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My next meeting with the West Toronto Photography Group was at a studio building in Etobicoke room 233, the Green Screen Studio. Although not as uptown as my downtown painting studio...


in studio 201 Humble and Fred Radio sometimes called "Canada's Morning Show" now broadcasting on Sirius XM radio cynically, in their comic way, record the once live spoken word audio broadcasts.

In studio 204 is your Basic Needs Massage Therapy. Maybe it's Henry Millar's influence that's polluting my mind or I am actually brushing up, catlike, against the sex trade.

The Green Screen Studio is a blackout room. Black backdrop curtains absorb the spot, reflector, and flash lights.

I came equipped with a flash shoe adapter to comply with the groups studio radio controlled flash equipment.

This photograph was taken by Emanuel, the co-organizer and event host. This is how clamour photograph should look. Mouse over or touch to see a full resolution image.

When it was my turn I was handed the radio remote flash control. I attached it to my camera, introduced myself to Mindy the model, and snapped the shutter. Nothing happened. Luckily I had my camera set for a slow exposure and I got something which I touched up in Photoshop... mouse over or touch above.

Mindy, like Mandy, had a set of poses which she cycled for each photographer. Mindy and Mandy have very similar styles even though they are very different people. I expected as much. The photographers are even less creative grunting things like


indicating a direction with a dismissive wave of a hand and fore arm. The Mindy-Mandy- Model turns in that direction and continues to cycle her poses towards a flash unit or a studio light with about the same passion and connection as full frontal.

The only way to break the cycle was to talk to the model. I was planning to make Mindy angry telling her what a bad guy I was:

"I am that guy who slashes into your safety zone between you and the car ahead on the 401 in rush-hour and then slams on his breaks because the entire lane is going brake light red reflected on wet pavement.

Here I am.
Tell me what you feel.
Give me a piece of your mind!"

Sitting on a soft sofa with another photographer getting nervous as the remote passing came closer to me. I was thinking:

"No no no... the haute, hottie, haughty model glaring out at the nearly innocent magazine reader or internet cruiser like a beacon of feminism and female anger is... so cliche."

The Mindy had forgotten to breathe!

Mandy was easy. In that session it was known that my camera was incompatible and I could operate like a journalist including the pretty model with the often grotesque photographer in a German Expressionist pre-war scene. I made secret faces at Mandy and she responded by laughing, and making secret expressions and gestures back. Mandy was playing two roles, the primary as lighting director and only secondarily as a model. When she modeled it was in a modeling routine that caused me to sweat until I realized it was like a dance. She posed, I snapped; she posed, I snapped. It had a flashy rhythm.

The other photographers watched or chatted amongst themselves... that flocking of strange birds around a subject was atypical of my usual, isolated studio experience.

Having the smallest camera in two sessions was a little unnerving too.

unknown photographer

Phil, the Organizer and master photographer spent a bit of time messing around with my image processor's operating system getting it out of whack, holding up the entire session using the only radio allowed to circulate.

I had imagined a lot of popping with different cameras at different moments firing the lights.

Unlike the models, I don't like center stage.

We tried a few flashes which didn't work until we flipped open the onboard flash which fired the studio flashes with the camera's radio.

From out of my embarrassment at the center I took a look at Mindy and give her a goofy, impotent, undersized smile. She smiled back.

The flash was just a bit out of sync with the shutter. I liked it insisting on pivoting over to Mindy sitting, ignored and alone between the flash and the studio light behind a reflector, and showed her the picture on the LCD camera screen.

I liked it.

Mindy and Mandy had to like everything.

It was the flash after glow I was getting.

Phil definitely didn't like it mumbling something about mathematics and Sony. I felt I was being dismissed. I asked for a refund of the 73 dollars I'd given him through PayPal.

"Of course," replied Phil, "email me."

mouse over or touch

My camera doesn't seem to be well suited for and compatible with the The Group's studio lighting systems. I like what I am getting but, I am out of sync too.

I made quick line for the door. I felt like those gazelles you see on YouTube haunted by a great predator making just the right twist and the big cat plunges ineffectively into savanna grass dust and loses the killing edge. Out in my Black, the tractor truck, back on the Gardiner expressway, on the other side of Basic Needs, I felt ecstatic. I was putting kilometres and the Toronto uptown core between me and the west Toronto suburbs.

Even if I had not received the refund... sometimes the only success is the cost of failure.

I think, no matter what I do, I come to the establishments from the outside. It seems a natural approach but, it looks like directors are expecting people to arrive fully indoctrinated and compatibly equipped and with some, at least, emotional training and appreciation for the scene. I am outside the métiers. I try to comply but, in this case I would have to seriously retool my head and my camera bag to further my studio study of glamour photography and the nude. I think I should cool off a little and reconsider and allow other options to arise.

Stripped down and out of fashionable date stamped clothing the nude is timeless. Paintings of nudes are another archetype, another challenge.

The Sony NEX7 is great for the outdoors, landscape, canoeing, and hiking. I am sure that it will ride well on ATVs in Glacier National Park driving up the Incomappleux River on abandoned logging and mining roads to the ice fields with my old print studio and scrambling buddy and bro, Wild Bill Quinn, on the weekend of May 13, 14, 15.

And then, south to the desert; eventually to Canyon de Chelly to, maybe, meet up with another old buddy... Kokopelli.

I want to be on the road right now but it is raining and sleeting and miserably early spring... one day warm and sunny dry the next day chilly snow and icy cold.

I miss the heat of Jamaica and summer.

I can feel myself turning glamorously Anglo to the bone white.

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