Lyndon Wiebe’s Lost In Travels: Solitary Confinement Exhibit

The opening reception, hosted at Urban Gallery, of Lyndon Wiebe’s Lost In Travels: Solitary Confinement Photography Exhibit ignited the travel bug in all of us. The exhibit captured Wiebe’s seven years of working and travelling as a chef abroad with two of his friends while filming a travel-based web series called Without Boarders. After travelling around Canada, New Zealand and various countries in Asia and Africa, Wiebe’s discovered a whole new love and passion for photography.

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Red Right Hand – Thaipusam, Batu Caves, Near KL, Malaysia

Wiebe’s stunning photography captured not only his travels over the years, but also the way humans are isolated in the world around us. Whether we’re alone or with a group of people, we always get lost in our own thoughts. Every photo allowed viewers to get a glimpse of different people around the globe. It was impossible not to gaze into the photographs and feel a connection that managed to isolate you from the room you were in and the people around you. It’s as if you zone out and enter the photograph taking in all of its surroundings and become engaged in your own thoughts.

Lyndon Wiebe’s Lost In Travels: Solitary Confinement exhibit will run at the Urban Gallery located at 400 Queen East until February 25th 2015. For more information about the exhibit visit the Urban Gallery website.

Arts & Culture Editor’s Pick for 2015: Bojana’s Grungy Must-Have

I am obsessed with this grungy antique looking Axe Necklace from Canon Blanc. This beautifully handcrafted piece by Corpus Christi was made in Paris, the city of light. What makes this pendant so unique is that it’s made of both bronze (handle of pendant) and sterling silver (head of pendant), which is a very rare technique used in jewelry making. You can layer it with other dainty necklaces or leave it as an edgy staple piece.

Editor's Pick- Axe Necklace

Canon Blanc brings a little bit of Parisian fashion and lifestyle to Toronto with some gorgeous pieces that can’t be found in many places in the city. There are two locations; one on Queen & Bathurst and the other in the north end at Yonge & Craighurst Ave. Visit Canon Blanc’s website HERE for this Axe Necklace and more stunning pieces.

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Profile: Street Photographer Michael Fraser

Michael Fraser is a Toronto-based street photographer who captures intimate yet revealing photographs of not only human interaction but also the way human beings interact with the city they live in. Fraser mainly works with the traditional colour and black & white film illustrating the various aspects of light, composition and shadow through his breathtaking photography.

Though he loves photographing the streets of Toronto, including Kensington Market and the Eaton Centre’s downtown core, his passion for travel has inspired many of his notable works. He has photographed various cities including Paris, London, San Francisco, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, and Beijing but one special place he always loves to photograph is New York. In 2014, his work was selected to appear in the Contact Photography Festival in the Junction with his titled exhibit From Here to There. Fraser sat down over some coffee at The Roastery with Novella to discuss his craft.

Novella: What drew you to street photography? And how did you discover your passion for it?

Michael: It was something that I gravitated towards. I’ve been shooting for 5-6 years now and I started doing portrait work and commercial work and it didn’t really fulfill that artistic desire. So street photography happened organically and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Novella: In your opinion, what makes a memorable street photograph?

Michael: That’s a good question. It has to do with great composition, great lighting, great timing and stuff like that. One memorable photograph that I think is just perfect is Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare taken in 1932 by Henri Cartier-Bresson. It was really taken at the perfect moment. Also, Garry Winogrand, an older photographer, once said that, “Photography is not about the thing being photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed”. I really believe that.

Novella: What street photographers have influenced your career?

Michael: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz, Joel Meyerowitz, Garry Winogrand, Trent Parke and Matt Stuart.

That Way

Novella: What do you want your viewers to take away after looking at your work?

Michael: I just want them to feel something. The thing that I hate most is when people say “nice capture” [laughs]. I’d rather they say they don’t like it. But really I love my work to resonate with people. I really feel like I’ve succeeded when the viewers can connect with my work in some way.

Novella: When you start shooting, are your images planned or more spontaneous?

Michael: I would say it’s mixed. I mean you can’t ever completely plan out what you’re going to shoot for street photography it’s impossible. But you can choose a spot you’re going to photograph and just wait. Sometimes I wait for hours until something pops up. Like one of my works that I shot in Boston with a man crossing a street; I chose that spot because I knew it was perfect. The lighting was great, the shadows produced from the buildings was just right and the fact that there weren’t many people in that area. So for this shot I waited hours for that right moment. Then the more spontaneous photos are taken just walking around random streets and things just happen. Also, sometimes you won’t always have your camera on you so it’s important to see photographs without a camera so it’s about training your eyes as well.

Novella: What work/collection are you most proud of?

Michael: That’s a tough question. There’s one I took and it’s a silhouette of a man with stream from the sewers [called Steamy] and there was another one I took in Boston of a man crossing the street [called Void].

Contact_2014_Final-1

Novella: Travelling, has been one of your main inspirations. Where in the world haven’t you been, but are dying to travel and photograph?

Michael: I would have to say India. I’m actually travelling there November/December 2015. My favourite place to photograph is New York City. There’s just so many people and I like that. Also, everyone knows about NYC, even if you haven’t travelled, so it’s easier to put a feel to the photographs.

Novella: What type of gear do you use?

Michael: I shoot colour and B&W film with a Leica MP and a Leica M2, a Mamiya 7, and a Hasselblad 500cm.

Novella: Fill in the blank: I can’t live without______.

Michael: Family and my camera, it’s an extension of yourself.

Novella: What is your ritual before you start to shoot?

Michael: It’s just getting into the zone. I know if I’m going to have a good or bad day; it’s really all on me. If I feel like it’s going to be a good day, I ride out that feeling.

You can check out more of Fraser’s work HERE.

Amrita Gill, Owner of Parloque, talks about breaking gender norms

Genderless clothing is fastly becoming a common trend in fashion. In the past, stealing clothes from your boyfriend/girlfriend closet was one way to add gender neutral items into your wardrobe. We had a chat with Amrita Gill, owner of PARLOQUE, who is breaking down gender-related titles with the store’s curated concept ONE.

What inspired you to curate non-gender specific items for Parloque?

It came to my attention that there were two things happening at PARLOQUE. One, a lot of the styles that we were bringing in were either unisex or could be considered unisex /gender neutral. Two, some people would stop themselves from going into another section after finding out it was the opposing gender, even though they wanted to.

I thought, why are we perpetuating the cycle we stand against; people confining themselves to boundaries and rules that just don’t make sense. PARLOQUE is here to help people break out of that – enter the curated genderless section in the shop as well as online.

Who are a few of the designers that you carry? Can you tell us a little bit about the selection process?

We carry Untitled & Co, Blanc de Noir, Wordsmiths United, New Regime to name a few. We look for brands that catch our eye when it comes to aesthetics, that are doing something innovative in fashion and prices that make sense for the quality. If you have those, AND are from Canada you might as well have a golden ticket for the selection process.

Why do you think it’s important that we finally start to steer away from gender norms?

It’s important because we’re never going to achieve equality amongst humans until we stop putting ourselves into boxes and categories and sub categories. Boxes that have all these rules and regulations that don’t make sense yet we follow them blindly without questioning.
In this day and age, with the progression we’ve achieved to date, it’s kind of ridiculous to still have segregation amongst any humans in any aspect of life

What is your first fashion memory?

My first fashion memory could be a false one since I’ve heard my mother tell it a million and one times but it involves me, about 3 years old kicking up a tantrum after she had chosen a bit of a plain outfit for me; I refused to wear it and choose this ridiculous shiny, disco looking dress that was apparently my favourite.

How have your clientele responded?

PARLOQUE’s clientele have reacted well. People seem appreciative of the fact that we’re trying to do something positive here. We’ve had customers literally telling us that it’s made their experience more easygoing and comfortable, which is really rewarding to hear.

Visit Parloque at 1093 Queen St. W, Toronto ON or online here 

Gladstone Hotel’s Annual Alternative Design Event

Gladstone Hotel’s 12th Annual Come Up To My Room is Toronto’s biggest alternative design event. Created by Christina Zeidler and Pamela Matharu, the event challenges designers to transform the space of an old hotel into the way they envision it. The outcome of the designers altered the way viewers would interpret and move around throughout the rooms. In order to create the dialogue between the audience and designers, the creators thought it was best to give the designers full creative control over the room.

“We do not choose projects,” said Christina. “We choose artists. We invite them and they know the space of the room, and respond to the challenge of creating within what they are given. It is a safe space to create, and with that, creates the risk and trust factor that makes this project what it is. The audience just isn’t viewing from afar; they are in your art, and you can feel the energy within the project change, like an alchemy.”

The kick-off night, fittingly called Design Pirates, featured designers who were both classically trained and self-made design pirates, in order to illustrate how the industry responds to both sides. The conversation, hosted by Zahra Ebriham and Fluffy Soufflé, featured Nerupa Somasale who is a member of the Torontonian sector of the Mammalian Diving Reflex. Though Somasale falls into the latter category of those without classic training and sees her projects as fun, she’s been called a visual performer and an artist. She participated in the 2014 edition of CUTMR, creating a visual performance with her team.

“We were going to do a teenager’s room, but then, you can see that anywhere,” Somasale laughed. “So we did a parody of a teenager’s room, an expression of teenage life, from the beginning of adolescence to finding their identity. It smelled of pizza and anxiety.” For someone with no formal training, Somasale has ended up with a residency at both the Gladstone Hotel as well as the notable A.G.O. This year, Somasale will be working at CUTMR, manning the elevator to support the event, and she looks forward to listening to the conversations that will take place around her.

Tonight’s opening reception of the CUTMR will be hosted at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street West) at 7:00pm-10pm and will run until January 25th. This year’s curators are Jaclyn Blumas, Robert Cram, Caitlin Plewes, and Britt Welter-Nolan. For a full list of participants and for more information, check out Come Up To My Room‘s website .

If attending the event, don’t forget to hashtag #CUTMR2015 on social media.

Photo Credit: Agata Piskunowicz