Yeah, I quit nablopomo. It just wasn’t doing for me what I’d hoped it would, and I couldn’t stand doing another half-assed post. I kept thinking that the next day I’d do a better post, but I never did, and that was my whole reason for signing up. So I quit

I know they say quitters never win, but that’s not always true. For example, I trotted that out when people suggested I quit smoking, right up until I actually quit. I thought about continuing since I only had like five days to go, but what would be the point? It wasn’t achieving anything. That said, if you liked my half-assed posts, feel free to tell me why and I’ll try to do more of that.

Lots has been going on as well. We found out a week or two ago that my father-in-law was hospitalized again, so we’ve reversed our earlier decision about South Africa, and booked flights yesterday to Cape Town. I have to say I’m pretty excited, despite the not-great reason for going. I adore my husband’s family there, so I’m really looking forward to seeing them. If I’m honest, I’m also looking forward to seeing what kind of pictures I make there. I think my photography has developed a lot in the three years since we last went, both conceptually and aesthetically. I think my pictures have developed a subtlety that I like.

So that’s all for now. Here are some pictures from yesterday.



Paul and Alberta

I love these pictures of Paul and Alberta. They’ve just given me permission to post them here…








weekend scenes

Our weekends are feeling way too administrative. Saturdays are full of regularly scheduled stuff: Farmer’s Market in the morning, I go to the Drop-In in the afternoon, then the grocery store, then cooking dinner with some of those fresh groceries, then bath and bed for the little one. Sundays are less scheduled but often involve cleaning the house and visiting with the in-law. So this weekend we didn’t really do anything fun or fresh-air-ish.

My son did play around the house a lot though and in the backyard. Here are some of the scenes he left behind.





Shortly after I arrived at the drop-in centre this morning, someone pointed out the new sign on the cupboards: Memorial service for Fred Whitehand, December 2.

It took a few minutes to register that I knew Fred, and then my mouth hung open.

“Fred’s dead?!?”

He’d been hospitalized a few weeks ago for pneumonia, and I thought about visiting him in hospital, just to let him know I was thinking about him, but I didn’t because I thought that might be intrusive. The last time I saw him before he went to hospital he’d looked awful, and was coughing a lot. I was worried. She said he’d come out of hospital and was at home, in his room in the Diplomat Hotel. She said he was just going to rest a bit before he started going out. So I assumed that meant he was better.

I thought it was just last Saturday that I’d overheard someone talking about him but his obituary says he died November 7, a week before. He had a heart attack in the shower.

I didn’t know much about him, but he was there pretty much every single time I went to the centre. He always came up early to get his juice, and he was one of only a few people Alberta allowed to get juice in advance of the meal. If I sat down at a table for a while, it was often his – he sat at the same table as John. He read a lot, usually fantasies I think, and he walked with a shuffling limp. I liked making him smile – it was a relatively rare occurrence, around me at least. He once told me he had a BA, in geography, I think. He also told me he never ever allowed food into his room, so as not to attract roaches. I once asked if I could take his picture, but he said he’d rather I not. I wonder if he’d known that he would be dead just a few months later if his answer would have been the same? The question reminds me of something I read in Documentary Now! Contemporary Strategies in Photography, Film and the Visual Arts (which I returned to the library before I finished so I’m going off memory here) that said documentary photographers work in the future perfect tense where something will have happened.

I guess he was buried last week where his mother still lives, which just happens to be about 10 minutes from my parents’ home where I grew up. During one semester of spares in high school, my friend and I often hitchhiked into his town for Basken Robbins. Sister Christine is holding a memorial service for people at the drop-in since a funeral wasn’t held here. I’m really sad I can’t make it but I will have just landed in New York then.

Even though I barely knew him at all, I’ll miss his shuffling gait and unassuming presence, and of course the possibility of getting to know him better.

hoping this won’t break my site

The Kids in the Hall was my favourite show in high school. Whenever I start to think about humanity and the meaning of life, this skit often comes to mind. If I had to make a list of my top 10 favourite Kids in the Hall skits, which I do not, but if I did (and I might yet), this one would definitely make the list. (And that was a little reference to a certain skit involving Gavin and a butcher, which would also make the list.)

last Sunday morning

A while back I put together a print portfolio of portraits I made at the Drop In Centre to show to Sister Christine. I still haven’t the guts up to show her, but I did bring it in one Saturday to show Alberta, who runs the place during my shifts. My intention was only to show her, but people gathered round and looked through them. It turns out that Alberta knows Gerry, who moved back to Sudbury before I could give him a print. She mentioned that she’d like to have a print of Gerry’s picture, so I took it out and gave it to her. He comes down for cancer treatments and from the look on her face it seems like his prognosis may not be so great. I felt so pleased she wanted it.

Alberta’s partner also looked at the photos, and commented that he thought they were really good. So I asked him if I could photograph him, and he answered no. I’ve also long wanted to photograph Alberta – I did once but the light was awful and the picture didn’t turn out at all – she looks like a 50s movie star. However, after she saw my pictures, she said no.

That kind of threw me. What were they seeing in my photographs that made them not want to be included? She’d agreed before, so what had changed now that she the pictures? I tried not to dwell on it, but I was concerned.

Anyways, a few weeks later, Alberta’s partner Paul sat down with me and said he’d perhaps been too hasty in responding to my request. He’d been caught a bit off guard but now that he’d thought about it, he realized they didn’t have any pictures of each other, and they would like me to photograph them after all. I feel so honoured to be asked, and of course just plain delighted. So last weekend I went to their home and photographed them. Paul does all of Alberta’s eye makeup; he’s largely responsible for her movie star looks. So they allowed me to photograph him doing her aesthetics. They also asked me to share any pictures online until they’d seen them, and they haven’t yet so I can’t share them, but I’m really happy with the shots.

I am often amazed by what people will share with me. I love that they let me into their home and into their daily rituals. For me, it is always an exchange, one I don’t take lightly.

This is what I’ve been meaning to blog about for two weeks straight, but I wasn’t sure how to do it. And now that I have, it seems a lot more boring than I’d intended. Oh well…

Less than two weeks until we go to New York!

my hood

There’s a certain sameness about my walk to work. Sometimes I bring my camera, although I should really take it more often. Last Friday morning, the light was lovely. It was sunny, but a bit cloudy – the sun kept sneaking behind clouds and making the light all soft and glowy. I spent most of the walk wishing I had my camera, but also knowing that I was late, and if I had my camera, I’d be later. Anyways, there was a boy wearing a big leather glove and a shaking peregrine falcon on his hand. But I didn’t have my camera so I can’t show you.

I also walk by that pregnancy test and trailer every morning, wanting to photograph the spectacle with no cars around it. Although I did have my camera on Thursday morning, because my son has speech therapy, by the time I got to the trailer there were a bunch of cars around it. This was all I could do with it.

I have to say, for the last several months I haven’t been a big fan of photographing in full sun. The wet and cool summer may have had something to do with me getting in touch with my inner Englishman.

Anyways, the sameness of my walk. We’ve been in this house for more than a year now, which means I’ve been photographing some of the same scenes in different seasons. Here are a few examples.

(the top one was last week, the bottom in June I think)

(the top was in June I think, bottom in April vs. one I posted a few days ago)

(the top one was in May I think, the bottom last week)

And here are a few more from my local environs that I like (apologies if I’ve posted them before)…



Of course, I have no idea where any of these pictures will lead, but it’s fun to do.

25th anniversary?

Did you know it’s the 25th anniversary of house music? That makes me feel old. Although, it had been around for a long time before I finally caught on about 10 years ago. Anyways, I’ve been enjoying this nice house mix created in honour of the anniversary.

moving on

It seems I’ve moved on from my NYC accommodation obsession to NYC photography galleries! Sadly, Sally Mann’s Proud Flesh is over, but I did discover that Doug DuBois’s All the Days and Nights is showing very near our Midtown hotel. It comes down 3 days after we arrive, so we’re just in time! Although I’m disappointed to miss Pieter Hugo’s Nollywood exhibition, which is happening in February. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all I guess.

I discovered this site, which lists many photography galleries in New York, although it looks a year or two out of date.

I’m nursing a bit of a headache so I’ll sign off now. Once again, a short post. Sorry. Thanks to those of you who said hello a couple posts back. Most of you I knew but there were a couple newcomers, which is always nice.