2019 - 2023: Retrieval, Toronto CA
A couple of years after returning to Toronto, I saw an image of a metal camera aperture in a music video (I’d watched this video many times, but on this particular morning I must have been less tired) flashed on the screen.
Bewildered by the juxtaposition of this image and the video’s context, memories of my camera and high school photography classes trickled back into awareness.
Then I figured I needed something personally fulfilling because working part-time and job-hunting wasn’t doing it for me. I thought, why don’t I look for and buy an old Spotmatic and see if I can take up photography again.
I had no plan; I wanted to see how far I could get this time, knowing an “emergency” will always present itself - the toilet of all days/time decided to stop accepting crap and I have to drop what I’m doing to help - story of my life.
I searched the internet for a while, found the camera, and trekked out on my birthday to purchase it from a used photography equipment vendor. The owner and staff were extremely knowledgeable and patient in helping me pick a lens, and even gave me a free camera case.
Now, I needed to find a darkroom. Searching the internet again for a few weeks, I finally found a rental darkroom; registered for their (required) black and white workshop; applied for membership; attended a group interview; and paid for my membership.
After developing and printing for a bit, I brought some more equipment and serendipitously found difficult to locate “ancient” photography resources.
However, all was not well. With the physical lurking and interruptions, there was an invisible fear lurking in the back of my mind that my camera would break again. Every time I held my camera or thought of anything photography related, I also thought of how others were able to continue with their photography career and I kept butting up against obstructions.
Looking back, I supposed it was a good thing (taking a stoic view, thanks to those philosophy classes that were not expected to have any practical applications) my memory vanished; so I didn’t have to carry around all that anger and hurt.
Anyway, to curb this anxiety, I keep multiple cameras and I’m learning (in progress) how to fix my cameras.
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During the coordination of the CONTACT festival, artists were asked to provide their website, which at this juncture I didn’t have and I was reluctant to go digital. But seeing that everyone was asking for a website when applying for various exhibitions/publications, I realized there was no avoiding this necessity of having a web presence.
On January 22, 2019, 8x10.photography came to be.
Then came a big road block - denied again - the shutdowns as a reaction to COVID19; this time the world shared in our collective rejection, heart-break and dream-building.
During this phase, I did not relent. As we held our breath, I turned every predicament into an opportunity to germinate my photography practice.
The items deemed essential turned out to be a pain and had us turning to things labeled unnecessary for relief. From a historical view of dark periods, we see they are often followed by a renaissance of industry and culture.
I went from having no focus to breaking the dormancy of personal comfort to recapture what was mine: lost memories/knowledge, buried ambition of being an artist and putting funds towards this website for making it all visible.
waiting for the future,