Tag Archives: friends

Eating with friends

James Cooking

I’m not sure if it is unique to our street, or just to me, but we tend to break bread together frequently. We are fortunate to have a number of excellent cooks on our street with a wide range of cultural influences. As the warm weather approaches, we move outside and get together on the spur of the moment rather than planned dinner parties.

Of course, this gives me an opportunity to capture my friends, who have all come to see my camera as a natural extension of my face. When I first moved here and took pictures, they glared at me; those long stairs that say, “What the #%$* are you doing?” I smile, put the camera away, then slowly retrieve it and carry on. I think I wore them down, and they do like the end results.

I’ve caught some really special moments as everyone has become more comfortable. Mother and child, child licked by dog, and James above caught by the light through a window in his kitchen preparing dinner for the mob.

Yes, I cook, too. I always have. I think it is an extension of the creative urge that is part of my attraction to photography. I love staring at an open fridge and then preparing a meal, although on occasion this has resulted in nothing more than a boiled egg. I attend cooking school at a local college because, much like photography, understanding the theory and techniques first allows me to be creative later.

So, while I will do my share of cooking, I like to think I repay some of the trust my friends show by documenting our time together and sharing with them the moments I’ve captured.

If I never sold a print, that would be enough.


There’s music on the street

James on Guitar

I’m not sure what today’s equivalent is of being caught on film. When I photographed James playing guitar, or at least his hand on the strings, I captured him in digital space; frozen in ones and zeros. Doesn’t sound nearly as romantic as a reference to film. Digital noire anyone?

I was across the street at an impromptu first birthday party for a friend’s son Robert. James, as he usually does, brought his guitar and played some lovely music while we all entertained the birthday boy who, in turn, entertained us with his inventive ways of eating a chocolate cup cake. I took quite a few pictures and snapped this one as James played in the background.

While I am quite pleased at the way this one turned out, going through the shots of Robert revealed his lunch, or portions thereof, firmly attached to various parts of his face, taxing my Photoshop skills. One thing about babies – they stay clean for only milliseconds at a time.

I live on a terrific street of talented, friendly people. We get together often for various celebrations. In the summer, Friday is considered significant enough for a celebration of its own. Invariably, I have my camera at all of these events. It took four years, but I think they have finally gotten use to seeing me through a lens barrel.

Trumpet and Sitar Jazz Duet

I don’t use flash at these events as I find it disruptive. I use a fast 35mm pretty much wide open and crank the ISO up to 3200. Continuous shooting helps eliminate some of the motion, but I get a fair number of decent shots all things considered. Most end up in black and white and yes, they have some grain, but totally acceptable. I’ll even add more grain if it helps the mood.

Before Christmas, I was across the street for a dinner party at another friend’s house. His guest, Kyle, was an American living in Verona, Italy. A jazz trumpet musician, he had come to Toronto to visit Chris who happens to be a sitar player. Kyle played some opera on his trumpet (Puccini) and then did a jazz duet with Chris on his sitar, a musical combination I would never have thought of. The light was low, but I did my best to capture them both. Since you have to sit on the floor to play the sitar, I did a simple composite to pull the two of them together. It’s the way I remember both of them from that day.

I am fortunate to live with interesting, talented and exceptionally giving neighbours I call friends.