Thanks Paul...

 Well who is Paul? I’ve never mentioned a Paul in any of my posts before, so clearly he’s no friend of mine, but for those who know me well, and know my deeper side, know that I am a huge Beatles fan. I recently purchased a book, which happened to be a biography on Paul, I also bought one for John as well, but let’s be honest we all know Paul was the better Beatle so I decided to read his first! Anyway, as I was reading this book I couldn’t help but realize how similar our personalities are. Paul is a perfectionist in everything he does, songwriting, playing music, or just being an entertainer.  I have been told by some I can be the same way on occasion, when I really put my mind to something I strive for perfection. Problem is perfection is impossible, that is the part that drives me nuts.  But what Paul has taught me through this book, it’s not necessarily about being perfect, it’s all about taking what you are doing and continually making yourself better.  By continually making yourself better, you are perfect.  If you are up to date on your Beatle history this is also what lead to the dimise of the Beatles.  Paul always wanted to improve on his songs and to have them sound perfect, but John was under the influence of Yoko and really didn’t care anymore about how good the music was, they were all about the message.


Now the other thing Paul and I have in common is holding other people to a very high standard.  I have very little patience and so does he.  Paul would have 36 hour marathon studio sessions just to bang out one song because someone wouldn’t hit one note exactly right.  Now, I’m not near this bad, but I think I hold myself to the highest standard.  I am continually looking at my work, criticizing, seeing where to improve, and only showing what I consider to be the best work.
So what the heck does this have to do with photography you are probably asking yourself by now?  Well very little!  But, while reading through the book, Paul mentioned a quote that has been stuck in my head ever since and I think it completely relates. “You don’t have to like something to be inspired by it.”  This really resonated with me, because I dislike much of my work, but I could never figure out why I kept going back to this thing we call photography.  I just needed someone to spell it out in front of me before it registered in my head.
The reason I keep coming back to this beast is because even though I might not like a lot of my work, it inspires me to continually get better and to strive for perfection.  So you say that’s great, now what?  Well that’s what brings me to this set of pictures.  In my previous sets I have went for very vibrant, very saturated looks, and so I decided why not try something different.  Maybe it will be better and maybe it will put me on a path to perfection someday.  So I tried something in a completely different direction, the grungiest, contrastiest, black and whites I could create.  Now are these pictures better than previous?  That’s up for debate, but it did give me one thing more important.  A learning opportunity, and as Paul has taught me that’s what you continually need to be on the right path.

Reflections... The Linseed Oil Factory

Well it was time for some members of the group of 7 to get another urbex fix to satisfy their cravings and hopefully carry them over the winter. We haven’t been able to enter any buildings since Detroit, as Hamilton was a bust, so to be honest I was starting to get the shakes from being in withdrawal. As you may or may not know, I had the privilege of working downtown Toronto for 2 years, and got to ride the GO train into work everyday. The first few weeks were great, meeting new people, getting lots of reading done, even a little homework from time to time! But after awhile the annoying clickety clack of the rails, and the rocking back and forth starts to wear you down. Believe or not, but one of my good seat mates has been doing it for 30 years! I soon got tired of this routine and began my endless hour and ten minute constant stares out the window in both directions, looking for new things to keep me entertained. I luckily found this graffiti laden building in the junction area of Toronto fairly close to Union Station. I spotted it way before I was ever into photography, but yet I was intrigued by it and almost wanted to pay it a visit to see its story.

It stood out like a sore thumb, in a neighbour hood of houses that can’t be more than 5 years old, and beside this beautiful park with a soccer field and an off leash dog area. Yet, I got more and more attracted to this building every time we passed it. One day on the GO train, it would seem as if fate was in my corner, I was reading a photo magazine, when a guy in the quad next to me noticed it and started a conversation. Turns out he is huge into photography, and he even introduced me to this strange concept of going into abandoned buildings just to take pictures! Brian is his name, and he has become a great mentor to me as he has been on pretty near every photo shoot I have done to date. We started chatting nearly everyday on the train, and I think I mentioned how I want to get into the Linseed building nearly everyday. I think after about a year he was getting pretty tired of it!
After we finally got some free time as a group, I arranged for a visit to this building so that we could see what it was all about. Let me tell you, this did not dissapoint at all! I think it will carry my urbex high over for a long time! A building that is 101 years old, is something different in its own right, the architecture, the materials used to build it, and the surroundings were all things that had to be taken in and experienced. To me, it was just nice to visit a part of Toronto history. This building was key to the development of the Junction, as it was one of the first buildings there. Linseed Oil was a key commodity back in the early 1900’s before oil and polymers were developed. Linseed was used in paints, varnishes, and was a weather proofer for canvas. It was truly a unique ingredient, that now is virtually unobtainable now a days.
The building represented some closure for me though. As I no longer take the train to work, except for the odd day here and there. I have lost my ‘seat’ on the train, but still hold onto some great friendships developed over those two years, but this building was the last thing I was holding onto from the GO train that I wanted to derive some benefit from before I moved on. It was a glorious building in side, and I’m so happy I was able to go there with the guys and experience it!

The above photos are my favorites from that day, but I will post some additional photo’s over on my facebook page so you can experience the whole building! You can check them out here and make sure to click the ‘Like’ button at the top of the page to keep up to date!