Though I have to be honest, I have to confess: I have post-poned this post for personal reasons. One of said reasons is because (ready?) making brief but sincere and truthful statements about people that will honour their awesome and not be overly glorifying or false which will also maybe come up on a search engine so that other people outside my personal network might be made aware of these cool women is, in truth, vaguely daunting. Some of these women I will have known for half my life, and still don't know at all; others I've worked with for less than three hundred and sixty five days and they feel like siblings. Either way, writing about other women is fun but challenging. Sometimes so much so that I'm not sure what I'm writing about someone is accurate, and sometimes because I feel like it's insufficient. Regardless, there will always be a "profile" because that's the point of the project, and even if it is a relatively small blurb, these faces still mean a lot to me. Maybe this way you'll learn a little bit about me, too. Basically, the bottom line is that I can't promise portraits posted on the regular, because of that whole 'writing about other people' bit, but also because I work a lot! For myself, in the service industry, and as an artist. Such as life and hustling in the big city. I hope you understand. I'm sure you understand.
But that's all, that's the end of disclaimer. This post isn't entirely about me, it's really about this beautiful woman I met almost a decade ago,
Kate Christine Miller.
Kate and I were introduced by friends of mine in Guelph (where she did her BFA) though she would describe herself as being from "warm kitchens and smoky basements and over invested basketball coaches and houses that all look the same, but not in a new suburban way, the Niagara Region. Now Toronto is [her] home."
She always seemed like a very successful human, you know, a real grown ass woman to me. She was someone who I admired from afar, hung out with occasionally, but didn't know all that well. Maybe I just always knew she was a fellow feminist because of the cool people, my then "older" high school friends, who introduced us. We've been moving in the same Toronto circles for some years now, and more and more, I see the cool things she gets up to. I feel like I learned a lot about Kate while I photographed her, and even more when she answered my questionnaire, actually.
Kate is passionate about working with and empowering kids (read: smashing the patriarchy) and has a few amazing gigs. She works with youth at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, as well as at Delisle Youth Services in midtown, and works for the forever badass Shameless Mag.
One thing I really noticed was that Kate was pretty much always ready, from the moment I arrived to the one I rode away, to stare right into the guts of my camera.
She's got a sweet apartment set up on Toronto's west side where she practices drumming on a cool kit in her room and seems to take good care of herself and her friends.
'til next time,
Well people, I've been busy photographing the amazing women in my life, and learning more about them and theirs, portrait by portrait. Though you don't see much talk-face happening, these images are mostly made mid-conversation: chats that range from hilariously casual to deeply personal and revolve around sentiments we don't often flesh out (frustration, anticipation, etc) because we're busy bantering.
So here's Rebecca. We met on the island a few years ago and something clicked. We may not see each other often, but I have a deep like and respect for this one.
Rebecca is from Streetsville, Mississauga but spent a good deal of time growing up (and now living + working) in Toronto. She's a graphic designer with a knack for type design. More and more lately, we see each other schlepping around our west-end neighborhood. To me, Cianfrini is a woman who knows what she needs, has a chill and perhaps vaguely cynical outlook, and looks fly in a leather jacket.
Thanks for looking, and expect new faces next week!
So here we are, the second installation of this tentatively titled project.
This week I present to you
Sarah is a woman of many hats. Actually, one of the first times I met her she was dressed as a massive, walking rock. Like this huge, exceptionally realistic papier-maché rock was one of said hats, and it was amazing. Sure, she studied a little bit of everything at NSCAD, but right now she's got good things going on in the heart of Toronto. She's one of a small group of artists and curators who are taking over and transforming one of the oldest standing buildings on Spadina Ave into a gallery+event+garden+etc space. In the past, Sarah was (an intensely private sketcher and film dork but is now becoming more and more interested in any kind of socially engaging work, which is a pretty nice transition if you ask me.
Kilpack is savvy with herbs and tinctures, environment + costume design; she always has some interesting concoction or stone or other neat thing to tell me about when I see her. These days Sarah spends a chunk of her time volunteering or training with various community driven organizations such as The Stop and you can find her at Double Double Land one Monday a month, making sure the monthly comedy show Doored runs smoothly.
Hey, hi! Nice to see you.You may have noticed that I don't often blah blah here, but I thought I would take a sentence or two to let you know that a new, yet-to-be named, long-term portrait project starts now. Yes yes, I make portraits all the time, but you'll now notice brief and informal profiles about the women pictured.
Get to know these women and their work.
Shall we begin?
This is Brette Gabel.
You may have seen her here before. I think she looks a lot more serious in these photos than she is in life, but here she is, looking pretty mellow at home. She's a friend and a maker hailing from Regina but has lived and worked in Toronto for a while now. Actually, Brette was planning her wedding while finishing her MFA at OCADU and just exhibited her IAMD thesis show at 2186 Dundas West. You can see her beautiful work (quilts! installations! video! BG does it all) here and you might even run into walking her cool dog Ozzy in Toronto's East end.
This last photograph, I think, is an expression that is more "Brette". She's got some ascerbic wit, a pretty dark sense of humour, and what I perceive as a very no-bullshit, inherently feminist outlook on life. Until next week...