Oops! Didn’t I used to post a weekly post with all the photos of the day? I got a little sporadic with the daily photos around the end of June and although I’ve been posting most days, I kind of forgot to do these posts. We’ve been having too much fun for me to get it all down on the blog! Okay, here’s one of two posts to catch up the photos from July you haven’t seen yet, and a story or two (ahem) to go with them.
This is my friend Todd teaching Tristan how to do a backflip off the diving board. I love this photo for several reasons. On a technical level, I love it because I love the tension in the photo, how you can almost feel how coiled Tristan is. It’s also the first day he mastered backflips! I remember trying to master flips off my friend’s diving board through most of my 17th summer and being woefully unable.
Todd and I have been friends for SO long that he is more like a brother to me, and I trust him like a brother. When each of the boys have been wee and just learning how to swim, Todd has convinced me to let them jump off the diving board in his pool (it was a lot harder to convince me with Tristan than with Lucas!) and either sink or swim to the ladder while Todd supervised in the deep end. Dads, even when they’re not your dad, are so much better at encouraging learning through risky activities, aren’t they? That’s how Lucas went from diving to backflips (with a helping hand) all in the same sweaty July afternoon. (Also my first Vine post!)
No story here, just purty!
No story here either, just cute! A boy, his dog and his DS. It was a “pick up the camera and hope they don’t notice you or move before it’s too late” kind of moment.
So this is a fun story that also needs a bit of background. I’ve been following Ottawa photographer Tony Fouhse ever since I got serious about taking pictures three or four years ago. He’s probably best known for his street photography, especially his USER and Live Through This projects. I find his work fascinating and I think it’s neat that such a creative mind prowls the same streets that I do. That’s what makes his latest project, “Official Ottawa”, so compelling to me. You know I love to try to express my love for Ottawa through my photos, and I think they’re mostly a love letter to the city. Tony is quoted in the New York Times’ Lens Blog (see, he really is a big deal!) as saying, “Most Canadians, when they think of Ottawa, they think of the Peace Tower or skating on the canal, or talking heads standing in front of the Parliament buildings. I think maybe by trying to keep things plain and simple, what I’m trying to do is strip it down and show the bones of the thing, rather than all the hype and the myth and the fairy tale that people usually project into this city.” Neat, eh?
So when I saw that Tony was looking for “civil servants” to photograph for the project, I was immediately intrigued. The word “subversive” came up in our e-mail exchange, and I knew I wanted to be a part of his project, but I was very nervous. I mean, doing social media for the federal government is already just a little bit subversive, right? But when Tony said yes, he would like to take my portrait, I was immediately overcome with doubt. I am not a typical civil servant. I don’t think. I mean, what is a typical civil servant? And how do I dress like one for the photo? In the end, I tried not to overthink it too much, although on top of the “how do I properly *look* like a civil servant” conundrum, I was also just a wee bit nervous about meeting Tony. If you read his blog you know he doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and I was somehow anxious that I had misrepresented myself in my e-mail. (I know, I know. My inner and deeply insecure 14 year old is never far from the surface.) All that to say, I fretted for nothing because it turns out Tony is the. nicest. photographer. ever. He and I chatted for maybe 15 or 20 minutes, he posed me where he wanted me and took exactly two photographs, and we were done.
One of the reasons he only took two photographs is because he was using a gorgeous medium format camera that, in Tony’s words, costs $7 every time you click the shutter. You can see the negative in his hand. So cool!
And here’s how my portrait came out. He sent me a scan of the photo itself, but I love it more in context with the other portraits he’s taken for this part of his Official Ottawa project. Here’s the chief of police, a veteran of the Afghanistan war, Jeffrey Simpson (national affairs columnist with the Globe and Mail), a tour guide with the NCC and me doing my best civil servant impression.
Photos by and © Tony Fouhse
I can’t help but contrast my experience with Tony against the encounter I had with another prominent Ottawa photographer last year. You might remember he called me a “mamarazzi” and “an icon of the ill direction towards which I believe photography may well be headed.” (Seriously!) And here you have Tony, an entirely better class of photographer and human being, who was not only patient with me pointing my iPhone at him, but treated me like an equal and spoke to me with simple respect as I scrambled hard to talk to him about photography without sounding like an idiot.
And finally (phew!) a few quick photos from our trip to Toronto last week. We started at the Ontario Science Centre to bring the kids to the Game On 2.0 exhibit. It was, to be honest, a bit of a reminder of just how awesome our Ottawa museums are and how lucky we are to have them. But did you know that if you’re a member of the Agriculture/Science and Tech/Aviation museum here, you get into the Ontario Science Centre for FREE? That saved us $80!! And teaching the kids to play Pac Man and Space Invaders did make for a fun afternoon!
The next day we headed to Canada’s Wonderland. I hadn’t been since I was a teenager (1987, to be exact!) and we’d been meaning to take the kids for a while. We had the BEST day!! Number of roller coasters I expected to ride? Zero. Number of roller coasters I actually rode? SIX! My brother and I started the day on the Leviathan, and after my knees stopped shaking I was suddenly back in touch with my long-dormant inner adrenaline junkie. Even the boys, who don’t particularly like rides, got into the act.
You know what else was amazing? I actually forgot my camera in the hotel room — and it was so liberating!! I took photos with my iPhone all day and didn’t have to worry about hauling my Nikon around everywhere. Here’s some of my favourite shots.
And finally (did you think this post would never end?) on the way home the next day we stopped for lunch and a wander in Ganonoque. I love the timelessness of small-town Ontario!
So that’s four or five blog posts I’ve been meaning to write crammed all into one. Can you see why I’ve been too busy to blog lately? And that’s just the FIRST week of my summer vacation – I’ll try to catch up with another photo post in a day or two.
What have YOU been up to this summer?