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Friday, November 27, 2009

It's a beautiful morning

Apologies to the Young Rascals.

So far, this sight has been a rarity. The misers who run Toronto and the CN Tower (the place pictured) seemed to have deemed that lighting up public structures for any longer than the absolute minimum of time, is wasteful and unnecessary.

After spending millions of dollars trying to attract visitors to the city they make the night time view as boring as possible - just a bunch of black silhouettes against the sky. The clear message is, "you should be in bed by now, what the hell are you doing up at this hour?"

Glad to see that someone has had a change of heart, for the CN Tower anyway, and for the last couple of weeks it's been a full blown light show all night long. This was taken about 6 a.m. about forty minutes before dawn. I was out for my morning walk along the lakefront and was happy to see this.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Joe McNally

My favorite photographer is Andy Anderson, but I think the best photographer is Joe McNally. Is there any genre that he can't shoot better than anyone else? I'm tempted to say something very specialized like food or architecture, but I'd be wrong - he'd still shoot it better than a specalist practioner.

In these days of specialization, Joe defies even gravity, never mind normal expectations. He's a throwback to the old "camera men" of the 1940's and 1950's,who no matter what the situation, always brought home the bacon. His technical expertise is daunting, his imagination is incredibly fertile and his sense of humor is as wicked as it is legendary.

I've met him a number of times and he's impossible not to like. I met an ex-assistant of his once and thinking I'd finally get the inside skinny I asked "what's McNally really like. Is it all an act?" No way, she says, "he's an absolute sweeheart." Damn! I thought I was going to get the scoop on a McNally expose.

I have my specialites and I stick to them, not because it's good business or even expected, it's just what I like. It's nice that Joe defies that conventional wisdom and even the business advice of the need to specialize. His talent and curiosity are just too big and wide to be constrained.

I think that Joe has a problem of perception though. He's such a joker - can't stop - that it diminishes his aura. Everyone knows he is amazing, but he hasn't reached (deserved) icon status. On one hand it's too bad. On the other, McNally would be the first to say "Yeah? And who gives a shit?" That's Joe, Groucho Marx with a camera - and lights, lots of 'em.