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Stopping to Take in Yonge Street


Yonge Street may not be the world’s longest street, but as Ismail Atiev discovered when he set out to capture its length, it’s still pretty damn long.
After first experimenting with stop motion in “The Stop Motion Experience,” Atiev, who’s an aspiring musician and cinematographer, wanted to “up the level” for his next video and do something crazy. So, starting at 9 a.m. on a clear day in April, he and his friend, Djabrail Tataev, armed themselves with two cameras and walked forty-two kilometres from Yonge and Wellington Streets in Aurora to the point where Yonge Street begins at Queens Quay in Toronto—a journey that took them fourteen hours to complete.
Collecting the photos for this video was an arduous process. For the duration of the trip, the two stayed approximately ten metres apart and every thirty steps or so turned to take each others’ photos. “We must have looked really strange,” Atiev told Torontoist. “A lot of people were wondering what we were doing, but I was so set on finishing this thing that I had no time to stop and describe what we were doing; it would just be too long of a story.”
Besides the endless questions, their biggest time-killer was the cameras’ batteries, which kept dying near the end and forced them on several occasions to duck into a fast-food establishment for a quick recharge.
The other big problem was the distance. “I’ve never walked that much in a single day,” explained Atiev. “Pretty much after Bloor and Yonge our feet were just killing us.”
But the pain was worth it. “What I enjoyed about making this video is that when we start in Aurora, you can see how rural it is—a bunch of fields and not a lot of buildings—and as you’re going, you can just see the buildings getting bigger and higher and the more lights and cars.”
Atiev already has his next project planned, which he says is “going to be ten times harder than the Yonge Street video and a lot more epic.”

CORRECTION: DECEMBER 9, 2009 This article originally misspelled Djabrail Tataev’s last name as “Pataeve,” the result of a transcription error. The article has also been updated to replace Djabrail’s nickname, “D.J.”, with his full first name.

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