Derek and I met a few years back when our mutual friend Jay McIntyre used to get a group of guys together on Tuesday nights to do some circuit training at a small church “gymnasium”. We see each other from time to time when Jay is in town (he’s since moved to Quebec), and catch up a bit over pints and darts. Derek is an inspiring guy, one of those super nice guys who’s had a tough couple of years. But instead of succumbing to bitterness and resentment, he has focussed his energy on his emotional and physical wellbeing so that he can be the best dad possible to his energetic boys.
It seems like just yesterday that I met up with Erika and Paul on a warm Sunday morning in Riverside for an engagement photo shoot — just the two of them. And now, there’s Vinny, the newest member of their growing family. It’s always flattering when clients have you back to document the moments that are important to them. Originally, Erika wanted to get pictures for Vinny’s first birthday, but we were unable to work out a time before I left for my two-week trip to Hong Kong. Erika really wanted photos outdoors with an indoor alternate, so we met up the day I was shooting at Studio 202 with the Corktown Commons just round the corner. It worked out splendidly, as magic hour in November is extra golden. Paul and Erika’s interactions have been a highlight in each of the photo sessions I’ve done with them, and now they have another little human to smile at and laugh with.
I’ve known Mark for 29 years or so, since we were 11 year old knuckleheads riding our bikes around Lakeshore summer camp in Coburg. We’ve reconnected here and there over the past decade, but now that he and my wife Valerie are on staff at the same church, we see each other on the regular. Every other Saturday, our place looks like a bomb went off because his two younger kids, Ashton and Kyla, come over to play with Kingsley and Naomi, our seven and five year old (Ashton and Kingsley have an affinity for building with Lego for the sole purpose of later smashing it). This past summer, Mark officiated our wedding and managed to work in several references to “Golden Era” hip-hop, even busting out a rendition of Mary J’s Real Love. Mark and his wife, Kimberley, both have a calm easiness about them and they have fun with their kids. The Gorings booked a 45min spot when I was doing fall mini sessions, and it’s hard to believe that so much heart was captured in such a short time.
Sometimes when I finish selecting photos for a blog post I’ll go to write something and not know where to start. I have so many thoughts I want to share, but at the same time, I want to allow the pictures to tell the story. And there are so many stories to tell from our two weeks in Hong Kong, I don’t know where to begin. I love everything about this city and I hope that the pictures we made can communicate just a little of that love. I’ve never been to a city as visually arresting as Hong Kong — you can literally point your camera in any direction and capture something compelling. The density, vibrancy, smells, flavours, colours, and sounds all come at you non-stop, day and night.
We stayed in North Point, five of us in a 300 sf flat on the 14th floor with a view of the harbour. On the mornings when I couldn’t sleep past 5:30 or 6:00am, I found comfort in shooting hoops with the old boys at the basketball court just up the street. In between our hellos and goodbyes we didn’t speak, we just took turns shooting and rebounding for each other (old Asian men seem to love the hook shot). At night, on the same court, I’d play pick-up with the younger crowd, who’d still be going strong at 10:30pm when I would head home. North Point became so familiar so fast: the orange walls of the MTR, the hole-in-the-wall street eats, the industrious old folks pushing carts and walking with canes, the noodles, the egg waffles, the clutter.
This trip was very special to me for a few reasons … I got to experience the city that is so dear to my wife, Valerie. She moved to Canada when she was 6 years old, but Hong Kong will always be home to her, and she got to show us all of the places that are close to her heart, and treat us to all of the food that she loves so much. She also got to introduce Kingsley to her Po Po (grandmother) who couldn’t stop gushing about how “good” and “handsome” he is. I’m so proud of Kingsley; he was so chill on the 15hr flight, charming when meeting new people, game for any adventure even if it required a ton of walking, open to trying new food, strutting down the streets of North Point like it was home … he was just awesome in every way.
There are a lot of pictures in this post. Snapshots of the soulful faces, cluttered and vibrant streets, pastel coloured buildings, and life-changing eats that captivated me. It’s difficult to communicate just how dynamic this city-that-never-sleeps is, but hopefully I captured the essence of our experience.
Tools –> Canon M10 (mirrorless) & Ricoh GRD (point and shoot) Read More
Carley and Peter made a lot of great choices on their wedding day, beginning with Carley’s decision to get ready at Studio Bon Soleil, a charming space on Toronto’s East side with gorgeous light, walls of books, eclectic furnishings and a swing! The space was peppered with charming details; floral tea cups, crystal bottles of brown spirits, and details you don’t see (the Mariah Carey playlist, haha). Carley loved her backless Sash & Bustle gown, and her affection for it certainly came across in the photos. But even more so, hers and Peter’s affection for each other made for dynamic captures throughout the day. Peter and his best mates exuded a non-stop joyful irreverence … there was this hilarious moment on King Street when I was photographing them in the middle of the road and a motorist pulled up beside them and hollered, “It’s not too late! Make a run for it!” We got the most out of every location by shooting in the hallways and industrial elevator at the studio, then making our way to the Distillery District in time for the most romantic light of the day, perfect for the guys to pledge their undying love for one another in the large heart adorning the entrance of the distillery, and take a Segway for a spin. They created a romantic atmosphere at the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse for their ceremony — warm hues from string lights, delicate and playful field-picked flowers lining the aisle, rich green foliage as a backdrop, and then the fun begins with their DJ spinning their favourite tunes. It’s so much fun to shoot weddings like Peter’s and Carley’s, where the couple can just be themselves in their choice of attire, venue, styling, and environment. Read More