Portraits

Photography Installation: Touching Strangers

How often do you think about the possibilities of strangers, of two random people coming together and making a moment so magical that it stops you in your tracks?

That’s what a photo exhibit called “Touching Strangers” is doing to Torontonians through the month of May during the annual CONTACT Photography Festival.

American photographer Richard Renaldi has spent years travelling through the US with his large format camera, making portraits of two complete strangers he meets in the streets. Richard poses his subjects as though they were a real couple, and creates some of the most stunning portrait work I’ve ever seen.

It’s this type of work that makes me extremely jealous of some people’s creativity, but it also inspires me to be better and more original in my own life.

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Street Portraits: Lea & Dagmar

Street portraiture is equal measure thrilling and terrifying, but I finally worked up the nerve to ask a couple of strangers, and they said yes. Thanks to the tips and encouragement I received from so many people on my Freshly Pressed piece a few weeks ago, I feel that my first real attempt at street portraiture was a success.

Actually, I suppose my first real street portrait was with Kobi, but he asked me to take his portrait. Technicalities.

Meet Lea and Dagmar. Lea has just graduates university, and I’m going to assume that Dagmar has graduated as well… but unfortunately I kind of forgot what she told me about school, however I remember what school she attended 🙂 Either way, they were just out for a day on the town enjoying the one day of nice weather we’ve had recently.

Lea & Dagmar

I ran into them while walking along Queen St a few days ago, and noticed them taking pictures of each other against a colourful wall on a side street with their iPhones. I asked if they’d mind posing for some portraits for my blog and they agreed. I actually took some shots with their iPhone first, but since I don’t own an iPhone, I didn’t really know what I was doing and probably butchered those shots. Oh well, on to my images…

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They were both super cool and easy going, and it’s pretty clear from the first image that they’re good friends.

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I really like how these images turned out, and I think they are a testament to the amount of practice I’ve put into shooting in all kinds of outdoor lighting conditions, and feeling really confident with shooting in manual mode. Honestly, when you approach a stranger and ask to take their portrait, you’d better be able to lock in your setting in three frames or less, or you’re likely to lose them before you’ve started the session.

I had a lot of fun shooting them, and want to thank them for participating in the impromptu photo session. The whole shoot only took about ten minutes, and we were soon off in our separate directions. The experience was a great one, and it has definitely fuelled my desire to continue to challenge myself in this way.

I hope they like the post, and the images.

Street Walking: Re:Reading Turns Five!

On Saturday, I was out for a walk on The Danforth, the neighbourhood where I live, and I stumbled on a birthday party for one of my favorite stores – Re:Reading.

Re:Reading

Re:Reading is a used book store  with fabulous character, and since it has had many terrific write-ups in the past, I don’t think I’ll regurgitate what has already been said.

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However, I will tell you this…

Re:Reading always manages to flourish, while constantly going against the grain. As many of the local book, video, and music stores in the city are closing down, Re:Reading has established itself as a favorite destination for bookworms, hipsters, sci-fi fans, and stay-at-home moms & dads in the neighbourhood. The selection is always excellent, and the service is second to none… thanks ladies!

Oh, and the cake was ridiculously awesome! Re:Reading gang, please let us know where it came from in the comments… I forgot to ask.

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Summer Portrait in the Garden

As this never ending winter trudges on with no end in sight, I become more and more hopeful of the warmer spring weather that is almost close enough to reach. With that, I often find myself daydreaming about what I’ll do when the snow melts and the green grass and leaves make their return.

My ideal summer day is spent relaxing and playing in the back yard with my family, tending to my vegetable garden, and barbecuing. Here’s an image from one of those sublime afternoons last summer, where I caught my older son perched atop one of the lounge chairs for a quick break in the shade. It reminds me of a cat calmly waiting to pounce on its next victim… which is often his little brother.

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