Toronto through the lens of Mike Quigg
Toronto is a hub of photography. In addition to being one of the most photographed cities in the world, some of the best professional and amateur photographers out there can be found roaming our streets with camera in hand. To keep tabs on all this local talent, every Saturday we feature the work of a Toronto-based photographer in our series "Toronto through the lens of."
What continues to inspire you to go out to shoot?
I've had a passion for photography since I was a kid. I was always trying to capture the way I see things at a particular moment and space. I eventually started a website, Time Stands Still, and there I began to market and sell images.
Eight years ago, I received a call at work that my son was involved in a car accident. I rushed to London, Ontario where he was in a coma and two days later passed away.
He was 22. My life fell apart. I lived in darkness and depression, and for almost two years I did not shoot. Through the love of family and friends and my partner Su, I picked up my camera again and started using the hurt and the anger as a release through photography. It helped to heal and to bring me out of my shell. Talking through my images was a big part of being able to get through the dark days.
I mention this part of my life to show how not only positive and pretty things in life can inspire us but also how tragic events in life can be turned around a day at a time. Each day I have alive inspires me to shoot. The friends in my life today inspire me.
What is one thing you can't leave home without when going out to shoot?
My Leica DLUX 5, I take it everywhere. I used to carry all my equipment around for years. Since buying the Leica and being happy with the results, I always have it with me even when I bring all my Nikon gear. Also, my dog Mika — she is always at the door when she sees my camera gear.
Where are you favorite places to shoot in Toronto?
I think my favorite place would be Leslie Spit. Every time I go out there it is different; you have the lake, which could be calm or full of waves, there is wildlife, and nature and so many beautiful sunrises and sunsets. All the seasons out on the Spit make for a great space to go and a great place to shoot.
If there's fog it's an even better place to shoot. The winters there can be really stunning to shoot too, when the lake freezes, the rebar and rocks along the shore and the trees are frozen from the mist. In the winter I spend hours every weekend out on the Spit. When your out at the end and it's -30 C with no one around. You almost would not know you're right in the city of Toronto.
One of my favorite views of the city that I shoot is a 40 minute walk out. A lot of times I watch the clouds through the day. If I think it will be good to shoot I head out to my favorite spot. I have met people from all over the world at the Spit.
Other favorite places I spend more time at would be the Brick Works, the Waterworks, and really anywhere in Toronto. There is always something going on or something to shoot.
Can you tell me about your workflow, and what happens after you click the shutter to make a final image?
I have two workflows: one is my workflow for images for myself, which I'm always changing. Whether or not I spend a lot of time on an image really depends on my mood and the music I'm listening to at the time. Either way I'm always having a good time.
My other workflow is for images I shoot for a client. It's simple, basic processing. I never post them online.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone starting out in photography?
Love what you do and have fun.
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