Learning To See

In five minutes, here’s an image I made:

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Here’s the original:

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Not nearly as pretty, right?

This took about five minutes, shot and processed on my iPhone (my app of preference is SnapSeed, if you must know). An insignificant image that makes a point:

The art of learning to see isn’t about the tools. It’s about learning the tools like you learn a language. We know that language influences thought, and thought in turn influences language. These visual abilities are just another tool in the language toolbox, like grammar and punctuation, that aid in our ability to see the world—and speak—in new ways.

Sometimes I feel like we nerd out on the details: which lens, which app. This can be like happening upon a conversation of copy editors discussing em-dashes, predicate objects, and the Oxford Comma. It’s useful as a practitioner to know and discuss your tools. And occasionally, as a learner, it’s good to break down work you admire to understand how it’s made. But…

Language is something you use to communicate. It’s the art of hearing your voice projected into the universe, or receiving those artful words from someone else, that gives what we do its enjoyment.

Tools, art, photos; understanding, learning, discovery—all good.

Then, speak. Let your voice be heard, through the intuitive art of seeing and creating.

Wallpaper – Kigali Airport

A desktop wallpaper of the Kigali Airport, on approach.

Here is a fresh wallpaper for you. This was taken on approach to KGL (Kigali International Airport) while filming aerials for Rwanda: Hope Rises in 2008. Click on the photo to download a full-size JPEG.

YMCA Brand Photography

After a shoot earlier in the year for the newly opened downtown Robert Lee YMCA, I was brought back to re-work the brand imagery for a further three of the YMCA’s family centres in Greater Vancouver.

After a shoot earlier in the year for the newly opened downtown Robert Lee YMCA, I was brought back to re-work the brand imagery for a further three of the YMCA’s family centres in Greater Vancouver. The deadline was tight (aren’t they all?). Over 5000 images shot over the last two days in time for a dozen selects, processed and ready for release tonight. Here are a few of my favourites.

What I love about shooting for the YMCA is there is such a great community vibe. Each of the centres has its own flavour & feel, and at each place the volunteers and members are more than willing to jump in and help out. Everyone featured in these photos (and for the previous RLY shoot) is someone who is part of the YMCA community in some way. There are no professional models. While this poses some problems in terms of getting advertising-ready images out of the shoot, it also lends an authentic feel to the images. I love how these turned out, and I’m looking forward to more upcoming work with the YMCA in the new year.

YMCA in the Vancouver Sun

A four-year project in the making, the Robert Lee YMCA is a great example of human-centred architectural design. I was invited to photographically explore the architectural spaces for a special supplement in the Vancouver Sun newspaper.

A four-year project in the making, the Robert Lee YMCA is a great example of human-centred architectural design. Where the original 1941 building felt closed and functional, the new building is open, inviting and filled with natural light. I was invited to photographically explore the architectural spaces (designed by Vancouver companies Endall Elliot and Stantec) for a special supplement in the Vancouver Sun newspaper. You can see a few of the photos in the gallery below.

For more information on the Robert Lee YMCA, check out the latest article on the Vancouver Observer.

[ See more photos from the Robert Lee YMCA’s Open House → ]

Robert Lee YMCA Open House

The new downtown Robert Lee YMCA is open and spacious, filled with natural light by a vast atrium that reaches up over six storeys. I worked with the YMCA’s communications team on a series of images to bring to life the community feel of the new centre.

Recently I worked with the YMCA of Greater Vancouver to profile their new downtown membership centre. Built into the original building’s 1941 facade, the new Robert Lee YMCA is open and spacious, filled with natural light by a vast atrium that reaches up over six storeys. To capture these open spaces, I worked with the Y’s communications team on a series of images to bring to life the community feel of the new centre. The first shoot was for a special supplement in the Vancouver Sun, which you can read about here.

In the meantime, I also had the pleasure of shooting the two-day open house just prior to the centre’s May 3rd opening. I had fun capturing the energy as YMCA volunteers toured prospective members through the new facility. Click on a thumbnail below for photos of the open house (and check back soon for more about the photos in the Vancouver Sun…)