P.Ink Day October 24, 2015 12:53

I have traveled near and far, seen and done many amazing things, met many wonderful people, yet the opportunity to share the studio space with Stacie-Rae Weir and Nicole Fischer was unique and heart warming. I must thank both of these lovely women for not only asking me to join them to take photos of the tattoo process, but also allowing me in to the space during this very personal, painful, and emotional process.

As a photographer, my projects and contracts don't often see me spending time in a confined space like a photo studio. These spaces can be either a wonderful bonding moment between photographer and subject, or extremely awkward if the flow of the moment is not in sync. So to be asked to join and share the extremely small and intimate space of Stacie-Rae's tattoo room, was, well, intimate. 

Normally as a photographer you often spend much of your time trying to blend into the background, as to not impact the over all event. We are there to help capture the moment, not be the moment. Trying to blend into the limited free space of a 10'x10' room with tables, chairs, tools, and two other people is just not going to happen. The only way to effectively and comfortably capture the activity of the room is to become part of the event. Thus you have to get to know the people you are sharing the space with and discuss what is going to happen; or at least what you are planning to do. This includes exit options for the subjects, what are they comfortable with, and ensuring that communication is maintained so if the others in the room have a change of heart or need some time alone, they can just say it with out feeling awkward. 

Here is a small spotlight on the P.Ink Day events here in Calgary the Local CTV news crew put together about the event, Stacie-Rae Weir, and Nicole Fischer. 



A dusty adventure September 18, 2015 11:40

So Burning Man 2015 has come and gone. All the excitement, anticipation, work, planning, packing, has passed. All that remains are fond memories, and more than a little dust. 

For the first time since owning my current Nikon, I have had to send it away for service. Even protecting the camera  could not prevent the continued strong winds and dust storms of 2015 from taking a toll on the camera and gear. I have done lots of travel to many environment that would make most people cringe at bringing a good pro camera, but this is the first time I have had to deal with the environment attacking the gear. 

The event this year had many veterans stating it was the worst for wind and dust they had encountered. Many camps, sound stages, and large scale installations were affected by the winds. Some stages and infrastructure where severely damaged or completely knocked down from the winds. Mother nature once again reminded us that we live a fairly care free life because she allows us ;)

Yet for all difficulty, on going repairs, and general hardship of this years event, I am reminded that most often the events that are negative leave the longest lasting impression on us. So I am thankful for difficulty and challenges the event brought, as it will serve to forever lock a magical event in my memory and heart. Thanks to all who braved the dust and made my time at Burning Man 2015 wonderful. 

I leave you with a small glimpse of the dust. 


Get away from your routine July 7, 2015 00:02

Last week my girlfriend was given some unplanned time off as a thank you for hard work. Ya for her! We took this unexpected blessing and went on an impromptu trip. No plans, no reservations, no idea where we were headed - expect west. 

Thursday morning we got up, packed a few bare necessities, got the all important coffee and headed west. If you have never done this, then I recommend you try it some time. I know it is not always as easy with kids, but they will probably enjoy it as well. 

Trips like ours, where the only thing you know is that you will have some where to sleep ( hopefully tent, but a hotel is always an option ) and you have food to eat, remind us that we worry to much about little things in our day to day. It also reminds us how resilient and resourceful we can be. In a digital age when our lives are planned and processed by a blanket of electronics and safety nets, I feel it is important to step away and get that focus back. 

We had no idea where where were headed and how far it was going to take us. We decided what direction to go at that moment, and if we couldn't decide, well, that's what coins are for. More than a few decisions on the trip were made by the flip of a coin. You never know what you will see or what you have been missing when you stick to the pre-packaged, pre-planned events and holidays. 

My favourite vacations and travels have been the unexpected or ones that had things go wrong. Why people ask, shocked and dismayed that my best memories are the actions not all neat and perfect. Two things are going on here. First - try and remember your last trip. I bet you remember the event that went wrong more vividly and clearly than all the rest. Second - When things go astray, it usually opens doors and takes you on adventures of personal growth and discovery. Wrap these two items into a picturesque holiday, well, you just added the icing you won't forget. This of course is assuming it was nothing serious like a death, and only that which in hind site was more of an inconvenience. 

Regardless, take the time to get away unplanned. Step away from the everyday, from the electronics, the games, the expectations. Maybe you will find something worth photographing and sharing. 

Consent May 29, 2015 08:48

I have just returned from another wonderful, yet cold and damp, festival. Freezer Burn is Alberta's regional Burning Man event held every year for the past nine. 

As part of the Burning Man community practices, consent is one of the most important. The community preaches and educates all participants and to the rest of the world listening, that consent must be given for any kind on interaction, this includes having a photo taken. The concept is not one of the core principle ( see the 10 principles here - ), but it is so heavily discussed and mandated, it would probably be the eleventh principle. 

So why in a community that so heavily engages in self expression, art, music, and enjoyment of the world is consent so important? It is because they want to be inclusive of all in a positive way. Asking someone invites them to be engaged, not asking forces their involvement. Which would you rather have? 

When it comes to photographs and video, this is even more important. The issues is that much of the world can be extremely critical of others and situations they do not understand. Not everyone wants to be the centre of attention for the world to see. 

In a world and culture were we are increasingly the subject of some security camera footage and evermore a number to be tracked by the digital world we so eagerly consume - knowing our future and current whereabouts before we do -, I think we as people and not just photographers need to consider the concept of consent for more deeply.