Portraits: Tabitha & Chung

It finally happened! 

Tabitha, Chung, and I have been trying to get together for photos since January. Luckily life kept getting in the way because we ended up going and doing it a few weeks ago and it was beautiful! The flowers! The sun! A lot of photographers hate shooting in the middle of the afternoon–the light is harsh, there are shadows everywhere, sometimes a face gets covered by a leaf shadow. But there is something about what we call “harsh” light that I love: it is direct, it is life, it is two people enjoying the sunshine together. I like to utilize these shadows and lines and just have fun with it! Sure, the photos aren’t magazine perfect that way, but I really love them! 

These two are simply a delight. Chung was the most laid back person I think I’ve ever had in front of the camera. They’ve been dating for 7 years and are a lovely example of a strong bond just bursting with love. I was lucky to witness this relationship at work, their kindness to each other and total strangers, and just hanging out with two friends. We even took some sweet selfies that made their way to my instagram

Tabitha was actually the graphic designer of my new logo and my business cards!! She is crazy talented and can be found over on instagram too!

We wandered through Cabbagetown, Allan Gardens, and down to Massey Hall. It was a busy afternoon in downtown Toronto! So I hope you all enjoy a snapshot of a day in the sun with these two! It was truly a delight. 


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! 


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


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.

 


Engagement: Cory & Kayla

Grande Prairie Engagement

While I was back in Grande Prairie, Alberta this past week, I got to do an engagement shoot with Cory & Kayla, who are getting married next summer! Kayla is a lady who knows what she wants and even booked us some time at Serenity Acres, an acreage just outside of town that had a GORGEOUS lookout into the creek valley and, in the foggy distance, the Wapiti River. We also got to play with horses (note: keep camera bags away from places horses might just walk!), and then we went out to one of my favourite old barns. There is nothing quite like exploring the prairies with a couple! It is so much fun to catch people just laughing and enjoying their time together in such a beautiful place. Cory is constantly making Kayla laugh and they are so comfortable and adorable together. It’s so great to capture those moments. Cory and Kayla have been through some crazy times the last year and a half, and it is so great to see them come out of it all strong and fun and awesome!

  

  

  

 


Family: Leah, Caleb, & Micah

Family in Edmonton

Earlier this month my cousins graciously offered to let me stay with them in Edmonton for the week while I worked nearby on thesis research. It was so much fun, and I got to hang out with their precious 7-month-old baby, Micah! I love him so much. We also took an evening for some family photographs. It was so nice to walk around and enjoy the sunset, as well as just get to do something nice for my family. The mosquitoes were insane, Micah got a little chilly, but there was dancing in the gazebo, baby cuddles, air tosses, swings, and a visit to the bakery to get cake afterwards (naturally). I can safely say after spending a week with them they are some of the coolest parents I’ve met and I can’t wait to see them all keep growing with each other!