Manifesto & 1LOVETO have partnered to present the first official “6IX x 6″ Photography Exhibit as part of the Manifesto Festival’s “Common Ground” Art Show. The exhibit is on Sunday, September 20th at the Super Wonder Gallery (876 Bloor St W.) and features 6 of Toronto’s top Instagram shooters. We got the chance to ask @tahaphoto six questions as part of our interview series. See below…
What part of Toronto (GTA) are you from/Where do you live in Toronto (GTA)?
I grew up in a few different areas in the east end of Toronto. I’d consider East York my true stomping grounds (specifically St. Clair and O’Connor area). However, my family and I also lived south of Pape and Danforth for almost 10 years, we moved down there when I was about 10 years old. Now I live closer to the core in the St. Lawrence neighbourhood.
What is your favourite thing about where you live or the part of the city you are from?
I appreciate the history and 19th century architecture of my neighbourhood. There are also great spots nearby like the St. Lawrence Market, Lake Ontario and The Distillery District. You’re also close to the Don River, Cherry Beach and surrounded by some of Toronto’s oldest neighbourhoods. When you include the easy access to street cars, the bike path and subway stations, travelling from one end of the city to the other is fun and inspiring.
How have you seen art and creativity directly impact the area of the city you live in?
There’s a beautiful basketball court just down the street from me at David Crombie Park. There is a huge mural there that was painted by a group of local youth. The art is a symbol of teamwork, peace and diversity. I often walk by it and feel the energy and positive vibes. You see kids along with their families, laughing and staying active in a safe environment.
What do you think that you as a photographer brings to the table that is different than other artists and is your identifying trait?
I appreciate and love learning about Toronto’s history. When I go out to shoot, I always try to do a little research on the location to understand what had been there in the early days. So naturally, I’m always trying to find the soul− the energy and the essence of what was and now is.
I’m inspired by Toronto photographers that captured the soul of the streets decades before me like Michel Lambeth and Ivaan Kotulsky and of course, Arthur Goss who was literally everywhere! He documented the city like no other. He took thousands of photographs and he was very objective. I always look to the past to inspire where I want to go and I guess that might be what makes my style unique.
What particular image that you have photographed has been the most striking to you and why?
There are a few images that come to mind, but I would say the photo of the TTC train arriving at Victoria Park Station. It always gets me thinking. I took that through a fence on my iPhone4, on a really cold winter day. It brings me right back to my childhood. I started taking the subway when I was 8 years old and I can vividly remember taking that exact train up and down from East York.
Why is it important for you to take part in the 6ix by 6 exhibit at Manifesto festival?
Well, each and every person sees this city differently based on his or her experience in that moment in time. I love that this exhibit helps showcase the different perspectives of Toronto. That’s what we need so we can keep our community and creative dialogue going. Also, it’s an exciting time for Toronto with a bunch of spotlights on us. Decades from now when people look back, I’d want them to think we were alright! This exhibit and the whole Manifesto festival is contributing to our history and I’m honoured to be a part of it.
For more info about the “6IX x 6″ Photography Exhibit, CLICK HERE.