March 31, 2015


Chelsea N for Tony Chestnut SS15.
Nikon F2 / Fujicolor 400

March 29, 2015

Voigtlander Diaries

Portrait of 28 year old self in 100 year old apartment with 86 year old camera.
Double portrait of Niai in his Sunday best.
Current architectural muse. 
Young Atlas in the yard.
Farm brother I.
Farm brother C.

The photographs in the series above were shot on a Voigtlander Bessa in and around rural Manitoba. Made in Germany in 1929, this 86 year old medium format 6x9 collapsable camera is still in fine form to create great images (so long as the operator remembers to advance each frame). If I take good enough care of it, it will be passed along to the next generation in my family. Hopefully someone will take time to compose photographs in fifty years time. When I think too far into the future about the availability of film, chemistry and paper I get the shakes.

All we have is the here and now.
All we have is the here and now.
All we have is the here and now.

This roll is crying out to be worked with in the darkroom. The home process and professional scan do no favors to the film. This roll is alive. When I hold those double exposures of Iain at the table and young Atlas in the yard up to the light, I am reminded of my great grandpa's negatives shot around the same time the Voigtlander was released in the late 20s. There is a nice mix of sizes and formats in PJB's negative collection (from a variety of long-gone cameras I long to scrutinize), some of which that are doubly or triply exposed. Forgetfulness of the operator tells a great tale. These are the stories I want to explore. What else will I learn from the negative once it is enlarged? What narrative will emerge from the shadows if I sift the light on that heavily exposed right side of young Atlas? As far as I am concerned, these could very well have been shot in the 30s. I think this is the aesthetic I am constantly seeking. Perennial narratives.

As the last push of school looms in the horizon, the procrastinator in me has been taking time to really think about the direction I want to take my photo work once Montessori teacher training is behind me and time will be mine once more to invest in my passion for printmaking. I don't know where my next darkroom will be, but I look forward to finding a new rhythm. The time is near; I can nearly smell the stop bath.

Voigtlander B / Tmax 400

March 25, 2015

Twofold Hop

Early mornings with JJ / Chrismtas tree ready to burn.
JJ's first time in Shelly and he wasn't sure about it / Ollie finds the Melting Place.
My back lane and a favourite wagon / Lisa and O entertain my friend JJ.
Soft looks / Ollie makes a splash
Two souls I quite love: Olive in hearts / Jackson in fox fur
Two more great souls, Lisa and Owen / Olive really goes for it.
HAY / Lisa
Lover BOY / Lover boy
Looking a bit rough at 8am / Olive in bows at the window.

Ran out of film. Rewound. Reloaded. Forgot about it. Shot over it. Then came Spring.

Canon E0S 3 // 400 crapola color

March 23, 2015

Young Spring

First fruit from the Pentax 67. Springtime strolling with Uncle.

67 // very expired 220 something or other

March 18, 2015


Standing in patches of light spilling onto the floorboards from open windows and doors, I breathe in and out along with the house. Spring is in. Praise be. I have dug a hole in the basement and buried my winter coat for good and I'm never wearing socks again.


In and out. We move about in and out. 

When you took me for a Sunday drive and we stopped at a place I had never been before, I was filled with a sudden urge to spring from the truck and run into the landscape calling my name. You never seem surprised by this instinct and I have long lost the urge to apologize for it. We ran up Mount Nebo like two children and I laughed with pure delight, out of breath and windswept as we reached the summit. Elevation 392 meters. My camera lay forgotten on the bench seat. I was relieved to note you thought to grab yours before racing after me. I took coy photos of you with my minds eye, watching you watch the land you love, squatting on your haunches in appropriate footwear. Collar up. We traded places and I roamed around like a ram, seeking out the melting place to wade in just for the hell of it. I heard the mirror from your big camera slap the back of my neck. Collar up. The lines around your eyes settled into a sort of Sunday contentment that can only come from an easy afternoon of walking land with loved ones, drinking coffee from a thermos on the drive toward your favourite place and standing in the wind as it pelted the skin with kicked up dust. 

Spring energizes the soul me. I shot so many photographs on Sunday, inspired beyond belief by the bare landscape underfoot, finally revealed. The blanket ripped from the bed at last.

Ever glad to discover the trusty old Voigtlander deep in my bag, loaded with contrast. I fired the trigger without any sense of urgency or hesitation while watching you move easily alongside your brother through the hazy 90 year old viewfinder. Strapping sons at play in a barnyard. First Sunday of spring was good for the soul. Cows, dust, shit, sand, soil, runoff. I have lost count how many times I have scrambled up that Manitoban mountain once more in my head just to watch you watch that patchwork below. 

To close, here is a favourite poem by Anne Michaels titled Depth of Field plucked from her collection The Weight of Oranges / Miner's Pond.

We've retold the stories of our lives
by the time we reach Buffalo,
sun coming up diffuse and prehistoric
over the Falls.

A white morning,
sun like paint on the windshield.
You drive, smoke, wear sunglasses.

Rochester, Camera Capital of America.
Stubbing a cigar in the lid of a film cannister,
the Kodak watchman gives directions.

The museum's a wide-angle mansion.
You search the second storey from the lawn,
mentally converting bathrooms to darkrooms.

A thousand photos later,
exhausted by second-guessing
the mind which invisibly surrounds each image,
we nap in a high school parking lot,
sun leaning low as the trees
over the roof of the warm car.

Driving home. The moon's so big and close
I draw a moustache on it and smudge the windshield.
I stick my fingers in your collar to keep you awake.
I can't remember a thing about our lives before this morning.

We left our city at night and return at night.
We buy pineapple and float quietly through the neighbourhood,
thick trees washing themselves in lush darkness,
or in the intimate light of streetlamps.
In summer the planer's heavy with smells of us,
stung with the green odour of gardens.
Heat won't leave the pavement
until night is almost over.

I've loved you all day.
We take the old familiar Intertwine Freeway,
begin the long journey towards each other
as to our home town with all its lights on.

March 3, 2015

At Home with Tony

Tony HQ, Winnipeg, MB / February 2015
Hand work.
Every dot is painted by hand.
This is Jill in a funny hat and a Margaret Jane wool felted necklace.
Studio views at 11pm.

Just stumbled upon the latest podcast from Chad Hagen over at Take a Seat! Lucky find today considering I have been taking a much needed break from various social media platforms and the internet in general. It is crunch time for school! Thoughts of performance exams hang heavily overhead. Head down now, keep working.

Jill Sawatzky was recently interviewed by Chad for his podcast Take a Seat and their funny interview was a great background dialogue to take in while knee deep in the books this afternoon! How good it is to laugh aloud, alone in an empty room while the babe sleeps on down the hall. Shot these photos of Jill at work in her home studio a few weeks ago while she hustled to finish her mini collection for Hut K (which sold out in a nanosecond! Way to go woman). Have a listen to Jill and Chad talk shop HERE or cruise on over to iTunes to seek out this interview along with many, many others available for free under Take A Seat with Chad Hagen.

Kiev 60 / Tmax