Light Breaks The Shadow Of 2020

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

– Desmond Tutu

2020 turned our lives upside down, bringing with it illness, loss, financial challenges, political instability and legions of other stressors.  They say that it is always darkest before the dawn, however, and now we start anew with multiple vaccines making their way into our communities, with new leaders soon to take power and with a small beacon of hope visible at the end of the long tunnel we entered in 2020.  

Since March I have maintained a pretty low profile, using the lockdown to focus on family and personal growth.  I have also channeled much of my artistic energy into playing guitar, something that I did professionally for a decade but stepped away from for a long time when photography found me.  My friends and family have all stayed healthy, thankfully, and it has been a blessing to spend so much time with them.

2020 reminded me that I find solace and joy in the simple things that exist in my “3 foot world”:  the joy on my dog’s face when I grab the leash and she realizes it is time for a walk.  The brush on the canvas as my wife paints, or the sound of my daughter playing her Ukulele downstairs.  Being a lifelong health care worker I follow the pandemic closely and can quote COVID stats and literature with the best of them, but it is important to know when to turn these things off.  It is the simple things after all, the things immediately within our grasp, that can keep us focused and fulfilled.

And now 2021 is here.  A new year, with new opportunities.  Slowly light will push out the shadows of 2020 and we will return to the people, the places and the things that we all love so much.  Until then, try focusing on your own 3 foot world if you find yourself getting stressed.  Step away from the noise and find peace in the simple things.  

I will be back photographically in 2021, with new personal work and a small number of Vancouver based workshops this summer.  You can count on that.  Until then, I hope that you all stay healthy and continue to share your work and your aspirations with me as you have over the last few years.  This is a wonderful community, and you are all wonderful people.

Happy New Year my friends!

Best wishes,

Ian

Going Beyond The Lens

June would normally be the start of my workshop season, a wonderful four or five month period that I spend each year making images with students from around the world.  This year will be different of course, the world has far more important things to spend time on right now than photo workshops, so I will just be running one small course in Vancouver this summer for students here in Canada.

Spending time with my workshop participants is a privilege that goes far beyond just taking photographs, something that I was reminded of today when I found a few student images on my iPad from years gone by.  I am inspired by the work that my students create and by the conversations that we have, so I’d like to share these images with you now.  To my students whose work is featured here:  I apologize for not listing your name by the image… I am just working quickly from my iPad and don’t have the course rosters with me (please feel free to provide a link to your website or social media accounts in the comments).  

And, for those who are struggling right now:  struggling with illness, struggling with racial injustice, struggling financially due to the COVID-19 lockdown, just… struggling… please keep your heads held high and remember this quote from Dr. King:

“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.”

Stay safe and focused right now everybody.  Be kind to each other, and to yourselves.  And, continue to make photos.  Lots and lots of photos.  🙂

Cheers,

Ian


FujiFund: Using Photography To Help Others

I often include inspirational quotes in my articles.  One of my favourites is this one from Mr. Rogers:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me:  Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

I first discovered this quote about halfway through my career as a paramedic.  It spoke to me, because one of the most important things a paramedic does is provide a sense of calm to those around them.  Yes, we have medical knowledge and skills, but so much of what we do exists in the affective domain:  We try to make order from the chaos, we project confidence, we show compassion and we try our best to make things just a little bit better.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a whole new generation of helpers to our consciousness though, hasn’t it?  Finally we are celebrating not just those in uniform, but those who go to work day after day in the face of adversity just to keep the world going.  Their work is no less important, and hopefully we have all learned that each and every one of us has the capacity to affect change and to make the world a better place.

Such is the case with my friend Iain Palmer, who brought together a group of your favourite Fujifilm X Photographers (and me) to create a fundraising effort that supports those who need our help right now.  Each of us contributed an image to the fundraiser, and 100% of all proceeds from purchased images will go toward helping others.

You can learn more about the FujiFund, and perhaps even buy a print if you so desire, via this link:

The FujiFund

I hope you are all doing well my friends.  Be kind to each other.

Best wishes,

Ian