A lucky day on the water.
It was about time for what seems for me like a yearly refresh to my portfolios. It’s an end of winter thing when I can’t stand the way my work is being shown anymore, and I have more photos I am proud of on my hard drives than online. It starts as a simple task, and then obviously turns into a website overhaul. It turns me into a bit of a hermit for a few weeks because though hiring someone would be the simple route, I’m one of the crazy ones that decide to do it all myself.
Well maybe all by myself is an overstatement. Flothemes took care of the bulk of the work, and with the little bit of coding/graphic design knowledge in my back pocket from the time I was a really cool thirteen year old, I made it my own.
So why did I do it to myself? Two weeks of not eating or sleeping; just clicking?
I needed to split up my wedding work and my commercial work. I was sending clients and couples to a mixed site and it wasn’t working. // I wanted to take back my blog as a blog and not as a storefront homepage. Both sites will share this blog as a place for my most recent work but it isn’t the first place to be introduced to my work. // Retina compatibility. I got myself a new editing machine back in November and I was appalled at my own photos looking absolutely terrible on my old site because the resolution wasn’t there. // Keep my travel work from being lost in the depths of the internet. //
I wanted a consistent look between the two sites, my wedding work influences my travel work and vice versa I was able to make them have a similar feel with a few differences. // There are different gallery options and you are not limited on the number of galleries and photos you can have! HALLELUJAH! // I can show photos in grid form, and in a slider gallery depending on the shoot. Storytelling which I feel is so important to my wedding work isn’t sacrificed, but being able to highlight one image in my commercial work is possible. // Finally the homepage makes a BIG impression. //
I’ve added a few additional pages too – an industry friend’s page and an albums page and an ode to kissing which was previously on my blog, but makes me smile so much I didn’t want it to get lost post after post. I even shockingly wrote an about page – one of the most dreaded tasks for any photographer who spends their days with the spotlight on anyone and everything but themselves.
So though its been fun to go through work over the past five years and reorganizing it like a good ol’ spring cleaning I’m glad it is over. It’s time to get shooting again!
The Photographs Not Taken is a collection of essays by photographers about the times they didn’t use their camera. I have asked the photographers to abandon the conventional tools needed to make a photograph, and, instead, make one using words to describe the memories and experiences that didn’t go through the camera lens. Here, the process of making a photograph has been reversed. Instead of looking out into the world through a camera lens, these essays allow us to look directly into the photographer’s mind and eye and focus on where the photographs come from in their barest and most primitive form. These mental negatives depict the unedited world and the moments of life that do not exist in a single frame.
It seems too serendipitous that only a few days before I internet surfed right into this book, I was talking to my good friend and photographer Brian about writing the photographs we’ve missed, all the shots that for one reason or another would have been perfect if only the shutter had closed. It could be a way to document those instances for ourselves in words that may show more than the photographs could have. We both remembered March the year before as we had crossed a border in California with a three other photographers and our car was searched. Five of us were asked to take out all our photo gear and sit on a bench in the desert heat under a sign that said “no photography.” It was so ironic, sitting there sweating, weighed down by tripods, film, and more cameras than I can count, both of us just wishing we could take just one photo of the scene. Will Steacy and his book Photographs Not Taken beat us to it.
The essays run a few pages each, and range from hilarious to dire, while the reasons for refraining from taking a photo encompass the sentimental, the ethical, and the mistakes all of us as photographers make.
The stories themselves bring you a little bit closer to understanding the motivation behind the photography, and I’ve really enjoyed looking up the portfolios of photographers who’s essays or ideas I’ve connected with to see bits of their thought process in the photos they have taken.
Gregory Halpern asked questions about the portrait. His book project called Harvard Works Because We Do is mostly a portrait series that asks a lot more questions using portraits themselves about the working class there and it is a complex situation he delicately approaches while making his opinion and the truth very visible. My favourite paragraph from his essay is below:
Matt Salacuse is no bullshit, and I like that.
Tim Davis I think says it best, photography it is a way of looking at the world and seeing beyond yourself. I see things differently with a camera, and as I sling it over my shoulder the uniform transforms a lot of the mundanity into scenes worthy of documenting. It really is something I appreciate the longer I do it, and I think Davis articulates it beautifully.
My two favourite essays in their entirety were written by David Maisel and Chris Jordan. Both romanticize the photographs in their own personal lives not taken, and Chris Jordan’s in particular brought up an image I have of my Grandmother from an Easter dinner a few years ago. My family sat a her long dining room table with the blue table cloth on. I was in the middle, quiet and listening to her with her party hat on and a little bit of food stuck to her shirt from the meal she’d prepared, waving her arms talking about what a sorry excuse for a Mayor Rob Ford was. It was a photo I wanted to take then but didn’t, I couldn’t interrupt her speech, I didn’t want to, and I’ll never forget that mental shot of her commanding the table so seriously, with her party hat all crooked.
I sat outside yesterday on my balcony and read the whole book in the sun in a few hours. It brought me to Uganda, and Pakistan as well as to a backyard BBQ not dissimilar to the one I had attended the day before.
Photographs Not Taken is a short, insightful read in its entirety and give a quick glimpse inside life defining moments not photographed and how they’ve etch their way into the stories told by photographers who subsequent work to those moments is influenced by them themselves.
Can you think of a photograph you haven’t taken?
Spring has sprung my friends, the photography season is underway, and while my little island in the pacific has felt very homey the last couple months, yours truly is on the move.
I wanted to give the internet a little heads up and a chance to get in touch in case I was headed to your area and you were getting married, or interested in booking a session. I have a little island fever and I’m looking forward to exploring.
May 26-June 7th – Toronto and Montreal
June 18th-22th – Vancouver, Squamish and General Mainland
July – Floating between the Island and Mainland
August 9th – St. Lucia
August 19th – Toronto/ Southern Ontario
September 1st – Vancouver Island
September 10th – England and Wales, Maybe Scotland
October – 10th – Toronto, Southern Ontario
October 20th – Dominican Republic
I never wanted to shoot a wedding. It wasn’t in the cards. When I first picked up a camera it was to make a statement about our world. I started when I was young, political, bold, I had an unchecked bias opinion, and I wanted to set the world right. Lives twist and turn, as mine did, as the video below shows, and now I find myself shooting weddings by an enthousiastic choice.
The power of photography in our personal lives immediately, and into the future is part of the statement I want to make with a camera.
I’m still young, not as bold as used to be, and what I do now isn’t about setting the world right. What I do now is about showing people what is right in front of them. Sometimes that means a far way from home but more often than not just around the corner. I shoot and share what my unchecked bias opinion thinks should be paused on and appreciated in a world of rapid scrolling feeds, click-bait news and the selfie.
This video speaks for itself and needs no explanation, it is just another reaffirmation for me on what I’ve decided is important to shoot.
Cathedral Grove was one of the first places I visited on Vancouver Island. It is an old growth forest with a trickle of light penetrating the canopy of archaic trees. A place older than any person alive and astonishingly just off the main highway headed into the island’s interior.
It is one of those few places in the world that allows you to know what you’ve always known – that everything once lived and grew without machines, and human intervention. Progress wasn’t marked by the tyranny of clocks.
It is one majestic location for wedding photos.
In the few hours Aimee, Chris, their wedding party, and I spent there laughing, mud treading, and taking photos after their wedding ceremony, time slipped by. I never checked my watch. There was no rush, and absolutely no rain. A fur coat is clearly all you need.
I will eventually share a full set of photos from Aimee and Chris’s wedding but until then a little green blog post of cathedral grove wedding photos and short preview of what is to come.