Thursday, October 27, 2011

People places things.

This is my friend Creme, through and through. Winnipeg, 2009.

A hard day's embrace. Winnipeg, 2009.

This is Andrea, one of my best friends in this lifetime. Winnipeg, 2009.
So many dinners shared with Mel, Zach and Rebecca. Winnipeg, 2009.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wild eyes.

Wild eyes for Man Ray. I had read about his work in a photography periodical previous to my Tuesday art history lecture on Surrealist art photography of the 1920's, but the recount manifested an even deeper love and respect. I keep falling in love with dead photographers. Legends in my mind.

Old man Man Ray in his Paris studio. Shot by Lothar Wolleh in 1969.

Today while cycling home from school, I was it by a car for the first time in my life. I am not invincible on wheels, this I know. Hard lesson. I saw it coming as it was my haste that caused the impact. Damn! To think, I was sure there was time and space for my slim bike. Not so. It felt so weird to bounce off the passenger door like a ragdoll. Similar feeling of confusion and pain in that moment as I felt the first time I was checked in ringette by a huge teen with a braid called The Train. Alba held up and held me in tight to the traps which turned out to be a very good thing. Ass over tea kettle, not so. On the walk home, I cried in shock for my front wheel which will need a hell of a true. Then again, a wheel is a wheel. All is well. It was a strange experience, not one I would like to repeat anytime soon.

Not sure what to say. Erin is flying into Bangkok as I write, my mind is with her. Flooding presses on as it tends to and I am hoping she will be able to do what she set out to--safely. Eee boy. I love you Frin, wind in your sails tonight.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Dear Simon,

I went to bed with a fever at noon and woke after a two hour dream. The adventures of Simon and Meg. The dream unfolded outside of a dark bakery on Laurier East. Unsure if the bakery was open or not, we went in looking to satiate my hunger. Inside there sat a strange multigenerational family. They stared at us as we took in the dimly lit spread before us but offered no service. Nothing caught my eye. You ordered Baklava. The order fell on deaf ears leaving you no choice but to reach over and help yourself. It was too sweet for me. We sat side by side in a brown booth in need of repair overlooking the street. You ate something straight out of my mouth and I laughed deeply causing the family to stand up and switch positions at the family table like a staged dance. It was bizarre though there was no time to discuss their behavior. Suddenly Laurier East and Montreal were gone, replaced with slanted streets--cobbled and dusty. My shoe trouble began in the brown booth. You kept encouraging me to choose one of the pairs in my arms as my feet were bare and vulnerable, but I was defiant and held all three pairs in protest. The weather picked up on a dime. Wild wind. Anticipating the windows to blow out, we left in a hurry without thanks. You found a skateboard and two giant format newspapers in the ally and handed one to me. I thought the newspaper was a stupid idea considering the strength of the wind and lack of rain and refused. As I was trying to find a missing grey shoe from my bundle, I looked up in time to watch you fly down a steep cobblestone street without me. I was amazed you were able to ride down considering the conditions. Finally able to make a footwear decision, I bent down close to the ground and recognized the soil between the stones of the street. We were in India. I wanted to tell you, but you were long gone. The straps of my sandals wouldn't clasp though I continued on, carrying my bundle in the direction that you had taken. When the sound of a small child crying caught my ear in the wind, I ran with shoes slapping like palms on my feet. After zigzagging my way down, I finally came upon you and a hysterical blonde girl. After much convincing, she sat on my lap and named her pain. Elbows, knees, wrists. I gave her my favorite pair of little gray shoes to console her. Her feet were bare and she clutched the shoes to her chest. The two of you had collided at a corner while flying downwards on separate streets. She was on an old toy scooter. Emma Albelleny was the name written on the inside of her hat along with a long telephone number. I thought it was strange as it is the same hat you cook in--leather strap, grease and all--but said nothing of it. She was the daughter of a diplomat. I called the number and spoke with her mother who I could see leaning out of a balcony far up the street where I had just bent to fix my shoes. The girl was four, too small to be left alone. Nothing was resolved and she ran away with the shoes before I hung up with her mother. You kneeled down and took my ankle on your knee and tied the broken strap with a braid fashioned out of the newspaper. It impressed me. "Let's go", you said. "Okay". We left and I woke.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

January February March April Mayyyygan & Lo.

Leo shot his first picture yesterday. Slide film. It was shot of an empty intersection. Magic hour. An hour good as any to begin something new. The F2 was a little too heavy for him so I held the strap and he held on and looked through. Had to pull away to find the trigger, but shot nonetheless. It felt so damn good to sit on the step of a depanneur on Fairmount and Casgrain corner, just chattin'. Leo is growing up! Bye bye baby. He is almost two!

I missed him so freaking much this week. Leo was home when I swung by so we suited up for a cold walk. Mittens. I was so impressed with his hand holding. No fuss, no question, he simply understood that it was important to the process. School is making an impression on him, it is incredible to see the changes for the better. More patient. When I ask him questions in English, he nods if he agrees. Words will come tumbling very soon! You can just feel it coming off him. He wants to speak! While we were walking to the park, he looked at me, pointed to my Nikon and said "amra". You betcha baby. Good word. He looked up again and point at himself, "Lo?" "Yup, thats you, LeeOH. Lo". "Mayhan?" "Yup, that's me, Megan. January February March April Mayyyyyyyygan".

God I love that kid.

Jill S, you came up so many times in thought as I played Leo. Recent pictures of Rollin's happy face (smothered in chocolate, amazing) that you SHOT! Well whoa, they have been at the forefront of thought. Beautiful work, keep shooting!!! Looking forward to seeing your expression of life (which is always beautiful no matter the medium) through the lens with that child! Miss him. Anyway, I thought of you.

Weird day in the kitchen. The plates are shifting. Ahhh! Secours!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We sleep when we're dead.

Just ate fois gras in three variations. Appetizer, starter, and main with a side of eel and sugar pie at Au Pied de Cochon. Good Lord.

Steve and I sat barside watching young chefs, the names stitched above their hearts: Nico, Alex, the A badge sous chef and Annie the saucier sling plates like I have never seen before. Wild times in a tight kitchen. "They are in the weeds!". Steve said this at one point as I was face deep in our fois gras poutine (nothing better exists, this I am sure). In the weeds, in the shit! What an environment. Nights of these sort (the fliffling kind) make Rags and Rab rush up in thought. Fine diners you women are. You taught me how to hold my fork, probably without realizing so. Thanks. This was the finest Montreal dining I have experienced.

We walked our bikes over and up from Berri to St. Laurent. Then we danced to Snoop Dog on full stomachs. Bon evening.

Face down, bed now, early class.

The Confrontation.

Young Lady on a bridge. Ektar 100.
Bad Times in Montreal. I was able to be an extra for a friend's film production over the weekend. It was exciting! Being in front of the lens was more comfortable than anticipated. It was a real honor to watch my friend Shannon in character as the Young Lady. There were moments I forgot she was a character. I took photos throughout the course of the day whether Brian's cameras were rolling or not. Extra, extra. Haha, such a rook. I think I will stick with illustration and photography for now.

Fabric printing (silkscreen) begins on Friday. Interestinggggg.

Good one. Shannon in character.  Porta 800.
Young lady, friend 1 and 2. Retake walk. Ektar 100.
Guillaume, relaxed as the day is long. Porta 800.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pizza teens.

I went out walking and came upon these two eating lunch on a ledge. I asked if I could take their picture, they obliged kindly. Shot with Porta 800 f 60/ 5.6

Arnoulde hides a big slice. "It is okay, the pizza makes the shot". "Oh, okay".

Young teens on Fairmount. Montreal, October 2011.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


My parents came to visit in Montreal! Thanks. Guys.
Giving. Thanksgiving light cast on a long table surrounded by bodies. I was intoxicated while shooting these photos. Party! Enjoy, incorrect exposure et al.

Candle lit cracker station. Montreal, October 2011.
Ode to Bourdain. Em kitchen family on Thanksgiving Sunday. Montreal. October 2011.

Vanessa's cake.

Alex and Reneau, her handsome admirer.

Benoit et Christiane.
Favorite shot of the night. This sums up my life well. Chanel at rest.
Alone in the work room with a tripod. Print by Raymond Biesinger.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Un Conte de Fées.

Full moon lunacy. As I hauled in the laundry last night, the line heavy with sheets and towels glowed under the full lady's light even though the view wasn't direct. Bright moonlight is magical to me. After folding under the moon, I moved around catching up on the state of the house. Basically doing everything save for my paper. Discipline totally escapes me in these moments. Terrible. I don't know how to change this about myself. I understand it is in my mind and something that is imperative to learn, but I continue to fight it. Studenthood, I forgot what it meant. Difficult and laughably easy in the same breath.

Strange dichotomy, new territory.

Yesterday was a very inspiring day at school. I walked into my ARTH History of Photography class and sat down across from Alfred Stieglitz, a hero of mine. So, 1840 onwards. Lately I have been turning the effect technology has had on photography since the medium's debut in 1839 (partially out of research and partially out of interest) over and over in thought. My history class is wonderful--my favorite--which is so surprising. The images Prof. Murray selects are mostly new to me and it is incredibly inspiring to watch the progression of photography waltz across a screen. Large format. Obviously, quality is lost with this method. Museums are important, this I am learning.

What progression in a relatively short period of time! The book Great Photographers it is very dear to me. I was first introduced to Alfred Stieglitz in said book last February while reading from Laura's collection in the reading chair of our new home. Wonderful. Yesterday was exciting simply for the feeling of piecing together past information with new. Understanding.

Photography took off in 1839 with the introduction of the daguerreotype (a cumbersome and delicate print process on metal and glass plates). Reproductions were impossible until the Calotype took over (paper process, less finicky, reproducible but still not accessible to the public).  Photography took hold of the public with the release of the Kodak camera (round frame initially) in 1888, 49 years after the daguerreotype's debut. People could mail order Kodak cameras loaded with 100 exposures for ten dollars. Hefty price. Fill it up, mail it back, wait a week, keep shooting. Genius. I especially love the photos from this time period. People starting to smile with the introduction of capturable spontaneity. People laughing in a pond, modest bathing suits. Families around new babies born in an exciting time! Life was being documented in a way that had never been possible before!

These images inspire me.

Source. Louis Kaplan
Seated Woman with Bird. c. 1855. Source. Hugh Welch Diamond
As far as Alfred Stieglitz was concerned, photography was it's own art form. He spent his entire life proving this point. In the early years of the new century, people by now long used to the idea of photography were beginning to realize the purpose of such technology was much more complex than understood. What could it become? More than a research tool, more than a platform for science. Stieglitz brought his European education back to his home in America and set up art shop, opened photography salons and galleries, as well as editing photography publications such as Camera Work.

Here is a slice from my drawing book, hand copied verbatim from the 1971 Time Inc. publication of Great Photographers.

August 2011, Montreal.

Who knows what will come of school. Most of the time I feel too damn practical for the type of learning that is expected. Mentorship alternatives. Independent production. I understand that proper technique is imperative to any operation, but can this not be learned elsewhere? Hmm. I am constantly struggling with the validity of school in my personal journey. Can I do this on my own? Definitely. Would I have the same access that I am paying for now? No. Not necessarily. I find Montreal very difficult to network within. Winnipeg is incredible in that sense. If you have the drive to make something happen, there is always space to be had and people to call. Growing up is a funny thing. I can't help feeling that I am making some sort of mistake. Then again, I fear the things I do not know. Plow through, try something else? Will I know when it is time to go? So many questions these days. 

Emptiness and hesitation. Or is that just practicality and good sense? Je sais pas.

I heard Francois Dompierre's piano rendition of "Un Conte de Fées" from his Flash-back album on Radio Classique this morning and it filled me right up. Goodness I love the sound of the piano. Can't seem to find the song online, sorry. Here is another image, to close.

Bow River, Blackfoot. c. 1926. Edward Sheriff Curtis.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Block print.

I was able to print for the entire day today. It was glorious. The morning was spent unfolding long bolts of paint stained work muslin across the longest work table you can imagine. Pinning, mixing clear base and pigments decked head to toe in protective gear (one is expected to print with rubber gloves), rolling ink, doing dishes, ripping fabric, printing. Ahhhhhhh, it felt so good. I had the table to myself which is always a pleasure. Quiet thoughtful printing in the afternoon sun. Strange red. Anyway, I thought of Willa as I stamped my fabric.

Love you.

Flying Horse. Block Print motif. Ink on cotton. Montreal, 2011.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Hallo. Heute stand ich in einem sonnigen Holz, das GeschäftEs war herrlich

Hello. Today I stood in a sunlit wood working shop. It was glorious.

Crisp cold of morning whipping over bare hands on Alba's carefully wrapped bartape. It feels so good to zoom down the hill into the downtown hustle like a fish in traffic. Salmoning upstream to school--trying not to be a jackass on a bicycle--to my parking spot beside the Engineering/ Visual Arts building. I had Fibre art this morning and was completely unprepared but made do. Thankfully it was a studio work period and there was plenty of time and space to relax into a work rhythm. We are working on Block Printing this week so I whipped up a drawing of a horse in motion on linoleum and managed to finish the carving in time for the Supervised studio. After class I went down one floor to the woodshop for some help in creating a wooden base for my horse stamp.

Block printing is essentially motif stamping. I am not really a traditional motif kind of woman in the sense of sprawling patterns of paisley or floral or whatever. A horse can be a motif, right? Unfortunately, my POSITIVE brain could not compute with what was being asked and instead of carving away the negative space (in order for the positive surface to lie higher as a flat ink bed), I carved the lines of the drawing itself (which is backwards). Oh well. Instead of starting over I cut around my image and left a slim border. A visual would be helpful here, but alas I have none. Tomorrow I am set to apply ink with a brayer on the horse, so we will see how it turns out. Check back for a scan tomorrow if interested. Color mixing in the dye lab is incredibly precise (read: garish colors), and I appreciate the freedom I had at one time to mix color at will at Martha Street Studio now more than ever. Technique, technique! Learn it, Madge.

The woodshop was the best part of my day. Bob the carpenter helped me with a certain kindness and calmness that I appreciate in a teacher. 

- Can you handle this?
- Definitely.
- Good.

I could see myself working there, the afternoon sun pouring in across rolling wood carts topped with heavy butcher blocks and machinery. Heady wood smell, smelled like QB, smelled like my dad, smelled like home. In other news, I received a new pair of hoops in the mail from Alex, a talented Winnipeg jeweller after losing my original pair. Hallelujah. I feel like a new woman.

Must study now. Good day.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Time changes us.

We change with time. This photo is very dear to me. Thanks Richard. I have thought about this moment with Chanel off and on since the day you steadied and shot your Polaroid Land camera. While I continue to be unfamiliar with the camera's print process, this very photo has always had mystery attached to the memory of my mind's eye. Today marked the first time I had seen it since you developed it at your kitchen table in the Village in October of 2009.

One day Chanel and I will look back at this photo and howl. Young ladies, to date.

Chanel et moi by Richard Bars. Montreal, Quebec.  October 2009. Polaroid Land camera.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Train talk.

I spent the evening riding around in artificial light, watching people, watching the rain streak the bus windows, la plume blowing delicately on my neck from the wind of the metro. As much as a pain the rain can be at times when dry clothes are of the essence, I love it dearly. Keeping in mind that school is what I make of it, I packed my camera equipment and one knight's helmet with the green plume and hit the road. Destination East. Whenever I feel lost, I head East. There is no real explanation for this, it just feels right when considering the options of direction.

On the bus ride to the nearest metro (Place-des-Arts) downtown, I met a young woman named Hana who reminded me so much of Lisa Varga. Slice of home in the simple familiarity of dress and speech. Hana kindly obliged to my camera and gave her face, knights helmet and all. The woman sitting beside me as I shot was also curious about my motive. Welllllllllllllllll. My motive is to explore the intimacy of portraiture through the aid of a prop. This knight's helmet embodies the nerve it takes to approach and be approached. The goal of my artwork is to produce approachable and truthful imagery. Nothing is more pleasing than to witness true character unfold like a flower through my lens, even for a moment. Trust. Is. Imperative. I love exploring this, pushing the boundaries of solitary comfort. The look of surprise and bewilderment on the faces of strangers when asked for their portrait are the mental photographs I tuck away in my mind's eye. Too bad the camera isn't capable of such quick looks.

People watching.

Eastward I went, eight, ten, twelve, fifteen stops. Every five stops or so I got off to walk around underground, open to connection of any sort, camera in hand, feather bobbing alongside like a willing pup. I met one man, no name taken as I forgot to ask. We conversed on a darkened bench in French to begin; my words tumbling out in broken particles like a child and he obliged my humble effort by answering my questions with a deliberate slowness and clarity. Merci, mon ami. I should have asked his name. When I asked for his photo, he retreated backwards on the bench with sudden velocity as if suddenly aware of his work clothes. Little did he know how I love work clothes, how I am drawn to workers. Wished I could have explained this to him in french. Maybe the helmet intimidated him, je sais pas. We shook hands when my train arrived and he carried on collecting crumpled metro journals for recycling. One wave, goodbye. Such kindness in those eyes and a strong handshake.

While waiting for the train at Place-des-Arts, two young men caught my eye. Jeans and leather jackets, big black boots. One man was incredibly tall, his friend short by comparison. I approached them after considering them for ten minutes, knowing that I would lose the image in mind if I waited another second. They were very kind and receptive. Laughter dancing around inside eyes, such a sight upon recognition and incredibly hard to capture. They were from Holland, their accents sweet like dessert. The train came before I could take their names. Shoot. It is very important to me record names and addresses when possible. I found it difficult to meter light underground but shot around anyway, who cares.

Last shot was of a cute french boy who laughed at my crappy french and then gave his face out of pity or mirth, I couldn't tell and shot anyway. He wore the helmet with confidence despite the train full of people. Square shoulders, dancing feather, fluorescent lights streaking the perpetual dark of the underground.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

First Print.

First day in the color darkroom today. It was so exciting to grow more comfortable as the hours went on. Can't believe how long I have been waiting for this day. I began printing around twelve thirty and there happened to be a fire drill as my first contact sheet was rolling through the Kolex processor (I had to call that thing's name all day) and was lucky enough to run into Jeanette! We sat on a curb. It felt good to be around her, gave me hope. Then back I went into the dark. It was a really bizarre experience, exciting, addictive, and frustrating in it's process. Faintly familiar. I love trial and error work, this fits. My first printed photo below, due in a few weeks. I couldn't for the life of me get the hang of printing the contact sheet. So I decided to take a BRAIN BREAK, got some water and then tried my hand at a single photo.

School is about to get wild, exciting times ahead.

"Coming out of 13, heading towards the Kolex". I love the darkroom dance, waiting for bodies to sail pass, calling out to each other. I stood in my open doorway in the pitch dark trying to remember the name of the processor on the right side. The Kolex, nice to meet you. My winter was spelled out for me today and I couldn't be happier.

Color print, yee haw.

Steve illuminated by daylight. Scan of 6.5x9.5 my first color print of Concordia. Sept 2011.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Florescent laundry.

Saw this from Simon's back balcony. Shaky but inspiring to see such color on a line. Ektar 100.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Oh hay. Happy Mabon. Out with the old! Rest dead. Shift gears, soft clutch.

Giv'r shit.

Hay Lisa. Your description in a recent letter created this hilarious image of you in my mind. Jean shorts, wild long bob Lisa, in my head you are on a really cool scooter, not a bike. Zipping on WAVERLY, passin' semis. Running Room club jacket in Lilac. Rouge hair, big smile. Thanks for the image, made my week. I miss you so fucking so.

Hay Erin. I am thinking of you. Flashes in my brain. How are you. Have you painted your house chartreuse? I am hoping that in the wake of shit news, there is major room for creativity elsewhere. Sewing? Cleanse? Your house is like your fashion, wild and strong. I miss being in it and around it, braveface colors. I admire that in you! I miss you. The other day I came across a photo shot by Janelle on the day we cruised to Gimli, Manitoba with Meach and Ginger Rogers. Everyone in a dress! I will never forget that afternoon in the home that is now Milky's when you threw wide the doors of your closet to us. Zipper a go-go dress, my freakin' fave. Great day, miss you. Love you Sister Mary Clarence. 

Hay Rags. I saw a photo of Willa's juicy wrists on Luminary of Day's post this afternoon. Thank god for that place. Great photo album to cruise backwards in. Oh baby, can't WAIT to see this child enough times once the snow flies that we begin to feel comfortable in each other's arms. Can you hug a baby? Please do. I can't wait to feel the growth of your daughter's (and sons perhaps) shoulders in my arms. Aunty Mergs. We will go on family camping trips someday. I will want to be in charge of lighting the fire. Lord knows when, but I look forward to it heartily. Today I thought of you as I sat down to my Fibers 260 class on the ninth floor. Morning grey light pouring on the work tables in the studio like big pails of paint. For some reason my mind goes to you first thing there. Maybe you are with Willa then or sleeping, either way I am with you then. I miss you. I love you.

Hay Giles. Well, you know. I will be there as quick as can be. Get the snowshoes and a good sports outfit ready.

He's related to you
He's related to you
He's related to you
He's nude as the news, nude as the news
Nude as the news, nude as the news
All over, all over, all over, all over

Cat Power through really large forty year old headphones. My Listening Station is complete. Well, as complete as can be at this point. Speakers will become phase two. I am not there yet. For now I have been enjoying my set up. Realistic STA-225 AM-FM Stereo Receiver with Gemini turntable and Sony DR-5A headphones. The sound is so much better now that I have switched to this pair of phones with a jumbo jack. Big sound. Rebecca asked me on the phone what I have been listening to and I had to laugh when it was time to answer. Two records on rotation and nothing else. Cat Power occasionally (only the What Would the Community Think album currently) and Brahms Piano Trios: The Beaux Arts Trio. The album art is incredible for a classical record. It sold me and the piano, violin and cello combination is beautiful and clean. Brahms died just three years before the turn of the century. Apparently he was a workaholic who was constantly burning his imperfections. When my outlets are spoken for by ongoing projects at my work table (majority of the time) I listen to 99.5 FM Radio Classique Montreal. That is it for now. 

Ballet on my mind. 


I read this was a basis for Feminism the other day and I like it. Self-determination. So much better than self-discipline. Okay, school is a discipline but the beauty of it far outshines the shit parts. Today I sat through a safety demo for my Fibers Print and Dye class. Potions, that is what I will be doing through winter. Mixing little bowls of potion. Dyes and pigments are VERY different things. I had never considered the difference until my class this morning. I love the 8:30 classes. Bright eyed and bushy tailed after a quick clip downtown on Alba. Coffeebreak at 10:15 hallelujah. In this time I usually wander the other levels of the building. Back in the studio for a walking tour portion of the demo. It was then I saw my first glimpses of our personal spray room, mixing room, papermaking room (QUOI?!! Nine floors above sea level. I cannot imagine how beautiful it will look in winter).

The yellow room was my favorite as it was well equipped with tools and machines that caused my heart to soar out of my chest upon recognition. It is the room for coating screens, for exposing screens (in a unit that opens like a fridge instead of on it's back like a box, I was so curious), for drying screens in a box (never knew that was a thing [other than old airdry] until today), and for washing out emulsion. Fuck yes. Excuse moi. The spray booths in the yellow room had SAFELIGHTS installed in the backsplash of the basin, covered with plexiglass with the purpose of being able to see if all your emulsion came off and the screen clean for the next project, as those details are often overlooked in florescent light. That might be wrong. I will find out soon enough.

It was an affirming day. Time to shrug the doomcloak. I am in the right place and readier than ever for a room called yellow. Bought a used silk screen for fiber printing at a sale this afternoon and some supplies for printing. WOOOHOO!

Art school is what you make it. As is life. Slowly, I am learning.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Le Poulet goes to school.

First day of preschool. 
This was the moment he realized life was about to change drastically. Poor guy.
Through his papa's legs on the first day of school.
Choosing the right chair.
Leo discovers the miniature kitchen just behind the shelf. Thank God.
Raise your hand if you feel weird.
Thank goodness for dads.
At the end of a hard day; soother in mouth. Pictured with Leo is the class Biter.
Through the looking pane at the end of Leo's first day. Proud nanny!
Back to the place he knows best. Day one, you are OUT.
Balance bike for a tiny tot named Leonard!

Dusk pick up.

Wading through textbooks. An art history reading response shouldn't be that difficult, but it is. Come on brain, switch tracks. Literal to analytical, it is high time. Instead of reading one hundred pages, I am going through photos (not for school). What is my problem? Why is this so challenging? What would life be without its challenges? Boring as hell.

Right now I want to run screaming back to the life I once knew in Manitoba. But that would be too simple. This is hard, this is hard. This is hard. Today I am just too damn literal for art school. I don't understand the technicalities of my camera. Now when I shoot I am unsure where I once used to be sure.

This is so damn humbling. Wow.

For some reason, this photo shot last week while wandering after the sun dropped out of sight on Garbage Day gives me hope. I may never be an art historian, but I recognize beauty in the ordinary and this shot reassures that. Slam the door on self doubt Margot. Pick up your camera, figure it out.

Garbage man. Fujifilm Provia 400X. Shot on Fairmount Ave, Montreal; September 2011.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Drifters.

Hello out there. Ca va? It goes and goes at this work table. Time soars like never before!

Spotlight on James Brown y'all.

Currently grooving in my room to Wilson Pickett. Headphones and vinyl. Sweet spot; this is where I come when I get home from school to feel grounded by familiarity, surrounded by things I do know. The album THAT'S SOUL was chosen at random off my self and the first listen after many moons brought me back to Grade Six when I was first introduced to soul music in Mrs. Lopez's art class. Thanks woman. If it weren't for her, Lord knows where I would be in this world.

Someone marked the back of the record sleeve with the name Skinner W in heavy blue pen, dated March/ 73. Speaking of the Seventies, Virginie handed me her father's old Nikon F2 (a camera body introduced to the camera world in '71 following the F series) the other night. It is a beauty. Heavy, mechanical, chrome and black bodied, attached to a 35mm lens which I had never looked through until that moment at the island in Leo's kitchen. Niiiiiiice. The timing was impeccable as my need for a second lens was dire. Doors flung wide once again with an incredible gesture of trust and generosity.

Merci, woman. I will shoot with love.

Oh Aretha, sing it. I LOVE the song I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You. Super sass.

Today was good. Photo studio class numero deux. I sat around a table nine strong, bewildered by technicalities of the camera flashing on a huge screen before me. Wait! What? In my incomprehension and frustration I thought of my Auntie Marj and my family and the people who have encouraged me relentlessly this year. Yes, this is exactly where I need to be.

Aunty Daryl breathed life and laughter into my system for the millionth time in my life this evening. It felt so damn good to howl into the phone, tears flying, open mouth laughter from the depths all from a single memory. Thanks for putting into words what I was not able to string together on my own. I am a KROEKER. Through and through. Frank KK just to let you know, I am in the messy process of rebuilding my foundation even though I would much prefer to be sailing ahead with production, these things can't be rushed. Never rush production. Even though I am a Kroeker, and rushing and production are what I know.

Devendra! Holy shit, as IF it has been nine months since I last listened to his 2009 release, What We Will Be. Find the song Baby, slap on some headphones, sit down, do yourself a favor and give it a good listen. Babs, how many hundred times did we listen to this over the darkest part of the winter at the Golden Studio, heels on hardwood, wine in hand, shitty make up, fakey fireplace, weird clothes, fur on silk?! Mrs. Banhart to you. I salute you and him both. When I listen to Devendra, I am with you. Now, where have I placed my cauldron of red wine? Where have I placed my dear Rebecca? These things go hand in hand.

Back to rushing and the stark reality of NOT knowing everything. It is okay not to know everything in terms of personal passion, as much as I would like to. I never will. Right now I am studying the history of photography which is deadly interesting, hallelujah.

Leo and I had a slumber party at my house on Friday. Success. Life is good, he still remembers me (irrational fear).

Doll house zeal. I love you Poulet. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pinstripes and poverty.

Monday. List du jour Day. Tick tick tick. Cycle cycle cycle. Just came from L. L. Lozeau, a photo shop where I managed to spend one million dollars on one fistful of professional film. And so it begins, photo studies and poverty. Shot my first assignment yesterday: one roll of 36 color exposures, any speed, any light, any subject. Quoi?!?

Met a very kind man named Panesar in the process. He was wearing a smart dress shirt with blue and white pinstripes. Caught my eye. He shot my portrait and I shot his. I wished I had another lens for my little Nikon EM sitting in my backpack in order to shoot him while he looked through my Nikon F3. It felt like the start of something, handing a camera over to the subject to shoot while being photographed.

The list of Needs is endless. And yet at the end of the day, all one needs for a good shot is trust. Where is the balance between what one has and what one needs?

Life is pretty strange these days, the transition of it all has thrown me for a loop. I am constantly checking my agenda in fear of missing an appointment, assignment, class, meeting. Weird! Excitement trumps daily worry. I have to trust in my organizational skills and stay on top of my work. I will find a rhythm, it is too soon to tell.

Off to the library to study as I have no textbooks yet.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Rol + Deb.

Rol + Deb, Chelsea + Chase. Outside Kenora, Ontario; 2010.
Smoking out windows. Cameron Block; Ontario; 2010.
Red Lake pumps. Ontario; 2010.
Tyska does the wash. Sioux Lookout, Ontario; 2010.
Molly on the Block, Dara in the sky. Cameron Block, Ontario; 2010.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


This morning I walked into my first Photo Studio class and sat down in what was clearly a critique room. Big table, magnet walls. Chih-Chien Wang is my professor. He seems very relaxed and I liked him off the hop. There is something about his mannerisms that remind me of John, the man whose kitchen in which I first began. Anyway, it was wild. Twenty photographers around the table, 23 with staff.

After an introduction to the course ahead, we were led like ducklings by JoJo, a sassy Quebecoise woman who KNOWS HER SHIT. Allllright. She led us first into the Photo Finishing room, beyond the B&W darkroom, through a hallway, into the Color Print room, through a revolving door into the Color darkroom, where I will be spending many an hour come mere weeks from here. Wild! I was surprised to find we were beginning with color printing but the more I read, the more pleased I became.

In my meagre experience with contrast and color darkrooms, they are completely different processes. Contrast printing is wet and hands on, color is dry and rolled through a machine. Technically challenging in their own rites. This I will come to know. While standing in a long hallway with 6 or 7 doors leading to small rooms containing enlargers, JoJo hustled (this woman hustles like no other! She is hysterical) away and turned the lights out. Color developing is done in the pitch dark. Oooooh wee!

It was an exhilarating day to say the least. Exciting times ahead! Can't wait to put on my PRINT APRON. Thank the heavens. Tomorrow I begin my Fibres studio with a class called Fibres: Print and DYE. Can't wait.

Here is some recent work.

Love Margot

Room of whimsy. Montreal; September 2011.

Shot from Mikel's window.  Montreal, September 2011.
Stripes for Virginie and her boy. Montreal; September 2011.

A Triumph goodbye. Montreal; September 2011.