October 31, 2004

Sorta Almost Not Sick


greatwall_phone.jpg

Untitled
Taken with Great Wall DF-

Well it's Sunday night and while I'm recovering, I'm nowhere near fully recovered. To make matters worse I've infected Mr. Risk and now he suffers the pain. I learned during this illness that a nanny for sick adults would be very handy. I've watched several crappy movies and so much bad daytime television that I now know far too much about Ashlee Simpson, Dr. Phil's "Family First" mission, and Oprah's new season. The other night I dreamt that I was teaching the Simpson sisters how to say no to product endorsements and explaining why that just makes them into plastic, money-grubbing, whores. You teach people how to treat you and that dog don't hunt cause mama ain't happy*.

Help. Me.

This will likely be my last post for a while. If I do post it will be sporatic. I lost five days of critical time to this illness -- five days I couldn't afford to lose. I'm totally screwed!

*If you get this reference, please stop watching Dr. Phil.

Posted by Gayla at 10:34 PM | Comments (8)

October 29, 2004

Sick


greatwall_emptysign.jpg

Untitled
Taken with Great Wall DF-

I am VERY sick. I'm too tired to try and say more or make the words. I've been in bed since Tuesday night. I thought I'd be better by today but I'm not. My fever is gone, I have more energy, and my body doesn't ache as much, but oh god the coughing! My head can't take any more blowing or coughing.

Posted by Gayla at 12:02 PM | Comments (8)

October 26, 2004

No More Titles


greatwall_upjunction.jpg

Untitled
Taken with Great Wall DF-

I'm seriously tired of coming up with titles so I've left this one untitled. I've had to pull way too many witty titles out of my ass in the last three months.

No more titles.

I tried posting this late last night (around 1 am) but my site went down and I lost the writing which was mostly just crazy exhausted rambling anyway... much like what you're reading now. It's not even 9:00 pm yet and I'm wiped. Today I walked from north of Davenport and Bathurst down to Queen and John, went to an eye doctor's appointment and then walked west. The eye doctor said I have a stigmatism... something I didn't know. My eye sight has deteriorated a bit. I'm near-sighted (no surprise). So I have to upgrade my prescription sometime soon. Blah.

I bought a new medium format camera the other day. The Great Wall is on its last legs. I've lost two screws so now everytime I go to change the film-- which happens after every 12 pictures-- I have to struggle with a camera that is already a total bitch to load, plus deal with the back that completely falls off and the pin that continuously drops. I'm wondering how I'm going to work with it in the dead of winter when the it is minus some ungodly temperature with crazy windshield factor while standing in a snowdrift wearing two pairs of gloves...

People, I suffer for my art. It's very hard.

It will be a few weeks before the camera arrives so I'm really hesitant to say anything about it at this time. If it sucks I'll feel like an ass because I've read numerous warnings about its problems. But you can't tell me. No sir. I figure people bitch and moan about the Horizon but I love mine. And I knew zero about the Great Wall at the time of purchase and look how that turned out. . My expectations are pretty low so that helps. A lot of naysayers who shit on Russian cameras do so because they're overly obsessed with sharpness and quality glass and blah, blah, blah.

I like a fidgety camera. It gives me something to work against.

Today's song: Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City- Al Brown

Posted by Gayla at 09:12 PM | Comments (7)

October 24, 2004

Optimistic Cynic


diana_swan.jpg

Swan
Taken with the Windsor/Diana Hybrid

This isn't at all the kind of picture I normally take. Okay actually it's the kind of picture I secretly take every friggin' time I go down to the water's edge at High Park but never make public because it screams "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy".

I'm an optimistic cynic.

------------------------------
New song obsession: Is It Because I'm Black Ken Boothe-- Beautiful, deep, soulful singing. Also check out the original by Syl Johnson.

Posted by Gayla at 11:54 PM | Comments (14)

October 23, 2004

WTCD


diana_pinkblossoms.jpg

Through the Blossoms
Taken with the Windsor/Diana Hybrid

Today is World Toy Camera Day and as luck would have it I woke up with sun shinning on my face! I just spent an hour loading up various cameras and now I must go make the pictures.

Posted by Gayla at 10:53 AM | Comments (10)

October 22, 2004

Galaxie II


galaxie.jpg

Galaxie II
Taken with Nikon D70

World Toy Camera Day tomorrow.

Posted by Gayla at 02:00 PM | Comments (12)

October 21, 2004

Galaxie


galaxie2.jpg

Galaxie
Taken with Nikon D70

I took this picture last night on the way back from meeting Bob who was in town from Chicago. We went out for breakfast this morning but since we talked the entire time I didn't think to take a picture. Bob is exactly as I expected him to be; generous, spirited and sincere. There are already photos from last night posted on the Toronto Photobloggers site. Quick.

I feel like shit today. I had a miserable fitful sleep filled with crazy dreams. My eyes feel like they are sucked back into my head and I smoked an entire pack of cigarettes while indulging in a bottle of Aqua Velva... and then someone hit me in the head with a sledgehammer. I have a lot going on stress-wise so it's no big shocker. In one dream I had a chihauhua puppy but it had a bassette hound head complete with droopy eyes and ears. My dreams are getting stranger and harder to analyze.

Posted by Gayla at 01:02 PM | Comments (7)

October 20, 2004

More Tracks


horizon_tracks_barren.jpg

More Tracks
Taken with Horizon 202

I'm an human, an adult, and a female. Unless we're friends and have an understanding don't ever fucking call me girl.

Posted by Gayla at 12:51 AM | Comments (17)

October 19, 2004

LadyK


greatwall_ladyk.jpg

LadyK
Taken with Great Wall DF-

I've got a lot to say but no time to say it. Yesterday and today have been work-crazy madness and the rest of... the next month should be madness. In addition to work there have been countless back and forths via email and the phone. I hate prolonged use of the phone. This morning I let "Fuck" slip when talking to the printer. Normally I can keep my potty mouth in check but... oops. Although all the printers I've worked with swore like sailors and had a tendency to haul back entire cigarettes in 3 drags so...

Must eat lunch before I die of the starvation.

Posted by Gayla at 01:08 PM | Comments (2)

October 17, 2004

Duck Butts


greatwall_ducks.jpg

Duck Butts
Taken with Great Wall DF-

Mr. Risk came home with a few new CDs yesterday that I'm sure will be setting the mood for everything I do for the next while.

The first is the new Talib Kweli album "Beautiful Struggle". I love the title (it's brilliant) but am somewhat disappointed by the album. No Nina Simone! A lot of the songs are just straight up RnB badness. However two songs, "I Try" (with Mary J. Blige) and "Black Girl Pain" (with Jean Grae) really touched me and made me a little teary. I'm sure there will be a lot of fans who will blast him for this album but the way I feel about music is if you can create even one incredible song in your lifetime that's something. He has already made so many songs that have deeply inspired me in some way. I credit the Blackstar album for keeping my sanity intact through a trying time and Train of Thought was nearly perfect all the way through. I wasn't too hot for Quality but "Get By" is still on regular rotation on my walkman.

By-the-way there are a few gorgeous photos in the liner notes.

The second album is Darker Than Blue: Soul from Jamdown 1973-1980. My brother lent me this album of soul covers done by Jamaican musicians a while back and I remember being really in love with the cover photo but then I forgot about it until we heard it while having lunch last week. I'm especially excited by the cover of Curtis Mayfield's "We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue", a song that has been on regular rotation on my walkman over the last month or so. There's also a cover of Timmy Thomas' "Why Can't We Live Together?", another long-time fave. The only thing missing from this album is Horace Andy's version of "Ain't No Sunshine" which is far better, in my opinion than the Ken Boothe version on the album. Coincidently this is another album with beautiful photos used in the liner notes.

The last album is Miles Davis The Complete Birth of Cool but I haven't listened to it yet.

Posted by Gayla at 03:01 PM | Comments (4)

October 15, 2004

Random


greatwall_miniboat.jpg

Little Boat
Taken with Great Wall DF-

Today is one of those days where I feel like I've done a ton of stuff and it's only 3:00pm. I'm slowly getting the email answered but it's still at 300 so if you haven't heard from me I apologize but, man alive, sometimes it's just too much.

Random Thoughts:

- Another of my Lakeside Park holgas on NoTraces.

- Currently listening to Nina Simone's version of Mr. Bojangles which I think is the best version of them all. Some of them have this sort of condescending "He sure could dance that crazy guy", sound and some were really folksy political but hers captures his humanity best. My favourite part is when she sings, "His dog up and died, he just up and died. After twenty years he still grieved." Always makes me a little teary.

- The view of the tracks from our window is pretty. The grass is really yellow with lots of yellow trees in the background. Plus it's rainy and while I don't like getting wet and cold I do like the way everything looks so much richer and alive after a rain. Damn you GO, VIA or whatever government institution for putting up those fucking fences.

- The rain has subsided so I'm going to go out and work on my very sad garden. I've been so busy working on this book I've neglected it pretty intensely. I have three gardens. The other two have been passably maintained. That garden is very exposed and-so many people/dogs have trampled and destroyed plants this year... it's just been too much. I try to keep an emotional distance because I know it's going to happen, but everytime I find a patch of iris crushed by the weight of what looks like a human ass it tears a little bit from my heart. I'm fairly certain that there is an impulse in some people to destroy beauty, most especially if they are living things. I think that maybe beauty and peacefulness is a confrontation of sorts to these people. Then when I think about that it depresses me further.

- There's no denying that fall is definitely here. I like fall but this year I've been very resistant because I have so much to accomplish in such a short period of time. Maybe I need to let go before it's too late.

- Back at ya

- Photos from the Toronto Photobloggers meet-up last month. So far they're all photos taken by Rannie or Davin. There is one that shows the back of my head and good god how I was confronted with the nasty hackjob that is my hair! It's been cut since though. I'm very out-of-sight-out-of-mind when it comes to issues of vanity. Probably partly why I hate being on the other side of the camera. Cause when I do see my photo I think "That's not me!"

- Echoing these sentiments about change. I've experienced a lot of change but this last year has been intense.

Posted by Gayla at 03:35 PM | Comments (5)

October 14, 2004

Any Girls


greatwall_anygirls.jpg

Any Girls
Taken with Great Wall DF-

This one is like a slightly more passive version of the fourteen inches guy.

It also kind of reminds me of the "party line". Back when I was in grades 6, 7, and 8 there was a number you could call that took you to a line that was just a bunch of voices really faint and far in the background yelling "Anyone there? What's your name? What's your number? What are you doing?".

That's really all it was. I'm not sure where the party was cause it was boring as hell. Now, at that age, for whatever reason I just happened to be friends with the juvenile deliquant-type skid girls at my school who were already cussing, smoking, drinking and having sex with 16 year old skid guys. I have no idea how I got accepted into this crowd. Maybe they thought I was a novelty since I didn't do any of those things... yet. It probably had something to do with my class status and the fact that I really didn't fit in anywhere -- smart but not geeky, weird but not too weird, shy but also outspoken, timid but also tough enough to punch (in the face and right in front of the teacher but I didn't get in trouble!) the guy who ridiculed me every day of seventh grade.

Anyways those girls seemed to spend every Friday night (while babysitting) calling the party line and eventually hooking up with a guy who was a lot older than they were. Like for instance they'd get the guy's number and call him, lie about their age and eventually figure out the guy was like 21 or 33 and then tell the guy to meet them somewhere but then not show up, or they'd be really stupid and give the guy their address but then pretend they weren't home. Those skid girls were tough and were always looking to kick someone's ass but when it came down to it they were incredibly naive, vulnerable, child-like girls who constantly put themselves into dangerous situations.

I suppose our relationship was a mutal fascination society.

But then I went to highschool and all the popular girls wanted to be friends with me because we were all small fish in a big pond and back on a level playing field and there's strength in numbers which freaked me out because I was not used to having so many "friends" especially of the hyper-manicured smells like "Colors" by Benetton or "Lauren" by Ralph Lauren variety so eventually we fell out and I switched social groups. The end.

Posted by Gayla at 06:23 PM | Comments (6)

BBQ


greatwall_bbq.jpg

BBQ
Taken with Great Wall DF-

I recently read both of bell hooks' memoirs,"Wounds of Passion" and "Bone Black". I liked them both but was a bit put off at first by her use of the third person. She says in the intro to "Wounds of Passion" that part of the reason for that was because some of the memories were too painful. I suppose writing in the third person might be distancing but I found it hard to get my head around. It felt like a cop-out. But a few days after reading "Bone Black" I discovered that it was really getting under my skin and affecting my mood. I was wrong.

I like reading memoirs and autobiographies -- even the lying ones steeped in so much denial they fill me with anger and disgust (like Nina Simone's). I've recently realized that I prefer non-fiction to fiction in all manners of story-telling. I'm just generally more interested in real life because it's crazy and strange and fascinating, and because for me it creates a sense of connection and understanding.

When I was a kid growing up and attending public school, a homogenous sort of normalcy was constantly reinforced. It seemed to breed a kind of sickness really and I know that for me personally it created a strong sense of alienation. I hated the way we were taught to lie and pretend about who we were even though I could so clearly see there was something more lurking inside the other kids and the adults. I sometimes think that this is the exact place where lots of people get seriously screwed up. We're all born with this incredible capacity to see, feel and comprehend but that is constantly discouraged and crushed to the point where a lot of people grow up flattened feeling totally disconnected to themselves... which drives them fucking crazy.

And maybe this is why I am drawn to nonfiction, especially when people have the courage to reveal their strength or their vulnerability (which is a kind of strength in my mind anyway) or just tell the truth in a straightforward manner. It reinforces my perspective; the one where I'm not alien but totally normal in my lack of normalcy.

Posted by Gayla at 11:11 AM | Comments (2)

October 13, 2004

Ghostly Chair


diana_chair.jpg

Ghostly Chair
Taken with the Windsor/Diana Hybrid

I took an entire roll with the Diana/Windsor accidently set on 'B'. They're almost all super overexposed and blurry which is disappointing but I like this one regardless.

-----------------

Lakeside Park Holga photos over on Bob's site. It's his 200th post.

His use of the word "artist" to refer to me made me stop and think for a second or two, or several. Even though I studied Fine Art as a studio major and make my living as a "creative" I still feel strange and unsure about the word "artist". Sometimes I use it to refer to myself but when I do I often feel uncomfortable and hesitant... like I just said something really dumb that I want to take back. It's not so much a matter of insecurity or entitlement -- I'm just not sure of the appropriateness of the word. I'm kind of the same way about the word "designer" though so... When people ask me what I do I have a hard time saying "designer". It seems too limited. I have to fight the urge to get into a long-winded explaination about it.

I think part of it is my upbringing, the assumed pretentiouness of "the artist" and a general distrust of art as a whole. Some of that got inside my head on some level even though it hasn't kept me from making art or paying a small fortune to get an art education. And I can pretty safely say that I come from a family of people who severely repressed their creative impulses so I know what their fears are. They're depressing and unfortunate. The other part is that the word "artist" is almost as meaningless sometimes as the word "spiritual". They're both used in really broad, general ways yet they are also both really specific in other ways.

Fuck it. I'm over-thinking this.

Posted by Gayla at 03:39 PM | Comments (8)

October 12, 2004

Immortalized Again


Names

Humber Bay
Taken with Great Wall DF-

I love it when people announce their existence to the world by scratching or writing on an object. And it's like once one person starts it in one spot other people just can't resist doing the same until that thing becomes almost like a graveyard of headstones except instead of saying, "So and So was alive during these years." they say, "Here I am."

I wonder what it is about me that I don't feel compelled to do that, yet I am compelled to photograph them? Even when I didn't take pictures I always made a point to stop and look.

Years ago, I found a miniature agave with the name "Eduardo" scratched into it residing at the top of a pyramid on top of a mountain in Mexico. After that I started noticing cacti and succulents everywhere I went with names scratched into the leaves or bark. Even across cultures and geography we all have the same needs -- even the need to be SEEN -- and similar ways of expressing them.

I like our differences but I am also fascinated by our similarities.

Posted by Gayla at 04:36 PM | Comments (22)

October 11, 2004

Dupont Subway


greatwall_dupont_subway.jpg

Dupont Subway Station
Taken with Great Wall DF-

I took this on what may have been the last warm day for a long time.

------------------------------

Derrida died the other day.

Posted by Gayla at 01:19 AM | Comments (14)

October 09, 2004

Chilly


greatwall_takenbymatto.jpg

Me
Taken with Great Wall DF-

I'm pretty certain this one was taken by Matt O' Sullivan at the last Toronto Photobloggers Meet-up.

--------------------

A while back Bob generously sent me an Olympus XA. I took almost an entire roll before I clued in that it was a rangefinder so the first roll was crap. I finally developed another roll and have posted a few on Flickr. This is my fave. The Olympus XA kicks the tiny metal ass of the Lomo LC-A.

Posted by Gayla at 07:35 PM | Comments (9)

October 08, 2004

Hometown Tour: Downtown


greatwall_factory.jpg

Hometown Tour: Factory
Taken with Great Wall DF-

This photo was taken on the morning of our second day of the trip from the top of a stairwell that leads to a path behind the stores downtown. It's not really an alley. Just a path. I had a small apartment on this strip back when I was 17 years old. The year was 1991 and the Gulf War had just begun. Literally. I always associate that time with the war. It was a difficult time.

My brother asked if I wanted to go into the building to see the door to my old apartment. I didn't. But when we walked by he opened the door and the building smelled EXACTLY as it had 13 years ago. If I could capture smells I'd probably be a smellographer rather than a photographer. Or be like John Waters and meld the two to create smell-o-vision.

Thanks to everyone who wrote or commented about the hometown series. There's still tons more!

Posted by Gayla at 02:14 PM | Comments (2)

October 07, 2004

Unleaded


unleaded

Hometwon Tour: Unleaded
Taken with Great Wall DF-

The new and final 28mm.org is out. Look at all the submissions! Here's mine. Some you may have seen here and some are new. The gas pump above is another one.

I put some more digicam pictures up on Flickr. I particularly like this one taken on a walk home a few weeks ago. I also added to my Carnival set. Make sure to see some of them at Full Size... especially this one and this one.

----------------------

My book in the Spring 2005 catalogue! Eeeeee!

Posted by Gayla at 10:49 AM | Comments (10)

October 06, 2004

Who's the Sucker Now?


greatwall_ct.jpg

Canadian Tire
Taken with Great Wall DF-

This morning I was reminded of an experience I had years ago when I was fresh out of school and starting out as a designer. I was doing a freelance job for a fairly large company in the city and had to deal with a bitter art director. In one of our meetings he said something like, "Why would Mr. Bigshot, head of this company waste any time with you in a meeting? Do you know how much he's worth per hour?"

It never occured to me to measure myself against someone else based on that kind of logic. But it certainly did make me feel like shit at the time. Even though I knew bitter art director was... well... a miserable bastard.

I thought about that exchange today because I realized that I'm probably about the age that bitter art director guy was then. It's interesting and enlightening as I age finding myself at the age certain people from my past were back then. And I just can't believe that people subscribe to that hierarchical bullshit. Or that they actually value their worth on hourly pay. Those systems only exist because people actually subscribe to them and perpetuate them. If we refused to measure our worth that way, they would simply disappear. Maybe bitter art director guy thought he could feel some sense of value because he wasn't me, but he was still trapped on a lower rung on the ladder because he wasn't Mr. Bigshot.

The bitter art director guys and Mr. Bigshots of the world are so busy vying for a position on the ladder they don't get that they don't even have to get on that fucker in the first place.

Posted by Gayla at 12:04 PM | Comments (6)

October 05, 2004

Shuffleboard


shuffleboard

Shuffleboard
Taken with Great Wall DF-

Posted by Gayla at 11:52 AM | Comments (8)

October 04, 2004

Kayaks


greatwall_wards_kayaks.jpg

Kayaks
Taken with Great Wall DF-

Mr. Risk says this looks like sharks teeth with a bit of blood on the end. I thought it was sort of soft and pretty.

--------------------------

Some new pictures.

Posted by Gayla at 11:34 AM | Comments (5)

October 03, 2004

I Can't Think of a Title


greatwall_field.jpg

Magic Time (My Old Schoolyard)
Taken with Great Wall DF-

"In my place, in my place
Were lines that I couldn’t change
I was lost, oh yeah
I was lost, I was lost
Crossed lines I shouldn’t have crossed
"

This is the song I like today. It was a long, emotionally taxing day. I'm drained. I really felt impenetrable after this experience... like these people couldn't touch me... And here I am not even two months later discovering that I'm still vulnerable. That I have soft and tender parts that are like bruises that they can push that will make me wince. That they still make me angry.

Maybe that's okay. Maybe it's time I started getting angry.

Posted by Gayla at 11:04 PM | Comments (4)

October 02, 2004

Yellow


wards_chairs2.jpg

Yellow II
Taken with Great Wall DF-

I labelled the last one Mamiya but I think it was actually taken with the Great Wall. It's hard to keep track sometimes. It's so hard.

-------------------------

The chair thing is totally fucking out of hand. I find myself empathizing with every sad chair I come across. Poor chairs. So sad.

I've discovered a particular interest in chairs of a certain colour yellow. I'm actively seeking them out now. I remembered that when I was a kid this was my favourite colour for a time. But then there was the yellow wallpaper and a comment from my mother about how yellow looked bad with my pale skin and that ruined it for me. I mentioned this to Mr. Risk and he suggested "Yellow" by Coldplay. Turns out I actually like the music. And now I am driving him mad listening to it over and over again.

Posted by Gayla at 11:05 PM | Comments (9)

October 01, 2004

Self Portraits


This is the wall that begins our townhouse complex


Forgot to add: Some photos I took while walking home yesterday.

----------------------------

I regret that I didn't take more pinholes on this trip. It's a bit of extra work though to set up the tripod etc. The ones I did take didn't turn out as interesting as I thought they would.

Last night I dreamt that I saw a townhouse complex that was an exact replica of this one. I dream about this place literally all the time. Not this particular wall but directly around my childhood house. When my brother and I did our visit I expected this huge dam of emotion to break but it didn't. Probably because I go there practically every night in my dreams. To be there in my waking life was almost MORE surreal.

I always thought that one day I would stop dreaming about this place, and while I've had breaks, I'm fairly certain now that no matter what I will always use this place as a reference point in my dreams. I find it interesting that I NEVER dream about my current residence. In fact I only dream about places I lived prior to university.

Posted by Gayla at 11:45 AM | Comments (1)