stranger in a strange land

I had a few goals for my trip.

First, I wanted desperately to fit into the city; I set out to capture the essence of Toronto as an insider, rather than from the perspective of a tourist. Big cities are notoriously capable at identifying outsiders, and Toronto has an enduring reputation of being incredibly narcissistic. I certainly did come across that mentality occasionally, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that most people I met were welcoming and accepting, even approaching friendly at times. Even at the trendiest cafes and restaurants I was treated as though I belonged. I was also stopped on the street 4 separate times for directions. This felt terrific, even if the directions I gave were woefully ill-informed.

Secondly, I wanted to break my fear of asking people to take their picture. There have been numerous times where I have seen a cool frame or an interesting backlighting and been too timid to ask if I could take the shot. I also don't want to be the guy who just sets up and starts taking pictures in front of people. That guy is creepy.

So I started asking. And I've been shocked to find that every single person has said yes.

C and I were enjoying tea, tarts and the Saturday Globe in a park with a friend of hers who, incidentally, is on the editorial board for the Globe. Suffice to say, it was a strange experience reading the paper in front of a guy who writes it. The sun was beaming, and my eye was drawn to this bench over and over again. People came and went; an elderly gentleman with a cane, an uber-enthusiastic Lulule-mom with three blonde moppets, a busker with his guitar. All were interesting subjects...but not what I was looking for.

Then these two sat down. They perfectly embody the hipster-chic ethos that I love so much about this city. I took a deep breath, and approached them. With a smile, I simply asked 'Do you mind if I take your picture?'

Although it only took a moment, I didn't dare breath.

'Uh, yeah. No worries.' And a small, knowing smile. Another reason to keep on asking.

10.5.08. Cropped to 3X5, slightly increased exposure, reduced lowlights.

No comments: