“We are currently under a blizzard warning.” said the man on the radio as I gathered my gear. Perfect. I’ve been visiting the same hidden graffiti wall near the train tracks in Kitchener for over 5 years now, but this was the first time I’d ventured out in an actual blizzard. I figured it would add some interesting texture and sense of atmosphere to my photos. I didn’t imagine I’d have to bust my way through a snow bank nearly as tall as myself to access the hidden wall.
I think it was worth the effort, because once I’ve got a particular photographic scene in my head, I can’t rest until I see it it physically emerging from my printer. Translating an image from a dream to a reality is an incredibly rewarding way to make a living, and trudging through knee high snow drifts with five bags of equipment and props in -40 degree weather on a hunt for the perfect setting for my surreal clothesline image reminded me of what it was like to be a college student, just excited to be out the world with a camera.Over the recent holiday season, Todd gave me 5 pairs of alarmingly bright two tone knee socks– because as I’m fond of saying, “I love a good gradient.” I so admired the socks that I envisioned a scene where they hung on a line in front of some fresh and colourful graffiti before they went through the wash a bunch of times and started to lose their vibrance. I hadn’t visited my usual wall for a few months, and expected some new artwork. Surprisingly, there was just one new piece since my last visit, so it was the one I chose to highlight with my crazy bright clothesline.
The wall in March of 2013, about 10 months before the clothesline shots.
Jo Gnome, AKA F that S returns to his old stomping grounds for this photo series.
One more 2013 shot, featuring a super sweet shark by Chris Austin.
Taken using a special Lensbaby lens called The Composer.
In addition to wanting to document my socks, I also wanted at least one good shot of my newly blue hair. In 2013 when my stylist and I spent 13 hours creating “peacock hair” using bleach, 5 shades of hair colour and about 25 foils, we only ever took one photo of the end result. (Which was pretty spectacular, I have to say.) While the blue took a mere 6 hours to create, I still figured it deserved at least one decent shot for the record books. Consequently, this was the first time I took a tripod to the wall with the intention of creating a self portrait. I took about 5 snaps, then gave up because I was beginning to worry that my fingers were literally freezing, and maybe I should have paid more attention to that weather dude that told me to stay indoors.
In my experience, the images I create for my own satisfaction are the ones that people respond to with the most enthusiasm when viewing my portfolio. This is why it is so vitally important for photographers that consider themselves artists to continuously pursue personal work and creative projects, just for the fun of it. Its easy to fall out of love with photography once it becomes your day to day reality and a means to an end.
My business philosophy involves the mantra, “do something you love long enough, and eventually someone will pay you to do it.” Here’s hoping! These photos may not make it onto anybody’s wall. They probably won’t inspire a bride to hire me for a wedding, or convince a new mother to choose me to document her brand new bundle of joy. Its unlikely that I’ll ever make any money off of them, and yet they are deeply satisfying to me. I’m using my camera to follow my heart… and so far it’s been a colourful quest!
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