(written by Holly Lee) Sushi Grass in Paradise (a story)

(47) The Museum of Wandering

“Couldn’t be more true about our consuming culture,” Mrs. Bento agreed, “I don’t see myself not buying anything with every single trip out, there’s always something I want to get, always a bag or two to carry back. Obviously Fotografiska wants to combine luxurious dinning with the gratification of splendid art viewing. It wants to make one hungry not just for first-class art but more so for top of the line cuisine.”

(46) The Initial Anatomy of Photo Museums

(46) The Initial Anatomy of Photo Museums
Mr. Bento did not have the idea of bringing up news of Robert Frank’s death would create another diversion, dragging the HOSOP team further away from studying what photo museums world-wide would gather in their collections. In today’s gathering he must stress on focusing, herding them back to the aim of this meeting. In fact, everyone had done some homework, and after a lengthy discussion, they came to the following consensus. Wandy, with her iPad on her lap, quickly typed down the points.

(45) Borderlines

(45) Borderlines
Without saying much Mrs. Bento felt the sadness in Chai’s heart. Their city was burning. No news was good since June and the whole situation has gone completely out of hand, providing further grounds for the government’s tighter grip on the protestors. Qi, Chai’s father had bad news. A week ago he took a false step and twisted his ankle. At the doctors advice he stayed at home and took rest. In any case, many forms of transportation have ceased to operate since there are disturbances and road blockages in many parts of the city. Chai has a lot in common with some of her friends, who mostly express their views, or side with the protestors but not the will to take more drastic action. Or perhaps she is too far away from the core of action? Would she join the thousands if she’s in the city?

(44) Halloween

(44) Halloween
A few weeks ago, Ginger and Mrs. Bento had to make a quick trip to Home Depot to get a new bathroom fan. The fan in one of the guest rooms was not working, and they also wanted to return the adjustable locking plier they bought but never used. Yes, another fine day, blue sky white clouds and all, all you can ask for some late October gorgeous weather.

(43) A Stela incised with the Keepers of Light

(43) A Stela incised with the Keepers of Light
From The Family of Man catalogue, Chai gathered the names of 257 photographers, shy of 16 from the 273 people claimed in the collection at Clervaux Castle. When Chai further diagnosed the list she detected some interesting facts.

• Many images were selected from assignments, from photo journalists working for News agencies or magazines such as Life, Magnum, Pix, Fortune, Rapho Guillumette, Sovfoto or Black Star.

(42) A Brief History of mid-20th Century Photography (in the West)?

(42) A Brief History of mid-20th Century Photography (in the West)?
In the Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography, it has been recorded that all the black and white images of The Family of Man catalogue were printed by regular rotogravure. The catalogue was published by Maco, a magazine printing company, which subsequently produced ten more editions in the next five years. It went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide. By 1961, MoMA had sold more than one million copies of the catalogue, marking it the single most successful photography publication in the twentieth century. The copy which the HOSOP team held on hand, might be just one among the earliest editions, since the first edition was sold for only $1.

(41) The Family of Man

(41) The Family of ManDespite its size, a good 8¼ in x 10 in, this sad, long neglected book not more than 200 pages suddenly came to live, touched...

(40) The American Fifties


“Today’s HOSOP meeting starts with news of Robert Frank’s death.” Mr. Bento said with a low voice, lifting up his spectacles and gently soothing his eyes with two fingers, he tried to recall something. “I remember seeing recent photographs of him taken by a Canadian photographer. Was it last May, no, it was the May before last May, during Toronto’s Contact Photo Festival. They were taken at Mabou on Cape Breton Island, pictures of Frank inside and around his home, he seemed to be well at ease. One could feel the good rapport between them.”

(39) Street Mapping

(39) Street Mapping
The first building opposite the library on Gladstone Avenue is Hakim Optical shop. Sharing this rather long and rectangular three-stories red brick complex is WWCC, Working Women Community Centre, a charitable organization since 1974. The integral part of its mission is dealing with newcomer settlement services, offering programmes supporting immigrant women and improving the lives of their families. On the unusually wide, extended pedestrian path, Chai and Mrs. Bento stopped to look at a beautiful mosaic panel.

(38) The Church

(38)  The Church

Chai and Mrs. Bento failed to recognize St. Wenceslaus Church on Gladstone Avenue possibly because of their stereotypical impression of what a Catholic church should look like - always grand and Romanesque in style. Yet, this church built around 1951 is Czech in origin, minimally designed as an industrial building, probably based on practicality, and to avoid financial overload. Looking up at the building, they noticed five mosaic windows carrying religious themes, and they also saw the official entrance to the church.

(37) The Library

(37) The Library
A fine September morning. On Dufferin and Alma Street, from the bus stop opposite a massive construction site, Mrs. Bento and Chai took the number 29A northbound bus to Bloor Street West, where they would get off and walk down south along Gladstone Avenue. Just a small block east of Dufferin Street stood the Bloor/Gladstone Library. Chai saw a Heritage Toronto plaque in front of the building and started reading it. The library was inaugurated in 1913, more than a hundred years old. The building design is a Beaux Arts adaptation of the Italian Renaissance style, with an addition of a contemporary glass pavilion on its western side in 2009, the renovation has doubled the space of the library.

(36) New Wound, Old Wound

(36) New Wound, Old Wound
Never has Mrs. Bento so affected by thunders before. Between the scientific and mythical world there is every reason she can find to be afraid of the dragon’s roar. She blames it most on her imagination, which grows wilder and vivider everyday. Whenever she hears loud cracks of thunder, she immediately thinks of finding refuge underneath a desk, a table, or any place safe, imagining herself a naked child, curling in fetal position on a deserted plain, so fragile and defenseless and totally helpless before the destructive power of nature. It may also be seeing too many gruesome scenes of disasters like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis. When she tells people of her fears they just don’t understand why a mature person like herself would be terrified by such natural and totally explainable phenomena like lightning and thunder.