Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Making face.

Lady weird bod; Montreal, 2011.

Simon smokes/ Lisa laughs; Montreal, 2011.

Chanel hosts a Cinq a Sept; Montreal, 2011.
Montreal soil; 2011.

My Russian.

Bon matin.

Banana, espresso, water. As dusk began to settle over the neighborhood yesterday apres work, I picked up a new crop of photos shot with two of my cameras: the old faithful and the Russian. Even though my Kiev is medium format, I was anticipating rectangle exposures. Not so. Still waiting on a film order to be delivered from California, I am excited to experiment more. I haven't felt so hungry to shoot quite like this in a long time. Yesterday, elated with my pick up, I was feeling brave and asked this SASSY teen for her portrait (in quiet French). She beamed at my one liner and just gave me her face wide open; a surprising gap toothed grin. I grinned, thanked her and cursed myself for not having the know how to prepare for moments like these. It was my last shot on yet another roll of black and white. I need to GET REAL about making hand out cards.

Portraits, I take a million a day with my mind's eye. The stupid thing is, I always have my camera on my person when I am out and about with Leo. Sometimes I am just too shy to ask. My favorite portrait to snap is this amazing little Italian man who lives on my street. He is old as the hills and spends every waking moment on his front porch. He made some sort of wind shelter out of potato sacks and twine and he loooooooves his Italian opera. He calls out "Bella" three times over every morning and afternoon that I pass his roost. Six bellas, without fail. It makes me grin stupidly and I always make sure to move my hips for him (even though he probably doesn't notice through the potato sack wall). I can't help it, he makes me feel like a WOMAN. Did I mention he is in his eighties? Maybe older. The old men here have unbelievable stories etched into their faces. These are the faces I long to shoot everyday. Tell the story.

Yesterday it was a man leaning against a telephone booth, smoking. Everyone smokes in Montreal; man, woman, teen.

Photojournalism is heavy on my mind.

Uncle James suggested this occupation to me when I was 13 or so, sitting in my Grandma's living room at a family gathering. I had never heard it named before and I remember how exciting he made it sound, spelling out his vision for me. "Shooting in the front lines with a scarf around your head", he said. I will never forget that. It was a vague idea that has sat shelved within me for a long time. Last night, unable to sleep, I read a volume on photojournalism by Life. The photos! Photo essays, layout, themes, umbrella ideas.

Who knows what is in store.

It feels so good to be ON TO SOMETHING (again), photographically speaking. Slumps, swamps, dumps, ditches, ruts and hopeless pits are unavoidable. I like to think of falling into them as a reminder of how far I have come. Markers. Hopeless marking points, if you will. Falling into a swamp is really the most hopeless thing in the world. Especially when you have spent 45 minutes tender footing over sticks, slop, stumps and muck to reach the treeline at the back of one's piece. I saw a rookie planter get sucked down to her shoulders in a swamp once. Fast, too. (For anyone interested, the best and quickest way to maneuver oneself out of a swamp is to find a strong stick or shovel that you can lay across the sinkhole to use as leverage while hauling your body out). Swamphand, trenchfoot. Shit happens.

One foot in the bush, one in the city these days. A part of me is so nervous to face summer on my own here. I was really looking forward to my third year as a planter, knowing the ropes well this time. Yesterday I spoke with Maya while Leo and I sat in the sun on Laurier East. She is going back (5th year!) as a foreman this time 'round. It is the most difficult and thankless job, weak pay for the shear amount of work one is responsible for but somehow it all seems worth it. Big time pride. It is not a job many people could do, that much I know. She will run her own crew, keep up morale when they land in the shit, deliver them to the Block each morning, drop trees at each cache to get the day rolling and then spend the day humping heavy bags (40 pounds on each shoulder) of trees into her planter's pieces. Respect. Maya, I would plant good trees for you. I am proud to know you! You are so incredibly strong, you will be a force. PRT needs more lady power at the helm. HIIII YA.

Anyway, can't seem to stop writing about the plant these days. No apologies either. Below is a sample of photos off my first roll shot with my Russian. Sure shot! I was convinced every shot would be a blur due to not really knowing how to operate this beast, no tripod to be found, no light meter, never mind the shear mechanics of the camera. But considering all of these variables, I am pleased with the results of my first go at shooting a medium format camera.

All of the photos (shot with a Kiev 60-TTL camera, 120 Ilford) below were shot the day I called in fake sick to the kitchen. Sometimes you just have to take a mental health day and do something for yourself. This is what I like to do. Wake early, eat a simple breakfast in the quiet sun, grab keys, film and a camera and head out to explore. I need to work up the nerve to start shooting more strangers. It is so much harder to do in Montreal that it was in Winnipeg! My humble tongue, it will come.

Enjoy, Meg.

Old Man Winter; Montreal, 2011.

Walking along Laurier East; Montreal, 2011.

Barflies on Laurier; Montreal, 2011.

Bikes at Chateau Clark; Montreal, 2011.

Strange kids on Laurier; Montreal, 2011.

The Future is Nom; my desk, Montreal, 2011.

Yogis hard at work; Montreal, 2011.

A strange mural; Montreal, 2011.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Le Poulet.

Le Poulet is fifteen months old!

He can bark like a pup. Ooof! Ooof! Ooof!

What a character this boy.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Last night I stenciled and spray painted until the cows came home. How I managed to fall into sleep amidst the plumes of fumes, God only knows. My mother would have flipped a lid if she would have walked in to my room while I was crouched down low, tagging the shit out of my bedroom door, desk, scrap bin, cahier, toolbox. You name it, I tagged it. My art makery is in a strange place these days with no real time limit on any project I begin. It is nice, no complaints whatsoever, but I do look forward to the discipline that will come with school. But direction there is not. I stencil at my leisure, abandon drawings as quickly as I attempt them, write letters to people I miss.

Life is good! I really love this city and it feels like I am inching towards an exciting drop into something! Who knows. Spring is near, just around the corner (Amelia Bedelia style) and I am clipping dates into batter. People are OUT. Today I saw four of the most handsome men exit a vehicle all at the same time. It was like a really sexy clown car. What?!?! Where did they come from? People are coming out of the wood work, everyone is attractive and drinking lattes. I lurk with my camera at ready, too shy to ask crazy people for their portraits.

Today while cruising around Mile End with Le Poulet in the carriage, a woman with heavy blue eyeliner came flying up to us as we left the pet store (I parked a fixated Leo in front of the chirping birdies while searching for cat paraphernalia). She began in wild, gesturing french, pointing at my camera that was slung around my body. From the few words and frantic pointing, I eventually caught up with her. Realizing my slim french, she switched to spotty anglais and together we had one exciting conversation about photography. She kept referring to digital as 'numeric', which she insisted she detested and peppered me with questions on how I go about processing my work. By the end of the conversation we were encouraging each other to keep shooting, and celebrating the meeting of two purists at heart. Bon. She promised she would haul out her old camera and start shooting film again. I laughed when she thanked me (for what?) and thanked her in return.

Leonard and I did a lot this morning! Mama Dance with your Baby class is back! We also hit the bank, Phonopolis, Drawn & Quarterly, 4 Freres grocery, pet shop, my house (twice), coffee, with plenty of meandering in between all before one in the afternoon. Leo barked at everything that caught his attention, dogs included. Woof! More like Ooof Oof Ooof! He can also say bang, ball, NON, more and ma. May is for Megan, which suits me. I love this little flirty birdy. He is so much fun these days, so easy to entertain, to explore with, to take along to places. I really love being a nanny and couldn't ask for a better first job in a new town. Lucky woman.

This feels weird writing, there is nothing to say here. The old pre Spring slump, I am wading in it. No one cares to hear about my longing for the woods, a yellow tent under a canopy of laterals, shitting beside a swamp at six in the morning, the most vulnerable bare ass in the world. This will be the first spring/summer with feet like roots, acorn boots in the big city (in any city). Weird. My steel toes are shelved, I have traded my shovel for a stroller. So long as my hands are busy. Why do I feel so incredibly sad to miss the unveiling of summer in the bush? It is what I have come to know.

Time for change. This year has been a mystery sack of new experiences, upheaval, disappointment, heart break, great loss, excitement, pain, grief, anxiety, nostalgia, fear, longing. Why break the cycle? I may as well forge ahead into the unknown, I have nothing to lose at this point.

I miss my Auntie Marj. Grief tap, wide open at Leo's table like no time has passed at all.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ilford Lake.

No new work to share as I am waiting hungrily on the first roll shot with the Kiev along with another roll of 35mm B&W. Here are some portraits, scenes of city and countryside, a few double exposures shot with one boot in the bush and one sandal in the city. There is something about black and white film--the grain, the subtleties of it--that keep me coming back for more. I find it thrilling to shoot with, seeing life without color. The more lines and contrast, the better. Yum? Is that appropriate? Who cares. Yum.

I ordered a whole bunch of 120 for my Russian last week, fliffin'. Time to learn how to shoot that 'thang. Nothing new to report, Spring is here along with Lisa King! We are partying, too busy to pen. Bagels, coffee, Le Poulet the entertainer, stoops, crafts.


Orrin eats; Sioux Lookout, Ontario; 2010.
Meris' safety glasses; Sioux Lookout, Ontario; 2010.
C&A summer nuptials, Winnipeg; 2010
Avenue du Parc, Montreal; 2011.
Smith Street, Winnipeg; 2010.
Smith Street, Winnipeg; 2010
Donald Avenue, Winnipeg; 2010.
Winnipeg Folk Festival; A hungry teen, 2010.
Kenora, Ontario; Summer 2010.
Sigourney & Alpaca, Summer 2010.
Winnipeg Folk Festival; Amy & Roony, 2010.
Winnipeg Folk Festival, 2010.
Winnipeg Folk Festival; Tiff/ Christian, 2010.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Conifer Connie.

Photo by Redbiplane. Click.

Margot Pollo.

Spring is in.


New name, thanks to my sister who threw wide a window for me last night while we wrote back and forth wildly on my way to pick up Lisa from Gare Centrale. Thanks Frin, you are one hell of a woman.

Margot Polo already belongs to someone, thus Margot Pollo it is (a little nod to my Poulet baby). My new shop name. Stay tuned, the cauldron is back on the fire, 'a simmerin' away. Stencils are it. Paper projects, sewing projects, ink, watercolor. I am being led back to the print, I think. Hallelujah! How I miss that process. Last year at this time I was zipping all over rural Manitoba in Art Teacher Meg mode. I miss teaching silkscreen to middle school kids; tough crowd, crazy art! Damn I loved that job.

Art teacher.

I woke in a small and soft bed this morning in a room I had never slept in before. Light streaming in, a rooster crowing at my wrist, an open suitcase with clothes and boots boiling over. Upon waking in the unfamiliar of my home at Casa Clark, I smiled as that familiar creeping cold took hold of my bare ankles just like it does in the bush in late spring. Early and quick to rise before the cold can convince you to stay on the mat of your tent floor, all rumpled with body warmth and spots of dew. Leaving one's tent is hard to do. Anyway, I had not been in that place in many super moons and it was a great way to start my day. Smile plastered on my face, I dipped in to check on my sleeping senorita--Lisa--and pick out some socks. Off to work under the blue blue blue, grinning in anticipation for a great day ahead.

Yesterday while climbing the stairs to our home after a trip to the PA with Lo and Lisa, Lisa made me hack and hack with coughing laughter (obviously). "That kid is going to die from fun". Yup. He will. He is going to. Il allerais. Two clowns are on the loose! I think Lisa and I would make a smashing child entertainment duo. Oh Lisa. What ease with that lady, this is friendship to me. She arrived, we ditched her suitcase and settled into my bed, laughing until hungry. Lo arrived just in time to join our walking tour to the PA (a cheap as neighborhood grocery great for cheap cheese and hot men in high numbers). Three abreast on the sidewalk, we passed a fancy kitchen shop closed for business, but open to private catering. I could have lingered in that window for a lifetime (trust me, I did as long as I could. Fixated on the young chef at the back, bearded and whipping around a chopping block in whites). What was going on in there? That was no cooking class. Whatever it was, I want in. It looked like a private party for a 50 year old birthday party. I could so see my mother having a birthday party for herself in a place like that. Kitchenware on tidy shelves and friends around a huge island; wine, food being made to order in front of you in a fancy shop kitchen by a sexy French man. Whoa. I lingered alright. An enquiry is necessary.


Leo just got a shit load of new plastic spring toys: diggers, trucks, sand pails, a stacking rainbow tower, mini baking bowls and cake lifters. Looking forward to camping out with him in a sandbox this summer. Bareback in overalls, my kind of guy. Can't wait to dump my realtime children off at Grandma's house in years to come. Watching them blast from the vehicle for the ragged trampoline and the mountain of fresh sand that my mother replenishes for her unruly neighborbabies every spring. What a maman! "Say hi to Grandma first!", nope. We will go in, have some tea on the deck and I will ask questions about canning. These are the kinds of things I daydream about sometimes. I so look forward to knowing my parents as grandparents. They are the best.

Golden Grahams for breaky, reminds me of my own Grandma (who always had that cereal in her pantry at sleepovers). I miss that old farmhouse on the hill, my grandparents house in Rosie. Winter white, a tall and proud house in the country with the giant red barn. I loved that property so much and find myself wandering there in thought more often than not. I miss my family.

In other news, I have a wild chest rattle and feel terrible for keeping the whole house awake due to coughing my guts out last night. I should have slept on the balcony. Sorry Lo. Sorry Lisel. What a drag. Life is not perfect, life can be ragged and phlem filled. Le Poulet and I swapped germs and he has the ragged cough too. It is heartbreaking to hear him work it out while fast asleep in his own soft bed. Wish I would go in there and soothe him, but it will pass. Right now, I am just grateful as hell that I have a job that allows me to soothe a baby, to lie down if I am sick, to make tea, to go for a walk at 8:30 in the morning if I feel like it (like we did yesterday).

In the six months that I have worked with Leo, we had never before left the house before nine in the morning. But yesterday while pushing the carriage to nowhere through muck and slush while Leo serenaded the neighborhood with babble and song, I inhaled the early morning air and just felt good to be here. I love Montreal, it is starting to feel like home.


Everybody poops, even ethereal women.

On that note, enjoy Sister Spring.

Be nice today.

Easter Shoes 2010. Photo by M Dixon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jacqueline du Pré.

Classical music goes hand in hand with the unfolding of Spring, in my shop at least. Last night unable to sleep (chest rattle crash BANG), I spring cleaned my bedroom to the likes of Ms. du Pré wailing on the cello. I love the sound of the cello. This concerto is beautiful. It is so thrilling to hear the orchestra falling in, like a rushing river of sound. Goodness, how I love the symphony. Jillian took me to the Winnipeg Concert Hall last Spring for my first experience. Plush velvet seats, four bodies in individual finery, jazz twirling up to the dark moon in an ally, wine in hand while people watching.

Once while at the ballet, a small girl approached for an autograph, mistaking me for a ballerina on recess (I was wearing Erin's ivory tutu and glugging a glass of wine). Unsure what to do at first, I signed as she sighed dreamily. I miss Winnipeg when I think of nights like those. Giles and I went quite a few times last Spring. I had never heard of throat singing until she came along and slipped a ticket into my paw. Away we went. For my birthday, she took me to see Carmen, the french opera by Georges Bizet. No turning back after that. Opera! Mon Dieu! Thrilling.

Spring to me is classical music in headphones (Brahms usually), washing windows outside in slippers, solo adventure with J Alba and rain photography.

Grey day today. Leo and I stooped it with hot coffee and high spirits. Lisa King arrives this afternoon by train! Hallelujah for visitations by dear friends. This reunion has been hotly anticipated for months. Looking so forward to stooping it with her, delighting in Leo with another adult, speaking English on the sidewalk arm in arm with one of my best friends, eating hot bagels and laughing on my bed like children. Oh the laughter, how I have missed Lisa's humor.

Spring is here, Montreal is confused. Last week was all sun and greenery, this week is snow and greys for days. Such is life. Enjoy the montage below, I found it on Youtube (and was introduced to Jacqueline du Pré in reading an interview with textile designer Jocelyn Warner.


Jacqueline du Pré Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85 Adagio. Moderato
Edgard Elgar The Philadelphia Orchestra
Photography by Daniel Barenboim.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Big Winds.

Bonjour from Croissanttown. Leo and I danced the morning away to the likes of Demetra Penner. Yesterday her new album, "Lone Migration" came in the post. Woohoo! We traded trades, an illustration (me) for the newly released album (her). Good trade in my books. I had never drawn up a show poster before and it was a good challenge, the dimensions and deadline a great excersize in my ever present quest for artistic discipline. I am very pleased with the poster. With the process came a new understanding of layout, the next one will be better.

What a whirlwind of mental state within the last 18 hours of my life. Crying at the table, smiling into the Montreal warm WINDS (triple hallelujah), texting my mother a sea of love, deep gratitude for my Friends of the Ages, even deeper missing of my family these days especially, sorrow over loss, confusion and embarrassment in the middle of tabletalk, hopefulness and insecurity at a vernissage in St. Henri. A shitmix, to say the least.


Most of the tears were cued with the first melodies of Demetra's album played through my headphones while the boy slept. Head bowed, I sat and gave it the best listen I could. The tears came, grief tap wide fucking open. Listening, it was so easy to imagine her writing music in a little dump trailer in Churchill, MB. Polar bears and papas in red check, big winds and frozen lashes on frozen water. Woman, keep singing, you have the talent. Do seek out her album, brew some strong coffee and give it the best listen you can in the light of morn/mourn.

Her mother's name is Vern. Strong ladies in that that family.

Meach, you are a friend of the ages and I am proud of you! Proud to know you! Thanks for reminding me of a woman you never met, of her out walking in the feathered air of winter in her own great Inuit winter coats. She loved the north as much as you. Wow, I haven't been moved by music to that extent in a very long time. Auntie Marj, I feel you baby. You are all around. Last week's horoscope touched upon enduring pain caused by the eagle, and encouraged us Rams in Limbo to feel gratitude for all we've learned during the ordeal.

Suck it up, grow from it.

The lesson of my week. Self-discipline, the lesson of the end of my 24th year. Learn it Meg, realtime. This week's lesson was something else altogether. A lesson on memory (something that comes to me with more ease than anything else I know). I'll keep it to myself for now, quiet thoughts as I push my little curly haired fellow around town, both of us in awe over the first of the warm winds of Spring. Bush, bush, bush, bush longing in that wind. To staunch one hunger, and to feed another one altogether different, I bought a new record. I love going into the record shop with Leo. We are always met with hesitation and then ease. He is a crowd pleaser, even the punks like Leo. Last week while we visited Phonopolis, my local record shop, we were given a thumbs up and a curt "gotta start 'em young" string of approval from a hardcore man. Alright! Yes, I couldn't agree more.

Anyway, Kurt Vile is my no. 1. His new album Smoke Ring for my Halo, is as good if not better than his other work. The Creature, The Thunder, The Thinker, The Finder. Good work boys, wish I could take your picture while you partake of your outdoor coffee and cigarette in between songs. These drums, such a fullness. Surprising piano, striking and strong. Great album. Find it, buy it on vinyl, don't be dumb, do it right. Speaking of photos, I dropped off my first roll shot with the Kiev at my photo place this morning, should be ready 'round next week. Blurtown, for sure. I need a good tripod. Still, I am excited all the same.

Leo and I walked aimlessly in this unfamiliar weather, sans gloves, doing lazy loops to nowhere. Coffee breaks on people's stoops, teaching him about shadows on the sidewalk. Cloud coverage, big temps.

I am in a weird place within myself, but there are bigger fish to fry. Japan, holy hell. A reminder from Rags to quit complaining "say it with me", thanks woman for keeping it real. Your touch is far and wide, don't forget it. Touch your baby's sleeping eyelids for Aunty Meg.

See you at Easter shoes Winnipeg.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fire to the rain.

The latest album by Adele is on, loud. 21 is what it is called. Pat forced me to download it, thanks. Give it a listen if possible, it is pretty sassy. Leo and I are dancing wildly in between paragraphs (mine) and switchbacks (his) with the Swiffer. Leo, King of the push broom. I am trying to teach him as much as I know. And Lord knows, I know the way of the broom. Speaking of Le Poulet, he is now feeding himself lunch. Face, hands, spoon, fork, he is getting in there. Hand to mouth, first hand. It is such a privilage to call this 'work'; to arrive every morn to a beautiful home filled with love and respect for one another, to watch a little person grow! Whoa, this kid. He has started throwing fits on the sidewalk, little shinda. Too bad it is so cute to watch, discipline is a strange concept. The idea of holding hands is too much for him, he refuses even though it is the rule. We walk outside (or cruise with feet off the ground in the carriage or backpack, we are mobile for 2-3 hours every day) to the corner of St. Viateur and Waverly. Leo, upset by being LED, sits down on wet concrete with a defiance that I secretly delight in. He shrieks like a gull for a bit, I laugh and crouch down, explain yet again why it is important to hold onto each other. Little crossed sea creature legs, wet bum, little pout, gros bebe. NON! Leo does not simply say this, he projects it with gumption. NON! His two words (en anglais) a la moment: No and Ball. Ball came this week. Ball. I love watching him learn, repeat, relate the word to the article in question. Ball. NON. He points at me and says, "no" when caught doing something he knows is not allowed. Touche pas Leo. Touch not! I love french.

Speaking of the French, my dear friend Christian rolled through Montreal last night and it was so nice to walk around my neighborhood with a friend, speaking freely, tea in a jar, whiskey in another jar, both changing hands in between fast photographs. Dirt Dog chinese slop for dinner. I finished up a project in the wings for Meach at the dinner table while Pat and Christian spoke French over my bent neck. "Did you catch any of that?" nope. LE le. C'est ca. I am not catching much, but I do appreciate being immersed in it. This Sunday is JJ and Nabi's Spring ball, a French dinner party. I am going and while I will probably sit pretty and mute, I will listen, trying in vain to absorb single words at a time. Quebecoise french is bonkers, words slide into the next, there are tricks of the tongue for efficiency. Same as English in that way. I am in an interesting position in my life; anonymous and quiet, observant. The student hat is on, I am hungry to learn!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Factory paper.

Yesterday I thought of Giles while dressing in my sassiest running outfit and again as I blasted out the door on the first run of the season. Drawn to the East again, I cruised through neighborhoods I had never noticed before until I found myself panting on a park bench. While resting in the sinking 7 o'clock light of day, it dawned on me while taking in the surroundings from the bench that I had visited that exact spot in October. A sudden acknowledgment of the changes that have whittled my psyche to it's current state within those last four five six months was engulfing. With Mizuno's outstretched, alert ears against a Running Room headband, I sat there unable to cry but wanting to. Quick tears are expected, it is the hardened edge that surprises. It was not the time last night. Finding cheer and laughter has been a lot easier than I anticipated last Spring (from my antsy position at the little desk in the Smith house, wondering where in the world I would be in the Spring of 2011 in Montreal). It is wonderful to be settled for the most part, busy blurred hands, looking forward to coming combustion. For many months now I have been anticipating some sort of rebith, a rocket launch. Of what, to what? I am not so sure yet. But it is nearing, all signs point this way.

In the meantime, I have been stenciling. Here is a snippet of a letter to the TC HQ, carved into magic Factory paper, stolen from Andy Warhol archives (or so I like to think). It is fantastic paper to work with. I hope to get into papermaking some day. Now, spaghetti for breakfast while Le Poulet sleeps on, laundry spins, rain pours. Spring! I have also been drawing since Tiff hooked me up with a river of inspiration. Thanks woman, you know me well. Last night I stayed up until the wee hours, fixated on the detail of three flapper dresses. I love drawing women. Men are tricky.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pencil to paper.

"Waiting" by My Robot Friend.

This beautiful stop motion animation created by Liam Stevens took over three months to render! Wow, the drawings are so simple and delicate. Pencil is often a forgotten medium at my work table. Nonetheless, I really admire Stevens' work and was delighted when I stumbled upon this diamond. Liam Stevens, good job. Enjoy, and do take a look at his online dossier, its really good.

Le Poulet has risen, time to hit the sunny outdoors with little boots, little feet.

Rabbit Presse.

Yesterday I took a Mental Health Day. Lying in bed, cat at feet, sun in window; work was out of the question. I bailed on the kitchen boys and figured the new cook-in-training would appreciate the elbow room. I dressed and fast tidied, planning my day as I went. I wore my first little shoes of the season out the door to pick up a hot bagel at the end of my street (I am so happy where I live) and ate it with the back balcony door thrown wide.

It was wonderful to hear the first sounds of spring, birds, the Great Melt. One bagel, two poached eggs, some cowboy coffee in the early morning sun. Such quietness is a rarity these days. How I enjoy spending quiet hours in my own home. I wrote (read: stenciled) an EPIC letter (definitely the biggest stencil project of my life thus far) to the TC HQ on magical Factory paper and then decided to take my Kiev out for a walking spin. I cruised towards the East down Laurier with the Russian in my hands, the weight a delightful reminder of Creme and his own Russian. On the way to nowhere, I stopped in for an incredible coffee at this quiet place called Lapin Presse. My drip coffee was made to order, it took seven minutes to make. What? It was worth the wait. Liza, Lapin Presse reminded me of you sitting in the sun somewhere in Abbotsford. I also came across two potential yoga studios, a meditation place and a new bakery.

I shot around, my minds eye looking for lines to steady within the black beast camera.

Shooting with the Kiev (the giant medium format) is new territory for me. I find it incredibly hard to shoot straight (I am sure there is a correct term for this concept, excusez moi). With my Nikon, I tend to shoot off noticed line work, anything that I can level with, line up with in sight, to centre, steady, frame. That reads poorly, but I am at a loss for words. Framing a shot is not so simple to do with the Kiev, as the image in the viewfinder is skewed and reversed. This trips up the hands like nothing else! A little dip to the right or left and you have to start all over again. I am constantly reminding myself where my lens is pointing with the Kiev, as the mount is completely different from my Nikon. Mirrors, what tricks you play on my mind. No fast portraits with this thing.

I stood for a long while in an empty schoolyard, lining up my sight within the camera alongside an epic school wall mural of two weird looking children. People passed by, staring at the giant camera as I tried in vain to find a crisp parallel. Knowing full well that without a tripod to steady, all twelve shots will be blurry, but it was exciting to practice in the middle of the morning, alone with my thoughts. On a Sunday, nonetheless! Tres glorious. I felt no guilt whatsoever for lying.

Filled my first roll with the Kiev and after cleaning the house, I coaxed J Alba out of the work room and we took to the streets after a long hiatus. My favorite street to blast is St. Urbain. It felt so good to cycle again, me and my girl.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mes parents.

Without my mother's epic packages (thanks for footing the rest of the bills Cal), I would not shoot nearly as much. Film provider extraordinaire, Kim Kroeker.

Come home already, sheesh.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hither and yon.

I am either thirty paces ahead or years in the past.

Today I took a stroll down memory lane thanks to a kind letter from one hell of a woman in my life. You know who you are, you struck a pretty chord! I have been having strong visual memories of when I was a small girl, 8 or 9, drawing at the table while my pops drank his morning coffee black and the rest of the house slept; sitting on a bowed board hauled across a country floor, barefoot, those hardened feet dragging against the current of Tobacco Creek, the stream I was so proud of. Proud of a creek, that sums my childhood.

Such contentedness then, a simple picnic for one (chewed up soda crackers that I tried to feed Erin but she would have none of it), a tightrope walk across the dam in my backyard, my only audience the cranky river chugging along and the catfish on the high side watching as I whipped across, mushroom cut flying. I miss the days of yon.

Oh Megan, let bygones be bygone.

And today? Le Poulet made me laugh aloud as he somehow managed to free himself from the stroller and climb out to lick the wet sidewalk as I sat on the front step eating a pear. Alright darling, one lick is all you get. Mud will always taste like mud. His dirty face was incredible, where was my camera? At home. Spring is coming, the wait is always worth it. Leo reaffirmed my faith in the season today with his own mute enthusiasm. Maybe I should get down and give the sidewalk a good licking. Snap me out of this 'thang.

Shake loose the Doom Cloak with a good mouthful of earth.

I guess I am a bit of a spoilsport these days knowing that with Spring comes the spring plant, and oh how I long to be on that bus. Not the Dryden bus of course, as my Northern Ontario days are over. But a bus heading to the mountains sounds about right. I want to plant with Liza's food in mind, wash my face and hands up to the wrists, and eat off the most beautiful blue plate. Liza, you will do wonderfully as a planting cook!

Planting, as horrendous as it can be, is good for me. It centers, calms and mediates. I long for the air on the Block, wind whipping, secret headphones on a head bowed, flying through the furrows like a little woman possessed. Holding hands with the earth, a face tilted to the first real warmth of the season, shedding clothes like snakeskin. Ahhhh, sweet land. I smell it in the air sometimes (with luck) while out walking with my friend Leonard. I catch it in whiffs of woodsmoke, of turned soil, wet branches, light rain.

My planter's livelihood came rushing back yesterday as Vincent and I pushed Leo through slush swamps on St. Urbain, both of us forgetting to push the carriage at the heigh of our bush talk, hands flying. They need a cook. I am a cook. But stay I will, as Montreal is my summer home. I have visions of building up a utilitarian Mom Bike (yes, you heard me). Gears, brakes, pizza rack, baby carrier. Leo and I are going to explore this town, helmeted, the summer sun on our backs.

Surely there is more than one way to brown one's forearms.

Sister Spring, you are UP.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Into the Vault.

Last night I dreamed of face painted French boys and Versailles. Got me thinking of France and Europe. This morning I whipped through the vault of 2007. The year I really learned to shoot. I will never forget the day Auntie Marj (God rest her) handed me her old Nikon F3, a huge Ziploc bag of 400 PI film and said, "shoot". I wrote about that moment in my Photography Letter of Intent. Shoot. A simple instruction. There were no lessons, she was not a woman of lessons. Just giver! So I GAVER and blew through 35 rolls of color film, learning as I went from country to country, shooting through train windows, hanging upside down from balconies in Vienna, from a casual table in Paris; all of it spent.

Kit, Rab and I wandered through Europe with slack jaws, seeing things I never knew existed (it doesn't take much to wow me), I shot and shot and shot and shot and shot some more. I remember the battery dying somewhere in the middle of Venice. At that point, I was unaware of shooting manually, sans battery but by the grace of God we SOMEHOW wound through that beautiful sinking city and found a camera shop and managed to carry on to Naples. Naples! Holy cow. In retrospect, that entire journey was nothing short of a miracle. Italy was insane. Spain in the membrane. France! Heavy and exciting Berlin. Belgium, my heart is there. The list is endless. What an adventure. Looking forward to the next.

These are some of the things I have seen on my travels.