NPAC-packed weekend

A few months ago I expressed to my friend Melissa that I was interested in following in her footsteps and enrolling in the Photojournalism program at Loyalist College.

The Loyalist Photo-J program in Belleville is unique and prestigious, as it has produced some of the country’s best photojournalists. I’ve known for a long time that news photography doesn’t speak to me, though, I do want to push myself and I felt that the Loyalist program would give me the greatest opportunity to improve my skills, and really spend time on the aspects of photography I am not comfortable with.

Melissa suggested I tag along to the NPAC annual conference in Ottawa. Every year, members of the News Photographers Association of Canada get together to attend workshops, drink alcohol, listen to guest speakers, drink alcohol, and honour the best of Canadian photojournalism at a gala awards ceremony. With even more alcohol.

If this wasn’t enough, the speakers and workshops were absolutely top notch, so I paid my membership fee, got my ticket and hit the road.

Vimy Ridge memorial statues in the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa.

Vimy Ridge memorial statues in the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa.

As this was my first time in the nation’s capital, I was hoping to see some of the sights of the city, as well as to hear some stories from real life working photographers, get inspired, maybe even get my portfolio critiqued if I grew the balls (or got drunk enough). Turns out, the only thing I saw was the Canadian War Museum, and only because the NPAC gala was held there.

I was humbled by the work of keynote speaker, and Pulitzer Prize winner Adrees Latif.  Hearing him recount the story of jumping out of a hovering helicopter into the middle of a riot to get a shot absolutely blew my mind, and it once again cemented my belief that i’d never be a conflict photographer.

I was inspired by World Press Photo winner Spencer Platt, who spoke about some of his most well known images, especially his experiences on 9/11

However, I found the most inspiring thing about the weekend was the interactive elements. Specifically, the workshops and portfolio reviews. I really dug Chip Litherland’s workshop “Transitioning, surviving, and succeeding in a world after newspapers.” because it showed me that there was money out there, and a definite way to build a career outside of photojournalism. I was so impressed with Chip’s work that I asked him to review my portfolio later on.

Along with Chip, I also had the opportunity to have my portfolio reviewed by Phill Snell, deputy photo editor of the National Post, Ryan Jackson from the Edmonton Journal (see some of his amazing multimedia work here)  and Bronwen Latimer, senior photo editor of the Washington Post.

As the great Walter Sobchak would say, not exactly lightweights.

They all had great things to say, if a little contradictory, and they’ve made my decision to pursue photography full time that much more difficult.


I think i’ll take more time to decompress, and follow up on this post later…


If it was super easy, it wouldn’t be fun.

Enormously talented photographer Ian Ruther struggles with the same things many of us do. Has technology stunted our photographic growth?

SILVER & LIGHT from Ian Ruhter on Vimeo.

(Via Petapixel)

An ode to drummers

Drummers are an underrepresented bunch in the annals of concert photography. They’re tucked away behind  a bunch of shiny metal cymbals and more often than not, ignored by photographers for their more flamboyant band mates. Somehow, I think this suits them just fine. Happier to sit in the back, keeping time.

Treble Charger at The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto 03/21/2012


Wintersleep performing at NXNE. Dundas Square, Toronto 06/19/2009

Participating in the democratic process.

This weekend I attended the NDP leadership convention in Toronto. As a delegate, I was there primarily to vote for a new leader to succeed the late Jack Layton as the leader of the official opposition party.

However, I couldn’t resist bringing along my camera and documenting some of the sights of my first large political event.

Thomas Mulcair spends time with his delegates between the 2nd and 3rd round of voting.

Former leader of the NDP, Ed Broadbent (foreground) cheers for Brian Topp (obscured, centre)