August 30, 2012

Blue Moon Lagoon

The moon looked full enough to stop my bicycle and lie under on the ride home from Martha Street studio this evening. Sutherland is not dark enough for my liking so I rode on. When I got home, Erin told me on the telephone that tomorrow marks the fullness of the Blue Moon (two full moons in a single month). Major intersection sprawl planned for then. Janelle Chanel ma belle please join me. No one else understands quite like you. I had to defend Lady Moon and the powers of to two ignorant men at the bakery today. WHAT ABOUT THE EFFECT THE MOON HAS ON THE TIDE? That query usually puts an end to mindless conversation about the moon. MEN. Sheesh.

The neighborhood smells like fresh buns right now.

My Martha Street studio days have picked up once more. Took an inventory of the good ink left in my cubby this evening and unfolded the mountain of fabric stored away like nuts of a squirrel. Spread out that bounty.

August 29, 2012

Fleur and I

Last night we settled into a lumpy bed in a little house called the Sugar Shack deep down in a Manitoban valley. Gully after gully after gully, we rounded the last corner and reached the familiar path in the old faithful Toyota. When the dark came, there was nothing around but us. Candles alight, wood stove cracking, crickets wailing.

We woke to hot light pouring in through glass and acorn percussion on the tin roof. Strong coffee black. I drank the rest of the wine by ten in the morning and banged off a couple of letters on the old Olympia while Craig roamed solo through the valley. Lunching in underwear and cowboy hats around a lazy fire.

Tonight the noises are different. Heat of day lingers upstairs. Trains wail instead of crickets. Humidity in place of fire. Funny how one can feel so at home in a home so far from home. I have always loved that little shack in the valley and am lucky to be able to visit it when the spirit leads.

Found and read this today, tucked away in yet another bedside book. Funny what travels with us through time and what doesn't make the cut.

August 24, 2012

That I Like

Today I brought a roll to the film lady, Juliana at Shoppers on Portage in the West End. She called me ten minutes after I had left her counter to confirm my initial hesitation. The roll I had dropped was not C41 but indeed contrast film and was now ruined. Crap. Bulk rolled film stored in mix 'n match cassettes is confusing as hell. In the process of ruining yet another roll of film to light, I learned to trust my instincts and always process for contrast when the gut says so. I forget every shot taken on the roll from the partycam (probably because majority were inebriated attempts with flash while riding in a thick bicycle pack) but I was sorry to lose one shot of a wooden rocking chair sitting on a stoop in the dark.

Flash is a beautiful thing. The recent addition of a flash kit on my Kiev is a new and exciting avenue. Creme lent me his and I spent the weekend at the Rainbow Trout music festival experimenting with light and subject in the dark! It was exciting to process to say the least. Besides a few minor misfires and soft focus shots (irritating), the lot of four turned out pretty nice. Characters galore. If your roving eye can spot them, my favorite shot from the Trout weekend was of a wonderful Franco Manitoban couple who caught my eye at Magic Hour. Flash added warmth to the composition and a lucky twinkle under Buddy Guy's bucket hat. Bonus!

Enjoy some fruit of this week's darkroom labor. Come this time next week I will be a studio student once again. Stencil meet Color, Color meet Stencil. I anticipate a happy relationship to come. Color film, get out of my way. We are experiencing a BREAK. The love/ hate affair with the stuff makes me laugh.

Contrast vision. Besides, there is nothing better than developing contact sheets of 120 negatives. Giant preview! That I like.

Enjoy. No fuss contact sheets shot over the course of summer. From shows at Negative Space to Andrea's patio, Folk Festival to St. Malo. All over the map essentially; hauling the Kiev along for the ride.

August 22, 2012


Trout! Trout! Trout! was a very good time. I shot many photographs. Upon return to the city, I dropped off two rolls of crapola color at Shoppers and hopped into the dark with the four contrast rolls.

Color vision commence. Shot in and around magic hour in the bushes near St. Malo, Manitoba. The great Roseau River ran through the land there and I couldn't help but think of a woman named Marj.

Ken and Natalie's brainchild. Hand crafted fish scale collages done up in the Maxi Lounge. Garbage Mountain.
My campground neighbor.
Happy people all around.

August 13, 2012

Production report

A spray paint handed hello.

Hello. Three o'clock already, sheesh.

Time is flying today because the hours are being enjoyed full well. Good sign. It has been a really good week for creative production. Hallelujah. After participating in the Rainbow Trout Music Festival bicycle rally on Saturday night, I lay in bed wide awake with strong brainwaves coursing through me. Ideas. It had been so long since I lay like that, the brain churning and churning. There was really no choice but to accept them with thanksgiving and regurgitate as fast as possible to the half asleep buddy guy beside me. He's a really good listener. In that hour or so I worked out a few projects that I have been chewing on for a while now. Here is a sample:

- Margot Pollo's Daytime/ Nighttime Portrait Studio: how? backdrop? stool? who cares? how much per? light meter? flash kit? signage? top hat? cape? should vanity matter in this context? No; but a top hat is a must. No props on sticks. Just me at the Kiev on a tripod under a black throw at the aforementioned upcoming Trout music festival with a measuring tape and a flash. Five dollar (or maybe ten if people take to the process) mail order portraits. New biz Ta-dA! This is how my mind works sometimes. CRAY-ZAY woman.

- What on earth to sell at the Maxi Crafts craft table that Lisa and I will also be manning at said festival?  Given by the last craft sale that Lisa and I participated in back in April 2012, new items of interest are imperative. No one wants old prints from 2009. Those should all be burnt. Please burn them. Time to buff up the inventory. So how does one go about making the rent A.) without the resources/ breaking the bank for fast duplication and B.) maintaining the integrity of (what I consider) fine art? Read: cut the cutsie craft crap. I want to sell art. But what is art? Are handmade rabbit dolls art? Not really. They take hours upon hours to cut, stuff and sew and yet people GUFFAW if they are priced over $25. Holy smokes! The weird thing is I feel better just giving them away then selling them for peanuts. Backwards.

- Stencils. Keep going. I love the process and the insane amount of hand-work involved, the heat from the overhead projector (that my sister just bought for me, hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!!!) in the cool house, the hours spent at the lighttable in my bedroom carving away negative space on paper that just grows and grows. Todays stencil takes up the entire living room wall. Spray paint. Muslin. Pins. Exciting. This is my art and I am sticking with it.

If I wanted to be printing silk screen badly enough these days, I would be. Let it go, it's in there for life.  Large scale stencils challenge me in new and exciting ways so I am putting my energy into new projects these days. The main lesson is: Work to finish! The peel-away result is just too good to leave hanging. The yeild of one (stencil) versus 100 (silk screen) in the same block of time is a new adjustment, but I appreciate the one-off so much more than the churn-out. And that is amazing.

Back I go hi-ho to the carving station at the lighttable. Iced tea in the interim. The job-to-pay-the-rent shift picks up at six. Gotta hustle. Sula, Lisa and I catered a weird event last night with Uno Mas, a new catering venture under the guidance of Alejandro. It was a great experience. Even got myself a knife blister from hustling on the production line! I realized I hadn't worked hard in the kitchen in over a month. WEIRD. Felt good to be back, flying through piles of produce and churning out fancy food on sticks.

Baby's back.

August 7, 2012

Ski Pants for August Long

Peaches are it at the Maxi Pad. Nothing but peaches over here thanks to Sylvie King (Lisa's mother) who stocked our bellies and our fridge with leftovers from this past weekend at the lake. Lisa invited me up to her cottage at Beaconia Beach on Lake Winnipeg and the water was juuuust right. Icy cool dips morning, noon and night. Chunky dunks/ skinny dips. Austrian ski pants for extra fashion points. Drunken bicycle rides and a Magic Hour expedition, breakfast for two, aimless walking, sleeping in, shitty TV and all that. It was wonderful. Thank you Kings.

Here is a selection of photographs shot during our time there. 

August 2, 2012

Rusty's Room

Simple details charm the hell out of me. Same with white spaces. It is always the children's bedroom of interesting homes that win me over. Crystal has great taste.

Little elf in Rusty's room.
Mama and boy. Artwork by Rusty's dad, Donny.
The boy himself on a blanket his mother made for him.
Leather and felt mobile above the crib by Tony Chestnut.

August 1, 2012


August is in. Frightening how quick the season moves.

The personal photography drought has passed. Amen.

Rolls are rolling in. Even though I swore I would never bring another damn contrast roll in to have processed, the great lull got the best of me. One measly roll processed while ten others wait in agony for this old horse to get back into the basement darkroom.

What I received back today was a mixed bag of photos from three rolls of film shot over the course of May, mostly June and a little of July: 35mm contrast Tmax 100, 120 color Ekar 100 and one really whacky 35 color Kodak X-tra 400 roll from Craig (partially double exposed considering I snapped over what he had shot years ago). That was a mouthful. Does anyone care or take interest in film stock? I always appreciate when people name their film stock, so be it.

Posted here today are a few of my favorite photos from the Wenasaga planting contract. My cameras were stored in my kitchen trailer, just a quick arms reach away from the usual daily prep station activity. One afternoon while Emily and I were making five million burgers for dinner, I noticed a strange looking man fly out of the treeline and beeline for our cook shack. I would be lying if I said the question am I going to be murdered today? didn't cross my mind. A quick kitchen scan for weapons: long handled axe, machete, cleaver. Good. The guy turned out to be a half crazed mining staker; a job that revolves around trolling through the bush (solitary mission) with a GPS in hand, a backpack full of stakes, an axe and flagging tape for staking out future mining sights. Not knowing what else to do, I invited the man in. Benoit was his name, a french man from Northern Quebec who preferred to live in Mexico in his off-season.

Thankfully there was a fresh pot of soup on the go and he was hungry. Fresh cookies and beer to boot, with no murders to be had. In thanks Benoit sharpened my long handled axe. Then he split pile of wood (show off) and got on his merry way.

I enjoy photos that offer full narratives the most. Keeping that in mind while I shoot, this was as close as he would let me in. Benoit was a real character. My attempt to parle en francais with him was pitiful. Thank goodness the soup was good.

Here are some photos with character.

Benoit sharpens my axe with a file.
Tree Camp comes to a close.
Markell and his girl Kita.
BFF's all the way from Montreal, Larry Legend and Guillaume. 
Rolling Ripper about to depart from the Maxi Pad.
View from the Earfalls beach. Powerlines!
Contrast nature--never quite the same as living color.
Photo. Lisa King; taking one last dip in the Earfalls lake.
Sitting quiet so as not to forget.

Fruit of Juillet