Growing up, I’d heard the story many times: grandpa was a young sailor with the merchant marines when his ship that sunk at sea, grandma saw the newspaper article with his photo and dreamed of marrying him years before she’d met him, the incredible twist of fate that brought them together, and the moment she was shocked to find out he was the man from the newspaper article years earlier.
I’ve always wanted to document my grandparents’ story, not just because it’s so fascinating and unique but because, in a way, it’s my entire family’s story. As it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought the time was right to finally write it, and I feel extremely privileged and honoured to have been able to do so for Zoomer Magazine:
On August 27, 1946, violent ocean winds pummeled the merchant marine freighter Fort Boise against the unforgiving rocks off Dog Island shoal, near the coast of eastern Canada. Fog engulfed the doomed vessel and, according to an account in the Toronto Daily Star, the wind and waves conspired to, “(break) her back within an hour.” Blind in the haze and tossed about in the wreckage, the crew made a desperate dash for the lifeboats….
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.
A few weeks ago, walking along Toronto’s harbourfront, I was approached by a curious little duck who proceeded to stare up at me before taking some time to chew on my shoelace.
Luckily, I had my camera on my and started to take a few shots as this little guy tried to figure out what this clicking machine that I stuck in his face was. He was a great subject too — he seemed to pose every time I wanted to take a shot. I guess it was a duck version of “blue steel.”
I left after a few minutes to run to the store, but when I returned a passing dog had scared him away and I was left standing with a loaf of bread and no fowl to feed. That meant a lot of sandwiches for the next week or so. And with every corned beef or tuna and cheese, I thought of him.
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.