Finding Voice: Parkway

Coming off of the biggest month of my photographic career, I am struggling a little bit. One because I know I am going to wrap up some loose ends this week and head off into a week of vacation, and two, because I need to find my voice. I’ve been working very hard on a big commercial shoot, a wedding, and a few other sets of images. In a few minutes I will be running out the door to photograph some editorial photos for a startup magazine. Sometimes it’s great, but sometimes I want to get in touch with things that are a little bit more real.

Enter where I live. My wife & I moved into Parkway, a neighborhood in north York. We love the people, we love our apartment, and we really want to spend the next couple of years getting to know our neighbors and making the neighborhood great. But it’s not without its own problems. Just over a month and a half ago there was a shooting outside our building. Talk about raw and gritty. And if you would segment our neighborhood by a main thoroughfare, the half of the population that lives to the north of the dividing road, that’s 50%, is living in poverty.

It’s tough to maintain a steady pace of pushing your work out to agencies, systematizing, keeping your head down, making photo books, and seeking testimonials when this is the reality around you. People may ask, ‘Why do you live there? Can’t you afford somewhere better?’ The answer is yes, we could. We could buy a nice house in our area for the rent we pay. But it’s not about that. It’s about the people. It’s about striving to love, nurture, care for, and create into this world shaping it to a perfect image.

So as I sat here stressing the morning away, I realized that I didn’t know what I was interested in photographing. That I lost my voice. I used to love skateboarding, street style, the use of space both interior and exterior, and cooking. I could go in these routes and probably have a lot of fun — but today somehow they seem bland. And it occurred to me, I’ve been talking about this project for awhile. Photographing the people & places of Parkway. Perhaps I’ve lost my voice so I can share that of others.

As I am exploring this work, I would love to talk with you. If you’d like to get involved, be part of the conversation, or just follow the neighborhood, please drop me a line.