Lucas Murnaghan goes into the deep end for his Toronto Pride photo exhibit

Silver fox Lucas Murnaghan, 42, is an orthopedic surgeon, underwater photographer, and entrepreneur. And that’s just for starters.

The GayCities Toronto Pride Guru took time from his busy schedule to talk about his upcoming exhibit, 10×10 Photography Project, and the best of Gay Toronto.

Lucas also gave GayCities a preview of his underwater work.

Here’s Lucas’ rundown all things Pride Toronto.

Tell us about the exhibit happening during Toronto Pride?
The 10×10 Photography Project is an annual event and publication that celebrates Queer Canadians in the arts. Each year, 10 Queer Canadian Photographers are chosen and each select 10 Queer Canadian Artists that they will portray and celebrate. The resultant 100 portraits are exhibited at the iconic Gladstone Hotel and launch Toronto’s Pride Weekend on Thursday, June 21. I was honoured to be asked this year and thrilled that I had the freedom to shoot my images in my signature underwater style. I am super excited for the opening and to share my images of the ten incredible artists that I worked with.

(Photo used by permission / @lucasmurnaghan)

Tell us about your underwater photography. What inspired it?

I’ve always been a bit of a water baby and have loved taking pictures since I was a kid. I started in surf photography a while back, and always preferred the physical and technical challenge of shooting from the water. My surf photography has taken me on some pretty incredible adventures around the world, as well as the opportunity to capture a growing surf scene right here on the Great Lakes. A couple years ago, I found myself wanting to shoot more than my travel schedule (and budget!) would allow, so I started to brainstorm other ways to use the skills that I had developed. Once I slipped beneath the surface, I realized that there was another world waiting for me to explore – I was hooked!

You’re also a doctor? What kind?

I’m an orthopaedic surgeon. I specialize in the care of pediatric and adolescent athletic injuries. Most of my operations are done arthroscopically which means I perform the surgery through a minimally invasive approach and use a camera within the fluid filled joint (shoulder, knee, hip etc) to perform reconstructive procedures. So I’m behind the camera and underwater even at my day job!

Tell us about your hobbies when you’re not doctoring or photographing.

Water does seem to be a recurring theme doesn’t it! I love to travel with my partner, get out surfing or stand-up paddleboarding and am a glutton for punishment through long-distance triathlons. I’ve completed a couple Ironman races and would love to take on another adventure race soon.

(Photo used by permission / @lucasmurnaghan)

What are the challenges of underwater photography?

I guess the two biggest challenges are physical and technical. I do all of my underwater shoots without the aid of SCUBA so that I can maintain an intimate connection with my subject. This poses the physical challenge of breath holding as well as body control. In addition to being physically able to do the shoots – there is a variety of equipment that is required to get this kind of shots. I’ve been accumulating it over the years – but it certainly isn’t an inexpensive hobby!

Let’s talk Toronto. What are your favorite bars?

I’ve probably moved beyond my big bar going days – but still, like to get out and enjoy a few drinks with friends from time to time. I’m a big fan of The Beaver on West Queen West for its size and vibe. I’m still a sucker for some of the Church St standards and Woody’s is a safe bet most nights of the week. My favorite nights are the roving parties around town including Tapette and FIT. I’ve heard some great things about Boner – but haven’t made it to one yet!

Sunday brunch?

I’ve been lately gravitating towards Belfast Love on King West, but the old stand-bys of Saving Grace on Dundas or Aunties and Uncles on College are tough to beat.

Best places to eat?

Terroni on Adelaide or Queen West, the Garganelli Geppetto is a favourite for sure.
At Lola’s Kitchen on Church the California Bowl is incredible. And at Surf the Greats on Carlaw order a Flat White and Acai Bowl.

(Photo used by permission / @lucasmurnaghan)

Favorite hotels/recommendations for Pride visitors?

I’m definitely more of an AirBnB guy, but it’s hard to go wrong with the new Delta down by the ACC or King Edward Hotel on King East.

Why are you a Toronto Pride expert?

I would most definitely shy away from that title – but I guess I have lived here for a decade and have been to my share of prides around the world. I think the key to Pride is finding which part of it vibes with you and your friends. I’ve long since stopped trying to do it all and try to pick my spots and still leave time to relax throughout the weekend. We go for the day parties and events – get out to the parks, beaches, and the island.

Best Pride cocktail?

I’m definitely a fan of craft beer and we are spoiled for options here in Toronto. A few of our local breweries have some great new Radlers summer – so I think that will be my go to on a hot summer day this year.

What makes your Pride special from the hundreds around the globe?

We are so lucky to live in one of the most multicultural and accepting cities in the world. I think sometimes we take that for granted in Toronto, but Pride is always a moment when I remember just how diverse and dynamic our city really is. It often takes visitors coming to our city to remind us of that – so I guess I’m grateful for the yearly reminder to get out and enjoy the incredible place we call home.

Which Pride party is a must?

I have been going to the Green Space Festival parties for some time – and I expect this year will be no exception. Always a great energy and the money raised goes to support the important work at 519 Community Centre.

Anything else we should know about you?

My partner and I own a surf shop in Toronto called ‘Surf the Greats’ (@surfthegreats). Antonio is the driving force and has built the company over the past few years – he has created a community space, café, and surf shop right in the heart of Leslieville. We run local surf and SUP lessons, have a wide range of surf gear and beach apparel, and organize a number of unique surf adventures throughout the year to Central and South America. So if you want a truly unique experience while you are in town – feel free to stop by to learn more!

Visit Lucas on Instagram for more info on the upcoming exhibit, 10×10 Photography Project.

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