Tag Archives: city

With his left hand he pushes the wheel forward, at the same time stepping hard with his left leg on the ground. The wheelchair tends to move not forward but slightly to the left, so he constantly needs to readjust the direction. I cannot see his face, but his hair is long and greyish white. Yellow sweater.

It’s taking a painfully long amount of time for him to cross the narrow street; it seemed the wheelchair almost went opposite direction to what he was trying to achieve.

At last, he reached the sidewalk. With the slight hill. As a passerby, you wouldn’t even notice the incline, but for him that must have been a challenge. I thought I should probably cross the street and help him. While I was contemplating – and no, it didn’t last longer then 10 seconds which seemed like few minutes to me – he managed to overcome the incline and continue crawl along the sidewalk.  I could see his right leg, or whatever was left of it, trembling (or did I imagine it?), I could sense the whole body going tense. I could almost hear that desperation and determination at the same time. I cannot really explain my vision of this, but mostly it was brought by memories of my tortures during walking (or trying to) when I had my own health issues. And not a single passerby offered help: not blaming, as I looked more like a drunkard or stoner rather than young woman struck by chronic horrific pain. Would I be grateful to a stranger offering me help on my way when I couldn’t stand up or was simply stuck? At first yes, of course, but at second thought I would feel really depressed thinking that I did not have ability to go on anymore, to do it on my own. And I think mainly why I survived those couple years was that I knew I could do it on my own, that I was strong enough. So looking at that man with his right side paralyzed, I kept thinking that he would manage it on his own. That he must and that he will. I almost started to send him vibes “go on, don’t stop, you can do it.” I was ready to run and help if something went wrong but I knew that he’d make it.

This was very emotional for me to watch – and not only because I could relate to this man in his helplessness and yet determination to go on. The wheelchair he used was a manual one, as you already could guess. The manual one with two handlers on the top. It is meant to be pushed by somebody else, helping him to go over this hill and many others, too. They just looked so empty. Too empty.

In a sense, we all have these handlers behind us, and sometimes (or most of the times) they might seem empty. Should we rush to take them and push each other? I believe we like when we do it on our own, but when we cannot we appreciate when somebody is nearby ready to help us..

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Cracking Food Code.

I finally got the courage to attempt the food photography – one of the most mysterious and challenging (after portraiture) for me. As I thought, watching those videos where the whole crew of photographers, stylists and painters run around the table with dozen of dishes and props.  Of course, there is still that persistent element of lighting  – and, since I was told dozen times one should avoid by all means flash when working with food — that was in particular tricky. But I’m mainly talking about arrangements. Basically, what stylists are paid to do – for the commercials and fancy tv shows. What I had to improvise on my own.

It is not just about arranging the composition. It is playing with colour and taking into account all the nuances — light, props, table cloth, wrinkles, shadows, color of bowls and color of cups, plates and many more. I do not think in any way I succeeded in cracking even few of those dozen of different layers, but I’m actually satisfied with the result that I got. I thought I would end up with much worse photos.

I’m excited to mention Sushi Couture, that trusted me to play with their food — which was, by the way, exceptional in the taste and presentation. Hopefully next time I’ll bring on something new and jump onto the next level of this mouthwatering photographic experience:)

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It takes around 5 minutes to set up the composition: either chopsticks fall from the plate, meanwhile soup settles down and one has to stir it again, then the lighting changes its angle and… start all over again:)

Cheesecake — I felt it was asking for the plate with interesting color pattern, right? The simplicity is powerful itself, but with just a slight touch up/twist you can emphasize even more the beauty of that simplicity.

And finally, few moments to relax and sip a cup of strong coffee and have a bite of that very cheesecake!

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One Secret Beach

I have a secret beach that is not known to everybody. Well, to put it clearly, people pass by it but a seldom passerby will actually sneak into the beach itself and walk it through.

This secret beach exists only during winter season — as soon as May, no, even April, hits, this beach disappears. All its calamity, its boldness and whiteness is gone. Its silence is swept away along with its unwelcoming winds. Another beach, sunny and noisy, takes its place filling up the whole air with laughter, cries, running-jumping-bathing children and rows of lazily spread naked bodies.

I don’t really know why, but I prefer the first beach. Even though it is unwelcoming, especially in the freezing evenings, it holds some mystery and calming solitude. And even though I do prefer sun and sunshines gently stroke my face, I feel more welcomed and in a way comfortable on my secret beach…

Just another evening I glanced in the window of my apartment and, after seeing a beautiful clear crispy sky and realizing soon-would-be-moment of the beautiful sunset, rushed over to the Woodbine beach. Would make way even further to Scarborough Bluffs, but time was clicking.

So, 10 minutes before the official sunset, I parked the car, grabbed the camera and made my way into the blueish snowy beach..

The cracked path between parking was lit by setting golden sun. Incredible views, especially with reflections in water and snow.

Well, didn’t think I would last long in such freezing cold that eats you inside out. But somehow, more out of amazement before the nature tricks, I made it:)

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As soon as you step on the crispy snow, the whole city moves away from your sight and — as if from your mind. It’s like pulling a blanket over the head, same perceptions. I hear nothing – except of furious waves and hight pitch of the tiny helicopter model making round after round in the air. Those two who had the remote control, were quite persistent in making it go round after round after round above their heads. And this persistent prrr-prrr-prrr.. This just added surreal touch to the otherwise empty beach.

Empty. I made my way all the way to the beach edge, to the splashing waves which, despite their heavy sound, did not appear accordingly large or in any way profound. The lake is coloured in this dark green cover, bringing vague nostalgia of the ocean.

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The striking contrast of the colours and the whole state of nature — just minutes earlier the sky was still bright and played with gentle light pink feathers…

I am sure you have your own secret beach. Secret park. Or small trail. When you pass it by next time, take a time and sneak in. Nature is beautiful no matter season, no matter winds and urban presence nearby. I recently stumbled upon narrow trail literally within a city, going for 5 km. In the beginning it did not seem at all pleasant or interesting — however, it brought me unforgettable moments and discoveries. So take a time and step inside — you never know what mysteries this place will hold up that particular moment.

When Ice Blanket Wrapped Up the City…

Last night, whole Toronto got covered with huge sparkly and sharp ice blanket. While for some (including me) it seemed beautiful and picturesque, however, for many this turned out to be a real disaster..

one of my favourite corners of the city, with Flatiron building. IMG_6364256

but moreover, the city sinked into heavy smog..

Christmas decorations on the streets got carefully wrapped up in blistery ice.

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The trees are strikingly beautiful but unfortunately, many did not last through the heavy burden and fell down, smashing cables and near-standing cars..

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Not the best day to use bikes (or cars). Smashing rain soaked newspaper in ice, too.

You can say anything you want, but there’s nothing more beautiful than black and white photograph of ice.

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A Mirage

When looking at this landscape with naked eye, it seemed merely beautiful– but I would not imagine the ways one photograph could transform it, sewing mirage out of the city landscape and the river bridges out of the bay line.. Or maybe the ship symbolizes that mirage, desirable optical phenomenon, while the city is forcing onto us its own reality.

..It does happen so often, when we tend to confuse and blend what is the real and what is something we desire to see, doesn’t it.

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Chicago Style: Through Prism of Phonetics, Colours, Rail Tracks.. and Sparrows

When I visited Chicago just couple weeks ago, for the very first time, I went through two (non) cultural shocks.  that and annoying hungry sparrows. 

1. It is pronounced [Shi-ka-go], as if the old lady who can not make any harder sounds tries to pronounce it. Not sexy, bold, appealing [i-ka-go] like in chess..

just realized how exhausting it will be to express phonetical frustration on paper. 

anyway, it is quite interesting how sounds and phonetical elements of the word are glued so intense into our minds that it is almost impossible to accept new ways of pronunciation. so I guess i will continue Italian gang style, chicago:)

2. Who said Chicago is like New York  (or rather, visa verse but doesn’t really matter)? “Ah, you love NYC? You will love Chicago even more!! ” Nope. The first 5 hours I was there I was jumping, happy-go-lucky, with wide eyes and not less wide open mouth– architecture heaven, same narrow streets with reach-the-sky churches and yay, I found another NYC for myself!! Taking into account I lived in NYC for almost 6 months few years ago, you have all the rights to lift the brow (no, do both of them) onto such statement. Yes, the second half of the very same day I devoted to a very slow realization that Chicago is not the same. It is gangster, mob city. And it is the city of neighbourhoods (maybe 2-3 in total you would want to visit) which are limited to just dozen blocks. 

But I still would love Chicago as any city which forces me to look up and up..

 

Chicago has an open train system- mostly above the ground. This offers fantastic views– not only on the city itself, but also on the whole composition of the city along with rail tracks. Somehow this old, ugly, rusty reddened massive ironmongery blends into the city landscape very harmonically. The lines of skyscrapers, the whole beautiful geometry of colours and styles would just collapse without those rail tracks…

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How about some crazy colours splashing over Chicago? With nice weird effect of prism filter. Although, using colours, I honestly transferred my cheerful coming to terms with the city, yet I could not stop gut feeling it was deserted. Maybe it was part of the long weekend, maybe hot summer days..  I would never imagine Chicago as ghost town– although quite often it felt like one. Some say, it’d file for bankruptcy like Detroit. So not sure if this was just very obvious result of yet another crisis in the row. 

 

Now: Why Lincoln statue has a chair?.. Anyway he stands, so why it was so absolutely necessary to put up the chair there? I understand when the ‘greatest ones’ are featured in work of art with some element they always carried along– hat, glasses, book, naked angry cat — but chair…???

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Well, and least but not last… Meet Chicago real local mob:))

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Shattered Glass of Cities

IMG_0056The urban system we live in is very interesting: you feel the city is a whole and at the same it feels like shattered glass, mosaic combined out of million and one pieces. All the cities I lived in and went through, lacked one thing they are supposed to boast about: unity and wholeness.

The city is like a person:IMG_0060 it has its own character (others admire him/her for this or despise), it has different traits (habitual patterns of behaviour, thought and emotion).   It attracts certain types of people. The city can be in a really bad mood, it can stay depressed for decades– and it takes long time to heal city’s scars and memories.

Once I was working on “Urban Health in Toronto” photography project, for non profit organization– as element of promotion for them. I loved doing it: I had only vague title and I could put as much imagination and creativity of my own to interpret it. IMG_00627Multiculturalism, hipsters, social& economical gaps, architecture, landscape and design, people as they are: everything fits under term “urban health”.

Toronto is incredible city in the sense of multiculture: it is diverse, but every single culture is living within itself, isolated and separated.

I would never consider that they represent Toronto or vice versa, if you visit most of those ethnic neighborhoods, you’ll see: there is no even slightest hint that it is part of the city. Each lives its own life. It’s not bad, it’s not good: it just IS.

The instant I stumbled on that poster, I was bewildered. IMG_006510For me it represented my whole idea of city’s character, my vision of the city I live (or at least trying to): the way how vandalism shattered the glass along the image and the point where of reflections of Coca-Cola, TD Bank and image of Hindu Temple blended together (trust me, not even touched by photoshop).

It became sort of symbol of my own interpretation of urbanism: how multiculturalism, globalisation and urbanism blended together, reflected in each other and at the same time are separated. 

City is the shattered glass, on the edge of being broken in million and one pieces.

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