As I mentioned here a couple of weeks ago, I made a few first beginnings of the edit/sequence of my current project. Then I put that on hold and painted my kitchen floor. Unlike editing and sequencing photos, when you paint a floor you know when its done. Satisfying in a nice, simple way.

I’ve known for a while that relaxing into an edit, allowing down time for the back of your brain to process, is important. After all, that’s how I approach shooting my projects: slow photography. Let the thing you are studying seep into you. Think just enough, but not too much. The time I spent painting the floor was most beneficial. Not only did I get a swell floor, it also gave me time to rethink my approach to the edit/sequence, and to wonder a bit more about what this project might actually be about.

After the floor was finished I spent about 5 days, on and off, really moving images around. Did at least 20 iterations that were between 15 and 25 images long. Just to explore possibilities. I worked on possible pagination,  flow of content and feeling, figured out possible ways of ordering the whole thing.

Then I walked away from it again, realizing that it just kept changing, that my perspective was, for now, shot.

But I learned a lot, saw possibilities I didn’t know existed (except in my dreams). It’s still pretty clunky and very unresolved. There are obvious flaws in how the flow of images might be read, bad page turns and all the other stuff that happens when you’re trying to figure out a solution to a puzzle with a lot of moving parts, a puzzle that has no one correct solution. But some solutions are more correct that others, right?

Then what I did was, I showed a PDF of this, the end of the first beginning,  to a few random, non-photography people who just happened to be visiting (like my niece, and a couple of droppers-by). Listened to what they had to say.

And I sent it off to Colin Pantall and Timothy Archibald, two photographers who, in the past, have provided me with shrewd insight into what I’m doing. Their comments and perspective on some of my previous work changed how that work was presented.

Their initial comments really got my brain going. They agreed on certain directions and images but had opposite opinions on others. (One referenced Robert Frank, the other David Cronenberg!! If this project could even approach a marriage between those two sensibilities I’ll be a very happy camper.)

I’m fine with, and expect, varying opinions. One of the aims of this project is to create a book where the actual subject isn’t too nailed-down. On the other hand, varying opinions from trusted sources add to my confusion. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m prepared to be (and to remain) confused. And I will continue to embrace contradiction.

So for now I’m just going to chill, do some thinking on my own and then get back to it again. And that will be the beginning of the second beginning.



After a year and a half of shooting for my new project I thought it might be time to have a hard look at what I’d done.

I went to Staples and made 300 small laser prints, the selects from all those thousands of pictures I’d been stacking up on my hard drive.

Let’s get physical . . .

Went up to my studio and laid them on the table. My first thought was, Tony, you’re gonna need a bigger table.

My second thought was, Tony, get a grip. Get ’em from the table to the wall and there’ll be room on the table for more.

Easier said than done. I hemmed and hawed, choosing the first image seems so important. Then I thought, Tony, this is only the first beginning, there will be dozens, if not hundreds more beginnings to this thing before you’re done.

So I just picked one and stuck it to the wall, followed it with another and another. Tried some permutations, explored a few options.

Then I took the dogs for a walk.

There, I had begun, that was the main thing. The other important thing, I told myself was, Tony, don’t let this thing you’re doing climb on top of you like bad drugs, just go for the ride, enjoy it.

A while later I went back, added, subtracted, wondered, tried to feel.

Then I did the dishes, made dinner, ate it, decided to paint the kitchen floor red. After all . . . life goes on.

The next day I realized that when I began this edit/sequence, began to mine this data, began my search for just enough meaning in that stack of pictures, I had been falling back on old, familiar patterns. That’s not going to work here. Unlike my previous projects this new work isn’t about any specific location, demographic or fact. In fact it’s fiction. I’m going to have to figure out a new way of relating to my photos, and of having them relate to each other.

So far my only conclusion is that this will be the most difficult edit/sequence I have ever attempted. There are so many threads to weave here, so many layers, so little is defined.

I’m nervous and excited.


drool. would like to get together with 3 or 4 (or 5) recent graduates of local photo programs. I’m talking Algonquin, Ottawa School of Art, UOttawa, SPAO, and any other ones I’ve missed.

The aim is to initiate a conversation (for publication on the blog) about the trials and tribulations of, well . . . recent photo-school grads.

There is no agenda other than to bring forward your thoughts on how it’s going for you, what you think of the local photo-scene, how your expectations were met and not met, and any other issues that may arise.

If you are interested in participating please PM me. Or, if you know someone who fits the bill, please share this with them. (You will find my email address on my website, which you will find by clicking on the tonyfoto link at the top of this page.)


Back in the olden days (that’d be circa two thousand and six) photoblogs were the coming thing. If you were a photographer and didn’t have a blog you were dead in the water or something, or so the thinking went. Many photographers started a blog and most of those blogs petered out after a couple of posts. My blog, drool, persisted, from the first post on August 11, 2006 to the last on September 14, 2014, when I called it quits.

Rearview mirror (looking forward, looking back), California

These days Facebook, Instagram and other short-form social media platforms have pretty much supplanted long-form thinking in the FotoWorld™. But for some reason I’ve decided to resurrect drool, even though I’m not sure if I can keep it up (or, indeed, even get it up).

Like before, I intend to post every Sunday. Let’s see what happens.

Read on . . .



One of the main reasons I photograph is to learn about that which I’m photographing (the subject). I spend a lot of time (and emotion) on my personal projects and they are all aimed at subject matter that I’m both interested in and want to gain more understanding of. The point of doing it, for me, is discovery. (Well, that, and getting out of the house.)

Spending a lot of time on a project allows the subject to seep into me and colour my reactions. The pictures show me my reactions and, thus, I learn. That is not to say I don’t have my own aesthetic proclivities, my own opinions. I do. And those, too, seep into my work.

But the world is so multi-faceted that it just seems silly to approach any subject in a categorical way. When you merely execute a plan to arrive at a foregone conclusion you discover nothing.


This was the very first drool post, titled, of course, FIRST POST.

august 11, 2006

Some people tell me I’m funny.

Me: “Do you think we should move over there?
Some people: “You’re funny.”
Me: “But I only said ‘Do you think we should move over there?’”
Some people: “It’s the way you said it.”

Funny, I guess.

I never really got it (being funny) until I met Christina, my assistant. I’m pretty sure that she’s funny the way I’m funny . . . just the way she says stuff makes me laugh. Now I get it: funny.

I think I might be a lot less funny now. But I suppose that’s not really up to me to decide.

Anyway, it seems somehow fitting that Christina would also figure in this first post of resurrected drool. After all, besides my direct family, she’s probably the person I feel closest to. I hope I don’t sound too maudlin (see, I’m less funny) when I say she’s like the daughter I never had; and I swell up inside when she tells me I’m her number two dad.

Now where was I? Christina.

Straylight Press (my publishing company) published her first book, Back to me, a few years ago. Now she’s back in town (visiting from Cali, where she’s lived for a bunch of years) and we’re working on her second book, titled Born. About her first year as a mother.

Yes, more info/hype will be appearing here as the project progresses, but for now . . .

Christina and Gus
Christina and Stephane, our print rep



I’ve taken up gardening. Here are some of my poppies . . .

I welcome your comments. No vitriol please, but contrary opinions and insights are welcome. (As well as bugs and typos.)
Please note: This iteration of drool is using a different template from the previous drool posts. As a result the formatting of the previous posts is a bit messed up.