This is my hood, here in Toronto. I lived in the west end of Toronto (Lansdown & Queen) until my parents bought their first house in the heart of the beaches in the east end of town. I was only 10 at the time and didn’t get a say in the matter. If I did, I would have fully supported the move. The west end, at that time, was a very inhospitable place for a 10 year old. The beaches was certainly a move up.
I remember that in the early part of every May my father and I would walk to the bottom of our street and smelt fish with a big net off the Balsam Ave peer. The pungent smell of fish and the sea (even though it’s a lake — Lake Ontario) would mix with the smell of burning wood, as folks used to have bonfires on the beach back then. It was always a great adventure for a boy my age. We’d bring home a bunch of smelts and my mom would fry ’em up with butter. I guess we didn’t know any better back then. You’d never eat fish off this lake nowadays.
When I was in my 20s and even my early 30s I would go for walks down the beach at night in May and the smell of the sea would take me back to those times with my dad. Back then there was a sort of magic to things that you could tune into, sort of like an ability to appreciate the world on a deeper level. The world was still a new place for me, I suppose, and I was still getting to know it. At some point, however, that desire to seek out the magic sorta died for me. Even now, with my camera in hand and my appreciation for photography, I don’t really connect to the things around me. There’s no explanation for it, I just grew up. But that’s okay.
I took this photo while walking along the beach with my friend Paula back in March. I like it because it’s a simple, quiet photo with only a couple of elements. Actually, when taking this sort of a photo, it’s a good idea to consider the elements in odd numbers, like a grouping of three or five or seven. Don’t ask me why. It was explained to me a long time back and I forget. In this shot we have the patch of rocks in the water, the fence line, and the people — three elements. I’m counting the water and sky as a backdrop. Anyway, hope you like it.