urban exploration portrait

Portraits in Toronto's forbidden places

With all of the hype surrounding Toronto's LG Fashion Week, I thought it would be interesting to divert slightly from my usual urban exploration-type posts, and have a bit of fun.

I begin with the admittance that I am by no means a portrait photographer, unless we are talking about the portraiture of historic buildings. I have, however, compiled a series of images of the people I explore Toronto's unseen spaces with, in some of their favorite haunts. Although many are plainly staged (garment/prop-wise), they were all taken with an air of fun, and a unique aesthetic when it comes to fashion statements.

Many of the lenses I used in this series are not what are typically used in capturing individuals. Some, particularly the wide-angle shots, might even be considered a faux pas in the field...

When I use film as opposed to digital format, I love simple in-camera tricks, such as double-exposures. I thus thought it would be intriguing to see if similar results could be achieved with digital...

urban exploration portrait

I have always loved this particular locale, a decaying old mansion in downtown Toronto, so I thought it a perfect setting for a few snaps in (somewhat) period clothing...

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Some time ago, we decided to have a "semi-formal dress" photography meet at yet another derelict location...

urban exploration portrait

The (soon to be un-abandoned) King Edward Ballroom was always a great place to shoot, not in spite of, but precisely because of its vast empty space...

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Some of the best snaps are completely unplanned -- merely a matter of being "in the right place, at the right time", as they say...

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I thought it might be revealing to photograph a photographer looking at old photographs...

urban exploration portrait

...or photographing a photographer taking a photo of me...

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While often shrouded in the mystery of the somewhat esoteric hobby, there is no doubt that urban explorers still know how to have good old-fashioned fun with their built environment. Oftentimes, the art is portrayed in a melodramatic, or (conversely) very austere light. However, if -- just as they do -- you look beneath the surface, the hidden beauty of these people and places may be revealed.

(To see the rest of the series, as well as high-res. versions of the images above, you can view my flickr slide-show below.)


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