As the Autumn leaves shine into their fiery show before the fall I am reflecting on what a wonderful Summer has passed. It was Rhea’s first and she was showered with love, visits from our dear friends and family, and so many gifts to boot! We spent every weekend by the water at the cottage or in the county. It has been a special time. Here is a little gallery of moments caught on film from Summer 2022. xo
Author Archives: Jennifer Toole
The Goddess Array x AI
All images created in collaboration with Human and Artificial Intelligence. I input poetic phrases from The Goddess Array book into DALL-E, an AI image generator and these are the resulting images.
Ximena in Blue
Shot on the shores of Rice Lake with the Praktica Pentor Super TL on a vintage Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm F2.8, August 2022.
Flowers from My Garden III: 08/22
Shot with the Praktica Pentor Super TL on a vintage Zeiss Jena Tessar 50mm F2.8.
Flowers from My Garden II: Queen of the Night
Six years ago my husband was gifted this thin, flat cactus shoot as a birthday gift. We were told it was a “Queen of the Night” and would bring us good luck if we could convince it to flower. A variety of cactus/orchid, the plant was known to rarely flower, and when it did for only one night between the moonrise and moonset. We cared for it. Nothing happened. After three years of dormancy we propagated a number of shoots from the plant and gave them out to friends, sharing the legend of the flower and wishing them better luck than we had had. Still, she remained hidden.
On August 22, 2022 the Queen of the Night revealed herself. In a stunning show of agency the slender plant gave birth to a bloom a foot in diameter that emitted a heady scent of sweet honey and gardenia. The Queen of the Night indeed! We danced with her, basking in her beauty. As the moon set she shrivelled up and died. A lesson in the rewards of patience and the brevity of life, I suppose.
Flowers from My Garden I: Rhea in Iris
Willow Cove, Spring 2022
The boys hard at work putting the dock in.
MEMENTOS: Stories from the Archive, Vol. 2 “Tropical Luxuriance” Stacey Martin Lifestyle S/S2013 Campaign, Quebec
To celebrate designer Stacey Martin’s refreshing rebranding of her clothing line from Kania Couture to Stacey Martin Lifestyle I thought it would be fun to look back on our first shoot together. Stacey has been an inspiration to me for a decade now with her consistent commitment to greatness and hard work, thriving as a successful entrepreneur, designer, dancer, mother and friend. She makes it all look so effortless. Her line of stylish clothes that are made to be moved in is habit-forming, so beware. All her fabrics are locally sourced, hand dyed and machine washable. Feel like you’re wearing your favourite sweats while looking like a million bucks. That’s what Stacey’s clothes do for women.
Back in the spring of 2013, Stacey booked a 16-year-old Herieth Paul for our shoot right before she blew up into global supermodel status. The Tanzanian beauty has gone on to grace the covers of Vogue Italia, Teen Vogue and Elle, walked for Diane von Fürstenberg, Lacoste, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Armani, Cavalli and 3.1 Phillip Lim, starred in campaigns for Tom Ford & cKone, and is now a brand ambassador for Maybelline. We were very lucky to have her!
The theme for the shoot was “Tropical Luxuriance,” however we were planning to shoot in Quebec so we needed to get creative with our location. We decided to break into a construction site on a Sunday that had a mountain of white sand we could pretend was the fine beaches of Jamaica. Of course, we were risking a confrontation with security etc. etc. but no one was there and the shoot went splendidly. We were blasting Rihanna all day from Stacey’s hybrid SUV. We shot through sunset, exhausted but patting ourselves on our backs for a wonderful shoot completed. All packed up and ready to head home, we piled into the car only to realize we had naively completely drained the battery with our beats throughout the day. Now we were stranded in an abandoned construction site in the dark.
As we frantically read the hybrid’s manual searching for a solution, three dudes on dirt bikes, also taking advantage of the unprotected sand mountain, pulled up to our vehicle to see if we were alright. Luckily they were kind souls and with all of our heads together we managed to get back on the road. The “Tropical Luxuriance” lookbook was born and nobody was harmed! Another one for the books. xo
MEMENTOS: Stories from the Archive, Vol. 1 “Wet ‘n’ Wild” shot for Northbound Leather in Toronto, 2013
I will never forget the first time I met Jenny Burton. I had been hired as a model for the F/W 2013 Mooseknuckles Canada campaign. The shoot was at a remote cabin in the wilds of Quebec in the dead of winter. The other models and I were getting glammed up for an exterior scene in the snow when the art director, this stunningly beautiful, warm and incredibly nice woman named Jenny, lined us all up and assigned us our wardrobe for the scene. I guess no one is immune to the charms of an enchanting woman as my usual resolve crumbled at her request for me to don nothing more than a military hat, boots, a skimpy bra and thong for our subzero shoot. I was impressed and eager to befriend a woman of such influence. We did become fast friends and the following summer I decided it was time for a playful payback.
I cast Jenny in our September 2013 shoot for Northbound Leather where I was working as art director and in-house photographer. The theme was “Wet ‘n’ Wild.” We had a curated selection of Northbound’s slipperiest pieces and had secured Toronto’s favourite swingers club Oasis Aqua Lounge on a Sunday morning for the shoot, which was a blessing in timing because they clean the pool every Sunday morning, so the debauchery of the weekend was all but a memory. I had a young-Liz-Taylor-hires-pool-boy-with-benefits fantasy in mind. Jenny and I were very excited for our male model. Armed with enough champagne to get a party started we were looking forward to a great shoot and perhaps getting into a bit of trouble afterward. Our excitement quickly dissipated soon after our pool boy’s arrival.
He was even more handsome than his photos, however, as I was taking him through his looks for the day he began to get visibly upset. Holding a latex thong in one hand a leather bowtie in the other he claimed that he was an Ambercrombie & Fitch model and absolutely not comfortable posing in Northbound’s fetish gear. I guess he did not care to research the brand before taking the job? How boring! He was about to abandon set completely so I had to think fast. I figured all we really needed from him was his body and could do without his face or increasingly dull personality, so I made him the offer to shoot him anonymously, without ever showing his face. He agreed and we went ahead with the shoot.
Jenny shone bright and easily commanded the shoot serving up a blend of young Liz Taylor meets Brazilian supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio. There was only one moment when we got into some deep water so to speak…
Donned in a full body latex catsuit complete with a gimp face mask without nostril air holes I had her jump into the pool. As we set out to get the shot her mask filled up with water nearly drowning her! I think she secretly liked it though. Some of us are suckers for punishment. The resulting photo is still my favourite from the shoot. No pain, no gain they say! I felt we were even after all for the frostbite I got on my butt at the Mooseknuckles shoot. Thank goodness for adventurous friends. xo
Rambling Reflections #1: Subglacial Melt
This is the first publication of a new series entitled ‘Rambling Reflections’ where I will set out to be delighted and inspired by some thing of beauty while I’m out for my daily walk. I will write about said discovery and then share my images and thoughts with you here in the hope of spreading some of my delight and inspiration. Here we go!
Be like water, they say. Continuously flow down the path of least resistance. When a large, seemingly impenetrable obstacle presents itself, slide right up to it, encounter it, wrap yourself right around its edges, and then leave it in your wake.
I was awestruck on my walk yesterday by a brave river of subglacial melt hurriedly and excitedly making its way to the lake, bubbling along beneath a thick layer of of ice. The warm rays of winter sun bring the earth below the ice to life first, giving cause to this phenomenon of pattern.
Maybe humans work in the same way. Perhaps we thaw from the the heart first before allowing our icy walls down in complete vulnerability. Perhaps this is a natural survival instinct. When our hearts get warm enough to shatter even the iciest of façades, the fully realized being emerges in love, just in time for Spring, not unlike the caterpillar’s transformation into butterfly. And just maybe, that special person you have been trying to get through to who seems to be as cold as ice, has already begun to thaw from the heart. Keep an eye out for the bubbling just beneath the surface. x