“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” -Edith Lovejoy Pierce
Happy New Year! I’m excited to dive in – I hope you are too! All the best for the year ahead.
What must be close to two years ago, I contributed several days of photography, totaling more than 2000 images shot over six or seven individual shoots for Hana Dethlefsen’s ‘Let’s Cooking’ cookbook project. Hana’s book is now on Indiegogo where she’s seeking crowd funding to finance a limited publication run.
The project can be found here: Let’s Cooking on Indiegogo
But check out what Hana, and others, have to say about her book:
Here are a couple of images featured in the book; a $25 contribution gets you your own copy, plus all the great photos seen inside! <wink, wink, nudge, nudge>
I sometimes get nostalgic for places that I’ve traveled to or worked in, even places that I didn’t particularly like or connect with. I find myself nostalgic for work that I used to do because time and memory have conspired to help me forget the challenges, the disappointments, the mental, emotional or physical costs of doing the work I once did. At some point time has kind and I have been able to let go of less favourable memories and experiences instead remembering the explorations or the absurdity of certain experiences. Even though there is a body of work behind me that I can’t imagine I would ever go back to, I sometimes catch my self wondering how I could have done things better, or differently, or thinking about that time I found the coolest coffee house Las Vegas, New Mexico.
I had the chance to hear Ian Ruhter speak at two events in Vancouver last week, even getting the opportunity to shoot a few frames of him myself and it was with this in mind that I asked Ian if he ever missed shooting Snowboarding. Ian was quick to answer and it without hesitation, he said no. There was no contemplation and he went on to explain how heavily invested he is in what he is doing now. I connected with the first video he and his team produced a year ago, but their new video, When Dreams Collide, feels so much more.
When Dreams Collide is a very personal document and very revealing of it’s subjects, not only Ian, but of Photographer Chase Jarvis, Snowboarder Peter Line and Hip Hop artist Ishmael Butler. One thing I found so compelling was the sharing of such intimate details of each of their struggles to pursue their individual passions. Somehow in describing how he had to rely on his wife’s tip money to process film humanized Jarvis in a way that was truly refreshing. Struggle is humanizing, it’s humbling and I believe that it makes us stronger. Ian was asked a question at one of the discussions last week by a young photographer, just out of school, about how to make it work when you feel like you can’t afford to move forward. He was very pragmatic in his response and while others on the panel reached for pretentious answers, he talked about shooting by moon light when he first started in photography, because that’s what was available to him. Be creative, his message read to the audience, persevere, work with what you have and have access to.
The above is an image from Ian’s presentation at CreativeMornings/Vancouver.
When Dream Collide
Watch When Dreams Collide:
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.
Just a quick pic from a very early morning in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Triathlon competitors getting acclimatized to the water and clearing out their swim goggles in an early morning silhouette from September of 2011. This was shot from the hip on my back up camera that has become somewhat unreliable with it’s advanced shutter actuations (130K+) so I felt a little lucky when I discovered this on my cf card. Have a good weekend.
In looking at Portraiture, I want the image to read like a movie trailer, or the descriptive blurb on the back of a novel. My best ambition for any portrait I make is the suggestion of a story, something to make the viewer believe that there is something going on beyond the colour, composition or technical exercise of making a photograph; it is the reveal that there is more to the subject than just what the eye sees. I have shot dozens and dozens portraits for newspaper clients, and more often than not, those images were illustrations of written stories. I have been approaching these images with greater deliberation. Locarno Beach may be a cliche place to take a picture, but when asked for a place that had meaning for her, it was Jennifer’s first thought. I believe the places that have meaning for us are an important part of our story and their inclusion in the process contributes to the reveal.
If you are in Vancouver, or in the area, I’d love to hear your story and make your portrait.