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capture. [Dec. 9th, 2011|08:55 pm]

I love my Fuji X100...
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A few snaps of my photography students, some friends, some locations we visited, and a closed-to-the-public graveyard...

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attack.of.the.Estaban [Nov. 19th, 2011|07:05 pm]
My original photo:

With the help of imagination, some cropping, and Estaban for PS-titles, the outcome...

LinkLeave a comment [Nov. 9th, 2011|12:18 pm]
I am very busy, these days. It's a good thing.

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light.bright [Oct. 3rd, 2011|04:38 pm]
I couldn't sleep the other night, so I went rooftopping alone...

Inspired by this, and probably slightly due to boredom, Bidong, Tofu and I went to a new roof the next day. Well, new to me...

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.:::.:.::::.....::.. [Sep. 13th, 2011|04:39 pm]
Myself, Ronnie (aka Stinky Tofu), and Neil (aka Bidong)...

...went exploring.

LinkLeave a comment [Sep. 7th, 2011|08:40 pm]
Some preliminary snaps...





And some from an old, true friend(camera):





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great.friends/great.explorers [Sep. 4th, 2011|07:01 am]
(message from my eccentric French friend...)

Hello sweet friend.I am in London,walking around old factories and construction sites..enjoying the "green stuff from trees floating on" canals.Angry and intense skies teared by sunny flashes.It's sunday..I know you usually walk on I thought about you ! Let's wander together then ! Have a good day.. xx

as I can't french kiss you I send you an English one ! hihi ! Done two major roof tops you would just LOVE !!!

Link1 comment|Leave a comment [Aug. 24th, 2011|03:30 pm] (Flintkote, upstate New York)
(old snaps, recently developed...)

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on.priority [Aug. 17th, 2011|04:15 pm]

(...wait, maybe that last one should have been first ; )
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waiting. [Aug. 2nd, 2011|01:29 pm]
It's been a while.

(I'm still doing the same thing. )
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spirits.lie [May. 6th, 2011|07:59 pm]
Alexander Hamilton would sneak onto his roof to watch the 'Lewiston Lights' across the water...

Digital infrared (Hamilton residence), about a 2+ minute exposure. At the right-hand-side of the roof. No machinery, no vent, sits there...

Hiya, Alex.

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the.teller [May. 5th, 2011|08:06 pm]
[Current Music |kraftwerk - 'radioland']

It isn't as easy as it seems.

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day.and.night [May. 3rd, 2011|04:37 pm]
The Greenwood yards, a nice walk from my place...

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thinker. [May. 3rd, 2011|04:35 pm]
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a.waiting [May. 2nd, 2011|04:40 pm]

(The last image is Toronto's last Banksy piece...)
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into.the.sea [Apr. 19th, 2011|04:23 pm]
Tomms, Marika, and myself explore Cherry Beach at night...

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be.square [Apr. 1st, 2011|07:47 pm]
1:1 ratio photos. I like that I can (now) even do it in-camera when I use digital format...

(waiting. )


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white.elephant [Mar. 13th, 2011|07:15 am]
I visited my favorite place in Toronto today.

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moving.soon [Mar. 8th, 2011|07:19 pm]
I'm not sure where yet, but in just under a month. Within Toronto, though...

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what? [Mar. 8th, 2011|07:17 pm]
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time: always/already [Mar. 4th, 2011|12:14 am]

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changes. [Feb. 26th, 2011|09:08 am]
This next month should prove to be quite interesting. Challenges, of which there will be many, and the opportunity to change. Well, only really one change, and that is...everything.

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the.urban.flautist [Feb. 21st, 2011|08:03 pm]
Myself, Tino (TLR club), Mr. Kevino (TLR club), Nat, Jordan, and Jamie from 'The Urban Flute Project' went to photograph and explore an abandoned factory today; Jamie surprised us with a stunning performance in the wonderful space. Hauntingly beautiful. I will never forget it...

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1.5 months [Jan. 3rd, 2011|08:49 am]
Hello all,
I will be leaving for a place where I will not have internet for 1.5 months. Please send me your mailing address to: if you would like me to write you.


Link2 comments|Leave a comment [Dec. 30th, 2010|12:43 pm]
[Current Music |smashing pumpkins - 'love']

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realization. [Nov. 30th, 2010|11:18 pm]
On to photography...

"Life moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a could miss it"
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"The tree with the lights in it" [Sep. 21st, 2010|12:18 pm]
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feel.good [Sep. 13th, 2010|08:53 pm]
I just smashed my into a million pieces.

I feel like myself again.
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dream.scape [Sep. 6th, 2010|03:43 pm]
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reading.material [Aug. 24th, 2010|06:33 pm]
[Current Music |philip glass - 'mad rush']

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beautiful. [Aug. 1st, 2010|01:57 pm]
A new comment has been posted on your blog blogTO, on entry #11026 (Toronto's Forgotten Landmarks: Regal Constellation Hotel).

I was one of the two original partners who created The Constellation in
1961. The other partner was the late Ben Dunkelman of Canadian and
Israeli Army fame, and once president of Tip Top Tailors, another
interesting business of past lore...
The comments about haphazard design are valid but then one should
remember that the hotel grew from an original 120 rooms to 800 through
many stages and different owners.

I was touched by the good memories of some of the former guests that
appeared here, and by the pastry chef who apprenticed there. There were
many lives touched by the Constellation in a positive way. In its hay
day from 1961 to 1974 it was a major player on the Toronto
gastronomical scene (Burgundy Room) and the host to many celebrities
such as Pearson, Trudeau, Diefenbaker,The Archbishop of Canterbury, The
Detroit Red Wings, etc etc.

While it is said that SARS killed it at the end, it perhaps grew too
large; such was also the fate of the dinosaurs...

I hope to be still around when something worthwhile replaces it.
Whatever it will be perhaps they can find a corner to remind people of
the colourful past of that place.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

my original post:
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artkl. [Jul. 18th, 2010|09:41 pm]
Some people call Jonathan Castellino an urban explorer. Others, a daring rooftopper. His business card even reads, “urban archaeologist.”

“These are all fancier terms for ‘serial trespasser,’” says Castellino.
Readers of Toronto website may recognize his name from his weekly posts as a staff writer, in which he shares pieces of architectural history with the poetic grace of a storyteller. More importantly, Castellino leaves readers in awe of his unique and semi-legal photographic perspectives within Toronto’s abandoned buildings, and his refreshing pictures of the cityscape from the summits of unfinished condominiums.
So passionate is Castellino about his work that he barely ever stops to eat the chipotle chicken wrap dinner before him. The 26-year-old has just returned from giving an exhausting series of photography lectures, but shows no hesitation to reiterate what he’s already told audiences of eager architects and urban restoration artists.
He begins with his inspiration, words tumbling from his mouth like well-worn bricks.

“It all started when I saw the movie Koyaanisqatsi by Godfrey Reggio, which changed my view on the built environment,” he says. “In the movie, the change from nature to technology as the backdrop of human life goes fundamentally unnoticed. The point of the film is to take that backdrop—the city, the urban strata, the place we live in—and make it the subject.”
This different way of seeing the city fit perfectly with Castellino’s photography hobby, which gave him a lens through which to frame his perspective. The Toronto native quickly became curious about the city environment around him—how it developed, the industries essential to its formation, and the buildings that were part and parcel to it all.
“I noticed that a lot of [those buildings] are derelict now,” he says of his epiphanic moment. “When we switched from industries to a service sector, we sort of left all that other stuff behind.”

BlogTO’s author profile page reveals why Castellino is so fascinated by urban decay. His short bio describes him as one who finds his true pleasures in the absence of life in Toronto’s entropic spaces. In particular, it says he “feels it is the questions we seek, rather than the answers.”
“I feel that we already have the answers,” says Castellino. “The answer is the built environment, what we see around us. What I’m drawn to, the questions, are these things that just puzzle me.”

And what continues to puzzle Castellino is the idea of the abandoned building itself. “If society is a body,” he says, “it’s like part of a body that’s been left to rot. These buildings become zones of exclusion. They become areas that the public is not meant to see.”
It became Castellino’s passion to reveal these excluded areas to people through photography, giving them the chance to see things they would never see otherwise. And to make them think twice about the places society has left behind.
The trespassing aspect, he says, is purely incidental.
“I believe in entering a place—I would never break into a place,” says Castellino. “If there’s no way in, I walk away. But usually, if you’re creative, you can find a way in that doesn’t damage the environment.”
To Castellino, the dangers are worth it if he can uncover and memorialize a building’s story, and induce nostalgia for a time and place his readers have never even been a part of.
“The end is not the photograph,” he says. “The end is—well, hopefully the restoration of these places—but also to create an emotion. There’s a beauty, and there’s a sadness. I want to make people wonder, ‘Why does this exist?’”
In his quests to find out, Castellino does not fly solo, whether he’s sneaking over a barbed wire fence or climbing hundreds of flights of stairs to top a waterfront condo. He met his photography partner, Tom Ryaboi, at an urban exploration meet organized by, and the trespassing twosome became best buds.

“I knew we were going to be friends right away,” says Ryaboi, 29. “We shared a passion for buildings, and besides, he was the only person there who was almost normal.”

More significantly, Castellino and Ryaboi found that they shared a similar philosophy.
“We often differ on specific buildings,” Ryaboi says, “but we both agree that something has to be saved for generations to come—not just because these places are old, but also because they are beautiful.”
In uncovering hidden beauty, the duo regularly extend beyond the derelict, hence their rooftopping escapades on condos-to-be. It all ties into Castellino’s enthrallment with structures devoid of life—buildings on their way in, and buildings on their way out.
Castellino’s rooftopping series on BlogTO is by far his most popular, likely because readers are moved by the panoramic views that are as foreign as they are familiar.
“It’s funny. When you’re walking down Yonge Street or any major street in Toronto, everything seems so loud and fast,” says Castellino. “But when you’re on a rooftop and looking down, everything seems really quiet, even the cars whizzing by. It almost sounds like the ocean.”
When scaling an under-construction condo is on the agenda, Castellino has to factor in a larger risk of getting caught, because workers are more likely to be present. The process of getting past them, he says, is a feat of social engineering.

“My philosophy is that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission,” says Castellino. “When you do encounter someone, you have to act like you’re supposed to be there. If you can level with them as a human being, you’re fine.”
Essentially, he appeals to the natural tendency for people to believe what they see. Should the tricked party in question—usually a single, bored security guard—find out about this approach, it could cause resentment. But among admirers of his work, it earns Castellino deep respect.

“Signs, barriers, and rules are ingrained in most of us,” says Bradley Wentworth, an avid reader of Castellino’s BlogTO posts. “Obeying the spirit rather than the letter of the law is sometimes more important in life, and I can often use a reminder of that.”
Wentworth, 23, sees Castellino’s work as a source of inspiration for his own possible adventures. But he still finds the man himself shrouded in mystery.

“He's a character and a half,” says Tom Ryaboi. “You really have to know him to understand the full scope and complexity of the man. He's one hell of a photographer, a better writer, and an even better friend.”
LinkLeave a comment [Jul. 12th, 2010|07:19 pm]
(and dreams are just that -- )
LinkLeave a comment [Jul. 9th, 2010|06:22 pm]
[Current Music |police - 'message in a bottle']

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novelty. [Jul. 4th, 2010|06:31 pm]
[Current Music |do make say think - 'do']

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missed.the.bus [Jul. 4th, 2010|04:49 pm]
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T.R.O.Y. [Jul. 1st, 2010|07:56 pm]
[Current Music |philip glass - 'prophecies']

(they reminisce over you. )
(Detroit, MI, 2006. )
Looking over some pics I took, but never got around to editing...

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wow. [Jul. 1st, 2010|11:12 am]

That made me sad.
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note.from.jan [Jun. 29th, 2010|01:31 pm]
"after seeing what little was needed to be ticketed or arrested I'm still astounded at what happened to common sense in the police force. They missed the boat with the Black Bloc and decided to make up for it on civilians. The result was they ended up with two strikes in the public eye.

The only ones telling them they did a good job are their peers. A sure sign that there's a problem" (Jan Normandale, photographer, friend).
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to.pieces [Jun. 28th, 2010|05:19 pm]

'Nothing lasts forever.'
This is the theme of my show that will be coming up later this summer; I'll keep you informed : )
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compliant. [Jun. 28th, 2010|04:35 pm]
2 police encounters of Jono today.

scenario i:

*Just before work is over, Jono receives call informing him that shit might be heading south...again.

*Jono, to officer in riot gear near Dundas Stn: Hi Officer -- I just got a call regarding people possibly coming south; is the TTC still going to be running North?

officer: What city are you from?

Jono: ...Toronto?

officer, rearing baton: What's in the bag?

Jono: a camera, books and such?

officer, now distracted by approaching mounted police: you're lucky, punk.

scenario ii: College station, 2 officers approach me while I approach the Northbound steps after having swiped my Metropass...

female officer: Where are you going?

Jono: Home, Northbound to York Mills

big black male officer (in shades..why don't the females wear them): Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to stop, and remove your bag.

*crowd around, rushing to go home, kinda stop*
*female officer yells at them to continue on*

male officer: sir, I would suggest that you do and listen to everything we say; *motions to female officer to remove my bag.
*we are then approached by another male officer -- who asks the questions from scenario i), but asks where I work, why I am downtown, and where I am going...

*they pull ALL my shit onto the floor from my bag, including a $1200 Leica camera, and a shit ton of other priceless stuff, nothing bad, but question my Dr. Who 'sonic screwdriver' (a toy) and ask if it is a lock-picking device. I laugh, and say no, it's a toy.

*approaching TTC operator asks what is going on, and why they are 'harassing' me -- they tell him to "go back to his little box".

Anyhow, they let me go, no apologies, told me to 'clean my stuff up' and go home. When I asked for their badge numbers, the female approached me and told me that I have no right to ask for that, and that this was all for 'my' protection.

WTF. I just wanted to go home.

I still love police -- they protect me. But really, WTF man. This was all within 10 minutes.

I am at home, safe from the police?!

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(no subject) [Jun. 27th, 2010|12:37 pm]
"police on one side screamed at the crowd to leave one way. then police on the other side said leave the other way. there was no way out" (Steve Paikin).
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beauty.finds.a.way [always]. [Jun. 26th, 2010|09:21 pm]

(see...I CAN take pictures of pretty things...)
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from.a.Lenten.hymn [Jun. 17th, 2010|11:09 pm]
"We rise again from ashes,
from the good we've failed to do.
We rise again from ashes,
to create ourselves anew.
If all our world is ashes,
then must our lives be true,
An offering of ashes,
An offering to You."

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