These were taken on August 12th, the day after I turned 28. The hour was golden and my heart was full.
I shot this roll of 35mm black and white film thinking it was colour the entire time. It was interesting to see the results. I intentionally shot scenes that were colourful and it turns out, colourful scenes can be beautiful in black and white, too.
When I was 20-years-old, I went on my first big trip. I chose India. I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect, but I knew I had a burning desire to experience a very different part of the world and meet new people. While it may not be the first vacation choice for many, it couldn’t have been more perfect for me. Camera in hand, my first hour in Mumbai can only be summed up in one word: overwhelming.
Everything was new. My senses were overloaded.
Animals I had only seen on farms candidly trotted across the street while rickshaws and cars dodged pedestrians in a sort of organized chaos. People smiled. People hurt. Buses were adorned with beautiful paintings. Nothing was ordinary and everything was worth a snapshot. I’ll never forget locking eyes with a man and his daughter as they left their home in Goa on a scooter. I took their photo and that was followed by an exchange of smiles. When I looked down at the screen to review the moment I froze, I experienced a rush I had never felt before:
I was addicted. Addicted to capturing foreign places and faces.
When I got home, I thought nearly every photo I took was worth sharing. How could they not be? The country was so beautiful and exotic to me. I unloaded hundreds of photos onto my computer.
My career in journalism started, and my camera became an extra limb. When documenting and observing is your job every day, you can't help but do that everywhere you go, especially when you're surrounded by brand new landscapes.
Fast forward seven years and I’m in China with my partner. Prior to meeting him I ventured on several solo adventures.
As I boarded more planes, I noticed the number of photos I was taking dwindling. It wasn’t because I didn’t find these places beautiful or because I didn’t enjoy taking photos anymore, I just became more selective about the images I wanted to take home.
My recent journey to China was the first time I ever had fewer than 60 photos selected as proper documentation of a trip. At first when I saw how few photos I was truly proud of, I was disappointed. But then, I played back memories in my mind of times when I intentionally strolled camera-free:
Through a countryside in the hot sun where women picked greens on a farm. I marveled at how hard they worked.
An evening exploration through a lively city called Dali that ended in a bar listening to local musicians and indulging in Chinese beer (and not worried about monitoring my expensive gear.)
Attending an art exhibit demonstrating child’s play in a time before cell phones. It was a series of powerful installations, and I took my time with each one.
When I look back on those moments, my memory is clear and my back was free of the weight of my camera bag, allowing me to walk for 30 kilometers in comfort.
My love for photography and sharing global beauty will only continue to grow. But as I grow too, so will the number of times I choose to leave my camera behind.
I hope you enjoy a few of my favourite shots from China, to see the full album click here.
This week my partner Gage and I photographed a pretty rad group from Guelph called VERSA. One of the band members also happens to be my cousin. The audiovisual collective is led by Monika Hauck and Alex Ricci. We wanted to work around this year's Winter Stations in the Beaches and also capture the essence of these neat people. An element of their band that is really unique is that they pair the music with projections that visualize sound, so I incorporated a couple of their projections into the photos as well. Here are a few of my favourite shots.
Avoid the crowds and camp when it's slightly cold and rainy. It's worth it to have this magical place all to yourself.