look of a canvas sliced across with soft brushstrokes of watercolour cloud. The deep blue at the top of the picture only serves to heighten the sense of space, hinting at a celestial vastness that echoes the land infinitely.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Proof-Reading (October 12, 2008)

During work on the campaign to elect Gerard Kennedy as MP for the parkdale-High Park riding in Toronto.

There was always proofing going on during this campaign, except on election day (which is called "E-Day" by anyone heavily involved). Gerard is extremely attentive to all details in his political literature, and this sometimes meant returning multiple fully-finished drafts in sequence, all of which needed changes ranging from the minor to the substantial. Of course the end result was generally worth the process of re-working that took place.
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