Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Talk and Travel

I have thought about what to say, but I think I will pass for a day or two, upload that part later.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

November 30th 2006 sketches

A couple of drawings with Pentel markers, I got from Leslie Kriekle in 1997 maybe.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Shadows are so mysterious, so melancholic.

For me, these shadows speak about the east end of the city, the end of the day as everything elongates.

Somehow there is a sadness in it, like the day being drawn to a close, an unfulfilled promise.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

From My Archives...(recent work 2003-4)

I went routing around the hardrive today, not really sure what I was looking for, but in the end, I came across a whack of images shot in panoramic with the Hasselbad x-pan, a true 35mm panoramic camera.

The first two shots were taken during Purim celebrations at the Minsk Synagogue
in Kensington Market. http://www.theminsk.com

This last image is, I guess, a fairly common image of Pride parade in Toronto. This was shot around Younge north of College. Looking at this obscured man in the hat and the frame carrier, it looked to me like I had been waiting for Henri Cartier-Bresson's decisive moment.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Photographic Finds

Went to an collectable and hobby show for old cameras.

My idea was to get an (yet another) old camera or maybe find something for my girlfriend. In the end, i ended up getting really taken by a booth which had stereoscopic photos from WW1 and some old photos from the 30's to the 60's.

The first two images here are daguerreotypes of two men who I wondered if they were rogues, upstanding men or peasants- or all of the above perhaps.

All the stereotypes I picked up were related to either WW1 or the Boer War. There were hundreds of images of destroyed buildings, craters in the french countryside and US g.i.s pracitising drills.

The pictures from the 30s and later seemed more touching to me as we know that more than likely these pictures, which were taken in a personal capacity have all come to sale as people passed away. Surely, almost all the people pictured were already deceased, seemed almost a bit morbid to be dealing in other people's memories.

Lastly, it was a bit creepy but I had to pick up a couple of mug shots from the early 40s, this guy looked the most suspicious of the bunch.

Oh sure, you had a regular assortment of leather necked somewhat brutish looking youths but this guy, Hersch no less, had a real air of professionalism about him.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Protest Song

This series of images were taken 2 days after the Iraq war started. March 22nd, 2003 an anti-war rally was organised in Toronto and that is when I discovered that the opposite of war was not in fact peace, but anger, rage, and a litany of jingo-istic catchy slogans on placards. The first image being the case in point.

What does this image really mean? It is obvious what it implies, but if you really dissect this image, does it imply these people in power believe in a Hindu good luck symbol? That is no more silly then their alliance to the third Reich, or gasp....Are they part of the emerging fourth Reich???

whether it was creepy riot police with their own slogans like " leave the area immediately, Tear Gas will be deployed" " think of your children, leave the area" to people getting children to hold up their ideology, slogans, a massive ad campaign.

All a bit much really, so I thought till OCAP came and made the protest violent...Wasn't this an anti-war (thus anti-violence) protest? I thought as pieces of 2x4 hurled through the air, fell short of police and hit other protesters.

Odd to me was a sign saying that coke heads should not be president....Should we do away with social and rehabilation programs?????? what was going on in this weird crew?

I just got the hell out of there, and had a nap.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The streets of San Francisco

These shots were taken much earlier this year, I guess around late February or early March. I had been working for the same place for about 5 years and i just had my falling down moment, i just bought a ticket online one night and then on a sunday called in and said i would not be coming in on monday, actually not at all as i was going to california 'to sort some things out..."

Who the fuck sorts out things in california? " I just want to sort out my fake tan... my excessive tribal tattoo or how blonde my hair is..." -these are things you sort out in CA.

San Francisco was my first stop, I liked biking around the city, i mainy stuck to the flatter streets and i know that makes me a cop-out but i just had a few days.

Anyways, with my Holga, I shot these panoramic images in the core of the city. I had just rode into this area and i felt pretty hyper trying to keep up with a crew of cyclists and couriers.

I felt so Kevin Bacon in Quicksilver!


So, I have been going through my ongoing and on-growing catalogue of images, where I came upon this image of Chris, taken with my 4x5 cambo camera. This shot was taken in the back of Jet Fuel, difficult enough just to get it back there,let alone shoot for a couple of hours.

I bumped into Chris just the other day. We went for a drink at Sweaty Betties and he is the Bartender. On the cold and windy night we visited him, he treated us to wine and very generously poured whiskey.

Our man Chris.

Post October

The month of October seems to have slipped through my fingers with narry a update on this blog, a serious problem!

So, for the past few months I have been doing a large amount of Photo-Assisting, it is a strange job at times: there has been times where i was being paid to colour in a colouring book that was to be included into a shot; picked leaves off of autumn trees as the fake leaves we brought looked too "fake"; held a strobe light outside of a plane on the tarmac at 1am to get light along the windows to having a photographer sit on my shoulders in a vineyard before the light disappeared.

Here, is a small sample of the average day on the shot:

Here I am, holding a colour correction card in front of yes, a trampoline, the benefits of a catalogue shot. In between shots, i had a couple of good jumps and a light relaxing snooze in the Dora the Explorer version.

It maybe hard to see me, but there i am holding on to the photographic equailvalent of a parasail: Foamcore. This item is important to cut down on reflections on shiny objects like cars, but man when that thing catches the wind, its 4x8 feet of hang time.

I thought I looked a bit like that image of 'kilroy was here'

And lastly, those fashion product shots are not all serious affairs.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

October 25th, 2006 High School Year book ink sketches

What was the idea here? Well, I was rifting off a bunch of high school mug shots of people I knew in passing from my 1990 high school year book, a la Crumb I guess, there is another page full.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


This picture was shot around the early afternoon on a typical busy day in Calcutta, back in 2001.

Read a travel book, and they will mention the traffic is frenetic, and that there is 30 plus traffic fatalities a day-which is clearly horrible. But, travel one day in the city, and you will think,"...only 30 a day? that is incredible!"

One day, I just stood on the edge of the market and shot a photo each minute, barely changing angle, just refocusing, framing and shooting. What came out of this roll of film is 36 utterly distinct images ( you could even say worlds) even though the area shot is very small. In one image, a Sadhu or holy man grimaces while walking across the street, another a boy selling bright clothes pins jumps in front of the camera and in this image, many different things are happening.

In the centre, a man walks with an entire booth on his back: stand, pepsi advert, poori puff balls and a variety of sauces. To the left, a rickshaw wallah walks the streets.

At the time of this shot, I did not notice the man and child which are the defacto centre of attention. The man is in his salwar kamiz and the boy has this semi-western outfit on, complete with tie. At first glance, they seem to be sharing a tense moment which, upon inspection, more akin to a tenderness of father and child.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Me man Georgie

Still pouring over the images from my recent trip to the UK.
I have yet to scan much of the negatives

(hard to concentrate while listening to Styx and Mr. Roboto-crap was this song bad! product placement in a song "...my heart is human, my brain IBM.")

EGAD, I digress...

I was scanning some of the negs from this 6x6 bellows Kodak camera I bought in Portobello Road, ("where fortunes are bought and fortunes are sold" so sang Angela Lansbury) and came across my super cool uncle George. He is 82 years old and absolutely piss and vinegar. The last of the great dudes.

He left morocco to join the British forces in WWII, man what a life of hardship and an amazing ability to laugh at "la vita" as he would say (he was stationed in Italy)

On my recent trip, we had a ritual of making sandwiches, mint tea and then loads of ice cream to beat the heat. I am willing to bet he may eat the most ice cream bars, cones and mugs of ice cream for anyone in his age and weight class (less than 10 stone)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Hero

Adam and Steve

Return of the Originals

Yes, the Action Man images from a few years back.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Personal History

Painted in the tones of my mother's kitchen (before she made her brown macrame curtain opus)I hold a net with my first caught fish, a bottom feeding carp.

The T-shirt I am wearing had an iron-on transfer from Hunt's Tomato paste, why anyone would want an iron-on transfer of the label from this product is beyond me, but for some reason, I liked having this red label on the obverse of the Blue Jay logo.

I was aware of something going on with SILVER at that time, I knew the name Hunt's was involved and thus deduced that it was the Hunt brothers, using their money from tomato paste, to try and corner the world market of silver.

How was I to know they were not related?

The Hunt brother's who tried to buy up all the world's silver made money with oil, which seems more logical. In 1980 the price sky-rocketed from $2 an once to $54 before crashing to $10.

I wanted a bar of silver, for a paper weight.

Perhaps watching the news at was not always a great idea for a kid.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Sino-Soviet Border 1980

Oh those Russians

Soviets resupply their bases, not realising what an insane futile venture Afghanistan will be for them (until Chechnya)

Some of the top ten reasons never to get involved in Afghanistan:

Sly Stallone, as John Rambo, fights alongside the black turbaned Mujahadin, to get rid of the soviet infidels. (RAMBO III-no silly, 3 not i i i)

Eloquently stated in the Princess bride as the number 1 most important thing not to do:

Never get involved in a land war in Asia (number 2 was 'never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line' and then Vizzini, the genius Sicilian promptly dies from Iocaine-at the hands of the man in black-not Johnny Cash silly)

and obviously, the utter useless waste of human life.

Iraq-Iran War

An iconic image of Baghdad under attack, by their neighbours that is; the war would lead to over one million deaths in 8 years.

Famously, Iranian religious zealots went over the top with just a picture of the Ayatollah Khomeini pinned to their chest-to a barrage of bullets and obviously 72 virgins within seconds.


To the 'Rescue'

The US fleet headed off to the Persian Gulf, during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

everyone knows that history is amazingly repetitive, but in just 20 years?

It seems a bit much really.

Incidently, the insane colour scheme is from the ceiling in my parent's basement. My father had made a 'hung ceiling' with these brightly (a la 1960s) coloured boards.


Clerics in the Iranian parliament, slowly and totally bringing the army, civil service and the media under their control.

You think the "Chad" scenario of the 2000 election was bad? In 1980, the ballots in the Iranian presidential election were blank and were left to a local mullah to fill out, as the illiteracy rate at the time was 50%.

Burgundy wine is how I would describe my brother's wainscoting details, which serve as a background colour for this image. The wainscoting was an important detail in his room, as it effectively framed his Led Zeppelin (in concert) mural-figures were slightly larger than life size although, if the truth be known, I alwalys felt that John Paul Jones always looked stiff and a little small in the right corner. Mr. JP Jones does kinda look like that in real life: He played with King Crimson at Massey Hall back in 2001...I was working at the hall at the time, what a crew of freaks in the auidence.

Ok Ok, all you Led Zeppelin fans chill out, that does not mean I don't like them. I know they played one date in Toronto at the Masonic temple, JPJ had a Richenbacher blah blah blah, he is a bassist-need I say more?

Oh, as for King Crimson-whatever.

Liberian Regime Change- 1980s style

This image of a military coup in Liberia, where the previous regime is being summarily executed lends a window into the world of politics, the military and conflict in Africa.

(beige of the upstairs bathroom and brown from the downstairs tiles-with hints of my bedroom's baby blue form the colour scheme)

The 1980s project-REDUX

So I have been going over my 'catalogue' as I have been thinking about a project I started to work on in 2000.

I was looking into the US leasing of a port in Yemen back in 1980 which is where the U.S.S Cole was attacked by a suicide bomber (yes, by 'the Base' people) in 2000. It happened when I was in San Diego, a huge Marines town. I think about 17 people died, one of them was a woman from San Diego.

Even then, there was a palatable sense that not for the death of a local girl, the story would not have been covered-300 million stories in America, why look outside kind of thing-

I started to think about how the events of 1980, the implications of what was then happening (2000) were being felt, like almost the crop, the '80 cuvee was being sampled. When you look at it, the US giving money to the Mujaheddin to fight the Ruskies, terrorist bombings in Europe, Iran being under control of religious leaders (after the fall of the Shah) and Iraq at war (with Iran) All together, 1980 was the first year of the 21st century.
The colour schemes of these paintings are based on my parent's house through the late 70s and mid-80s. The harvest golds, the avacado, shag toliet seat covers-all of it, emblazoned on my mind and those colours are now put to use to depict the coup in Liberia, Naval ships and Royal beheadings in Saudi.

The image is of the newly leased port in Yemen circa 1980, with hints of Dusty Rose-bay window drapes

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Art Aficionados

Last night I stopped by Miles and Jan's place-These great people (yes, i met them at the Jet) are becoming patrons of the arts I swear!

They have been immensly supportive and the walls of their home is lined with all kinds of art, a real fun eclectic mix. Photos, paintings and tin wind-up toys- a visual treat.

As my dad used to say about our house, they have so much art-they are going to have to hang stuff on the ceiling soon.