March 3, 2022: updated to add a missing "s" at the end of Opposites
March 1, 2022: Revised with Visual Story addendum
October 15, 2020: Original post "October 2018: Shooting Along Queen Quay, Toronto, CA"
So I was on a mission. The entire day had been planned out. I made my recon. trip prior and I knew exactly the subjects I wanted to photograph for an upcoming project.
First stop was a section of Queens Quay where I would be able to get a decent shot of the CN Tower without having to scale buildings or camp out on rooftops. I arrived late morning after rush hour, contorted my body on a concrete planter, out of the way of pedestrians, and prepared my camera for shooting.
And here we go, cue the theatrics: I begin to hear a man asking a child "do you wanna bagel… a bagel… bagel… wanna bagel?" The words in between bagel are a blur to me as I'm trying to concentrate on photographing. All I kept hearing was bagel, bagel, bagel, like a hot needle piercing my left eardrum. Meanwhile praying the child would somehow intervene in the non-stop questions and answer the man so the nightmare would end.
I ignored the open-close-open-close sliding doors (you know like on the train, when there is nothing in the way, but the doors sense there is) as much as I could and walked away with some shots that worked great for my project - Merging Seemingly Opposites. After which I had a couple bites of my homemade burrito then moved on to the next shooting destination; thankful for the whiff of cool breeze as I strolled along the quay.
A few weeks later, Merging Seemingly Opposites was constructed with this shot and another photo taken months earlier (before tripping in the street) at an academic campus north of the city; where there was no broken record stuck on asking the same question, hoping for a different answer. The campus environment was serene with the normal activities of students walking to and from buildings.
The two prints were methodically deconstructed in the same manner, by dripping and spreading red tempera to purposely obscure the images, then scraping the dried tempera and finally carefully ripping each photo to create a specific shape and texture. The two photographs were then reassembled to produce a new image - the merging of two seemingly opposites….
The project is a visual statement of how I felt when I was without my camera and a darkroom, and then after being diverted for more than 26 years, gathering the broken parts to salvage the ones to keep.