Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

City Policy

I’d vaguely paid attention to the city’s interesting new snow removal policy — let nature do it — but now I understand their new attitude. If you look out from way up on high, the sun seems to be melting all that snow, not much of the white stuff left…compared to a couple of days ago anyway. And then you walk out the front door and enter a tunnel of snow, banks knee-deep high, then hip-high, and finally waist-high. You step out onto your friendly neighbourhood road where surely the going will be easier, the snow ruts being only calf-high. But mushy is harder to walk on than packed.

The weather forecasters said there would only be a few flurries on Saturday, just lake effect flakes, they said before the big storm would hit. I’m not sure who underestimated that lake effect more: the forecasters or the city, for the city thought it wasn’t worth hauling the plows out for, according to the media, until well after the real storm hit, leading to more and more interesting driving on the day the forecasters said go out and shop for tomorrow shall be impassable. And today as we face more flurries this week, we’d better get used to those snow ruts rising as the city believes that if there’s a sun, even if it’s behind crying clouds, there’s no need for a plow. Their years-old policy of not clearing laneways has grown to encompass side streets. Our tax dollars are far better spent on parking lots and growing capital debt than on basic city services. Well, at least there is one good thing — the struggle to walk out of our side streets to the cleared main streets should build up those flabby thigh muscles and burn that spare tire. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Autumn in North York


World Press Photo 2007


One of my favourite photographic events to hit the city and now in its 6th year at Brookfield Place, World Press Photo. The exhibit showcases the finest in photojournalism. Art that makes you think, laugh and cry. (There are some disturbing images though they are tactfully displayed and shielded from general public view).

I was interested to hear there is little to no budget for this project and that it survives on sponsorship and donations. Amazing! They have even gone so far as have a Globe & Mail photographer, professors, photo editors and other media professionals providing free lectures for the public. Better yet high school students have had tours of the show as part of their curriculum. I couldn’t think of a better idea. All the sponsors and volunteers should be commended for their efforts. You make Toronto proud!

Well check it out before 6pm today because the exhibition will be on its way to Belgium… That’s right Montreal and Toronto are (or were) the only Canadian stops for this International exhibit.

World Press Photo 2007

Allen Lambert Galleria,
Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place)
181 Bay St, Toronto
October 2 – 24, 2007

7am – 10pm daily – including Sundays
Closes Wednesday, October 24 at 6pm

(Today is the last Day!!!)

Project Positivity on Display


The fruits of a truly amazing community project are up on display until October 26th. Jamel Shabazz is a photographer, philantropist, documentarian and to some a living legend from Brooklyn NY. This past August he mentored eighteen young aspiring photographers, living in at risk communities in Toronto. The youth took up residence at the Alexandra Park Community Centre and learned the fundamentals of photography. Jamal, partnership with Manifesto Community Projects and a group of four Toronto photographers (Matt Barnes, Alexis Finch, Talia Shipman, and Angie Choi) provided workshops to teach the youths skills such as shooting, computer editing, printing, and curating. And so POSITIVITY – Seven Days In August was born.

Project: Positivity‘s goal was to help inner city youth find paths out of difficult situations and expose them to art and provide them new skills along the way. Jamel Shabazz has showcased his work along side his selections of these young photographers at 394 Queen West. Prints of Jamal’s world acclaimed work are being sold with the proceeds to go to Schools Without Borders, My City My Story and the Alexandra Community Centre. His new book, BACK IN THE DAYS, is also available at the show.

Not to be missed!!!

Jamal Shabazz – Project: Positivity
as part of the Red Bull Academy
394 Queen Street West
Runs till Oct 27th
11am till 8pm

The School Bus

When I was growing up, we all walked to our local school or, when older, took the TTC. So it was a bit perplexing when I noticed many years ago, an increasing number of these small school buses motoring into my quiet neighbourhood at some ghastly hour of the morning to pick up a kid or two. Why on earth were kids in Toronto being bussed to school, I wondered? I also noticed more and more parents driving their children to school when the children could easily have walked. That left me scratching my head.

Toronto ain’t that dangerous. We have the lowest crime rate in the country; it’s probably proportionately better now than when I was growing up because it’s the young who commit the crimes and the boomers were all in that age category back then, and now they’re old geezers uninterested in committing crimes. Also, wherever I turn, there’s a Catholic school or a public school or both. So why the need to drive and bus the kids? I understand bussing in suburban areas or the country where distances are great, but in Toronto?! Have people lost their minds and become so paranoid that they’ve lost the art of teaching older kids responsibility and trust by having them walk the younger kids to school; and teaching older kids how to navigate the streets on their own; and teaching children how to avoid danger and learning the feeling of confidence and competence by doing it on their own? It’s not like there were no pedophiles around when I was young. I was just taught to spot them, stay away, or where and how to go for help.

The End and The Beginning

Summer is over. All that’s left is the reflection of it in our memories, or it feels like that anyway with the return of cooler temps, the appearance of fall colour (awfully early, I may add), and the start of the new (school) year. To me this part of the year is the real New Year. January 1st always feels so trumped up in comparison. It’s a beautiful time of year, my favourite time when it’s warm enough not to need a jacket but not so hot one is left listless on the couch. It’s a time of beginnings and new hope. I wish you all a happy end of summer and start of a new year!

Lunar Eclipse in Toronto

Observing the sky from Toronto is usually a mug’s game because of all the light pollution — made worse when the neighbours have bright spotlights in their back yards — but I have seen meteors successfully from a park, and I actually saw several stars early this morning when I got up to hunt for the moon. Last night, as it has been for three nights now, the full moon shone brighter than a giant searchlight in the sky, so I figured it would be easy for me to find early this morning. Nope. Toronto’s trees in August are massively leafed out and the eclipsing moon was low in the western sky and dropping fast.

Astronomers like a lunar eclipse to occur in the blackest part of the night, around 1 or 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock in the morning. Too early for me. I much preferred it as it was in Toronto time, just before the dawn. I got up around 5:15 am, staggered around a bit as I woke up, found the moon, set up the camera, and began shooting, moving the camera after almost every shot because the moon was plunging so fast down the sky and behind the trees I almost couldn’t keep up. I only hoped the street would remain empty of cars. Not once while I was shooting the moon did I long for my bed. Now if it had been 2:00 am….

I thought the lack of telephoto length would be my biggest impediment to a good shot, but it was actually the speed of the moon sinking in the Toronto sky — it was moving so fast, I could actually see the beginning and end of its 30-second trajectory in some of my shots. Next year, the eclipse will be at the perfect time for astronomers in Toronto on February 21, 2008. Make a date to bundle up for a night out with the stars and moon and to go without sleep!

Cameras in Toronto

I blame Flickr.

Have you noticed lately the proliferation of cameras in Toronto? I’m not talking security cams, staring down at us from rectangular prisons or watching cyborg-like from big round houses. I’m talking the little point and shoots, the old film SLRs, the newer digital SLRs, all being carried around and aimed by Torontonians of both genders and almost all ages. No longer can you say for certain that that camera-toting person is a tourist. Now we Torontonians have become tourists, photography tourists, in our own city. It’s fun. It’s neat. And we’re the best thing that’s happened in years to promote tourism to Toronto.

Taste of the Danforth

Eons ago, I used to go to the Taste of the Danforth fairly regularly. I even have vague memories of when it only took up part of the street. Now, it’s crowded and hot almost from the time it begins until it ends. I went this year less for the food and more for the photographic opportunities (I’m still uploading my photos to my Flickr site, slowly, slowly). The crowd was in a good mood, the food was in demand, and the lemonade was in even greater demand. The only thing I didn’t like was…

New Target Market for TTC

Lost in the Crowd

When you really have to be there on time, Ride The Rocket.

fuzzy cell phone image by me.

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