Monthly Archives: December 2007

Last Day Of The Year

Outside, the snowfall is fast but light. From the blanket of white on the cars, one can tell how long it’s been snowing. Against this white is the aching orange glow of the sky, and the warm fluorescent street lamps. The blinds of the houses across the street are all closed and the lights are off.

City in a snow globe. Lifeless. Plastic. Shaken.

In the darkness of my living room, Emiliana Torrini sings to me about love in the time of science.

It shouldn’t hurt me to be free
It’s what I really need
To pull myself together
But if it’s so good being free
Would you mind telling me
Why I don’t know what to do with myself

It’s the last day of the year. The little clock on my screen tells me it’s six minutes to 2 a.m. I should be in bed, but this is the only chance I have to write.

Where did the time go? I thought I would be bored, or lonely, during the holiday stretch, only to discover that it wasn’t long enough.

They say that the days, months, years pass faster, the older you get.

Maybe this means I’m getting old.

The Challenges Of Expression

For feedback, I showed Frédéric some of my initial work for the next exposition, a couple concept photos that capture the essence of my theme.

He told me I was being shy. That my work isn’t shocking or disturbing enough. Technically, it’s perfect, but lacking the qualities that make it art. For my subject, there’s a fine line between artistry and commercialism, and I haven’t yet crossed that line.

It made perfect sense, what he said.

My subject includes a lot of skin. But as a photographer who doesn’t have an established reputation, I find it extremely difficult to get people to take their clothes off, even for non-nude photos. I’m trying to work on a limited budget, with limited materials. I can’t afford to pay people to be my models, so I rely on the favours of friends1.

There’s so much more I’d love to explore with eroticism, but I feel stifled by how uncomfortable people feel about being naked, along with a strong sense of propriety.

Working with models is a challenge in itself. There’s an element of uncertainty and unreliability when dealing with people, and being a control freak, this has proven to be extremely frustrating. It would have been simpler to photograph objects instead of people, but human shapes are the source of my interest.

It’s also difficult for me to photograph what is not considered “conventionally” beautiful (to my tastes, at least). Bless the beautiful, I once wrote.

In addition to all this, it’s hard for me to forget the meaning I’ve always placed in what I create. For this exhibit, I’m trying to create out of pure aestheticism. It’s not an easy thing to do, but I have to let go of these old habits.

At this point, the success of the show is still uncertain. Hopefully I’ll be able to pull it off in time. January will be busy. I know if I can overcome these challenges, I’ll be able to overcome so much more.

It’s become a test of myself more than anything else.

  1. Tiana was nice enough to put out an announcement on her blog for model help, and carefully noted that I’m not creepy. []

Christmas Observer '07

Another Christmas with Shirley and her family, although this time Bill’s family came down as well. I spent Christmas Eve night and Christmas day at their house, partaking in the Christmas experience with those who believe in the importance of such a ritual.

Presents under the tree

We were wrapping presents (from “Santa”) until midnight on Christmas Eve. The tree must have been raised the two feet off the ground to fit everything underneath. Negotiations went on through the night as to what time to wake up, but the kids woke us up at 6:30 anyway. Looking back on the pictures of 2005, you can tell how much they’ve grown in just two years.

Loads more pictures behind the cut.

Continue reading “Christmas Observer ’07″…

Holiday Stretch

Hi there.

I’m already in holiday mode. Sure, I have one day of work left — Monday — but my brain has checked out. I even took the day off yesterday and made it a long weekend because I have extra vacation days left, and they can’t be carried forward.

The chaise lounge on which I do my writing

This is how I spend most of my time nowadays: on my new chaise lounge from EQ3, with a mug of tea by my side, in a generally unkempt manner. Unshaven, with the flourish of a cowlick in my hair.

Last year, in which I declared that Christmas is dead, I stayed home out of spite, not directed at anyone but myself. This year, I’ve decided to go to Shirley’s for Christmas Eve and Christmas, and Pat and Jen’s for New Year’s.

But there’s a stretch of a several days in between in which I have no plans. Even though it’ll be a chance for me to do some extra writing, work on my photo projects, maybe even relax a bit, part of me wishes I was busy like everyone else.

I know I don’t have anything to complain about. I’m lucky enough to be spending the “important” days with friends who are important to me. I’m even lucky enough to have a choice of where to go. But I know that during the stretch, when other people has somewhere to be, somewhere to go, I’ll feel somewhat forlorn. They’ll have a place where they belong.

Maybe I’ll belong here, at home alone, on this wonderful chaise.

Papa Was A Rolling Stone

My dad called. After 14 months without contact.

Not that I wasn’t expecting it. He e-mailed me two weeks ago (flagged with the little red exclamation point to note that it was important), telling me that he was having a party on New Years. “Can you come and join us?”, it said.


Is he dating now, I wondered. Married?

I sat on this e-mail, unsure of what to say. A little while before this, Merv struck up a conversation with me about fishing. I told him I used to go to this one fishing spot at a lift-lock in Peterborough with my dad, and it made me wonder what I would say if I ever talked to him again. He didn’t even know me when we were on speaking terms, how would he know me now? I’ve changed so drastically in the last year.

We never left things off on bad terms. We just stopped talking to each other, so there wasn’t any animosity, on my part, at least. I never contacted him because I never felt like it, and I was expecting years to go by before he contacted me.

Then he called on the weekend. It took me by surprise. I thought e-mail was a way for him to stay distant, while fulfilling the minimum parental responsibility. I had guests over and was entertaining and somewhat charged up. He started talking to me in Chinese, and I could only reply in English. It was too much for my mind, and I was too much on my guard. So I told him to call me next week.

And he did.

Continue reading “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”…