Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Sasha and I talk about Bikes

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

You heard it here first. Sasha and I chatting about bike riding.

Sasha and Davie

Paddlefest 2008, Toronto

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Paddlefest Photographs

Check out some of the photos I made at the Toronto Paddlefest, June 14, 2008.

The People

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Pea-Ball in Winnipeg
In some Winnipeg railyard, of course: Peaball.

If the train was great and the snow was the bonus, it was certainly the people who made the trip such a great visit.

It was great to see family, good friends and meet some new folks along the way.

Yeah for people.

Scrabble on the Train
Playing Scrabble on the train with (left to right) Thomas, Alex, Jocelan (absent: Brie).

In Chilliwack on a pre-Christmas Christmas morning: The Whole Family.
Back Row: Thomas Dickau, Kathleen Parsons, Nancy Howden, Alex Howden, John Presseau (crouching), Devon Presseau, Bob Raffle Middle Row: Bob Parsons, Emily Parsons, Cougar (Dan) Leavens, LinLi holding Thaydn Presseau, Shirley Raffle, David Parsons (standing) Front Row: Doug Presseau, Zachary Presseau, Jesse Howden, Reece Howden, Barb Presseau Absent: Jenn Mino

Jesse, Alex and Zach
In Chilliwack: swordsman Jesse Howden duels Alex Howden while Zachary Presseau goes corps à corps.

Johan Genberg on guitar
In Vancouver: Johan Genberg on guitar.

Ryan Newell with the Arctic Char
On the shores of Georgian Bay: Ryan Newell cooking Arctic Char.

Fennel over water (Melanie Willson)
Hiking in to Kim’s cottage over water, sled in tow: Fennel (Melanie) Willson.

The Snow

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

David Parsons Skiing
Yours Truly, Skiing on Georgian Bay (wearing skiing sweater) with Dan. Photo: Dan Guay.

If the train was great, the snow was an added bonus.

I love the snow, I love the cold, and I love talking about the temperature when it is cold.

For instance:

and (not as exciting):

Right now in Toronto we have had a few days of the not-as-exciting-to-talk-about-but-still-talked-about temperatures of 12ºC, 13ºC and now (at least it’s dropping) 4ºC. I like it when it’s cold in the winter time, because it’s supposed to be cold in the winter time.

Packing up after New Year’s on Georgian Bay
Packing up after New Year’s on Georgian Bay; Jen Preston, Ryan Newell (walking). Jan 2, 2008.

I like the snow. Makes things happy and exciting.

Travelling west, the country was snowy everywhere between Toronto and sunrise on the train in British Columbia after the Rockies. There it was just wet.

The consolation to this being that, in Vancouver, you can reach the snow by increasing your altitude, as my Dad and I did with friends Johan and Rochelle.

Snowshoeing With Rochelle, Johan, and Bob
Snowshoeing on Mt. Seymour in Vancouver; (front to rear:) Rochelle Gause, Johan Genberg, Bob Parsons.

The New Year’s Wake-Up Call:

I went swimming with Kim and Dan in Georgian Bay on New Year’s Day. This required a certain amount of preparation.

Dan and I started breaking ice for “the hot tub” on New Year’s Eve, in the dark, and we were clear by 2pm on the 1st. (We did have some help and take some breaks.)

Clearing the Ice
Jen Preston, Yours Truly and Dan Guay excavating a hole in the ice on Georgian Bay. Jan 1, 2008

Clearing the ice
Dan and I clearing the last bits of floating ice.

We were few who actually dipped, but we were not unwitnessed; there were three or four photographers documenting events (myself included) as well as eight other humans observing and three dogs who watched somewhat incomprehendingly.

David Parsons, Polar Dip
My special polar dip outfit with accidental toque. Thank you Wade Lifton.

Dan Guay, Polar Dip
Dan’s Cannonball. (Dan wins full marks from this judge for diving form. An iconic cannonball.)

Kim Hedges, Polar Dip
Kim’s scream.

It was breathtakingly wonderful.

The Train

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Sunset; Rocky Mountains.
Sunset; Rocky Mountains.

Between Toronto, Ontario (43º 38′ 38″N latitude; my southernmost point of travel), Victoria, British Columbia (123º 20′ 60″ W longitude; my westernmost point), some undetermined northernmost point on that section of track betwixt Bickerdike/Edson, Alberta (around 53º 34′ N latitude) and Edmonton, Alberta (at 53º 35′ latitude) and MacTier, Ontario (79º 46′ W; my eastern-most point of travel), I travelled by all modes of vehicle.

Frozen Lakes and empty rail car near Jasper, Alberta; Christmas Eve.
Frozen Lakes near Jasper, Alberta; Christmas Eve.

By Foot; Subway; City Bus (TTC); Airplane; Automobile; Coach Bus (Greyhound); Passenger Train; Ferry; Commuter Train (GO Transit); and Ski.
(Not included in the above list are: Streetcar, Snow Shoe, Toboggan and Bicycle, because they were only used for recreational and/or within-municipality trips during that period. All other modes (skiing included) were used as an essential and/or primary mode of transport between significant destinations — i.e. between towns.)

The one mode of travel which far surpassed the others in terms of actual hours spent en route, was the train.

Tunnel; Alberta.

I have taken many East to West by-land journeys on Highway 1, but this was my first experience doing the same by rail. I am sure it seems clear to the reader, but it was a real shock to me: The train is not the bus.

Taking pictures in the Dome Car near Jasper, Alberta.
Taking photos in the Dome Car near Jasper, Alberta.

By this I mean that while my experience of travelling by coach has generally been a quiet, retreat-like experience, with scarcely a word said either to quiet compeers or to prarie postcard purveyor, my trip by train was shared and social. Scrabble with sojourning strangers and sing-alongs to acoustic guitar in the dome car — the time was characterized by extroversion and not introspection (though there was certainly some quiet time for that, particularly on the return trip).

Sudbury, Ontario
Sudbury, Ontario.

I was thrilled to see hawks and bald eagles, a fox, many deer, herds of elk, mountain sheep and kilometre upon kilometre of not-the-side-of-a-highway. There are places where the tracks do follow the highway (or rather, the highway follows the tracks) but there are more occasions where the tracks follow the river, or the canyon, bringing one’s eyes to places otherwise unseen. Contrary to travel by air, travel by rail is a chance to embrace the journey rather than anticipate its completion.

Nightfall; Christmas Eve. (A view of one dome car from another.)
Nightfall; Christmas Eve. (A view of one dome car from another.)

I commend the train to you as the alternative to air travel.
More expensive than the bus, but –to me shockingly– different than the bus.

To sleep.

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

As has been the case this extended weekend, my eyelids feel heavy.

As has also been the case, I am awake in spite of this.

As has not been the case, however, I will go to sleep before 03:45 and wake up after 07:00.

What an amazing group of staff, students, volunteers at the Eddie Adams Workshop this weekend. Truly an inspirational time among fantastic and talented people. I have been running almost non-stop since Friday, and I plan to sleep well tonight. There will be time tomorrow and other days for stories of picture assignments, connections made, awards won.

Bonne Nuit a tout Le Gang.


‘Native Land Rights Now!’

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Yesterday I photographed a demonstration at Queen’s Park jointly organized by the Christian Peacemaker Teams and the Rainforest Action Network.

During the protest, activists set out a banner which, from the air, looked like a huge yellow arrow pointing at the legislature. An aerial photograph taken by Jon Schledewitz can be seen (Sept. 22, 2007) on the front page of

Looking down the 250 foot long "NATIVE LAND RIGHTS NOW" banner from tip to tail.
Looking down the 250 foot long “NATIVE LAND RIGHTS NOW” banner from tip to tail.

Underneath the Native Land Rights banner.
Underneath the Native Land Rights banner.

Protesters look up at the helicopter hovering above their giant banner.  Hundreds gathered to demand that OntarioProtesters look up at the helicopter hovering above their giant banner. Hundreds gathered to demand that Ontario’s government take immediate action to protect First Nations communities under threat from various industries including logging as well as diamond and uranium mining.

Demonstrators stretch out a banner reading "NATIVE LAND RIGHTS NOW" at Queen
Demonstrators stretch out a banner reading “NATIVE LAND RIGHTS NOW” at Queen’s Park. According to the Rainforest Action Network, the banner was a full 250 feet long.

A "Raging Granny" lays a ribbon at the front of Ontario
A “Raging Granny” lays a ribbon in front of Ontario’s Provincial Legislature. In total, 107 ribbons were laid, each representing one of Ontario’s electoral ridings in the ongoing provincial election campaign.

People on the East Side — Artist’s Statement

Saturday, July 21st, 2007

What follows is the Artist’s Statement I have drafted for the opening at Jacob’s Well this evening.

The photographs on display here are the result of a week in early May spent wandering around this neighbourhood: all around Pigeon Park, Oppenheimer Park, up Hastings almost to Commercial and a couple of blocks either side. The photographs on display here are a part of that story.

This is a part of that story, too:

Ride the number 20 bus down Hastings from Commercial Drive with a camera on your lap and most of a brick of film in your backpack. Spend half the ride staring at faces on the bus and half pressing your face against the cool window to watch the faces of people on the sidewalks. Recognize the Carnegie at Main. Get off the bus.

Keeping out of the alleys, wander for several blocks. Wait for some inspiration to strike. Pass a fellow standing next to a convenience store doorway. Let him say, “Hey,” as you pass. Stop. Introduce yourself and explain your little project. Say, “I’m taking people’s photographs.” Listen as he says, “I’m busy.” Understand that he’s selling something. Understand that that “open” and “friendly” look on your face is easily confused with an “I am interested in purchasing something” look. Understand that you probably can’t change that. Accept it. Say, “No. Thanks, anyways.”

Keeping out of the alleys, wander for several blocks. Wait for some inspiration to strike.

Starting across from Pigeon Park, walk the western half of that incredible block between Carrall and Columbia on the north side of Hastings. Know that you have seen nothing like this in all of Canada. Try to think of a place like this in Palestine. Fail. Try to think of a place like this anywhere. Quit. Understand that this place is unique. Understand viscerally that this place frightens you and amazes you.

Walk the second half of the block. Try to observe without staring. Know how beautiful people’s faces are. Arrive at Columbia.

Walk the same block again. Slowly.

Understand that you are already inspired. You are here because you were inspired.

Introduce yourself to the intimidating fellow at the entrance to an alley off Hastings. Say, “Hi. I’m David.”



Start a conversation. Take a photograph. Take another.

Go down an alley.

Wander until after sundown. Reluctantly admit that there is no light left. Wait for the number 20 bus. Watch it skip your stop as you slouch against the bus shelter. Wait for the next one. Catch it. Feel tired.


Come back tomorrow.


I feel lucky to have helped create these photographs. They are, in each case, the result of a human interaction between strangers. I made every effort to allow that interaction to be an interaction of equals, and as far as possible to use the camera as a simple tool, recording something – isolating it – without altering it.

Far more than any technical concerns, I would say my main work here was openness: connecting with strangers, being comfortable in unfamiliar situations. I was impressed by, and remain grateful for, how easily so many whom I photographed related to me. As humans we can become caught in cycles, in social patterns. We limit ourselves to interactions and communications which are already familiar. We miss opportunities to connect, favouring the practiced; “Howareyou?” “FineHowareyou?” When we face change or uncertainty, we can become open to new possibilities; suddenly “How are you?” means “How are you?” again. In times of great uncertainty we can forget about our facades and communicate more wholly with others, strangers included. The people whom I met on the East Side helped challenge my facades.

My sincere thanks go to the sixty-plus people who I photographed on these streets in May.

It is my hope that each individual pictured here will enjoy her photograph.

-david parsons
21 July, 2007

I almost hate to do this.

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, we interrupt our regular programming to bring you this important message. Due to continuing verbal threats which have been both unsportsmanlike and bordering on grammatically incoherent, straight from the darkroom regrets to announce the following escalation in severity of the ongoing “spat” between David P. Ball and David Parsons.

I hoped it wouldn’t have to come to this David, but you leave me no choice. Following is a visual metaphor; my own stepping-to-the-plate of this toe-to-toe webslinging.

David Ball vs. David Parsons: Mullet vs. Style

I have been bold, David, and I risk grave offense, but such are the choices we make — and live with — in the fast paced world of self-portraits and -haircuts; both with the aid of the bathroom mirror.

As you may recall, the last mullet I had was in solidarity with you as you faced the bombing of Beirut. I maintained that mullet, nurtured that mullet, and allowed it to flourish until the day I saw you safely return to Toronto. And just as that mullet was a symbol through which I stood with you, so, I fear, this one is a symbol by which I stand alone.

Do you see the style, the fashion-sense with which we are each represented here. One, you, old-school; stuck in the past; living a sweaty-hockey-equipment-rotting-in-the-basement, Stanley-Cup-a-million-miles-away dream; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. One, me, living into the future; Michael J. Fox sneakers fresh from the DeLorean; opening tin-cans of bald-eagle caviar soufflé with the push of a soft-touch button; self-portrait-with-Stanley-Cup resting on the Brazilian rosewood mantle. Your haircut says, “Can I borrow a No. 2B pencil for my science test?” David, and mine says, “I just got back from DisneyLand.”

You: David Hasselhoff.
Me: David Beckham.

I trust that I make myself clear.

The gauntlet has been cast down, David. Please make your response, and I will post it here.

Godspeed dear brother.

For a brief history of the ongoing conflict, please see the following post and subsequent comment.


Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

Well, I’ve been accepted to the Eddie Adams WorkshopBarnstorm XX.

My friend Don Denton tells me that I’m one of three Canadians amongst the 100 chosen applicants, but I have yet to confirm this; in any event, I am honoured and excited.

I am also happy to report that I was awarded the “Best Portfolio” and “Best Overall Image” awards for my program at the Western Academy of Photography in an awards and graduation ceremony Tursday (June 21).

I have been busy, and have had limited access to computers, so haven’t posted anything in quite some time (read: too long.) I intend to keep this blog reasonably current, but have so far not been doing a great job. I still have limited access to imaging software, so some new pictures will have to wait. In the meantime here are a couple of photos of BMX riding.

Alex Howden (no.56 with black and gray helmet) Gets a flat tire at a BMX competition in Langford, BC.
Alex Howden (no.56 with black and gray helmet) Gets a flat tire at a BMX competition in Langford, BC.

Alex Howden Crashes during a BMX race in Langford, BC.  His tire went flat on the second turn -- the flat was caused by a collision with a downed rider earlier in the race.
Alex Howden Crashes during a BMX race in Langford, BC. His tire went flat on the second turn — the flat was caused by a collision with a downed rider earlier in the race.