Portraits: Vancouver Cherry Blossoms

This month has been insane, and I’m only now just settling in and able to sit in front of the computer to get some work done! I was in Vancouver earlier this month to present at a conference for my master’s thesis research and managed to find time to shoot with two of my fave people: Adri and Nathalie. I met these two ladies in orchestra in our undergrads. We’ve all managed to stay amazing friends and I’m so happy everytime I get to see them. Also they always agree to be my models, and since I was in Vancouver for my favourite season–cherry blossom season!!!–I had to incorporate them. For the few weeks these trees bloom I remember being the happiest; the sky would be blue, the air thick with the perfume of cherry and plum blossoms, and my all time favourite, magnolia flowers.

So here are some photos from our shoot–I’m obsessed with so many of them and will probably share them over at my Instagram for quite a while!

I recently took some photos of Adri when she visited me in Toronto last month as well, check them out here! 


Portraits: Adrienne in Toronto

Several weeks ago, like the day I got back from Florida, I was reunited with one of my best friends who still lives out in Vancouver. I had wonderful days exploring Toronto streets and alleys with Adri, and she loved Graffiti Alley. Naturally, as I am always wanting to take photos of people, I asked her to spend a morning with me being my model (she also used to be a crazy cosplayer so she’s basically a pro model). Of course the ONE day we picked was not the sunny 4 degree days the rest of the week but the one -3 blustery day that happened while she was here. So we sought some refuge in one of my favorite coffee places, Dark Horse Espresso on Spadina, and continued to take photos of her there cause I’m totally not annoying.

Enjoy! 


Adventure: Florida Part I

In February I managed to get nearly 2 weeks off to take a road trip down to Florida. I travelled through 11 new states, visited Harry Potter World (!!!!) and Disney World (and became obsessed with collecting pins, which I had no idea was a thing). It took a few days to get used to the humidity and heat but I love it and miss it already. We also drove down to Miami, where I fell in love with the art deco architecture on Miami Beach. I explored the everglades and learned they’re actually a slow draining river, who would have known? We took a small fan boat tour out in the middle of the reeds, and I saw some amazing wildlife and got to see the open skies I grew up with. Finally we went to the west coast where I got to lounge on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico and see a baby manatee! Manatees are my favorite animals, and it was amazing to finally see some, even if it was just little bits in the water on a pretty rainy and blustery day.

I didn’t take as many official photographs as I might have intended; as the days went on it got so busy, and I was so focused on whatever I was doing, that I didn’t manage a ton but still a few! So the next few blog posts will be photographs from my little vacation, and all it does is give me the itch to travel and photograph more and more and more! This post also contains photos from some of the other states we visited: West Virginia, Virginia, North & South Carolina, and Georgia. 

See PART II here!

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Family Portraits: Ypelaar Siblings

Family Photography in the Humber River Valley, Toronto

Last month I ventured into the Humber River Valley with the Ypelaar siblings. I actually really love this type of fall/winter vegetation, where everything is sort of dying and wasteland-looking. It makes such great scenery! I really love it. This park is a place where these siblings always come on adventures and walks and they seemed right at home as we ventured through the park. We got chased by ducks, had some yummy coffee and Greek food, and laughed a ton. It was so much fun!!! I’ve never taken photos for adult siblings and I was a little nervous–how do I catch them naturally? What will we do? Can I make them laugh? They didn’t even need me. They just made each other laugh. We were there until the sun went down; a great afternoon! So here are some shots from our adventure.

 

For other family photos, check out my time with Erin & Pete or Leah & Caleb (kids all included)!


Adventure: Toronto Santa Claus Parade

Photographing the Toronto Santa Claus Parade

It’s almost Christmas! So it’s time for a sort-of Christmas themed post!

A few weekends ago I went to my first Toronto Santa Claus Parade! It was actually the first one ever created. It started in 1905 and is still going strong! It was pretty cold and by the end my toes were numb but I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the marching bands and drumlines–I am a huge marching band/band/drumline dork so that was great! We were in a perfect spot, not too many people, and so I got to play around with my camera.

It’s so important as photographers to also shoot for yourself, and I like sharing these types of photos as well as the photoshoots; these are just another facet of my photography! Enjoy! 🙂 Remember to go out and take photos for fun too!

 

 


My Favourite Photographers: Fred Herzog

It’s been awhile since I managed to write about another of my photographic influences (like… 5 months). As I say in almost every blog post: school is crazy! Life is crazy!

Just to recap: I started these blog posts because all photographers have their influences. For me, it’s important to talk about and share those people throughout history who have inspired me. My first post about Vivian Maier explains my feelings in further detail!

 

Who is Fred Herzog? 

Fred Herzog was born in 1930 in Germany, but had to be evacuated as a child during WWII. His parents died during the war and he found work on ships until he emigrated to Canada in 1952. He moved first to Toronto, then Montreal, and finally Vancouver. He primarily took photographs of Vancouver, BC; this might be why I feel such a strong pull and connection with his photographs, since I lived in Vancouver for 6 years! He is a street photographer and I love his ability to capture remnants of Vancouver that are no longer around, particularly the infamous neon light signs on Granville Street.

Photography

Fred Herzog’s street photography focuses on working class people and their environment, primarily the city. He worked with slide film, in color, which somewhat limited him from exhibiting since most photographers were shooting in black and white. He hasn’t been recognized really until the 2000s, despite his prolific work since the 50s. Unlike Vivian Maier, who I talked about last time, he did not include himself in his photographs or take many self photographs.

His photos do not need people in them; he also takes photographs of buildings and streets, the echoes of humans and their movements in all of his photos.

A lot of his photographs are portrait, or vertically shot. I find this absolutely fascinating. It helps in numerous occasions: to define the height of the buildings and make the photographs feel like you’re walking down the street; to get most of the body of a person when he shoots; and captures most of posters, windows, etc. Going through his photographs you’ll definitely notice an affinity for vertical photographs. Just a little tidbit!

Why Herzog is a Favourite

I find that Herzog is an astute photographer, able to capture and see humanity no matter where he is or what he photographs. These shadows, these traces, these small glimpses, are what draws me in to Herzog’s photography. He also takes many photographs in Vancouver’s Chinatown, which is my favourite part of the city!

 

I love when he photographs people but just as much I enjoy his photographs of light, shadow, and color. The way he uses architecture to create photographs is something that I am fairly certain I’ve taken and run with in much of my street photography. There is nothing I love more than a good staircase or doorway that tells the story of a neighborhood or building. Herzog’s photography makes me see and feel just how important location is to a photograph. His work also makes me yearn for an older Vancouver I never knew, but feel like I do at the same time… somehow?

The colors are so rich (Kodachrome!) and I love how even when he takes photos of empty street corners it feels like someone has just turned the corner, their arm or leg disappearing just out of frame. Herzog has a natural ability to capture the bones of a city, the essence of a time. Going through his photographs is like going back through time. I can’t get enough of them! I even have some of them hanging up on my wall and they act as daily inspiration.

 

Who are some of your favourite photographers? Who do you find inspiration from to take photographs or to appreciate a good view? Let me know in the comments!

 

All photographs taken from the Equinox Gallery website.

More resources on Fred Herzog

Books:

Fred Herzog: Modern Color


Adventure: Vancouver with Friends

Revisiting Vancouver

This year I took a last minute trip back to Vancouver for my reading week. I lived in Vancouver for about 5 years and so I was so excited to go back and visit! There’s something revitalizing about seeing the blue mountains topped with snow in the distance, the ocean and the smell of salt and seaweed, the weirdly clean streets, Chinatown, my old neighborhoods, and the best: my beloved friends.

My goal was to take portraits of everyone I met up with…. but I got so busy and it got so out of hand in the several days I was there so I only managed it with a few! However, here is what I have to share from my little break back on the west coast. There’s laughter, quiet, and a fake proposal moment to replace my friend’s actual fiance, currently attending school in France and Germany (sorry Greg!). I love taking photos of all those I hold dear to my heart… next time I get out there I will do a better job of documenting my whole time. But until then, at least I have these!

 

 

 


Family: The MacLellans

Family Adventure in Grande Prairie

Oh man! This day was hilarious and fun and a little crazy. I arrived at the house to start a walk with the family at the exact moment Erin and Pete had discovered a squirrel in their bathroom. The girls were amazed. Erin was desperately trying to find an exterminator in GP. It turned out we only had an hour and had to stick close to the house for when the exterminator came to take the squirrel back to the wild. So we had a 50 minute session that mostly took place in the back alley and the forest trails just behind the house. You might think it was a bit too short to get all the photos you need, but I think we did a great job under squirrel pressure! It was a blast. In this family, everyone is hilarious, even little Molly and Cara. I could’ve hung out with them all night! Thankfully, the squirrel is safe and happy back in the wild somewhere (or as wild as squirrels get).

How long has it been since you’ve taken family photos? Do you get them done every year, or do you keep it a special thing for every few years? I’d love to hear your thoughts on family pictures!

 


Return to Nature When in Grief

Grief

Real time. This summer has been one of the hardest of my life. My grandpa passed away in July after a hard end with cancer, and exactly one month later my boyfriend’s mom, Cindy, passed away from a vicious cancer that took her in months while I was in Alberta. I tried to fly back to Toronto in time to see her before she passed and I missed her by 12 hours.

This combined heartache of these months, with trying to do thesis fieldwork at a time when so many more important and difficult family things were happening, while trying to function, while trying to post photos and act like nothing was wrong, while trying to not cry all the time, while trying to sleep, was exceptionally difficult. Barely possible. Of course things were wrong. Everything was wrong. Everything is still wrong. Life is not the same. Life is difficult. It is difficult for me to go to school and care. It is difficult for me to think about the future, about dreams. It is difficult to realize that we can plan our entire lives for a retirement, a life of travel, a break after it all… and you might not get it. So do it now.

So life is tough right now. It will continue to be tough for quite awhile, I think. As we get older we are bound to get human-shaped holes in our lives, people we love who leave us too quickly or too painfully. Still, it’s never easy.

After Cindy’s funeral, we felt the need for nature and respite. It is really true when people say nature helps with grief. It helps with sadness. It doesn’t heal, but it helps. I also find more and more that photography helps me. It gives me focus, it gives me a reason to be out there, it gives me constant perspective, and I feel, for a little bit, like life is normal when I’m taking photos.

So here are some photos from Niagara Falls (a little full of people) and Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. It was a nice break from the stress and exhaustion of the last few months. I hope to keep going back to nature over the next year or two. Well, hopefully for the rest of my life. But right now, to try and heal.