I’ve realized that my grief is not just from losing my brother, but also losing parts of myself that only he remembered.

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© Jeff Hayward

I used to think guilt was the worst emotion. But since my older brother passed away suddenly in 2018, I’ve changed my mind: it’s grief.

When you feel guilty about something you’ve said or done, there’s a chance to make amends. But when someone dies, all of the unsaid things between you live on for infinity.

I hadn’t lost a close family member since I was a teenager, when my maternal grandmother died. We were close. I spent weekends away at her apartment in Toronto just for fun, and she would let me watch television late into the night and…


And why it’s hurting them, and society

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Photo by Nayani Teixeira on Unsplash

Imagine for a moment the ideal male superhero. He has great hair, is physically strong, shoots lasers from his fingers, and hides away his “mortal” identity for fear of being found out.

That’s not a lot different from how most men are taught to live. The societal ideal for males from my generation (X) was to “suck it up” and move on, reinforced by our fathers who had endured hardship in their early lives. Their fathers struggled after enduring the Second World War and the Great Depression — so yeah, I get it. Gen X had it relatively easy in…


You may have expanded your universe, but it needs to be maintained

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© Jeff Hayward

Perhaps you’re one of those people who could always just talk to anyone, travel anywhere you felt like, and had amazing job opportunities come to you out of the blue based on looks or charm. This post is not for you.

But for the rest of us, you might be able to relate to the words I’m about to share. For me, while my comfort zone has been expanded in the past, it inevitably shrinks again.

That has led me to believe that confidence — and what you consider “comfortable” — is like a rubber band or balloon. It will…


It’s About Common Sense, Not Fear of Government Control

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© Jeff Hayward

We’ve all seen the posts: wearing a mask (during a pandemic, no less) makes you a mindless sheep, content to be controlled by the government.

These posts sometimes are accompanied by a reference to a book or quote from some famous historical figure that has nothing to do with viruses or protecting yourself from one. This helps create the illusion that these people know something you don’t, and that you need to “wake up.”

Okay, so I get it. The government doesn’t always have our best interests in mind. There are many reasons to be wary of governments.

But this…


Even ‘Normal’ People Can Benefit From Sessions With a Professional

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© Jeff Hayward

When you think “therapy” you might picture this: the stereotype of the patient lying across the long leather couch spilling deep, dark secrets that they could never tell anyone else.

In many cases, that may be true. (Although from my own experience, therapists also have regular chairs for patients too.)

Being human means experiencing a wide range of emotions and problems, some difficult to talk about, even with those close to us. It’s not always easy to bring up your guarded thoughts with someone you know well. …


And an Ode To The All The Photos I Missed

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© Jeff Hayward

Recently, I went for a walk with my family to the beautiful, sprawling nearby public park that offers beautiful vistas and ample opportunity for safe social distancing.

Before we left the house, I debated with myself, as I often do: “Should I bring my camera?”

……

“Nah.”

So with that, we were off to the races, the three of us striding into the fresh evening air. “I hope I don’t see anything awesome worth taking a photo of,” I secretly said to myself.

Not a few hundred feet further, a huge procession of rumbling motorcycles flew down the main street…


Why It’s More Important Than Ever To Document Police Activity

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From the Hamilton, Ontario #BLM rally in June 2020 © Jeff Hayward

Let me start by saying this: there was a #blacklivesmatter rally in my Canadian city recently, and the police were pleasantly peaceful (as was the protest.)

Although there was a lot of passion and a lot of anger being released in the public space (and rightly so), the local police seemed calm and stayed on the sidelines or parked from a safe distance. For the most part, they were part of the scenery.

But we know from seeing a lot of photos and videos lately (and throughout history) that police don’t always behave as they should around protestors. We’re currently…


It’s not all doom and gloom. But mostly it is.

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© Jeff Hayward

I’m not one for blind optimism. In fact, I find people that are too positive during the pandemic to be an annoyance, and at worst dangerous.

While I prefer to be grounded in reality with a generous side order of pessimism, and I’ve had some pretty serious spikes in anxiety and depression during all of this, I can’t deny that there are certain things that have improved a bit since the COVID-19 lockdowns began.

So without further adieu, in no particular order, here are some of my “positive” observations from a Canadian perspective…

It’s A Chance For Self-Reflection

Having more time indoors might open up…


Practice safe distancing and be creative from the comfort of your car

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© Jeff Hayward

If you’re like me, you’re limiting the time you go out and shoot photos during the COVID-19 pandemic, and when you do you’re practicing more than sufficient physical distancing (by using a zoom lens for example).

While you can still go for walks (at least in Ontario, Canada) to stretch your legs while following the rules, there’s another option if you don’t want to risk it on foot: shoot as a passenger in a vehicle.

I actually started experimenting with this technique a while back, long before any quarantine guidelines were introduced. …


As long as you follow the pandemic guidelines in your area, there’s still an opportunity to shoot photos during a walk

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Be a lone wolf when street shooting. But stay inside if you’re sick or have been ordered to remain indoors. © Jeff Hayward

We are living in difficult times for everyone, and for street photographers, it’s no different. Depending on where you’re located in the world, you may have already been ordered to stay inside due to the COVID-19 pandemic altogether (in which case, here are some great suggestions on how to stay focused on your craft.)

However, here in Canada so far, we have been given certain guidelines such as staying 6-feet from the nearest person (known as social distancing.) Of course, there are instances where people have broken orders to stay inside, which is now a punishable offense.

In short, pay…

Jeff Hayward

Life is full of experiences, and they’re (mostly) all worth writing about. But mainly you’ll see content about the arts and health.

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