For my first official post I figured I should probably shed some light as to my photography background and maybe share a little background why photography and who has influenced me over the years.
The first time I ever had a camera in my hands was in childhood and my mother let me snap a photo with her old disc film camera. Remember those..the negatives were actual discs about the size of a viewmaster wheel with the frames around the outside. To this day I still remember the photo. It was a first thing in the morning photo of my dad sitting at my Baba’s (That’s grandma in Ukrainian) kitchen table. Middle of summer and it was hot so his shirt was off, looking ever so impressed that I was snapping his picture of him…and of course, being in the early 80’s, like everyone else seemed to do he was smoking. The photo was poorly framed and over saturated as a lot of the consumer films were at the time, also it wasn’t the most compelling subject but hey, I wasn’t even 10 yet.
Years passed and I entered high-school. Around grade 10 they decided to renovate my school. One of the additions they added to the school was a fully functional and very professional looking darkroom. So eager to learn more beyond the snap photos, drop it off for developing and pay someone else to make my prints, I signed up. Running that class was the man who became my first real mentor in the world of photography, Rick Gee.
Taken From my Grade 13 year book…The man was like me…always behind the camera..rarely in front.
Rick took me on a journey from not knowing anything aside from the point and shoot cameras my parents had to a world of 35mm SLR Cameras, he taught me what an F-stop was and ISO and shutter speed and depth of field how to get a proper exposure. He taught me how to remove a negative from a film canister without being able to see it and put it into a developing tank. Taught me how to dodge and burn prints in the darkroom and what stop solution smelled like and how to essentially make my camera do what I wanted it to do rather than being at the mercy of my camera.
He showed me the magic of hand tinting Black and white photographs and even introduced me to my very first digital camera that shot photos in an astounding 640 x 480 resolution and you could only get about 20 photos on a 1.44″ diskette. Oh how times have changed there eh?
Anyway, this guy was THAT teacher. You know, the teacher who refused to allow his students to call him “Mr. Gee” to all of us he was and always will be “Rick” although that always seemed odd to me so I just called him “Sir” most of the time. He was the teacher that didn’t hide in his office with the doors closed, his door was always open and he welcomed you in whether you had to talk to him about something serious or school related or if you wanted to just sit and chat he always made time for you.
Rick also introduced me to my second influence and a photographer I love dearly for his nature work, Ansel Adams. The class at school that Rick taught was primarily black and white so naturally he showed us all the work of Mr. Adams and I must say I was thoroughly impressed. The man is and will always be one of my favourites and any time I see any shot taken by him in either a book or magazine or poster print I almost always stop and have a look.
I’m a huge fan of pop culture and so the next photographer who I always watch their work is Annie Leibovitz. This woman has photographed every major celebrity and rock star since….well..forever. From Annie Lennox to Anne Hathaway, from Tom Jones to Tommy Lee The woman has worked with them all. A couple years ago she took what I would call the ultimate group shot. It’s no secret I’m a huge Star Wars fan so when this hit the cover of Vanity Fair I snapped up a copy for myself
From Episode I to VI
The third and final photographer I’ll mention here is someone who I’ve more recently got to know and love their work. Every year Henrys has 2 big photography shows in Toronto called Exposure. Every show they have one or two big names in the world of photography give Key-note addresses to whoever would like to line up and listen, and believe me, there is a line…a big line so I always get there early. Last year the keynote was given by Australian Photographer Jerry Ghionis. The man was very entertaining and informative but above all, he really knows his stuff. In my opinion his way of using the environment and the available lighting is unparalleled with today’s photographer. Since the trend lately is the style of photography that employs the heavy use of filters and grain, his work (properly lit, properly exposed, properly focused) really stands out to say the least.
I was so inspired by Jerry that I even joined the Ice Society to learn directly from the master on his website. I’ve only just scratched the surface of the information so far but I know that it will be well worth the money. Heck, if things progress to the point where I’m doing photography full time I may even pay to attend one of his 5 day intensive seminars to learn more about photography and the business that goes along with it….a guy can dream.
So that’s why I do what I do. Why I love what I do. Why I will never stop learning, never stop reading, never stop lusting for that next piece of gear or new Lens. I can’t wait to meet new clients and help them create and preserve their memories, Births, Engagements, Weddings, you name it.