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Photo Stories

         Everyday Wendnesday Jonny posts a new featured photo on facebook and writes a story about that photo. Here is a chronological order of the stories starting with the first featured photo that was posted on his facebook page on Jan 5, 2021.


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Featured Photo, Wednesday Jan 5, 2021

'Maison des Feuilles' by Jonny Olsen
'Maison des Feuilles' by Jonny Olsen

"There is another alphabet, whispering from every leaf,
singing from every river, shimmering from every sky."

Photo 1: Maison des Feuilles
Number of Images Printed: 7
Title by: Nancy Peters
Quote by: Dejan Stojanovic
Posted and Named on Facebook: Oct 1, 2020

Maison des Feuilles

        In late September of 2020 I was in Montreal teaching music at the Trafalgar School for Girls. The regular music teacher was on maternity leave and I was filling in for the substitute who would start in October. I was lucky enough to find an apartment to stay in for free, belonging to a friend of my good buddy Dayv Luciak who plays junk bass in my successful percussion band, Junkyard Symphony. And while the aparment was amazing, I soon discovered the parking situation was not. I decided to leave my car parked at the school for the duration of my stay in Montreal and instead, bike to work. It wasn't far, about a half an hour. It was on these bike rides that I discoverd the beautiful buildings of Montreal. The colours these buildings were painted were nothing I had ever seen on a building, and they facinated me. I decided I needed to take some photographs of these buildings for reference to my art work. Anyone who knows my art knows that bright colours are staple of all my art pieces.

        'Maison des Feullies' wasn't the first photo I took on that trip, but it was the first photo I posted that someone offered to purchase. Both Heather Sesame and Nancy Peters wanted the photo. I wasn't a photographer, and in point of fact, I wasn't even taking the pictures with a professional camera. I was using the small iphone 5 in my coat pocket. But after editing the photos to bring out the colours, the photographs took on a whole new life and people began to notice. I made a joke about becoming a photographer for real, but then something inside me clicked. Why not? What makes a good photographer? Is it someone who has a professional camera, or is it someone who takes great photos?

        I have enjoyed working in the live entertainment industry for my entire adult life, but the pandemic made it blatently clear that work in this field would not always be consistent. In my early twenties I had suplimented my income by selling art, and while I have continued to do so over the years, making a painting takes time. I felt I needed at least one more source of income. If two people wanted to buy my photos, maybe more would be interested. So I began to advertise on facebook. Sure enough, others wanted to buy my photos. And thus, I became a photographer.

        When I first encountered 'Maison des Feuilles', the house was not as bright and colourful as appears in the photo. But I saw the potential of colours in all the leaves and I just had to stop and take a picture. There are lots of houses covered with leaves in Montreal, so there was nothing particularily special about this particular house, except there was something indeed something special about it because it caught my attention, and I stoppped.

        I have since come to realize that it wasn't the leaves so much as the composition of the door at the center of a canvas of leaves that really struck me. It was as though this door was leading me to a completely different world. A young woman walked by me at the time and wondered why I was staring so intently at the house. She didn't appear to appreciate it's beauty as much as I did, as she just continued walking. Perhaps she was in a hurry. Perhaps she didn't care. Perhaps she had walked by that house a thousand times before. Whatever the case, it didn't mattered if she cared about the beauty of the house or not. I cared, and as a result, I took a picture. Now a new beautiful journey in my life has started, but best of all, many beatiful people have joined that journey with me.

Featured Photo, Wednesday Jan 13, 2021

'Step Step Semi-step' by Jonny Olsen
'Step Step Semi-step' by Jonny Olsen

"The way home is sometimes easy, yet other times difficult to access."

Top Ten Rank: 8
Photo 2: Step Step Semi-step
Number of Images Printed: 1
Title by: Don Wright and Karen Taylor
Quote by: Juanita Zavala Mendoza
Posted and Named on Facebook: Oct 2, 20

Step Step Semistep

        It was early in the morning when I took this photo, and it was just at the top of the hill that I had to ride up everyday to get to the girl's high school that I was working at, so I was glad to have a break when I saw the photo opportunity of the piano. This piano is an advertisement for a piano repair shop called 'Piano Montreal'. It immediately grabbed my attention once I saw it, partly because I loved the artsy idea of using piano parts to create an advertisment, but I also love to play piano. It's not something that I do often, it's a hobby that comes and goes, but once I get into playing piano, I stick with it for a long while until I have composed several new songs, and then I take a break, sometimes for seveal years. It is a very interesting relationship that I have with the piano. To me it's like a special vacation spot you go to on occasion to just kick back and forget about the world.

        I immediately liked Don and Karen's title for this one because the notes on a piano are very much like our journey through life. Sometimes life moves quickly, step by step, but othertimes not so much; semistep. One occasionaly wonders if our lives are songs being played for Gods in the sky. After a while, when we come back to the things we love, that is our chorus.

Featured Photo, Wednesday Jan 20, 2021

 'Have a Seat' by Jonny Olsen
 'Have a Seat' by Jonny Olsen

"When we look at ourselves there are things we cannot see.
So then we must ask, why are they looking at me?"

Photo 3: Have a Seat
Number of Images Printed: 0
Title by: Laura Durno
Quote by: Jonny Olsen Gina Olsen
Posted and Named on Facebook: Oct 3, 2020

Have a Seat

        When I first saw this photo opportunity I immediately saw Pac Man chasing three ghosts, the ghosts being the windows. When I posted the photo on Facebook for the Photo Title Challenge I thought for sure someone else would see Pac Man chasing three ghosts, but no one did. I don't usually prompt people about what to say because I want to see how they view the photo without any bias. In the end I chose Laura's title of 'Have a Seat' because it does look like the Pac Man creature is wanting someone to sit there, as you would invite a friend for dinner. This being the day of Joe Biden's inauguration, perhaps President Biden is the guest. Let's hope he is the guest and not the main course.

        What I like most about this picture is the collection of industrial windows. If there had been more time in the day I would have ventured further into this Piano Montreal courtyard and got a picture of one of the windows up close, but the morning was slipping away and I had to get to work. I eventually got the industrial picture I wanted at the RCA Building later that week with 'Windows to the Soul', a photo that incidentally turned out to be one of my best pictures, so one could say that 'Have a Seat' was an important stop in my photographic journey. Although, when I look back now, I wonder if I should have actually gone and had a seat.

        The quote "When we look at ourselves there are things we cannot see. So then we musk ask, why are they looking at me?" came from Gina's title entry of 'Why are They Looking at Me?'. It made me think that people must often see something different in ourselves than we do. Some of it may be bad, yet some of it may be good. Regardless, we could definitely benefit from understanding what others see in ourselves. So 'Have a Seat', and listen to what others have to say.

Jonny Olsen Featured Photo, Wednesday Jan 27, 2021

'Time to Buy a Leaf Blower' by Jonny Olsen
'Time to Buy a Leaf Blower' by Jonny Olsen

"The world is full of sisters and brothers.
But some of us here are not like the others."

Photo 4: Time to Buy a Leaf Blower
Number of Images Printed: 0
Title by: Gavin Hay
Quote by: Jonny Olsen and Laura Durno
Posted and Named on Facebook: Oct 4,2020

Time to Buy a Leaf Blower

        This photo opportunity was pretty obvious the moment I passed the house. Being a big fan of windows, I definitely liked this house, especially the large windowed doors. But more obviously, you rarely see a house painted entirely blue which is why I had to stop. This blue house made me think the house was feeling sad. In my Facebook Photo Title Challenge there were a lot of titles put forth that had the word blue in them and some references to sadness, but I chose Gavin's title 'Time to Buy a Leaf Blower' because it made me think of a possible solution to sadness. Sometimes we just have to blow away the blues so brighter colours can come in.

        The quote "The world is full of of sisters and brothers. But some of us here are not like the others." is something I put together from Laura's title which was 'Not like the Others'. This house was different because it was blue. But that's okay, It's good to be different, and let's face it many of us are.

        The first photo I took was 'Maison des Feuilles', a beautiful house covered in multi-coloured leaves, which is how I envision a healthy life. A house covered in dead leaves is also beautiful. We all have leaves covering our houses at some point, and while it's nice to let those leaves linger for a while, there definitely comes a time when you need to get out the rake. And if the rake doesn't work, then it's 'Time to Buy a Leaf Blower'.

Jonny Olsen Featured Photo, Wednesday Feb 3, 2021

'Cheery Cheer-up' by Jonny Olsen
'Cheery Cheer-up' by Jonny Olsen

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."

Photo 5: Cherry Cheer-up
Number of Images Printed: 2
Title by: Rod Olsen
Quote by: Mark Twain
Posted and Named on Facebook: Oct 5, 2020

Cherry Cheer-up

        "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." - Mark Twain.

        I was definitely cheered up when I passed by this fun pink park in Montreal's downtown core, and I am certain this was the purpose of the park's creators, to cheer people up. Sadly there was no one in the park at the time but me. It was early in the morning and during a pandemic, so it was not odd that it was empty, but at the same time I wondered why no one was sitting on any of the picnic tables. It looked like such a fun place to sit! I didn't sit on any of the picnic tables, but I did sit on a concrete ledge across from the park so that I could study it and decide which would be the best angle to take a picture. I eventually stood up on the ledge and took my picture and I began to edit it right away. I wanted to see what the colours would be like once I boosted them. I was not disappointed. I didn't have to boost the colours much as they were already so vibrant. I only brightened the contrast a little.

        As it has been for everyone, 2020 was a tough year. In March the pandemic hit and my Junkyard Symphony gigs were reduced to a trickle. In April, my best friend and band mate died in a fire, along with his parents and his little dog. In June I got terribly sick for several days, likely with Covid. The tests were negative but it was certainly the worst fever I have ever experienced in my life. Then later in the year my dad fell ill with blood cancer. We were forced to sell his house, his car, put all his belonging in storage and move him into Long Term Care. Consequently, I have been in need of a little cheering up.

         My dad is the one who named this picture, so following his title and taking a page from Mark Twain's books, I decided that cheering up others would be the best way to cheer myself up. So as tradition dictates I have been out in the backyard busily building snow slides for my son. Hopefully lock down measures will relax soon and his friends and some neighbours will get to join in the fun too. We obviously won't be able to have a big party like we usually do, but hopefully we can have one family over at a time. We'll wear masks, stay at a safe distance, and thankfully we will be outside where we can soak in some good ol' Vitamin D. And while it will be cold, and the pandemic will still be around, I am certain the fun will cheer us up!

Jonny Olsen Featured Photo, Wednesday Feb 10, 2021

'Domus Aurea' by Jonny Olsen
'Domus Aurea' by Jonny Olsen

"The Sun does not realize how wonderful it is until after a room is made."

Photo 7: Domus Aurea
Number of Images Printed: 0
Title by: Nancy Peters
Quote by: Louis Kahn
Posted and Named on Facebook: Oct 6, 2020

Domus Aurea

        "The Sun does not realise how wonderful it is until after a room is made." - Louis Kahn.

        What I take from this quote is that we really don't appreciate something until we don't have it anymore. The pandemic has taken much from us. How nice it would be just to be in a room with all our friends or even just to go to the gym and swim a few laps in the pool! When this pandemic is gone we are certainly going to start appreciating all the little things that we once took for granted. And that might not be a bad thing!

        This lovely building was at the bottom of the hill on the street where Trafalgar School for Girls was located, so I had to pass by this building every morning. I had to walk up the hill instead of ride my bicycle because the hill was way too steep to ride and it was in front of this building where I would get off my bicycle and start to walk. I always stopped to look at this building for several seconds before I moved on, partly to catch my breath but mostly just to admire the building's beautiful attributes; eventually later in the week when the sun was just right, I took a picture of it. I loved the beautiful yellows in the bricks, but what I liked most was the spiral staircase in the corner. The staircase is fantastically artistic and true to the style of Montreal. A building doesn't need an outside staircase in the front, but most houses in downtown Montreal have them, so why not a building? The bikes resting on the bike racks were a special bonus as I like to include 'ordinary' objects in my pictures. I put that adjective in quotes because someday we may not see these objects as ordinary. One day when bikes are gone and the roads are consumed by cars, we may learn to appreciate bicycles even more.

         I loved Nancy's title for this building right away. 'Domus Aurea' means 'Golden House'. I was pretty sure that was what it meant when I first saw her answer, but I admit, I googled it just to make sure. The reason I like this title is because our house is something ordinary that we often take for granted, but what would happen if we lost our house? What if it burnt down, or what if we could no longer afford the mortgage payments? More importantly, what if the people in that house were suddenly no longer there? Our house is where we spend most of our time so let's appreciate all those little things that make a house a home, and realize those are the things that are golden!

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