"What's Your Story, Etobicoke?"
—Assembly Hall, Sept 29, 2016—
This relaxed and informative evening at The Assembly Hall in New Toronto turned out to be something I wasn't necessarily expecting: fun.
Hear me out...
When I shoot event photography, I don't plan to be entertained. I plan to work; and I can get pretty zoned-out* in the process. Ask my wife, "When is the absolute worst time to have a conversation with Jeremy?" Answer: when he has a camera in his hands.
But this night was one of those rare times when I could actually listen what was being said and process it. I got to hear solid writing advice, interesting prose, and arresting poetry.
And, as a bonus, I was allowed to put images to it all.
My favourite take away from the night regarded poetry (courtesy of Bardia Sinaee, above): "Assume every decision is deliberate"—which is to say, the poet has intentionally placed every syllable and line in a particular way for a reason. If it strikes you as out of place, you may want to examine it more closely. (Unlike photography, where every now and then I look at a good photo I've taken, and say, "Oh... yeah, I totally meant to do that.")
Thank you to Antanas Sileika, Bardia Sinaee, Farzana Doctor, Catherine Graham, Maria Coletta McLean, and Transient for letting me lurk and snap while they spoke; and thanks, as always, to Arts Etobicoke for the opportunity to do so.
(Sorry for all the em dashes, Antanas. It's my personal vice.)
*Regarding the "zone-out"...
Beginning one hour before a shoot, and continuing for the next couple of hours, I am generally at—or above—a base-level of freaking out. "Am I at the right location... at the wrong time? Who is the organizer again? Are my batteries full? Are my cards empty? Damn, the lighting's mixed! Did I remember my gels? Did I just trip over an antique chair?"
This doesn't subside until I've loaded my images onto a computer and backed them up—twice. (At which point I would gladly lend anyone a thousand dollars, because I'm so happy.)