My Final Images of 2017

I started writing this post on December 23rd, sitting in a coffee shop enjoying a hot chocolate after finishing my Christmas shopping (one day early I might add… no slacking off this year).  Brilliant sun was shining through the window, casting long shadows on the ground.  The shop was busy, but everyone was clearly in the holiday spirit.  It felt good.  Peaceful.  Inspiring.  It felt the way life should at this time of year and that feeling has only grown stronger  over the last few days spent with family and friends.

I have a lot of things to write about, but I’ll leave that for my first blog post of 2018.  For now, I just want to share one final photo essay for the year and express gratitude for so many things in my life:  family,  friends,  colleagues,  peers,  clients,  students,  community,  art,  health and  success.  Also, the struggles and the failures.  Our experiences, both good and bad, shape us and I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything.  It has been an amazing year.

Despite the usual year end hustle and bustle, I have been lucky enough to get out on the streets of Vancouver a few times over the last few weeks.  The weather has been beautiful:  cold, but with brilliant sunshine and a couple of days of snow.  The late afternoon sun, coming in so low during these winter months, has provided  a world of long shadows and pockets of light to photograph.  It has been a lot of fun to shoot this light with my Fuji X100F and to make images just for the sake of creating.  No client driven work.  No working against a deadline… just making art for the love it.

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season.  I’ll be hitting the ground running with many new projects in 2018 so, until then, let’s all enjoy some well deserved downtime.

Best wishes,

Ian

20 new Fuji X100F street images (and a quick word of encouragement)

I am blessed to be an educator for many reasons, not the least of which are the amazing conversations I have had with my students over the last 20 years.  Recently, one student told me that they were struggling because they didn’t feel inspired to go out and shoot.  To phrase it exactly like the student did:

“I have been waiting and waiting for inspiration to strike.”

This immediately reminded me of two quotes.  The first is from Chuck Close and the second is from Pablo Picasso:

“Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

There is a lot of truth in these quotes.  Indeed, it is a commonly taught concept in psychology that motivation does not come first, action does.  What does this mean?  It is the belief that action will lead to a sense of accomplishment and through that sense of accomplishment motivation will follow.

Hopefully the tie in here to photography is obvious:  Sometimes there are times when the logistics of photography act as a barrier to going out and shooting.  We have chores to do, emails to respond to, income tax that hasn’t been filed, kids to take to dance classes, etc.  Just the thought of organizing our gear and driving an hour to get somewhere to shoot can seem overwhelming…. even more so when we don’t feel “inspired”.

The thing is though, once you are out in the field shooting you almost always remember why you love it, why you do it and why there is nothing better than holding a camera in your hand.  It’s a little like going to the gym:  you may hate doing it, but you always feel better after (until the next day, anyway).

I honestly believe Zack Arias summed up the best course of action when he said:

“Get off your ass!”

I can say with absolutely certainty that once I push through that initial inertia and find myself on the streets exploring, wandering and shooting, I remember exactly why I love this art form so much.

Here are twenty new Fuji X100F street images taken in either Vancouver or Seattle, all captured because I prioritized action first and went out with my camera.  The colour images are in Fuji’s Classic Chrome film simulation, while the black and white ones use the Acros film simulation.

So, I encouraged my student to push through that inertia we all experience from time to time, to grab his camera and to go out and shoot.  I never regret it when I do!

Until next time,

Ian

Vancouver Street Photography Workshop

dscf2321

There is nothing better than the moment in your professional life where two passions merge together.  For me, those two passions are street photography and education.

Everyone who reads this blog, or follows me on Instagram, knows how much I enjoy street photography.   I love the process of shooting on the street, I love the people I meet, I love the resulting images, and I love how it always makes me a better photographer and artist.

I also love teaching, which I have done for twenty years up to and including at the college level.  Multiple diplomas in Adult Education and Curriculum Design, plus thousands of hours in the classroom, have provided me with so many incredible moments and memories.

I spent much of last year studying the photography education landscape, speaking with highly respected peers who provide photography education and taking the time to develop a street photography workshop that will allow me to share my experience, both as a photographer and as an educator, with my students.  I am excited to now be rolling these workshops out in several different cities over 2017, starting with two workshops in Vancouver on the following dates:

  • June 2-4, 2017
  • August 11-13, 2017

My goal with these 2.5 day / 20 hour workshops is to help you find your own vision as a street photographer.  I don’t want to teach you to make images like I make them (no instructor should want that), but instead want to give you the tools to make the images you see in your own head.  During the workshop you will learn about the history of street photography, a bit about the legalities surrounding the art form, how to prepare yourself and your camera for a day on the streets, considerations for crafting story-telling images, techniques for shooting candidly, techniques for approaching strangers and making portraits on the street and a bit about editing and post processing.  Along the way you will gain confidence, have fun, make new friends and capture great images.  Through it all, I will be there right beside you offering advice and feedback.  These courses are going to be a lot of fun!

As a long time educator I believe that education should be as accessible as possible, so I have taken every effort to keep the price of these workshops affordable.   I can also afford to price my Vancouver workshops lower than other cities as I don’t incur travel costs here, allowing me to set the price for these workshops at $450 Canadian per student (about $340 USD).

I would love to work with you in one of these workshops.   If you are interested in learning more about them, or registering in one of the course offerings, please click the link below to visit the Vancouver Street Photography Workshop page for more details:

Vancouver Street Photography Workshop

There are only ten seats open per class, so please book fast if you are interested.

Best wishes,

Ian