Sunday, 29 August 2010

Between City and Country

I'm an unabashed urbanite and I like my cities big! My wife Susan and I have been to Paris at least fifteen times with trips to New York mixed in every couple of years.

We haven't been to Paris for nine months and I'm feeling pangs of withdrawal but I do make occasional day trips (or longer) with camera in tow to some great choice locales in Quebec and Ontario trying to capture the landscape. A day or two in the country can recharge one's batteries and gives a photographer a chance to challenge himself to find something new in shooting a stream or pond he may have visited a hundred times before.

Chris Whitley (1960-2005) was a musician who also moved easily between urban and country. His discography includes solo guitar, full rock bands, jazz trios and sets with experimental German avant gardists. He'd cover songs by Lou Reed, Dylan, Muddy Waters, The Ramones, Kraftwerk and Eden Ahbez (Nature Boy) and everyone in between. We were fortunate to see him perform several times.

The sidebar video is Whitley's Living With the Law. Check out also the video for O God My Heart is ready.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Paris On My Mind

Perhaps it's because I saw a couple of interesting art exhibits today or maybe it was a passing scene or odor in the air but for whatever reason I can't get Paris out of my mind right now. We always go every Autumn but pressures of work may compel us to skip a year.

From the Artist's Book, Paris Eclectique, Joe Donohue 2005 -

I see a little girl running in the park
I can hear the music playing in the background,
feel the wind on my face and taste the rain.

I can see the light in the church apse,
smell the street on a sunny day.
I can sense the echoes of past conflicts
and in my mind's eye the history unfolds
and becomes real.

Paris is art and music,
long walks along the Seine
Shadows of the Marais and the glow
of the Champs Elysees.

I gaze upon the never ending spectacle
the memories will never fade.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Day in Val David

Last Saturday, I spent a wonderful day in Val David, just 75 kilometers north of Montreal. I went specifically to visit one show - Val David, being a world recognized ceramics center, was holding its 40th anniversary exhibition of ceramics from local and regional artisans. It's a beautiful and varied show, well worth the visit and judging by the size of crowd, extremely popular. But for me the real treat was seeing an exhibition of art in situ set in the mountain just north of Val David.

The exhibition, Les Jardins Du Precambrien, sponsored by the Fondation René Derouin, consists of large environmental pieces spread over a 3.2 kilometre trail. Unlike Mark Twain's dictum of golf being a good walk spoiled, this is a good walk enriched, with thoughtful pieces along the trail evoking impressions of time, memory, voyages, origins and thought itself. Often an exhibition of this type gets bogged down by its own polemical stance but I didn't get that sensation here, perhaps because René Derouin, one of Quebec's greatest artists, is the Artistic Director and knows how to maintain a balance between art and politics.

This is Les Jardins Du Precambrien's 15th year. The exhibition continues until October 11. If you're planning a trip to the Laurentians before then, fit this in your schedule.

At the risk of sounding too arty farty this time out I got to tell you I'm reading Michael Gross's Rogues Gallery, “The secret story of the lust, lies, greed and betrayals that made New York's Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art”. If you think the pursuit of Art is always a fine and noble deed, read this book.


Shopkeeper, rue de Seine, Paris

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Friday, 6 August 2010

Blog Blog Blog

Look at me I'm blogging. Can you believe it?  I can't!  Anyway, I'd like to share with you the occasional photograph, music bit or what-have-you.  Take a look.

Today I visited my good friend, Al Carpini, at his horse ranch, la Bella Vita in St Lazare. In the past couple of months Al has kindly opened the ranch up to visitors from Equitas, the human rights organization based in Montreal and has entertained kids visiting from Montreal's inner city.   It's a beautiful expansive property.  The horses are very friendly and extremely cooperative to a visiting photographer.   In the photo above, Olive positioned herself where she believed she'd provide the proper balance to the trees on the right.

Le Vieux Port

Le Vieux Port, Montreal