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Sources of Inspiration

After reading a few comments by an upset photographer who was infuriated at a painter for recreating his image, my first though was, no big deal, the landscape isn’t going anywhere. Before reading these comments, I had also given permission to a friend of a friend (who I’ve never met) to recreated some of my own images as their own paintings. For personal and non commercial practices, it’s harmless and flattering.

But when does it cross the fair use line because after the first few paintings, it became complicated when a local print lab requested permission to print the files from my website. While this still doesn’t bother me in theory, and feel free to print web files at home, I decided to decline permission to a professional print lab.


Today’s Image – Damen

But what if the tables are turned? Photographers copy photographers all the time. Long before I owned a camera and for lack of better terms, Bert Monroy has been a long time hero of mine and the reason I started using Photoshop and a Wacom tablet. Bert is a digital painter who creates realistic digital paintings with more details than most printers can handle. In my copycat mindset, the last time I was in Chicago, I made an effort to take the blue line out to the Daemon stop to experience one of Berts paintings in person. This painting completed in 2006 made photoshop news around the world for the shear volume of numbers. 120 inches long, 1.7GB when flattened, 11 months and 2,000 hours to create, 15,000 photoshop layers, 500 alpha channels and 250,000 paths. It was incredible.

However, while sitting there at the station, I took my own photo. Whether it was to compare later or simply to say “I was here”, the complete composition of the image I made that day was the direct result of Bert’s interpretation of the scene. I’ll never hide this fact but is that copyright infringement?

An interesting debate.


Behind Every Written Word is a Real Person

There is no shortage of workshops and conferences in the creative space fighting for our attention, money and time but a gathering of any size can have a significant impact if you reach out and take it. From the three events of which I selected to attend this year, I have met and surrounded myself with some very interesting people.

I try so very hard not to act like some foolish fan but it can feel quite incredible to have Freeman Patterson sit down at the lunch table directly across from you, or drive around town with David duChemin looking for dinner, or to help John Sexton setup his projector, or talk with Kurt Budliger late into the evening, or to setup camp in Darwin & Sam’s basement for a week. On one side, I question why would I ever publish this with the guilt of bragging or name dropping but at the same time, it’s this surreal moment to be surrounded with so many influential names from the photography world that you have grown up respecting. But still irrationally feeling like I don’t belong at the same table by faking it.

This past weekend was the Canadian Association of Photographic Arts Conference which was keynoted by both Freeman Patterson and David duChemin. And although I’ve only met David in person twice (first in 2008), the effects of reading 6 years of blog posts, all the printed books, digital books, podcasts, a standup comedy dvd and attending one of the most motivating presentations that I’ve ever had the opportunity to be part of, I can’t even begin to explain his impact on me personally without sounding foolish. So I won’t :-)

It’s hard to explain why. When I first found David’s work, he was traveling the world with World Vision and transitioning away from comedian. Something I had very little in common with. Maybe it’s the contrast of our work in combination with the shared creative opinions because at that time, Davids public brand was a low-key humanitarian who had no where near the popularity he has today.

So what’s the point of this post? I suppose it’s about the building of relationships and listening to those you trust. In a world where popularity and perception can make someone look bigger than life, we can sometimes have glazed over eyes and be starstruck at those higher up on the ladder. Assuming that individual doesn’t believe they have reached the top step, it can be humbling to hear that they may be equally excited.

I’m not one to be comfortable in situations where introductions are required but a relationship can be so much more when the reader knows the writer, and the writer knows the reader. The written word can only go so far.

In conclusion and to paraphrase by mashing together David’s own words: “Life is not about photography. Photography is about life.”


A Day to Remember

Appreciating traditional darkroom printing is something I have difficulty relating to. I have many albums of 4×6 prints from every event of my childhood but it was not art. Photography was this little box with a button, that you pressed 24 times, mailed away a funny looking negative strip, waited a few weeks, and a nicely package envelope of prints would arrive – often with heads cut off disappointment. Photography was for documentation and I found it boring which kept me focused on my inks and paint brushes.

Fast forward to last week and I had the pleasure of receiving an invitation to Photo Moncton International. But after arriving, I was asked if I could help make sure the speakers had everything they needed for the projector and audio. The presenter of that night happened to be John Sexton – a master of darkroom film processing who still uses a 4×5 viewfinder in a fully non-digital workflow. He also proudly has technical and photographic assistant to Ansel Adams on his resume.

The few hours of setup, calibration and trial runs with John and his wife Anne Larsen, provided some interesting conversations and a small window into their world. As I stood there looking through this large 4×5 panel at an upside down image, with a black sheet over my head, the demonstration provided me with a much better appreciation and hands on experience to a little bit of photography history – even if I still don’t clearly understand the process from start to finish.

John’s talk that night found a good balance between his own photography, the approach to his own work, and the career he had with Ansel Adams was something I’ll not forget any time soon. So many stories to share, so little time.

Stanhope Beach, Prince Edward Island

Today’s Image – Stanhope Beach, Prince Edward Island National Park

It was a very wet PEI weekend as post tropical storm Andrea crossed over the province dumping between 30-90mms of rain at 40-70KMH winds. The gray skies and heavy overcast clouds kept me on the trails for the weekend but also provided a chance to experiment with some heavy contrast black and white. This image from Stanhope Beach, (N46 25.267 W63 06.067) in PEI National Park, was created at the tail end of what was left from Andrea. I like colours and I rarely present my images as black and white but maybe I should be trying it more often.


Prince Edward Island Visitors Guide

Being busy is good but that often comes at the expense of keeping this blog updated. Here is a quick post with a few of my images that you’ll find in print this summer. Earlier this week, I received some of the 2013 marketing materials and was pleased to see some of my images making the cut. Here are a few scans of those pages – including the cover of the PEI National Park Visitors Guide.

2013 PEI National Park Visitors Guide




Late last week, it was asked in a group forum what was everyone’s “must have” photographic piece of equipment (excluding the camera itself). While I understand the bases of what was being asked, I was too focused on the words because “must have” is very different than “nice to have”.

So I type this from my bed watching the sun rise from my window knowing that I should be outside. And after reading this growing list of “can’t live without” gadget suggestions, my opinion strengthened that I (and you) don’t actually need to buy any of these – we only need the motivation and desire to get out of bed.

Exposed Coral

Today’s Image – Exposed Coral Reef on Haena Beach, Kawa’i Island

It’s so easy to delay the task of processing images. Knowing that the image files will still be there tomorrow is a great encouragement for procrastination. By accepting an invitation to share a small slideshow with the local photo clubs, I now have a hard deadline to prepare 3 weeks of images from a late 2012 visit to Hawai’i. This presentation will discuss the locations visited, the resulting images, and how some of the images were created.

If you’re local to Prince Edward Island, The PEI Photo Club meeting in Charlottetown will be May 28th and the Red Sands Photo Club meeting in Summerside will be June 10th.