Evolution and Exploration

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.

Each time I would create a collection of images, pack my equipment and head out for days on end. Not all locations were viable but I was determined to make an attempt nonetheless. Certain buildings, such as the Harbour Commission Building, offered many images. Unfortunately the surrounding development prohibited capturing it properly. It’s a shame this happened on many occasions.

My next step after creating an image was research. I would look through many resources and websites to gain some insight into the history. In some cases I would recount stories of my own past.

As in life sometimes you have to take a step back to have a look at the bigger picture. There will always be change, sometimes faster than we’d like. This year I had many big changes and struggled to keep up.

This series has given me focus as well as distraction.

I took time away this fall to get my head straight. Sometimes it’s all too easy to fall into patterns and limited perspectives. The day-to-day becomes mindless and our concerns focus on the daily grind of getting by, paying bills and moving forward.

I was fortunate to travel to Italy and spend time with family. Removed from the daily concerns and little voices telling me what to do/think/concern myself with was needed. It’s something I think is essential for everyone to do.

We live with demands on ourselves from many others as well as from within. My thought patterns were wired subconsciously to tailor to everyone else. Concerns that were baseless ,yet internally justified, created a thought process.

By travelling away to a completely different environment I was no longer tied up. Exploring long walks, day trips, breaking bread and long conversations all had a hand. It was a necessary refresher. I altered my perception by removing the demands of routine.

Travel is not something everyone can make a reality. But it’s not about large travel plans. Give yourself time to remove yourself from your routine. Explore your own thoughts, ideas, emotions and different things. Spend time with people you truly resonate with.

Working on the Present Past series hasn’t been about not letting go of the past. It’s about recognizing what has past and preparing for what may come. Being open to the possibilities while appreciating all that I’ve experienced.

Know that everything that has happened to you in the past has made you who you are today. This is not to say you can’t change. In fact this should be the reason you allow yourself to change.

Remember to explore your past for the knowledge then create yourself a journey. Always keep evolving.