Fotoeins Fotografie

faces of home & place-story

Posts from the ‘Canada’ category

The place where I died again

The mind’s eye slowly emerges, hanging over my shoulder for hours after the official declaration at 850pm.

With the nurses’ gentle request, I comply without a word, and I sign the paperwork.

I walk back into the hospital room where she lies. The only sounds are from her neighbour, another patient in another bed, their laboured breathing as sign of life.

I gaze out the window to the nighttime lights of the city. From a great height, I cannot see individuals, but I see them in motion on the streets, and alive in the lights of their houses.

At her bedside, I hold her hand, cool to the touch. I place my other hand on her forehead: there’s a little warmth as I smooth her skin with my thumb. Her eyes are closed, but there’s no breath or acknowledgement. When I close my eyes, the dream doesn’t go away, and ashes begin to fall. I lean down next to her ear, and whisper quiet words at the close.

I palm her cheek one final time, as I’ve done over the last days and weeks.

At the doorway, I turn around and look at her still body one last time. I will not see my mother again until the funeral.

I thank the nurses, and make my way out of the Palliative Care Unit. To the elevators. To the lobby. Out into the cold night. Inside the car, my hands are locked frozen onto the wheel, and I begin to shake with tremors. I let the jolt and shock pass through, and with the recall of past experience, I glide over giant waves of grief.

For the first time, I enter the family house without either parent. It’s surreal and unsettling.

From 1976, this house has been a busy noisy compact home for us; I remember us as kids racing to the top of the stairs to claim our very own bedroom.

A family of us: once at 4, now at 2.

Alone now, the walls echo with sounds from the floors, wood frame, and the pipes. I ascend the stairs in the dark, navigating the upper curve from memory. I shuffle to the parents’ bedroom. With a flick of the switch, the unmade bed is in the same final state, when the paramedics moved her into the waiting ambulance earlier that day.

In less than 12 hours from house to hospital, she slipped away, peacefully and quietly into the aether.

With my parents’ passing, I fulfilled my promise to them. There’d been new beginnings, layered with new understanding and sprinkles of forgiveness along the way. I was granted an extra-time bonus in years: a son to his parents, and a parent for his Mom and Dad.

And it is here, I died twice, in the city of Vancouver.

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YVR at Xmas, the prolonged pandemic pause

Above/featured: “Auténtica Cuba, auténtica fun”.

I’ve remained within metro Vancouver during the CoVid19 pandemic, but I’m curious about how the city’s airport appears in this unusual holiday season.

With no-travel recommendations and other travel restrictions, all international airports are operating at a small fraction of the usual traffic. At YVR Vancouver international airport, about 100-thousand passengers (pax) pass through the airport every day around Christmas. But numbers are way down; there are few daily international flights among the scatter of domestic departures throughout the B.C. province and other parts of Canada.

With these photographs, I present a view of both domestic and international terminals at the airport on Tuesday afternoon, 3 days before Christmas. Walking the empty and quiet concourse is surreal; I wonder if there are more airport staff than travellers at any given moment. (Completing my time at the airport, I stayed to the ground by hopping on rapid transit, shopped for some food, and returned to the family house: how extraordinarily mundane.)


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My Vancouver: summer cricket at Stanley Park

Above/featured: Grouse Mountain looms over a cricket match at Upper Brockton, with the bowler delivering from the mountain end to the pavilion end.

Is Vancouver home to the “most beautiful cricket ground in the world”?

It’s not typical 21st-century sport in North America, but it is Canada’s first summer sport. Many of cricket’s practitioners in Vancouver’s picturesque Stanley Park have roots from India and Pakistan; among them the shouts of “shabash” are heard often during play.

In childhood, I was enamored with baseball. With its similar origins, I discovered cricket with time spent in Australia, New Zealand, the Bahamas, and South Africa. The natural connection is the former British Empire. I began with T20, the shortest format of the game; with curiosity and time, my hunger encompassed the 50-over one-day format (ODI). It’s my start with the short white-ball format that I’ve developed an appreciation for the long format of the game with red-ball Test cricket.

But is the cricket ground at Vancouver’s Stanley Park “the most beautiful cricket ground in the world”?


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Cindy Sherman, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday at Vancouver AG: Cindy Sherman

Above/featured: Untitled #586 (2016/2018).

The following descriptions are from the Vancouver Art Gallery where the Cindy Sherman retrospective is on display until 8 March 2020.

In 2016, Cindy Sherman was commissioned by the celebrated fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar to create a new series of photographs for publication. Responding to that commission, Sherman photographed herself wearing outfits by Prada, J.W. Anderson, Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu, Gucci, and Chanel. She augmented these costumes with make-up, wigs, and digitally created backgrounds to create invented characters, based on so-called street-style stars. Her photographs gently lampoon a contemporary trend associated with fashion shows, which are attended by individuals whose ostentatious dress and exaggerated behaviour rival the main spectacle for attention. Nick-naming the phenomenon ‘project twirl’, Sherman explained: “I just loved the description of these people, these characters who go to the fashion shows – and twirl.”

Sherman’s collaborations with fashion are long-standing. Since 1983, she has worked with Dianne Benson, Dorothée Bis, ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ (for the first time, in 1993), Comme des Garçons, ‘Vogue Paris’, and ‘Garage’ magazine. Characteristically, her fashion photographs mock the self-regard associated with haute-couture. However, they have further significance shared with her work as a whole. Sherman observed: “I want there to be hints of narrative everywhere in the image so that people can make up their own stories about them.”


Organized by the National Portrait Gallery London, the current exhibition surveys the work of Cindy Sherman (born 1954), one of the world’s leading contemporary artists. Using make-up, wigs, costumes, and other means to transform her appearance, Sherman photographs herself acting out the roles of numerous fictional characters. Her images of these personae incorporate references to modern cultures, notably cinema, television, magazines, and fashion. By creating enigmatic appearances from various sources, her work critiques our image-saturated society and raises questions about the meanings we assign to the things we see.

•   Cindy Sherman: ‘I enjoy doing the really difficult things that people can’t buy’ – Sean O’Hagan, The Observer (Guardian), 8 Jun 2019.
•   Cindy Sherman review – pain-laced portraits of a shapeshifting enigma (NPG London) – Adrian Searle, The Guardian, 25 Jun 2019.

I made the photo above on 26 Oct 2019 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime (18.5/28) and the following settings: 1/40-sec, f/3.6, and ISO3200. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-fTa.

Lisa Hilli, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Canada, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday at Vancouver AG: Lisa Hilli

Above/featured: Sisterhood Lifeline (2018).

Lisa Hilli: Gunantuna (Papua New Guinea).

‘Sisterhood Lifeline’ assembles a standard office cubicle in the gallery; large wallpapers feature First Nations vavine (women) in stark white spaces, exchanging discreet gestures of comfort. An audio recording on the office telephone recounts real-life situations experienced by the artist’s friends and colleagues in the workplace, which reveal the in/visibility of their bodies, voices, and agency. This work engages with Indigenous power and presence within the context of Eurocentric cultural institutions wherein vavine – considered here beyond binary constructions of gender – must hold space and make way for their communities. The term “sisterhood lifeline” is borrowed from Areej Nur, a writer and producer at 3CR Community Radio in Melbourne, Australia.


“Transits and Returns” presents the work of 21 Indigenous artists whose practices are both rooted in the specificities of their cultures and routed via their travels. These forces of situatedness and mobility work in synergy and in tension with one another, shaping the multiple ways of understanding and being Indigenous today. Within the exhibition, these dual realities are explored through themes of movement, territory, kinship and representation, with many artworks inhabiting multiple categories. The resulting presentation foregrounds the creative sovereignty of each artist to determine their own articulations of the world, while also exploring the resonances between them.

Featuring artists from local First Nations, as well as those from communities located throughout the Pacific region (ranging from Alutiiq territory in the north to Māori lands in the south, with many mainland and island Nations in between), Transits and Returns traces wide-ranging experiences that are inclusive of both ancestral knowledges and global connections.

The descriptions are directly from the Vancouver Art Gallery where Lisa Hilli’s work is on exhibition until 23 February 2020.

I made the photo above on 15 Oct 2019 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime (18.5/28) with the following settings: 1/100-sec, f/4, and ISO4000. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-g4L.

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