Toronto is a city made up of many neighbourhoods. And most of these neighbourhoods still have their convenience store.
We can all remember a few of our past experiences with our local convenience store when we were growing up. It was a short walk or bike ride away, a place to meet up with friends, a confectionary store where we could spend our allowance or pocket money.
I am embarking on a mission to photograph many of the local convenience stores in Toronto, and present them in a photographic style that I am experimenting with. My first two images are included in this post, and I hope to add to this collection in the coming months.
I would also like to learn more about how these stores can continue to survive in today’s environment of rising real estate values, large chain stores and the continued reliance on cars as the primary means of transport.
This post is intended to demonstrate examples of another Photoshop technique that I am experimenting with. I have used filters to transform a photograph into a charcoal sketch, and then re-introduced some colours from the original photo.
I live in Toronto near the Bloor West Village. The “village” is a linear segment of Bloor Street West which is full of small shops and businesses, extending between the Runnymede and Jane subway stops. The storefronts are quite uniform, basically a series of two-storey attached buildings, constructed in the first half of the 20th Century. Redevelopment projects have not affected the commercial streetfront yet, although there are several mid-rise development proposals under review. The City of Toronto is currently undertaking an avenue study with a public consultation process, which will be completed in 2018. The City wants to encourage higher density development along existing subway lines, but this will radically change the existing streetscape.
Green grocers are great locations to shoot, as the fresh produce spills out the front door onto the street. Some shoppers stop to view or select the fresh fruit and vegetables, while others try to find their way past all of the obstacles. Most of these images were made on a day when Bloor Street was closed to traffic for a community event – hence the abundance of pedestrians and the absence of cars parked beside the curbs. It also meant that I didn’t have to dodge any cars while standing in the middle of the street!
One of these green grocers just closed this winter – another example of why you need to shoot now rather than wait for another opportunity. It may never be the same when you return.