Monday, March 30, 2015

Who are they?

Ladies in costume, 1998

A PORTRAIT SHOOT FROM MY LAST YEAR AT NOW MAGAZINE. I'm guessing these are actors performing in a period piece; normally NOW frowned at shooting theatre people in character but for some reason this was an exception and I'm grateful for that.

I have to give credit to these two women and their costumer - they look correct and have risen to my challenge to re-create a period snapshot with suitable enthusiasm, channeled into a plausible formal stiffness. Shot with my dearly departed Canon EOS Elan, which by this point had become almost an extension of my hand and eye, and processed with my favorite film/chemistry combo: Ilford Delta 400 through Agfa Rodinal.

Every now and then I like to recite these scraps of technical data like a mantra, since they remind me of a time in my career I've come to miss. Even for quick shoots like this I was probably at the top of my game. I wish I'd known at the time that things were going to get an awful lot worse in the next few years, or that the industry - including venerable names like Agfa and Ilford - would go through some brutal changes.

Commercial Bank facade, Brookfield Place, Toronto, 2013

I might not remember who these women are, but I certainly recognize the location - the reconstituted facade of the old Commercial Bank as it currently stands amidst the soaring ribs of Santiago Calatrava's galleria at Brookfield Place in the financial district. We're not big on architectural preservation in Toronto, but in the last few years we've been shamed to at least preserve bits of walls to placate concerned locals and their councillors at City Hall, so developers have courteously held back the wrecking ball and displayed artifacts of the former streetscape like mounted trophies

I wrote a feature about "facadomies" for t.o.night a couple of years ago, and shot the old Commercial Bank facade for the piece. Alas, t.o.night went out of business not long afterward and the story has disappeared along with the paper's website. This photo, for now, is all that remains.


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