Mexico here I am, on my way... Pesos in pocket and camera in hand. I have decided to take off a few weeks and recharge my soul in the land of sun, surf and cerveza. I am so looking forward to just stopping for moment, seeing important people in my life and taking a few images just for me, and for fun. I know when I stop finding the time to make personal photographs that I have been working too much and that I am on the edge of burn-out. I never like to complain about working, but when I return to the grind, it will be time to evaluate what type of gigs and work matter ... and more importantly interesting and personally fulfilling. We spend so many hours working... what a waste when it doesn’t matter.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy... or something along those lines. I decided to take a page out of the Millennial rule book - reward myself for a job well done. After a particularly busy (and stressful) period of working alot and trying to keep up with shooting and editing (sorry to those who had to wait for their images), it was time to spend some money on something I would never normally buy. Fountain Pens! I love the way I write with them and it is just a much cooler way to put thoughts to paper. I tried a few out at a gig while taking photos and seems my ‘buy it now’ finger slipped a few times and I now have fourteen beautiful pens. See, I don’t only buy lenses. Here is to signing :)
I seem to sound like a broken record as of late. I literally have no time (ask those who are close to me and they will concur)! I managed to squeeze 36 hours into a wilderness getaway from a close friend this weekend. Up into the West Coast Coastal Mountain Range logging roads we headed, away from mobile signal, noise and light pollution. Cooking by fire and enjoying the glacier fresh river beside where we slept - it was bliss :) Yeah, it was a little cold... camping in Canada in November seems to be that way, and yeah... I still took my computers and worked away in the evening for a gig due ‘ASAP’. It was still beautifully wonderful and I even managed a few creative moments and made some lovely images.
Sometimes things happen in life. I have had a full on learning experience about copyright after discovering images I had produced for a commission a few years ago were being used for commercial purposes that they were never intended for. It started simply from noticing a post on social media that showed a printed ticket to an event. I thought... hmmm, that looks like a photo I made. Within an hour I discovered photos (that I had made) where being used across the web on webpages, social media channels and ads! After speaking to those in the know, I sent a cease and desist letter and geared up for my copyright battle. In the end a settlement was reached and a cheque arrived. Note to self : it is only business ;)
This really has been a huge year for me. In particular the volume of vehicle images I have made this year is staggering. I love how beautiful most automobiles are. The design of function is something lost on most manufactured goods, yet cars seem to be design perfection. Cues like slipstreaming or interior ergonomics or even speaker placement are all incorporated into the finished perfect product. I have been lucky to photograph Jag, Alfa, Land Rover, Bentley, Ferrari, and so many other marquees. The vehicles have been beautiful, and the people and companies who commission me have been some of the best customers I have ever had. It really has been great :)
Work. Seems to be all I am doing lately. I’m so lucky to be busy, but the 15 hour days have been taking alot out of me. My eyes have turned square. Time for a ‘Tofino Time-Out’! Load the mighty Vandura with cameras and a bag of clothes, grab a friend and off to Vancouver Island to chill. Just a ferry ride away (plus a few hundred kms) is the paradise of the Pacific West Coast. Beautiful beaches, great people and fantastic images. In Tofino, I was even able to catch up with my cousin Kaeli and her lovely family. They started Tacofino many years ago, and the food is as good now as it was then - TASTY! Renegade camping in Ucluelet with rain, fog...and great coffee. Surfer’s paradise it is and I made some golden pics!
I am supposed to keep this one quiet, but when two people I care about as much as Dean and Zaren decide to spend their lives together, I want to just stand on a mountain and let the world know. There is such respect and love shared between these two humans. I smile as I write this thinking how great they are together. Soul mates - that is the description that appears in my mind over and over again, and all of us should dream of being so lucky in Love as Dean and Zaren. We had such a lovely photo shoot in Petty Harbour on the Atlantic Coast . We walked, we talked and we laughed... and then a funny thing happened to me. Being in their ‘bubble’ even for just a short time, restored my belief in Love. I am so happy that of all the billions of people on this planet, Dean and Zaren found each other :)
I was overwhelmed by the beauty of Joe + Haley’s wedding in Brigus, Newfoundland. They are such a wonderful couple and I was so honored to be their photographer. Every thing aligned to make the day fantastic... but (I must admit), I was slightly worried about the weather and if I would be there at all. I only had 5 days to spare to get there and back, and on the way there I missed my connection flight in Toronto! Nearly 24 hours travel and I finally made it, but the weather forecast was cold and thunder showers for the day of the wedding. We all crossed our fingers and toes and the day turned out to be perfection. The light was magic, Joe + Haley are made for each other and the location turned out to be the gem of the East Coast - just Google Brigus and St.George’s Heritage Church and Museum.
I have been ultra busy shooting portraits as of late. I do love going out for a session and get to know somebody well enough to make a proper portrait that actually represents who they are. Every human is so different. Many, many years ago I was in a job that pressed me to spend no more than two minutes per person during a shoot. Although the images looked good on the surface, they were never really portraits. I used to have my friendly banter down to a science and I always interacted to get a smile. It took me so long to untrain my mind from that type of shooting and slow down and get to know the person in front of me. I must admit...I am a much better photographer now :)
My new book which is named Instalife is hot off the press... and at 240 pages, it is the most ambitious, limited edition, beautiful art book I have ever attempted. Many of these images began life as my 365 social media project which became part of my social media presence. This book is the exclusive companion to my Instagram™ and shows how much disconnection we have in this connected world. I am beyond proud of the work held within these pages and my book manufacturer has gone above and beyond to showcase that pride - the quality of reproduction has taken my breath away. This book is my Instalife :)
Funny how somethings just sort of happen in life. A couple weeks ago I received a text from somebody I knew from a previous gig. That led to a meeting, which led to a proposal of six months of shooting + design, which now looks like it may have been accepted! Honestly, my favorite emails to open are the ones that offer the chance to creatively do something a little “outside the box”. I am looking forward to being part of it all and my mind is already planning out the calendar of things to do. All I need to do now is coordinate my time... hmmmm, does anybody know how to alter space and time to get me a couple more hours in the day?
Part of being a working photographer is that you try to never say “no” to any gigs. Lately I have being saying yes to the small things - people who need just a few photographs for their small business. Yesterday I shot wristwatches for a small boutique watch shop in Vancouver. The images were primarily for Website and E-Commerce, but I still shot them creatively. I was really pleased with the results (even if it did take me longer than I quoted for the shoot). The owner was so pleased that not only has he decided to have a few images printed and framed, he let me pick one of the watches to keep as a bonus! I am a big fan of any “Military Face” analogue time piece, so I chose one that was particularly handsome :)
Over the weekend I (re)certified in First-Aid. I would never of thought it... but things have changed slightly since I last took the course so many years ago. Being an all paid invitation with a spot of lunch how could I say no. It is probably a good idea in both my professional and home life to know how to save a life (who hasn’t been at a wedding when somebody faints). I learned much, but the best part was using the new AED devices to ‘jump start’ Stan’s heart! Stan is the medical practice dummy who I saved a few times in our experience together. What I did take away from it all is that I need to exercise alot more. Just a few minutes of CPR and I was breathing heavier than I should. After it all, Stan and I went for a beer...
One of my great joys when I put the cameras down is stumbling across great independent used bookshops. Never disappointing, my visit to Seattle finds me in some of my favorite bookshops. I scored a treasure trove of wonderful books on photography. An original 1963 pressing of “Steichen - a Life in Photography”, a first edition signed copy of Susan Sontags’s Essays on Photography (1977), “Group f.64” (2014) by Mary Alinder and a really well read and loved Diane Arbus Monograph (1972) have all become welcome editions to my library. It often surprises what books are just sitting on the dusty shelves of these shops. Maybe other photogs don’t read? Or maybe they don’t care? How can you know where you are going if you don’t know where you have been.
Seattle, a city that will always be close to my heart. Over the last twenty years I have loved nearly every photograph I have taken in this Pacific Northwest gem of a city. Much like Vancouver, gentrification has reared it’s ugly head. The ‘Oxford’, once a haven for Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the birth of Grunge is now an Ikea-esque apartment knick-knack shop. Happily though, the vibrant neighborhoods like Fremont and Capital Hill are everything I remember from adventures past. So much visual and photographic overload. I always say the same thing when I leave Seattle... I wish I had more time to just sit and embrace the moments all around. What I wouldn’t do to just sit for hours, but that’s life.