Thousands of angry Vancouverites gathered for an emergency rally to protest the Liberal Government's bailout of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline on May 29th. Holding this protest in the heart of town, with beautiful mountains in clear view and the skytrain whizzing overhead reinforced that Vancouver is a progressive and environmentally conscious city.
Stand Up to Racism
I attended Vancouver's Rally Against Racism on August 19th, 2017 at Vancouver City Hall. It was hot and summery outside, blue skies and the sounds of news helicopters beat in the distance. I walked around and shot some photos, and listened to the speakers. The Alt-Right protesters did not show up, to my relief. I was nervous about attending the rally with all of the violence happening in the world, but that also made a stronger case for myself to attend. I don't want to be afraid to stand up for equality and what's right in the world, and especially not in my own city.
The speakers were inspiring and came from all different backgrounds and perspectives. The crowd was friendly, people would apologize to me when I bumped into them moving through the crowd. I left feeling inspired and light.
May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia
May 17th was International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. I was photographing a pride event when an older man approached me. He was wearing a rainbow hoodie and had been lingering on the outskirts of the event. He told me he was 62 years old, and only recently came out of the closet openly. He had been living in a smaller community in the Fraser Valley, and had been afraid to be open and participate in the LGBTQ community there. He was afraid to start any clubs or events for fear of what other members of the community might do. He attended his first pride parade last summer, and moved to Metro Vancouver. He has been open since. This story was both sweet and sad. On the one hand I was happy for him to finally be apart of a community that accepts him and where he can be himself, and be surrounded by like-minded people. But on the other, it was a reminder of the homophobia and bigotry that still permeates our society. I experienced a similar feeling when Donald Trump was elected. LGBTQ rights hits very close to home for me as many of my good friends and family are apart of it, and I think it's my job to be an ally to them and support them whenever I can.
But really, can you imagine not being comfortable being yourself, or being afraid to be yourself in your community for 62 years?
Winter in downtown Vancouver, BC
I was going through some of my photo albums and found instax photos I took a couple years ago in Montreal, basements, industrial parks and Ottawa.
I wrote about my experience visiting with a psychic back in 2015, but never published the story. Below is my experience having my cards read by Madame Carmen, September 2015.
I slept in quite late this morning, tossing and turning with vivid dreams all night. Those weird dreams where you are floating through your regular day-to-day, nothing really too weird, but everything and everyone are kind of different and twisted. My friend is 50 lbs heavier than she is when I’m awake, my house is twice as big and old as it truly is, I’m loosing my teeth and lost all of the beer I bought for my house party with none of my close friends.
Last night I went to the fair at the PNE. I walked around, ate junk food and went on some rides. I went to a psychic who had a booth between a slushy drink stall and frozen dipped desserts on a stick.
A man with shoulder length, black, wavy hair, wearing a jean jacket and baseball cap pulled down over his eyes, leaned against the entrance. He was swaying slightly. I stood outside the stall wavering about going inside or not. My friend walked up to the front table and asked a woman with large, thick-rimmed red glasses “she wants to get her palm read, who do we talk to?” Madame Dolores was with another client, so I got the next psychic in line. She stood up and said, “I’ll read her,” as she led me into a small semi-private stall with blue draped satin curtains. There were two folding chairs and a table, cards and pamphlets scattered across the table, a crystal ball and a clear plastic tablecloth stretched across a blue trivet shaped like a flower. My friend wasn’t allowed to come inside.
The psychic didn’t smile and was chewing gum to one side on her jaw. She introduced herself as Carmen and asked if I had ever had a reading before. “You want a palm reading or your cards?” “Huh? Palm reading I guess”. “You guess? Do you want to know more about yourself honey, or do you want to know your future?” She had round features and inexpressive eyes. Her hair was tall and neatly pulled back with a little swoosh of bangs across her forehead. “Ok, cards please”. She picked up the pile of tarot cards with her stubby gold ring clad fingers. She asked me to shuffle the cards. I started shuffling the cards, wondering when do I stop? Will it make a difference if I shuffle the cards once, or if I shuffle for five minutes? Is the way I shuffle the cards telling her something about my future? I stopped when my OCD let me and put the cards in a pile on the little table. She asked me to put my left hand on top of the cards, take my time and make some wishes. “Do not tell anyone what you wished for or the wishes won’t come true.” I stared blankly at the stack of cards and made some wishes, trying to concentrate on wishing and not let my mind wander. “Okay I’m done,” I said and she picked up the pile of cards. She laid out eight cards in two rows. She warned me that I was not to tell anyone of what we spoke of in the stall. As she flipped over the last card in the second row she asked me, “do you believe in magic?”
We flipped through the cards and finished off the deck. I reached down to make sure my purse was still sitting beside my chair. “God bless you, and do not tell anyone your wishes or what we spoke of or it will not come true. God bless you. That will be $25”
There were some predictions and advice given to me that was accurate and encouraging (and no, I will tell you what exactly). I am not a firm non believer or believer in psychic ability, magic or faith, that this booth was not a scam, but I tend to always look for signs in my life. My mom always told me that if it is meant to happen, things would fall into place. I have been looking for direction in my life, choose a direction but self-doubting each of my possible decisions. I think I know my next step now. It’s silly how my loved ones, friends and coworkers can all give me good advice but the advice I’m following cost $25 in a 4x4’ room at the PNE from Madame Carmen.
Women's March on Washington
January 21, 2017
Happy Friday the 13th. Here is the "Lost Photo" of the day. I love this photo because it is oh-so-retro. The teal cabinetry, horned rimmed glasses, yellow and pink walls. Fantastic!
Lost Photo: Found
I have a large collection of old and interesting photos I have found over the years. Some are family photos, some are from thrift store photo albums or were found on the sidewalk. I started collecting found notes and photos years ago. I probably got interested in this after the rise and popularity of postsecret.com around 2008-ish. I like collecting found photos because of the intimate glimpse I get into someone else's life- their shopping list for eggs and Frosted Flakes, a blurry family photo, or a picture of their dogs. These photos and notes remind me that our lives are all pretty similar and common.
This photo is from my Mom's side of the family, scanned from some old slides that were re-found a few years ago. I don't think they were ever printed. According to legend, my Grandpa Pat always had German Shepherds (and they were all named Duke), so I can only imagine it was his dog. The puppy I'm not sure.
I wanted to share some simple tips I use when taking photos. Sometimes people tell me, "I can't take nice photos"... or, I hear this one quite a bit, "that camera must take amazing photos!"
Well here is the truth: it's not all in the camera, and you can take nice photos too.
I like to take photos with my iphone, disposable cameras, film, my "big, black camera"... it's not how big and expensive your camera is. It's about composition, lighting, colour, focus, and expression. Don't get me wrong, there is beauty in quality and sharpness, but sometimes the most beautiful photographs are unexpected, a bit blurry or slightly out of focus. Sometimes it's a memory or a relatable emotion in someone's face. But I am going to start a series of blog posts on some simple tips on composition, posing, authenticity and more to help anyone take better photos.
Composition Part 1: Rule of Thirds
When you are taking a photo of anything or anyone, you need to pay attention to your composition. Composition will make or break a photo. You can take the rules I will teach you and apply them to painting, design, cross stitching, anything visual! But, what does composition mean in terms of photography? Composition is framing your photo's subject and/or landscape, and creating balance and negative space to create a visually appealing photograph. A lot of this is natural intuition because when most people look at a photo, they know what a good photo looks like verses a bad photo. The rule of thirds is the basis of composition and I think the first step, so that is what we are going to focus on today.
Using the rule of thirds creates visual balance by dividing the composition into thirds. Groups or divisions of 3 are naturally visually appealing to us (as well as groups of 5 or 7!).You can visualize thirds when looking through your camera lens or on screen, or a lot of cameras have a grid feature built into the viewing screen (like on your iPhone!). Below I have a couple examples of photos I took with a grid divided into thirds applied to them. The grid was created by placing two equally spaced lines horizontally and vertically which creates three equal sections up, and three equal sections sideways. You can see where the lines intersect I have put an X. Using the rule of thirds you would want to put your subject either on one of the X's, or lined up with one or more of the grid lines. See below I have an example of photograph where the focal point is on an intersection, and one where the focal point is lined up on two grid lines.
Side note- negative space is the empty area around the focal point, I will go more in depth about negative space in an upcoming post.
You can see in example 1 above, the focal point (Rob & Eliza!!) are hitting the sweet spot at the lower intersection (they are also technically lined up along the bottom third line). Below in example 2, the subject hits the top horizontal third, and as well lines up in the centre section. I wanted to show two different examples of composition to teach you that there are so many possibilities for composition and applying the rule of thirds. It is a simple rule that you can apply any time you are shooting, and will improve your photos tremendously!
Please send me an e-mail if you have any questions!
I LOVE instagram. I love following a diverse amount of designers, artists, photographers, fashion bloggers, nail artists, businesses, restaurants, food bloggers... list goes on. There is so much amazing photography on Instagram and I love seeing new, fresh and interesting work every single day!! Every fucking day, free inspiration and art just flowin' in my feed. It's awesome. Here is one account I love- they update basically everyday and it's always different and new content.
Rad business based out of London and New York, and they sell art/photography books. Everyday they feature a few pages from the books on instagram. They feature such a diverse and cool collection of work spanning decades, topics and styles. From memory, they have featured office furniture catalogues from the 70's, sculptors, food photography, people, street photography, interior designs... so much good shit. I like how much diversity they post, it keeps your head in the game. If you want to see some cool crap on the daily, highly recommend it.