Monday, May 8, 2017


I "sees" Wayne downtown all the time. He's usually on his way somewhere minding his own business. The first time I met him four years ago, I had to ask him if I could take his photo; he has a great face for a portrait and such intense eyes!

PAIN by Brian Carey

Wayne by Brian Carey

I photographed him 5 or 6 times now and each time we meet we always have a great chat. I gave him copies of two of the photos so he can have the memories! Seems like he's one of those guys, if you give him a chance you will find he is the nicest kind of fella!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Remembering Donnie

I've only gotten to know Donny Dunne over the last few years since I first approached him downtown and asked to take his portrait. I'd seen him around before but never had any contact with him until then. Of the one thousand or so people I've photographed downtown he was one of my favorites but it didn't start out that way. I was hesitant at first to ask him and as you can tell by the first portrait I took of him he wasn't sure what to think of it either!. After our first "photo session" he would light right up whenever he seen me coming along with my camera. I used to watch for his reaction as I approached, it used to make me laugh! We both had fun doing this!

My first portrait of Donnie
I began to go downtown to photograph people 8 years ago and the reasons for doing so did change over the years but one thing I wanted to do was to take a "nice" portrait of the regulars. I wanted to take portraits they would be proud of and in most cases I gave them copies, I believe I gave Donnie 3.

I've been reading some comments on social media, one person called him a "misunderstood soul", I think that puts him in some perspective. I've asked some of the people who's comments I read if I can use them here and here they are ...

Sylvia Louise Locke:
"Being a mom of two young girls I always told them to never talk to strangers but one day after getting on the bus to Da Pearl Lord and Behold who did I talk to but Donnie. My youngest daughter asked Mom why are you talking to that man? Do you know him? My answer was oh yes, everyone knows Donnie Dunne. So as my daughters grew up they would meet Donnie around and always say hello to him. Yesterday I got a message from my oldest daughter telling me that Donnie Dunne had passed. Yes he was a very kind soul and he never ever passed me without a chat as well. RIP Donnie thank you for being a friend". 

Chris and Donnie

Tony Hann: 
"I remember Donnie from my time managing a record store at Sobey's Square. Donnie was a fixture there and always dropping by for a chat. When I left every time I saw him he would stop and chat. Quite the character for sure. RIP are a good old soul". :-(

Vicki Stapleton: 
"I bet he had no idea how highly ppl thought of him...the last time I seen him which was last week, he told me how much he missed me over Christmas it's my turn to miss seeing him at dooleys and buying him a tea or Pepsi  :) gonna miss you buddy rest in peace"!

Mark Gruchy:
"This is so sad.
The first time I met Donnie, I was a kid around 8 years old playing video games at the old games arcade in Sobey's Square. That was 30 years ago.
I heard a voice, looked to my left, and saw a grown man very engrossed in my game. He spoke to me just like my friends would.
I didn't know what to think. I thought I was being confronted with "the stranger" my parents always warned me about. :) But... I wasn't. I realized quickly he was for real. He was just being himself. That was who Donnie was.
For years I would see Donnie at that games arcade. He would always be the same. Years passed. I got older. Then we hit the phase where Donnie was looking after the cafeteria in Sobey's Square. I recall one night, when I was very depressed and chain smoking away. I had walked out of a movie because I was having an anxiety attack. I felt absolutely and utterly horrible. I was a far cry from who I was when I was 8.
Donnie chased off some kids who were causing some trouble... I recall them hitting a light... and then apologized to me for my enjoyment of the cafeteria being interfered with. I was the only person there... except now I was an "adult" and Donnie was trying to be respectful to me for some reason after all those years of watching me play video games. I didn't even really notice those kids. Yet... he was so concerned I enjoy the cafeteria. He was very serious about it.
He never forgot me for some reason. Every time I would see him or pass him wherever he was he would speak to me as if he knew me all to pieces. Just quickly and in passing. I would pass him in the mall and he would look at me as I passed and say how's it going or something like that. It happened time after time. He always picked me out of a crowd and acknowledged me... after first meeting me as a small child. He looked at me exactly the same way.
I started to gauge my own age by Donnie's. I noticed how he was getting older every time I saw him. Inevitably, I would end up looking in a mirror at some point later and realize I was getting older.
I truly believe this man sincerely meant no harm and simply tried his best to be a part of his community. He did it very well. To sincerely mean no harm is about as high a praise I can give to anyone. It's near as good as we can be.
I remain amazed and touched he never forgot who I was. There must have been something he noticed when I was a kid talking to him about video games. It is so far away now I do not even remember what it could have been. I remember talking to him just like I would anyone playing games. I more or less thought of him as another kid in the arcade.
But he never forgot me. He knew me somehow after all that time.
I don't even know if he knew my name. I knew his.
Rest in Peace Donnie".

Lynda Meades:
"Donnie was a gentle giant. He hung out a lot at the Marie's Mini Mart on the intersection of Park Avenue and Topsail Road. I can guarantee you that if Donnie Dunne was there, no skeet would try an rob it".

From Tina Dunne (his niece):
"...Donnie always lived with his mom Elizabeth until he got a taste of being on his own. His mom was the most important person in his life as his dad passed when Donnie was just a boy himself. His mom never had to lift a finger to clean or cook Donnie looked after her very well. He would wash the floors for her ... he was a good hearted man with a lot of love for his family. He didn't expect nothing in return he was happy to help anyone he could help."

Donnie had the greatest smile. It was honest, warm and sincere. In the short time I knew him he warmed up to me and that smile seemed to get bigger and bigger. In the spring of 2014 I had to write a blog post about it. In the last few days I've noticed from being in touch with some of his family and friends he did have a lot of people who thought very highly of him!  

This Friday evening (Jan 20, 2017) at Dooly's, 354 Water St,  there will be a fundraiser to help pay for Donnies funeral expenses. It will consist of a 50/50 draw, a donation box and there will be a draw on a print I've donated. Any additional proceeds will be donated to the Wiseman Centre where Donny spent his last days!

RIP Donnie!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

We often think of great photographs being taken at the decisive moment. That moment in time when something unique or important happens. However  sometimes an iconic image can be taken after the fact. Sometimes what's not there is also important as it lends to the imagination. Such is the case for "The Valley of the Shadow of Death"!

"The Valley of the Shadow of Death" is a photograph taken by Roger Fenton in 1855 during the Crimean War. It's a photo you have to take a good look at to understand and appreciate! 

It is taken after a battle in a gully littered with cannon balls. No bodies, no dead soldiers or animals, just cannon balls. One can only imaging the horror the soldiers must have felt as these canon balls rained down on them!

"The Valley of the Shadow of Death" has been included in Time Magazines Top 100 photos the most influential images of all time.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Brendan in Pictures

Photography by Brian Carey St John's Newfoundland

Photography by Brian Carey

Photography by Brian Carey

Photography by Brian Carey

Photography by Brian Carey

Photography by Brian Carey

Photography by Brian Carey

Photography by Brian Carey St John's Newfoundland

Sunday, October 23, 2016

We don't always have time for Tim Horton's

Over the last couple of years, I've been trying to move my street photography along. I'm happy with the work I've done over the years; I wanted the photo to take a good look at the person I was photographing and with any luck bridge the gap between the subject and the observer. I did this by focusing on portraiture using a telephoto lens. This lens gave me the freedom to stay out of a person's personal space (so they would have a better chance of feeling relaxed) while at the same time allowing me to capture a up-close and personal portrait. I should add that I almost always asked permission too.

These days I want to let the world speak for itself, I'd like to tell more of the story. I still want to be creative and capture images that have something to say but I want it to be raw, to be real and perhaps show people what they might not want to see or are unaware of! Also this observer, the photographer, will be removed from the "picture". These images will not only reflect the people but also the environment around them.

We don't always have time for Tim Horton's b Brian Carey
We don't always have time for Tim Horton's
Most of us want to live in a society driven to solve social ills. Certainly that is one of the pillars of any successful civilization, to make conditions better for the people and the environment around them. In order to do this we have to talk, we have to have some dialogue about our community and the world we live in as it is.

These photos are a contribution to that dialogue.

"We don't always have time for Tim Horton's" was taken on the streets of Toronto and was a winner at the 2016 Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Competition.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Pay it Forward

I'm not a big fan of "paying it forward". Don't get me wrong it's not the idea of being nice to someone that I have a problem with but it's the thought that you will get something in return for doing so. It's a little like expecting Karma to hand each their justice, it would be nice but it doesn't work that way.

The pay it forward idea can be little self-serving for me, too egotistical! It's as if "Pay it Forward" is some sort of reward system. You would think doing it because it's a good thing to do is enough!

As you may know I've been doing street photography downtown for the last 8 years and I prefer to go down when it's snowing and sometimes on a very cold winters day. I do this for no other reason than to do something different. I get bored doing the same thing over and over.

PAIN by Brian Carey

I do have gloves with me but can't operate my cameras with them on; not surprisingly my hands can get very cold. Sometimes I go to the men's washroom and use the hand dryer to warm my hands and heat my gloves. Often times I will go into one of the coffee shops and get myself a coffee. Cradling a hot coffee is sure a lovely feeling when your hands are a bit numb!

One very cold February day in 2015 I went into Atlantic Place for a coffee and bumped into Wayne. I have photographed Wayne a few times and got to know him a bit, soft spoken and nice is how I would describe him. I asked him if he wanted a coffee and a sandwich. We went to the Starbucks counter to order and when we got the order the gal at the counter wouldn't take my money. She said someone had left some money with them in case someone came in and couldn't afford to pay.

Someone did something nice with no expectation of reward! There are some lovely people out there!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tom Tom on the Radio

Everyone Hates Tom Tom! At least that's the way it might seem downtown sometimes!

People who know him and see him downtown may even cross the street to avoid him. I can't say I blame them, he has a history of being aggressive with people but I thought I would try to shed some light on the situation.

My first experience with Tom Tom was not a pleasant one. One summers day, three years ago on Duckworth St, I asked him if I could take his portrait and his reaction was to draw back his fist as if to strike me! As a fairly big guy who has experience with various martial arts I am not easily intimidated but I did get a fright. I stepped back, took a few breaths and regained my personal space. I was momentarily lost for words but I wasn't completely surprised. I had seen him around for some years and talked about him with other people. We knew what he was like and I knew he definitely has some psychological issues. That realization helped me not to take this "confrontation" personally!.

Tom Tom
Since that day I still talk to him and I've photographed him a few times. I've been telling him that "if you want people to be nice to you you have to be nice to them. You want people to be nice to you don't you"? I usually get a reassuring nod!

I don't know how life has been for him over the years and he seems much calmer these days. I've seen him many times over the last year offering to fist bump passersby. He seems to have settled a bit!

Tom Tom on the Radio by Brian Carey
Tom Tom on the Radio
I did get to photograph him after our first encounter and gave him a copy and now every time I see him he tells me about it. He has it hung up at home on his wall. But I wanted to photograph him again, this time I wanted to get him holding his radio, that's the Tom Tom we see around! He'll get a copy of this one too!

Good Luck Tom Tom!


UPDATE: Tom Tom got his new photo.

For more please visit our website "Chasing the Light Fantastic".