Street photography in Calgary always delivers the unexpected and today (April 13 2019) was no different. Rabbits, fashion, homeless lovers and people with different political agendas were just a few of the things I captured during todays walkabout.
My first capture of the day we a guy called Haithem who stood out like a beacon dressed in his bright floresent Orange coat. It turns out that Libyan born, Toronto mentored, Haithem is a source of international style and creator of KaaDiki fashions. A graduate of the International Academy of Design in Toronto his collections focus on mixing traditional men's wear construction techniques with contemporary silhouettes that have a well-proportioned and fashionable appearance.
Next up and in total contrast to Haithem was David a homeless guy who was just passing through Calgary on his way back to his home city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. David had been wintering in Vancouver where its a lot warmer. He told me that he'll be hanging around in Calgary to make a few bucks off the spring tourists before heading home.
It's not every day you come across a man walking his rabbit but in Calgary anything is possible. Meet Stephen and Harriet Houdini his escapologist rabbit! Stephen told me that he had been performing his rabbit escape act for ten years. Harriet was now retired and was enjoying her new found freedom.
My final street portrait was of homeless lovers Tom and Lady Hawk who were laughing and joking with each other when I stopped and asked to take their portrait. They were sat on one of the many benches on 8th Ave the main tourist road that runs the length of the Downtown core. I noticed that Lady Hawk was wearing a leg cast and she explained that she had broken her leg after slipping on the ice while dancing with her partner Tom. She went on to say that maybe next winter she'd be more careful and not dance outside again.
Finally, I came across a few yellow vest protesters who were picketing a local venue where one of the NDP candidates in this months (April 2019) provincial elections was holding an event. The whole affair was noisy but friendly, with both sides chanting and shouting. On balance I think the yellow vests were the louder of the two groups but a heavy police presence was standing by to ensure nothing got out of hand.
Click on the photos below to view full size
The old cliche of cops loving donuts seems to have escaped Calgarys finest as it would seem this cop has a far sweeter tooth....
Monday (1st April) I decided to spend the day capturing a few more stranger portraits along with their back stories. Stranger portraits has been an ongoing project since the summer of 2018 and I have now made nearly 500. Below are some of the strangers I meet and the portraits I made.
Jose Juan Sanchez is currently on a sabbatical from his job in finance (from Feb 2019 until Sept 2019) and is touring North America and Canada. Driving his BMW Jose has so far driven from Mexico City up the west coast of the US to Calgary. He then plans to continue across Canada before driving down the US East coast and through the southern states before returning to Mexico in late September. Some road trip for sure.....
This is Yong who works at the hotel across from the Calgary tower and is a car Valet. He was just dashing off to grab some lunch when I stopped him to take his portrait.
Paul who by 10am was already well on his way to becoming inebriated stopped me and asked to me to take his photo. He said he'd give me his best pose so long as I emailed him a copy. So with hands out he posed, I grabbed his portrait and asked him for his email, "its paul on the web you'll find me" "he shouted out, "OK no problem I'll find it" I replied. With that he fist bumped me and wandered off......
Ralph was sat on his walker waiting for the bus when I approached him. "You English" he asked after I'd asked him for his portrait. "my great grandfather was Welsh" he continued. "well i'm half Welsh on my fathers side too" I replied. With that he gave me a potted history of his family and how they came to Canada before completely changing the subject and going on to tell me about the building across the street. The building was formerly know as the Alberta Hotel and had the longest bar in Alberta and had huge gilt edge mirrors all the way along it. Ralph said he often wondered what happened to those mirrors.....
I stopped Christa and asked if I could shoot her portrait because of her face tattoos and green hair. She said she was in a hurry but so long as I was quick she was happy to pose for a few seconds. Unfortunately I never got the time to ask her more about her body art before she had to dash off. I'll be looking out for her again......
I've taken Lacell's portrait before, that time she was wearing gold coloured glasses and matching outfit. This time she was spinning the hula hoop while waiting for the train. She told me that she's been doing it for about 4 years and started to help her lose weight and to loosen up her stiff joints. When she started she weighed 300lbs and I think you'll agree its certainly made a difference. She told me that she feels so much better and her joints are so much better now.