February 28, 2005

In Store


Yes Wer Open
Taken with Argoflex 75

I admit to chosing this image for today simply because I don't have much of an attention span. It's another day of lots and lots of this and that stuff to do. Then later on someone is bringing over a key lime tree and we're going to go to the Parkdale Horticultural Society's presentation on Potager Gardens (kitchen gardens to you and me).

There was a lot of excitment this weekend. We spent Saturday afternoon going on walks around the hood, first west and then east. It was bitterly cold. Later as we were just about to settle down for the evening with "Opening Night", my brother showed up to tell me that the book was spotted at Pages Books. Well I certainly couldn't let that go so we got dressed in our warm gear for a third time and made the trip (it's not that far really) to go visit the book in store. I did not yell out as I said I would but we did jump up and down some and Davin took a lot of photos.

The book is also starting to make it into the hands of others. Three people have sent me photos of themselves posing with the book, and in one case posing with their dogs too. Others are promising photos when theirs arrive in the mail. I'm so touched by the support I've been receiving. It's left me with a permanent feeling in my gut. I'm planning to make a little scrapbook with all this stuff because I love documenting the minutia of such things. I missed my calling as a curator.

Posted by Gayla at 11:29 AM

February 25, 2005



Curtains (no longer counting)
Taken with Kiev88

This is one of the photos from the roll I thought was colour. Damn it. I like it enough but I also remember what it should have been in colour.


I may be repeating myself, but while the rest of the world is taking it easy, Friday's are my crazy day. I've got so many disconnected little things to do today that I find myself getting partway through one task then jumping into another, then another, then back to the first. So I thought I'd take a moment to calm down and post something here but of course even that has been interrupted twenty times and I'm finding my hands flying across the keyboard just trying to get this done so I can move on. Plus while I'm writing this I'm simultaneously thinking, "Don't forget to email so-and-so about the thing!"

Extreme multitasking. Just because I can doesn't mean I should.

Another problem I have is an unruly inbox. I recently cleaned it out (somewhat) and have put a No More Than 69 Emails in My Inbox rule into effect. It's been hard work! I worked my ass off on this morning's mail but am already back up to 77. I like email 'cause I mostly hate the phone, but oh my god sometimes I despise this invention too. I have, at times, lay in bed at night composing email replies in my head. Extreme multitasking with absolutely no positive outcome.


I've really been enjoying the excitment of my book launching. The other night a forum member posted her photo on Flickr holding the book and I started to get teary.

I can't wait until the book is in stores but of course because I'm in Canada there will be a slight delay on that. I check the Chapters/Indigo site everyday to see if the three locations in my area have it in stock. My plan is to run to the nearest location as soon as "Not available" switches to "In Stock". My long term plan has been to hold the book over my head and yell out "This is my book!" I'm fairly reserved so we'll see if I actually get the balls to do it when the time comes.

Posted by Gayla at 03:12 PM

February 24, 2005



Taken with Kiev88

I just wrote a deeply touching entry but my site conked out and I lost it. Damn! Okay it was really just about hockey (which I despise like all televised sports) and the CBC (whom among other things have aired the word 'fuck' on Sunday afternoon people!) Months later and I am still giddy about that.

Posted by Gayla at 11:22 AM

February 22, 2005



Taken with Holgaroid

I always use a cheap BOOTS flash with my Holga to boost the light of indoor shots. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to use the flash with the Holgaroid. Photos are much better now. All I need now is some warmth to do outdoor photos. The cat is tired of modeling for pictures. I had to bribe her with a blade of lemongrass to take a third photo this morning.

Posted by Gayla at 11:25 AM

February 21, 2005

Moss Park


Moss Park
Taken with Kiev88

Posted by Gayla at 12:22 PM

February 18, 2005



Taken with Kiev88

I've been addicted to two songs with the word "wish" in them lately. The first is Nina Simone's version of "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free." The second is "Black Wish" by the Last Poets:

"I am the wish that makes Nina Simone wish she knew how it felt to be free
I am the wish that all Black people are wishing for
I am the wish of freedom
Yes, I am the wish of Black freedom
And I wish and I wish and I wish
and I wish I know and I know I wish
and I wish I know and I know I wish
and I wish and I know and I know and I know
that that wish will come true

I think the reason for this is because I have my own wishes that I need to express. Everytime I think about the song "Black Wish" I think for about half a second that it is called "I Am a Wish." Ah, the Freudian slips. I make good ones.

I am very angry right now. I can't continue writing today.

Posted by Gayla at 11:12 AM

February 17, 2005



Taken with Kiev88

Happy Birthday to my guy Davin who is rocking 36 today!


I got a few rolls of film back yesterday. I was very excited and wanted to scan as much as I could get through late last night. It's hard having all that film sitting there without knowing what's on it except in negative. This is only going to make it harder for me to choose my photos for the gallery show -- a choice I must make quickly. Chosing images to submit to anything is a challenge for me. I am often looking ahead to that next undeveloped roll, certain that an EVEN BETTER photo is waiting. And putting together a gallery..... nightmare. The worse part is that the designer in me wants the photos to colour coordinate. I also wonder if the super minimalist, cleanly framed photos presentation style is really appropriate for me. I am so not a minimalist.


I took my new Argoflex Seventy-five box camera out for a spin through the neighborhood on Sunday afternoon. What a great camera. It just might be my NEW favourite box camera. The 7 feet to infinity focal range really forced me to step back from subjects a bit. This exercise proved to be positive at a time when I've been getting too close to things. I posted a few photos here.


Last night as we were walking out the door to go to the ART Awards (another story entirely, but I'll wait for the pics), my mother called.

I need a break from insanity knocking on my door. Since my stepfather died in August it has been one super-heavy emotional challenge after another. I suppose I'm ready for it and each challenge has come with a reward of sorts mixed in with the difficulty -- a lesson learned or a stronger sense of self. But at the same time I think I might like to to take a really long, extended mental health day. I'm really enjoying myself right now -- something that is a challenge in and of itself. So I feel like she's just coming out of the woodwork to rain on my parade. How many other metaphors can I squeeze in here?

Posted by Gayla at 11:26 AM

February 16, 2005

Hate Messages and Printing


Taken with Kiev88

Everyone who lives in Parkdale is familar with the awesomeness that is this place by now. But not everyone lives in Parkdale so here you go.


My musically talented brother has a couple of interesting events that I want to promote to those of you living in Toronto. This Thursday night he will be participating in "BIG FIVES -- SOUL KITCHEN." The first Big Fives was a lot of fun. This coming Saturday is his monthly "FOOT PRINTS" night but this time they are featuring a tap performance by Lisa Messina which my brother arranged and produced the music for. I'm very proud!


Over the years I've photographed a number of scenes that include hateful and/or racist grafitti. While I have liked some of the pictures I have been hesitant to post them here because I wonder if doing so will only be offering these messages another platform. For example I recently photographed this rather odd message just down the street from here and I took this image on our August trip to St. Catharines. I felt bad about leaving the St. Catharines image out because it was the first thing I saw upon entering our childhood neighbourhood and really spoke volumes about what I was about to see. However, I have left it out until now because of the content and because I shot the image so close that I felt like it kind of lost its context and just became a picture of a swastika.

I have other photos that are actually much better photographs than these two, and therefore better examples, but they're archived somewhere and I'm too lazy to look for them.

What do you think about photos that depict these types of messages?

Posted by Gayla at 01:41 PM | Comments (16)

February 15, 2005

Discarded Neuroses


Discarded Neuroses
Taken with Kiev88

If you're in the Toronto area this March, come out and see our pictures all big and stuff!


The other day I was flipping through the 10 channels we get (most of which are completely unwatchable due to bad reception) when I caught a soundbite from one of those shitty entertainment news magazines. The female host said something like, "Could the reason behind Drew Barrymore's recent breakup with rocker _________ (I don't remember the name) be armpit hair? Drew recently showed up at such and such Big Hollywood Industry Party with fuzzy armpits." Cut to close-up of armpit with the tiniest spot of hair showing.

I could not beleive it! I was so appauled. I could care less about celebrities and their love lives but COME ON! What is it with the North American obsession with women's body hair? I have had countless conversations with female friends about the crazy responses we get during tank top weather when, god forbid, we *GASP*, go outside into the public with hairy armpits. I have noticed that some people actually look at me like I've pulled down my pants and flashed my pubic hair. Keep her away from the children!

My first introduction to the armpit hair section of The Women's Rule Book took place on the school yard in grade six. It was recess time and I was walking across the pavement towards the grass to go look for four leaf clovers. Okay why wasn't anyone harrassing me about THAT I ask you? Anyway, a former friend, Jennifer Sacco approached to quietly inform me that I had some armpit hair and that I should immediately shave it off. I was shocked. I hadn't even noticed the barely visible few strings of hair or their hideousness, and I certainly was not aware that it was my duty as a citizen to have them removed for the sake of others. Back then I was a kid who couldn't deal with any sort of confrontation so the fact that I was in fact being confrontational by even having armpit hair freaked me out. I kept my arms down the entire day and never wore tank tops to school again.

It's no wonder that girls get so fucked up around the preteen years. There's just way too many things about our bodies that we're supposed to be neurotic and hateful about.

Posted by Gayla at 12:20 PM | Comments (18)

February 14, 2005

Yellow Curtain


Yellow Curtain
Taken with Kiev88

I am transfixed by windows and curtains. Transfixed!

I was going to post a photo of my guy cause it's Valentines Day and all but the one I took of him while out taking photos would not have met his approval.

People who know me, namely my brother who cares about such things, would be horrified by my recent musical addictions. I'll just say Fleetwood Mac and leave it at that. Here are some other less embarrassing choices:

- Miss Misery Elliot Smith
- Message of Love Pretenders
- Radio, Radio Elvis Costello
- Handclapping Song The Meters
- Over the Hills and Far Away Led Zepplin
- Names Cat Power

Posted by Gayla at 12:11 PM

February 13, 2005

My Kind of Nothingness


The Patrician/255
Taken with Polaroid SX70

I screwed up yesterday. We went for a very long walk east along King until it meets Queen and then continued east along Queen. When I finished my roll and took it out I realized I had the WRONG BACK on my camera and had been shooting with black & white film. Well at least I took a few Polaroids and Diana camera pics even if the Polaroids are blue as a result of the cold. Crappy.

Despite the screw-up the walk was great. We're planning to visit the east end more often. Some parts are unfamilar enough to almost make me feel like I'm on vacation. I said to Davin that even though neither of us drive, another added advantage to living in the city is we've got lots of places to explore just by getting on the subway or streetcar. If we weren't us, we'd find these trips to be very boring since they involve a lot of walking through wastelands of nothingness. But I like that kind of nothingness so it works out well.

At this point I could be dropped off just about anywhere and I'd find something to point my camera at. Entertaining myself just by looking around with my eyes is a skill I cultivated in childhood when my parents would take my brother and I from one boring friends' house to another and leave us to our own devices yet not allow us to actually do anything.

Yesterday's walk took us past three camera stores so I bought a second Holga, a remote for the Nikon D70, a cartridge of SX-70 film, a pack of old type 88 film (it was on sale), AND a 620 box camera called the "Argoflex Seventy-five." I'm a feeling a bit of guilt over my gluttony today. I don't know why, but having two Holgas just seems so extravagant!

Posted by Gayla at 11:25 AM

February 11, 2005



Taken with Kiev88

It's sunny RIGHT NOW. But damnit I have a very long list of stuff to do today. No skipping out to go take pictures. Most people consider Friday their slow day but it has always been my crazy busy day.

Posted by Gayla at 11:33 AM

February 10, 2005



Taken with Kiev88

I used to work around the corner from this diner many years ago. On rare occassions when we were feeling prepared for the grease, my friend and I would go here for omelettes with cheese. God, they were awful. But the ambiance was perfect.


The other day I was thinking that I should have added "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" by Stevie Wonder to the acknowledgments. I defy you to stay stressed out while listening to that song.

Posted by Gayla at 12:03 PM

February 08, 2005

Now with Foam


Couch, Now with Foam
Taken with Kiev88

I slept with my book under my pillow last night.

Posted by Gayla at 06:33 PM

February 07, 2005

My Book


My Book
Taken with Nikon D70

I didn't take this picture. Davin took it just before noon. That's me, that's my book. The five copies arrived at approximately 8:40 am while I was still asleep.

I was not prepared.

On Saturday I was prepared having gotten up early, showered, fed myself and mentally psyched myself up for it. But this morning I was in no way prepared. In fact the very first feeling I experienced after opening it up and looking inside was dread. I'm okay now. That was hours ago. I've been through a full spectrum of emotions since then -- now I'm just tired. I'm not a napper but I'm seriously contemplating one.

Posted by Gayla at 02:38 PM

February 06, 2005

The Books Did Not Arrive


Taken with Horizon 202

My book didn't come. The first copies were supposed to be delivered by a certain shitty delivery service that fuck up EVERY SINGLE time. When the publisher wrote me on Friday to let me know the copies would arrive for Saturday delivery I experienced a rush of excitement followed by a sense of doubt and dread. That delivery service has NEVER delivered when they were supposed to.

I couldn't sleep Friday night. My book! My book! I woke up several times in the early morning with a jolt. "Is it time for my book to arrive?"

Eventually I got out of bed, showered and ate. I wanted to be clean and dressed so Davin could take pictures of me (without greasy crazy hair) accepting the package, opening a copy for the first time, holding it up in glee, jumping up and down, rolling around on the ground with those 5 copies... Then I waited. And I cleaned. And I did my laundry. I checked the status of the package via the website. There was so much nervous energy that I couldn't put to good use. Often times said delivery service uses the excuse that they can't find our place. So I painted a GIANT number sign and the number of our building and taped it to the brick. I even cleaned my workspace and desk so when Davin took the photos you wouldn't see my mess.

So the books did not arrive. I spent the entire day indoors, read the last half of an entire novel, sat around twiddling my thumbs watching people through the window as they enjoyed the sunshine and mild temperatures and the fucking delivery service did not deliver my books. I am so disappointed. I just don't think I'll be able to get that excited all over again on Monday.

Cruel. Fuckers.

Posted by Gayla at 12:02 PM

February 04, 2005

Underground Railroad


Taken with the Windsor/Diana Hybrid

February is Black History Month and I thought I would try and recognize it here in some way. I was born in St. Catharines, Ontario a city that lies between Toronto and the U.S border with New York State. Having lived there until age 18 I was informed only once that St. Catharines was one of the final stops and settlements on the Underground Railroad. If you go to the St. Catharines Museum along the Welland Canal they have an exhibit about it, but honestly I don't know of anything else in the city that really acknowledges this. If it hadn't been for the teacher who read aloud, "Underground to Canada" by Barbara Smucker to my grade 6 class I'm not certain I would have known anything at all.

A few links:

- Freedom Trail (St. Catharines)
- Parks Canada
- Toronto Black History Month
- Canadian Black History Links by Province
- Ontario's Underground Railroad (Warning this has sound on the homepage)
- Books and Resources

Also check out the story of Africville

1, 2

Posted by Gayla at 10:49 AM

February 03, 2005

988 LANE


988 LANE
Taken with the Windsor/Diana Hybrid

I love these old mosaic tiled doorways in my neighbourhood. Definitely leftovers from an era when stores were planning to stay put for a long time.


I just need to record for posterity the fact that I feel really damn proud of myself today. Progress is swell.

Posted by Gayla at 12:41 PM

February 02, 2005

Jos Louis


Jos Louis
Taken with the Windsor/Diana Hybrid

I don't know if this is strictly a Canadian thing, but when I was a kid these were the ultimate treats at my house. My mother would get a box when she went on her monthly (or whenever) grocery trip to Food City or The Food Terminal. One of these would kill me now.

Last night I bought the Criterion release of "Grey Gardens." I could have purchased eleven black market kung fu or Japanese horror films from Chinatown for the price of this one dvd. But it was worth it still.


Some Holga pics on Melting Pop.

Posted by Gayla at 11:42 AM

February 01, 2005

Red Door


Red Door with Curtains
Taken with Kiev88

It's super bright and sunny today. The sparrows are puffy and have been hanging around on the deck picking seeds and whatnot out of the planters. They're so used to the protection of our closed window (away from cat) that they've been coming right up and perching. Gives me a bit of hope for spring.

Posted by Gayla at 10:57 AM