Hike For Hospice - Emily's House Charity Photography

I've been a volunteer photographer with Emily's House, a children's hospice here in Toronto, for exactly a year now. My first event for them was last year's Hike for Hospice, and in the 365 days since I've supported them with event photography for some fun events. However, I've also helped the families they serve document the final days of some very beautiful children. 

It's a challenging situation. The photos are some of the most beautiful I think I've ever produced, with the pure emotional weight of their importance making them shine in my eyes. Yet, those photos are probably the most personal photos I ever take, so I'm unable to share them. It's volunteer work, and I can attest that it is at once the most rewarding and most heartbreaking work I ever take on.

The weight of the work is illustrated in an interaction I had with one of the Emily's House nurses, who, after I'd been snapping photos of one girl and her family for an hour, asked me if I think I'd gotten enough photos. I was completely at a loss to respond. How many photos of a dying baby is enough? Shouldn't I grind my shutter down to sand, snapping picture after picture after picture in the vain hope that the next one will be the one to perfectly preserve the life that was lost?

Anyway. Hike for Hospice is definitely one the most openly joyful events I help out with. Even on a very rainy day in May, the life and energy of all the other volunteers, as well as the strength and the light of the families in attendance, was more than enough to obliterate the grey. 

Lovebot - Quick & Quiet 2 - Streetart Show

One of my pet hobbies is photographing Toronto streetart and graffiti. As this stuff is usually tucked away in alleys, people seem to miss just how much of it brightens up the cold concrete of our city, so I like getting it out there in front of people's eyeballs. Through my adventures in alleyways, I've had the fortune to meet one of Toronto's most prolific artists: Lovebot.

He recently put on a very small show at this studio, and I had the chance to snap some photos of him in his element. Though there are a lot of Lovebot wheatpastes/posters cropping up in the city, and the occasional painted piece, the artist made his start with actual, physical Lovebot sculptures cast in concrete. What I loved most about this shoot was that it showcased that solid concrete heritage of the art with the big stack of concrete bags smack in the centre of the room.

Event Photography - Wattpad Open House

Wattpad moved into a new office in May of this year, and as construction wrapped up, they began planning their open house so that they could launch the office in the greater Toronto tech community. It shaped up to be a heck of a party!

As part of the shoot, I also took headshots of the Wattpad writers in attendance.

TJFF 2014 Opening Gala

I was once again asked to photograph the opening night gala of the 2014 Toronto Japanese Film Festival, which was hosted last night at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (JCCC). The JCCC is a really amazing place (the largest Japanese cultural centre/bunka kaikan in the world outside of Japan) that seems to be under appreciated because of the myth that it is horrendously far from downtown and terribly difficult to get to by transit. This is very much not the case, but apparently Torontonians are afraid of buses.

If you weren't there last night, here is what you missed. The full set of photos can be found in my TJFF 2014 Gallery.

The Railway Gallery

For some time now I've been meaning to make a concerted effort to photograph more of the amazing graffiti and street art that shows up in Toronto. This weekend I finally did so, taking advantage of the warm and clear spring weather, as well as my newly rebuilt bike. I meant to ride down through the Don Valley trails, out along Queen East, and then come up through the city's core. However, I found so much quality graffiti within a relatively small area of the valley that I wound up spending the better part of three hours down there, just photographing.

What follows are photos from an area of abandoned track that I've dubbed the Railway Gallery. The name might sound a little grandiose were it not for the fact that there is, quite honestly, a gallery's worth of quality street art along this one section of track. Here's a taste of it, but the full breadth can be found in my Flickr Set.

Also, if you recognize the work of any artists, please use the contact form on this site to identify which works belong to which artists so that I can credit them properly. Further, if you have tips for places with amazing graffiti, let me know so I can document that as well.

The 4000 Car

In case you're living in Toronto and you're not aware of it, some of the earliest pieces of current-era-streetcar history are actually still out on our streetcar routes. I knew nothing about them until I read an article in the Torontoist/blogTO/The Grid. That article helped me recognize the weird, red, moulded plastic I saw when I sat down on my streetcar this evening. I recognized it as something special—as a part of transit history—so when everyone cleared off the car, I made sure to snap a few photos.

This #4000 car is one of 3 or 4 of the earliest streetcars Toronto ever bought for the earliest fleet. These early cars (numbered something like 4000, 4002, 4003—I think one of them has been taken off the roads) were actually the only ones to bebuilt in Europe and shipped over to Toronto by boat. Subsequent cars were built to order Canada-side.

Thought I didn't get to spend much time with the car, here's a quick look at what it's like on the inside. Here's hoping these few pictures can make the day of a fellow streetcar nerd.