There are some smells that stay with you, the moment you smell it, it takes you back to a place and time. I remember distinctly the very first small newspaper I worked at. The Grandview/Gilbert Plains Exponent. They printed their newspaper right on site. And when you walked into the doors of the place, the first thing that hit you was the small of the newspaper printing ink.
But you knew in that space, with that smell, a produce was created. Each week, as this was a small weekly newspaper, the press would fire up and the paper would roll off. Here I would see my photos being published, it was the start of my newspaper career.
At the end of June of this year, the Toronto Star was shutting down it’s printing press operation after printing their newspaper in their printing plant. With the advancement of technology, the printing of the paper would be outsourced to a more efficient, faster printing plant.
I wanted to go and document the last days of the plant, and how the pressmen worked to get the paper off the floor. Since I thought we were losing a bit of Canadian history here, I took my Deardorff 8×10 large format camera to the plant and did some portraits of the pressman and their presses.
Shooting traditional black and white negatives (Ilford HP5 Plus film) I spent a few nights with the pressmen in their last days of printing the newspaper. While most of the guys and gals their were sad to see this place being shut down, they also understand it’s a fast changing industry.
I hope these images capture the look and feel of the works there and where they worked.
Refugees and immigrants are in the news non stop these days and it’s hard to process the hardships that they have faced and what they have escaped to get here. After Canada day, I can’t imagine having to pack up my things and leave for another country. But yesterday on a visit to home, my mom brought this out; a simple serving spoon. It was my great grandmothers and one of the few things they brought over from the Ukraine when they came to Canada. Stunning that they had so little with them sailing half way around the world to start a new life. And it’s amazing that today, there are more refugees now than at any other time in history.
It’s funny how you can remember things like they were yesterday but really; they were 25 years ago. Back in the day before we were bombarded with daily images, Facebook, Instagram, the NY Times Lens blog, The Boston Globe’s Big Picture…You get the idea. Photographers like myself would wait for that monthly yellow bordered magazine, National Geographic. Each month was a treasure trove of images taking you on an adventure to some far flung place. Or showing you a story on some great creature newly discovered.
But for me, there were a few photographers that I really followed. When they had a story in the magazine, you dissected every one of their photos. You took the magazine with you on the road, and it was my class room for years.
And when William Albert Allard had a story in the magazine, those are the ones I saved. I remember in 1991 looking at his baseball story, so eloquently crafted, those were the kind of stories I wanted to work on. And he took the kind of photos I wanted to take.
For some reason Allard’s work stood out for me and he had this knack for capturing everything at the right moment, with gesture, light and pure magic.
25 years later Bill has become a very good friend of mine and just wrote about that baseball story on his blog today, take some time, grab a whiskey and have a read here. http://www.williamalbertallard.com/blog/?p=468
And if you are in Calgary this summer he is teaching another one of his great workshops. This is a weekend you get to spend time and study with one of the great photographers of the world. Check out out here.
With the warm weather hitting southern Ontario, I drove up to the Bruce Peninsula for the weekend and stayed at the Henry Air BnB . Although the landscape is still dry and brown; the sun and blue skies made up for the cool spring weather in the air. I toured the Coffin Ridge Winery with views of Georgian Bay, Owen Sound and the South Bruce Peninsula. A great weekend for a road tour out of Toronto.