Engagement Sessions

Bookstore Engagement Session - Jesse and Patricia

Bookstore Engagement Session - Jesse and Patricia

…After I documented Jesse proposing to Patricia at a Mediterranean restaurant, brainstorms occurred and months later we soon found ourselves at Lawrence Books on West 41st in Vancouver taking engagement photos among the various paperbacks and hardcover books. I had Jesse and Patricia hide notes for each other and they had to find the notes amongst the books. Thankfully we were able to find them all, lest we leave a mysterious love note for some future book purchaser to find!

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Danielle and Stephen: 5 Years Of Marriage

Danielle and Stephen: 5 Years Of Marriage

Alongside with a documentary photosession in their home, Danielle and Stephen allowed me and my wife to photograph them at the lovely Whytecliff Park. On the day of the photoshoot, I recall looking out the window and seeing it rain slightly, only to be followed later by slight down-pour, followed by letting up with a bit of sun, followed by another down-pour (this IS Vancouver we're talking about)! However, thank God it all worked out as the rain stopped JUST as I was pulling out my cameras and Danielle and Stephen were getting out of the car.

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A Brief Reflection on 2015 - Documentary Moments

A Brief Reflection on 2015 - Documentary Moments

As a documentary photographer who photographs many weddings, I’ve had the opportunity to observe people through the emotional tides that arises from a wedding day and it’s such a privilege to be able to be with brides and grooms in this amazing time of their lives. From anticipation to the sense of relief of having completed the ceremony (without tripping or losing the ring!) to the sense of celebration and exuberance at the celebration in the end, a wedding day is full of moments that are easy to miss in the hustle and bustle of things but are there. I’ve always focused on getting those genuine moment and telling stories through them.

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We Showed Them Prints

We Showed Them Prints

It was the wonder in their eyes and the semi-astonished looks in their faces. We laid out the prints on a large desk and couldn't fit them all despite it being a large desk. There were many 4x6 prints and Stephen and Danielle (as well as my wife and I) were looking over them. Presenting the images in this way really created a new and old experience for us all. It was real. It was tangible. It was the true life of a photograph: Print.

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Documentary Photosession Burnaby - Stephen and Danielle

Documentary Photosession Burnaby - Stephen and Danielle

The "Day In The Life" Documentary Photosession is something I am now offering to you all!

Regardless of where you may be in life, I enjoy creating photographs that tell a real authentic story of who you are and photographing true life moments. This is quite different from sessions whereby you are posed and asked to "stand there" and "say cheese". I leave directing to a minimum.

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Robson-Sakaba VanVan Izakaya Photoshoot

I don't often take photographs for/of restaurants but with my recent interest in the art of cooking and food-making AND when I saw that a friend of mine was opening up a Japanese Izakaya restaurant and I said to myself "why not?". 

A lot of times, when I think of restaurant photographs, I think of food photos showing the food... and really, that's about it. Here's what you can eat. Thanks. And... that's all the photos really tells you.

As a documentary photographer, I felt I could add another dimension to the usual photographs of just food images and go beyond just food photographs. In this case, I wanted to photograph the "essence" of this Japanese Izakaya and tell their story. You see, an Izakaya in Japan is not just a a food place. It's also a place to hang out with some friends, have some great food and drinks and have a great time together, all the while trying out some very interesting Japanese food items that the kitchen comes up with. It's very social.

So the challenge here was to not just take photographs of the food but to also to convey the essence of the Izakaya through the photographs and hopefully allow you to experience a restaurant on more than "just" the food. 

This was taken just moments before the doors opened and some customers came in to try out this new Izakaya!

This was taken just moments before the doors opened and some customers came in to try out this new Izakaya!

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It was really cool to see all the staff working together as a team. Here they cheer each other on before the oncoming dinner rush.

It was really cool to see all the staff working together as a team. Here they cheer each other on before the oncoming dinner rush.

Most of the time, we delete blurry photos this like. However, in this case, I took a step back and saw my friend's smile outshining the lack of "technical perfection" of the photograph. It's one of my personal favorites. 

Most of the time, we delete blurry photos this like. However, in this case, I took a step back and saw my friend's smile outshining the lack of "technical perfection" of the photograph. It's one of my personal favorites. 

People were actually eating as I took these photos. I was practically a few feet away from them. I apologized in advance and did my best to let them continue eating and conversing. Thankfully they were OK with me photographing the food (no close-up, 1-inch-from-food-macro shots). Being polite and courteous when you have to butt in on someone's meal is VERY important not just for being a documentary photographer but also... it's just good manners :)

People were actually eating as I took these photos. I was practically a few feet away from them. I apologized in advance and did my best to let them continue eating and conversing. Thankfully they were OK with me photographing the food (no close-up, 1-inch-from-food-macro shots). Being polite and courteous when you have to butt in on someone's meal is VERY important not just for being a documentary photographer but also... it's just good manners :)

I focused on using the natural light and also the shadows to give you a sense of what the restaurant looks like. Part of the appeal of this Izakaya is the environment that you are in. Lighting plays an important part in this even if you're just sitting and eating.

I focused on using the natural light and also the shadows to give you a sense of what the restaurant looks like. Part of the appeal of this Izakaya is the environment that you are in. Lighting plays an important part in this even if you're just sitting and eating.

Here I'm taking an image a distance away. What I tried to capture was the essence of engaging with another human being ... and food and drinks seems to do a fantastic job of that. :)

Here I'm taking an image a distance away. What I tried to capture was the essence of engaging with another human being ... and food and drinks seems to do a fantastic job of that. :)

Blue flame torch on a slab of fish? Nice!

Blue flame torch on a slab of fish? Nice!

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I managed to get this image without drawing any attention to myself. Part of it was probably due to the table staff eventually getting used to me moving around a lot and taking photographs from every angle.

I managed to get this image without drawing any attention to myself. Part of it was probably due to the table staff eventually getting used to me moving around a lot and taking photographs from every angle.

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The kitchen in action with my friend at the helm.

The kitchen in action with my friend at the helm.

Taking orders!

Taking orders!

The dishware at this Izakaya caught my attention. Having recently read the manga comic "Oishinbo", I've begun to realize the importance of the art of dishware in Japanese culture. I have to admit that, in my times photographing the food and even eating the food, there appeared to be a deliberate choice in dishware that seems to compliment the style and type of food you're being served. 

The dishware at this Izakaya caught my attention. Having recently read the manga comic "Oishinbo", I've begun to realize the importance of the art of dishware in Japanese culture. I have to admit that, in my times photographing the food and even eating the food, there appeared to be a deliberate choice in dishware that seems to compliment the style and type of food you're being served. 

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Images were shot with ALL Pentax cameras, utilising a combination of film in 35mm format, 645 format in black and white film and color film. Digital was also used, utilising the Replichrome film presets.

I used a Pentax PZ1-P film SLR camera with a Voigtlander 40mm F2 Ultron lens (K Mount), Pentax 645 film camera with 645 55mm F2.8 lens and my Pentax K7 digital SLR utilizing the DA 21 F3.2 Limited lens and the DA*55 F1.4 lens.

Funny story: I was actually surprised that some of these last images in color survived. You see, I opened the back of my film camera thinking I had rewound it. Instead, I opened it and exposed it so some really harsh light!  NOOOOOO!
Surprisingly, most of the images seemed to have survived and, in fact, I think the effect on the film worked in my favor :)