Whenever I get caught by a thought leading to an inspiration for a creative series I go into a deep dive. I’d ask a million questions so that I have all the pieces to sort through. What I’m really doing is searching for a theme. Sometimes that isn’t so obvious but when it strikes, i know.
My career as a commercial photographer spanned over 23 years. I began shooting fashion and then quickly redirected my attention towards advertising. During that time I also had my personal creative projects, many of which have never seen the light of day. I would create for the joy of creating and explore new techniques.
That was my fascination and draw to photography. Everybody sees things their way but sometimes a different perspective opens your world. The camera was giving me a new way to look at things.
Think of when you find a new sauce and you want to try it on everything. All the old dishes are new again. That’s how I felt as I explored photography. Each different lens, lighting style and darkroom technique inspired a new creative series.
When I began the Present Past series I was looking to explore some of the missing beauty of old Toronto. I was doing research on the Toronto Archives website and wandered down the rabbit hole. I was inspired.
Once I shot the modern locations for the first round, the process began. I started creating various compositions and designs. I kept tweaking and adjusting them applying the treatment to each piece. It took at least nine iterations of the series before I settled on the aesthetic.
You're drawn to the Pieces of Present Past but you're trying to figure out how to display them. With individual or paired Pieces it's easy enough to arrange on a shelf or mantle. Here I will share images of a few arrangements that may inspire your first series.
Last week a century tree was cut down across the street from me. An older gentleman from down the street came to watch as the crew dismantled it branch by branch. The stump was all that was left as he sauntered by commenting “ It took 100 years to grow and only an hour and it’s all gone.”
Looking south from Old City Hall circa 1920 Vs 2019
The Temple Building was Toronto’s first skyscraper. Built in 1895, it sat on the northwest corner of Bay and Richmond streets. This was the beginning of the transformation of the district to office spaces.
Bloor & Yonge Intersection - Looking south on Yonge St at Bloor St June 12, 1924 Vs 2019
City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, File 1231, Item 2020
The intersection of Bloor and Yonge streets was the location to test the first set of traffic lights in Toronto in 1925. Prior to traffic lights police officers would stand at the centre of major downtown intersections.
Northwest corner Bloor & Yonge Streets February 1971 vs 2018
City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 0124, File 0002, Item 19440
I began the Present Past series after being urged by my late father to do a series about Toronto. I didn’t want to create a series of beauty shots of the city, there had to be story.
After several brainstorming sessions I landed on the story. Working with the beautiful archived imagery of the City of Toronto Archives. I would spend countless hours scouring through the archives website collecting my marching orders.
Eaton's on Yonge at College March 5, 1930 vs 2018 City of Toronto Archives, File 1266, Item 19440
At one time various department stores existed, dotting the downtown core. Most have been replaced by business towers while others have been repurposed. Retaining a style of architecture that would never be recreated nowadays.
I was born a year after the Leafs won their last Stanley Cup. Growing up I didn’t get the chance to see the Leafs there. My dad wasn’t much for sports so it wasn’t an option. I didn’t know what it was like so I had no idea what I was missing.
The Trevi Fountain design is a result of a competition organized in 1730 by Pope Clement XII. Initially awarded to Alessandro Galilei, a Florentine. Public outcry against Galilei caused the commission to be awarded Nicola Salvi. Work began on the fountain in 1732 and was completed in 1762.
Have you ever taken a closer look at something and wondered if there was more to see? A hidden meaning, symbolism that encapsulates so much more than what’s at the surface. This is not lost when looking at the gondolas in Venice.
Present Past is a dynamic approach to a rephotographic survey.
The City of Toronto has gone through many changes over the years. Certain buildings have stood the test of time and are dwarfed by the towers that surround them. Others have disappeared altogether. This series includes both to show the ever-changing face of the City of Toronto.
When shooting a series there are times when I have a visual treatment in mind but there are sometimes when things evolve later. This series is a testament to a creative evolution that happened when looking at all the parts and seeing something I hadn't before.
When you decide to travel outside of an all-inclusive holiday destination you are exposed to a different mix of people. Everyone who is traveling from far and near as well as locals all cross paths. We are told to be mindful and aware of everyone and everything that is around us, be cautious. This does not mean to live in a bubble excluding the experiences of others.
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All printed matter is produced and shipped direct;ly by Print Partners who uses archival processes for all their production.
All resin pieces are produced using Art Resin and all other materials are sourced as archival to ensure quality and longevity.