a day without me

Well glory be.

I have been laterally promoted to a new position at work and will be joining the ranks of nine-to-fivers Monday-through-Friday. As a result, this previous Sunday was my final Sunday shift at the igloo*, and I knew it had to be a little something special.

I've had this Sunday shift for what seems like an eternity, and it's been really hard. Sundays should be spent chillaxing with friends after church, not dealing with children pretending to be their parents. To combat this dread (and to ensure that my personal feelings don't bleed into the team), I've gone out of my way to make Sundays ridiculous and over the top.

We've done plenty - carefully researched presentations about beloved childhood literature, fondue parties, twin day, all 90s Music Request Weekend - but only one era could capture the ridiculousness that is Sundays...

The 1980s.
Obviously 80s parties aren't breaking any new ground, but it was a good time. We brought in food and had a potluck. We played foosball. I got some wicked pictures. We listened to forgotten 80s classics and relived Saturday morning cartoons.

I was profoundly sad when 8pm rolled around. As much as I am looking forward to the new normal, I will miss my crew. I am blessed to have worked with truly remarkable people.

22.6.08. Cropped to 3X5.

*yes, a pun since we deal with penguins, but fact as well. I swear, they keep the temperture nailed at 17 degrees in the summer. It is ridiculous to be bundled up in jeans and sweatshirts while it's 30 degrees outside, but also necessary to survive.



As you, the vast hordes of regular visitors to my blog, have noticed, I've been far less diligent in posting as of late.

Like everything else in my life, the creative process is predictably cyclical. I find myself currently at the bottom of that cycle, right at the spot where the effort/result ratio seems especially fruitless. My writing seems especially indulgent and overwrought. I'm finding it harder to discover interesting subjects to photograph. It seems counterintuitive that this would come right at the time when the legendary Okanagan weather has finally arrived, but I suppose it makes sense: instead of clickity-clicking away in a coffee shop, I spend my mornings before work lying by the pool amongst the tiny white flowers that line the courtyard.

There aren't any outlets conveniently placed out there, and besides, the blazing sun casts a glare off of the computer screen that makes it hard to work anyway.

The only thing I've found that can prevent me from falling victim to a permanent creative ennui is the work of other writers and photographers I admire. I watched Factory Girl a few nights ago, and while I enjoyed the concept of Andy Warhol's Factory, it was the inspiration and stimulus that Edie brought to Andy that I could immediately relate to.

It's been ten days since I last posted, and my day began with the resignation that I had nothing to say - until my Google Reader flashed with the familiar link in all lowercase.

It's a little piece about shining shoes. A piece that wasn't about shining shoes at all. A piece that was revealing, funny, sad, incredibly descriptive, insightful, and beautiful.

I'm no Andy Warhol, and it would be impossible to fit her in the Edie Segwick box. But this dear friend in Upper Canada was the inspiration to begin this exercise, and it seems perfectly appropriate that she be the inspiration to continue.

11.6.08 Cropped to 3X5.


when i look at the world

My grand epiphany this week: I shoot very happy pictures.

In fact, after pouring through my expanding library of pictures, I could not find one photo of mine that had a decidedly sad or melancholy feel. No matter what the picture is, I always seem to find the laughter and hope in the scene, no matter how minute. It was a startling realization for me.

I think everyone can unconsciously understand (or at least appreciate) the relationship between art and emotion. It's the reason "Reunion Tour" by the Weakerthans is the perfect winter soundtrack. It's the reason Monet prints decorate an untold number of livingrooms. It's the reason So You Think You Can Dance is the best show on television once The Office goes into summer reruns.

Obviously art will affect emotion, but I hadn't really experienced how emotion affects art (by first affecting the artist). This realization that I haven't yet taken sad pictures really makes perfect sense once I've thought about it. Twenty-Five, in addition to being a year of change, has been one of the best years of my life, and my photographic career has coincided perfectly with this period. In terms of job satisfaction, personal growth, financial stability and emotional balance, Twenty-Five is clearly on top. It makes perfect sense that as I document the world around me, that joy would be infused into my pictures.

But...can an artist dissociate themselves from their work? Can I take a sad picture? HAVE I taken a sad picture and just not known it?

The second realization I've had recently is that others will pick things out of my pictures that I would have never considered. And that, I think, is what I love so much about my new hobby. Once I can let go of the pictures I've taken and allow others to critique them, read into them, draw from them, they become something even greater than I intended them to be.

And THAT makes me happy.

9.12.07. Cropped to 3X5.


pride (in the name of love)

I went a little crazy today.

With my B&W Portrait project well under way, there are a couple of photography projects I have been looking forward to starting. Both necessitate the use of a tripod, so I set out to purchase one. A new photography store opened up in Westbank recently, and I like to support my local shop.

Except it turns out they are going out of business. The place was just about picked clean from their blowout sale and the last tripod they had in stock was walking out the door.

I should have left right then.

Instead, I got distracted by the lens case. By the 17-55 f/2.8 staring at me like the puppy in the pet store window. At 30% off.

I ended up finding a tripod at London Drugs. And I picked up Photoshop CS3 from a friend, which means I have all that I needed to begin my new projects: cloning (which will come a little bit later) and self-portraits.

I wanted my first attempt at a self portrait to be meaningful and nuanced or, at the very least, make me look cool. I've been inspired by the snapshot aesthetic lately, a movement that has led to the sort of photography you see in ads for hipster-chic brands like Converse and American Apparel. This was shot in my bedroom with the light from my open windows and the camera's built-in flash. The umbrella is the one I searched for in Toronto, and the zip-up is from To Write Love On Her Arms.

The sweater is one of my favorites. I wore it a lot during my trip, and I have never owned a piece of clothing that has elicited as many remarks as this sweater has. I was constantly stopped by strangers who complimented me on it. By clerks, by baristas, by homeless guys, by a dude in a two thousand dollar suit. All because of the word printed on the front.

I have enough self-awareness to know I am no authority on love, so I won't try and impress you with some pithy aphorism. But I do know the word is powerful enough that strangers will approach others in the street. What other word could trigger that?

Incidentally, I now won't be able to afford food for the next few months. If you feel like showing a little love, why not invite me over for dinner? I could take amazing pictures of you.

8.5.08. Cropped to 3X5, reduced lowlights, slight colour adjustment.