Every year I like to start at least one new project. I like to have a number of projects going at the once as I find that due to my full time shooting job my time for personal shooting is limited in both hours and time of day. Having a number of projects means I can usually shoot something in the windows that I have.
So, this year, adding to the mix is a series of environmental portraits of artists. I’ve done a large project featuring images of writers but hadn’t really worked on that much in the past couple of years. I wanted to introduce a new portrait project and figured focusing in on visual artists would be both interesting and challenging and would also have the side benefit of not only meeting new people but I’d get to see a lot of art.
I’ve started off with artist Rachel Berman who is local again after a couple of years in Toronto. I’d never met her before the session but had admired her work so called her up, explained what I was doing and we set up a time to meet.
Rachel works out of her apartment studio, a great place in an older building with bay windows that let in a ton of light. She was busy working on two projects, illustrations for a book and a show at her Toronto gallery.
A bonus at this shoot was the presence of Karl Spreitz, a long time local artist, photographer and member of the Limners, a long time Canadian art collective. It was my first time meeting Karl as well and I took the opportunity to enquire about photographing him at some point. Karl, as mentioned, is a stills photographer as well as a documentary filmmaker and he was busy shooting and filming during part of my portrait session.
I spent about an hour with Rachel, taking photographs, but also chatting and getting to know each other a bit.
I took Rachel a couple of prints last week and she seemed pleased with the images. It was, from my viewpoint, a successful shoot, I had a few frames I’m happy with. I got to meet two new creative people and I’ve got another project underway.
I’m a sucker for self-portraits. I like taking them and I like looking at them so I had to take a peek when I saw the Globe and Mail was running a Share Your Self Portrait page. I kind of like the smily face finger image. If you really want to want to spend some time looking at self-portraits check out the many pages of images in the Flickr self portrait pool. You can see some pro photographer’s self portraits here at Listicles, not to mention other weird stuff. Google will supply you with nearly 6000 self portraits although not all are photography. Gizmodo has some pretty cool examples from the 168 readers who sent in images. Wikipedia will give you all the history and background you need on self portraits. Wikipedia also told me that Bob Dylan made an album called Self Portrait. If you want to get kind of creeped out, look at these photoshopped self portraits at Speckyboy. Last, and as always, certainly not least quickly check out the 638 Magnum photographers’ self portraits.
Chip Litherland is all over the photo blogosphere today with his Open Letter To Newspaper Photographers which starts out ” Dear Newspaper Photographer, if you think you’re safe in your job, you aren’t”. Litherland, as always, is provocative but to the point. He stirred up a lot of discussion a few weeks back with his post Step Away From The Holga And No One Gets Hurt.
For those of you who like to light with one light Zack Arias has just published the book for you. The OneLight Field Guide combines short descriptions, diagrams and the resulting photograph.
Check out the winners of the Taylor Wessing Portrait competition at London’s National Portrait Gallery.
The great Dave Bidini was in Victoria last night giving the annual Orion lecture. He talked about his travel for his books and TV documentaries and afterwards took questions from the audience. He’ll be around for a few more days talking to various writing classes at UVIC. I’m sure it’s not always so but Dave’s life seems so seamless, travel and music and writing and family and hockey all melding together magically. Plus he’s a cool stylish guy. Just look at the images from last night.
Renowned Canadian poet, novelist, artist and librettist, P. K. Page has died aged 93 at her home in Oak Bay, British Columbia.
Just two days ago I’d stopped by the Cadboro Bay Book Store and asked Amber what was new in the store and she pointed out a new chapbook Cullen by P.K. Page, published by Outlaw Editions. I bought a copy and after heading out realized I was passing by the street P.K. lived on so I turned back and drove up the street thinking that if I saw someone at the window or other signs of activity I’d stop by and ask her to sign the book. The house was quiet and dark though so I drove on.
I remember a few years ago during a photo session the conversation turned to aging and facing the end of one’s life and she said (as I remember it) that she was not afraid of dying, what terrified her was not having the chance to finish all the creative ideas she had.
I really enjoying taking portraits, especially of creative people. It’s always interesting to try and incorporate their environment into the image.With tighter papers, every section is squeezed for space so we’re not running as many entertainment stories and consequently not as many portraits of artists etc. Here are a few, fairly recent, images.
I really liked this image of Keith Hiscock at the Morris Gallery. They were just starting to hang his new show, those are his paintings on the floor, but behind him hung a couple of paintings from the last show, an exhibition from the estate of Myfanwy Pavelic including a portrait of artist Maxwell Bates in his studio.
This probably showed off Keith’s painting better and I liked his expression but I still like the first image best. A tighter head shot with painting behnd actually ran in the paper.
Mark Heine in his home studio, it’s encouraging to see you don’t need a great big space to create.
Ben Westergreen paints in his front room, it was tight and kind of dark so I just had him lie down on one of his paintings.
Noah Layne paints portraits, self portraits too. He’d just won an award for one.
Robert Amos had been creating collages of artists in their studios. This was my attempt to capture him using his own technique. I think he does it better.
Robert with some of his collages. He also paints, does calligraphy etc etc etc.
Sometimes you don’t need a face for a portrait.
I had photographed the late Timothy Findley for my first book First Chapter and following that photo session he sat down for an interview and lunch with then Calgary Herald books editor, now best selling author in his own right, Ken McGoogan. I joined the pair and Findley’s partner Bill Whitehead and continued to take a few photos but mainly listened in. What I was treated to was an entertaining hour and a half as Findley and Whitehead, the practiced tag team that they were, traded stories, memories, observations while eating, smoking and drinking wine. i think Ken just hung on and tried to get it all down. It was an incredibly enjoyable lunch and I think this image showing Findley’s hand, glasses and wine remind me more of that encounter than the other, more traditional, portraits I took that day.
I came across a few prints and contact sheets I has tucked away in an envelope from the very early days of the Vancouver punk rock scene. Please send a note to correct me if I’m off on names etc. These were taken quite a while ago (1977ish? ) and I didn’t keep the notes I should have.
The Furies at the Japanese hall. I believe this was the second local punk rock show in Vancouver. My first. Tom Harrison of the Georgia Straight used the photo. If memory serves me, the bass player is Malcolm Hasman, now Vancouver realtor to the famous.
The Dishrags. I think they opened for The Furies although this photo was taken at a later date.
Detail from a contact sheet of the Skulls playing the Easter Be-In in White Rock. I remember getting whacked by beer caps the unnappreciative crowd was flipping at the band. The Skulls metamorphed into DOA.
Another details from the Skulls contact sheets. A number of stalwarts from later bands were in this group, Joe ‘Shithead’ Keithley, Brian Goble, Ken Montgomery, Brad Kent.
Early photo of the classic DOA line up of Joe Keithley, Chuck Biscuits and Randya Rampage
Detail from a contact sheet of another early DOA show or maybe they were still the Skulls at this point
Subhumans with Ken Montgomery playing guitar, Brian Goble and Gerry Hannah. Not sure of drummer.
Gerry Hannah of the Subhumans
Ken Montgomery of the Subhumans. No idea why he had the stocking mask on.
Rabid -Sid Sick and John Doe say my notes on the print
This photo was taken in the late seventies along Georgia Street in Vancouver when I was just starting out and photographing mainly musicians. We just went out one night and were taking photos for fun. This record was Bryan Adam’s first single, the disco flavoured Let Me Take You Dancing.
Director Brian Richmond on the set of the new UVIC Phoenix Theatre play Dark of the Moon which runs November 6-22.