Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year End Message

Here's the final blog post for 2011 - Taken on a late fall afternoon with the iPhone and edited with Oloneo Photo Engine.
2011 has been a great year for my photo operations.  All my goals were met, financial and otherwise.  My wife and I were able to travel to some pretty great places; Jasper (Alberta), Scottsdale (Arizona), San Antonio (Texas) and Vienna (Austria).  Many of the photos from these trips have appeared here on the blog.

I got a lot of use out of the iPhone Camera particularly the Hipstamatic App and the Photostitch App in 2011.  The number one requirement - the only requirement in fact - for making great photos is to actually have a camera with you; the handy iPhone is a great tool in this regard.  Currently there are 5 cameras in the fleet including the iPhone; the others are the Canon G11, Canon 40D, the Canon 5DII and the newly acquired Holga plastic film camera.

There's been a fair bit of equipment added this year - both camera gear and computer software.  Great pictures are made not taken; there are many steps required before the shutter is tripped and many steps needed afterward to make the image look the way I want it.  In general I believe that photography is about cameras; the gear required 'in the field'; not computer wizardry.  But the fact is that the computer is the dark room of the digital age.  Film photographers relied on film processing techniques and the craft of the print maker to produce their final images; in the digital age it is done with keyboard strokes and mouse clicks so there is no getting away from long nights spent in my virtual dark room.  It's a messy place most of the time but I love going in there, but not nearly as much as I love heading out with a camera.  I liken it to a musicians instrument it many ways - they look (mostly) spectacular but there's nothing like holding and using these image makers that really appeals.  I have my eye and some new gear for 2012;  I'll let you know when something new finds it's way into the camera bag.

Photographically the low point in the year was having about $6K worth of gear stolen from a restaurant in Vienna.  All of this has now been replaced and a valuable lesson was learned...well 2 lessons really (1) watch your stuff closely cuz someone else sure is and (b) not having a big camera bag to lug around is rather pleasant.  Packing for travel in the future will be much different following this experience.

The high points are too numerous to mention but the key points are having great assignments given to me by great clients who are patient, appreciative and supporting and - more than any other single thing by far - having a wife who encourages and motivates me every day.  Getting to take my young golden retriever Parker along on the odd assignment is pretty great too, even if she has to wait in the car while I stand around waiting for light to cooperate. There's a new pup coming in February; I hope he is as patient with me as Parker.

There's no doubt that the biggest gig of the year was being asked to photograph Sir Sidney Poitier at his Edmonton presentation in October.  There was an 'after party' at which invited guests got to have their photo taken with the Great Man - by me.  So I got to spend about an hour with him.  At one point he asked me how the photos would be used; he was concerned that somehow they might wind up for sale on eBay or something.  I told him they were for the exclusive use of the guests and that they would get prints only - no digital files would be distributed or published.  He looked me in the eye and said 'You promise?' and we shook hands to seal the deal.  He said some very kind words to me that I will always remember.  So although this was a big deal and I have some great photos on file, I won't be posting them on line.   If you're around sometime ask me about it and I'll let you take a peak.

One of the things I am most pleased with from 2011 is my new logo (you can see it on the website .  I struggled with this for a long time.  The meaning in the logo is multi-faceted; the square shape is intended to replicate the making of a square with ones fingers to frame a potential image - a technique photographers sometimes use.  If you take your index fingers and touch them together then swing your middle finger tips together so the nails touch you'll see what I mean.  Then rotate the resulting'diamond' until it's parallel to the ground and you have a little window with which to frame a photo composition.  The diamond in the logo has a little piece cut out; that's to make it look a bit like a stylized J and a D fused together.  The grey circle is a tip of the hat to a lens - in fact on my business cards the grey circle is a die-cut hole.  Most people instinctively hold it to their eye  for a look-through, just like you would a camera.  As for the colours, the blue diamond is blue just because I like blue, and the circle is grey as it is neutral - just like a lens, revealing nothing and everything at the same time.

I plan to keep up the daily blog postings in 2012.  I am quite pleased that I did not miss a single daily post in 2011.   I try to keep it diverse and interesting and void of 'snapshots'.  Having the blog gives me a deadline everyday (although to be truthful the postings are usually queued up for many days in advance).  I hope you'll check in often and chime in with your comments anytime.

Happy New Year!  And to all my fellow photographers; here's a quote from American Photographer Richard Avedon to inspire you in 2012 - he is speaking about portrait photography but the thought extends to all photographic art forms I think:

"I've worked out of a series of no's. No to exquisite light, no to apparent compositions, no to the seduction of poses or narrative. And all these no's force me to the "yes." I have a white background. I have the person I'm interested in and the thing that happens between us"

No comments:

Post a Comment