Dana and Family Documentary Photosession

I remember having a train set like this one. I guess Brio is still a thing!

I remember having a train set like this one. I guess Brio is still a thing!

Being a documentary photographer means being a part of people's lives. I've found out over the years that cameras, film, technology and other things really have little to do with a photo... although, of course, you need these items to actually make a photograph. Yet, much of it is about connecting with your fellow human and relating on a personal level. Too many times I find myself hiding behind a camera to take photos only to realize that the best ones I take (at least to me) are ones where I've connected with people.

When I met Dana, she introduced me to her two boys and her husband. One of the boys, like my nephew, is autistic. I automatically connected. Dana realized that getting two boys to sit still for posed photographs was going to be next to impossible and so, after looking at my work, she contacted me and we arranged a date for a photoshoot. 

When I gave her the 4x6 prints, she mentioned how she loved the photos but also how she was glad that I was able to create something that they could not do on their own. 

This photoshoot was not orchestrated at all. Other than a few location suggestions, I was hovering around the family and their dog in the backyard and even in the bedrooms. From the moment I stepped into the house, I started photographing and after a few minutes of some slight awkwardness, Dana and her family eventually let me document a day in their life.

Further into the photograph set,  you'll see a photograph of one of the boys crying. This is due to the boy falling through the crack that separates the two beds (the boys were jumping on the bed). Dana later told me this was a pretty common occurrence for them. Fun fact: There's a video of me back when I was a kid jumping on the bed and, of course, falling over the side and onto the ground. Tears ensued. I was 29....er.... 2 years old or so.

While I tried to get some time for Dana and her husband together, it was only a few moments before we heard the boys rush into the room and start jumping on their parents' bed. All the moments in this photoshoot were real. Life is real and never really perfect... but it's in that imperfection that we find love and we find what makes families.

That One Time I Took My Leica Into The Woods And the Rain

In early 2016, a few friends, my wife and I went adventuring around Lighthouse Park and Horseshoe Bay area. Despite it being pouring rain, I took my Leica out and proceeded to take photographs of our hike. Thankfully the trees around us blocked most of the rain but it was still a bit slippery (wearing shoes with little grip = bad idea) and very moist. Through it all, I felt like I was able to get some neat photographs of an area that is normally not captured in black and white.

Pete and Christine's Wedding - Seconding for John Bello

Christine with her father making her way down the aisle at Brix and Mortar in Yaletown, BC.

Christine with her father making her way down the aisle at Brix and Mortar in Yaletown, BC.

Brix and Mortar has become one of my favourite places to photograph a wedding. It has a great intimate atmosphere, the courtyard area is beautifully lit and the staff are great people to work with. On this day, I was making my way over to Brix and Mortar to begin my assignment when I saw this bright red classic car. After looking at it a few moments, I noticed that it had our couple's image on it and knew that this was a part of the wedding. Legends say that seeing a bright red car on your wedding day will bring you multiple... luck? Children? Who knows. I'm just kidding.

I met Pete's groomsmen and family in the pub next to Brix and Mortar and proceeded to document the day. I recall taking a photograph of Pete writing his vows and later also moments with Christine talking with her bridesmaid just prior to the ceremony, with her Dad looking happily-teary as the big event approached. There was great emotion in the air and, as always, it was fantastic to be a part of it all and documenting it all. 

Thanks to John Bello for taking me with him as a second photographer!

Ana and Matt's Wedding - Seconding for Jody Nay

Yes, Nerf guns.

Yes, Nerf guns.

This wedding involved nerf guns. Yup. 

Right after the first look and a few formal photographs, the bride and groom pulled out some nerf guns and started pelting each other and the groomsmen and bridesmaids with soft and harmless foam projectiles (yet another hazard wedding photographers have to watch out for on a wedding day. Hah! I kid!.... It's green goop and shaving cream). 

Ana and Matt had an amazing wedding at the Yaletown Roundhouse Community Center surrounded by loving parents, friends and family. But let's step back for a moment to when I walked into the apartment where Matt and his groomsmen were getting ready. As Matt's Mom put the suit jacket onto her's son's shoulders, I could see a twinge of emotion. My hope, as a documentary photographer, is that moments and times like these are captured for the bride and groom and future generations to remember. I didn't tell them to do this and I definitely did not dictate the emotion or tell them to "smile" or "hey, do it this way"... it just all started to come together on it's own. In this way, it was truly an honest moment. In between the smiling at the camera and in between the hustle and bustle of the day, there are these small precious and honest moments that sometimes draw a tear to my own eye as I experience them while being a wedding photographer.

Thanks to Jody Nay Photography for the privilege to second shoot and experience this wedding.