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Posts from the ‘awe&thensomephotography’ Category

Cold Enough For You?

Does that which doesn’t kill you really make you stronger?

During one of the worst weather days Toronto has ever seen,  1LoveTO suggested that if you found the weather too cruel, you might want to check out the AGO. They quite rightly added #Art and #Inspiration to their tweet, knowing that art can inspire us through tough times. And the Basquiat exhibition, in particular, (now on at the AGO) gives off a lot of heat.

But if spending some time at the AGO can help, would buying art be even better? And if you were buying art for warmth, what kind of art would you want?

So I thought I’d take a poll. Of the photos below, which one would you rather be spending time with today?

The Beach

The Beach

“The Beach” is where I’d be if I didn’t have a full schedule, so this photo of a painted one perks me up. I picked this one because there’s more to it than just another beach shot. There’s something odd and funny and lovely about how well the painter mapped his ideal escape onto a working stage. I love the door, the lights and the candy-colours he chose. And there’s something else that’s not in the picture but in my memory of it: It stands beside the boardwalk at Hollywood Beach, so it mimics the real beach just behind it. Unfortunately, I took this at night and never got back to capture that wider perspective.

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“February Blues” is hardly the kind of artwork that most people want to buy. Yet everyone I’ve shown it to has said how it perfectly it captures the hardship of winter. When I ask if they identify with it, they all nod “Oh ya”, that’s me right there. <Men point to the man on the left; women to one of the hooded characters to his right> I’ve loved working on it because it reminds me of our toughness, of who we are and what we get through. And yes, getting through makes us tougher.

Art and drama are all about recognition. They were invented to connect us and to get us through. If you look at art buying that way, you may surprise yourself buying art that inspires and projects you.

And when you buy, you might want to hang it where you can see it when you most need to be reminded that you can make it through.

Embrace the cold! It’s making you tougher, stronger, better.

Don’t Apologize – Floor Me!

A while back, my friend and fellow photographer, Lola Akinmade-Åkerström, sent me this incredible image in an e-mail she sends out called geotraveller’s niche. I was floored.

fanta-stic monkey

Lola and I met on a Toronto for Photographers tour for tbex travel bloggers in June last year. She taught me a lot about shooting people, especially approaching potential subjects. In the months past I’ve gotten to know her work better, but still, this shot blew me away: The incredible humanness on that face, the cool condensation on the can, and especially the fingerprint of the left hand. I was connected profoundly to that being, with his lids closed in concentration of pure physical pleasure. The cold, the sweetness, ah!

Strangely though, Lola undersold her fanta-stic ape (excuse the pun) with an apology of sorts: “it’s one of my personal favourites”, she wrote, “– the human-like gestures and expression of absolute enjoyment on the monkey’s face; it’s also one of my least favourite because monkeys really shouldn’t be cooling off on hot and humid days with Fanta.”

I believe that photography should be a coup. Literally. A slap in the face or a shock to the system.

So I wrote her right back and then worried I’d written undiplomatically and in the wrong tone. “It’s a great photo because of it, I wrote, “It’s a shock. We need to be shocked. Keep doing it and for God’s sake don’t apologize for capturing the stupidity of men or the complexities of life.” Then I followed up with a note to say that I’d like to blog about it.

My hastiness with an e-mail has cost me in the past, but this one had a happy ending. She accepted my criticism along with my acclaim and said yes, I could blog about it.

Do you have a shot that’s bowled you over? I’d love to see it — why not post it here, on my facebook page.

You can follow Lola at http://geotraveler.photoshelter.com/

Until next time…

Ice Storm II

I’m so far behind with my monthly upload of fresh baked images that I’ve decided to upload some more shots from last week’s ice storm. It was incredible. To see read my thoughts on the storm and for more images, see last week’s post, Ice Storm.

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Ice Storm

Awe came to town this weekend with its twins, terrifying power and unworldly beauty.

Ice Storm, awe, Toronto, David Goorevitch, aweandthensome, Blocked Road

It came down as soft as rain and tore a city apart. Much has already been posted about its beauty. But there was much more than beauty. There was awesome. Awesome in all its greatness and fear, in the truth that everything can be ripped away in a moment. It took me twenty minutes to get out of the neighbourhood for the blocked roads and fallen power lines. But there was no other way to get my daughter to work or to pick up relatives without power. Arrangements had to be made for arrangements that had had to be broken.  I too had plans – to capture the storm. God laughed.

Ice Storm, awe, Toronto, blocked path, winter, David Goorevitch, aweandthensome

Bewildered

I passed by Cedarvale ravine where a couple had been stopped by a gigantic tree across the path. Their dogs hunted back and forth for a way through the maze of ice and branches while their owners stood bewildered. Just then a tree fell at the end of the path, signified by a terrifying crack and a shower of ice at the breaking point. A minute later, another tree fell to my right, on the other side of the park. I thought “this is not over”. They proceeded undaunted.

Ice Storm, awe, Toronto, David Goorevitch, aweandthensome, maple leaf

Neighbours came out of their houses shuffling through ice and deadfall like zombies. We were the lucky ones, the ones with heat and power. It was hard to square the beauty with the sadness, the glory with the destruction.  Humewood Park looked like a war zone, it’s typically placid benches surrounded by devastation.

Ice Storm, awe, Toronto, David Goorevitch, aweandthensome

Bead-like, a fallen tree branch rests on an icy sidewalk

But there was beauty. Unexpected beauty. Beauty where people rarely looked for it, but encased like jewellery, it was impossible to miss. Fragile beauty too. The kind that lasts only a short time and shines nevertheless.

Ice Storm, awe, Toronto, David Goorevitch, aweandthensome

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Ice Storm, awe, Toronto, David Goorevitch, aweandthensome

Maimonides, a twelfth century philosopher,  is said to have gone everywhere with a note in each pocket. In one was the message “I am the universe”. Crumpled in the other was “I am dust and ashes“. Yesterday was just like that.

Ice Storm, awe, Toronto, David Goorevitch, aweandthensome

________       photographs ©David Goorevitch 2013 All Rights Reserved       ________

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KID X

Kid X’s grandmother shocked him with a car battery if he didn’t pull in enough cash to support her opium habit. She had no choice – she had no wheels, she was old, she was decrepit, she was addicted. At least that’s how she would put it. But Kid X did have a choice – beg, be thrown out, or find a better life.

This is NOT Kid X. But this is how is story started - as street beggar in Myanmar. You can see that his life depends upon the day's take

This is NOT Kid X.    But this is how his story started – as a street beggar in Myanmar.  You can see from the tension in this boy’s face that much depends upon the day’s take

Kid X had heard about Kru Nam from a VCDF worker in “The City of the Golden Triangle”, the Myanmarese border town across from Mae Sae, Thailand. Another VCDF worker in Mae Sae, he heard, was feeding kids under the bridge that connected the two countries. He would have to swim the brackish river to get there, but that was hardly a hardship in his circumstances.

Augusto_the boys

photo by Augusto Rosales ©2013

You might find him in the picture above if you knew what you’re looking for. He has deficits, but you can’t see them in a photograph. Photography has its limits. In fact, you can’t tell by meeting him either – he’s a born leader with an incredible facility for math and language. I do have a photograph of him, but i promised at the beginning at the project that I would identify no child with their misfortune.

You can only tell by his desperation to connect, to find humanity, to matter to someone. Which is exactly what he did, thanks to Kru Nam and her amazing orphanage in Northern Thailand (you can read more about that in a previous post). He mattered so much that I needed to tell his story. And as editing on our documentary is a long, drawn out process, I decided to keep his story alive this way.

Boy, Thailand

A child in the library (not Kid X!) finds time to be, to relax and to wonder about what knowledge lies in the books inside.

Today he’s being rehabilitated through his connection with more than 100 brothers and sisters, and through relationships with adult staff members and volunteers he can trust. The process of healing is not an instant one – not the kind of “fix it” approach we seek in the West. Not the bi-weekly sessions aimed at coming to terms quickly.  Kru Nam’s approach allows for the time it takes to undo the damage of the past. There’s time to play, to learn, to find solitude and connection. Time to trust and, most of all, to belong.

Kids Playing soccer

There’s plenty of structured and unstructured time for the kids at the orphanage

The young man in the photo below is not Kid X either. This was Kid Y, or he used to be. Now he’s Adult Y, one of the dedicated staff members who work with Kid X. And he has an incredible and inspiring story of his own, which he related to us at the home.

This is David

David

David lived in a garbage dump in Myanmar until he decided at age 8, (after several aborted attempts to make it on his own) that he “did not want his children to live like this.” When he was eight, mind you.

Garbage dump Myanmar

Sadly, this garbage dump in Myanmar is the best chance for survival for the people who live there now.

Now, at 18, his healing has begun by healing others, alongside Kru Nam, her husband Pot, and their team.

And he is only one person, as Kid X is only one, as Kru Nam is only one.

As I am.

And you.

Augusto_VCDF balloon

photo courtesy of Augusto Rosales ©2013

Special thanks to Augusto Rosales, dear friend, companion on the Thailand trip and august photographer :)

All photos  protected by copyright

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