Have you guys been to the ‘is: Nothing but a Nokia’ or ‘The Phoneographer’ Facebook groups before? If not I suggest you have a quick look – because today on Nokia Connects we have a guest post for you from one of the founders – Paul Walsh (which as you can see below includes some pretty awesome graffiti shots taken on his N8).
Paul and his brother Patrick have been travelling the world since 2007, using Nokia phones to capture everything on their journey. Recently they added Canada to the list of amazing places they’ve visited (a list which includes: the Antartic, Mexico, South Africa and China; to name just a few locations).
Whilst they were there they captured some excellent graffiti from the streets of Toronto. Anyway, enough of the chat.
Time for Paul to take over….
As a follow on from the adventures that have taken me right around the planet using Nothing But A Nokia to meet all my electronic requirements, I have now landed in North America. Over the course of the next year, I will be travelling right across Canada, the world’s second largest country. Making my way west from my first stop and current base, Toronto, I plan to stop in Montréal, Quebec, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver as I traverse the length and breadth of this massive land mass.
Part one of this project has come as quite a surprise to me as it is something that I have gained an appreciation for quite organically. Without really planning to, I have found myself using my Nokia N8 to photograph and document the diverse range of urban artwork that Toronto has on offer.
Graffiti splits opinion among people. Is it a contemporary urban art form that should be celebrated or is it an overt display of wanton vandalism? On the one hand, you have those who would say it is an unsightly eyesore besmirching our city streets. Then there are those who admire the obvious talent on show and believe it should be encouraged, not stymied.
I imagine you can guess what side of the divide I fall in already? Although it was not always the case, I have grown to completely embrace the phenomenon, this amazing ability to construct these outlandish designs using only spray paint and talent I cannot even comprehend.
Staying in Toronto has presented me with an opportunity to admire some of the best graffiti available anywhere. Every alleyway brings its own unique splash of colour. Within a few days of arriving here I was blown away by the abundance and incredible diversity of urban artwork that added so much character and colour to the side streets, back streets and alleyways of the inner city areas. They have transformed the drab, unwelcoming passageways to outdoor art exhibitions. I just knew I had to document this on my Nokia N8.
Staying true to the ethos of my travels using ‘Nothing but a Nokia’, I decided against bringing a bulky camera, keeping my backpack as streamlined as possible and putting my faith in the great camera in my Nokia N8. With such an array of colour contained within each piece of street art, the pressure was on for it to deliver. I was confident it would suffice with its ground-breaking 12 megapixel camera. I tentatively snapped a few pieces and, as usual, I was seriously impressed by the ability of the Nokia N8 Carl Zeiss camera to come up with the goods. It’s a brave new world folks.
It is when I am wandering the backstreets of edgy cities that I am grateful that my Nokia N8 has such an able camera that conveniently fits in my pocket out of harm’s way. Many times, I have been out wandering when I stumbled across a glimpse of colour poking out from a deserted side street and I know the N8 in my pocket will always produce the goods. It certainly has not let me down yet.
Emboldened by a newfound confidence in photography or ‘phoneography’ shall we say, I found myself exploring the labyrinthine network of adjoining alleys and backstreets that snake their way through downtown Toronto, snapping all this incredible graffiti as I went. What started out as a quick perfunctory picture to capture one particularly impressive piece turned into a few hours walking and snapping on a cold winter’s day.
As you can see from all of the photos on this page, the results were astounding. I was left with a varied canon of pieces from different parts of this vast city. From illegible tags, personal to the artist, to well known cartoon characters and from select quotes of famous luminaries to topical cultural references, I found all manner of coruscating urban artwork coming together to form an eclectic smorgasbord of colour and talent. I was hooked.
Initially, my plan was to have passed through this city within a few weeks; however, I have found myself staying here for the past few months. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and my time in Toronto is no different.
I’m heading north soon towards Montréal and ultimately Vancouver. Please feel free to contribute to this next leg of my adventures on our Facebook group ‘is: Nothing but a Nokia’ and ‘The Phoneographer’ by posting your phoneographs and comments.
If there are any parts of North America that you wish to see captured and explored using ‘Nothing but a Nokia’ then please let me know and I will do my best to make it happen.
Thanks Paul! Paul’s brother Patrick is the author of ‘is: The Phenomenon of the Facebook Status’; a collection of amusing Facebook status updates from around the world (a great read if I may say so and I suggest you check it out) and he also runs the Life is: All Good Facebook page.
Let us know @Nokia_Connects if you wish to get in touch with the guys about their journey.