Urban Rising – A show at the Shangri-la Residences

Last week I flew to Toronto for a group show organised by Art Collectif at the Shangri-la Residences in conjunction with Chestnut Park Realty. I was the solo photographer in a group of 7 painters. 

Installation day was hectic but gratifying. The pieces seemed to be made for the living room they were hanging in. 

These two pieces were delivered to their new owners on Tuesday. These two editions are now sold out!

The views from the 65th floor were stunning. 

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it started with windows…

…I couldn’t stop searching for the right one. Of course it was all about the perfect angle and a great juxtaposition of graphics. Then I realized they were few and far between and to practice the art of window reflections was inconsistent to say the least.

This just happened the other day after picking up morning croissants and made me realize how much has changed since my window days.

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(Another way to achieve this kind of image is to collage single images together with photoshop. But I am not technically savvy enough to spend hours making these collages.)

My life changed the day I was digging, through the menu of my Nikon, and I spotted it. “Multiple Exposure”.  I couldn’t believe it. I had discovered a way to construct my own photo collages using the subject matter of my design.  I didn’t have to wait for these 3 dimensional stories to appear. They were mine now, to write.

For me they add a complexity to the visual story bringing greater depth to the image. The challenge of composing through trial and error, which is a way of seeking through seeing, is thrilling.

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Architecture is more than building materials and form. It is touched by time, the environment and by us. It is in a constant feedback loop, creating and recreating context, atmosphere and space.

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These images were created using my smartphone. I can now play with these ideas while I am on the go. It allows me to test ideas and practice compositions without have to bring my big camera. I decided to start another instagram account that will only be my phone double exposures. @jo_dbl_expo is my new idea park for these tests. They don’t always work but sometimes geometry just seems to play right into the lens….

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Past Due

In February of this year, I presented a new series of architectural double exposures at the Artist Project in Toronto. This new work was shot in Avignon, Uzes, Anduze, Nimes and Arles – France.

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This was a really hard show to put together. I constructed and shot the work in November and December, after I found out that my father was going to die from pancreatic cancer. I pushed forward, planning to attend the show in February as my father was adamant that I plan on attending. I returned to Canada in January to care for him. While we were in the hospice I was editing files, making postcards and putting together the final choices for printing. He was able to see my proofs and it brought him right back to the places we had seen together just months earlier.

He passed away January 27, 2016. With the show on wheels, driving itself, we had his funeral, buried him, packed up his house and I was on a plane to Toronto February 15th. One of my oldest friends in the world helped me hang the show and there I was on February 18th.

Standing in front of the streets I had taken him to in October. It was exciting to be surrounded by images of my new home but emotional at the same time. I could recall our conversations and know that they were some of the last conversations we would have about architecture. It was our bond. Architecture. Our place to completely know wonder.

As I write that, I know how deep this loss will be. No one else felt that with me. To share something like that with someone so close is to be complete. Now there is a part of me missing. A call that no one will answer.

And so, because of all of that, life has been upside down lately.

And like most things on my plate, this post is past due.

Artist Project 2015

Last year was my first year at the Artist Project. I presented the Suspended Garden, a series of double exposures taken in 2014 at the High Line in New York City.

Famous for its unique location and adaptive re-use of decaying city structure, this park attracts millions of tourists and city dwellers alike. Why? Why are we drawn to it, why does it capture our imaginations and take our breath away?

By layering the organic life of the park over the hard city scape, it pushes the viewer to see how architectural space is not two dimensional, it is also what we hear, smell, feel and experience. This park is an urban escape; offering separation but not disconnection from the city street and re-connection to the natural world through its highly designed and yet perceptually wild, plant life.

Most of the pieces were large format. The squares were 40 x 40″ and the large ‘4 storey walk up’ was 40 x 60″. These were pigment prints back mounted to Dibond and face mounted with acrylic.

Double exposure is an old technique from the days of film and using the same idea with a digital camera, without Photoshop, was the basis of my project. All of the works were composed on-site over 4 days. The camera records the first image, and you have 30 seconds to take the next picture. I rely on an intuitive, visual memory of the first image to compose the second and therefore final image. Often I take 4 or 6 to get a composition that works and is metered correctly. I enjoy working with the uneven characteristics of natural light. It’s extremes sometimes create unpredictable results. They can be disastrous or magical. There is a lot of experimentation involved in the process. It is a natural fit with the slow and meticulous way I enjoy working.