Dedication Mtl – 2. It all seems so yellow to me now

Sometimes you have to get lost to find yourself and even more than you were before.

A dedication to Montreal and it’s personalities – each picture has a specific memory for me, some of friends and others of just moments or thoughts I’ve had at these place =) can you find your picture? I hope it is as obvious to you as it is to me


Rue Bordeaux, Rue Marie-Anne E., Rue Drólet, Rue Fullum

There are squirrels everywhere! :

Roxane :)

A bientôt!

Come join me for adventures in Sthlm soon…


Earth day

I had invited my dear friends Jean-François, Sophie, Marie-Ève and Mike over for brunch – there was a lot of fruits, I had made crêpes on whole-wheat flower (healthy), great coffee, bagels, cheese, maple-syrup and maple-syrup marinaded ham! A great brunch with a lot of talk about boats, couldn’t be better! Jeff, who’s been to Stockholm, was fascinated about how everyone he met in Stockholm had some connection to or had worked on a boat (I explained that it could have something to do with that he just met Kalle’s friends and people from the archipelago… but it’s probably true that boat-life is more common in Stockholm than in Montreal, I mean, what is a river compared to the sea?).

Today it was Earth day – I don’t know if it’s an international day or just here in Canada but on the streets downtown Montreal around 300.000 people had gathered to protest against several causes or just to parade and be part of the tree- yeah, obviously people were directed to streets that would eventually form a tree from above. If most of the people in the march was aware of this I don’t know… There were the regular students protest about the increasing fees and others roaming against the natural gas industry that is slowly growing around the province. Clearly, the student strike has had influence on all Quebecois,people from the whole province came into town to participate in the march and to express their complaints  – Read more here

We thought there was enough bark on the tree and left the crowd to visit a gallery close by on rue Saint Catherine – Under Pressure, Fresh Paint gallery. It had been the office of Montreal’s first newspaper and now the building is owned by an skate-veteran that is running it as a non-commercial art gallery for street art and graphic design, it reminded me a lot about Berlin and Tacheless.

As I started the weekend I will now also end it – with The Godfather and a glass of wine!

Montreal from above

What I’ve been doing the last days is this:

Riding up to Mont Royal with Caro to see the view of Montreal – gorgeous:

Friday was grey and booring and I was just text-comforting Caro, who was just as lazy, untill she came up with the genius idea to go horseback riding!  So we jumped in the car and drove (she not me) to the country where we mounted two sweet little horseees and went riding western style in the forest with our guide for an hour… we were totally cold afterwards (I didnt have any suitable clothes so I just had my tiger-jacket) bt it was totally worth it! And we finished off with a huge, greasy, greek food at Marven’s (I still have a doggy-bag of fried squid in the fridge but just the thought of it makes me nauseas so I’m considering throwing it out…) and The Godfather at Jeff’s place!

I also had an unpleasant surprise – ants have taken over my kitchen! I had a stare-down with one of them today when I was preparing my lunch…

He seems to be the only one left, the other guys bailed on him – so i let him be, although I almost lost it when he appeared on my computer screen a while ago, but don’t worry I just blew him away and I haven’t killed him… yet!

I call him Lukas.

Industrial walk

Last week I started planning an eventual workshop that Alesya and Vera (the two main photographers at La V photo) wanted to arrange in Stockholm, since they anyways are going to Russia for the same reason they wanted to “throw” it in the same trip.. I got in contact with some studios and it seemed like a plan – on one hand it stressed me out a bit, since I havn’t arranged something like that before and I felt a pressure to succeed in finding participants to make it worth their trip… on the other hand it felt exciting and something that could give me a lot of good contacts – but now it seems like the plan is on hold because it seems to be a long process for Vera to get a visa because she has to renew her passport (if you get another citizenship outside of Russia you apparently loose your Russian citizenship).

In lack of things to do I left the studio a bit earlier today (around 4pm), the sun was shining and I felt for taking a walk – so I walked from Place St Henri, along the channel until the harbor and old town. Along the channel is all the old industry buildings of Montreal, and as a part of my fascination for urban environments I looove industry buildings (old ones). I don’t know why, maybe it has this feeling of history and mystery just like that old, rusty can that you find in the forest and turn into your treasure, like any Pippi Longstocking-fan. So here you have some of my treasures from today…

And these ducks are just a bonus…

Btw, can you imagine that these are some of the most expensive condos in Montreal…?! :D But it must be added that they are very special, they are built like lego, one apartment is made of several cubes, every cube is one room connected with stairs… quite cool… and with view over – well, the harbor but also – the old town and down town Montreal…

Manifestation 11 april

After warming up with capoeira yesterday, wednesday 11th april, I went to Berri UQAM (The university) where students were gathering for a march starting at 21h going through the city center. It’s been 58 days that the students are on strike, boycotting classes due to the increase of the tuition fee for the university that the government want to apply. The tuition fee is today around $2.000 for one semester and the government want to raise it with 75% during a period of 5 years – read more in this article
The politicians defend this decision with explanations such as that the tuition fee hasn’t been indexed at the rate of inflation since the 70’s and that it’s still a much lower cost for university than in the rest of North America and they are not interested in sitting down for a discussion with the students.
The strike could affect many students education, since many courses have been delayed and the university might not be able to arrange the final exams before the end of the semester. A friend of mine are studying medicine to be a nurse and she told me that she agrees with the strike but that the boycotts are mainly held by students that maybe study language or other theoretical subjects, for them it’s easier to catch up with the work at home, and that she is stressed about here economical situation, since she needs to start working and to do so she needs to go to class – they have now arranged classes outside of the university to be prepared for their internship this summer.

After 1h of marching the protesters started to trail off after turning at the police station. I stopped to look for the nearest metro station and a man came to me asking if I needed help, he told me to follow the marching people a few blocks and then pointed out where I should go – while walking he told me that the politicians didn’t care about the students because a lot of students don’t vote. I guess they have themselves to blame for that but I still think that the government should take better care of their students, since they are the future for the country’s economy – and everyone should have the opportunity to study.
I’m lucky coming from Sweden, where all public education is free!

More about this weeks manifestations: here

The musician who got away…

So, after trying to get up at 8 (my usual optimism) I got a text from Caro at 10 saying that she didn’t work and wanted to have brunch together, that got me out of bed! So we went to this place close to my apartment, Chez Cora at Mont Royal. We got ourselves big café lattes and big plates with fruits, sweet bread, eggs and grease!

After that I was loaded for a day at the studio – right now I help put with some administrative stuff at La V photo, today I browsed for studios/galleries in Stockholm that could arrange or host a workshop about how to arrange wedding photography and everything around it. Vera (who’s the main photographer at La V) and Alesya are going to Russia (where they’re from) in the end of may to make such an workshop and if I can help them arrange something in Stockholm they would like to do the same there… it’s just a bit tricky with such a short notice, but I think I might have found a studio today…

Around 5 o clock I set off to scout street musicians at St Catherine street. I took a turn around the block where I’d found Mr.Berger – he wasn’t there, but just one block down I found this nice bloke…

While he was playing I motioned to my camera as to ask “is it OK that I take your picture” and so I did when he nodded, though after several pictures he probably started wondering what strange creature I was – he asked me when he stopped playing and I told him I was doing a reportage about street musicians, he seemed enthused and I asked if he had time for a brief interview or if I was disturbing him in his work – “Well, if you come back in about 20min I’ve enough for a beer and then I can sit down, take a beer, have a joint and talk to you!” I think he said his name was Jim, but I can’t remember since I didn’t write it down and he asked me my name and gave me his fist since “I usually don’t shake hands with people since my hands are dirty for the most of the time”.
So I took a walk around the block, I don’t think I was away even 20min and when I headed back I was prepared to buy him his beer (and mine) as thanks for his time, but when I got there.. He was GONE! =( He seemed like a really talkative and interesting guy so I was really disappointed! Probably he had got enough and couldn’t wait to get that beer or he decided he was better of alone without anyone questioning him about his lifestyle…
As I didnt write down his name I just call him Jim or simply Musician#2

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As a start to my easter-weekend I went to the Source-spa in Rawdon with Francine and Ginette. I wasn’t allowed to take photos inside the area but it was a beautiful location by the mountainside, three woodhouses with sauna’s and relaxation areas connected with small paths of stone, outside jaccuzzis, chairs and hammocks on different plateaus and everything surrounded by trees and a rippling spring! We had a wonderful day of relaxation.
When I was fresh and clean I was headed back to the city for a dinner at Marie-Ève’s place. She had invited her best friends, which are also Fanny’s best friends, and I finally got to see the faces of the persons I had heard so much about; Cynthia and Darie with their boyfriends, and there was also Sophie and Sorine, a australian guy that got very confused of our talk about “the island” (Runmarö) when we talked about Fanny and Kalle – “What is this Island?? Have you all been there?!!”
After a lot of nice talks and wine I fell sound asleep on Marie-Èves couch and woke up to a wonderful breakfast – fresh coffee and croissants from the nearby rostery and exotic fruits =) Merci!!
I went back home to get ready for capoeira class but my headache told me it was better to stay at home in the couch…
In the evening Marie-Ève, Sophie and Sorine came over to my place for a drink before we went to a club at the SAT. The place is quite new, it’s a sphere for video projections so while the dj’s were playing the crowd was surrounded with 3D animations and it was really cool although the music wasn’t first class!
My roomate Gregoir had also come home from his conference-trip and he came with us for a while – later I found him cooking when I came home, I marveled at his patience to cook food at 4pm “I’m just REALLY hungry” he told me. The neighbors where having a party, “They’re really young! They were really scared when I came over to ask for a light” he told me, they were not much younger than me “But they’re really, really young, in their MINDS” he said… I went out to talk to them – assured one of them that Greg wasn’t my boyfriend but neither gay – and I got what he meant…

The weekend finished with my first photoshoot together with a photographer at La V photo studio. It was a private session, a package that the client pay for make-up, 2hours of photo shoot and printed photos. The photographer, Alesya Kornetskaya, told me that the whole package is 3.000$ and just the photo shoot and pictures on DVD is 500$. Even if it was a regular photo shoot it was interesting to see how she worked and I help her by holding a reflector screen during the shoots with natural light.

Change of mind, changing luck

I’ve never had any problem finding work so this last week have been my first experience of being unemployed – in the mornings I have felt useless because I’ve slept waay to long (although I’ve gone to sleep quite late) at the same time that it’s hard to get up in the morning if you don’t have any time schedule. When I havn’t had any luck in finding trainee-ship I’ve felt like a day drifter and since I was so set on the idea that I’d start following photographers almost from day one I’ve found myself a bit disoriented. After the first days walking around town I havn’t had any more urge to act like a tourist.

It’s funny how too much time for yourself can make you’re mind spin. These lasts nights it’s kept me awake, ponding on my goals, what I will do after this summer – if I should work like a maniac to get money together for another trip, or what I should do if I’ll stay in Stockholm… I’ve felt confused and my spirit have failed me, I’ve had to remember myself that I would have just kept running the hamster wheel if I had stayed home, so I’m better off whatever it is I’m doing here. Last night I read Situation Sthlm as bedtime story (the best swedish magazine, in my opinion, sold by homeless in Stockholm) and there was an article about the increasing cases of depression, mental illness and suicide among youths. It didn’t surprise me at all, considering all choices we need to make in early age telling us we need to get a good start in life and we’re not just after a descent life with food on the table, no, we have to be successful in careers, partners, looks, well you know – I think it takes more to make us happy and especially, what is what I’m trying to say here also, that if we don’t produce we’re nothing – what do you do, what do you work with EQUALS who are you?

No, I’m not trying to tell you I’m depressed, absolutely not! (I’m just moody =P) I think I have a too light spirit for that, one minute I can think I’m useless the other minute I tell myself, get your act together, chill, you could do MUCH worse! But it’s strange how our minds can play games with us – I’m not used to spend so much time on my own and so my thoughts starts to twist and turn inside my brain.

BUT then I remembered that, hey, I have my own company now (I havn’t had my first income yet but still..) and that means I’m never unemployed! =D

Thanks to a pep-talk through skype with my friend Fanny I started to redirect my aim, so that if it will take a while to get hand on in a studio I’ll just have to find my own reportages that I might sell later when I’m back home. Fanny mentioned doing something on the split between the French and the Brittish Canada but I think I just found my material this very night… on the way to the cinema I heard someone singing Sinatra in the street..

Introducing Mr. Alexander Berger – and that is B E R G E R, not like the hamburgers….

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I will do a reportage about street musicians! Mr.Berger asked for a copy of my video, so later this week I’ll fix that and go back to find him, hopefully he’ll let me buy him a cup of coffee and listen to his story, he seemed like a true gentleman so it’s a meeting I’m looking forward to – the next step is just to find other characters in this city… Stockholm is full of street musicians, maybe not all of them so very talented… but.. here in Montreal I havn’t seen that much so far, and yet I havn’t been using the metro that much. I guess I’ll need to seek more downtown..

And yes, the movie I went to see was HUNGER GAMES, of course, gooood movie! Though it took me a few blocks to walk down my shoulders again, and it also gave some photo opportunities, just a shame that I only had my powershot since the bigger camera had died.. but the powershot gives more vivid colors – do I need to tell you that I’m obsessed with nightlights?

PS. I just got a email from Vera Varley, asking if I could come by her studio on Thursday ;)

Trying out the Montrealian cuisine

This week has been – excluding my never ending searching for photographers – a week of lazinessss, food and late nights… not so much party nights as some bar nights and others late work and reading (I tend to tell myself that I will just upload a photo or fix ONE thing, and well, you know… I end up sitting editing a new portfolio). This weeks pictures are a review of Montreals food and streets, what I’ve eaten and where I’ve walked ;D.

Jeff and Caro took me to Sunday brunch today, the best eeeever, at the restaurant Lawrence. It’s so popular that there’s always people waiting, but the ones standing in line will be disappointed because as soon as a table is ready there’s someone being called in from the LIST. Jeff had put us on that list, the waiter told us it would be 45min and while waiting Jeff took us to try out the two best bagel-bakerys in Montreal! 50min later we were back and just in time for the call that our table was ready ^^mmmmmm.. and then Jeff payed for all the party, thank you J!I’m so glad that I’ve got to know some of Fanny’s friends here, you’re great!

Now I’m loading for a new week and hope it will bring me any luck in finding a photographer willing to take me on! Tonight I found the homepages of these two talented photographers:

Vera Varley

Irene Suchocki

PS.And yeah, do I need to say – Mike also fell in love with my corean-tiger-jacket-borrowedfrommymum(justaseverythingelse I’ve worn out)

Moody Wednesday

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I think that people that knows me would not say that I’m a moody person, bit I AM, at least so I’ve realized… or maybe it’s the workoholic in me that is nagging against my brain. These too last days I’ve walked around in the apartment and berated myself for not arranged more with getting a trainee-ship before coming here, the next minute I’ve told myself that I’m the only one to decide what I must do here and what I’ll do with my time. I mean I’ve had a really nice and relaxing time these days. Somtimes I fall back into feeling that I have to do something important… but when I think about the weeks I have ahead of me, meeting new people, training or not I’ll go back to Sthlm with new inspiration and I also have a week in NYC to look forward to, a lot better than if I’d stayed in Sthlm just continuing working – I smile, pleased!

Today started with snow, continued with hail and now it’s raining so I havn’t felt much for going out. Instead I’ve been sitting infront the computer and actually it seemed to the best thing to do, because now I have two other contact for possible traniee-ship! I guess it’s time to leave behind the stupid notion that I’m no good if I’m not working all the time!

Although I’m ready to sell my labour to a coffeeshop with just coffee as payment… since I don’t have a working holiday visa, and my fingers are itching to make some coffee… ;)

I leave you a few pictures from the bar Dieu du Ciel, a micro-brewery where I went with Marie-éve and her friend Julie yesterday…