Thursday, November 11, 2010



Do you know this girl?  

In 1992, Ivaan took this photo of a young lady sitting on the sidewalk playing the flute.  I've always just assumed it was Queen and Bathurst, but I could be wrong.  The sign on her flute case read:  "JUST HITCHED FROM VANCOUVER.  FLAT BROKE".    It's a large photo; this is just  a section  of it, and it's partly the scale of the whole photograph that makes it so appealing.  Ivaan made two very big enlargements of this photo, one for himself and the other he hoped to give to her.   But even though he was always out and about in the Queen West neighbourhood, he never saw her.

Flash forward to the beginning of December, 2002.  This same young woman, now married and with children, ran into Ivaan on the street and instantly recognized him as the man who had taken her photo more than a decade earlier.  He was thrilled, told her he had a print waiting  for her and gave her a business card with the address of his studio on it.

Three days later, Ivaan suffered a massive stroke and was hospitalized for months.  The building that contained his store was sold, and we had to move  all the contents of his store to a new studio location.   Ivaan's partner Tamas was in the store packing up one day in preparation for the move, when this young woman came by, hoping to pick up her copy of the photo.  Unfortunately, Tamas didn't know the story, wouldn't have known where to look for the photo in any case, and the young woman went away, very disappointed, without leaving her contact information.

The following year, Ivaan was in a wheelchair but anxious to do something artistic.  We decided to mount a show of his photographs, which he entitled World Class City.  It was part of the Contact 2003 festival, and it was exhibited at the Artword Gallery.  Ivaan included this photo in the exhibition.  He named it:  "FLAT BROKE.  JUST HITCHED FROM VANCOUVER"  hoping the young lady would hear about it and drop in.  She didn't.  But Ivaan always remembered her, and frequently asked me to try and locate her so she could have a copy of the photo.  

It's now 18 years since he took this photo, but someone out there knows who this girl is, and I'd love to give her the enlargement we've been saving for her.

I am offering a reward to anyone who can tell me who this is and get her to contact me.  A $100  bill or a piece of jewellery.  Your choice.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


formerly (c) Estate of Ivaan Kotulsky.  Now (c) Ryerson University!

I guess this is the last time I'll ever write "(c) Estate of Ivaan Kotulsky" underneath this photograph, or any other photos taken  by Ivaan of The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, or Jimi Hendrix, because Ryerson University, Ivaan's alma mater, has asked to acquire all of his photos and the copyright to the images.  On the one hand, the prospect of them leaving my possession is bittersweet.  On the other hand, Ivaan would have been thrilled that Ryerson is their new home.

Ryerson University recently bought Maple Leaf Gardens, where this photo and all Ivaan's photos of Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger were taken, so it's a great fit, because the photos will be in the public domain, instead of in a closet.  I'm really grateful to our longtime friend, Stephen Bulger, whose photographic gallery on Queen Street West, the Stephen Bulger Gallery, has actually been housing the collection for me since Ivaan's death, and who kindly handled the transaction with Ryerson on behalf of Ivaan and me.  If you haven't been to his gallery, please don't miss the opportunity.  You'll get to see some beautiful photography.

So that is why I have been organizing Ivaan's photos over the past few weeks.   There are tens of thousands of them already sorted, and I have a long way to go yet.  I'm going to post a few photos, in the hopes that someone out there knows the mystery person in the photo.  Actually, that will be the subject of my next post.

Anyway, to The Beatles, Mick and Jimi:  it's been nice sharing cupboard space with you.  Enjoy your new home.  I know Ivaan will be winking down at you from the great darkroom in the sky.