November 30, 2004



Taken with the Kiev 88

Posted by Gayla at 11:50 AM

November 29, 2004

Closed for the Season


Closed for the Season
Taken with the Kiev 88

Posted by Gayla at 12:28 PM

November 26, 2004

It Was Snowing


Taken with the Kiev 88

Davin has pictures up on CBC Radio 3 this week.

I got some film back last night. I only scanned a few pictures but think it is pretty telling that I went straight for the fucked up roll first. This one is off the roll taken with the broken back. They all have crazy light flares and thick lines through them. The photos from the working back are fine -- no more crinkly film.


I like to think I learn my lessons well. I try to live mindfully. I make room in my life to pay attention.... even during the crazy book times (although not always enough). But every 3-6 months the same thing happens. I get stuck. I lose my perspective and get lost in my head. I can't see. After a bit of wrangling I start to discover that I'm back onto a topic I thought I had totally figured out, resolved, and moved past. So then I get frustrated and self-critical thinking, "Why in the hell am I back here again?" I think I'm beyond that backpeddling. I think I work too hard on this shit to fall back that far.

And then like every time before it, it hits me that I'm moving forward a bit. And in moving forward there's something about my mind (Maybe we all have it. I only know my mind.) that demands I go back and re-examine and re-evaluate that stuff again. It's necessary. I need to do it. But I can't seem to learn that lesson. It comes as a shock every single time. Someone said this a few posts back. Mind you they were talking about "the art" but they were still right. I always have to figure it out myself.


Yesterday, as I was walking through the cold I thought, "This isn't so bad. As long as there's sun I can handle this." And then I thought, in preparation for THE SNOW, I would make a mental list of the things I like about snow. My list went something like this:

- Looks good in photos
- Looks good in photos when it's all gross and dirty and spongy and filled with wrappers and debris
- Looks good in photos when the grass is peaking through
- Looks good in photos when the trees are bare and you can really see their shape -- especially the old ones that are gnarled and weathered
- Looks good in photos when there is a sea of white and the sky is really blue even though trying to get the right exposure is difficult because of all that crazy reflective light... but the light is good because otherwise it is grey and miserable

Then I looked up and it was snowing.

Posted by Gayla at 12:53 PM | Comments (12)

November 25, 2004

Honey Wagon


Taken with the Great Wall DF-

These were taken back in the late summer when it was hot and I was sweating like a pig. I miss those days.

Posted by Gayla at 12:12 PM | Comments (3)

November 24, 2004



Towers Cart
Taken with Great Wall DF-

Here's another one from August. This was the very first picture I took with the Great Wall upon arriving in my old neighbourhood. The crazy Titanic guy was across the street shaking his fist and threatening to kill me, but I just had to stop, get the camera out, and take this picture of a rogue cart.

When I was a kid growing up in this neighbourhood my best friend was a girl who lived across town. She used to come and sleep over some weekends and vice-versa. Her mom always gave her approximately 10 bucks spending money for the weekend. Ten dollars! It was the mid-80s and I wasn't allowed to leave our block except to go to the Towers/Food City plaza to acquire a large pack of Players Light Regular, a large pack of Export-A Regular, and a 3-quart bag of milk. On occassion I was allowed to go to the Beckers. So really what can two kids in the mid-80s do with 10 bucks (that must be spent before the weekend is out) but buy shitloads of candy.

My friend was very "physically active." She liked to jump and run and wrestle and break shit up. I was the total opposite (I had enough danger in my life thank you very much) but somehow I'd always get sucked into these aggressive fits with her. Her favourite thing to do on our trips to acquire sugar was to find an abandoned cart and push me across the parking lot in it as fast as she could. I fucking hated it. One time I pushed her and lost control of the cart. It fell over and tossed her up a bit.

Eventually we'd make it across the parking lot to Beckers where we'd purchase several cans of Beckers brand pop, tons of popsicles, tart n' tinies, fizzy shit, pop rocks, a tub of cool whip and chips. Then we'd go back to my place, melt and crush the popsicles, crush the tart n' tinies etc into powder and then mix it all together with the pop. Then we'd top it with cool whip. If I drank that now I would surely die on the spot.

Posted by Gayla at 11:13 AM | Comments (13)

November 23, 2004

Tea Again


Tea (again)
Taken with the Kiev 88

I think I am experiencing a little post-book depression. I didn't think that would happen so I don't really want to admit it. But I was in a pissy mood yesterday. It got worse towards the late evening when I was attempting to put together a gallery of images (something I've been wanting to do for months) but I could not come up with a theme or something cohesive to start with besides, "Here's some pictures." As a result I couldn't pick any photos at all. ...which is bullshit really since I do have themes. But I was just saying to Mr. Risk the other day that the way I make art has changed. In school it was mostly intellectualizing but now it's all emotional and intuitive. I'm conscious of what I'm doing, but it's not based in theory and whatnot like it used to be. I have noticed that I do get uncomfotable everytime I plan to put together a gallery. But usually it's more that I just can't make decisions about what to put in and what to keep out. This time it feels like I'm putting together a resume and I'm evaluating everything I've done in the last year. My perspective got lost somewhere. I need to get it back. Today I will walk. That always works.

I had the craziest dream last night. I went to see the publisher to get a cheque to pay for insurance or dental or something (I forget). They had to give me an extra cheque for $129.00 because there was a service charge. All cheques had to be categorized but they did not have a category for that second cheque so the woman who issued the cheque to me, thinking I was Jewish, assigned it the category "Buy a Refreshment for a Gentile." I think that may top the "Turkey in the Toilet" dream.

Posted by Gayla at 12:09 PM | Comments (8)

November 22, 2004

Bitchy Cameras


Beer Cans
Taken with Holga

Another St. Catharines parking lot.

I am having terrible camera karma or something.... On Friday I pulled the Holga out of my bag and discovered that the lens barrel was jammed on sideways. I 'fixed' it by smashing it with my hand which caused a painful bruise! Ouch.

The roll of film I had in the Horizon snapped (not the first time so I know what to do) and the winder nearly broke off. That part scared the shit out of me. I can't live without my panoramic. Thankfully it still winds so I just have to pull out the mini screwdrivers and industrial strength glue in an attempt to secure the plastic thing that is attached.

The expensive strap I bought for the Kiev 88 will not stay on. I have nearly lost the camera to the sidewalk at least a half dozen times. I have to hold it with one hand at all times which negates the purpose of having a strap. But the stupid camera has the stubs rather than something you can latch to and those silly tabs do nothing. Nothing I tell you! The second back that came with the camera wouldn't load on Friday. I thought I fixed it by jamming the clip with a screwdriver. That minor triumph had me all cocky and defiant until yesterday afternoon when I discovered that it attaches perfectly but won't wind. I can wind by hand but it won't wind with the mechanism and whatnot.

I took five photos with the Holgaroid yesterday and they are all dark and shitty. I think I just have to accept that I won't be able to pull that camera out again until next summer unless I'm using a flash, the temperature is mild, or the sun is bright. But I JUST got film only a few days ago! Don't buy a Polaroid back for your Holga. It's an expensive piece of shit.

On the positive side I have managed to somewhat secure the back of the Great Wall using a screw culled from a broken camera I was going to discard. Ha! Take that you camera bitches!

Posted by Gayla at 11:24 AM | Comments (12)

November 20, 2004

Camera Hate


Taken with Holga

I just got some film back and discovered a few more August Hometown Tour pics that I had forgotten about. My brother and I were sitting on a sidewalk patio eating lunch and watching the city walk or drive by.... yes, we did see people walking in St. Catharines but only on the busiest street downtown. It was a good place to sit and observe. I felt like a fly on the wall even though other people could see me too.


Earlier today I wrote a very long post about yesterday's bad camera mishaps but the power went out before I saved. I'm too lazy to write it again. Long story short; we went out to take pictures yesterday but it was just one disaster after another. I took three cameras with me: the Holga, the Horizon and the Kiev 88. I also lugged the Polaroid back for the Holga. All three cameras crapped out on me and all three were fixed by the equivallent of kicking the machine to get the candy bar out. Quality craftsmanship!

Posted by Gayla at 06:37 PM | Comments (3)

November 19, 2004



Taken with the Kiev 88

Same subject, different photographer.

Posted by Gayla at 10:30 AM | Comments (13)



Taken with the Kiev 88

Yellow is back. This was the second photo I took with the Kiev 88 after it arrived. Sadly when I said it sounded like the film was being chewed on advance... it really WAS being chewed! I can't figure out what went wrong. Anyone with Kiev 88 experience have a clue? The way the film loads is pretty odd. I just hope it was human error not a camera problem.


Lots of thinking. I have time and space to actually think about stuff besides plants and placing images and laying out pages. It's nice to use my brain in a different way. Everytime I get some space I end up going back to my old favourites; class and race. It's odd too because today an elderly woman asked me for directions to the bus stop. She kept stopping me, asking me to repeat it again. I think she felt unsure and vulnerable so I walked her to the stop and talked to her along the way. She thought I was Portueguese. I'm a chameleon in that way. People always think I'm whatever they are.


Newest musical addiction: "Israelites", Desmond Dekker & the Aces. My brother traded me this album for a 70s era Addidas hoodie. I think I got the good end of the trade... especially cause I also got "Blackboard Jungle Dub" by the Upsetters out of it.

Posted by Gayla at 12:07 AM | Comments (3)

November 18, 2004

Blurry Buildings


Blurry Buildings
Taken with the Windsor/Diana Hybrid

These were taken on the roll that I accidently shot on 'B'.

Posted by Gayla at 12:42 PM | Comments (5)

November 17, 2004

Life is Good


Train Guy
Taken with Great Wall DF-

I took this photo back in August while my brother and I were waiting at the St. Catharines train station, desperate to get the hell out of there. Of course the train was really late so I wandered around taking photos to keep myself entertained. This guy was waiting at the same time as us. At first we thought he was a train spotter but he actually did get on the train when we did.

Yesterday was my first day of freedom and it was awesome! I woke up early in the morning eager to get started on day one of the rest of my life. The first thing I did was shred 2 large bags of paper. The amount of paper was pretty disgusting and I still have one manuscript to go. For some reason I just can't let that one go. Then I went out for lunch, to therapy, and to get groceries. It's all very normal stuff but I felt like I was on vacation. The weather was beautiful and the light was golden from noon until dusk. I was REALLY high on life all day long. I felt so unbelievably good. I still do. Life is good.

I finally got to really use the new camera. Yes it's a bit finicky and comes with a whole set of rules for use to avoid breakage. When I advance film it sounds like the film is being crushed and torn. But the multiple backs thing is incredible. I can actually switch back and forth between b&w and colour on a whim. Ha! Now I just have to take some film in for developing to be sure.

Posted by Gayla at 01:05 PM | Comments (7)

November 15, 2004

Something About Being Finish and Tired and Shit


Not Plants
Taken with Great Wall DF-

Had a hard time picking a photo to post. I backed up a lot of stuff recently and cleared off my drives to make room for book production so everything is a mess right now. I have literally THOUSANDS of images of plants on here but I can't bare the thought of it... I obviously love plants but if I look at and/or colour correct one more botanical image I will vomit. I haven't done a count but within the last week I colour corrected approximately 140+ photos and at least that many if not double the number of illustrations. I looked through and contemplated more pictures of plants and gardens than I can possibly count. So ya, no plant pictures here anytime soon.

Holy shit have my colour correcting skills improved.

But can I just say that of everything I am most excited about the full-page photos?! No full-colour book about gardening is complete without super-crazy plant porn and I had 5 or 6 pages reserved for full-page bleed pics that turned out awesome. I had a total breakdown last week when everything was priority number 1 and I hadn't even contemplated which of hundreds of medium format shots would end up in the book... and I had to chose immediately because I had to get them hi-res scanned... and then I started calling around and no one would do them in such a short turn-around time. I was literally pacing around yelling "Who should I call? Who should I call? What's the fucking number?" And then nearly falling apart trying to dial numbers and sound composed on the phone. The thought that those pages would either go bare or end up with smaller photos was too much. I really felt like the last six months of work would be a complete wash without those 5 or 6 pages of full-bleed photos. I still do.... but somewhat less hysterically. Anyway needless to say the pages were filled. Hooray for Mr. Risk

The biggest lesson I learned: next time I will have an assistant.

Songs that have been on regular repeat over the last few days especially:

"What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" Jimmy Ruffin
"Black Man" Stevie Wonder
"Slipping Into Darkness" Carl Bradney. This "Darker Than Blue" album is so awesome. Every week I'm in love with a new song.

Zoran told me that it is common for people to go into a period of depression when they finish a book. I don't think this will happen because I have tons of plans that have been on hold for months that I'm eager to get to. But it still worries me a bit. It's only been a few hours and I can feel my mind letting go and entering into a new state. I feel like crying. But I think it's more of an emotional release then anything. I've been in this really unhealthy state for a while of having to be open enough to be creatively good but closed off enough to hold my shit together under enormous pressure. Now I will just be a person.

Posted by Gayla at 10:19 PM | Comments (11)


Monday, November 15. 2004 5:30 pm

I am done!

Waiting for the UPS guy so I can go out for dinner.
Waiting for that feeling of relief to kick in.

Posted by Gayla at 05:49 PM | Comments (4)

November 11, 2004

Umm I Don't Know What I Just Said


Taken with Great Wall DF-

An old one from last winter. I can't guarantee what this will look like. I've got everything calibrated with my printer to print cmyk right now.

The bad news is I'm behind deadline and still have lots of work to do. Soldiering on... I am so fucking tired I can't tell you... Candle burned from both ends, all sides and other dumb metaphors. I really can't write the sentences right now. Brain is fried. I have colour corrected so many photos... just looked at so many photos... text, text, text... I have worked harder over the last week than ever and of course that is only amplified by the fact that this is my project so I've got a whole lot invested in it.

The good news is that it looks great. I'm very pleased. All the work I've done over the last however many months is culminating in right now which is both exciting and terrifying. I can't wait to not think about plants for a while. I can't wait to literally do nothing for a while.

I've designed lots of things over the years but never my own book with my own words and photos. This entire process from start to finish has been the hardest, scariest, craziest, most exhilarating, taxing, thrilling, worst, best thing I've ever done. My dreams have been crazy -- over the last few days especially. Two nights ago I dreamt that I had no left arm. In the dream I did the best I could working at a disadvantage without my left arm until I made the sudden realization that my parents had cut it off in a stupid, reckless incident with a chainsaw. Then I became distraught and actually woke up from the dream with a start (more like jumped right out of bed!) thinking the buzzer had gone off and Canada Post was at the door. So I threw clothes on and ran outside into the freezing cold to check but no one was there. I stood there for at least two minutes looking around wondering where the delivery person had gone. I finally went back to bed, looked at the clock and discovered that it wasn't even 8:00am yet! I had completely hallucinated the buzzer sound in my dream. I then went back to sleep and awoke at 10:30am when the buzzer really did ring and this time it really was Canada Post with my new camera! Haven't had much chance to play with it unfortunately.

Last night I dreamt that I went over to a client's house and ate rice cakes and watched TV while she was out. Huh?

Posted by Gayla at 07:57 PM | Comments (11)

November 08, 2004

TV Mom


Taken with Mamiya C330

I am currently deep inside what can only be described as the greatest marathon of my life. I am at the computer literally every waking moment of the day with the exception of feeble attempts at basic hygeine and feeding myself and the cat.

I have finally figured out what it is that I need in times like these -- a TV mom! Cause who the hell else is more subserviant and self-sacrificing than a TV mom? Imagine it. I can just keep plugging away while TV mom brings healthy meals and freshly brewed tea or cappuccinos right to my desk. Plus TV mom could wash my clothes, clean up my mess of papers, books, and Pantone Guides, give me hugs when I'm freaking out and just basically hold my shit together for me until I finish and can take my life back.

Posted by Gayla at 10:09 PM | Comments (10)

November 03, 2004



Taken with Great Wall DF-

The companion to this photo is up at hchamp.


I found this empty sign and then I found this one.

Possibly more on Flickr at some point.


Later: I posted this last night and kept it pretty neutral after my last emotional post because I was planning to go back into work mode and didn't want to leave that one up in front for the duration of my posting hiatus. But since then I haven't been able to escape the feeling that it was the wrong thing to do. It's not healthy to bury the emotion as much as I want to set it aside and get all of this overwhelming amount of work done.

I think the thing that bothered me more than anything about the election results was that a vast number of Americans gave a very clear message to the world and one another about what they think about human rights. Denying ALL adult citizens the right to something that the rest of it's citizens are entitled to without question says a lot more than "We don't think you should be able to do this one thing." I care very little about the concept of marriage. Mr. Risk and I have been together for going on 12 years, unmarried. The concept has no bearing on the strength of our relationship or what we mean to each other. And yet, I also realize that I still, by default of being in a heterosexual relationship have enjoyed a certain level of priviledge regardless. All I have to do is check "Common Law" on my tax forms and our relationship is validated by law, entitling us to spousal benefits, and all the other no-brainers that come with that acknowledgment. Mind you I live in Canada and that's how it works here. I don't really know how it works in the States but I'm going to guess it's pretty fucking similar. And I live in Ontario, Canada and thankfully gay marriage is legal here now.

But still, this has to do with so much more even then marriage. What it says is that a whole lot of people DO NOT believe that homosexuals are EQUAL and entitled to the rights everyone else is entitled to.

Here's a country that's supposed to be founded on concepts of equality and yet equality has never actually existed there, EVER. Everytime an issue of civil rights comes up a great deal of the population fight tooth and nail to deny it. And if you listen to the rhetoric used to justify what's happening right now, it sounds frighteningly similar to the language used during the civil rights movement in the 60s. Because ultimately, the same fear and the same motivation is behind it.

It disturbs and saddens me.

Posted by Gayla at 10:24 PM | Comments (21)

What the Fuck America?


Chunky Fries
Taken with Great Wall DF-

I had to come out of my cloud of work insanity to say, What the FUCK America?!

What in the hell is going on over there? Anyone with a crude, armchair understanding of basic psychology should be able to see right through Bush. I just don't fucking get how so many people just can't get a clue. And it seems like Americans collectively buy into so much bullshit. Why is it that when the guy you absolutely, with all your being do not want running your country wins, everyone starts saying, "We must support our president"? Why do people concede to support things they don't support instead of, I don't know, not supporting, or say, running into the streets completely freaking out?

And I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around why issues like gay marriage and abortion are not only huge.... in 2004... but so fucking huge that people will pick a fucking lunatic because they just can't stand the idea of everyone having the freedom to exercise their basic rights as adult human beings. Why, why, why?

Posted by Gayla at 11:20 AM | Comments (32)