Thursday, June 2, 2011

2011 WEEK 22: Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe

If I was just a little bit crazier, if I didn't have great people around me keeping me on the straight and narrow and if I lived in a larger house, I could feasibly end up as the kind of person featured on A&E's "Hoarders".

What can I say, I like things. All kinds of things. And if there's any thought buzzing around in my head that I may one day need a certain thing then I have a hard time throwing it away. Some things I keep around because they are just bizarre. Other things I keep around because they are mementos of significant periods of my life - inanimate symbols representing who I was, where I come from and who I am today.

I didn't think too much about my choices of subject matter until after I took the picture and to capture a little nostalgia I took all of these pictures with my favorite nostalgic lens, the 1967 Pentax Asahi Takumar 50mm. I did a little cross-processing in Aperture to add to the vintage look.

This little guy is probably the oldest thing I own that has been with me as long as I can remember. Before me, it was my brother's teddy bear and it was given to me when I was around 4yrs old. Teddy's cardigan was knitted by my mum and his scarf was knitted by my brother when he was around 8 or 9 (luckily his knitting days were short-lived). I vividly remember how teddy got the scar on his right foot - my brother went to the foot doctor to get a corn removed and, wanting to be included, I told the doctor my teddy needed some attention too. The doctor gave me a bandaid for teddy and I nursed him back to health for a couple of months before finally ripping it off... scarring poor teddy for life.

This was the result of a high school art project when I was 16 years old. We had a still life exercise to complete and I randomly chose a runner from my gym class bag. A couple of months later we had another exercise where we had to transform one of our previous painting or sketch projects into a piece of pottery so I returned to my beaten up old runner. The fragile laces are broken off but amazingly this didn't happen in taking it home at the end of the school semester, when I moved house or even when I moved all the way to Canada - it happened one week after it was completed thanks to the person from the examining board fumbling it... To add insult to injury, he bestowed on me a measly 'C' Grade for my efforts!

The BBC series Doctor Who will always occupy a very special place in my heart. Like many British kids, every Saturday night I tuned in to watch and quite often I watched in terror from behind the sofa. Unlike now when its actually COOL to be a fan of Doctor Who, I was a fan at a time when reading the novelizations, comics and magazines was decidedly uncool and the show itself was, well... not that great. But despite the periodic ridicule I suffered, the show is the originator of my geek side and is in large part responsible for how I ended up with a career in film and tv. Reading copious articles on the making of the show (and even attending a couple of conventions where I met the makers of the show) ignited in me the desire to one day be a filmmaker. For the curious, the TARDIS in the picture is a Dinky Toy from the 1950s and pre-dates Doctor Who (which began airing the day after JFK was assassinated on November 23rd, 1963).

Some people have gnomes in their yard. I have a pig. I woke up one morning and there it was! My roommate at the time was out partying the night before and being a true original, instead of coming home with a cliched traffic cone, he swiped this pig from someones garden... If you recognize it, I'd be happy to return it and can only say, "Sorry". Know that we've taken good care of him over the years!

Some people ask, "Why do you have a jar of sand and shells?" To which I reply, "It's not just sand and shells, it's sand and shells from one of my favorite places on Earth!" Namely, St. Ouen's beach on the island of Jersey (original Jersey not New Jersey) where I spent much of my childhood.

This little guy is known as Canadian Citizen-Chip. He's part of a range of "amusing and ironic decorative chipmunks"... In case you're wondering, no I did not purchase this nor do I own any others. Citizen-Chip was sent as a gift from my mum and dad when I got the news that Canada was allowing me to stay and continue pursuing my dreams. All things considered, that was a monumental day in my life - I can't imagine where I'd be today if I hadn't been able to stay here. Maybe eking out a living making candle holders out of small jars filled with sand and watching re-runs of Doctor Who while I wondered where the hell my life went.

Okay, time to get some street-cred back...

This fine fellow is a 1:1 scale replica of the Chatterer from Clive Barker's Hellraiser movies. It's one of only 250 worldwide, it was sculpted from the original mould and signed by FX artist Gary Tunnicliffe. It was an impulse ebay buy that has since tripled in value and I frikkin' love it. The same goes for these guys... No explanation required other than, "Hey, I'm a geek. Get over it!"

Here's an interesting family portrait.

From right to left: My very first camera, a Pentax P30n SLR which I've had since I was 16; A Canon 514XL-S Super 8 camera that I found in almost mint condition (still in the box!) at a garage sale; The Canon Optura digital Hi-8 - I shot 7 short films on this little guy which was the first video camera to take the SLR style camera shape and form.

Taking these pictures was extremely challenging not due to lighting or technical difficulties but because of sabotage from this guy....

Some people have no respect for nostalgia! Until next time folks...