After more than 36 years at The Star as a reporter/photographer, Jim Wilkes is taking early retirement at age 60. He leaves today.
In that time, he's won more than 75 awards for writing and photography and has helped mentor many of the profession's young stars.
He has covered stories around the world and around the corner, bringing a personal perspective to events of the day.
The following is a selection of some of his photos from over the years.
They are the same, but different, outside of the obvious difference, of course.
He is Canon, she is Nikon but they are both photographers.
Jim Wilkes and Michelle Shephard's path to photography was much different. Jim was a photographer first who early on discovered he could write. Michelle Shephard, a writer, whose beat and the expense of covering it meant she had to pick up the camera, discovered she had an eye.
Their beats mean they both cover a lot of ground. He puts a lot of miles on a Ford Fusion and she collects a lot of air miles.
They are both based out of Toronto, but their work is rarely in Toronto or about Toronto. It is mostly about what interests the people of Toronto.
Jim covers the Greater Toronto Area, basically everything but Toronto, Beat and Michelle covers the Terror beat.
Here are their favourites from 2011, notice that the Toronto place line is nowhere to be found.
JIM WILKES - @newsboy
MISSISSAUGA - Alexander Palubjak, 5, gets relief from 30 Celcius plus temperatures at a splash pad at Mississauga's Lake Aquitaine Park. Kids and their parents beat the heat at pools and splash pads across the city. July 12, 2011.
Lucas Oleniuk - Staff Photographer @LucasOleniuk
Miners stand above the infamous Bisie cassiterite deposit in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Minerals from the remote deposit have financed a number of armed groups and are considered conflict minerals.
Steve Russell - Staff Photographer
There was a time leading unto today when I thought I might have to purchase the Ovilus app for my iPhone to do my job.
An ovilus is a EMF detector linked to a database of words. This set-up allows ghosts to speak.
Why would a photojournalist consider purchasing this two dollar app?
Well last week four of my assignments were of the spooky kind.
Reporter Nancy White and I interviewed three sets of people with spooky or gory jobs. We interviewed a family company that cleans up crime scenes and after unfortunate deaths, paranormal investigators and a grave yard keeper.
Added to that I teamed up with Tanya Talaga to tour Queen's Park with David Bogart who showed us the parts of the building that are said to be haunted.
And over the years at the Star I've also gone ghost hunting at the Island lighthouse, where the light house keeper is said to roam around after being murdered by some soldiers from Fort York.
I've also spent a night wandering the halls of the Guild Inn in search of ghosts and I have done the ghost tour of the Spuce Hill house on the Bronte Creek Park.
Here are some of the pictures from these assignments,
Tanya Zyganiuk looks up at the The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse on Toronto Island (Wards Island) with Matthew Didier. The lighthouse is believed to be haunted by the ghost of lighthouse keeper John Paul Rademueller who disappeared and was believed murdered in 1812. While it was cloudy, I have no idea what the blue mist is near the top of the lighthouse.
Posted at 11:38 PM in Animals, Art, Baseball, Basketball, Behind the Scenes, Best of, Current Affairs, Environment, Film, Food and Drink, Football, Games, Hockey, Multiculturalism, Music, News, Olympics, Photography, Photojournalism, Politics, Portraits, Science, Soccer, Sports, Toronto Argonauts, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto FC, Toronto Maple Leafs, Travel | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
A couple days into August, but lets have a quick look back at some of our favourites from July.
RICHARD LAUTENS - Firefighter Angelo Gambrelis gets a cool down after exiting the house, still in his bunker suit, from an open valve on the side of a truck.A fire was thought to have started on an outdoor deck of a townhouse at 45 Sudbury st. in the King and Ossington area. The fire was fairly quickly under control but the firefighters had to contend with record high temperatures and were quick to try to cool down when they stripped out of their bunker suits. July 21, 2011
Posted at 03:24 PM in Animals, Art, Baseball, Best of, Current Affairs, Environment, Football, Games, Hockey, Multiculturalism, News, Photography, Photojournalism, Politics, Portraits, Science, Soccer, Sports, Toronto Argonauts, Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto FC | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Richard Lautens/Staff Photographer
Last week there was quite a heat wave in Toronto. I had 4 days straight of working outside on a variety of assignments and have had dreams of winter ever since.
On a forecasted 34 degree day, my editors came to me with the idea of shooting photos of cooking an egg on the sidewalk from the old adage of "It's hot enough out here to fry an egg!".
I did a little online research and got some good insights from Bill Nye the Science Guy, the Alberta Egg Producers as well as myriad youtube videos and other news organizations in the southern United States. There are varying degrees of success from these other sources but they all seem to agree that the temperatures had to be higher than we would experience in Toronto.
I dutifully got myself a couple of eggs, an egg cooking ring (I found one in yellow that I thought would look good visually) and a good supply of paper towels and Fantastic cleaning spray. I found a spot with a great view of the city and was ready to cook.
I had no doubts that the sidewalk would not work so I went straight to the hood of my black car that had been in the sun all day. I set up my iPhone to shoot video, made notes so I could write a short story to go with it and organized my camera equipment.
The only problem with the feature was that the egg did not cook.
The biggest drag was not that hours of preparation and watching raw egg on the hood of my car was all for nothing, the biggest drag was how difficult slightly warmed runny egg was to clean off of my car in full view of sidewalks and streetcars!
A very unimpressive looking egg after 30 minutes
It's always nice to have an audience for your failures
If it had worked, it would have been a nice picture!
A day or two later, our own Chris So tried a different tactic. He tried a full roast with veggies! Check it out here-
Richard Lautens/The Toronto Star
Steve Russell - Staff Photographer
You never know what is going to happen when you walk through the doors at the office.
My spidey sense was tingling when our photo assignment editor, Canice Leung warned be that I might be staking out a Beiber.
When I questioned it, my hearing might have been a casualty at the previous weekend's Indy, she clarified that it wasn't Justin Beiber, but a beaver.
Turns out a reader sent in a photo of a beaver at the foot of York street.
The Toronto Star which has been doing a series of stories on Lake Ontario had Antonia Zerbisias write this story on the beavers in Lake Ontario.
Relieved that I wasn't going to stakeout Justin Beiber, I went out in search of beavers.
A quick walk along the waterfront and I saw the first signs.
Being from Northern Ontario, I know beaver sticks, and there were a few floating in the harbour.
A quick look West and I could see the trees that were the source near a deck that extends into the harbour.
A closer look and I could see the damage and I could hear chewing!
A look under the stairs and there it was.
It was dark under the stairs, I was shooting 1600 ISO at a 60th of a second.
Thankfully the beaver snuck out and made its way over to the rocky shore by the boardwalk where it put on a show!