Friday, July 26, 2013

More from my ongoing project documenting the University of Toronto's "Back Campus Fields Project", converting two playing fields from grass to plastic turf.

I don't usually hit the post-processing this hard, but almost all of the pictures are recorded with small-sensor cameras. The Ricoh GRD4 is doing most of the work, although these are taken with the V1(30-110) and D800(Sigma 35/1.4). These are essentially documentary images, and I don't want to be obscuring detail or hiding too much in shadows.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I take the weekend off and miss the first real action on U of T's back campus.



It's hard to take a sign seriously when it's written in Arial.


The language used on control signs fascinates me.

Most signs that aren't commercial are meant to control or restrict behaviour. Only a small percentage are intended simply to convey useful or important information – EMERGENCY EXIT – and even then many of them slip into the language of control, probably out of sheer habit – EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY.

The first two signs are on opposite sides of the same driveway. The sign away from the building is absolute and without exception, but has a more vernacular style that suggests greater age. The second sign, which is very much concerned with authorization, mimics the look of municipal street signage even though it also adds the 'private property' tag as a further claim to authority. Both of these signs are in Helvetica, but the first one almost comes across as friendly when compared to the second.

The third sign, anti-skateboarding and still in Helvetica, is what stopped me to take this little series. I adore the addition of the word "strictly". Are there multiple classes of Prohibited, the same way there are multiple levels of secrecy for government information? Or is this simply a superfluous word, redundant but weighty, designed to impress? And has someone done a study to field-test words for generating compliance, which also trialled 'kindly' and 'sternly'?

"Strictly" prohibiting an activity that is associated with youth has wonderful overtones of a disapproving adult authority figure. This sign is one step away from having the Government of Ontario yelling at kids to get off of its lawn. I doubt that connotation was accidental, even if it wasn't conscious on the part of its creator.


Playing with the camera at the end of the Annex Patio Art Show.

(I have an optical viewfinder on the Ricoh compact, which is why the camera shadow looks irregular. The LCD is genuinely useful even in this bright sun, so I don't use it very often, but it's great for when I want to turn the LCD off.)


Mechanism Now Available

Mechanism from matthew robertson on Vimeo.

My major project of this year – Mechanism – has now expanded to include a five-minute video and audio presentation. More detail about the content of the video is on my matthewpiers.com art-focused website. Please, if you can, listen to it at a decent volume just once. Using headphones might be a good idea.

The eighteen images that make up this video are now also a book. It's available directly from Blurb as both an 8x10 softcover and as a PDF e-book, but soon I'll also have a few copies available directly for people who are local to me.

Finally, capping off a rather busy month for me, a dozen or so images from the series will be installed as part of the Annex Patio Art Show coming up this weekend, July 13 and 14.



Yesterday I spent hours photographing a waterfall, and didn't worry once about what my camera-club people would think.

When people ask me how many cameras I own – the current count is twelve – I usually struggle to remember that I still have my c.2007 Olympus 770SW, one of the earliest waterproof cameras. Well, it came back into active service yesterday for the first time in years so that Penny and I could both have cameras handy through our ride on the Maid of the Mist. It did pretty well, too; I was shooting blind with it, given the conditions and its vintage LCD screen, but when I swapped for the c.2011 Panasonic TS3 I found that pointing it wasn't any easier.

The top two photos are from the Olympus, and the last two are from the Panasonic. I have "better" photos (including many taken by Penny, who has an excellent eye) but like these for their ability to convey a bit of the feel of the experience.


Camera, Phone, Tablet

More from the Brooklyn bridge. I do have photos from elsewhere in New York, but most are part of a project that's awaiting more material.


Brooklyn Bridge

Three of my favourite photos from NYC6, all taken from pretty much the same place.

I have broken the links to hundreds and hundreds of photos, which will take a long time to repair. The workaround is to replace "photo.matthewpiers" in the link URL with "matthewpiers.smugmug". Awkward, but only temporary.

This is happening because I have revamped matthewpiers dot com. More of what I write and photograph will be going there, so check it out as well.

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