Every so often, if we are lucky, we meet dynamic and wise people like Haruko Takahashi. Our fates crossed when she needed identification photos. She had such a great time in the studio she kept telling everyone around her “you should bring your family” take pictures in the studio! Soon after that Haruko invited me to visit her on 17 East of the Montreal General Hospital, an invitation I gladly accepted. Haruko has no known family and she bonded with the staff and they in return bonded with her. Haruko just was and she shared her wisdom and educated thoughts … her presence and made its mark. When I was there we had a great chat and wonderful experience. A few days later she died. I do believe in fate and that we met people for a reason … its just up to us to be aware to see and understand why they are in our lives. For me as a portrait photographer meeting Haruko was an intense encounter and learning of her sudden death was very shocking and left a mark on me … quite un-expectected and painful … the human hart is the only organ that keeps breaking … and we go on …
These are the last portraits of who I was introduced to as Haruko Takahashi. I do believe in fate. Thank You Haruko for being there and reaching out and touching us all. I wish your soul a happy journey home. With lots of love Michael Cichon
And with time my project photographing Senior Nuns continues. Four out these six women are over 100 years old. Amazing sisters with energy and intellect. It is always a pleasure to be able to meet and photograph such gracious women. Enjoy the portraits. Cheers Michael
Today being Good Friday in our Easter calendar I have decided to post a collection of Good Friday & Easter images. A special nod to my beloved Aunt Sister Helen who introduced me to 3 very special people: Father Paul Geraghty, Father Gerry Westphal and Father Paul Pomkoski. Over the years I have come to know and photograph these special men for various projects. They have helped to inspire and guide me. And so I present these pictures; my Easter Dedication … and if you find yourself so inclined do try to attend mass at any of the following parishes:
Fr. Paul Geraghty Parochial Administrator – St. Anthony of Padua Parish (514) 932-7597
Fr. Gerald Westphal Chaplain – Newman Centre McGill University (514) 398-4106 or (514) 398-4107
Fr. Paul Pomkoski
Parochial Administrator – St. Brendan Parish
Parochial Administrator – St. Aloysius Parish (514) 351-3281
Fr. Paul Pomkoski Parochial Administrator St. Brendan Parish http://catholicmontreal.ca/item/pomkoski-fr-paul/
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
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!
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 ..
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.
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 …
This man is one of the shop owners in the Busan neighborhood where my tea partners have their shop. He is 82 years old and works from this intimate space selling smokes. I thank him very much for being in my Korea Now Series.
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
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.
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!
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.
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 …
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 …
Update: A wonderful time with Keith Lehman, Carole Henshall and Vin Arora … a wonderful time spent in the Kingsmill Pottery Studio on Granville Island, BC… https://granvilleisland.com/directory/kingsmill-pottery-studio
Ps they have a rule if you like the delicious looking pottery you bought it! …
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 Galaxies 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 …
How fitting the new year and new post begin with this story … of a journey to the past, my past, to take inventory so that new beginnings can manifest themselves. It was 2004, Nov, when I packed up my Chinatown Tea Shop and moved back to Montreal. The whole building complex that was home to my Tea Shop is no longer. Vancouver’s old Chinatown is changing, however, for now, Angelo Tosi the Italian food whole sale store is still there. Also Andrew for Gain Wah, a Chinese Restaurant I used to frequent is also open. This has really been a significant re-visit. An amazing 7 day trip revisiting friends and places and getting the opportunity to rephotographing them all these years later. Here is a selection of the different portraits I produced while in BC. I thank all who allowed me to stick the camera in front of my face to capture these points in time. Ella, who loved my suitcase, Carole and Keith from the Poplar Studio, Tom from Tom’s East Vin Brewing (who by the way has some of the most beautiful North Window light), Angelo Tosi in many ways my mentor in business, Andrew Leung of Gain Wah making sure I got my fix of crispy pork and of course Mr. P a good friend and researcher of manufactured landscapes … Thank you all my friends, especially for the much need insight and perspective in my time of mid life inventory. Tune into the individual shoots as I post them. More to come
Not everyone ventures to the basement at their work place, and yet the staff of the basement help support the functioning of the top side, day to day world. Here are 3 faces that you might find, if you venture down to the basement of a hospital. And so without further a due I want to introduce you to Elga and Estelle from the laundry department and Mike Black from receiving; an amazing man who manages to find and track boxes without names or room numbers! To me Mr.Black looks like the character from the series Breaking Bad: Heisenberg. What do you think? Potentially his double.I thank all these people for letting me practice my mixed lighting techniques for environmental portraiture. Enjoy. Cheers
I was happy to work with Ana Ruiz a musician who plays the flute. What great energy! Here are the head shots we took this evening. Enjoy. And if you ever see her name as one of the performers go and hear her play!
Here is a portrait I took awhile back. I came across this shoot I did with my friend David J. Lane. At the time he was build a trail at the Live Like Water Retreat. David is very good at trail building and really gets into it … as you can see in this photo David is in his element.
This week I was fortunate to photograph a team of 4 men who were trimming trees that would potentially interfere with the Hydro high tension wires. These guys were very professional. It was a pleasure to photograph them as they worked. Here are the photographs of the team that work for Asplundh Enjoy. Cheers
I dedicate this post to Howard Naud one of the organizers of the Montreal Otakuthon event. For the past few years he has been convincing me to come and take pictures at the event and every year I was busy or out of town. Also I knew and still know nothing about the characters and the event. This year I said I would make the attempt to go, and had a model who would pose for me and of course Howard would be there; but on the day I was to go both said they would not be able to attend! My security blanket taken away. I was about to cancel myself, but decided to lighten the bag of photography gear I had prepared, which was still too heavy, and forced myself out the door. Here is the edited result, which was no easy feat. I am so very thankful to all the participants who graciously posed for me, your creativity and energy was absolutely amazing! I thank everybody who came to this event and all those who helped make it happen whether I saw you or not you were all part of this amazing experience. Deep bows of gratitude! Cheers Michael (ps to those of you who don’t see your picture here write to me and I will send it your way … there were so many great shots which had to be edited out)