Monday, November 30, 2009

Victoria & Albert Café (March 7, 2008)

One of the things I love about London (and that I've mentioned in previous blog posts) is the apparent ability of its planners, architects and residents to work with the historic and the modern together, in ways that diminish neither, and allow some new style to emerge. In some ways London feels like the ultimate Steampunk City.

This picture, taken in the Cafeteria of the V&A (as it's colloquially called), provides an example of the kind of thing I'm referring to. The café had been tastefully constructed into the existing building (nearby toilets were also more or less in their original state) while also incorporating, as the dining/seating area, what appeared to be existing salon or dining room (in which this picture was taken). The huge lamps were one of the new additions that I thought worked unexpectedly well in this setting.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Queen Street West (October 13, 2008)

Thanksgiving Monday, 2008. I think I took this fairly early in the morning, since I was going to meet Lucas, his mother and his sister, for breakfast. I always enjoy the emptiness of usually-busy urban areas on days when most of the stores are closed. Even a regular Sunday would look busier than this, I think. There was also a lovely mist hanging around, which is visible via the effect of buildings fading in the distance.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Development! Interior (late/Winter, 2002)

We managed to get a look inside one of the cookie-cutter houses in an area where I was photographing housing developments. Posing as prospective buyers, we were given free rein to wander through the unfinished house to get a sense of its layout and dimensions. What struck me most was how small it was, how small the rooms were, and also how closely it was packed in between the houses on either side. This spatial restriction, along with the sense of sameness, created an overwhelming effect of feeling stifled and claustrophobic.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Fire at the Old Forum (February 29, 2000)

This building on Mont Royal Avenue burned down during what must have been the course of a morning (from the wee hours, that is). These photos were taken around 8:00-8:30am, and the cold was evidently intense that day since spray from the firemen's hoses was frozen on the nearby trees.

I'm told that the building was of historical importance, I believe it was the Mount Royal Arena. It's now a supermarket. At the time this fire occurred, there had been a number of suspicious fires in the Plateau-Mont Royal district, and it was speculated that due to the rising value of land in the area, many property owners preferred to burn down their old apartment buildings and put up condominiums in their place.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

CatNap (October 7 2009)

Bingley enjoys sleeping in this position on the couch, where he rests himself on the couch cushions and lets his chin sit on the back of the couch. I love the look of his little face sticking over the edge of the couch. For this picture I lay on the floor below him, and took the photo while looking up the back of the couch.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Vine Leaves (May 21, 2007)

This picture was taken at the hostel where Juliet and I stayed in Florence. There was a small but beautiful garden, and these vines were growing freely over the covered area under which there were seats and tables arranged for outdoor eating and lounging. The weather was beautiful (for the entire time I was in Italy) and the sunlight filtering through these leaves brought them to these vivid shades of green, which stood out against the wall of the building in the background.

I think of Italy this way sometimes, a series of beautiful, crisply etched moments--like miniature landscapes, illuminated by the bright spring sun.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lavender Field (July 4, 2009)

On the way from the airport back to my mother's house in Addiscombe, we stopped at this lavender-growing operation, a large field that appeared to billow with a soft carpet of intense purple. The lavender was being organically grown and sold in dried bunches for a small temporary shop set up by the field. There were also lavender soaps, oils, and other products.

Between each row of lavender was a path, and visitors were encouraged to walk around and snap photographs. Purple lines of plants seemed to blend into each other and stretch out to the horizon; bees buzzed and hovered as if stoned by the smell of the flowers.

For this photo I lay on my belly in one of the paths between the rows of plants, and placed the camera on the ground. A forest of lavender appears to tower around me.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Centre for Developing Area Studies: Archaeology Laboratory (14 October 2009)

Taken as I walked up Rue Peel to Mont-Royal, this picture shows what is obviously a department of McGill that is suffering from an advanced case of Irony. I couldn't resist snapping a couple of pictures as I walked by.
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Near the Pond Road, York University (September 30, 2009)

This is one of those images that I almost couldn't capture in the way I hoped (the way I was "seeing" it as I walked past made it seem like a difficult shot), but I'm glad I tried (and succeeded). It can best be described as a moment of York University surreality. Assiniboine road is close to this spot, but not really close enough to justify finding a broken sign strewn across this random layer of shredded wood.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Montréal Pride (August 5, 2001)

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Treaty House Window (January, 2001)

This picture was taken through the window of the Treaty House at Waitangi, looking out across the lawn towards the beautiful Bay of Islands beyond.

Here, New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840. The Treaty is described as New Zealand's "founding document", an agreement between Maori and the British (colonial authority). In spite of its many flaws, the Treaty is a unique document that has been used effectively by Maori in recent decades to fight for, and win, restitution for past wrongdoing by the British/pakeha and for various rights such as the preservation and cultivation of the Maori language (te reo Maori), which was defined as a taonga (treasure) and which must therefore be protected under the Treaty.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Red Velvet Chair (March 15, 2008)

This lovely chair was in the Octagon Room of Flamsteed House at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. I've already posted a couple of pictures from this museum, it was a fascinating place. I particularly liked this room. It was very light and airy--tall windows--and woody, with (of course) the added benefit of ornate clocks and antique telescopes.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rubbish Bin (December 7, 2006)

Something endearingly Canadian: a garbage can at a bus stop near a Tim Hortons, packed with nothing but the special pre-Christmas/winter version of the ubiquitous Tim Horton's paper coffee cup. In Hamilton, no less. I find that Tim Hortons is one of the things I associate most strongly with Canada, since (unlike beavers, moose or Mounties) I tend to see Timmie's around, everywhere, on a more-or-less day-to-day basis. I even remember that my mother, coming over to visit one Christmas (from New Zealand), wanted first to be taken to Tim Hortons for a hot chocolate. The impressions sticks.

I'm heading to Hamilton for the day today, maybe I'll grab a medium-regular at Tim's on the way...
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Horses, New Forest (August, 2004)

My sister got married at a place called New Park, a kind of bed-and-breakfast in the New Forest in Hampshire, England. The New Forest is somewhat known for its horses and ponies; those pictured were usually seen hanging out near the entrance to the drive that led to New Park. I'm not sure if someone "owned" them or if they belonged only to the Forest.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Our Lady of the Leaves (November 15, 2009)

This statue belongs to the (private, I assume) Catholic boys' school that is more or less across the street from the apartment building where I live. Over the past year or so they have been engaging in a short-term capital project, the construction of a performing arts centre, and now that the exterior has been finished they are re-landscaping the front of the school. I caught this statue as if posed amid the leaves that had all been (deliberately?) raked into a pile around her, creating the impression that she is standing not on a pedestal, but on a mound of vegetation--and that she quietly welcomes the approach of winter.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hamilton Sunset (April 20, 2007)

Taken on Queen Street South in the Durand neighbourhood, looking West towards Locke Street.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

On the Road (March, 2004)

Attila the Stockbroker and David Rovics, on tour in Michigan.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

CUPE Flag (10 November, 2008)

Taken on day 5 of the nearly-three-month-long strike at York University, which happened in the middle of year 2 of my PhD study (last year). It hadn't yet gotten really cold, of course.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fundy Mud (July, 1997)

Continuing the theme of water, in this case its absence. The Bay of Fundy is pretty bizarre at low tide. I remember getting a sense of it as this expanse of land that you just couldn't walk over (I'm sure of course this isn't the case, really), possibly because your feet would start sinking in and you'd just keep going down, as if in quicksand... or you'd get stuck, and the tide would come in again. I think there's a distaste that I have for mud that is governing my feelings here, since if all this were sand (as in many places in New Zealand) I know I wouldn't feel the same way.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Water, Île des Sœurs (July, 2001)

One of a series that I took that day at "Nun's Island". Something I've always loved about Montréal is the combination of parks and fresh water (the city proper is on an island, not unlike Manhattan). There are a good number of urban parks to begin with (and "nature parks", as mentioned in this earlier post), and quite a few of them seem to incorporate the river as a central feature, including Parc Jean Drapeau (formerly the more-attractively-and-appropriately-named Parc des Îles), Île de la Visitation, and Pointe-aux-Prairies.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Natsuki (Spring, 2000)

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Waiting for GK (November 14, 2008)

This photo was taken on a trip to parliament Hill in Ottawa for Gerard Kennedy's "swearing-in" ceremony as Minister of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park (Toronto). I think this was another of those occasions where a lot of people were photographing, so I tried to find ways of getting less stereotypical shots.

We waited for a while in this room, I think because they took our lunch to the wrong room and it had to be carted back over to this one. After lunch we headed to a different part of the building for the actual ceremony and photography, during which I did not (ironically) actually get any pictures worth showing (!).

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Milan Airport: Transit Info (May 12, 2007)

This was one of the first things I saw at the airport in Milan (and therefore, in Italy I suppose--since this was my first trip). A sign covered with public transit information in Italian (and with the equivalent of English sub-titles)! This is both wonderful and terrifying, I can tell you. As was the transit system, one I started using it. Fortunately I had Juliet to guide me through the basics.
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Self (December, 2000)

Taken in the side-mirror of the rented car on the drive from Whakatane to Rotorua.
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Friday, November 6, 2009

Outdoor Film Screening: "Citizen Kane" (August, 2005)

Place des Arts, Montréal, a fine summer evening and a classic film. This was fun--like watching TV outside with a bunch of strangers.

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