Wednesday, March 24, 2010

on the grow

Remember sweet little Olivia? Well she's growing up and looking like a big girl now - toddling about and exploring the world around her. It was amazing watching her pick things up and examine them... I could just see the wheels in her head turning, trying to figure out what's what. As you can see below, she's just as sweet as ever with her gorgeous baby blues.

It was an absolute pleasure to be invited back to Garett and Kristal's home to capture this special time. It was great to see you all again - I had a lot of fun and hope you did too! Enjoy your sneak peek!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

phalaenopsis (aka a pretty flower)

Oh those Hachey boys and their orchids. This one is not Dave's as his inexplicably rotted right off the stem. No, this beautiful picture-perfect specimen is his brother's. >:)

Editor's Note: I meant this to poke fun at Dave but apparently he missed the joke and wants me to add, "and they're both really good hockey players who eat a lot of steak and drink strong beer too."


{click to enlarge}

Remember Kyla, Marc and Karlyn? Well, they must have been pleased with their photos because about two weeks later I was invited back to take pictures of beautiful baby Karlyn and her sweet little cousin Abigail.

The assignment was to get a nice shot of the girls for their grandmother.

Well... have you ever tried taking picture-perfect photos of two little humans under the age of two? Me neither. And let me tell you, I was actually shocked to discover that it was
really hard. Obviously I waltzed in with the expectations of someone who has neither had a child nor spent oodles of time with children. (Or at least, with multiple children in a single room). More to the point, I walked out realizing I have a lot to learn about getting little ones to sit still and look at the camera. Perhaps what I should learn is that this is likely impossible! :)

So, I didn't exactly get the "studio shot" of Abigail and Karlyn. But I definitely got some great portraits of the girls separately and some very honest images of the two of them together. If nothing else, I definitely captured a time and place and some very real emotion. I hope all the parents and grandparents are pleased despite the missing "looking at the camera and smiling" hero shot!

Karlyn is just darling and was all smiles that day. I also absolutely adored Abigail's range of expressions, her big dewy eyes and fly-away pigtails. And the girls' matching outfits? Too cute for words - see for yourself!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

a day in the life

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about how I take photographs. More specifically, I've been thinking about what I take photographs of. I love doing portraits. I love getting those shots of perfectly sharp eyes and genuine expressions. I like cropping out the details so that the image is not about a time or place, but about who a person is.

But, I think I've discovered something I love doing
even more. I think more than anything, I like telling stories. I like taking photographs of not just an individual but of an individual in a particular time and space. Because I think the time and space helps us, as a viewer, understand the people in the image by providing better context.

I know that as I browse other photographer's portfolios, the images I tend to bookmark and revisit time and again are those with a journalistic slant - the story-telling shots that are immediately relate-able and give me goosebumps.

One of the reasons I fell in love with the art of photography was because I wanted to be able to document people's moments of love. When people asked, "What do you take pictures of?" My cheesy yet truthful answer was, "love." Because really, what's more important in this life than the people we love and our relationships with them?

So with that in mind, I started taking pictures. And originally I felt the best way to do it would be to take portraits - capturing the essence of who a person is and preserving it for generations to come.

But, like all things in life, ideas and approaches evolve. And over the course of time I've started to realize that
my most favourite images from every photo session that I do, are not actually the ones with tack sharp eyes and perfect expressions, but those that tell a story of how the people in the image relate. The odd shot where I catch a man looking lovingly at his wife-to-be or a mother's patient yet weary smile while holding a squirming two year old. It's these images that I treasure the most.

This evolution of thought does not come as a surprise to me, as I've always said that if I were to win the lottery, I would make documentaries. And I often think about going back to school to take journalism.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this... other than the fact that I want to tell you that I've been doing a lot of thinking about photojournalism and in particular, family photojournalism. I passionately believe in family and believe even more firmly that it should be documented.

So yesterday I started practicing. I went over to my brother's place and while I got some really nice portraits of Hannah and Joshua, I concentrated moreso on taking environmental type shots that told a really good story about what a day in their life is like. I concentrated on preserving the light and shadows to tell a better story of mood and I didn't photoshop out any of the "imperfections" that I would normally deem distracting (such as a corner of a picture frame on the wall).

Even though some of the images are not perfectly exposed or perfectly sharp, I am in love with the results. It's got me wondering how I can do this for other families. Wondering how plausible it would be to spend an entire day with a family from breakfast to bedtime and how easily and quickly could I melt into the background as they went about their day? Am I able to get these shots just because it's my brother's family? I don't know, but certainly, someday, I would like to try.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

dreaming of...

...warm breezes, walks on the beach and the company of a best friend. come on spring!

Friday, March 12, 2010

on black & white images

I cannot get enough of these kids! For those of you who know me, you'll also notice that little miss Hannah is conspicuously missing from this series. I happened to land at their house smack dab in the middle of her nap. But no worries, she will undoubtedly be featured soon.

It was brought to my attention last night (by a super awesome
someone) that I've been tending towards black and white in my photos. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, just an observation. And it was interesting that it was brought up last night because yesterday, my sister-in-law asked me for a colour version of a photo of Joshua that I had originally sent only as black & white. And it made me go, "Hmmm... why colour? The black & white version is obviously superior." (Just kidding Kelly!) But it did tweak something in my brain that perhaps other people don't swoon over black & white the way I do.

So... why all the black & white? I couldn't put my finger on it immediately but after mindful consideration, I realized a few things.

1.) I think colour can overwhelm the eye and draw a viewer's attention away from the intended purpose/message of the photograph. The emotion/action of the people in the image can easily escape a viewer's eye if all they see if the hot pink Barbie convertible in the foreground.

2.) A black and white image depends more strongly on the content of the image - how an image is "constructed" becomes more important - all the things you think about in every art form: lines, form, light, texture, shape and space.

3.) Most importantly, a black and white image is timeless. The colour choices of clothing, decor or even post-processing provide clues as to when an image was taken. Strip away colour and you're left with the pure emotion of an image. The viewer's mind fills in the details and the image instantly becomes a more personal experience. For example, the image of Rhianna below was originally her showing me her new shirt. The black and white image is not about Rhianna's new shirt, it's about Rhianna - her beautiful spirit and crazy energy. Take out colour and it's a documentation of childhood exuberance. It's a piece of childhood that potentially engulfs the viewer in nostalgia. To me, a black and white photograph is instantly relate-able.

4.) And that's why I tend to black & white, in case you were wondering. :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

kitchen love

Doing dishes never looked this good! Haha, not really. Doing dishes never looks good. But you can try to bring some joy to it by making cute dish towels.

I like to embroider stuff, as you probably know. And I think it's important to add a little homemade flourish to your life. Consequently, most of the gifts I give tend to be on the homemade side of things and tend towards wonky as most of the things I make end up slightly askew. I like to call it character. Or maybe style. Yes! That's it! Wonky is the style I intend every time I set out to make something... :)

Anyhow, I digress. Have I mentioned my lovely boyfriend before? And especially how lovely it is that he appreciates my penchant for things homemade? I made these as part of his Christmas gift and just got around to taking pictures yesterday.

The first one came out of my head. Or at least, I think it did. But chances are I saw it somewhere, cataloged it in the deepest region of my brain for future reference, forgot I saw it, and then produced it thinking it was solely mine. I imagine I should be attributing the idea to someone, somewhere, but who knows?

The second one is the kitchen gnome. Kitchen gnomes make doing dishes magical, didn't you know? He comes from Andrea Zuill's blog BadBirds. Every month she posts a free embroidery pattern and they are dripping with awesome! Check out her blog
here and download the gnome here.

And for the record (and just for fun!)... Me: cookies, wasabi, coke and eggs. Dave: milk, sushi, rum and ham. :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

to crop or not to crop?

That is indeed the question. I'm sure I could wax philosophical for ages on the topic of cropping. And I'm sure there is a ton of technical information out there on the subject as well. But generally this is how I roll: I shoot it how I think I'm going to want it framed and usually I don't end up cropping it very much, if at all. It's not something I normally think about, it's simply what I do. Same thing with cropping in post-production. It's not something I normally agonize over because the proper crop jumps out at me with very little consideration.

But I'm not much have a landscape photographer (have you heard?). So when Dave and I went for a drive this Sunday,
I didn't even notice how zen this old farm house looked sitting up on the hill. My immediate thought was, "I would like to live somewhere like this." Not, "I want to take a picture of this." But since Dave hauled out his camera, not to be outdone, I did too. :)

This is what I shot, in camera:

After opening it up in lightroom, this was my immediate reaction (to which Dave commented, "A boomkmark!").

And then, I was inspired to play around with different crops.

Isn't it interesting how they all evoke such different emotions? And how they end up being pictures of very different things? In the end, I decided that this one is the best crop and my personal favourite. I love the big blue sky. (A place for dreams to soar!) What do you think?