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.