The Best of 2015 – A Year in Review

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Editing a year’s worth of photography down to the 25 images that most represent your work is a difficult task, especially when it has been the most rewarding year of your photographic career.

I traveled a lot this year, visiting Hawaii, Paris, Seattle, Las Vegas, and various locations throughout my home country of Canada.  I had incredible moments with my camera, met brilliant people, saw beautiful places, and got to tell stories about these experiences here on this website.

I continued shooting the occasional commercial job (portraiture, weddings, lifestyle and fitness), and most importantly for me I pursued my love of street photography as often as I could.

Away from the camera I made new relationships with photographers I respect,  I guested on a popular photography podcast, and I began sharing my knowledge through teaching workshops and presentations.

Finally, I had the privilege of continuing my relationship with Fuji Canada and reviewing several products in the X series, including the new Fuji X-T10 camera, the Fuji Instax SP-1 printer, and four new lenses (the 16-55mm f/2.8, the 50-140mm f/2.8, the new 35mm f/2, and the 90mm f/2 review which will soon be published).

What a year!

Let’s look back at some of my favourite photographs from the year.  I have divided them into three sections (travel photography, commercial work, street photography), and at the end of this post I’ll give a brief outline of things already planned for 2016.

All photos in this post were taken with either the Fuji X-T1, the Fuji X-T10, or the Fuji X100t.

Let’s get started…

Travel Photography

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Commercial Work

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Street Photography

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What’s coming up in 2016?

I’m excited to say that 2016 is already shaping up to build on the momentum of 2015, and promises to be another exciting year.

My first speaking engagement in 2016 will be a presentation on street photography on January 26th.  This is something I want to build on throughout 2016, so if you are a member of a camera club or organization, and would like a guest speaker to present on travel photography, street photography, or on working with Fuji’s products, please let me know!

In regard to travel,  I will be in Europe twice in 2016 (Amsterdam and London), and there will also be at least one photography road trip through parts of North America.

I am very excited to announce the launch of a new interview series on the website that will showcase photographers whose work I respect and love.  The first interview will drop early in January.

I will be shooting portraiture and street photography as often as I can.

Finally, I will be continuing my journey of learning how to see the world through the lens of a camera.  David duChemin said “Gear is good, Vision is better”.   My main goal in 2016, as it should be for all visual artists, is to continue to learn how to see better.

I would like to end this post by saying thank you.  Thank you to the people I have collaborated with on projects.  Thank you to those who trusted me enough to hire me for their portraits and weddings.  Thank you to those who offer me advice, guidance, and inspiration.  Thank you to the readers of this site, and to those of you whom I engage with daily on social media.  Thank you to my friends at Fuji Canada for all of your support over the last year.  Finally, thank you to my lovely and patient family who understand my need to spend as much time with photography as I do.

Photography is amazing.  I am so lucky.

Best wishes to all of you over the holiday season!

Cheers,

Ian

 

 

Thinking About Street Photography

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Despite being active with fitness photoshoots lately (with some amazing models I’ll be blogging about soon), I’ve been thinking a lot about street photography.  I have been out on the streets of Vancouver and Seattle shooting as much as possible and, when I’m not shooting, I am usually reading or looking at images.

I’d like to start off by saying I am a student of street photography.  I am exploring, experimenting, studying the works of others, and trying to figure out what it is that compels me towards shooting on the street.  I am in no way a subject matter expert.

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There are a variety of definitions of street photography, but the one that speaks to me the most is from street photographer and educator Eric Kim:

“Street photography is capturing the beauty in the mundane” 

We are usually so busy in our lives, moving from one place to the next, that we often don’t take the time to appreciate the world around us.  Street photography is about seeing that beauty.

Street photographer Robert Doisneau said:

“The marvels of daily life are so exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.”

And, Henri Cartier-Brensson, who some consider to be the father of modern street photography (and was a co-founder of Magnum Photos), said:

“There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera.”

There is truth to this.   The key is to train your eye to see what is around you, and to be ready to react quickly when you do see it:

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Life on the streets can be beautiful.  It can be ugly.  It can be all things in between.

Famous New York City Magnum street photographer Bruce Gilden once said:

“If you can smell the streets, then it’s a good street photograph.”

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People are almost always at the heart of a good street photograph.  A lot of people new to street photography, however, find it difficult to engage strangers, to talk to them, to simply take their photograph candidly on the street.

For myself, I have always been an outgoing person, probably due to my history as a professional musician and 2 decades of working in emergency health care.  Despite that, however, I was a little timid when I started.

These quotes really helped me to find my confidence:

“I love the people I photograph. I mean, they’re my friends. I’ve never met most of them or I don’t know them at all, yet through my images I live with them.”  –  Bruce Gilden

“It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.” –  Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Coming to that understanding, that I photograph people on the streets because I am genuinely interested in them, helped me find my stride.

If you are going to give the viewers of your photographs a sense of place though, if you want them to “smell the streets”, you need to be close to your subject.  Wide angle lenses are usually the name of the game, rather than sniping from a distance with a telephoto lens.  Magnum co-founder and famed war photographer Robert Capa said:

“If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” 

Every picture in this blog post was taken from within 6 feet of the subject.  It helps create that sense of place and being.  These photos were taken from 2′ away:

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Some final thoughts:

 I shoot formal portraiture often.  I bring lights.  I work with remarkably talented and beautiful people.  I control the scene, work collaboratively with my subjects, and create images that (hopefully) make them happy.

The street is different…

It is spontaneous.  It is beautiful.   You have to train your eye to see, be ready to capture a moment, and not be afraid to interact with people and be right in the middle of it.

If you do it enough you will be rewarded:   Both as an artist, and as a person.

Cheers,

Ian

p.s.  All images in this blog post were taken with Fuji cameras: Either the Fuji X100T, or the Fuji X-T1 with the amazing 35mm F/1.4 lens.  Mirrorless cameras are small and quiet… allowing you to work your way into a scene without drawing attention to yourself.