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

 

Emergence | Looking Forward | Celebration

63 days.  That’s how long it has been since I’ve eaten in a restaurant, visited a friend, had a haircut, worked for a client, boarded a plane, gone to a movie, or sat and wrote in my favourite coffee shop.  

… just 63 days.

The world has changed a lot in that time frame though, hasn’t it?  We’ve been fortunate here in British Columbia, with a combination of strong leadership / good citizenship / and luck helping us avoid much of the tragedy that COVID-19 has brought to other parts of the world. 

During the early days of the lockdown I decided to relax and allow myself the space to just “be”.  It has been a strangely peaceful time, focused on family and artistic endeavours, but also one that has been largely recuperative physically, mentally, and creatively.  I have watched from afar, as an artist but also as a veteran health care worker, while heroic efforts were made by frontline workers, while armchair quarterbacks diminished those efforts through their cynicism, and while humanity showed its endless capacity for compassion and caring.  I have watched artists produce amazing new bodies of work, musicians play from their balconies to boost the morale of the people around them, and everyone come together nightly to show thanks for those who still work on the frontlines.  This is a time for the history books… that is for sure.

And now I find myself thinking about what life will look like moving forward.  What will I return to and continue doing?  What will I chose not to bring back into my life?  What am I the most excited about?  How can I best serve my family / friends / clients?

The world has changed, but I can’t help but feel optimistic that this pause is also an opportunity to shape our lives just a little bit… to give thought to what we want and to what we need to do moving forward.  They say that every cloud has a silver lining…. perhaps that is also the case here.

Photography never completely goes away though, right?  During the COVID-19 lockdown many of my Official Fujifilm X Photographer peers, myself included, produced videos for the Fujifilm community.  My video focused on how I approach shooting on the street, both philosophically and compositionally.  You can view the video on YouTube by clicking the image above.

Fujifilm Canada and I also continued our working relationship with the 2020 renewal of my status as an Official Fujifilm X Photographer.  Collaborating with this incredible company changed my life, both personally and professionally, so I am excited to continue supporting them and the artists who use their cameras.   

In closing:  I hope that you and your families are all doing well, and that we see each other out there very soon.  In celebration of my 2020 renewal, but also just in celebration of “life”, I’d like to end this post with a selection of my Fujifilm images.  This selection is varied, including some street photography, portraits, wedding photos, and cityscapes / landscapes that I have made with the Fujifilm X series over the years.  Some of these images go all the way back to the original Fujifilm FinePix X100!

Be safe everyone.  Talk soon.

Cheers,

Ian