The plan was that I would sit on this image until the very end: it's one of my first, and still one of my favourites, from my 'panortho' project. (That still needs a better title, which may come in time.) But talking to a good friend reminded me that there's absolutely nothing to be gained by waiting with these just sitting on a hard drive.

So here it is. And here are a whole bunch of other work-in-progress photos that might eventually form a selected body of work. But that's some time in the future, and that's not the important thing right now.

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Like the previous photo, this one is from my first roll of film, and is a wider version of a photo that I included in my introductory panortho blog post. Some final images might use my usual 40:25 (~16:10) aspect ratio, but most will be the 5:2 that I like – and that's the 'panoramic' part of the project name. They could print 12" high and 30" long, which would make me happy.

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Ontario Place is an iconic blip on Toronto's waterfront and psyche. I spent a weekend aimlessly wandering the simultaneously mothballed and reopened grounds, at a loss for any organizing principle to guide me. (Much like the Ontario government that owns it, but I digress.)

Then a phrase lodged inside my mind: This is what we thought the future would look like.

For now that's the title that I gave this image when I presented it to my largely-flummoxed critique group, but eventually I'd like to expand that idea into its own series.

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More from Ontario Place. The whole idea behind the project is to express anxiety and chaos, frustration and grief. Each image here is probably between five and eight exposures in overlapping increments, with the film shot through the camera twice.

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Catching the streetcar home from the CNE grounds: I was very excited to have Flexity streetcar #4444 standing idle while I waited. You can see here where the film strip joins up and overlaps.

There are no distinct 'photos' here, just retroactive selections from one long continuously exposed negative. (Cutting it into strips that my scanner can digitize is a necessary evil.) When cropped to the 5:2 aspect ratio the full-sized images are a bit over nine thousand pixels long, or about 34Mpx. As tiff files, which these thankfully are not, they take up over 200MB each.

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This one might be too intentional to work. I meant to overlap the different statues on jaunty angles, which is different from my usual approach of just centering whatever impulse catches my eye in the frame and then moving on. Also seen here is a flower bed, a metal sun umbrella, one of the Queen's Park buildings, and Back Campus field. This is my walk home.

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And I'm not going to stop being me just because everything changes constantly. Words and signs catch my attention in a way that nothing else does. My real challenge is mixing the strong graphic communication with other scenes. The 'destroy' image has some power but the simple overlay of Back Campus is a bit weak. The one that's entirely signs pleases me, and makes an interesting autobiographical note, but doesn have much depth. The chaos of the third image works for me, with a mix of anxiety and conflicting messages, but would also benefit from a broader mix of scenes.

The good news is that, having figured out what's close but not quite right, I know what to do differently. Recording all of the various images is chaotic and impulsive, but not completely.

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Black lives matter.

And the only way to photograph a protest is from within it, as a part of it, and without compromising anyone's safety and identities. If you wouldn't go without your camera, don't go – you can be a voyeur from the comfort of your own home. The only exception is if you're photographing 'protests' that fall on the the pro-covid/qanon/nazi continuum: in that case spectate, mock, and expose to your heart's content.

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Perhaps because it's late at night on a tough day, in a year entirely composed of tough days, but I suspect this photo might have captured something. Something of these times, something more than I have any right to hope for.

I'm not sure.

Today, like all the days in the weeks since I scanned it, I feel like I'll have to come back and look at it again when I've finally had some sleep.