Friday, January 22, 2010

Friendly Appreciation: Sam Javanrouh's Torontotopia Pics & Vids

Toronto on Ice from Sam Javanrouh on Vimeo.

Having roomed with some civic activist types when I first arrived in Toronto, I have to say there's plenty of times I feel I've OD'd on Hogtown boosterism. Perhaps I've simply been away from the genre long enough to appreciate it again, but I must admit that stumbling upon Sam Javanrouh's Vimeo channel revitalized my hope for the cause.

Javanrouh is already fairly well known for his multi-award-winning photoblog Daily Dose of Imagery, as well as his work shooting for Spacing Magazine and a few other outlets. But one thing I think his videos reinforce is the sense of reflecting a city back to its citizens, and reflecting it in quite a beautiful and charming way--a way that intrigues one to find out more about/marvel at locations that might seem overly familiar. Whether doing a time-lapse of lightning strikes downtown, recording the progress of two chess players at Yonge/Dundas Square, or speeding up a pedestrian crosswalk, Javanrouh has the ability to make me see the city where I live through fresh eyes.

I guess another thing I find interesting about his work is the way it's specific to Toronto--New York, LA, and Chicago have had a lot of photographic mythologizing of this type, but Javanrouh makes it convincing in a Toronto context. I frankly would like to find out more about photographers like Javanrouh working in any Canadian city--would love to see a similar approach to Winnipeg, Calgary, Halifax or Montreal--if only, admittedly to see my pedestrian civic experiences in those places, or perhaps just a sense of place, period, reflected back to me. If you know of people working in other Canadian cities this way, feel free to add in the comments

No comments: