I’m delighted to be part of the “Evolution” show opening tomorrow at North York Arts Centre on Yonge Street near Sheppard Avenue West. Evolution (Four years together) is mixed-media art exhibit that celebrates the artwork done by Art Starts’ Platform A micro-grant recipients, 2013-17. There’ll be spoken word, videos, documentaries, African dance, belly dance, hip-hop dance, drag show, visual arts, sculptures and much more. The evening promises to be very lively and will be my first time seeing so many artists’ work together blending cultures and embracing community!
About my work:
Surface Excess is about the layers of time that pass us on a daily basis. Combining images of nature, a city in passing and humanity together through 35mm double exposure photography allows the blending of ever changing materials into one succinct metaphor. Existence and an acknowledgement of temporality are ideas in conversations using the motifs of leaves, color, light, shadow, form and landscape. The use of analogue materials (35mm film) is essential to the authentic layering of passing moments in time.Using the tactile quality of film makes me appreciate how precious each negative is, there only being 24 or 36 exposures per roll. It is through the medium of film photography that I must calculate each negative per roll of film, to understand not to be trigger-happy, to be as calm and appreciative of moments in time and to candidly record them, to remember that to make a good photo, you have to live or aspire to live in that frame or that perfect moment in passing. Otherwise, what worth is there to being behind the lens?
***Update – Double Exposure: Cyclists of Toronto is now SOLD OUT***
Now that the project is just about finished I have a limited number of books available for sale. Cost is $15 and you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on making an order. More information can be found below or if you click here.
About the book:
This photography book features 35mm film double exposure portraits of 16 cyclists and their favourite places to cycle in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. I am indebted to the 16 wonderful people that you will meet in this book.
I can finally announce that my book is printed and just about ready for its launch this Friday, June 9th from 7-10pm at bikeSauce!
You can imagine how nervous I was waiting to see and touch the publication. Naturally I’m a little but nervous for how it will be received – only one participants has seen his image. That’s John Gibson, the gentleman that has been on the poster you may have already seen.
The book will cost $15 CAD (incl. HST) and will be on sale at bikeSauce. On the night of the launch, proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards the fundraiser No Bici, No Fiesta, there’s also a film screening fundraiser I highly recommend checking out at CineCycle on June 10th. There’s going to be a range of films being show that talk about Mexican bicycle culture. Beer, food, merchandise and a super raffle are some more great reasons to attend the CineCycle event.
My book will also be on sale at the A Show on June 22nd at Artscape Youngplace – this will be where you can see more of my fellow Micro-grant recipients’ work and also my installation of the portraits! Organized by ArtStarts check out their website for ways to participate in their projects!
You are invited to bikeSauce for the launch of “Double Exposure: Cyclists of Toronto” on June 9th, 7-10pm.
This book features 35mm film double exposure portraits of 16 cyclists & their favourite places to cycle in Toronto and the GTA. The book is about cycling and the meaning of memory and space. Portrait sessions resulted in a series of unique double exposure portraits taken at select locations. Together, as photographer and participant, we created these portraits that blend and embed person and place together.
Proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards the fundraising event “No Bici, No Fiesta”, organized by bikeSauce and volunteers. Vegetarian food will be served and there will be creative activities to get involved in. Please note that bikeSauce will not be doing any bike repairs on this evening.
The last few weeks have been very busy with getting all the processed negatives of my 16 participants digitized. I’ve special cotton gloves for loading and unloading the filmstrip holder – it takes 6 negatives and I pass the strip through an OpticFilm 7300 scanner. SilverFast has been a great program to work with, I’ve been able to spot any dust or scratches and balance the tones between the layers of images on film. I didn’t want to have to use Photoshop other than for repairing any deep scratches and changing the CMYK color profile for print. SilverFast has given me more control with the balance of light and gradation with these strips of film. In total, I spent more time scanning the negatives and perfecting the light more than any other task in the project.
Here’s a photo of a test negative I’ve stuck to my living room window. It inspires me to move positions and re-frame the image in the negative 🙂 Lots of ideas have come about since having this little reminder at my desk.
Scarborough is an area I’ve been to maybe once or twice. Myself and my wife have been to the golf club for a Christmas party in 2016 in the night time only accessing the area by motorway. When I met Kathleen first I had heard that she lived and commuted from Scarborough. I know maybe one other friend that lives in this area. Both of them are very enthusiastic about the trail path called the “Waterfront Trail”. I believe that this trail is divided into three sections East being Scarborough, Toronto being Central and Etobicoke being West. You can enjoy the scenery of Rouge Beach, Rouge Bridge and views of the lake and Toronto.
Here are come connections for the trail paths stretching across from East to West:
Martin Goodman Trail – Waterfront Trail runs along this trail in Downtown Toronto
Rouge Park Trails (www.rougepark.com) connects to the Oak Ridges Moraine
Etobicoke River Trail intersects with the Waterfront Trail at Marie Curtis Park
Tommy Thompson Trail intersects with the Waterfront Trail in South Humber Park
Unfortunately for me I had a flat tire just after I cycled from Kingston Road. I spent as much time as I could in the sun at Rouge Hill taking photographs for Kathleen’s portrait. I will return and enjoy more of the trail again. The lookout post is definitely a picnic friendly area!
At Rouge Hill GO Station with my flat tire…
Queen Street Bridge was Steve’s location. Recently I posted about Shellie’s choice of the Humber Bay Arch Bridge – a meeting point that is used for catching up with her husband Steve when they have cycling excursions. Also known as the Queen Street Viaduct, the bridge is one of the few steel Truss bridges in the city. I’d no idea what this meant, so when I read about it I decided to quote Wikipedia as it best explains what kind of bridge this one is:
“A truss bridge is a bridge whose load-bearing superstructure is composed of a truss, a structure of connected elements usually forming triangular units. The connected elements (typically straight) may be stressed from tension, compression, or sometimes both in response to dynamic loads. Truss bridges are one of the oldest types of modern bridges.”
Eldon Garnett created the artwork of the clock and quote on the bridge – “this river I step in is not the river I stand in.” (Heraclitus, philosopher). This is part of a three site art piece, I plan to visit the remaining sites. I understand that the clock no longer works, in 2010 the mechanism and hands were removed.
Queen Street Bridge
As you can see there are four lanes of traffic, there is never a dull moment on this bridge! I tried many times to stand in the middle of the road to take a photo in the late afternoon of a Wednesday a few weeks ago. I think only once could I get into the middle and take some photos. Taxis honking, TTC streetcars advancing…. and a few pedestrians that gave me very strange looks as I dared to stand still and adjust my lens!
Erica’s location took me on the trail paths of the Don Valley not too far away from the Prince Edward Viaduct (about a 20min ride). I’d been there previously with Marcus for his location photos. Both sites on the Don Valley were quite different from each other. Marcus’ location included scenery of apartment buildings which were built on land that he played on as a child. Erica chose the Elevated Wetlands (I was later to hear of a different title – Taylor Creek Park) as it is part of her commuting life. The trail path along this route has charming artwork of fish, streams and bicycles with words of encouragement. You’ll see some of the Don River making it’s way into my photographs. You wouldn’t think that this scene of natural beauty has a mixed soundtrack of the passing vehicles on the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) as well as the gushing motion of the river.
Don Valley Trail Path/Taylor Creek Park
What I enjoyed most about this visit (back in late April) was coming off of the path to get closer to the stream. I couldn’t see very much in the water, it moved so swiftly but I can only imagine that the fish, amphibians and insects are moving in sync with the cars on the DVP.
I can share with you some images taken on my phone from the last few meetups with my Double Exposure participants. The marvelous sights I’ve seen as a recent immigrant to Toronto….I am delighted! I am very grateful for the time given to the preparation of the book – such generous and passionate cyclists have I met 🙂
Brian and I cycled from Etobicoke to his location of Riverside Cemetery & Cremation Centre for his photograph. He captured me in my cycling gear layering the remaining location photography on top of his portrait. I must admit that shooting in overcast weather has been most effective. The sun can cause funky flares on my lens that I may not notice until after processing.
Photograph by Brian Neary
Closeby to Brian (well, almost….on my way to Etobicoke) I passed what was to be Shelley’s location – Humber Bay Arch Bridge at the mouth of the Humber river. This site is a decent 30min cycle from Downtown Toronto. Using the Martin Goodman trail (pedestrian and cyclist friendly) makes it a very easy journey. There are lots of opportunities to stop, park your bike and enjoy the view of the lake. When you get to the bridge you go up a slight hill and then are suddenly in view of the stunning white supports that frame this bridge. There are some quirky features too – see the images below. What adorable sculpted characters that are embedded into the bridge side! There are carved symbols marking the native heritage of what was the “Toronto Carrying Place” trail. I had no idea about the meaning of the bridge at all before arriving here. The trail is an ancient aboriginal trading route leading north.
Geometric patterns that line the curve of the bridge – Designed in 1994 by Montgomery Sisam Architects of Toronto and Delcan Corporation (thanks Wikipedia!).
View from the path just under the bridge at the mouth of the river.
Just off of Dundas Street East near Yonge Street it Victoria Street Lane where there is a vibrant bicycle mural. This is where I shot the location photographs for Ali. The first time I visited it there had been an added artwork of Donald Trump! Fortunately, the Trump remark/image had been cleared away in time for Ali’s photographs. If you are a Ryerson student you may be familiar with the mural as it’s a very good shortcut to the library and Ryerson Image Centre. I think the mural is around 10 years old, it’s looking great for its age. Ali’s portrait was taken only about 100m from this location. He organizes a group bicycle ride on the last Friday of every month (starting in April), this is when I photographed him and joined his group.
I finished up the last round of portrait photography in the middle of March and now I’m meeting participants one on one to talk about their chosen location. My bicycle has been taken on 4 journeys around Toronto. We’ve been very lucky with the weather for some photo shoots whilst other times needed to be rescheduled.
On the first weekend of April I journeyed with Lee to Kensington market nice and early on Sunday morning. Lee’s shots consisted of the colorful street art and alleyways of Kensington. We took some snaps of the sculptural gardens and installations along the way too. That same afternoon I travelled to Dundas West to meet Jess and photograph the bike trail that she lives near and also taught a friend to cycle on. Regardless of where you travel to in Toronto there’s been some outstanding, funky graffiti.
I’m fresh from a beautiful trip to the Don Valley with Marcus, we visited the bridge near to where he had many adventures as a child. Marcus pointed out parts of the landscape that has since been redeveloped into housing. The nature hasn’t changed too much, one could find deer footprints along the path by the water. Later in the afternoon I met Andrew, aka Pie and we cycled all the way out to the charming lighthouse at Leslie Spit. The view of Toronto was remarkable, you could see Hamilton, Mississauga and even a bit of the Scarborough Bluffs.
Yesterday, Christopher met me at Cherry Street BBQ and we cycled through the marina area to get a view of the CN Tower, skyline and boats in the water. Tina and I met in Jack Goodlad park where she showed me the trail that she enjoys that was part of her childhood. The were some beautiful lilac snowdrop close-ups beside the metal bridge over the railway that were a stunning surprise. We also flipped the camera over to take some unusual compositions of the landscape.
Friday the 14th is when I’ll meet John next 🙂 We’re heading to another bike path that is just 20min away from where I live, shame on me for never having been there before!
I’d my 3rd workshop this weekend just past (March 4th) at bikeSauce. Below are the film rolls of fellow cyclists Jennifer, Erica and Christopher. I’ve been doing short presentations to show my participants the successful way to plan their double exposure. We’ve had a range of setups from white backgrounds to grey and even using the tools and backdrop of bikeSauce, every workshop so far has offered me a terrific range of cyclist explorers!
Excuse the quick snaps taken on my phone, the real photos of participants will be ready hopefully in May 🙂