There are a group of photography exhibits now showing at the Ryerson Image Centre.  Two of them showcase older photos of Canada.  The largest exhibit is ‘Faraway Nearby’ and it consists of photographs of Canada from the New York Times photo archive…   25,000 vintage photos of Canada taken over the past 100 years have been gifted to Ryerson by Chris Bratty in honour of his father Rudolph (Rudy), a property developer in the GTA.   ‘Faraway Nearby’ is a wonderful selection of them covering a wide cross section of subjects.

vintage black and white photo of people in bath suits standing on diving boards beside a lake

below: There is a section devoted to tourist type photos that you would find in the travel section of a newspaper.  Yes, that’s an RCMP officer standing beside the car, a convertible with California plates.  I’d say it was kitschy to have the RCMP guy there but even today the red uniform of the RCMP is iconic; they are featured on many postcards and souvenirs.   Tourists still take photos with them I’m sure.

photo in an exhibit of a group of tourists in a convertible car with California plates parked beside the road and overlooking a mountain lake. An RCMP officer stands beside the car.

below:  Oh dear, Highland dancers and Native Americans all dressed up.   Is that the Banff Springs Hotel?  The exhibit taken as a whole is a fascinating look at Canadian history; how far we’ve come in some respects and how we haven’t really changed in others.

vintage black and white photo of a highland dancer with a line of native Americans in traditional dress behind her. Some teepees in the background, also a hotel.

below:  Loggers clearing their way through a sea of timber that is being guided into a newsprint mill in Hull Quebec, about 1946.  Unknown photographer.  (Almost all the photos are by ‘unknown’).

vintage black and white photo of two shirtless men on legs with poles as the move logs and timber by river to a newsprint paper mill on the other shore.

Being a newspaper, a large number of the subjects were political such as this photo of Joe Clark, Prime Minister of Canada from June 1979 to March 1980, on a visit to Cameroon  in the summer of 1979.

black and white photo from 1979 of Joe Clark, then Prime Minister of Canada, riding in a motorcade with the President of Cameroon, in Cameroon.

below: Prime Minister Trudeau (the first one) meeting President Nixon, “Tricky Dick”, of the USA.  Love the sunglasses! (or is that just a trick of the lighting?).

vintage photo of Richard Nixon, President of the United States, greeting Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

below: While on the topic of the Trudeau’s, here’s Margaret with Fidel Castro.  Castro is holding Margaret’s youngest son Michel.  The photo was taken in Havana in 1976 when the Trudeau’s were in Cuba on a 4 day state visit.

vintage black and white photo of Margaret Trudeau and Fidel Castro. Castro is holding one of the Trudeau sons.

below: There are also some photos taken during various Royal visits.  Here are a group of men by Lake Nipigon in 1919.  The man holding the dead duck (3rd from the left) is Edward, Prince of Wales (b.1894 – d.1972).   He was 25 years old in this picture.   On 20 January 1936 he became King Edward VIII but he abdicated the throne in December of the same year after reigning for only 326 days.

a vintage black and white photo of a group of men in northern Ontario, by a lake, one is holding a duck that has been shot

below: A photo by an unknown photographer for the Canadian War Records Office and the American Press Association, Vimy, France, April 1917.  The description of the photo reads: “Giving Fritz some of his own pills.  Canadians firing a German 4.2 on the retreating Boche.  Some of the guns left behind by the retreating Germans were in excellent condition, and the Canadians at once  undertook to return some of the shells to their former owners in the most effective manner.”

vintage world war one photo

below: A slightly lighter look at war, this time WW2.  Photograph by Nat Turofsky (d. 1956) for Alexandra Studio.  Distributed by the Star Newspaper Service and the New York Times.  Location unknown. 1939.  Nat and his brother Lou were well known Toronto photographers in their day. Back in 2009, The Torontoist published an excellent story about them and the Alexandra Studio which they owned.

The description of the photo reads: “Shouldering guns instead of hockey sticks.  Member of the Toronto Maple Leaf hockey team, led by Bob Davidson, Goalie “Turk” Broda, and “Sweeney Shriner, marching into the trenches at a machine gun target range during a military training session.  The team is in constant training so that they will be ready for duty if called to the colors.”

vintage photo of men in Maple Leafs hockey sweaters walking through war trenches

***

The second, and smaller, exhibit is ‘The Notman Studio:  1858-1915’.  William Notman was a photographer based in Montreal who traveled across Canada documenting what he saw.   He was also a studio photographer who took hundreds of portraits.   This is a small sample of his work.

below:  ‘Ice Castle’ about 1857, Montreal Quebec, Albumen print.

old photo of a large ice castle

below: ‘Esquimalt Dry Dock’, 1887, Victoria B.C. Albumen print.   You’ll have to pardon the reflections in the pictures.  The glass in the frames acts like a mirror and although I have tried to minimize the amount of reflection, getting rid of it entirely was not always possible.

vintage photo, 1887 ship being built, wood, in Victoria B.C.

below: Standing outside his teepee with his rifle and his horse.

vintage photo of a native American man in traditional clothes holding a rifle and a horse and a lead. Standing outside a teepee

below: There were a series of Cariboo Hunting photos.  They were small and all focused on the two men.   Especially considering their age, they are in excellent condition and beautiful to look at.

vintage photo of two men hunting caribou. Resting with their rifles.

below: ‘Little Champlain Street’  1890, Quebec City.   I looked for photos of Toronto in the collection that was on display but there weren’t any.

vintage albumen print photo, 1890, Little Champlain street in Quebec City. row houses, kids in the street

below: There is an incredible amount of detail in the above picture so I cropped it quite a bit to highlight some of the details.   The shabby brick and plaster row houses, the solitary street light, the planks that form the narrow road, and the kids wearing hats as they keep an eye on the photographer.  Although it is Quebec City, I can imagine parts of Toronto looking quite similar at the time.

details of a vintage photo, street scene, kids, row houses,

In case you were wondering, albumen prints refers to a process whereby the photographic paper that is used to print the images from a negative was made using egg whites.  The main constituent of egg whites is the protein albumen.  It is sticky and forms a glossy finish when it dries.  The stickiness of the albumen is used to bind salt (sodium chloride, your basic table salt, or ammonium chloride) to the paper.  Once the paper dries, it is dipped into a solution of silver nitrate thereby making the paper sensitive to UV light.   This method was developed in 1847 and was the first commercially viable method of producing photographic paper.  It remained in use until the 20th century.

By the entrance to the Notman exhibit is this wonderful, and still relevant, quote attributed to William Notman: “To consider Photography a mere mechanical art, is a great mistake.  The too prevalent desire for cheapness, and the ease with which a little may be done in Photography, has induced many to embrace the profession lacking the necessary qualifications…”

Both exhibits continue until 10 Dec 2017.

Last November I blogged about a large 22 storey mural on Yonge Street just below College (music makers on Yonge ).  This mural was by Adrian Hayles and it includes many Canadian music icons.   Recently, Hayles has created a matching mural of the same size on the other side (south side) of the building at 423 Yonge Street with portraits of more Canadian musicians.

tall mural, 22 storeys tall, on the side of a TCHC apartment building in Toronto, by Adrian Hayles, portraits of Canadian musicians such as the band Rush, Carole Pope and others

Rush, Goddo, the Band, David Clayton Thomas, Lonnie Johnson, Selome Bey, Carole Pope, Cathy Young, Jay Douglas, Kim Mitchell, Mandala, and John and Lee and the Checkmates are all shown in the mural.  It is best seen if you are walking north on Yonge Street although some trees partially block the view.

Canadian musicians on a wall, mural by Adrian Hayles,

part of a music mural, a trumpet player, male, with graying hair,

part of face and hands on a mural with a nesting pigeon beside it. It looks like the hand is reaching for the pigeon.

music mural,

bottom part of mural, guitar player and band dressed in white suits with black stripes, black pointy toe shoes, wall is behind two orange and black cones.

The mural was commissioned by the Downtown Yonge BIA,

Tucked away on a garage in an alley near Brunswick and Harbord is a garage with three murals, at least two of which are the work of Aaron Li-Hill.

a two car garage in an alley, murals on both garage doors as well as on the side of the building

below: This mural is not new but I am not sure how old it is.  I am not even sure if I have seen it before.   I can’t believe that I found an alley that I haven’t walked before in this area, but anything’s possible.   This mural is by Li-Hill for sure.

a mural in two pictures of two women and a large tree by Aaron Li-Hill on the side of a garage in an alley

below: This too is the work of Aaron Li-Hill as you can see from the signature.

women with sohort dark hair from the neck up, side view, eyes closed, mural on a garage door by Aaron Li-Hill

below: This seaside town scene has no signature.  I like the little people, one with a surfboard, some playing in the water, and a couple hand in hand.

seaside town mural, buildings, water, beach, people, seawall, on a garage door in an alley, laneway

One more reason to wander the lanes and alleys of the city!
(With thanks to Anita for walking with me and showing me this garage.)

 

At the corner of Roxton and Harbord, at what was once the New Moon Variety store, there is a large and colourful Clandestinos mural.  The store is now Riders Cycle so it is apt that the mural features a large cyclist, a dapper fox with bright red cycling gloves and a wicker basket full of flowers and carrots.

 

photo of the whole mural by Clandestinos (Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky) on the side of Riders bike store,

A blue bird at the left flying in front of the garage door.

part of a larger mural by Clandestinos (Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky) on the side of Riders bike store, a bluebird in flight painted on the garage door, yellow triangle of light behind it

The window now looks like it protrudes from the wall and is part of the mural.

part of a larger mural by Clandestinos (Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky) on the side of Riders bike store, around the door and window and mailbox of the side entrance of the building,

Like all good cyclists, he has a light on his bike but this light is a miniature person with a powerful flashlight.

 

part of a larger mural by Clandestinos (Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky) on the side of Riders bike store, main part of mural, a fox in jeans is riding a bike with a wicker basket in the front

buzzzzzzzzzzzzz

part of a larger mural by Clandestinos (Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky) on the side of Riders bike store, a large bumble bee by the front window

Another blue bird in flight, this time at the righthand side of the mural.

part of a larger mural by Clandestinos (Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky) on the side of Riders bike store, a blue bird in flight with purplish coloured sky behind

Shorter day light hours + autumn weather (no snow yet!) = an evening of playing with light and shadow.  I came out of the subway at Queen station and decide to “chase the light”.  It was a perfect evening for a walk and I wanted to make it last as long as possible.   For the most part I stayed on Queen Street although I will admit to straying onto Shuter for a block or two.  It’s not the prettiest part of the city but every place has potential, from a photographic perspective anyhow.

below: The new (replacement) pedestrian walkway over Queen Street that will link the Eaton Centre with The Bay.

glass pedestrian bridge over a street, Queen Street, with traffic and people as well as an ambulance, late afternoon

below: City reflections in both glass and polished stone.

reflections in a stone and glass building

below: The curve of street car wires at Queen and Church.  A wall of peeling paint, as well as a ghost sign, provides the backdrop

the curve of the streetcar wires in front of a wall that was painted white but the paint is peeling to reveal the brick below.

below: The east wall of St. Michaels Cathedral (RC) with reflected light, as seen across a construction site.

one end of St. Michaels Cathedral with reflected light falling on it, new buildings and construction surround it

below: The same church from a slightly different angle.

close up of part of a church roof and window with reflected light on it.

below: Angels

wooden angel cutouts decorate the roofline of a small building

below: Pigeons, old Bell phones and the Moss Park Discount Store.  Not so much light here but I liked the wall.

two Bell telephone booths, small version, mounted on a wall with street art painted on it, beside the window of a convenience store with a 649 ad in the window. Sign over the window says Moss Park Discount Store

below: A long way from home.

people standing on a corner waiting to cross the street, including a woman dressed in blue who is using a walker, plus two Morman men in their white shirts and black ties.

below: A large double billboard is black beside the old building.   The building is at the corner of Ontario Street and Brigden Place.   It was built in 1911 as a 4 1/2 storey warehouse for the Newell Company and their Dominion Envelope Company.  It was one of three buildings that they owned in the area.   After WW2 the building was purchased by J.D. Carrier Shoe Company (the ghost sign!).  Today it has been renovated as lofts and studios.

evening light shines on an old white brick building, a large billboard as seen from the end, is in front

below: A small section of the back of the Moss Park Armoury, a Canadian Forces building constructed in the 1960’s.

part of a wall, vertical stripes of brick sections and white sections, narrow windows in the white sections, 3 windows in total

below: A quick break from chasing light…. you never know what you’re going to encounter downtown, and of course you have to stop and take advantage of the opportunities when they arise, so here we have a slight diversion!  I’m going to assume that the background of their pictures is much better than the background of this picture!

a bride and groom embrace while three photographers take their picture. on a sidewalk of a city street

below: As evening falls, the lights come on in the bus shelters.
You can thank (or curse) Astral Media for that.

a lit advertisement in a bus shelter of two men in Roots clothes, a young man sits on the bench in the bus shelter while two people walk past it on the sidewalk

below: King Street and Queen Street merge just before they pass over the Don River and the Don Valley Parkway.   The green railing in the photo below is on the bridge over the DVP, the buildings and cranes are on the other side of the river.

evening light, cityscape with many construction cranes, light poles and utility poles and wires, evening,

below:  Upstairs, downstairs.  Looking west along King Street from the Don River.

looking along King street from beside ramp over the railway tracks - light under the bridge shows someone sitting there, city scene in the rest of the photo

Once the light fades beyond a certain point, contrast is limited and dullness creeps into the resulting photos.  It’s too late for well lit photos and too early for pictures of city lights.  But it’s a great time to stop and find some dinner!

Can you see anything in it?

details of a mural by Jimmy Chiale

The above image, with its location icon, is just a small portion of a large mural by Jimmy Chiale.   You’ll find it in the Bloorcourt neighbourhood, on the SW corner of Shaw and Bloor West to be specific.  ‘Make Good’ it says.

large colourful mural by J. Chiale on the side of a building. Large white letters that say Make Good.

I  think that its fascinating to look at and I suspect that you would see something different in it each time you passed by.   Here are a few more close up pictures of the details in the mural.  Thousands of shapes all outlined in black some of which seem to make eyes, faces, and a bird’s beak.

shapes, lines and patterns in Jimmy Chiale mural

below: …. a totem pole, an owl and a horse head….

totem pole and horse and other details from Jimmy Chiale mural

below:  … and a camera shutter and a fish?
It wouldn’t surprise me if we saw different things!

Bloorcourt mural details, colours and shapes all outlined in black

Aside  —  Posted: September 6, 2017 in graffiti and street art, locations
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m talking to you….

Well, I’m not the one doing the talking.  In fact, no one is talking, or shouting for that matter.  The words are silent, present..  but quiet.  They are written on the walls; scrawled on the walls.  They’re rarely beautiful and they’d rarely qualify as being profound.

below: But “Sometimes it doesn’t matter”.  I love the ambiguity and flexibility of the word ‘it’ in this context.  Write your own story. Develop your own plot.

below: … even if the plot doesn’t make sense, like Trump himself.

blue spray paint graffiti words on concrete by a chainlink fence surrounding a school playground and parking lot that say I shot Trump and I'd do it again and again and again

below: From Trump we jump to conspiracy theories.  That was easy wasn’t it?

on a red door, number 911, someone has added in white letters, was an inside job

below: I have no segue for 911 conspiracies to love.   A jump in the plot?

blue spray paint graffiti words on concrete by a chainlink fence surrounding a school playground and parking lot that say Love Yourself Kids

below: Sentimental feelings – dripping with sentiment.  Oh dear.

graffiti words stenciled on a garage door that say sentimental feelings.

below: .. or wishes for feelings of being loved

small square around these words, love me plz, written with black paint on a white garage door,

below: Pull yourself together and get it together….  But.. but..  Buddha once said: “Life is suffering; suffering is just part of life.”  Sooooo if you start suffering do you stop living?  Yes, I can be insufferable, just like philosophy and psychology and a few other ologies.

below: Did I mention that sometimes the words make no sense?

black sharpie words on a concrete utility pole, says Virgin Armour

below: These words, on the other hand, make sense: Bew Are!  (not technically graffiti but my editor didn’t question it!)

And that’s the end.   No more words.  I have no more words. Fini.

Elvis has left the building.

a man is walking past a wall with street art, a construction sign is leaning backwards against the wall blocking part of the art. THe picture can't be seen but the words that went with the picture are still visible. They say The artist isn't present