When you get that phone call. You know the one. The one where they ask you if you are sitting down. When that call comes time stands still and that moment is etched in your memory forever.
There is no 'right' way to grieve. Everyone finds their own way. My way was remembering through photographs. I sat on my bedroom floor surrounded by photo albums and memories sheltered under yellowing sticky tack pages. Some of the photos were faded. Some of the memories had faded as well, thankfully triggered by the existence of photographic evidence.
It wasn't until my uncle died suddenly last April that I realized how profoundly important photography is in our lives. Photographs helped to renew bonds within my family, they filled us with joy, they offered us relief from our grief, and they honoured my uncle's life.
This is the last photograph I took of my Uncle Stew in the summer of 2011. I will always remember his giggle, his bratty sense of humour and his love of life. I am so grateful I took a moment to take this image of him.
To have had those moments with him and to have this photographic memory. It is truly, a gift.
Once upon a time I did a photo project called the Mr/s. Movember Project and a curator named James Fowler from Toronto, Ontario discovered it online and asked me if I'd like to participate in his Project (this is the part where I reveal my special project).
The 10x10 Photography Project is a ten-year photo project currently in its third year. Each year ten photographers are chosen from across Canada to create ten portraits of LGBTQ Canadians who have contributed to the Arts.
I was incredibly honoured when James asked me to participate in the Project, and I almost said NO. I'm proud of myself for facing my fears and ultimately saying yes, because the Project has challenged me on so many levels. It has challenged my creativity, my confidence, my fear of failure, my photography skills and my communication skills. I'm halfway through the Project now and it has been a wonderful experience collaborating with talented people I so admire. We've had a blast playing in the studio and I'm excited for the upcoming shoots in April.
Alas, I cannot share the images with you until after the Toronto Gallery Showing and book launch in June. I can tell you that the concept for the Project involves vulnerability, body language, and having my people posed semi-nude. I've been collaborating with body painter Carole Lagimodiere (pictured below) and her work has enhanced the Project significantly. I am so grateful to my ten artists Amber Dawn, DJ Miss M, SD Holman, Paige Frewer, Gwen Haworth, Eileen Kage, David Robinson, Zoée Nuage, Mandy Randhawa, and Noam Gagnon. What an amazing gift it was to collaborate with you.
Connie and Taryn are so adoreable and were such an absolute delight to photograph. Here are a few of my favorite moments from their sweet and magical day.
First Look ~ photos by Robin Toma Photography
Bon Voyage you two.