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Footfalls

The Grand Mosque of Paris, September 2018 (Photo: Ian Garrick Mason)

The Grand Mosque of Paris was built in 1926 to honor the roughly 100,000 Muslim soldiers who were killed
fighting for France during the First World War. Later, during the German occupation in World War II, rector Si Kaddour Benghabrit arranged for many Jews to be given Muslim identity papers – even going so far as to inscribe a grandfather’s name on a blank tombstone which was then placed in a nearby Muslim cemetery – to keep them out of the hands of the Nazis. Unfortunately there has only been one on-the-record witness to these actions and little documentation (which is to be expected, since the practice had to survive German inquiries) apart from a contemporaneous memo written by the French foreign ministry noting that the occupation authorities had demanded that the mosque cease all such activities, so scholars are divided about just how many Jews were saved in this way. Still, the basic story is given credence by most who have looked into it, even if the scale is disputed.

We take our tales of human goodness where we can find them.


Jane

This image comes from a model test I did this past April in Toronto with Jane Walker of Peggi Lepage Models and Angie’s Models Toronto (with wonderful MUAH by Brooke Walker). It’s my favourite picture of Jane, I think, capturing her physicality and grace in one still, gently-lit moment.


Night in Shoreditch (2)

Post-shoot, post-dinner with the team, I strolled back from Brick Lane along Old Street, heading back to my hotel in Holborn. The large roundabout where the A501 intersects Old St. was busy with pedestrians, most heading out in gaggles to nearby clubs. This underpass, with its dramatic lighting, caught my eye: though an entrance to a tunnel, it was in fact brighter than the sidewalk on which I stood. Naturally that’s a requirement for an underpass that the city expects will be used by residents with confidence. No one wants to descend into the dark.


Night in Shoreditch

I’m just back from a week in London and Paris, and will post on some of my observations there. The above picture was taken in Shoreditch, an area just north of the City and Liverpool Street Station, which is a popular clubbing area and blends into the even more self-consciously hip district around Brick Lane. Strolling back to my hotel from an evening shoot, I passed “the rat” (or the ferret, or the squirrel) where Old Street turns into Great Eastern Street. I think he’s a fairly recent addition, since the building’s facade looks very different in Google Street View.


Sheets

I’ve been diving into my archives on an episodic basis recently, just to see what I surface with. This is a shot from a nighttime wander through downtown Toronto in February 2016. It’s probably just a workbench under those sheets. Probably.


The shore

By Lake Ontario, early March. As I edited it, this image took on a primeval feeling for me, conjuring up millennia of human interactions with the great waters of the world.


Canadian natural paradise

This is the view from my apartment window on a winter’s day. As I described it in an Instagram post, it’s situated somewhere between Mordor and the opening sequence from Blade Runner – and yet I absolutely love it. I’ve always been attracted to industrial scenery, and have come to distrust – for some part-aesthetic and part-psychological reason – beautiful, tree-lined, human-scale neighbourhoods. I should write more on this, come to think of it.

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