Friday, October 14, 2011

For those paying attention, Sofia is two months old.  And she's still fuckin' perfect.  She coos and smiles and . . . . well, poops, cries, sleeps, and pees.  Same old, in many ways, but if you're her Guncle, you notice every gained-pound and strengthened vertebrae!  I mean, come on, look how she's holding that head up and smizing.  

(October 14, 2011   4:55PM)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of working with Ela and Martin (the team behind the super-chic handbag line Ela) on photos for their holiday line.  We shot in the ultra-impressive midtown apartment of Jennifer Ferreira (see more photos here, from Canadian House & Home) who let us run wild in her space.  I couldn't take my eyes off the architectural details and how the light crept over the walls, into all the nooks and crannies of this startling large apartment.  It just kept going!  Bright walls with high-gloss black doors, moulding for days and the most beautiful windows I've ever seen.  (Not to mention Jennifer's collection of stunning furniture and perfectly-arranged artwork and accessories.) 

It made good sense to shoot Ela's handbags here.  Like the space, these bags are elegant without being fussy, ensuring the wearer is the main attraction.  Her signature clutch (the M.I.L.C.K. - money, ID, lipstick, cell, keys) is a terrific, available in a variety of materials and finishes.  Holiday 2011 features the fur and leather, in black-on-black and a deep hunter green.  

And from the apartment to the bags to beautiful Ela herself, the whole thing was kind of pretty-overload.  I was dizzy!

(The outrageously attractive Ela and Martin at last week's Topshop dinner.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

We just returned from a glorious weekend at the cottage.  25°C and sunny: Definitely a rare Thanksgiving.  We sunned ourselves on the dock, drank gin and lemonade and slept comfortably in the bunky - Not typical for October in this part of the world.  More common would be cool days and freezing nights, grey and dank at the very least.

I took about a thousand pictures, but none with a legitimate camera.  All with my iPhone and posted to Instagram, which I've written about before.  In the months since that post, it's really taken over and has even replaced Twitter for some of my friends. So far the app is only available to iPhone users, so if you've got one, download it and join the fun.  Below are some snaps from the cottage this weekend, a sea of gorgeous Fall colours and beautiful low sunlight.  Even without an iPhone, you can follow my images here.  

And why not some more music to go with this lingering warm spell.  Enjoy.

Songs for Record Highs

  1. Ritual Union - Little Dragon
  2. I Want Your (Hands on Me) - Sinead O'Connor
  3. Baby - Devendra Banhart
  4. Hurry Hurry - Jessie Baylin
  5. My Baby Left Me - Creedence Clearwater Revival
  6. Heartbreaker - Metronomy
  7. Somebody That I Used to Know - Gotye
  8. Heartbroken, in Disrepair - Dan Auerbach
  9. Ten Cent Pistol - The Black Keys
10. Don't Make Me a Target - Spoon
11. Strangers in the Wind - Cut/Copy
12. Heart is a Beating Drum - The Kills
13. High Summer - Jason Collett
14. Rhythm and Soul - Spoon
15. Long as I Can See the Light - Creedence Clearwater Revival


Note: To keep the songs in this order (and you should!) select all the files in the folder and then drag them into a New Playist you've created in iTunes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Topshop + Topman have made their long-awaited debut in Canada.  In celebration, The Hudson's Bay Company (who partnered with Sir Philip Green to bring the brand across the pond) hosted a slew of events, which meant two big days of dinners and parties and appearances for me to photograph.  (See more images here.)

On Tuesday night all of Toronto's hippest and too-cool-for-schoolest filled The Hoxton (a new club/concert venue at King and Bathurst) for a private party and show by The Kills.  Somehow I've been out of the loop where this band is concerned.  While everybody was buzzing with excitement for the intimate show in this smaller-than-they're-used-to venue, I was indifferent, merely a hired gun staking out a good vantage point to shoot the band. 

Imagine my surprise when a skulking, writhy, sexy Alison Mosshart and a brooding Jamie Hince (ie. Kate Moss' husband and personal friend of Topshop-CEO Green) took the stage with their rough blues-rock.  While they overwhelmed the space (not to mention my side-stage positioning wasn't exactly sound-friendly) I dug their obvious chemistry and could tell the music was strong.

I downloaded their latest album (Blood Pressures) and was surprised by the polish and heart.  It's been on repeat for days.  I can't get enough.  

DOWNLOAD a track ("Nail in my Coffin") and go fetch the rest wherever you buy music.

Also part of the store opening extravaganza, I shot photos of British band Friendly Fires.  See those here.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I was trained in photography at a very commercial school.  In what now seems like a deeply vintage mode, I learned to shoot perfume bottles and cereal boxes on a 4x5 view camera.  Huddled there beneath a black cloak, I cut my teeth and squinted at inverted images while learning the basics of food styling and the ins-and-outs of studio lighting and film processing. Innumerable hours spent in the gloomy yellow light of the darkroom, timers ticking.   I learned the trade of photography with classes in Fashion Portraiture and Photojournalism, and while creative, it was very skills-based.  We were taught, in many ways, to be technicians.

Whenever I talk about my training or photography in general, these details come up a lot.  I'm quick to differentiate between my school and those like OCAD, who focus on the art.  I've been hesitant to blur the lines, modest about my own "artistry", likely just a protective mechanism, an odd bit of armour to ensure only my role as technical conduit is expected.

But, surely, I have the temperament of an artist.  And when I look through my camera I see more than f-stops and shutter speeds.  In the weeks since "I'm a photographer," has become a common statement, my pendulum is beginning to swing and I suddenly don't want to be seen as merely a tradesman with an expensive camera.  I want to allow myself a bit of artistry.  Allow the confidence to, in my quiet moments, be one . . . maybe.  It seems so bold to go calling yourself an artist.

But unlike a plumber clearing a drain, I'm attempting to capture something else.  When I take a photo of you, I want you to look pretty, sure, and always standing in great light.  But I also want you to look like yourself. And I'm not just talking about smile lines and age, or a hair out of place for reality's-sake.  When I see you through my camera, I see your spirit, the energy of your discomfort, perhaps, which might tell me something about you.  Or your biggest smile, the laugh between poses.  And it's these things, more than your best angle, I want to see.  

And so, while I always hope to snap a well-composed frame, well-lit and technically sound, I want the magic too.  And that's the part that makes me want to keep doing this.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

After my last post, I got a Tweet from Nathan saying thanks, particularly for including the Antony and the Johnsons track "My Lord, My Love" in the mix.  (For those that follow closely, I include Antony on almost all of my quieter/moodier playlists). I was shocked to hear this was the first he'd heard of Antony and promised him a crash course in one of my favourite artists.  

I've written about Antony Hegarty and his band many times, most recently when their newest album, Swanlights (2010) was released a year ago.  I've told you that he's not for everyone and I've gushed, noting that his is as close to sacred music as I get. I first heard his eery and magical voice while watching the movie The Event, many years ago.  His song "I Fell In Love With a Dead Boy" struck me and stuck with me, and a few years later his second album (Mercury Prize-winning I Am a Bird Now) would come around and change music, for me, forever.    

(If you ever get a chance to see him live, please don't miss it. Photo from his website.)

The Quintessential Antony and the Johnsons

  1. Mysteries of Love
  2. Epilepsy is Dancing
  3. I Fell in Love With a Dead Boy
  4. The Horror Has Gone
  5. Aeon
  6. Ghost
  7. Deeper Than Love
  8. Paddy's Gone
  9. Another World
10. The Spirit Was Gone
11. Hope There's Someone
12. Dust and Water
13. The Lake
14. Fistful of Love
15. Rapture

Bonus Download.  (Two of Antony's greatest covers.  Just trust me and click to download.)

(As you might imagine, it's very hard to reduce a near-perfect catalogue of music into a handful of "essentials", so if you enjoy, please snag everything you can get your hands on.  You won't be disappointed.  Related post: The Quintessential Fiona Apple.)