I was recently watching an incredible time-lapse film but while admiring how perfect it may be – the film still struggled to keep my attention. How can something so beautifully done lose my interest so quickly? Perhaps it’s related to my lack of interest for video slideshows. In a slideshow, some images will surely be amazing and you’ll want to spend more time with them. Others will be less interesting that you wish to skip over. The problem I have with slideshows is that all images are weighted the same and the editor decides how quickly you should view them. With this variety, you may not willing to move forward to the next image presented in front of you because your mind is still focused on trying to process that image 4 slides ago.
But the imagery in this film spaning over multiple season got me thinking. With the advancements of digital picture frames, how cool would it be to have a single time-lapse image hanging on the wall that would simulate a full year of a single well composed scene?
Consider a 365-day time-lapse image that is shortened into playing over a 7 day loop. It would be fast enough for the constant movement of weather but for every day on the wall, the image would play 52 days worth of activity equalling a sunset every 27 minutes. This image in your living room would display a new season 4 times a week giving you a winter image every Monday and summer every Thursday.
We live in a very visual world. Every electronic gadget is now capable of recording images and millions of photographs are taken every minute. We are overwhelmed with the noise of new gear announcements every other week — full of marketing specifically designed to lead us into believing buying XYZ will make us better. The volume of this noise can often cloud our better judgement and quickly distract us from the real values and rewards of creating photographs.
I am very much guilty and I routinely ask myself… Why do I do this? Why do I care so much? Why do I spend so much time in this world of photography?
By it’s simplist definition, photography is an art that freezes time. We are recording history. We are documenting. And we are preserving memories. Photography is huge within my family and there is no denying that we all love to share, remember and tell stories. Photography is social. Photography is archival. And photography is priceless because when something is destroyed from flooding, fires, natural disasters — after life itself, it’s always the lose of photographs that stand out as significant.
So why am I writing about this tonight?
Every once in a while I talk with another photography who is capable of summarizing what photography is all about in a beautiful way. I first met Maurice Henri in his hometown of Moncton a few years ago and have since been pushing to have a venue for him to come to the Island and speak. Tonight was that night and he delivered a powerful presentation with more impact than I could have ever hoped for.
Since 2005, Maurice has been building a personal project called Cameras for Healing. Starting with the west African country of Sierra Leone, Maurice set out on the incredible journey to emotionally heal through photographic arts those living with pain, grief, fear, poverty or stress. All in a country that has nothing we can so easily take for granted.
As I feel the need to write this, I also realize my words can’t do his presentation any good. Maurice’s stories were incredibly powerful. Everything from his 28 adopted children through sponsorship, buying equipment for the women to start a sewing business, or his role in building a school for a village. All of his actions, support and most importantly results were started by providing cameras, teaching photography, and giving victims a voice to speak out, express themselves by telling their own stories and finding hope.
I wish everyone interested in photography could have attended tonight. From the violent stories of the sexual abuse of minors, aggressive killings, and the recruitment of child soldiers — the horrific stores were countered with positive ones. For a better understanding of Cameras for Healing, consider watching the following video:
Now that Sierra Leone is well established and on it’s way with a self-running Cameras for Healing program, Maurice has started introducing Cameras for Healing into Hati and Columbia with additional countries also asking for his help. I am already looking forward to hearing a future presentation.
Cameras for Healing Founder, Maurice Henri believes that the power of the photographic image can open the heart and change people’s view of the world. It also tells a story of the relationship between subject and photographer. It conveys what the image maker sees, feels and believes. Using his methods of art for healing, Maurice has helped many children and adults process stress, illness, and grief. He initially developed the Cameras for Healing method of Art & Creativity for Healing in his home province of New Brunswick, Canada in 2002 as an art workshop to help cancer patients and survivors deal with stress. Giving people validation and hope through my photography is what my life’s work is all about.
Which brings me full circle to ask again, what photography means to you and why do we do it? If you have spent any amount of time reading anything on the web or in magazines — you might be tempted into believing that it’s about who owns the most or newest equipment.
Lets not read too much into the title but it’s pretty exciting that I lead off the winter issue of Outdoor Photography Canada Magazine with a introduction-like article in the editors column. This quarterly column is designed to showcase lesser known photographers and I was delighted when the editor contacted me to ask if I would be interested in participating. How could I possibly say no?
Today’s Image – OPC Winter 2013 Issue
Available on newsstands until April 5th 2013, You can find the article in the editors “From Where I Sit” column on page 9. Below are the two images Roy Ramsay selected for his write up.
In 2003, I attended a conference and watched a presentation that demo’d some pretty amazing image recognition technology. The idea of searching for images with other images was a new concept for me but as this technology advanced and we (silverorange and Idée Inc) became friends, it was not long before we were working together.
Fast forward to 2010 when the brand TinEye (a website designed to search for images with images) was being developed and prepared for the world stage, I was given the opportunity and challenge to create a mascot, a logo, and an identity for this service. This brand needed to represent speed and efficiency on top of being friendly with a great personality. The service was magical meaning a simple wordmark was not going to be acceptable and that was when the concept of a robot was born.
Drawing a Robot
TinEye is a fun brand but a mysterious one. While fun — it’s not childish. It’s fast, but comes with a level of mystery. Most of us could not explain how the TinEye technology works. We just accept and expect that it does. So how can we illustrate all of this with a single mascot brand?
Today is the start of a new calendar. The day many commit to resolutions. Or the day others reflect back on the past 12 months. When I personally look back at 2012, I realized just how busy the year has been with many events still strong in memory.
On the design side of things, I started the year devoting much of my time to TinEye and their many image search products. It was also continued work with Mozilla Firefox. At some point mid-year, that all changed when I started giving most of my attention to some of the leading educational and training websites for emergency medicine paving the way to massive November conference in Las Vegas hosting 1800 EM doctors from around the globe.
For photography away from home, I found myself spending June in Iceland, October in Hawaii and a return visit to Zion National Park where I once again failed to summit Angels Landing.
For photography at home, I was invited to participate in a 75th anniversary PEI National Park book and worked on several commercial projects for Parks Canada and PEI Tourism.
To increase the quality of my prints and to learn something new, I setup a home printing workstation and accepted the challenge of producing high quality fine art prints at home without the assistance of a lab while benefiting from the rewards of being in full control from start to finish.
I continued working with the small Alberta-based publishing company oopoomoo and helped design and release the photography themed ebook titles: A Guide to Yoho National Park, A Guide to Kootenay Plains & Abraham Lake in Summer and Winter, Essential & Advanced Filters, The Creative Use of Aperture, The Tilt-Shift Lens Advantage and Two Weeks in Iceland.
And on top of all of that, we planned a wedding with 200 guests when I married my best friend of 10 years.
I started this blog in 2001 but allowed it to transform and mature many times in sync with my interests and professional career. It has been victim to many redesigns, a couple archive resets, a full rebranding and several topic shifts. 2012 was one of those significant times that was hit with all of the above after I surrendered to the difficulties of maintaining an every day photoblog. A project I kept alive from 2006 to 2011.
Now, here I am a full year after the rebirth and this blog feels better than ever. I’m looking forward to another great year in 2013.
After discovering that finding flowing lava in Volcano National Park was not going to happen, it was time to go on a search with fingers crossed. At this point, all I knew was that the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent was active, it was on private land, and the nice lady at our hotel gave us a mans name who had access to this private land.
Equipped with only a first and last name, my best guess was the east side of Chain of Craters Road. There we were greeted by a team of security to a single private road to homes rebuilt on top of the lava fields. The effort to keep people from venturing out alone was high. I told security who I was looking for and although they knew him, they wouldn’t tell me how to contact him. They said I could watch from “the viewing area” – which happens to be 5km away.
This viewing area had another security guard – who was much more willing to provide information. After 30 minutes of chat and learning how the homes survive without water, heat or utilities, I had 3 possible names that I could hire as guides and within 2 hours, I was scheduled to meet back in Kalapana the next day to start the hike before sundown.
Today’s Image – Red Hot Lava
After the 5km one-way hike, I found myself standing face-to-face with the most intense heat wave imaginable burning through my skin. From 10 feet away, it felt like I was sitting an inch from a camp fire.
After almost 2 weeks exploring the Hawai’i islands, it was time to finish the adventure on the Big Island with only one goal in mind – the active volcano. Created when 5 volcanoes erupted and overlapped each other, several lava trails are visible when looking at the Big Island on Google maps. As a result, it’s very easy to find a mix of ʻAʻā lava (stony and rough) and Pāhoehoe lava (smooth and unbroken) everywhere you look.
Today’s Image – Road Closed
A road sign marks where the Chain of Craters Road once was before the 2002-2004 lava flow. An eruption that started on January 3rd, 1983 which still continues today earns Kīlauea the title of most active volcano in the world located on the eastern edge of Hawaii’s Volcano National Park. For a better understanding of the activity and scale, take a look at this map of recent lava flows from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Kupaianaha vents.
For a long time, I’ve struggled with the idea of how humans attempt to control the world around them. With a rapidly increasing population, I could never articulate in words how I truly felt about an over populated world consuming so many resources with an increasingly growing foot print around the obsession of possession. With each new invention and product as technology progresses, we want and buy and discard the old.
The food industry alone is amazing considering the shear volume being pushed through the system and shipped around the world daily. The way we treat livestock and wildlife and our efforts to control the populations of species when nobody is controlling our own. We share this planet with everything nature has to offer but yet we claim a self-appointed authority position. With an end goal of more wealth, when does the human population out number the demand and supply of everything we have grown to depend on?
Humankind as a Geological Force
Two weeks ago on November 16th, Dr. David Suzuki took the stage here in Charlottetown with a very passionate presentation (watch it here), and addressed concerns from a global level to an acknowledgement of the local Plan B controversy hitting many of the points on which I’ve struggled to express myself in any meaningful way.
David talks about priorities and defines all the things that really matter in our lives. We need air. We need water. And although we know that without them, we would die, and if either are polluted, we would be sick, David continues to ask what intelligent animal would use such valuable resources as a toxic dump? How can we be turning our back on what got us here in the first place? We must learn to live within the constraints of nature and stop shoehorning nature into our agendas. Nature is the source of our well-being.
70% of our economy depends on the consumption of stuff. All of that stuff comes out of the earth to ultimately be thrown back into the earth as waste. We elevate the economy above the very things that keep us alive. Humans have become a powerful force – 7 billion strong – and what we do in the coming years will determine whether we as a species can survive. The full presentation can be re-watched in all it’s glory here on the Confederation Centre of the Arts website.
After spending a week in Las Vegas as part of the website support team for Essentials of Emergency Medicine, we (silverorange) went to Zion National Park for the weekend before flying back home. Several hours after hiking out to Canyon Overlook this afternoon, it still amazes me how quickly it went from solid white, can’t see anything, to clear blue skies with grand views. It could have been measured in minutes.
Part of what I remember from my previous visits to the National Parks in the Southwest is how quickly the weather and light changes. With photography, light is everything. And with outdoor nature photography, that light source is only what mother nature presents on any given day. It’s not Zion, but this next series of images shows Monument Valley over a 17 hour period last November.