carlier morejon

Toronto flight attendant creates amazing photo mashups of urban landmarks and wildlife

When lockdowns left a Toronto flight attendant with little to do, he taught himself photography with amazing results.

Carlier Morejon, 33, came to Toronto from Cuba when he was 20 years old. Life in the city was fast-paced but, when lockdowns hit, Morejon was laid off.

"I feel like the pandemic really allowed me to step back and reconnect with myself and reconnect with my roots and what I really wanted to do as a young as a young kid," he tells blogTO.

Photography was something he always wanted to explore more.

"So I self-taught myself some photography over the pandemic," he says.

He visited Toronto parks and natural areas including the Humber Bay shores, High Park, Tommy Thompson Park and Centre Island. All the animals in his photos are found in Toronto.

His focus on nature is connected to his childhood growing up in Cuba where he helped farm vegetables, sugar cane and coconuts.

"I grew up in a very small village and in the middle of Cuba, and I spent a lot of time working the land with my grandfather," he says. "I developed a really strong connection with the natural world."

About a year ago, Morejon had the idea to combine animals and urban landscapes and he started experimenting.

"My goal is to reconnect the people of Toronto with their natural habitat. I want to bring more awareness and attention to the natural world that surrounds us here in Toronto," he says.

Animals such as raccoons and coyotes are sometimes seen as nuisances in the city, but Morejon hopes people will take a closer look and see how beautiful they really are.

"By knowing and understanding what's alive around us, we develop stronger connections and we develop new feelings of love, appreciation and responsibility," says the artist.

His most popular shot to date is a raccoon that peeking out from the Gooderham Building in Toronto. He saw the raccoon in the Humber Bay area and spent a morning watching and photographing the cute animal.

"I kept seeing people walking by and really completely missing it," he says. "So I wanted to make it more of the centrepiece."

The resulting mashup photograph is called City Icons and it is for sale on his website.

Another photo, called Hawks of Bay Street, features red tail hawks perched on Toronto skyscrapers, and a swan waits to cross the street in Bay Commuters.

Morejon uses a Sony A7R3 with a long lens for animal shots and a wider one for urban landscapes. And once he has both photos, it can take hours to combine them, making sure the positioning, lighting, highlights and shadows are right.

As urban areas encroach more and more on wildlife habitats, Morejon hopes people will take notice.

"I want to create a sense of belonging, and connectedness among ourselves and the natural world around us," he says.

Lead photo by

Carlier Morejon

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