Once again I am back in the land of sun, surf and avocados! Sometimes the calender and the clock just work together, and I found myself with a little block of time to get away. Seems Mexico is my choice lately and it allows me to continue my personal project making images along the West Coast of Mexico. This time the place I rested my head and called home was in the little village of Lo De Marcos. A sleepy little surf village where horses and Vaquero’s still wander the streets and even in the dead of winter, the Gringo invasion is kept in check. So many wonderful faces and so many wonderful moments. I really do love the life of Mexico!
In the never ending digital camera betterment race, I once again feel that I have to keep up with the Joneses. I promised myself once the Nikon D4s reached a certain price point I would treat myself. With the release if the new D5, the D4s is now at that price point. It is an amazing machine. Is it any more amazing than my previous Nikon Pro cameras... I doubt it. In 25 years and being part of the lucky group of photographers to straddle the analogue/digital handover, I seem to always buy a new pro camera every couple of years. I haven’t once exceeded the shutter lifespan count on any of my pro cameras. Yet they are redundant and retired. I never forget the advertising slogan when I bought my Hasselblad “ Why not buy your last camera first?” Ohhhh, if only it had been that simple!
My wedding season bookings are filling quicker than I could of imagined this year. I know each and every wedding moment will be magic, but there is a wedding I am particularly looking forward to. Joe and Haley are flying me into Newfoundland for a week to be part of their wedding in Brigus. I feel really honored to be considered, because there are so many great wedding photographers in St.John’s. I did shoot Joe and Haley’s engagement photos back in 2015 and we just ‘clicked’ (wink) . I remember a couple things from that shoot... first, it was so cold that I kept having to keep my camera batteries warm in my armpit! Second, was how much they loved each other that the cold didn’t matter at all. That memory still brings a smile to face and warms my weary old heart.
I finally managed to find one of the most important cameras of my past - A Pentax Spotmatic F (1973-1976). Not only did my Dad have one of these beautiful machines, but it was critical to my development as a creator. It was the first camera I bought with my own money and I ended up having a kit of three bodies and ten lenses. I always regretted selling it all to switch to Nikon. Now don’t get me wrong... Nikon is how I have made a living for a long time, but they never allowed me the creative freedom of a Spotmatic. The Spot is so wonderfully simple and mechanical that you don’t spend all your time ‘fiddling’. Even better, I can shoot with the lens dismounted and alter the focus plane (without damaging the mirror). I love these little wonders and this one is now mine!
Inspiration is a funny thing. It rarely happens when you need it most and it never happens when you are stuck in a bubble. I love riding motorbikes because you are never in a bubble... you are immersed in life itself. Noise, Sights and Smells are all around you and literally in your face! It is easy to photographically feel the world around and quickly stop and create. It’s been almost four years since my last bike and much has happened in that time, but I finally feel that I am ready again to photograph using a motorbike as my transportation tool. How many images have I passed because I was in the bubble of a car and not able to stop in time? Sadly - alot.
A top night at TopKnot Beauty Room in Yaletown. Thanks to Ashlee and her entire talented team for having me as their event photographer for the official launch and opening night. Even though the rain was pouring down outside, the vibe inside was amazing with a fab DJ, tasty drinks and sweet treats. It was fun for me as this boutique salon is quite small and intimate. I was able to shoot alot without flash an be close and candid. The smiles say it all! Everybody had such a good time. With the love and support I witnessed... I know that TopKnot Beauty Room is going to be a huge success. Congrats and a great Grand Opening!
I am very proud to finally be working on my latest art showing. It’s been a while since I have displayed as a solo photographer. Entitled “The Secret of True” , this collection of images wll highlight the truths we all share within the human condition. I have second guessed myself alot as I assembled and created the thirty images that this show will contain. Let’s face it... the ideals of personal truth are as lofty as it gets. There are many moods and moments I have focused on - Happiness, Regret, Betrayal, Respect, Comfort, Home and Love. I am looking forward to this, and I hope those who see the show will take away special thoughts. Look for an announcement as I finalize the display venue.
I had a shoot of a condo in False Creek the other night. As I made my images my mind wandered to how impressive the entire False Creek development really is. In the 1950’s this area was described as “nothing more than a filthy ditch” by a candidate for mayor. With all of the political and social change of the sixties, False Creek and Granville Island were planned as a socially diverse, multi family community. It became a model of urban living that many cities around the world have followed. Even now, 45 years later the False Creek developent is still an amazing place with fantastic architecture and design. I can see why properties sell so quickly here.
The connection when I photograph some people can be quite something. Lately I have been allowing myself to get close on many levels of connection and I know that some of these images are almost perfect. Perhaps Annie Leibovitz said it best “....you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.” I honored with the trust placed in me with what people tell and show me and I do my best to create an image that is who they actually are. I am teaching myself that it is ok to fall in love with the person in front of my camera and these images are filled with goodness and honesty. Yes it’s been quite something lately...
I had two gigs rescheduled today because of snow! It’s a bit of a rarity this much snowfall on the Westcoast, especially this late in the season. It made me smile as I thought about all the days I shot jobs on the Eastcoast in near blizzard conditions! I can remember slipping down hills covered in five feet of snow, trying to save my cameras from being lost until the annual thaw or only being able to work with a couple for two minutes at a time because it was minus twenty Celsius! At least I didn’t have to keep my batteries in my armpit to keep them warm this time... but I still managed to get the Jag stuck in four inches of snow on a hill on my way home :(
The sun was out. People were smiling. Life was good... but even on a lovely sunny day the DTES is a place of sadness and hardship. I have spent many hours over the last twenty five years making images of the Downtown East Side and every time I am beyond effected by lives that are lived there. Sometimes it is hard and dangerous, but on a sunny day people sit and enjoy the warmth. Many I photograph talk to me about their lives and the journey that has brought them to now. It always hits me how all of us can lose everything without support and love. Many forget that these are human beings as they drive past Hastings and Main. I will never forget.
The real estate market here on the West Coast is as busy as busy gets. I have been photographing so many wonderful properties. What’s really amazing is that no building is quite the same... even when designed by the same architect. Even though I’m busy, I still am making sure that my exterior “hero” shots get the magic light. That means many early morning wake ups to get the sunrise light that makes architectural photographs so beautiful. It’s been a fantastic winter and so little snow there will be very few summer re-takes - not that many of the listing will be on the market more than a season... most will be sold within days thanks to my images :)
It has been a really great few days of making images. I even managed to be up at dawn and do a proper walk-about until dusk! Sadly my schedule doesn’t normally allow for a proper day of personal creative photography anymore, yet it is my favorite way to make images. Once my “seeing” has warmed up, images come flooding to me. One of the projects I am heavily in the midst of is my ‘abandoned’ series (Places - Things - Moments - People) had a very productive image count and I am so touched with some of the photographs I made. The day was topped off with a huge fire which I became part of. It was sad because there are so few old structures left in Downtown Vancouver, but like life - fires need to be put out!
Well.... I'm working on it. I finally sat down to code a completely new website for myself. It has been something I have wanted to do for ages, but the task is so tremendous that I have been putting it off, literally for years! The start of the code of my website began over 19 years ago now, and some of that design code still exists. I have learned many things in that timespan and nearly all of that original webpage is completely unrecognizable as it has been updated bit by bit. But...Things are so different now - screen sizes and quality, smart phones, etc and while I finished my portfolio rebranding, I figured it was time. Watch for the roll-out,Hopefully in the next few weeks?
It’s no secret that I love all cameras. Antique, retro or state-of-the-art... I love them all, but I seem to have a real soft spot for the Russian stuff. I bought my first Russian camera when I was actually in St.Petersberg in 2000. It was a Kiev 88 (a copy of a Hasselblad 1600F) It was crude, leaked light and couldn’t keep a shutter speed. Everything a camera shouldn’t be and it was great. Over the years I added a Horizon panoramic 202, a couple of Zenits and a Zorki. I had a great month, so I decided to treat myself to a FED 1. It’s a copy of a Leica II and I think it’s from 1933. I love the pictures that come from it and it’s collapsible lens. One word - FUN.