How to Save a Life

“Timber Wolves” Graphite-Wash Drawing, 48.26x63.5cm (19x25") LE Print

“Timber Wolves” Graphite-Wash Drawing, 48.26×63.5cm (19×25″) LE Print

Here’s a name for you; Tammy “Tamara” Mitchell. I really don’t know her. I’m a complete stranger to her, and she’s a complete stranger to me. I happen to be merely acquainted with someone she knows quite well, who has told me a little about her and a considerable challenge that she has to face.

Tamara is a Certified Personal Support Worker (PSW) for First Class Home Care. For anyone not familiar with what a PSW does, it is one of those unglamorous, stressful but fulfilling jobs that people of a certain character in our communities volunteer for. They take care of people who have difficulty taking care of themselves. Many of those people in need are the elderly; our beloved parents and grandparents.

PSW’s are professional strangers who help our own loved ones when it even becomes tremendously difficult for us to help them ourselves. PSW’s accept a responsibility to ensure that a high standard or care is always given so that someone can live . . . or die, with as much dignity as possible. For this, PSW’s can become like our own family members.

So who is there for the PSW’s when they need help? You see, it turns out that quite recently Tamara – a single mother of three (Andrew, Mikenzi and Taiyah); two of which are young children, whom she has to take care of when she’s not taking care of others, was diagnosed with stage III multiple myeloma. This is a type of cancer of the blood. I’m tempted to call it a form of leukemia because of its blood connection but I guess that the finer medical research details of how the ailment occurs, what it does and how it may be treated defines that it is a whole other beast. I’ve only just started reading up on it online, so I won’t try to go into those details. I just want to briefly spread the word that now it is Tamara who needs the help from her community of family, friends and of course strangers.


First Class Home Care will be hosting a fundraiser on Tamara’s behalf, and it will include a silent auction, games, raffle prizes, door prizes, entertainment, drinks, food and wine.

  • Date: May 3, 2014
  • Time: 7:00PM – 1AM
  • Location: Hamilton Filipino Community Centre, 1275 King Street East, Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • Admittance tickets: $15.00

Raffle packages will be available for $30.00 at the door.

Please support this cause, and wish Tamara well from wherever you are. If you are in or near Hamilton, Ontario and you have anything to donate towards the effort or would like to purchase a ticket to the event, please call Donna Hearty at (905) 818-8827, Terry-Lynne Rade at (905) 875-6950 or Russell Price at (647) 269-1897. You can also e-mail Russell through the contact form below.

Monetary donations to the TAMARA MITCHELL CANCER BENEFIT can be deposited at any TD Canada Trust.

  • Account: Tammy Mitchell 102-6325844

I will contribute fine art toward to auction.

Help Tamara live with dignity.


Weekly Post Challenge: “Abandoned”



It’s about time I posted on here again!

Click HERE for the story.

Weekly Post Challenge: “Window”

Freedom within Sight

Freedom within Sight

This window shot recently took on slightly new meaning for me.  Click HERE for the story.

Hammer Home Street Photography Project Themes

One Chilly Winter Morning

One Chilly Winter Morning

Firstly, I have to begin by expressing my deepest gratitude to all of you who have gone over to take a look at Hammer Home, and even began following. Your interest helps to breath new life into this reinvented street photography project.

Secondly, sure, individual blog posts are expected to have different titles. Throughout Hammer Home, however, there are a number of recurring titles. That’s because each relates to a specific theme, and there are several project themes.

Yes, I’ve written about flâneurist thematic street photography before.

As the overall subject of Hammer Home is obviously about modern life in the city of Hamilton, the underlying themes are:

  • A Secret Place (Out in the Middle of Nowhere) – interesting moments and circumstances I observe occurring in secluded or very remote places.
  • Local Views – a study of familiar places that are typically only casually observed or ignored outright.
  • Remnants of Steeltown – a study of the declined but surviving heavy industry of the city.
  • A Misty Moment – day or night; recording virtually any circumstance occurring during any type of naturally foggy conditions.
  • Nocturnal (All Through the Night) – inspired by the photography and experiences of Brassaï, this is an account of virtually any circumstance occurring on a clear night.
  • Age Before Beauty – dedicated to my mother who at 79 years of age advised that, “Getting old is not for cowards,” encouraged me to make more street portraits of senior citizens, and pushed me to promote the elderly who remain active and confident regardless of the struggles they face to keep going each day.
  • My Fellow Citizens (Making a Statement) – people making social, religious, metaphysical or political statements or protests in public.
  • Bloody Murder – evidence of homicide, attempted homicide or manslaughter.
  • Just a Passing Observation – a look a circumstances that are bound to garner attention; however short, by average onlookers.
  • All Great Things . . . – inspired by the Pericles quote, “In time all great things flow towards the city, and the greatest of those things is the people who come,” this is a frank acknowledgment of the social and economic failures of urban living and leadership; not simply for useless regurgitated criticism of what most people already know about but to inspire serious contemplation and action for change.
  • Last Days – a study of what citizens discard, and how things are discarded.
  • The Lighter Side – the unexpectedly amusing circumstances that occur.
  • It’s Still a Busy, Busy World (The Way it Is) – inspired by the popular 1970 Richard Scarry children’s book “It’s a Busy, Busy World” and related stories, associated pictures are depictions of people of all walks of life in their daily efforts to survive or thrive in the city.
  • Bus Rider – inspired by the song of the same name by the Guess Who, this theme is a more focused extension of “It’s Still a Busy, Busy World”. It is specifically about examining glimpses of life surrounding the Hamilton Street Railway; the long-established public transit division of the Public Works Department and indispensable aspect of daily Hamilton life, the moments in the lives of both employees and passengers.
  • You Know You’re Being Watched When . . . (What Goes On) – a study of how people watch each other, and their behaviours when they realize that I’m watching and photographing them.
  • All Day Long – contemplations of how citizens spend their downtime.

Through my wanderings about the city, I’ve found that the people, places, events and other state of affairs naturally lend themselves to these themes. So the organizing of photography under them isn’t quite artistically planned. It’s a fairly spontaneous and quite fascinating phenomenon; a lot like a cycle, rhythm or pulse.

I wonder how the themes of Yackandandah, Buffalo, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, Prague and other communities around the world compare to those of “The Hammer”. How are they different or the same? Just what are their themes?

If curious, type the name of an aforementioned theme into the search engine of the Hammer Home blog, or click a tag bearing a theme and see which images are associated. Discover the themes of the city, and what can be learned from them.


2014 Resolution Herald

2014 Resolution Herald

It’s time for those questions again. How did MOF do in sticking to last year’s resolutions, and how does that affect the objectives for 2014? Well, here we go . . .

• Illustration; same as in 2012. Despite my efforts to end the famine I’ve produce very little. No paintings, ink or digital work was completed, only a few graphite drawings and nothing really serious. Again, it was because photography still rules the world. The “revisioning” of my fictional world Rädën has also been stalled due to the NASA’s Kepler research team being unable to locate an adequate Earth analogue (although Kepler 62e and especially Kepler 62f appear to be the best candidates so far; even for potentially using both as settings for worlds on which to illustrate adventures), so I have yet to produce any new Sci-Fi and fantasy art based on Rädën.

• Photography; was a blast in 2013, in fairly high demand, especially with regards to street photography. My work in SP resulted in being invited to the Hamilton Camera Club (HCC) to give an introductory presentation on the genre. That subsequently led to my hosting street photography walks with some of their members. There was more wedding work done, more family portraiture and more fine art landscape. Why mess with a good thing? These productions will continue in 2014, and I’ve already begun working towards exhibitions. I especially want to start pushing the Hammer Home Street Photography Project in the direction of gallery exhibitions.

• Revising and refining the main website; this didn’t get done, and the groundwork I did achieve in 2012 was also a bust for 2013 once I faced a major technological deficiency I have. A target for 2014 is to acquire a new computer, software, a whole lot of electronic storage – quite vital, and support that will enable me to make greater and necessary artistic and marketing achievements.

Blogging; in my attempts to keep all of the other personal and professional aspects of my life in balance (click here for WordPress’ assessment of how this blog did in 2013) I did make less posts on the main MOF blog last year in comparison to 2012. That will likely stay the same but I have begun the groundwork of taking some of the standard background pages that receive moderate attention, and repost them as ongoing blog series. Being that Hammer Home is meant to be mainly an interactive photography blog project, I certainly stepped up my blogging there by committing to making a post each weekday. That will continue indefinitely.

Launch an Artist Run Initiative; the moderately successful Flying Low of 2012 didn’t fly at all in 2013. As my wife and I had relocated early in the year (a major adjustment that took almost the rest of 2013 to fully come to terms with), it was essential that we made sure that our new neighbours would not be uneasy with the attention that the area may get from non-area residents coming around during the summer months. You know how we crazy artists can get. It appears that we have made a most favourable impression and some have expressed interest in the events, including others who didn’t participate in the previous year. So, reinitiating the initiative is likely a go for 2014. The biggest concern I do foresee is that I still need to network much more with other local artists in order to be able to generate more attention to Flying Low. In addition; likely far more of a consideration for future years instead of 2014, is contending with restrictions imposed by the City of Hamilton SEAT (Special Event Advisory Team).

Any event that takes place outdoors on City property (i.e. parks, roadway or on the City Hall Forecourt) that includes any of the following elements OR any event that takes place on private property that has significant impact on City services MUST fill in a City of Hamilton SEAT application, and submit it at least 120 days before the event to allow city staff enough time to review the application to ensure that ALL City of Hamilton requirements are in place or going to be met.

Event planners must purchase insurance of between $2 million and $5 million depending on what type of activities are being scheduled to take place, and they need to name the city as Additional Insurer:

– Food being given or sold to the GENERAL PUBLIC (not a picnic, BBQ or family reunion where food is being given to invited guests);

– Electrical requirements (you need to plug into an outlet for power);

– Sound amplification;

– Tents larger than 10 feet x 10 feet;

– Alcohol;

– Fireworks;

– Amusement Rides and / or inflatables (i.e. bouncers / bouncy castles / jumping gyms);

– Projected attendance of over 1,000 people.

Most of these elements are not a part of Flying Low, and probably never will be but the one or two elements that could be applicable still make the SEAT a faction to watch out for in years beyond 2014 should Flying Low grow considerably. It would be a shame if the city’s good intentioned standards actually grounded any initiative like Flying Low and prevented its growth.

Understandably, the SEAT ensures that events are planned with the public’s health and safety in mind. When you submit your application, your event information is shared with departments across the City to ensure that applicable permits and insurance are secured.

Competition; this was a bust for 2013. I didn’t succeed in any of the challenges I entered, and I was again careful to steer clear of the scam competitions. Never say “die”, nevertheless. Some years you win, some you loose. That’s how it is. We’ll see what I can try my luck . . . er talent, with in 2014.

So, 2013 saw an achievement of 2 out of the 6 objectives. Only 33% of my resolutions but I won’t sing the blues. Whoever said that freelance commercial art is an easy gig? I have to concentrate very hard on increasing gains by 60% in 2014, and as usual I wish success for all other artists everywhere.

At this time, I’d like to say thanks to all those who became the top 5 commentators on this blog in 2013:

These are ALL extremely talented visual artists worth checking out, and I always appreciate theirs and everybody’s likes and feedback; here and in Hammer Home.

I wish a content, joyous and creative 2014 to everyone!

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,900 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 18,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.


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