Painting

December 6th, 2007

I’ve been playing a little with stop-motion films lately: making some tests; experimenting with the results on the computer… this will be the first I have published here.

David Parsons Photography

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Higher quality version available here.

Did I help Jen and Donné paint their new room in Little Italy? you may ask. If by ‘help’ you mean photograph the ordeal and later publish those photos to the web then: yes. Yes I did help. I helped very much.

Buses, Bathrooms, Mirrors, Me.

November 23rd, 2007

For some years now I’ve been making trips by bus across parts of Canada.

Prarie

I have made a multimedia piece about my experience on my most recent long bus trip: Vancouver to Toronto.

Here it is:

(audio-visual format)

David Parsons Photography

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Beyond talking about my bus trips, it’s also about taking pictures of myself in mirrors in bathrooms.
David Parsons: Self Portrait, Indira Gandhi International Airport, 2003
David Parsons: Self Portrait, 2003, Indira Gandhi International Airport( DEL), Delhi, India

My first substantial trip was from Toronto, Ontario to Whitehorse, Yukon in 2002. (This remains my longest in Canada-by land-trip to date, at approximately 86 hours.) The bus makes some stops between Toronto and Whitehorse. For instance:

  1. Wawa, Ontario
  2. White River, Ontario
  3. Wabigoon, Ontario
  4. West Hawk Lake Junction, Manitoba
  5. Winnipeg, Manitoba
  6. Wapella Junction East, Saskatchewan
  7. Whitewood, Saskatchewan
  8. Wolsely Junction East, Saskatchewan
  9. Waldeck Junction, Saskatchewan
  10. Webb Juntion, Saskatchewan
  11. Walsh Junction, Alberta
  12. Whitecourt, Alberta
  13. Wonowon, BC
  14. Watson Lake, Yukon
  15. and, naturally,

  16. Whitehorse, Yukon

My initial trip was followed later that month by 38 hours en route from Whitehorse to Chilliwack via:

  1. Morley River, Yukon
  2. Smart River, BC
  3. Swift River, Yukon
  4. Coal River, BC
  5. Liard River, BC
  6. Toad River Lodge, BC
  7. Prophet River, BC
  8. Buckinghorse River, BC
  9. Salmon River, BC

and:

  1. Iron Creek, Yukon
  2. Contact Creek, Yukon
  3. Dawson Creek, BC
  4. Commotion Creek. BC
  5. Cache Creek, BC

as well as:

  1. Watson Lake, Yukon
  2. Muncho Lake, BC
  3. Summit Lake, BC
  4. Azouzetta Lake, BC
  5. McLeod Lake Lodge, BC
  6. Bear Lake, BC
  7. McLeese Lake, BC
  8. Williams Lake, BC
  9. Lac La Hache, BC

Mountains from the bus window.

Recent Vancouver-Toronto trip statistics:
60 hours;
Abbotsford, Banff, Calgary, Dryden, Ernfold, Falcon Lake, Golden, Hope, Indian Head, junction after junction, Kamloops, Lake Louise, Medicine Hat, Nipigon, Oak Lake Junction West, Portage la Prarie, Qu Appelle Junction, Regina, Sicamous, Thunder Bay, Upsala, Virden, Winnipeg, Yorkdale.

Eddie Adams Workshop.

October 30th, 2007

Clouds (Ellis Hanslmaier in Calicoon Centre)

Well the workshop ended a little while ago, and I am back in Toronto, mostly recuperated. I spent some time in New York City immediately after the workshop finished; it was my first trip to “The City” (or as I have been instructed: “THE CITY”).

Nice city.

As was to be expected, the workshop was fantastic; a group of incredible photographers from across the United States (and a few internationals) including some of the best of the best, and many of those who aspire to be just that.

The four days were packed full of presentations by photographers, two half-days on-assignment, and portfolio reviews by editors and photographers from all around. Perhaps the only thing the days (and more importantly nights) were not full of was sleep. I figure I got about 9 hours over the first three nights, and none on the fourth. I would say this was just around the average for many participants.

I was a member of Team Purple along with 9 other fine students:

  • Myriam Abdelaziz
  • Mark J. Davis
  • Thomas Fredberg
  • Justin L. Fowler
  • Peter Grigsby
  • Huong Nguyen
  • Emily Rasinski
  • Dustin Stefansic
  • Brian Valentin

Team Leader: Maggie Steber
Team Editor: Chris Stanfield
Team Producer: Ryan Schick
Tech. Assistant: Jamie Bowman
Multimedia Specialist: Diane Cook
and
Assistant (to the) Regional Manager: Robert Caplin

Our team assignments centered on Calicoon Centre, New York (a small town near Jeffersonville, the site of the workshop). Each team member photographed different subject matter, and our work was presented together in a group slide show on the Monday evening.

My subject was a dairy farmer named Ellis Hanslmaier.

Ellis Hanslmaier

Hay (Ellis in the barn)

Cat (Milk bucket)

My work on this photo essay helped win me an assignment (TBA) with the Denver Post! (A big thank you to Ryan, Chris, Maggie et al. for vouching for me, and to Tim Rasmussen from the newspaper.)

Hay no. 2 (Tree with autumn colours)

Silo (Aerial view of the farm)

Water (The cows are thirsty)

"I love the cow in the shit" - Maggie Steber

Hose (Washing the milk buckets)

Wood Splitting

There we are. All caught up from New York just in time for new stories and pictures from Toronto. But that will have to wait for another night.

G’night.

-d.

To sleep.

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.

d.

‘Native Land Rights Now!’

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 ran.org.

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.

Rob and Meagan’s wedding, August 25, 2007

September 6th, 2007

Meagan
Meagan’s sisters and mother help her into her dress.

Meagan and Rob stand during the ceremony.
Meagan and Rob stand during the ceremony.

Intent on reducing the environmental impact of their wedding, when their scheduled rickshaw didn
Intent on reducing the environmental impact of their wedding, when their scheduled rickshaw didn’t show up, Rob and Meagan left the church by subway instead.

A portrait of the newlyweds
A portrait of the newlyweds.

Here is another gallery of wedding photographs, this time images from the wedding of Rob and Meagan. Click here to see the full gallery.

Wedding Pictures (Aminah and Nate, August 4 2007)

September 1st, 2007

Aminah looks at her reflection in the bathroom mirror while her mother fits the dress and her aunt looks on.
Aminah looks at her reflection in the bathroom mirror while her mother fits the dress and her aunt looks on.

Aminah and friends pray before the wedding.
Aminah and friends pray before the wedding.


Nate and Aminah dance in the barn as onlookers applaud.

Well, I’ve just added a gallery of images from Aminah and Nate Al-Attas Bradford’s wedding; so friends and family of the newlyweds click here to see the photos.

Opening Reception

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

Tuka
Tuka

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

Jen
Jen

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

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.”

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

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.

Rest.

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.

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.
-david

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