Saturday, 8 June 2019

Tasmanian Grace

Blog Post, June 8, 2019
Tasmanian Grace

This week’s blog post features the fifteen Tasmanian photographs that are currently on display at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery in the Belleville Public Library, 254 Pinnacle Street, Belleville Ontario. The gallery is open Monday through Saturday (link), and the exhibit runs until July 31. Many thanks to Susan Holland, the Parrott Gallery’s curator, and Bernard Noel for hanging the exhibit.

On Thursday, June 27, I’ll be making a presentation about the exhibit from 6 – 7 pm in the gallery. It will include a slideshow with about 180 more Tasmanian photos, other slideshows featuring my work, and a look at future projects. Please join me.

The photos are all 16:9 ratio – the same as most computer monitors – and are mounted on foam core. Mike Gaudaur of Quinte Studios (link) did the excellent printing and mounting. The price of each photo is $75. Special orders are available. Please email me for prices. ( - watch the spelling of Tayler.)

You’ll find my artist’s statement below.

About future blog posts: the next few weeks are very busy, so I don’t know when I’ll be posting or what my topics will be. I’m planning to spend time in both the Ottawa Valley and rural Iowa, so there will be lots of opportunities for photography! Stay tuned...

Artist’s Statement
Tasmanian Grace

Tasmania is a magical place, full of wonders and delights.

Located about 400 km off the southeast tip of Australia, it is home to about 550,000 people. Physically, it is the smallest of Australia’s six states and is about the size of New Brunswick. It is known for its scenery, wine, sheep, apples, and sharp humour. For instance, many Tasmanians refer to mainland Australia as ‘The North Island’. You get the point.

The climate is moderate and inviting. It rarely gets as hot as mainland Australia – its proximity to Antarctica keeps things cool and comfortable.

For me, it is also a place of retreat and replenishment.

For the last three Canadian winters, my husband (quilt maker Bill Stearman - link) and I have spent extended time in Tasmania. This past winter, we lived six weeks on the island, five weeks of which were in a cabin in the breathtaking beauty of the Huon Valley, 45 minutes southwest of Hobart in Tasmania’s central south. While Bill created quilts, I photographed. 

A joyous time for both of us.

These fifteen photos, all 16:9 format, represent some of the everyday magic of Tasmania. They are culled from the 9000-odd photos I recorded during our trip. I hope you enjoy them.

Dawn, Graces Road
Huon Valley
9 March 2019

Cattle Paddock, "The Gardens"
Bay of Fires
20 March 2019

Dog Walkers, "The Gardens"
Bay of Fires
20 March 2019

 Eucalyptus Trees, Binnalong Bay

19 March 2019

Binnalong Bay Beach
19 March 2019

Eucalyptus Trees, Don River
18 March 2019

West Tamar Valley Highway
16 March 2019

'Coronet Protea'
Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart
10 March 2019

Stormy Weather, Sandhill Road
Glaziers Bay
7 March 2019

Cattle Paddock, Sandhill Road
Glaziers Bay
7 March 2019

Rugged Shoreline, Mickeys Beach
6 March 2019

Blue Sky, Graces Road
Glaziers Bay
27 February 2019

Cattle Grazing, Graces Road
Glaziers Bay
13 February 2019

Fence Detail, Graces Road
Glaziers Bay
11 February 2019

Tree Line, Dillon's Hill Road
Glaziers Bay
10 February 2019

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Street Photography Course Part 4: Toronto Is In The Details

Toronto Is in the Details

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” 
Ansel Adams, American Photographer
Last Wednesday afternoon was the fourth session of the five-part Street Photography course that I’m currently taking through the Art Gallery of Ontario. We met our instructor, Brian Piitz, in front of the historic St. Lawrence Market on Front Street East at Jarvis Street. What a great neighbourhood this is! When I lived in Toronto, my late husband and I would frequently go to the St. Lawrence Market early on Saturday mornings just to soak up the atmosphere of people buying fresh meat and produce. It was a gourmand’s paradise...and it still is! 

If you visit Toronto and only have time for one excursion, go to the St. Lawrence Market and surrounding neighbourhood. You’ll learn a lot about the miracle that is contemporary Toronto just by wandering around this place.

And, not coincidentally, it is also a great place for photography. Over the last three sessions of this course, I’ve been focusing mostly on people and faces. Last Wednesday, however, I decided to look more at architecture and streetscapes. The photographs that follow contain, by my count, one human being. So, it’s safe to claim that no human being was harmed in the making of these photos.

Most of the photos were made in the St. Lawrence Market area, with one side trip to the University of Toronto’s new Faculty of Architecture on Spadina Crescent. I hope you enjoy them.

The last session of the Street Architecture course is next Wednesday. Everyone is being asked to bring along 12 – 24 photos from our three field trips in downtown Toronto for feedback and discussion. I’m looking forward to seeing what my fellow students have been photographing. I will also be sad to see the course come to an end. It’s been great fun – and a great motivator!

In next week’s blog post, I’m planning to switch directions from Toronto street photography to the beauty of Tasmania. From June 6 to July 31, I will have fifteen Tasmanian photographs on display in the Corridor Gallery of the John M. Parrott Art Gallery, 254 Pinnacle Street, Belleville. I plan to feature these fifteen photos in my post next week and discuss why they mean so much to me. Of course, if you live near Belleville, please visit the gallery and see for yourself!

As always, thank you for following my blog.

University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture, 
Spadina Crescent
East End Condo

View from the St. Lawrence Market

Front Street East Streetscape

St, Lawrence Market Peameal 
Bacon Sandwiches - The Best!
Across Front Street from the Sony Centre

Tulips in the Front Street East Boulevard

Shoe Display, Front Street East

Third Story Window on Front Street East

 New Side Entrance to the Sony Centre

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Street Photography Course Part 3: Faces in Toronto's Yonge/Dundas Square Neighbourhood

Faces In and Around Toronto’s Yonge/Dundas Square

“Our faces become our biographies.” 
Cynthia Ozick
American Short Story Writer

Last week, I sang the praises of Toronto’s Kensington Market; this week, I’m celebrating Toronto’s equally interesting Yonge/Dundas Square neighbourhood. It was the destination for the third class of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Street Photography course that I’m currently taking. (Yikes – it’s the half-way point!)

Last Wednesday, instructor Brian Piitz asked the class to meet at Yonge/Dundas Square in downtown Toronto. I have often done street photography in this area – it’s a fabulous location for people watching. The corner of Yonge Street and Dundas Street is one of the busiest intersections in the country. There’s a major north/south subway station directly underneath and a busy east/west streetcar line on the surface. It’s the shopping heart of Toronto, home of the Toronto Eaton Centre and hundreds of stores. It exudes frantic energy, wild diversity, and utter bizarreness. And I love it!

Yonge/Dundas Square isn’t what you’d call beautiful – its design is more utilitarian than anything else. But what it lacks in esthetics, it makes up for in sheer exuberance. And a perfect location for street photography. In the three hours that I wandered around the area with my camera, I made over 900 photos. The banquet of Toronto’s diversity streamed by my camera! What great fun it was!

As a side note – and a comment on the fact that not all photographers respond to Yonge/Dundas Square with the same unbridled enthusiasm that I do: one of the other people in the Street Photography course complained that there wasn’t much going on in the area that day. They’d only made three photographs. Um, ok. Well, I guess I just see things differently. 

An Australian aside: while Bill and I were in Tasmania earlier this year, I heard an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio news report from Toronto. Canadian news is rare in Australia, so my ears perked up. The ABC’s North America correspondent was reporting on a demonstration of some sort in downtown Toronto, saying it had taken place at “Yunga Dunda Square". “Yunga Dunda Square”? Where on earth was that? I had lived in Toronto for almost thirty years and thought I knew the city pretty well...but I drew a blank on “Yunga Dunda Square”. And then it dawned on me: “Yunga Dunda Square” was the Australian correspondent’s earnest, albeit ill-informed, attempt at pronouncing “Yonge/Dundas Square”. Oh my ears, it sounded like a remote town in the Australian Outback!

Ah well. Such is life.

Next Wednesday, we’re off on another field trip in Toronto with our cameras for the fourth session of our course. Exact location is not known yet.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this collection of faces from Toronto’s Yunga/Dunda neighbourhood.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Street Photography Course Part 2: Faces in Toronto's Kensington Market

Faces In Toronto’s Kensington Market

“I love the people I photograph. I mean, they’re my friends. 
I’ve never met most of them or I don’t know them at all, 
yet through my images I live with them.”
– Bruce Gilden, American Street Photographer 

Kensington Market has always been one of my favourite Toronto neighbourhoods. Teems with life. Stubbornly resists gentrification. Resolutely frays around the edges. It is everything that uptight WASP Toronto is not. 

Wandering Kensington’s maze of streets and alleys is a banquet for – and occasionally an assault on – the senses. 

Colours! Aromas! Sounds! Textures! Tastes! 

Tidy? Ummm, not so much. 

Uniting all these elements is an oddly reassuring sense of chaos that somehow manages to work. I’ve always thought that it represents the miracle that is contemporary Toronto. 

Peter Ustinov once famously said that Toronto was “New York run by the Swiss.” I’d recast his observation by saying that Kensington Market is Toronto run by the world.

It is a brilliant slice of life.

And an appropriate venue for Part Two of my Art Gallery of Ontario’s Street Photography course. The class met Brian Piitz, our instructor, in Bellevue Square Park in the heart of Kensington. We then fanned out for three hours of glorious street photography, interrupted occasionally by rain. I hope that the photos that follow – selected from almost 300 that I made – honour the spirit of Kensington Market. 


Next Wednesday’s Part Three of the course will focus on the Yonge Street/Dundas Street neighbourhood, another of my favourite Toronto photography locations. I plan to post images from that excursion next week.

As always, thank you for reading my blog.