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Salgado’s Genesis

How often do you go out with the intention of finding the good, the marvellous, the wonderful? That’s what Sebastião Salgado did over a period of nine years. Starting out in 2004, he’s travelled and photographed unspoiled terrain in 32 countries to restore in himself a lost trust in everything.

The results of those travels, the “Genesis” exhibition, will be coming to the ROM this spring and I’ve been honoured to be selected as a special guest to take part in a curated conversation around the show on the subject of “awe” later in May. It’s going to be an awesome May this year. Awe, and then some!

Above: A haunting landscape that carries echoes of the great Minor White, the father of spiritual photography

Finally Spring

It came a couple of days late this year, but Spring is definitely on its way. Stopping by Loblaws at Dupont and Christie, I had some fun with their Spring cleaning project – a series of paintings to hide the train tracks to the north. What is it about grocery stores that stimulates my whimsy?

People always want to know the origin of “Sorry…” (below) and they’re amused to hear that it comes from the parking lot of a grocery store in Calpé, a town on the Spanish Mediterranean.

Sorry...

The humour in the Loblaws paintings are a little more subtle. It consists of imaginary tree branches reaching up to meet those of real saplings caught between the paintings and the fence. The addition of birds and shadows completes these little oddities: Cheerful photos with a wink.

I hope you enjoy them! I went back yesterday to take some of these with my large format 4×5 , so stay tuned for an update!

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FRESH BAKED

I always enjoy finding the time to do this. It gives me a sense of where I’ve been, where I’ve grown and where I still have much to do.

It’s been way too long since the last one. I’ve been way too busy since summer started. I see trips to the lake, the Keys, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ottawa. And in the midst of it I’ve taught and dedicated many hours to my portrait business. You can see what that’s all about here.

I’ve decided to post my previous “Fresh Baked” pages as posts, so you and I can go back up the river of the past. To date, I’ve been writing over existing pages with new photos and text.

No text this time. Enjoy the visuals for what they bring you. And by all means ask questions below.

 

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Our Poet in Space

If you’re following NASA or the International Space Station, you probably know who Chris Hadfield is. He’s been in space since December 12th, and will soon take over as Commander of the ISS. When that happens, he will add “first Canadian commander of any ISS” to his CV, which already lists him as the first Canadian Astronaut to walk in space.

We love an astronaut with a maple leaf!

We love an astronaut with a maple leaf!

If you look him up on Wikipedia, you’ll find out that his interests are skiing, writing, running, singing, playing guitar, and playing volleyball. But that page needs updating. Almost since he got up there, Chris has been collecting and tweeting an awesome group of photographs; photographs accompanied by some great text. Just 2 hours ago, he tweeted this one:

st. laurence ice

“People ask if I see aliens. If sci-fi has taught me anything, this St. Lawrence ice is what they’d look like if I did”

Chris is a mind meld of scientist and artist. We tend to think that those worlds are poles apart, but they’re not. They’re both essentially creative, exploratory fields. After all this is a man who decided to become an astronaut at the age of nine – guess why – because that’s when we landed on the moon. Chris’ career is the result of a lot of work, and a lot of dreaming too.

The Sahara

“Arid fingers of sand-blasted rock look like they’re barely holding on against the hot Saharan wind”

I love this one in particular, composed of powerful forces giving no quarter in an ancient struggle. His writing is equal to the task, never mind that he’s limited to 140 characters.

A Valentine in Space

A Valentine in Space

Those in long-distance relationships take note: Just because you’re away doesn’t excuse you from keeping in touch on those important occasions. Commander H sent his wife a series of Valentines from a couple hundred + miles above. This heart-shaped hole in the clouds was my favourite, accompanied by the tweet “The clouds are quickly fleeting, but the heart continues beating”. If you think that’s romantic, he also sent a shot of a lonely iceberg to describe his solitude that day. It had it’s very own hash tag too: “Without you my heart is a lonely iceberg. #ValentineFromSpace”

BDQqHpYCAAAryap.jpg-largeHow often do you get to see something like this? It’s a thunderstorm bulging out the top of cloud cover above Malaysia.

Fault Line in the Andes

Fault Line in the Andes

And how cool is this? A picture of tectonic plates creating a fault line in the Andres. Now that’s amazing.


BENh74HCUAAc93M.jpg-largeAnd finally, this poetic approach to sand and sea. Chris describes it as the “The Sea playing with the sand” off the coast of Pakistan.

It’s a big world out there for an Astronaut poet, and I wish him many more days of great shooting in the sky.

Chris uses a Nikon D2X and D3S. Photo credits: Chris Hadfield/NASA. He tweets @Cmdr_Hadfield

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Funeral

Sometimes the most powerful images are those that we don’t take. In the same way, not speaking sharpens what we want to say. Today was like that. So here are a series of images in words.

First image: The widow, wheeled out in a wheelchair, her fragile body filling just half the chair. The wailing, like Lear’s, shaking souls to their roots.

Second image: At the cemetery, a line of bare trees in the whiteness broken by a single tree lifting a “leg” to dance in the midst of sorrow. As I encircle it, I see that the “lifted leg” is an unconnected stump; a dead thing still needed – in this case – to remind us that  joy is plentiful.

Third image: At the cemetery exit, one iron bar is glowing red like a brand. The fire goes out when the van in front of us moves into traffic.

Fourth image: Sam (the dearly departed), smiling, laughing as he always did. What a guy. I’ll miss him.

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