“When one tugs at a single thing in Nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” -John Muir
I’m excited to share this video featuring my friend, and frequent subject, runner James Marshall. You’ve seen pictures of James before, but Film Maker, Jeff Pelletier captures in this video something that is almost impossible to capture in a still frame. Both Jeff and James are accomplished runners and experienced 5 Peaks Alumni, both of whom I photograph many times though the event season. Stuck in my ‘quiet season’ I have been scouring the web for inspiration and project ideas for 2014. Any ideas?
Last weekend I was back on the North Shore with trail runners James Marshall and Tom Craik. Saturday and Sunday couldn’t have been more different. Saturday was dark and wet and by Sunday morning the spring sun was overhead creating an ethereal feel on the forest floor. Tom and James are experienced and active members of the local trail running community and seem quite at home at the feet of towering trees. It is as a surprise to me, as it must be to anyone who knows me, that I am finding a home in the running community, at least as a photographer. I’m not much of a runner, or really at all for that matter but it has been a gratifying and exciting experience getting to work with trail runners and their events.
Through the duration of each shoot we spoke about favourite trails, and the experience of being on these mountains. Tom described trail running in a way that suggested an experience akin to meditation, an experience I think shared by the mountain bikers we saw on the trails on Sunday. I’ve been hearing a term in radio ads for the past couple of months, Biophilia; it is the idea that humans are instinctively connected to their living environments. Tom said something about trail running on Sunday morning which resonated with my experience as a photographer. While I am paraphrasing here, he suggested that trail running was a way to interact with this environment, a way to experience this forest and geography so identified with the south west coast of British Columbia. When people ask me about photography, I sometimes describe it as the way I interact with the world, it is the conduit through which I can create unique experiences for myself and others.
Lots going on over the last month; but work is like dinner, it’s better to be looking at it than for it. It has been an interesting several weeks of photography including a snowshoe race, shooting trail running, road running and some personal work, a Ms Teen pageant and on going work on a cookbook project for a local restaurant client. I’ve also had the chance to hear and hang out with Photographer Ian Ruhter who has been in Vancouver for a number of local speaking engagements and wet plate demos, if you aren’t familiar with Ian’s work, have a look at the first video he and his crew produced about a year ago: Silver & Light.
Two weeks ago I ventured into the trails above North Vancouver with Ultra Trail Runner Gary Robbins to work on some profile pictures which would serve double purpose for both my personal portrait work and Gary’s need for some new Profile content. Gary took us to a great little trail hub that provided an opportunity for a variety of looks and we finished with a couple of head shot style portraits fitting for a trail runner and event manager. In looking back at this work and the photos that will follow of both Gary and Elaine, I see characters in their environments. These are studies of people in the places they are most comfortable.
By now the room that surrounds Elaine at her Piano will be very different. I haven’t seen it yet, but I understand that the shelves are nearly clear of books, packed and bound for new shelves in a new space in a new home. With lees than a month on the clock before Elaine and her husband Ken move into their new home I felt it was important to make a photo of Elaine at her piano in the house she has lived in for close to 30 years. I believe the spaces we inhabit, whether we choose them or they are chosen for us, become a part of who we are. I can’t wait to see Elaine’s new space, but I am glad we were able to get one last look at the old one.
One more look:
My space is subject to a perpetual cycle of cluttering and uncluttering. It is never static and often feels like a bit of a disaster. My workspace is often surrounded by piles of paper, folders, files and business cards and equipment transiting from one bag to another between shoots and assignments. One day I will make a self portrait of this chaos when I am brave enough to share, honestly, the state of my desk.