Sharpening the Saw in Vegas (an obsession with photographing people better every day)

July 15, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

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First, I ask you to indulge me as I share some of my personal history...

(TL;DR I am obsessed with photographing people and with learning how to be better every day, now you can skip down and look at pictures)

I always wanted to be a photographer and I didn't know why. I think I was eight when I uncovered my fathers' abandoned old Yashica-Mat twin-lens reflex camera in the glove box of our broken-down station wagon. I remember it like it was yesterday; trying to figure out how all of the mechanics of this complex box worked and pretending to take pictures all around the town of Carp. When I was twelve I was cleaning the newspaper press room when my sister Alison asked me if I wanted to develop her film and print her pictures for the next edition of the Nepean Clarion - I did and so now I had another job on top of cleaning the press room and layout rooms. When I turned 13 they gave me a 35mm camera, a Soligor, and I started to take pictures at all of the local events that no one else wanted to go to and I went along as an assistant at other events too.

Then I went to high school and immediately joined the yearbook. Then the school newspaper. Best part of high school: I had a key to the high school darkroom and skipped classes to use it. I even built a darkroom in my bedroom while working at two newspapers in darkrooms every weekend. I was obsessed. I even photographed a few weddings at that time - and realized that taking pictures for other people is a hell of a way to put pressure on yourself and others.

Here I am in a selfie during high school.

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When I finished high school, I was finished with photography. Took a year off. Got married to the love of my life and decided to study creative advertising at Algonquin College (though they called it "Advertising Creative" back then) we even did a course in photography but then didn't pick up a camera again until years later when we were taking pictures of Santa at Hazeldean Mall.

My Niece, Erin, was getting married and asked me to photograph her wedding in Guelph. I did and I also MC'd. And the obsession returned. The following year I photographed four weddings. The year after that I bought all kinds of camera equipment - Hasselblads and Metz - and suddenly was shooting 40 weddings a year. Flash forward to today and I have been the primary photographer at over 500 weddings but the desire to improve with every wedding and every outing is still there. Though the darkroom has been replaced with Lightroom and Photoshop I am even more obsessed with editing my own pictures after each wedding.

And part of the obsession that has stuck with me was the desire to be among other people just as obsessed as I am with photographing people - for years I had wanted to attend WPPI in Las Vegas (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) and 2020 was going to be the year. With prior planning, I had set myself up to take 18 courses in four days and have time to see the sights with my good friend (and equally obsessed wedding photographer/videographer) Bryan Jones.

Here are some highlights from this educational trip to Vegas!

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While in Vegas we had to visit the Happy Place - Bryan and I got to take in this interesting venue at Mandalay Bay  Session1Session1

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It's just a     bunny rabbit

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Bryan shared a lot of stories about his favourite parts of downtown Vegas including ones about the Atomic Liqours (Anthony Bourdain's visitD9C41909-3555-4C0E-B765-281F99B50726_1_105_cD9C41909-3555-4C0E-B765-281F99B50726_1_105_c 8EDAF7D3-5A3B-4BE6-B60C-1AD42E1EF6D6_1_105_c8EDAF7D3-5A3B-4BE6-B60C-1AD42E1EF6D6_1_105_c 41293602-1A16-450E-BDDC-732E28DC8908_1_105_c41293602-1A16-450E-BDDC-732E28DC8908_1_105_c BACDFC2F-9284-40DB-BD8F-8EA335476DF3_1_105_cBACDFC2F-9284-40DB-BD8F-8EA335476DF3_1_105_c C3F6B32E-067D-43A5-AEAE-B7D7F4038EDA_1_105_cC3F6B32E-067D-43A5-AEAE-B7D7F4038EDA_1_105_c
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