It’s 1970 and I’m sitting in the kitchen at 130 Rosedale Valley Road, watching my mother fret over the amount of ice in the freezer. She’d unplugged it the day before and it had barely defrosted at all. I told my mum that I thought it would take a week or two to defrost and she stopped chipping away at it for a second to give me a look that immediately told me I should keep my mouth closed. I went off to look for my brother to see if he wanted to play Hockey Set.
After losing 53-51, I went back into the kitchen to see that mum had put a couple of lit candles in the freezer to hurry up the process. It was only a little freezer built into the little fridge, that fit nicely into the tiny kitchen. I got something to eat and went back to persuade my brother Charles that it should be two out of three.
I have little memory of what happened next, but a couple of hours later I was standing in the kitchen with my brother, sister and mother and we were staring at a very weird, melted freezer. Deformed, mountainous, plastic, hard goo. We all laughed.
My mother, who liked to tell a good story, told all who would listen and a few days later a family friend came over with cameras and lights and I got to see my first photo shoot.
The family friend with the camera was Arnaud Maggs, who went on to be one of Canada’s greatest photographers. He did have an air of coolness about him though, and I was absolutely fascinated. He let me take a picture and he talked to me about light and shadows and he encouraged me to put my head in the melted freezer as he took a crazy photograph. I’d climb up on a chair or a ladder and put my head sideways or upside down before showing Arnaud a goofy smile.
I thought of that day often, my first photoshoot, as I pursued photography as a hobby and I thought of Arnaud years later when I decided that photography would be my second career.