Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Walk in High Park

I've been waiting and waiting for cherry blossom season. To be quite honest, I've never seen cherry blossom trees - in fact, I didn't even know what they looked like. Yet this year, I was obsessed with seeing them because I've heard so much buzz about them. I think what fascinates me is how short the blossoms remain in bloom - procrastinate for just 1 week, sometimes 3 to 4 days even, and you will have missed them. Imagine that.

So this year, when I suggested to Vince that we go to High Park to see the cherry blossoms, I was pleasantly surprised that he wanted to see them too. Perhaps he was intrigued by our trip to Japan last year or perhaps he just wanted to go to the park. Whatever the reason, he agreed without me having to convince him. Hurrah!

It was an absolutely perfect day to explore High Park. There were groups of families and friends everywhere - flying kites, having picnics, climbing trees, taking photos, laughing, smiling, sharing, and enjoying the sunny day. Plus the cherry blossoms were in full bloom!

Since it was a lazy Sunday, we took a little rest on the grass before exploring more of the park. There is something about lying on the grass in a park that is slightly addictive. As I lay there, I kept picking up my camera to capture images... of the blue sky peeking through the wood fence beside me and the little heart formation that I thought I saw in the clouds.

As we explored the rest of the park, we came upon even more cherry blossoms, more and more people, the little pond, various birds, and a lovely mix of pretty plants. It was the perfect Sunday for a walk in High Park plus I can now finally say that I've seen cherry blossoms. Up next... plan a return trip to Kyoto so we can see them on Philosopher's Walk! :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

They Followed Me Home

Today, I am paying homage to one of my favourite types of detail shots: shoes! Alright, I pretty much love all sorts of detail shots, but shoes are something special to me, maybe because I buy so very many pairs. I love ballet flats, spike heels, sandals, wedges, certain types of platforms, slingbacks, sneakers, Converse, rain boots, cowboy boots, ankle booties, and even Uggs. But not Crocs... nope, not Crocs.

If there's one thing that generates a strong opinion in many ladies, it's the topic of shoes. So do tell, what are your favourite types of footwear? What styles do you gravitate towards? What styles give you the "ick"?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Urban Exploration... Kodak Building 9

A few days ago, my friend and fellow photographer, Courtney McIntosh, posted a status update on Facebook that immediately caught my attention. She was waking up at dawn to photograph an abandoned building. I was intrigued... even more so when she started posting her amazing images. When I messaged her for more information, she identified the abandoned building to be Kodak Bldg 9 and I knew immediately that I had to check it out.

Vince and I headed over the very next day. I wasn't sure what to expect and was a little apprehensive about the whole thing but Vince was even more apprehensive so I had to put on my brave face. We explored the areas of floors 2, 3, 4 that were lit by bright sunshine and made our way up to the rooftop. It was incredibly dark on the main floor and I am not ashamed to admit that I was scared to go downstairs. So I peeked down, looked around, and declared there to be nothing interesting... even though I was sure there would be plenty to photograph.

The parts that we did explore were filled with graffiti, vandalism, and junk. A little bit of history about the building (from a variety of online sources): due to the decline of film, the Canadian Kodak Company's manufacturing complex located at Black Creek and Eglinton was basically abandoned in 2005/2006. All but one of the buildings was demolished so all that remains today is the Employees' Building, constructed in 1939 and also known as Building No. 9. The land has been purchased by a developer; however, some additional research revealed that Building 9 appears to have been saved after it was declared to possess several heritage attributes - read more here.

What makes me feel a little wistful, besides the obvious impact of the digital age on film as a medium, is that this building was proposed to be an Ontario heritage building yet was still allowed to fall into such disarray. Whenever I look at the two photos included in the PDF link above, I feel nostalgia for the building's character, history, and purpose.

There is one further detail that made this urban exploration even more meaningful. Vince used to work at Kodak. In fact, he worked at this very complex for about a year until the department was shut down. His job involved packing photo paper into boxes. I asked if he got papercuts and he said tons. I asked why he didn't wear gloves and he said because he found them too cumbersome. YIKES... all I could picture is his blood staining the shiny white paper. Yes, I have a bit of an overactive imagination - especially for gory details. Vince remembers the area but not Building 9.

I'll admit that I was getting more and more creeped out the longer we stayed. I haven't done a slideshow in a while and I decided to create one for this project. I'd like to return to Building 9 for some further exploration (perhaps with a few more people next time!) because I've seen older images that show how much the abandoned building has changed over time. There used to be full curtains, toppled over furniture, less graffiti, more junk... which makes me wish I had somehow discovered this place sooner.

Alright, now for the slideshow - I am really excited to share this one. There is a little surprise towards the end... a sneak peek of something new at LWP that we will hopefully be incorporating into more of our sessions. The slideshow is about 3 minutes in length and contains many more images of the interior. I hope you enjoy it!

One last image to end this post: I love this illustration that was posted in 2008 on for Illustration Sunday:

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