Tall Poppy Interview – Rannie Turingan, Photojunkie
Rannie Turingan is one of the premier bloggers in Toronto. He has won two Bloggies, he runs countless blogs including GTA Bloggers, and is well known among photobloggers and text bloggers alike.
Turingan currently has an exhibit of some of his photography on the wall of Toronto Free Gallery (660 Queen Street East) as part of the PUBLICity Exhibit sponsored by Spacing Magazine. He’s also one of three people organizing the Photobloggie Awards for best photoblogs around the world.
Turingan may seem busy, but it doesn’t stop him from answering random photography questions from his readers or taking the time to talk to Torontoist about his year so far.
The PUBLICity exhibit is located at Toronto Free Gallery until April 23rd. Turingan will appear on The Toronto Living show on Rogers Television starting next Monday at 8pm, then again through the week. You can vote for the Photobloggie finalists here.
Where are you from? Where do you live?
I was born in the Philippines, my folks moved to Canada when I was three. I’ve lived in Scarborough my whole life, first in my aunt and uncle’s basement, then in a Apartment Building near Kennedy and Eglinton and then finally in Miliken until the present time.
In two weeks, I’m leaving the nest and leaving Scarborough for an apartment in North York with a fabulous view of the 401. The upside of that is that the new Apple store will be a hop skip and jump away.
Since winning the Bloggie for Best Canadian Blog you’ve been getting a lot of media attention. Who has interviewed you? Where have you been featured?
My only two appearances related to the bloggies win are CBC Radio 1 for Here and Now, and CBC Newsworld’s The Hour.
But in this weeks EYE magazine, there is an article on city blogging that quotes me, plus there is a ton of other interviews and press in regards to the PUBLICity show.
– Best Bet in Eye
– Rogers Television: Toronto Living
– Sunday Sun, there was a piece on the exhibit
– On March 28. I will be on Rogers Television : Daytime (talking about PUBLICity, and photoblogging)
This isn’t the first time I have been featured in the press and it probably won’t be the last. I do find it amusing that the mainstream media finds all this press worthy.
Has the attention you’ve been getting this year any different than when you won in 2003?
In 2003, I had been in a lot of print media, mostly newspapers, The Toronto Star, The National Post, The New York Times. Some related to the bloggies, one related to the gtabloggers community, and a piece on photoblogging in general. But the media attention wasn’t as immediate. The Toronto Star piece wasn’t until months later, announcing that I had won. This year, there is radio and television coverage, and I was contacted the day after I won. It was a very quick turn around.
In a related note, the president of the Toronto Guild for Photographic Arts heard my interview on CBC Radio 1 and proceeded to email me the following day. One of their speakers had cancelled for April 5th and she wanted to know if I was available to come in and talk about Photoblogging to their group. Of course I gladly accepted. So that should be an interesting speaking engagement.
What’s your involvement in the Photobloggies? Is this the first year they’ve been run?
The Photobloggies were first run by me in 2003. It was a result of the lack of representation in the bloggies that pushed me to start the Photobloggies.
Last year, I was too busy to get the ball rolling. This year there was a lot of discussion between Brandon of photoblogs.org regarding the Photobloggies, but it wasn’t until Jake of the Gothamist hoped on board that the ball got rolling for this year’s Photobloggies. Brandon and Jake handled most of the details and I took a backseat in the process. I did however canvass the community for sponsors and landed some really cool prizes for the awards.
How did you get involved in Spacing Magazine?
For the 3rd issue of Spacing Magazine “Work and Play” I proposed an article on photoblogging for the issue. They approved the proposal and it’s pretty much history from there. Spacing tends to use the talents of local photobloggers to fill their magazine with photos related to their articles. It’s the perfect marriage as the magazine is about public spaces in Toronto, which is pretty much the same subject matter as most of the city’s photobloggers.
In December, we ran a Spacing Photoblog which featured the work of Toronto Area photobloggers. Then in January, Matt Blackett from the magazine approached us about doing this exhibit at the Toronto Free Gallery.
We [Toronto Photobloggers] have always been there as a resource for Spacing Magazine. Putting together this exhibit to showcase our work has been a nice way to pay us back for our efforts.
Is the PUBLICity show at the Toronto Free Gallery the first Gallery your work has been in, or have you done others?
I have done a few shows over the last few years, but the PUBLICity exhibit has really been the most important one for me. I suppose the buzz really brought home how important this show was. It has been an amazing opportunity to share my work with a greater group of people and hopefully will lead to other opportunities. After this exhibit closes in a month, I definitely plan on trying to get my act together to do another show in the near future. Possibly even my own solo show. I definitely have ideas and themes that I’d like to explore.
In early 2000, I had submitted some work to the Toy Camera Competition that was being run by the Elevator Gallery. One of my pieces multiple exposure Holga images made it into the group show as an honourable mention.
During the summer of 2001, I put together a touring showcase called “One Night Stand.” The premise behind the tour was to exhibit my photos at various music venues in conjunction with various local musicians for one night only. I had three main showcases in June, July and August at C’est What? where I put together the evening, and choose the artists that played those nights. But I also showed at various other venues in the city as well as in Waterloo, Ottawa, Montreal and NYC. In total I did 30 different nights over the summer months with a variety of acts, Emm Gryner, Lindy, The Miniatures and many more talents folks. You can view an interview clip on Umbrella music about the tour.
In early 2002, me and a fellow photographer Karen Baer did a show together called “Heads or Tales” at the Art Bar space in the Gladstone Hotel. It was my biggest show to date at the time, unfortunately the Gladstone had closed its doors midway through, and we never really got full exposure on that show.
What inspired you to print one of your photos onto canvas?
I know I wanted to do something different for the PUBLICity show. Something that would definitely stand out when seen. Something BIG. So I decided to have the picture printed on Canvas and have it stretched. I am really happy with how it turned out, and think that the image I choose has a really big impact on the canvas.
Despite the challenges in getting the piece created. I am really happy with how it turned out, and think that I those the right image to really give impact on the canvas. It’s definitely one the the pieces that I got a lot of feedback on at the opening reception.
Other than Photojunkie and GTA Bloggers, what other websites do you operate or work for?
I’m one of those people who like to have several things on the go at the same time. I never seem to be happy with just working on one project. Of course, my main site is photojunkie.ca which is my primary photoblog, it’s been running for about a year and a half now.
I run both the GTAbloggers.com site, home of the Toronto blogging community, which was founded in 2000 and the toronto.photobloggers.org, home of the Toronto photoblogging community, which was founded last year.
On a personal level, I recently started up musicjunkie which is still a work in progess, I hope to write a bit more on music and showcase some of my concert photos on this site.
And collaboratively, I will be starting a new photoblog at postnourls.com. Basically I’ll take url’s photographed in public spaces and bring them back to the internet in the form of pictures. I hope to get the ball rolling on this in the next month.
Finally, my sister and I are in the process of starting up Toronto gamers site. Basically it’s about video games, but from a casual gamers point of view as opposed to from a hard core gamer viewpoint.
In the past I have worked on the now defunct
indievoice.com which was a music site as well as the defunct photojunkie.org which I was running as a photobloggers resource online site.
To top it off I also have the domain rannieturingan.com which is my totally outdated portfolio site. I hope to clean and update the site this spring.
Where’s your favourite place to take pictures in town?
I don’t know if I necessarily have a favorite place to shoot in the city. Personally you can drop me off anywhere in town, and I will walk around the area and find something interesting to capture. Maybe someone can suggest an interesting place I have never been.
What’s the best place to get a deal on camera equipment?
The best thing to do is to keep your eyes open. I’ve shopped everywhere.