Scotty Doesn't Know and Other Images

Stephen Avenue Mall is about the closest thing Calgary has to a public square where life is lived as it happens. Running east-west through downtown it is where the ordinary people, the people outside of the office towers come to gather to visit, squabble, laugh, cry and sit in isolation. Only interrupted by the occasional business type that has, perhaps accidentally, ventured outside of the safe cocoon of  the Plus 15 they carry on ignoring the interloper. At noon on a sunny day the suits roil out of the buildings enroute to some bar that has a patio to indulge in the usual posturing of low and midlevel business types as they jockey for position on the corporate ladder.

The other day I was out and about on the mall after having coffee with an old mate from the dot-com days. The light was flat and dull and I was fighting a bad case of lurgi. The light was deceptive; looking outside you'd swear that the temperature would be around 12C, but in fact it was a warm and humid day.

Not a lot was happening on the mall. I was shooting in a rather desultory fashion and then this one popped and opened the dam

Scotty Doesn't Know
For some reason the couple reminded me of Donny and Fiona from Eurotrip. I like the shared laughter and also the people on the sandwich board peering over their shoulder at whatever (a love letter from Scotty?) they are enjoying.

After I shot this I started running into groupings of people visiting or sharing of themselves:


Looking at this one, I'm reminded of  Winogrand's "Worlds Fair, New York, 1964" I don't profess to be of Winogrand's caliber but like his photo there are several conversations happening and other people looking somewhere else at something that is much more interesting than the person next to them and behind them all, completely ignored is a homeless person and a piano player.

I guess as I moved down the mall, I came across more and more isolation. Donny and Fiona so into each other, the group of people together yet apart and finally this photo. I've seen this guy around the downtown core and there is something haunting about him. I struggled long and hard about whether or not I should publish this photo on the web. I ended up deciding that I should. My reasons are manifold but primarily I feel as I've treated the subject compassionately and sympathetically and I have to admit I'm on Short Term Disability because of PTSD and early on in my therapy I felt much like how he looks (if that makes sense) so for me there's some resonance and emotional relationship.

So Alone
All of these were shot with my Olympus E-P2 and the ZD 45/1.8 lens. I like this combination as the 35mm equivalent would be 90mm, a focal length I love dearly. It's hard shooting street with a portrait lens but you can get some really nice results. I cropped the images in LR and after RAW development I converted them to B&W using SilverFX.


  1. I really enjoyed this, especially with the back story. Excellent photos, and I love your processing.

  2. Really, really nice. A bit far to travel but the venue definitely looks like grist for my mill.