Wednesday, September 19, 2007

number crunching

My head is spinning and I've been having trouble sleeping because of it. We've had three agents to price our house (because I didn't like the first agent's price suggestion), and instead of leaping sheep I have endless numbers swirling around my head -- all night long, awake or asleep.

However, I had a particularly bright spot in my day yesterday. Walking downtown to buy yet more grass seed, the barrage of numbers running relentlessly through my mind and distracting my vision, we passed some kids hanging out outside Fresh Start. Four of them, in a row, and I was dying to take a picture. But I continue to be stopped up by my self-consciousness, my awareness that I would be photographing Disadvantaged Youths and feeling guilty for responding to that, for labelling them. So I just walked past them.

As I was passing, one of them commented on how cute Swee'pea was, so I stopped and we chatted. About how our local youth shelter, which served dinner to 30 kids every night and had 20 emergency beds closed suddenly in June with no alternative available. About how they're still waiting for the city to set up a new space and how it won't be downtown anymore. They seemed like genuinely nice kids, and I asked for a photo. I left feeling sad that I never got off my ass to help out at the shelter, and how I wish I'd made more effort to make that photographic project happen, although maybe it's better to give the kids a camera and let them represent themselves anyways. I'd like to volunteer now but since we're leaving town, it's just another lost opportunity. Still, I suppose there will be lots of Disadvantaged Youths in Toronto, too many to count or even to notice after a while, I bet.

spare-change-now-acidic

After I left them, I saw this guy pulling out a smoke and couldn't resist. He's sitting in front of the grand old post office.

Ed-06-acidic

Later, I saw an old crazy friend from school, who I hadn't seen in many years but who's all of a sudden everywhere I go. In fact, I've been seeing a lot of people I haven't seen in nearly ten years... a former lover, and the guy who made good sandwiches in the cafeteria (one of the agents who came to our house yesterday).

cornerstone009

I'd been feeling really blocked, photographically, unable to make the kind of images I want to (i.e. with people), so I felt a lot better. Still, I didn't sleep well and I feel hungover today, like some kind of time machine has opened up between my crazy school days and now.

19 comments:

b*babbler said...

What amazing photos. I love the one of the guy in front of the post office. And you gave the kids such humanity. Oftentimes they are pictured just looking like nuisances, or worse, thugs.

As for street kids in Toronto - there is no shortage of places to help out here.

Beck said...

Beautiful photos - you show such sensitivity and kindness in your pictures.

slouching mom said...

The photo of the kids is beautiful. They look so sweetly receptive, almost eager, to be noticed, not for their misdeeds, but for something innocent and reminiscent of their younger days.

NotSoSage said...

Sin, they're all lovely. I like the middle one so, so much.

I think it's such a terrible thing for Fresh Start to be finding a place outside of downtown.

I love seeing the town through your eyes.

Kyla said...

I love your photos, always. You have a gift, friend.

mamatulip said...

The picture of the man sitting outside of the post office is fabulous. I love your photographs.

cinnamon gurl said...

Sage, I should be clear. It's not Fresh Start that's closing, it's a shelter called Change Now, which closed suddenly -- overnight -- in June. Fresh Start is just trying to fill the gap.

Christine said...

i like those pictures--a lot.

and just photographing and showing us and the world and talking about these kids is helping out in a way, too.

flutter said...

Your eye is so exquisite

Matthew M. F. Miller said...

Amazing pics, lady! Seriously - your respect for your subjects really shines throght.

Mimi said...

Beautiful photos. I hope catching some moments in time helps you to stop all those numbers spinning around ...

Aliki2006 said...

I *love* that first photo, I really love it.

Bon said...

those random encounters with the past...they're weird, aren't they? they make me feel like i'm still twelve, or twenty, or whatever...all the good and bad that that implies.

i love the photos, Sin. the kids, the agent, the old guy with the smoke - that one i'd like to frame.

Denguy said...

We had three agents price the last house we sold and my wife didn't like any of their suggestions. She came up with her own price and stuck to it.

nomotherearth said...

Sin, please say that when you come to Toronto, you will come over and take photos of my kids. Please? You have such a great eye. I'm sure we could work out a deal. (Maybe you would like a painting of Swee'pea? Portraits are my thing, and I can work from any photo you have that you love.)

kgirl said...

I'm happy you're coming. there's lots of good stuff for a snap-happy gal here. promise.

Jennifer said...

Fantastic photos. Wow.

crazymumma said...

You need to go and see this site.

http://anagraphia.blogspot.com/

Your photos are beautiful, and you will sadly have so many opportunities once you move here.

niobe said...

It goes practically without saying that I adore and admire your photos. Here's my question, though, which you can answer by email (like.niobe.all.tears at that google-based email) if you don't want to clutter up your blog. How do you manage to get photos of strangers? Do you ask their permission? Do you just snap shots when they're not looking. I'm always afraid I'll upset people or that they'll move out of my way, thinking I'm trying to photograph something behing them.