Monday 28 May 2018

Celebrating Montréal, Part One

“It’s that combination of sophistication and funkiness that I like.”
- Leonard Cohen speaking about his hometown.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I love meandering around cities with my camera. No doubt about it – I am a city brat at heart. And I play favourites, without apology: Toronto, Sydney, New York, Montréal, Hobart, London, Hong Kong, Cape Town, Rome, and Vancouver all have very special niches in my soul.

I seem to have acquired a delightful new pattern in my life: the annual spring trip by myself for a few days of urban photography, wandering, and pondering. I love it. Mind you, I also love returning home. Part of the fun of travelling by myself is knowing when I’ll be back in my own bed with its accompanying spouse, cat, and dogs. As Spencer once said, “There need to be spaces in our togetherness.”

Last year’s spring sojourn was five days in Toronto. This year’s destination was four days in Montréal. Making the trip even sweeter was the having my hotel paid for with points. Woohoo!

My first extended visit to Montréal was in 1967 when I spent two weeks exploring EXPO 67 with a university buddy. This is one fabulous city – and the fact that its subway runs on rubber tires makes it even more delicious.

My camera, of course, went bonkers in Montréal last week, and I came home with a large number of very gratifying and exciting images. I’ll split the best into two blog entries: this week will focus on the visual arts in Montréal, while next week will look at people and architecture.


"Mahihkan" (2015) by Saskatchewan Sculptor Joe Fafard.
At McGill University's Roddick Gate on rue Sherbrooke. 
Mahihkan is the Cree word for wolf.

"Di-Octo II", (2017) wind sculpture by Anthony Howe.
Concordia University, corner of rue Mackay 
and boulevard de Maisonneuve.

"Le danger, le particulier, et l'étrange", (2016) 
by Montréal sculptor Eddy Firmin, aka Ano. 
Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal

"The Eye", (2010) 
by Montréal sculptor David Altmejd. 
Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal

"The Peony Knot", (2015) 
by French glass artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. 
Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal

"Escape Attempt", (2016) - front
by Québec artist Catherine Bolduc. 
Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal

"Escape Attempt", (2016) - rear projection
by Québec artist Catherine Bolduc. 
Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal

"Noh Mask of Hannya",  
Anonymous Japanese artist, Meiji Period (1868-1912). 
Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal

Leonard Cohen Mural (2017) by Kevin Ledo
rue Napoléon at boulevard St-Laurent
(Nine stories high)

Leonard Cohen Mural (2017) by artists of the MU collective, especially El Mac and Gene Pendon
rue Crescent near boulevard de Maisonneuve
(Twenty stories high)

Sunday 20 May 2018

With a Twist!

‘Cause everything old is new again!
- Peter Allen and Carole Bayer Sager
All That Jazz

A short blog post today. Tomorrow, my camera and I are heading off to Montreal for a few days of photography (woohoo!), so I wanted to post these photos before leaving.

Previously in this blog, I’ve written glowingly about the Prince Edward County Photography Club. It is an organization that provides ongoing opportunities and support to photographers throughout the Bay of Quinte area. It meets in the Wellington Public Library on the first Sunday of the month at 7 pm (except on holiday weekends, in which case we meet on the second Sunday). I enjoy the people and I enjoy the challenges. It’s a fine, fine group – and I’m proud to be a member.

There is a photographic challenge theme assigned each month and members can submit up to five images that reflect that theme. Ken Liddon, the hardworking president of the club, assembles all the members’ images into a slideshow, complete with music. It’s great fun to watch – and even more fun to use the monthly themes as a lens for looking at the world. The theme for the May meeting was “Everyday Items With a Twist”, for which we were asked to look at everyday items with a fresh eye. are the five photographs that I submitted, all coming from the time that Bill and I spent in Australia earlier this year.


Empty booze bottle in a Melbourne alley

Denis on stairs at the Gordon Dam, Tasmania.
Going upstairs or down?

Elegant water fountain, Kingston Beach, Tasmania

Window frame, Kingston Beach, Tasmania

Flowered bathtub, part of an installation by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne

Saturday 12 May 2018


“A photograph is the pause button of life.”
- Anonymous

Today’s blog post is a Mother’s Day trip into the past - and a tribute to my mother, the photographer.

Rosa Leah Tayler (née Walters), was born on April 19, 1915 and died on August 8, 1999. No one ever called her Rosa – she was always Rose. She was smart, loving, intense, funny, and more than a little obsessive about everything she did. She married my dear father, Doug Tayler, in 1939. Together, they did a fine job of raising my sister, Lynda, and me. She worked hard, enjoyed dancing, and always had a camera with her.

Well, I guess that last apple didn’t fall far from the tree!

It’s only lately that I’ve been appreciating how my love of photography stems right back to my mother and her Kodak Brownie and Instamatic cameras. She was the official family photographer who recorded every – EVERY – occasion. It was both charming and annoying at the same time. I hope that my approach to photography retains her charm while avoiding the annoyance. Feedback, welcome – I think...

So in honour of Mom’s contributions to my passion for photography, I offer these scanned images from the treasure trove of family photographs that I inherited after my parents died.

There are three batches.

First Batch: Three very old photographs – the first two are tintypes – that I found in a small envelope on which my mother had written, “Show Lar”. (My mother’s handwriting was very distinctive, and she was one of the few people who could get away with calling me "Lar".) I don’t recall that she ever did show them to me, nor do I know who these people are, but I do know that they are precious, mysterious objects that take me back to my family in the 19th century.

Second Batch: Photographs featuring my mother as a child and a young woman. In the first, she is posing for a postcard photo. In the second, she is sitting next to her infant brother, Homer. In the third, she is riding Gay, her beloved horse. (I take delight in the name of her horse.) The fourth is an exquisite hand-tinted portrait that shows her as a young woman, poised, yet shy and vulnerable.

Last Batch: Mid-20th century family life on our farm, near Wellington, Ontario, in Prince Edward County. By this time, Mom had become the official family photographer. With the exception of the last two images showing her with my sister and me, the photographs are all hers.

She gave me a fabulous legacy, a legacy I intend to honour in my own photography.

Thanks, Mom. You did a good thing.

Dad with Lynda

Little Larry

Lynda and Larry