2013 Crankworx – Over the Hump

2013 CX Robert Shaer Review-22

There are many quotes about doing what you love, many of them, in the context of career, suggest to pursue your passion and the money will follow. I don’t believe it’s this easy; I like what Henry David Thoreau has to say about passion.

“Do what you love. Know your own bone, gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw at it still.” -Henry David Thoreau

It’s contrite and simplistic to believe that one will follow the other just because. It is more likely that through sweat, effort, failure and exhaustion that success will follow for some, but likely not all. I have been pursuing my passion now for 12 years with some significant ups and downs. I have been in a staff position at three newspapers, I have shot commercial product in more than 20 countries and for every piece of paid work I do now there is another that is done as personal work, as portfolio development, as an exercise in honing my craft.

I didn’t wake up one morning with the thought “Today will be the day I become a photographer.” I have always loved photography and over a number of years in my 20’s it came to have a greater and greater significance in my life. I was a member of the UVic photo club, I took a job at a camera store, I went back to school to study photojournalism and for time when my father and I seemed to argue every choice I made about life, school, etc, photography was the one point we could see and communicate eye to eye about.

My father, at the age of 49, lost his fight with Cancer 15 years ago this morning, and I suspect I will spend the rest of my life struggling with this at some level. A few days later, we held a service attended by more than 300 people, it was standing room only, in the hours that followed the service friends and family gathered to celebrate his life. I was lost, I was no where and this is when two dear friends sat me down with a bottle of Oban and mapped a course forward. It was another year before I finished my BA and two more before two more before I had the clarity and capacity to return to school and the following spring I was working at a daily paper with some of the best mentors in the business.
I am doing what I love, but it is not without sacrifice and to sure, I can’t say that I would be here, doing this, had my father survived. When looking forward it helps to consider how far you’ve come.Now that I have laid my somber self before you, here are a few pictures from yesterday on Whistler Mountain, yesterday was hump day and the best is yet to come.2013 CX Robert Shaer Review-12  2013 CX Robert Shaer Review-24 2013 CX Robert Shaer Review-25 2013 CX Robert Shaer Review-30

Today’s Archive Image – The Canadian Federal Election 2008

Election 2008 Leaders-2

It is hard for me to believe these images were shot more than four years ago. It is too cliche to say that it was another lifetime, but that is what it feels like. Nope, these images and the 2008 election fall within the time line of my career in photography. It is fair to say that career has had some ups and downs and has required some reinvention along the way, but what career conceived in the 21st Century does not? These images, shot days or a few weeks apart, though in the same room, were among the last time I found myself in a true media scrum and in looking back it is also fair to say that there is something to be missed, but a lot that is better behind me.

I enjoy picking up a rare editorial shift from time to time, and I am not ashamed to admit how much it pleases me to see my work printed as so much of my work ends up on line. This is one of ways in which the internet has changed the industry, technology has enabled a ‘deomcratization” of the medium but has also created an infinite number of outlets for the presentation, broadcast and publication of photos.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the right and Liberal Candidate Stephane Dion on the left revel such different messages in these photos, but by this point, the election was largely over with the outcome fairly predicted by pundits and the media. Ironically both the Prime Minister and Dion had been long accused of being soft of personalty offering little for people to get excited about, so it is interesting to look at what each of them suggest. The Prime Minister clearly secure in his predicted victory is stayed and unemotional at the podium separated from his constituents and his supporters versus Stephane Dion with closed ranks around him passionately and energetically rallying support for a losing battle. In the days following the election, I often wondered if Canada had seen the Liberal leader the way we had in that ballroom if the Liberal Party would have been more successful. Perhaps reinvention was just in the cards for Dion as it was for me.



Today’s Archive Image


Between 2003-2007 I had the chance to travel through Europe a number of times for work; I liked to imagine that it was my “Backpack Through Europe” experience, but not really. I was there for work, and my nights in 4 & 5 Star hotels way out numbered my nights spent in hostels, and it didn’t hurt that I had an expense account to draw from. I spent nearly a week in Hamburg in September of ’04 and loved almost every minute of it. It was my first time in Germany and I was sold! On one of my few days off, a world cup Triathlon event took over Lake Alster, in the very center of Hamburg and I hung around to make some images.