Category Archives: Photo Stories

Lollipops on the Train (A True Story)

Photo courtesy of Benurs - Learning and learning... via Flickr (CC)

I saw this really sweet, genuine situation play out on the subway after work the other day and I’ve been meaning to write about it. This is all 100% true, which is why I want to share it:

An upbeat, joyful girl, probably around 22 or so, came walking through our crowded subway car during rush hour, handing out lollipops to strangers. She was sweet and trying to spread a little happiness to us weary commuters. She approached a really timid, somewhat lonely looking guy and asked him if he wanted one. Being that she was very beautiful and clearly very forward, the guy looked away shyly and shook his head.

She moved on, sitting at the other end of the car went and began talking with some other people she just met and gave lollipops to. After a few subway stops the really timid guy got up and walked across the car and over to the girl. In front of all the people gathered around he reached into his jacket, pulled out a large Dairy Milk bar, and handed it to her. She was overjoyed and thanked him. All the people she was sitting with applauded his effort and she was beaming with happiness. You could tell it took all his courage to make that simple but bold move. The guy then went back to his original seat without saying a word to the girl or anyone else. He didn’t stop smiling all the way to his stop, and neither did many of the previously grumpy commuters, including myself.

Two strangers on a crowded train during rush hour in the big city, offering gifts without asking for or expecting anything in return. Brilliant.

Grappling with a Python

Terry Jones, Monty Python, Toronto

On the theme of April Fools and jokes, this is a shot taken when I met and interviewed Terry Jones of the legendary British comedy troupe Monty Python. I have a short list of people I hope to meet and interview during my career, and this interview allowed me to check off one of those names. On this day of gags and pranks, I figured I’d post a shot of myself with one of the greatest comedians of all time.

Inside Union Station During the Storm

Union Station, Toronto, Photography, Street Photography, Mike Crisolago

I had my camera with me at the Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto for an event one evening last week, so as I headed home I decided to drop into Union Station on the way home to take a few photos. I’ve tried to take shots in Union Station before, inspired by the great shots I’ve seen of beautiful train stations from Union to Grand Central, but for some reason they’ve never turned out.

That evening, however, there was a different atmosphere inside the station. Outside the snow was falling quite hard and inside the mood was drowsy and slow, as if the weather had caused everyone to flee the downtown core early to head home. There were only a few souls left, slouched in chairs and wearily looking up at the train arrival times.

I didn’t have a tripod so I just backed up as far as I could, leaned against a wall, and started shooting. As well, since I’ve always tried to take shots from the west end of the station, since the big window on the east wall allows for great images of the sunlight coming in during the day, and my shots have never come out as I hoped, I tried shooting from the east end looking west. I like the result much more than I’ve ever liked my shots of Union Station in the past, so perhaps the change in location is key for me.

I’ll post more shots from that evening soon. Some are already up on my online photography portfolio.

Leaving the Grind Behind….

Photo copyright Hostopia

Perhaps my favourite shot I took during my time as a professional photographer. I came up with the concept of the mane undressing as he crosses the beach, tossing aside his work clothes to lay with his partner in the hot, topical sand.

Of course, the sand was neither hot, nor topical. It was September and this is Ashbridge’s Bay in Toronto. With some creative editing I think we made it look alright.

For more images feel free to check out my online portfolio.

Accordion Man of Rome

I photographed this man playing his accordion for change in Piazza Giuditta Tavani Arquati, Trastevere in Rome. When I approached him he had such a forlorn expression but his music was upbeat and enjoyed by the many tourists sitting around the square, including at the Peeling Restaurant. I gave him some change and asked if I could take a photo and he obliged. I wish I spoke Italian so that I could have learned a little but more about him. Alas, despite my nonna’s wishes, I never learned the language and all I have to remember my time with this accordion-playing gentleman is this photo.

Peeling Restaurant

Another example of one man’s trash being another’s treasure.

If this building stood in most modern cities today, it wouldn’t be standing for long. The peeling facade and age alone would probably earn it a date with a wrecking ball. I can tell you that here in Toronto we love to tear down buildings of character and replace them with tall, glass, hollow condo towers or some other mundane building project the city terms “revitalization.” This building, however, stands proudly in Rome. Sure it could use a paint job, but it’s still charming enough that crowds of afternoon patrons prevented us from procuring a seat on the patio for a little vino to go with the view.