Bay Street Hoops 2017

I was honoured to be asked to be a photographer for a local charity basketball tournament at the University of Toronto called “Bay St. Hoops“. This is my second time covering this great charity and being a part of two things that I love, Photography and basketball.

When I did this event last year, I wasn’t really prepared since it was pretty last minute. Also, the tournament took place at 5 different ball courts and 3 different lighting conditions which made it a bit of a challenge. This year, I covered two days of the tournament and got used to the lighting and was more prepared and I think the photos from this year compared to last year show that.

What makes this tournament interesting to me is the skill level. You had novices in a division participating up to the highly competitive player that you can tell have experience playing at high levels competitively and are active ballplayers. Sometimes I would have to put down my camera and just watch because some of the games were captivating. I even covered a buzzer beater shot to win a critical semi-final game.

It was a tremendous event once again. This year was better than last year in my opinion and I bet it’ll only get better. I’ve met some amazing people over the two years that I’ve covered this event and some I still keep in contact with. Thanks to Desmond Rampersaud and Emma Truax for having me once again and I’ll see you next year.

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Play for Hope

This is a great time to be a sports fan. You have the football season finishing their first month, the NHL season is starting up, the NBA is starting their training camps and the Major League Baseball season is about to start their playoffs. Unfortunately, this also means that the golf season is winding down.

With all the recent natural disasters happening, as bad as it is, it is good to know that many people have come together to help out those that are less fortunate.  Thanks to my friend Asif Khan, I have taken pictures at the 4th annual Play 4 Hope golf tournament at Royal Ontario Golf club in Milton, ON.

This is my second year participating in this event. The weather has been very unpredictable the last few days. The beginning of the week was summer weather but the last couple days have been quite chilly. I was nervous at first and wasn’t sure what to wear but it’s turned out to be a perfect day for golfing.

There were many great sponsors present from all over the GTA.  Just like last year at the registration table, there was great food provided by Island Mix and quality cigars from Havana Castle. I can say that this year is already better than when I was here last year and many great sponsors came out to support the Play 4 Hope tournament this year.

This year we are raising money for The Chenga House which provides support for marginalized youth.  Another beneficiary is the Canadian Cancer Society. I’d like to thank Asif Kasim for having me cover this event and I look forward to covering more in the future.

Back in Business

 

As September marks back to school for kids, September also marked a new beginning for me as well. In July the tiles in my basement started to pop up from the floor. To this day, we’re not sure what caused that to happen. So some tiles had to be removed and replaced. It was a very dirty job the whole basement was covered in dust but after 6 about weeks of re-tiling, painting, and cleaning, the basement is functional again.

During the time where my home studio was out of service, I had to adapt. It’s like that saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I had to adapt to my situation so I focused more on doing events such as baby showers and birthdays and doing more jobs on location.

My first client for my grand re-opening was Sharifah Weir of Love Thick Apparel. Now, this isn’t the first time working with Sharifah we did a product shoot a couple years ago when she was starting out. She’s doing quite well and I like the campaign that she’s running with her “Women are Dope” line and inspiring women of all shapes and sizes to be self-confident and role models.

The next client was from a new clothing line called Totally African. Here in Toronto where there are so many cultures and we embrace and borrow from each other, this line is great for people that love the colours and designs of African fashion. We just started working together but I hope that we can grow together and I always try to support young businesses.

So the home studio is back up and running. I still have to put the pictures back on the wall but I’M BACK!! So contact me at Degrey Photography for your family portraits, headshots, and photo shoots.

 

Homes 4 Hope

Recently I was asked to photograph a great charity event that helps families in Africa. Fortunately for me, I have been very busy with other jobs and editing, but when Arlene, the wife of one of the founding members contacted me, I couldn’t say no.

The organization that I worked for is called Homes4Hope What they’re doing is amazing. They have partnered up with CBM   and Habitat for Humanity to provide homes to families in Africa for children living with disabilities.

What I love about this group is, they’re not just throwing money at a cause and going home to their comfy homes and their nice meals, they’re actually in these countries helping build homes themselves with their own two hands.

This past April they travelled to Malawi. I follow current events but I’d have to admit, that I don’t know a lot about Malawi. All I knew that it was somewhere in Africa. Well, I learned that 74% of the population is below the poverty line. The average GDP per capita is $220 compared to Canada which is $45,000. Many of us make $220 in a day. Just imagine $220 a YEAR. The people that Homes 4 Hope helped make about $5 per month and $3 of that goes to rent. Then imagine that you have a child with special needs on top of that? Truly heartbreaking as I write this on my computer with all the amenities that I can ask for.

But the people at Homes 4 Hope are making a difference 1 family at a time. Since they’ve started only a few years ago, they’ve raised $500,000 and improved the living conditions of over 40 families by building 40 homes.

I would like to thank Arlene Karram and the board members of Homes 4 Hope for inviting me to take photos and the wonderful staff at  The Broadview Hotel.For more information about this cause and to donate, please visit http://homes4hope.ca/

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New Families

Last weekend I had the pleasure of covering two events that celebrate life. First was a first birthday party. It’s always nice to cover kids parties because of the energy of the room. The ability of children to get along and play without prejudices or knowing each other beforehand always amazes me. It’s too bad adults don’t always do the same.

The birthday boy is too young to fully understand what’s going on, but he was in good spirits and stayed awake the whole time. I learned that he loves music and dancing. To me, two things I love with babies are listening to them laugh and watching them dance.

The second event I photographed was a baby shower. The way that people are excited to see the mommy to be’s belly and just the general feeling of love in the room is a great thing. What stood out to me about this shower was the chemistry between the parents to be. You can tell that their future daughter is going to have a lot of love around her. I was happy to be a part of it and best wishes to both families that asked me to capture milestones in their lives.DSC_8690DSC_8726DSC_8748DSC_8787DSC_8960-EditDSC_8982-Edit

Hey DJ

The last couple of years, I’ve had the privilege to photograph many events of Canada’s best DJ Starting from Scratch. In that time I’ve met all different types of people from all walks of life. One thing that I’ve always admired about Scratch is despite being idolised and worshipped by different audiences, he’s just a regular guy and shrugs away the accolades that his fans bestow upon him. I’ve been around DJ’s with one tenth of Scratch’s skill but ten times the attitude.

One of the people that I always saw at the events was a guy named DJ Andis. I didn’t know what he did, I just thought that he was a guy that liked Old School music. Later I found out that he was a DJ.

After a night of taking photos, Andis asked me for my business card and said that he wanted to do a photoshoot. Originally we wanted to do the pictures at Play de Record but our schedules didn’t allow that to happen. So he came to my home photo studio and we got to work.

I think it was a great situation being that we both love music albeit from different ends of the spectrum. He plays the music and I consume it, but music is a universal language. First, I started with an up and coming MC named Nick Grant then I changed the vibe a bit with some New Edition which brought us back to our youth and I just told him to dance and have fun. After all, in my opinion, the best DJ’s are the ones that feel the music and connect with their audience. I’ve seen Andis has been using some of these photos to promote his gigs and his radio show on Carib 101. Check him out and if you need a DJ to rock your party, he’s the guy.

Toronto DJ, Music, Hip Hop, Presskit
Thinkin’ of a Masterplan
Headphones, Toronto DJ, Music, Hip Hop, R&B
Music to my Ears
Toronto DJ, Serato, Vinyl, Music
Que up
DJ, Still life, crates, headphones, bag
Tools of the Trade

Attica, USA 1971: Images and Sounds of a Rebellion

This weekend I took a trip to the Ryerson Image Centre in downtown Toronto. I saw an ad in the paper about this photo gallery and I told my friend @ryhanks that we should check this out because that’s right up our alley being into Photography and African-American history. The problem with the society that we live in, is there are so many distractions so I forgot about the exhibit until I was deleting some photos from my phone and I saw a picture of the flyer that I took while I was on the TTC and I saw that the last day was April 9th.

I took the subway to Dundas station and walked over to the Ryerson Image Centre. It was my first time there and it was a nice clean building with all the amenities. I first saw a video board and a short film by a former Black Panter. It was mind blowing that you can still see the bullet holes in a house from a shootout that took place in 1968.

Although I am a photographer, for some reason I find it strange to take photos of photos or art so I left my camera at home and just used my phone. They had a guided tour of the exhibit but you were also free to walk around as you pleased so, I did a quick lap before the tour started. There were a lot of powerful images and some were definitely not for the faint of heart.

The Attica rebellion took place before I was born and I heard of it but I didn’t know very much about it. When I listened to the tour guide speak about it, I was in disbelief of the living conditions that the inmates went through. 63 cents for food a DAY, 1 bar of soap and one roll of toilet paper per MONTH. The Latino inmates that received letters from their friends and families automatically got thrown out if it was written in Spanish since none of the correction officers read Spanish and all correspondence were read before reaching the intended receiver. The prison was predominantly black and latino.

43 men lost their lives during that period in September 1971 and they were killed by the authorities. Litigation carried on until 2015 and the State Government paid $8,000,000 to the families of the victims of the slain prisoners and $12 Million to the families victims of the prison employees. But I think most importantly, never admitted any wrongdoing for the incident in the first place.

As a black man and watching the world that I currently live in, this situation was eerily similar to what I see going on today with Police brutality and the American prison industrial complex. Just when things start to move in the right direction, a powerful corporation or lobbyist group tries to pull the world backwards and tries to convince us as the human race that everything is fine how it is. And because most of the protesters do not have the ability to sway the politicians and the politicians are afraid to go against the lobbyists, we get thrown into this ugly cycle of hate and injustice. I think the biggest difference between 1971 and 2017 is that middle-class whites now see what’s happening with visible minorities and a lot of them don’t agree with the injustices with drug laws, police killings are now on camera, the Dakota Access Pipeline affecting the ways of life of the First Nations people and the environment as a whole. We are truly in a time where the whole world is watching and the decisions of many are made by the few.

Join us for Shopping & Champagne!

Ladies in the Toronto area check it out.

Come join Pradegal on Saturday February 25th & Sunday February 26th for our showroom event!

We’ll be serving complimentary champagne along with a free gift with purchase! You’ll get a chance to see Pradegal’s HQ in Toronto, be able to cash in a 20% discount on your entire purchase, and we’ll be doing additional markdowns on our sale items with up to 70% off!

You’ll also get exclusive access to some of our new spring arrivals that will be limited in quantities as only a few pieces of each item will be made. Don’t miss out!

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Who got the Props

This weekend I went to the Eaton Centre to run some errands. A couple summers ago, my brother bought me a Swatch watch and last week I realised that the battery was dead so I went to get a new battery. I asked the clerk how much it cost to replace the battery and he took it and said, “Nothing. Free”. I was pleasantly surprised by that news.

Then I went over to Uniqlo to get a hoodie. Unfortunately, they didn’t have my size, but I  managed to get 2 shirts. So not a total loss.

I was feeling hungry so I was going to get a sushi burrito from Rolltation. As I was walking, I saw that Canadian Tire had a sale on some stuffed animals. I went inside and saw a bunch that I thought would be perfect for my friend’s son’s 1st birthday and maybe a prop for my home studio. The only problem was, that they were too big to carry around Downtown Toronto at the dawn of rush hour.

So I went the following day (Saturday) and got 2 animals, one for my studio and one for my friend’s son. As I was walking back to the subway, I noticed a lot of people

Shopping
Plush toys on Sale at Canadian Tire

looking at me. Kids eyes would light up and women would give me that “he’s so sweet” face. I have a feeling that they thought I had these toys to give to my Valentine since Valentine’s Day is coming up. But no it’s just a birthday present and a studio prop.

 

 

No Muslim Ban on Stolen Land

This weekend, I woke up on Saturday morning and turned on CP24 as I usually do to check the weather for the day. I saw that there was a rally scheduled outside the US Embassy so I automatically perked up and saw an opportunity to take photos.

I intended to take the TTC but I was afraid of being late so I drove downtown and walked to the protest location.

I was surprised at the vast number of people that attended of all walks of life that were all united against the US travel ban. There were members of Black Lives Matter, Leaders of the Chinese community, the Muslim community, a Holocaust survivor and others all united against Donald Trump’s foreign policies. I saw people of all races, sexual orientation, young and elderly all against the Travel Ban. The dissent that I have noticed in the last few weeks is definitely eye-opening, not just here in North America but worldwide. I watch TV sometimes and think “Is this really happening?” I see people on social media obsessed with selfies and filters on Snapchat and wonder if they are aware or care about the things happening around us. But I digress, everyone needs an escape and luckily for me, photography has become mine.

I hope you enjoy these images from Yesterdays Muslim Ban protest in Toronto

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