Friday, January 22, 2010

Norman Rockwell Moment for Jason Wieler

Toronto media outlets have been abuzz this week with the news of skyrocketing rider complaints at the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission). But let's try and take a positive look at the mess: the situation has provided Toronto interactive designer and illustrator Jason Wieler with a Norman Rockwell moment.

He snapped this photo of the fare collector at McCowan station just before 10 p.m. on Jan. 19, and later posted it on Twitpic. He intended it for the amusement of his friends, but an image this good won't stay private for long.

Of course, the photo has exacerbated the storm of righteous indignation that was already circulating in letters to the editor and e-news comment pages (overpaid, ungrateful unionized workers, etc., etc.). The TTC is my exclusive mode of transportation when I am in Toronto, and I truly have very few complaints about it. Sure, I've experienced my share of cranky streetcar drivers, novel-reading collectors, and so forth, but I'm not sure that I would not succumb to the same temptations, given the nature of the job. Admittedly, it is a sad reflection on the state of affairs regarding customer service at the TTC that everyone passing by assumed the fellow was asleep and not unconscious.

My second thought on seeing the photo: "Drop my token in the box or get a free ride?"

My first thought: "What a fabulous photograph!"

The moment, the light, the composition. Those are the three ingredients of a great candid photo, and they're all here.

As reported in the the Torontoist, Weiler says he hopes the photograph doesn't cost the TTC employee his job. "I didn't want to get the dude in trouble … that wasn't my intent of course. I know that this guy's probably got a mortgage and kids. No one wants to take away someone else's work."

You can visit Wieler's website, and take a peek at what interests him. Here's his self-portrait of the artist as a young criminal:

Glad to see you are not the sort to take yourself too seriously, Jason. We wish you all the best in your career in illustration and photography.


  1. great to have discovered this page !

  2. Likewise, Caio... very much enjoyed looking at your paintings at Mein Welt. Best wishes with your new book.

  3. crazy. living in Vancouver I just stumbled on the ttc scandal. when I saw the photo of the dude, I kind of thought... "what a prick move to get the sleepy dude in trouble with a shot that is otherwise gorgeous."

    I showed it to my wife who's reaction was "awww! it's like a norman rockwell shot."

    i googled jason's name, and did a doubletake when your blog came up.

    Should win foto of the year. And buddy should split it with the dude who's life he helped fuck.

    (yeah, he shouldn't have been asleep, but don't be a tool your whole live and cut him some slack)

  4. what happened to the fare collector?

  5. It brings up the old question - does an image like this have consequences - different if it's a picture of a face in a crowd