Pictures of Pride
Nobody told me that Pride is really just a big street fest. A theme that encourages the man to redirect the traffic and let the city play.
I don’t know why I never take the time to check it out. Perhaps I fear the Pride community would expose me as an outsider and send me away because I don’t belong. I know, that’s preposterous. That’s not at all what Pride is about. In Toronto anyway, the message is clear and in technicolour: everyone is welcome and will smile for the camera.
The parade route is obviously dense and excited. There are so many people that it is easy to imagine the whole city is here, squeezing each other tight along Yonge St. from Dundas to Bloor. I wonder, whose party is this, anyway? Does it belong only to the LGBTQ community, or is it really Toronto celebrating itself for how diverse and inclusive it is?
Of course, there are those in attendance who disagree and feel they are doing their God’s work by protesting. But by preaching to the wrong crowd, their megaphone and nonsensical stammering are as futile as it is comical. Their limited numbers relegate them to a distant corner opposite Yonge and Dundas Square.
When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives leading the parade, it sends the crowd into a frenzy. But over the exuberance of the cheers, the shouts and general cries; over the sound of the grumbling motorcycle motorcade and even the cusses of my own making as I try to get the shot, Justin can still be heard. His voice noticeably raspy, he belts “Happy Pride!”
Trudeaumania is alive and well. And although most press outlets are reporting on his choice of socks, the real word on the streets was gossip about the Prime Minister re-wearing the same pink shirt from last year…
Pride: A lesson in decent exposure.
Absolutely one of the biggest challenges during any shoot outdoors is to overcome the weather. Case in point, as Pride proves difficult due to variable cloud cover. I’m set up for one exposure with a subject diffused by the sky, only to in an instant have it change by blasting sunshine!
As a result of the differing light levels in such short spans of time, I have to stay on top of what settings I have on the camera before I take the next shot. It is crucial. Or I risk losing out on a moment that won’t be properly exposed.
It’s truly overwhelming just how much there is to see. After a time, I decide to leave the parade and stay near the Church and Wellesley area. It is still busy, but less crowded than behind the barricades along Yonge St. I think it will be probably quite exciting to just let the swift, swelling crowd pass by as I capture what I can…
What is Pride?
How unfortunate, that in contrast to the splendour and spectacle of this yearly tradition, there still are other places where this kind of gathering is a crime. For example, police in Istanbul are tear gassing a Pride parade as I take these photos.
The right to free love is important. In the end, it doesn’t matter who is queer and who is not. You go to a festival like Pride to take in the excitement of a community. A community whose flamboyance and good nature are infectious and if you bring along a camera, make for some nice photos.
That being the case, take away the outfits, the corporate sponsors, and parade and what is Pride?
Well, for an example it’s really just about letting two guys stroll down the street holding hands in peace.
In conclusion, I’m glad I attended. The parade is a lot of fun, but the real activity is in the surrounding spaces. I most certainly will visit Pride again, Toronto!