I have discovered three things during this pandemic about myself.
- First most of my Solitary Art that I do. That is to say all the hours that I have spent alone just creating are actually almost exclusively out and about in the world.
- Things like Photowandering and capturing the world as I see it. Out in the world.
- Or Street Photography is out in the world with people so while a solitary act it is not conducive to pandemics.
- Music, pottery, woodworking and the other things that I would do as solitary creative outlets involve our buildings amazing Artist Amenity building which has, yup you guessed it, been closed for the pandemic.
- Second thing i have learned is that the rest of the things that I do are collective projects where I am working directly with other people Things like photoshoots and fashion sessions, or filming Shorts and the other indie film projects.
- The third thing that I have learned about myself in this pandemic is that being the primary caretaker for two kids, one of whom I find myself being the primary school teacher as well as a pappa for, is… hard!
I legit feel while everyone else in the world is trying to fill the hours and binging netflix. I feel lucky if I manage to eat my breakfast before it is noon :)
But moving forward I am!
In fact I am currently working with some of the best collaborators that I have ever worked with on a script/film project where I can honestly say I am challenged daily and I am excited to steal away what time I can while children are sleeping and otherwise occupied and I feel like the care and attention that we are putting into the work we are doing could only happen because we are not rushing to film it like I would normally be. We have the time to spend on a project and I am grateful every day that we are spending that time.
Working with this aforementioned amazing team should also, time permitting or course, allow us to create some amazing YouTube content that hopefully is a step above what we have wanted to do in the past. Again because we have the time to spend on it. Silver Linings and all.
I have also been looking at the nearly 2 decades of photos that I have taken and seeing I could re/surface the unseen and lost to the archives. So today I am starting with just that in fact.
If my personal website/blog’s dwindling stats have shown me anything is that people don’t read blogs anymore, which is cool but Blogging is something that I have been doing for as long as I have been making films and taking photos. I was blogging before there was software to blog with, heck I was blogging before it was called blogging. :) But this has been the main place that anyone could connect with my work online. So I think I am going to do a Covid project of starting at the beginning and posting these nearly two decades of photos to the other mediums like Instagram and Facebook etc. :) So get ready because Everyday is going to be Throwback Thursday for me!
Today we are starting way back. March 14th 2003 there was a fire that destroyed a bunch of historic buildings in Edmonton’s arts district. More on the fire here https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/cbc-edmonton-throwback-thursday-whyte-avenue-fire-1.4577582
For those not in the know Whyte ave is a lot like Vancouver’s Commercial drive and we lived just a couple blocks off the ave right near this intersection, but somehow I managed to sleep through the mayhem and commotion of this huge fire that tore through much of the historic buildings at the time. Which for a fledgling photojournalist this was ridiculous!
How could I have missed the fire event of the decade! When I found out I rushed the two and a half blocks over to find the fire almost extinguished and the craziness of it all fading away.
I was disappointed that I had missed such an important opportunity to capture the city I lived in just going through it. But here is was, so I guess I should take some photos right? One of which was this photo of the burned out husk of the New York Bagel surrounded by the now decimated empty lot that used to be the heart of Old Strathcona. A husk that was now covered in layers of ice while also still smoldering underneath.
As it turned out this photo was for me a huge learning experience for me. See while I was wandering about taking photos, everyone who had been there that night taking photos of the huge flames and covering the ‘action’, they were all gone now. The news crews had packed up and left and there was just a handful of firefighters left. I was there alone to capture whatever I wanted. Over the years that followed I would here that this black and white photo touched more people than any huge anonymous wall of colourful flames could ever dream of. It taught me to look for what other people were not. Search for more than the obvious, and while being there is super important being there when others are not is almost more important.
Originally posted March 18th 2003