We hopped on the cheap Chinatown bus to Niagara Falls, said hello to my sister, bro-in-law, and my mom's ashes, and then Pa went apeshit in the casino. Though he’ll never admit it, I think he had a good day.
This is the most dignified Ernie!
I truly need to get back into pet portraits again - I no longer foster and my pet-sitting jobs amount to maybe 3 a year: if you want me to hang out with your animals (for casual hangs or actual photo/pet-sitting gigs), I’m serious, call me and let me bask in my selfish happy zone!
From the Girls Rock Camp Sony Centre sessions. We only had a quick afternoon to pump these band photos out, which was exacerbated by everyone wanting to be back in time for a pizza party, but these girls were absolute naturals and killed it!
On another note, I wish I had something like this when I was a little girl in rural Ontario, aching to rock out on drums instead of the school-distributed recorder. Such a great program, and I love working with them!
If you have a gal looking for some rock inspiration, check out the "PROGRAMS" section of http://www.girlsrocktoronto.org/ or just come out to the FREE family concerts at Malvern Public Library and ask for more info in person:
NOV 26 Rakkatak
DEC 3 Bonjay
DEC 10 Pantayo
My career as an event photographer was purely accidental and not something I ever planned for, so it boggles no one more than myself that I not only make a living doing this, but have clients that I firmly believe in, like the lovely night I had here with the Canadian Art Foundation.
With a constantly rotating office, interesting talks and education opportunities, and exposure to different people outside of my bubble, I couldn't be more thankful. ❤️
By saying this, too, I often wonder what the next accidental career will be. I'm throwing myself to the wind, world: ready and listening!
Hanging out with alumni of How to Talk to People About Things!
HTTTPAT is one of those "things to do in Toronto" I’ve been hearing about for years, a communications course led by Misha Glouberman of Trampoline Hall/The Chairs Are Where the People Go fame. Considering the most proactive and engaged people I know in this city have gone through the program and still ring its praises (I bumped into four highly intelligent acquaintances/friends this evening), I’d say that’s all the recommendation anyone would need to take it.
Pssst, the next course starts in January and, because of its popularity, will likely sell out. (Heck, I’d join myself if my schedule could commit to all six sessions.) If you want in, head to mishaglouberman.com and sign up!
Watching the crowds roll into the Waterfront Toronto/Sidewalk Labs Town Hall, before a lively, and sometimes heated, discussion on the development proposed for the eastern waterfront and Port Lands. If you’re concerned about Toronto's community, infrastructure, transportation, housing, or industry, and want a say in the city's future, this is the time to speak up: time to flee from personal echo chambers and let them know what you think!
Google/Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, in collaboration with Waterfront Toronto, is developing a major mixed-use innovation district through a smart-city lens along the eastern waterfront/Port Lands. Considering the vast extent of this undeveloped plot of land, right in downtown Toronto, expect BIG changes on the horizon, which will affect jobs, industry, transportation, accommodation, and infrastructure on a sweeping scale. To keep up to date on news and current developments, head to Sidewalk Toronto.
To sit down with Mary and Jen -- a retired Army nurse who served in the Vietnam War and a grief+bereavement therapist, respectively -- is a great reminder of the important things and much-needed inspiration on this Thanksgiving weekend.
As Mary aptly cheered when we clinked our wine glasses, "To everyone who loves us... and to those who don't: to hell with them!"
Happy holiday, Canadian pals.
Historically, the Jewish people have struggled through the centuries, suffering through an extended period of condemnation, crusades, and invasions, culminating in one of the worst human atrocities inflicted by Nazi Germany in Poland, during WWII. Since then, long after the war, being a Jew in Poland was still considered taboo, with survivors often concealing their religious and cultural identity, even from their own children.
In 1990, community members launched a festival of Jewish pride in Kraków; from this as a launching point, and with a fierce determination to tap into lost pride, the Polish Jews were finally granted social permission to take back the identity they'd hidden for so long.
Now, the festival with small beginnings has turned into a huge international event in Kraków, drawing tens of thousands of visitors in Kazimierz, the old Jewish quarter of the city, to celebrate the culture and diaspora through workshops, discussions, tours, dance, food, and contemporary music, building community, instilling self-dignity, and never forgetting the historical significance of this land and its people 70 years ago.
This is Overcome the Passive, my document of the Jewish Culture Festival.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Mayor of Toronto John Tory joined Waterfront Toronto's President + CEO Will Fleissig on Polson Street today to announce joint funding for a flood protection and revitalization program in downtown Toronto. With a combined amount of $1.25 billion from all orders of government, the project will "transform the Port Lands from a contaminated and underused industrial area to a revitalized downtown neighbourhood". See Waterfront Toronto for detailed info.
I didn't attend my own convocation, which I've been wearing as a badge of pride, much like the satisfaction I have of never having gone to prom. I was (and possibly still am) quite stubborn, and after four tiring years at my institution, jumped on a plane, hollered peace out, and got as far away as physically possible from both the event and my classmates.
It's odd, then, that I'm now an official photographer at the University of Toronto, shooting someone else's convocation, interacting with new grads, their family and friends. And from this, a surprising revelation: admittedly, I get a little verklempt, and there's a part of me that wonders if my parents needed to see it all happen, hear my name called to stage, just as a symbol of closure. On a selfish level, Lorne Michaels received his Honourary Doctorate that year, which, at the time, would've been a super big deal. And it would've prevented my smug ex-boyfriend from thinking I didn't graduate when I bumped into him the next year.
But no regrets: knowing me and any moment that requires dressing up and possibly wearing borrowed heels, I probably would've tripped and smashed my face on stage. I like to think I've lived a longer life because of avoiding it?
Yesterday was one of those super pleasant days, start to finish. Most credit goes to the beginnings in Regent Park, where I had the pleasure of chatting and working with the inspiring young shooters of Project Kids & Cameras, a children's photography workshop in the neighbourhood. Being the last class of the season, I was surprised how attentive they were through my chat. Also, their zest, curiosity, and joy of snacks was immensely contagious.
Had you asked me five years ago about doing something like this, I think the only response would've been a blank stare and head-shake, but as I continue to learn more about the photo world and editing, chugging online tutorials and using friends as practice subjects, I'm finding this new avenue of guest speaking at schools and programs over the last year is something I've valued immensely, and I can't wait dive in more, working with more classes over the upcoming year. ❤️📷
TIFF's interactive digiPlaySpace returns this weekend with tons to keep the little ones (and their guardians) occupied, just in time for Family Day! As a young kid at heart, I was kind of jealous that I couldn't put the camera down myself and join in. Get in on the lights, movement, and sounds from February 18-April 23 at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Finally got a chance to see Blind Date, the long-running improvisational stage show by Spontaneous Theatre. Pairing a trained improviser who plucks a volunteer from the audience as his or her "blind date", the 90-minute adventure dives deep into dating, relationships, and intimacy, and takes both the participant and audience on a charming and hilarious rollercoaster ride.
Originally catering to the heterosexual crowd, the show recently underwent a queer makeover, making its debut at Toronto's Buddies In Bad Times Theatre this autumn. Verdict? Absolutely wonderful and overdue. Kudos to creator Rebecca Northan and actors Julie Orton and David Benjamin Tomlinson for pulling this off!
Blind Date returns to the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto in June 2017.
Four years ago, I spent time with the Toronto chapter of Democrats Abroad, watching nervous American expats teetering on the edge of their seats, ultimately witnessing President Obama earn his second term in office.
Interesting what can happen in four years -- a woman has finally worked her way to the top Democrat ticket, albeit with administrative scandals and a sexist backlash in tow, challenged by a self-proclaimed Republican and entrepreneurial misogynist, who lacks not only political experience but the maturity and diplomacy required for the role of President, alienating people in his own party and substantiating and promoting close-minded, backward, inhumane behaviour.
Though elections are generally nail-biting affairs anyway, the campaigns leading to Tuesday's big event have unfurled a disturbing battleground, exposing the worst sides of modern society. Antagonism reigns, tempers and nerves on fire.
Dear friends in the USA: Good luck. The world is watching.
Last night, I attended the first lecture in a series on gentrification in general, but more specifically, how it affects the neighbourhood of Parkdale in central Toronto.
The rental and housing market in this entire city is depressing. I'm sad about this on a personal level, but I'm working and have no interest in having children, so I can suck it up and just accept the urban life consequences.
But it breaks my heart that the ones who are the most threatened in this housing landscape, on a massive scale, are newcomers, indigenous people, single moms, seniors, and those with disabilities -- the people who already have a rough go at life as it is.
We need some low-income housing policy changes soon. Let's get writing.
Thanks to Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust, Trinity College, Toronto, Faculty of Divinity, Anglican Diocese of Toronto, Jeremiah Community, and Epiphany and St. Mark, Parkdale for making this happen.
It's strange thinking back a year ago and realizing how much my family's life has changed without Ma.
Happy Mother's Day to all, whether you're here with us physically or not: you all deserve it!
James Barnor discusses being a photographic pioneer in mid-1900s Ghana. His show, Ever Young, appears at BAND Gallery for the next month -- an off-the-beaten-path must-see at Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2016.