Category Archives: Travel

Sad Elmo

Elmo, NYC, New York City, Times Square, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mike Crisolago

Poor Elmo needs a hug too.

I shot this in Times Square, New York City, from across the street while waiting for the light to change. Before the photo, Elmo was  hugging an admirer and by the time I crossed the street he was heading deeper into the heart of TImes Square with fans in tow. It was just this instant when his body language, posture, and expression made the scene possible. Alvin’s beady eyes as he gets a hug added to what appears to be Elmo’s anguish.


Lamps on the Boardwalk

Dufferin Terrace Boardwalk, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, Mike Crisolago, Photography

I got lucky here. No tripod. No solid surface to shoot from. Clear evening. The only bench on the Dufferin Terrace Boardwalk that wasn’t occupied. A camera that has a tendency to shoot less than crisp images.

Shot on a recent trip to Quebec City. The city never fails to inspire.

A Composite Image of Rome, and Why that’s Okay

Italy, Italia, Rome, Travel, Street Photography, Photography, Composite Image

This shot is one of my favourites from a trip to Rome a few years back. Until recently, I skipped over it whenever I skimmed through my folder of images because it was taken in a narrow street that, in the afternoon sun, created a long shadow over the couple walking and the colourful ornaments strung between the two buildings. It was only in the last few months or so that I attempted re-editing it and making it a composite image, as I did with this shot of downtown Toronto.

Sure, some photography purists would say that this isn’t true photography — and the very few times I’ve actually employed the technique I’d be lying if I said I didn’t question it myself. But after considering it for about 5 seconds, I got over it. Here’s why:

Essentially what I did was lighten the photo and increase the saturation and contrast and so that the alley, that was once dark and drab and uninspired is now brighter and more full of colour than it was in its original context. What makes it a composite is that the sky, which was completely washed out in the original, is actually taken from another image shot a short time after this one. I wanted the blue sky overhead, as it was when the shot was taken and before my camera manoeuvring rendered it completely white. I’m not saying it’s a perfect image by any means — I’m just describing what was done.

Now, this is hardly the biggest offender when it comes to composite images. Some photographers may have taken the people from different photos, the setting from another, the sky from a fourth, the ornaments from a fifth, and so on. For some, this means that it isn’t pure photography — as if somewhere Henri Cartier-Bresson is rolling in anguish around his grave.

I look at it this way: what is a pure art form? The earliest humans scratched drawings onto cave walls, so perhaps that’s the answer. One they introduced pigments, did that bastardize the purity of the picture? Or was that the sin of the first great artists, who decide against scratching their images into stone in favour of charcoal on paper or paint on canvas? Does a writer editing a manuscript, or a filmmaker splicing scenes kill the artistic credibility of those pieces because they didn’t leave them as written or shot? Or, more to that end, did colourization kill the art of movies?

My point is that every art form is an evolution of another. If this was a journalistic shot, then yes, it would be a problem because you’re reporting from a scene and the ethics of a journalist that are not to be compromised at any turn. As an art form, however, photography is allowed the same amount of creative license as any other medium. Sure, you may feel betrayed in a gallery if you find out that a photograph of a beautiful scene that caught your eye is really a composite of two, or three, or more images. But too bad.

You don’t have to like it, but I’ve heard people complain about composite images and I used to agree with them. Then I thought of it in terms of an evolutionary quirk of the art form, and I’m fine with it. Like with music — where if my ears like it them I’m fine with it — if my eyes enjoy an image then I don’t want to get picky over how it was shot or if it was edited using this software or that editing suite. I just don’t have the time. There’s too many more photographs to take.

Focus 365 — Not a Sunset, but a Sunrise

This is the 365th post in my Focus 365 series — a supplement to Bastard Type.

For those not familiar with Focus 365, it was a little project I started on January 1st, 2011 in an effort to share a photo for each day of the year. The idea was to try and put some good vibes back out into the world through art and creativity. Sometimes I missed a day or two and caught up the next day. Sometimes, like in recent months after my hiring on at Zoomer magazine combined with freelance work I’ve been doing, I missed weeks at a time and had to update with multiple photos per day to catch up. I was completely fine with that and it was worth it.

The was certainly a good year to take on the Focus 365 challenge. Over the year I posted photos from Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Florence, Rome, Siena and New York City. In that year this blog’s audience grew by the thousands, and I can’t thank everyone enough.

For the record, the top five Focus 365 blog posts were, in order:

Peeling Restaurant (November 21)
The Beautiful Discovery of Henri Cartier-Bresson (February 20)
Bacchus to the Future (May 14)
The Accidental Genius of Eugène Atget (May 12)
Heating it Up with Erin English (July 20)

As the title of this post says, the image above is not a sunset, but a sunrise. I look forward to continuing this blog into 2012, meeting even more wonderful readers and bloggers who I’ve chatted with and even come to know on Facebook and Twitter, and interacting with people around the world through art and writing on this blog.

Thank you all for validating my belief that art grows communities and brings constructive energy with it. This small corner of the internet has seen that happen over the last year, and I look forward to continuing with writing and posting photos on here while watching it grow even more in 2012.

Prayers for blessings and good will in this new year.


January, 2012

Man on a Giant Bicycle

Pierre Bernier, a kind man who runs Museovelo, a bicycle shop on rue St-Jean in Quebec City, cycling around near his shop during a street festival last month, laughing and having a good time with passersby.

Check out another photo of him in action here.

Photographed in Quebec City, Quebec, 2011