Main Tabs

28.2.15

SF/Bay Area photo diary pt.2

Pretty much the only thing I have to talk about is the weather. It's cliché, I know, but this Montreal winter has been particularly brutal this year.  Engaging in denial, wool, and reminiscing of warmer times may or may not help me get through this North of the Wall winter, but it's worth a try.
Ahhh...I can feel the warmth on my face already...


After the sunset at Freemont Older Open Space Preserve and hanging with some dear friends and toddlers, we headed to some wine tastings in the Healdsburg area (lots of love for J Vineyards) and got some middle-of-the-day booze naps in Novato.
Onwards to San Francisco.


More crab was found at Ocean Beach as we sipped our Trouble Coffee in the sand.  Much architecture was admired. No, wait, much architecture was consistently inciting exclamations of love and real estate envy.  I could barely keep it together.

.

1. #lookup, Outerlands
2. a work by Ted Noten in the Ornamentum booth at the FOG Design+Art fair
3. more java at Blue Bottle Coffee in the Heath Ceramics factory


What, is it the end already? Back to reality



7.2.15

Jodorowsky's Dune

image from here

I love documentary films, they are my go-to cinematic selections that feed that side of me that needs to know.  I'm a compulsive google-er and I've always loved watching DVD/Blu-ray extras after the movie.  Now present me with a documentary about the making of a movie?  About Alejandro Jodorowsky's efforts to bring Frank Herbert's Dune to life? Give it to me.

I used to photograph in-between frames of films back in the CRT television days.  This was one image I saved from El Topo (1970), my first introduction to Jodorowsky.  This film is a surrealist and absurdist hero's journey in the form of a western, starring Jodorowsky himself as the main figure. This film falls in the same school of thought featuring visually rich and symbolically heavy tableaux as Parajanov or Fellini have created in their earlier films.  

In Jodorowsky's Dune (2013), the viewer is introduced to an ambitious feat in science-fiction filmmaking, one that never comes to fruition.  The film re-lives Jodorowsky's journey in assembling his army of "spiritual warriors" with names like H.R Giger, Dan O'Bannon, Orson Welles and Salvador Dali (!?!?!?) being attached to the project. This totally boggled my mind. 

Jodorowsky and Pavich, image from here

There are loads of incredible nuggets in this Frank Pavich directed doc, but so much of the life of the film comes from the central character, Jodorowsky himself, bursting with energy and colourful quotes.

On filmmaking:
"What is the goal of life? It's to create yourself a soul. For me, movies are an art...more than an industry.  And it's the search of the human soul...as painting, as literature, as poetry.  Movies are that for me."

On his ambitions:
"My ambition with Dune was tremendous.  So what I wanted was to create a prophet. I want to create a prophet to change the young minds of all the world.  For me Dune will be the coming of a god.  Artistical, cinematographical god.  For me, it was not to make a picture.  It was something deeper.  I wanted to make something sacred, free, with a new perspective.  Open the mind!  [...] My ego, my intellect, I want to open!  And I start the fight to make Dune."

On assembling his army or team of collaborators:
"In that time I was like a prophet, I was enlightened.  And I give to them that they are not only making a picture.  They are making something important for humanity.  They have a mission, they were warriors."

Richard Stanley on Jodorowsky:
"Alejandro is a bit like a dictator or a cult leader in assembling his army around him.  Alejandro's genius was picking those people and finding absolutely the right people for designing the spaceship, the clothes or designing the whole look of the world.  I think he seized the potential of science-ficiton."

In the end, it was not meant to be.  Despite amount of prep that had gone into the project, financing did not go through citing the lack of confidence in the director's ability to helm such a big project. In 1984, a non-sensical studio romp of Dune was released, directed by David Lynch, who has since distanced himself from the project.

Jodorowsky on the studio system:
"This system make of us slaves.  Without dignity. Without depth.  With a devil in our pocket.  This incredible money in our pocket.  This money.  This shit.  This nothing. This paper who have nothing inside.  Movies have heart.  Have mind.  Have power.  Have ambition.  I wanted to do something like that.  Why not?"

On viewing Lynch's Dune:
"When I heard that David Lynch would direct, I have a pain because I admire David Lynch.  He can do it! [...] I suffer because it was my dream, another person will do that maybe better than me.  [...] I will not go to see [the picture] because I will die.  And my sons say, "No, we are warriors.  You need to come and see that." [...] I start to see the picture and step by step, step by step, step by step, I became happy because the picture was awful!  It's a failure!  Well, it's a human reaction no?  I say, "It is not possible.  Is not David Lynch because he is a big artist."  Is the producer that did that."

Although we might fantasize of the greatness that could have been, is it possible that Jodorowsky was spared from disaster and the weight of such a big production?  Maybe the film would have toiled in a cinematic hell as Lynch's did?  
In the end Jodorowsky fulfills his prophecy as the influence of the well-documented imagery and the assembled warriors have since permeated the cinematic landscape.  They are all whispering, "I am Dune."

25.1.15

SF/Bay Area photo diary pt.1

Above, the soaring trees of Big Basin Redwoods State Park 

Ah yes, I'm still in vacation mode.  I've been culling through the piles of images I shot playing with the new Canon 7D MarkII, which yielded great results.  But sometimes the good old iPhone 6 worked out just fine when the DSLR wasn't on me and produced equally good shots.  So this post (the outdoorsy/nature post) and part two (the city-ish post) of the photo diary will be a mix of the two cameras and astute viewer can likely spot the difference.

A lone windblown tree at Davenport Beach

The pier at Capitola Beach

       Big Sur coming up...
All the superlatives you've ever heard about driving along SR1/Pacific Coast Highway and its epic stunning amazingness are all true.  I couldn't get enough of the view and I was completely mind-bloggled at the many mailboxes and driveways entrances that lined the west side of the highway.  People live down there!? WTF?  I sent out a wish to the universe for a dinner invitation to one of these homes during the short time we would spend down in Big Sur.  Alas, this wish did not come true.  As we were driving back from the Esalen hot springs at 3am blissed out on minerals, our little rental vehicle struck a rock of misjudged size and was promptly ripped of its oil pan.  Major buzzkill.   Thank goodness for insurance.

Onwards to the north...
Driving north on California 1 from San Francisco we headed to Muir Woods. We took a crazy winding detour on the Panoramic Highway, a narrow cliff hugging road that led us to Stinson Beach as alas, the Muir Beach access was closed.  We went back south on the 1 with more twists and turns towards our lunch at the Pelican Inn before heading into the woods.  We saw more epic trees and filled our lungs with delicious oxygenated air. 

Having not been to the West coast since I was a very small child (so I don't think it really counts), I have to say you Californians are SPOILED for intense natural beauty! Oh, and great weather.  I'm having serious denial problems about being back to the cold.

20.1.15

charcoal


I was in the San Francisco bay area for a couple of weeks and all I have to show for it is a bunch of charcoal.
Ah, but this is not just any charcoal, behold Binchotan charcoal!  This white charcoal (even though it looks black) is of Japanese origin and boasts not only low temperature cooking heat while burning, but purifying properties which have made Binchotan a desirable material in a whole slew of products.  This brings back memories of treating food poisoning/mystery stomach bugs with charcoal tablets in Thailand-awesome!
Here's what came home with me:

1. Binchotan toothbrush by Morihata
Morihata makes a range of Binchotan based products and I picked up their toothbrush. Ok, I'm a charcoal newbie and this toothbrush is promising to refresh and revitalize my mouth-even before the toothpaste hits the charcoal blended bristles.  Very exciting.

2.  Binchotan charcoal sticks by black + blum
I'm going to use these to purify and filter my tap water into delicious, free urban nectar, but these sticks can also be used to deodorize rooms/shoes, has cooking uses, and when its lifespan is over the charcoal can be used as fertilizer.

3. Deitanseki Soap (clay and charcoal facial cleansing bar from Nippon Kodo
The woman who rang up my purchase raved about this soap transforming her skin (which was pretty awesome by the way).  The packaging lists "carbon powder" and not Binchotan as the charcoal ingredient, if there's a difference, I would not be able to identify that just yet.  Wait til I get my hands on some Binchotan soap...

Bonus SF shopping thoughts:
photo: Miansai

This bracelet: The Miansai screw cuff.  I spotted it, tried it on and fell in love the first day in SF meandering the Mission District.  I catalogued it in my brain and kept wandering.  The next day, while strolling only a handful of blocks on Hayes street in Hayes Valley, I kept seeing the identical selections of Miansai jewelry over and over in the various shops I would pop into!  To be fair, I spotted recurrences of similar selections of Giles & Brother, Erica Weiner, and Catbird but no joke-on the same side of the SAME BLOCK lo and behold THREE shops carried similar selections of Miansai.  Their sales rep had a field day in Hayes Valley!

Now that I got that off my chest, I can say that the retail experience in SF was pretty awesome. Great conceptual stores, good merchandising, and definitely more focused on "lifestyle" shopping.  Get your apparel, your personal care products, a bowl for your cereal and a book for the road.  Be done with it.

19.12.14

Holiday Gift Guide Cadeau

With the holidays right around the corner, there is certainly last minute gift shopping taking place in full frenzy in the shops and online.
In case you haven't sorted out all your pressies for your family and your besties may I point you towards the 2014 holiday gift guides from ELLE Canada and ELLE Québec that I had loads of fun/stress-filled pleasure to research, edit and style.

As you can see it's a bit of same/same but different-spot the differences if you feel so intrepid.
While I love all the pages, I have a soft spot for the all black/all white mood shot, with a particular jonesing for those matte black ester & erik candles...just in case you were curious.

Joyeuses fêtes!

10.12.14

Tour de Bloc - New Kid on the Bloc

climber: Karine Gervais

In November Bloc Shop hosted a competition in the 12th season of Tour de Bloc's Canadian bouldering series' eastern division.  Yours truly was asked to capture the very photogenic sport-for my first time ever.  Taking up the task, I contacted seasoned climbing photographer François Lebeau for some sensei-like advice.  Over omelettes at Brooklyn Label Lebeau and I discussed lighting situations, shooting etiquettes and PocketWizards, filling my head with trepidation and antici...pation

 climber L: Florent Balsez R: Eveline Lapierre

climber: Sue Brumm

 climber: Marc-Antoine Vigneault

 climber: Clarrie Lam

climber: Ayo Sopeju

climber: Florent Balsez

While I had a couple of technical difficulties, I am pleased to say that I got a chalk-covered handful of images I was happy with. Whoo! Check out the whole series on Bloc Shop's Facebook page.

3.12.14

press days - SS15


A dear friend's four-year-old child came up with the wonderful term of "goose-boobs." It's meaning is when you have goose bumps, goose flesh or cutis anserina (if you want to get all technical) on your breasts.  And as the temperature drops, I am definitely suffering of goose-boobs.

I've been doing the rounds of showrooms and reconnecting face-to-face with the lovely PR and marketing gurus around town for spring/summer15 collections and yearning already for summer-or spring! Why don't we just skip winter for one year?

The above image (right) was taken during a cozy presentation by the Michael Kors team.  Somehow the flowers are the only image that survived a hasty phone clean-up.  Fortunately that black calf Bradshaw sandal from the SS15 lookbook is giving me something to look forward to as my toes will remain bundled until at least April.