My Winter Solstice Post

 Very recently it dawned upon me that Winter Solstice has arrived. The darkest day and with it the day’s getting longer! I always appreciate the light. It illuminates life! And so I offer these pictures:my day from 8.30 to 4.30!. Walking to work I saw some interesting light and photographed it. At lunch, more light and some recent developments in the building next to the Montreal General Hospital, a building which has slumbered for many years … And then early evening: my favorite “Magritte” time of day. Leaving work and walking to the metro I capture these additional images. A beautiful day of seeing and feeling which I now share with you. Enjoy! Michael

In Memoriam Howard Naud and Richard Thomas: The Royal Victoria Hospital Loves You!

This post is a tribute to my two colleagues and friends Howard Naud and Richard Thomas. These two young men who worked in the Receiving Dept of the Royal Victoria Hospital died recently at the Glen site within 2 weeks of each other. Neither got a chance to retire in the traditional sense of the the word. Howard was an honest and sensitive man; his kindness was felt by all who knew him. And, Richard Thomas was a real live wire! Always joking and telling funny stories; they echo in our ears still. These guys were full of life and they shared their energy with all of us. I was lucky to have worked with them and got a chance to take their portraits in the final days of the Royal Victoria Hospital. And during Howard’s last hours, I was there with him and his devoted and loving wife Yanny. Death, even when expected is always a surprise. As a photographer I witness life, death and everything in between. I have always felt it was my duty to record and share the world we live in. With that in mind, I want to introduce you all to these two incredible men of the Royal Victoria Hospital’s Receiving Department. And so I invite you all to step around back of the Royal Victoria Hospital. Enter through the back. The Receiving Door; walk down the corridor and see the faces we saw and knew. Howard and Richard, thank you for being there! You were a big part of us. We The Royal Victoria Hospital Love and Miss You Both. Rest Well my brothers. Love Michael

 

Happy 77th Birthday Mom! aka GrandMa Dynamite!

 With so much love I present this photo essay and tribute to my Mom. Happy Birthday! Cto Lat (100 years) To a woman who is an inspiration and comfort to so many … and an absolute GAZ!  Thank you mom for all you have taught me so much about life and photography … and so I offer this collection of images spanning from 2005 to 2017 (First Draft)… Enjoy!

Aboriginal Day Montreal Children’s Hospital

  Well, on Thursday June 21st my usual lunch hour walk was arrested … It happened to be Aboriginal Day and there was an event in the PK Subban Atrium at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. I was working that day as the Pediatric Medical Photographer, and walking by for my lunch hour walk I was entranced by the speaker who was Nakuset, the Executive Director of the Native Woman’s Shelter of Montreal. Her words struck: the stories and experiences she shared concerning Aboriginal People in the health care system were very powerful. Nakuset is powerful and passionate speaker. What was to follow was healing music from the Buffalo Hat Singers (if I’m not mistaken)  performed with such passion and compassion that it really struck a emotional chord with me; it was their voices that penetrated and resounded deep. The healing properties and the rhythm of the healing drum echoed our own healing hearts. The healing ritual which they performed invited people to take a pinch of Tabaco and drop it on the surface of the drum as they performed the healing ritual. I felt it was such a necessary ritual to take place within our healing environment. I was so glad I stayed  and record this magical event. As I listened my own emotions came through my eye’s. At times it was hard for me to hold my camera. I cried and continued to capture this wonderful and powerful ceremony. By the way a very special Clown came to visit, and that of course was Dr. FiFi and her friend! No healing ceremony would be complete with out these Good Healing Vibes!

East Bolton Bee’s

 Well Josie, my mom, aka Grandma Dynamite, won the East Bolton Town Hall Lottery … She got to adopt a Bee Hive …  and the experience that goes along with it … and so I have been lucky to explore and photograph these amazing bee’s. As a result this photo essay … A very Big thank you to Alain Dery and Alexandre for their wonderful patience and expertise! I never thought I would find myself sitting so close in front of an active Bee Hive with my camera and flash … the fun continues as I continue to experiment and keep getting closer. Stay tuned for more of this honey sweet story of our Bolton Bee’s…

And here is the update! Honey Harvesting Party! This was an amazing experience, a time when you meet the other people who adopted a Bee Hive this summer and we all participate in extracting the honey. And the best part we learn the tastes … the actual tastes from all corners of our community. We share experiences and give each other support; I know if it wasn’t for Alain Dery and his passion and expertise I never would have ventured into this fascinating world … and so I get to share my harvest … this story and these pictures … enjoy! And if you are lucky we may have some truly organic honey for you! Ps these occasions bring out the real talent … music to our ears!

Cheers Michael

Busan Harbour

Call me Ishmael but walking around the harbor in Busan has always been a real pleasure for me, I I have spent many of nights/mornings in this part of town … usually in the company of my Korean Brother Lee Jae Yong … the textures are still there but walls are going up … the separation … a little sad… somehow I still did find some holes in the fence … the rabbit hold to my old memories … and the characters who still live there ..

Korean Master Potter Toyayo

It was an honor to finally meet Korean Master Potter Toyayo. His pottery was introduced to me through my Korean Tea & Pottery connection in Pusan, South Korea. I imported a few tea cups and immediately fell in love with them. They were so light and crisp; the edges rough with a sophisticated texture; infused with refined culture. But that’s my impression! You will have to discover your own experience. His cups are such a pleasure to hold and drink from; especially a first flush green tea! Korean Master Potter Toyayo, like the earth tones that he wears, is such a down to earth and gentle man. These days his work is growing in popularity, especially in Japan where he recently had a show. This timing of this visit coincided perfectly with the latest firing his wood kiln. Now understand with heat fluctuations on average 60% of the pottery survives! And this firing was very, very successful. Here are some pictures from our visit. Enjoy.

Famous Korean Pajeon

I was introduced to this special lady in a most wonderful way and that was in her restaurant which she has been running for over 40 years. She is cherished by many poets and artists for her famous Pajeon (Korean pizza they call it, but the name doesn’t do it justice). She made us the great fresh seafood Pajeon and served us a bowl of great home made Makgeolli, also called Dong Dong Jew; a mild rice wine. This was worth the trip I tell you! You have to understand this was one of my favorite beverages while I was living in South Korea. I even made a pilgrimage where some of the best stuff is made. When I returned to Canada, I would also try my hand at making it for myself. Not so easy. The first time I used the wrong rice and made more of a cement which you had to use a spoon! Anyways …

Korean Jui Jitsu

My Mom’s nick name is Grand Ma Dynamite. She has an explosive character… Because she takes her grand kids to Jui Jitsu here in Montreal, visiting and photographing a school while visiting Busan, South Korea was a must.  And so, consequently I got to photograph this schools session.  … and so here you go!  Enjoy

Green Tea Plantations, South Korea,2017

Oh yes … the early taste of this years first pick Korean Green tea was indeed fresh and delicious. Here are some pictures from our tea farmer who cultivates wild organic tea bushes, opposed machine harvested green tea which you can see neatly trimmed. From how it was explained to me is that the leaf has more nutrients  when it grows wild, as it has more time to amass all its goodness … I thanked the picker of the tea and told her how much we appreciate her picking the tea for us, and how I hoped she would continue till the fourth and last flush. Seasonal pickers tend to move on after the 3rd … a shame since it is very good in its own right.

Busan South Korea 2017: Street Photography

An introduction to some street photography I took while walking the streets of Pusan.  follow up post to my Korea Then post, only difference is back then it took me 3 years to gather those images, this time around I had less than 30 days. I really enjoy walking around Pusan, in some ways my Korean Home Town. Here are some of the street shots I snapped … Enjoy. Cheers. Michael

South Korea Portraits 2017

After a 17 year absence this trip to Busan, South Korea was really about reconnecting with my dear friends and partners in the tea business. Park Jin Kuen and Kim Jeon Yeon run a small tea shop in Busan, South Korea. This year, while visiting I was introduced to their unique community and managed to take some interesting environmental portraits of shop keepers, tea farmers and Master Potter’s. Each portraits is a story, so stay tuned for more pictures on these wonderful people. Enjoy.Cheers

 

Korean Buddhist Temples

This year while visiting South Korea for the tea picking I managed to visit a few temples … all before Buddha’s Birthday. Unfortunately, I left Korea before the Big Holiday on May the 3rd. Here are some photo’s from various temples. Enjoy.

Cheers Michael

Maison Jésus-Marie … more portraits

I was very privileged to have had done my graduating portfolio on the sisters living at the residence Maison Jesus Marie. I am more privileged still to be able to continue the project. For the senior nuns that I have photographed many have used their portraits for their funeral and obituary. Since I have exhibited my portfolio about half of my Sister sitters have made the transition. This project has really put time in perspective, as well as who if fact gets asked to pose for a portrait. The power of the portrait is powerful. Marie, the last in this series,  is the evening nurse and the care taker of these wise women. My aunt Helen (2nd to last) invited her for a photo. When she stepped into the the room I  immediately could see her glow in the late afternoon light. It was a pleasure to stop her in her tracks, pose her and capture an essence. She was so ecstatic with the result that I was moved. So often I hear “oh I’ll break your camera” “I’m ugly” “I wish my looks were worth your talent” … if only they could see through my eyes. Through a photographers eyes we see so many more versions and the light that helps to define you. That’s why I am so happy when people who normally don’t pose allow me into their world, and allow me to make a rendition of that moment … all passing moments. By the way the first lady is Sister Theresa who taught at Vincent Massey High School, a teacher I have known since my high school days; and it is a pleasure to allow you to see her smile this way. And as for my center portraits two and three … these are the very special Superior’s who allowed my project to take root in the first place. My deepest gratitude!

Ron / Receiving

Another peek behind the veil … another portrait. I have know Ron over the years. Recently I had the pleasure to do this series … a peek into his world … Welcome to the world of Receiving.

South Korea Then

A very long over due post … from the days when I was living in South Korea. My film days, one of the reasons it has taken me awhile to revisit my negatives. All these pictures pre-date the year 2000 … which means this is my 20 th century version. Stay tuned as I venture back back into the archives and re-edit and select … all this as I prepare to go back to South Korea for a long over due visit! stay tuned … in the mean time here is an introduction to what hopefully will grow into a book … enjoy.

Cheers Michael

Bertrand Dupuis

Bertrand is one of those giving people who made a difference while working at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. He retired early this year and I wanted to be sure to photograph him to be sure people remember his legacy. Thank You Bernard! and all the children you helped and the staff Thank You. Have fun traveling.

Cheers

Tom Small East Vin Wine Making Vancouver

Vancouver Re-Visit tour … part 2 … Tom Small is big on wine and lots of other spirits, but you need to talk to him about that. The man is made to be a Master Distiller … in the meantime go down and make some wine and talk to the man! Tom is lucky to have a north facing window in the back of his shop … A good size window facing North Vancouver and Grouse Mountain.  I fell in love with the late afternoon light as we; Keith, Carole and Tom chatted. This needed to be captured and it was … I was really happy with these portraits which are as organic as it gets …

Cheers

Saint Mary’s Polish Dance Group Montreal 1987

Yes once upon a time I was a Polish Folk Dancer and toured with many groups. In my mother’s archives I found these photo’s. I would like to share these with those who were in the group. I do not know all the faces who were in the photo so if you can add a name please do … lets fill in the historical gaps …. The last picture is the one I took of the current Polish Saint Mary’s Fold Dance group in 2016 … the tradition continues …

Keith and Carole

This is my updated installment from my Re-visiting Vancouver series. Yes, it all starts here. These 2 wonderful people, Keith and Carole the potters at the Poplar Studio https://www.facebook.com/ThePoplarStudio/ Dear friends that were there for the many different manifestations of my Live Like Water Tea Room … from Hopkin’s Landing to Chinatown Vancouver and beyond. True friends that are right there with you when you need them the most. As much as we can maintain some connection on line we think we’re fine … but true friendships need re-connections and this is what my re-visit to Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast was all about … and so the first part of the first part of this installment  … stay tuned this story will swell with pictures but for now these portraits …

Cheers Michael

Ocean Destiny

I called this post ocean destiny after the ship in the harbor in one of the pictures. It was an ocean dream that first brought me to these shores of BC. Coming from Pusan, South Korea and returning to Canada this new shore soon became home. Eventually, the current brought me back to Montreal, from which it all began. I have been feeling the need to reconnect with the people that made my stay special and places that were so much a part of who I was. The experience was intense and confined to 7 days. I had packed my photo gear, few clothes and made a plan to do a quick tour with an excursion planed for one of my many happy places … Jericho beach! … And while walking the shore line …  this is where I happened to see Ocean Destiny … these are a collection of pictures taken throughout my short visit.