Even though I’ve stopped photographing and counting masks, their numbers still rival water bottles and dog poo bags in city gutters. The one below inched closer to the curb overnight. The title photo features a Lynne Heller Pill Flower Mask.
Medical equipment has been a part of my work since I hauled a tangle of tubes and masks left from my father’s oxygen tanks to graduate school. Masks have popped up in Breathworks (air and breathing), Risky (experiences of a dyslectic croupier) and Tender Loving Stuff (the agency of material objects).
Summer Statistics: 7 fabric masks and 186 disposable masks
Located on streets 82, plants 48, sidewalks 40, (or near) garbage bins 9, subway tracks 5, street grates 3, railway underpass 3 and in puddles 3, tree planter box 1
When I started photographing masks, I didn’t have a plan. Putting them on this blog seemed a departure from usual Tender Loving Stuff content. The other pieces are on based at my home as I endeavour act responsibly in relation to things rather than see them possessions. The gutter masks do fit with older projects about ew factor body dirt (e.g. hair in this post) and giving stuff one more chance as art before they’re dumped in a landfill. These PPE’s not only protect us, they are with made with human labour from valuable resources created from stardust just like we were.
September 21, 2020 – End of Summer and a few brief walks, nights will be shorter than days. Some masks are still visible on night walks: 8 masks
September 19, 2020 17 – The feet in “south mask” are near “middle mask”. From there you can see the other 2 masks: 17 masks
September 11, 2020 – I just stepped out of the car at the library on one of only two occasions I got a ride in the last months and September 15, 2020 Nighttime in front of my home: 2 masks
September 1, 2020 – Walk a few blocks to hair cutting appointment: 18 masks
September 1, 2020 previous posts: 129 + this post 19 = 148
My walks have been curtailed because of seasonal allergies and home improvement projects. I did photograph a few masks on night walks and during bike rides when they are harder to spot. On a short walk to the bakery without my phone/camera, I passed 7 masks.
During the last few weeks of summer, I will post images from past Breath Works featuring masks. A new series celebrating 10 years of Tender Loving Stuff projects will begin with the Autumn Equinox.
If you can’t go to the masks, they will come to you!
August 28, 2020 Laneway behind my home: 1 mask
Plants struggling to grow through cracks in concrete and tarmac are hopeful signs among human cast-offs. They will find me rooting for “Weeds!”
August 21, 2020 Bike lanes to lakeshore: 10 masks
August 20, 2020 A walk in the dark: 3 masks
August 19, 2020 Underneath the street lamps: 5 masks
I don’t usually post 2 days in a row, but I made it past 100 mask photographs in gutters this morning while rushing to the subway.
5 blocks – 6 masks!
There weren’t enough people in the station to need distancing cues. While I was transferring, I noticed a mask at track-level, but the train came, and I didn’t want to be late for an appointment. On the way home I had just enough time to photograph it and 4 others on the tracks.
Third rail – 5 masks
I walked from the subway on the other side of the street. I was in a hurry to get and wash my hands after a hospital appointment. I might have missed a few.
Return trip – 2 masks
I photographed masks on the way to the park. It got too to dark spot them on the way home. Summer days are getting shorter.
Evening walk – 17 masks
Yesterday I photographed all the gloves I saw to compare the numbers with masks. I got involved with the mask count and left the gloves until today.
August 17, 2020 – 10 gloves (only 1 paired set) and 23 masks
P.S. August 18, 2020 AM – I was trying out the new editing system and wanted to check the post again before publishing.
The Total for first 2 months: 68 + this week: 31 = 99
I told my partner I would quit when I photographed 100 masks in the gutters of our neighbourhood. I haven’t been walking as much because of back aches. I didn’t expect to get this close today on a short walk curtailed further by rain!
August 17, 2020 – 23 masks! This is crazy!
August 15, 2020 – 7 new masks
August 10, 2020 – 1 mask
A glove and a mask. The mask still there 5 days later! It’s the only repeat in 2 months of photographing neighbourhood gutter masks.