40 Days | Catharsis

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

– Ferris Beuller

I haven’t posted online in 40 days, by far the longest stretch I have ever gone without writing.  It would be an understatement to say that the last few months have been a little surreal, with life’s rollercoaster of highs and lows moving at a breakneck pace.  All of this necessitated taking a break from my creative work and from this community of people that I love so much.

But here we are now, just 5 days away from Christmas, with so much to catch up on:  Meaningful stories from a small documentary project that I worked on with Fujifilm, my thoughts (and a new article) about working with a pre-production copy of the Fujifilm X-Pro3, a new interview that was recently published on The Phoblographer website and, sadly, a few thoughts on the recent passing of my father.

Let’s get started, shall we?



In early October Fujifilm and Muse Storytelling launched Create Forever, a new series that focused on the reasons behind why we create art.  It wasn’t a series about shutter speeds or apertures.  There was to be no discussion about lens choices or off camera lighting.  No, this was to be something different… Create Forever is a celebration of the humanity behind what we all do.

My journey with PTSD, and how photography helped save me, was one of the mini documentaries that was released as the project rolled out (when it first launched I wrote about it HERE).  This video was actually a bit of a capstone for me, coming on the heels of more than a year of talking about my journey in interviews, on podcasts, and on stages all over Vancouver.  

Immediately after the video came out people reached out to thank me for telling my story, to tell me about their own journey, and occasionally to ask for help.  I am talking about hundreds of emails and messages within days of the release.  Every one of these conversations has meant so much to me, but this one was particularly special (I share it here with the author’s permission):

“I worked in law enforcement, but had to take an early medical retirement due to chronic anxiety.  I lost my wife to divorce and my closest friend to illness.  For the last year I have thought about ending it all, but today I went out and took photos instead.  Thank you.”

I stared at the screen for a long time after I received that.  It is one thing to save lives and care for people as a paramedic, or to tell your story on the hopes of inspiring others, but what do you say when you receive something like that?

I am so proud to have been a small part of this project, and to work with my friends at Fujifilm and Muse Storytelling.  This campaign has touched lives.  If you haven’t seen my video yet, or the street photography tips video that accompanies it, you can see them here:

Create Forever with Ian MacDonald
Create Forever Tutorial – Street Photography



In September I spent a few weeks with a pre-production copy of the new Fujifilm X-Pro3.  This was the fourth or fifth time Fujifilm has asked me to work with them on a product launch, and it is always an exciting process.  

My chaotic fall meant that I didn’t post anything when the X-Pro3 initially launched.  A lot has already been written about this wonderful new camera since then, so I will just echo the thoughts of my friends that also tested it:  The camera is amazing, featuring cutting edge technology in an elegantly simple design. 

Here is an article on the Fujifilm website where I talk about my initial thoughts on the camera:

The Best of Both Worlds – The New Fujifilm X-Pro3



In November I had the pleasure of speaking with the fine folks over at The Phoblographer website, who wrote a series about the Create Forever project. You can read the interview I did with them here:

Photography helped Ian MacDonald overcome the darkness of PTSD



On November 21st we lost my father to a massive heart attack.  Dad was an amazing man:  the head of our family and a leader in our community.  His loss will be felt for a long time to come, but his legacy will last much, much longer. 

Twenty years as a paramedic taught me that life is uncertain at the best of times.  It taught me that we need to live the best life that we can now, because we don’t know how many tomorrows we have left.  Dad was starting his 80th year when he passed, but he somehow managed to pack hundreds of years of accomplishments into his time here on Earth.  His was a life to be celebrated.

He taught me how to be a man / father / husband.  He supported my love of creating art, and served as a moral compass when I needed it.  I have a lot to unpack before I can write about him properly, but one day I hope to tell you all about the man that he was.



It feels good to write again.  I feel rusty, but it feels good.  It feels cathartic.  Next week I will publish my year in review as always, but for now I just want to say thank you to everybody that I interact with through this site and on social media.  Your kind words of support have meant the world to me over the last month or two.

I started this post with one of my favourite quotes from Ferris Beuller:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Last month life dictated that I stop for a little while.  Now, I encourage all of you to do the same over the next couple of weeks.  Spend time with your family, friends and loved ones.  Celebrate life, do what you love, and remember those who are no longer with us.

I wish you all the very best over the holiday season.



5 thoughts on “40 Days | Catharsis

  1. mikevincent64 says:

    Dear Ian

    I just want to acknowledge you for sharing your journey.

    You inspire me.

    I lost my hearing over night.

    Can you imagine? Being a professional magician this was a big blow to my career and business – still.

    Photography saved me from shock and depression – I tasted depression and it wasn’t pleasant.

    This is my story https://youtu.be/6aki_rIxinY

    I follow you because your images and story covers many levels of the human condition life and expression.

    I wish you a very happy Christmas

    Cheers Mike Aka The Fuji Warrior http://www.fujiwarrior.com

    Michael Vincent Magic http://www.michaelvincentmagic.com

    The Vincent Academy http://www.vincentacademy.co.uk

    Twitter Mikecards6

    Instagram michaelvincentmagic Fujiwarrior


  2. STEVE GARRATT says:

    Hello Ian

    Thank you for your latest post. I always look forward greatly to them as much for their insight into the human condition as well as photography insights.
    What a lovely short piece about your father, and I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my own about 4 years ago, although with him suffering from Alzheimer’s we were losing him for a while before. About 6 months afterwards, I began to suffer I suppose an intense period of self examination and comparison with him. In that we did a lot of the same things, DIY, photography etc and I started to feel that whatever I did, he did it better. The longer it went on, the worse it got until at work one day, a colleague had finally had enough and took me to lunch where she encouraged me to talk about things whereupon all these growing anxieties gradually came out. She had lost her mother a couple of years before and had similar feelings. This encouraged me to talk more about it with my wife and son too. It was my son who finally put it all together by telling me that he knew I was proud of him (he is a professional musician) and in return he was in awe of what I could do that he didn’t (DIY, photography etc) but he brought different things to the party and we all have our places and that’s what counted.
    The things we learn from our kids huh? And I’ve learned lots from him….
    All the best regards

    • Ian says:

      Kids are amazing… I am constantly amazed by my daughter.

      Thank you for sharing your story Steve. I wish you all the best over the holiday season!



  3. anangelsshareblog says:

    Thank you for your kind sharing. I am so, so sorry for the loss of your father. As we discussed, I lost my dad three years ago and we still feel his presence as well and his absence especially at the holidays. Take care of yourself and allow yourself the time to heal and grieve. And allow yourself the grace to heal and grieve as you need and not necessarily as the world believes you should. And as you already know and have taught us, your camera will be a good friend. And the rest of us are here in case you need us. I wish you peace and strength and rest during this time, my friend. I wish you a good Christmas filled with wonderful memories and excitement for the wonderful adventures ahead. Blessings, Terry

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