Archive for July, 2007

Opening Reception

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

The opening reception went really well, and lots of great folks came by.

A big thank you to all who attended my first solo show, particularly those who came from as far as:

  • Ottawa
  • Victoria
  • Halfmoon Bay
  • Vedder Crossing (Chilliwack)
  • The United States
  • Other far-flung locales

There was a good crowd at the opening, enjoying the photographs along with tasty snacks and good conversation. The fabulous Emily Parsons was very kind to take photos of the event pro bono mea.

All photos: Emily Parsons unless otherwise noted

David Parsons
Yours Truly in front of the work just before the opening begins.

Jacob’s Well
The calm before the storm. Bob reads the ‘Artist’s Statement.’ Photo: dp


Opening Reception
Family Viewing

Opening Reception
Early in the evening

Opening Reception
Sarah and Joshua

Gilbert and Rosemary
Gilbert and Rosemary

Opening Reception
Bob and Marie


Yours Truly in conversation
Y. T. with Jerry

Opening Reception
Mid-way through the opening

Kathy and Marie
Kathy and Marie wash dishes

Thanks Mom and Dad.
The exhibition team : ) Photo: Tristan Shouldice

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.