Goodbye Guelph – Hello Belleville, home of Loyalist College and it’s renowned photojournalism program. My new base of operations, so to speak.
I’m going to work chronologically backwards to my last post and start with some pictures I shot this past Friday in Ottawa during the Idle No More protests surrounding the meetings between First Nations chiefs and the heads of Canada’s government and state. The protest brought what seemed like thousands of First Nation’s people into the streets of Ottawa, as well as cities around the country, to protest the government, Bill-C45 and many other grievances.
I loved the picture above, until I found out another Loyalist student in second year took the EXACT same shot. So I’ll have to get more creative next time.
This next picture I’m uncertain about, I think it looks cool, but a lot of it is just optical fanciness. The lens has a minimum f stop of 1.4. In laymen’s terms the lens has the ability to make an area the width of a coin appear sharp as a tack while blurring everything else almost past recognition. In this case I did this to draw attention to the demonstrators hair. Because we were in a crowd it was hard to make the hair prominent whilst making the crowd part of the background, so I used the lens wide open. It worked, but like I said I’m uncertain.
The weekend before my friend and I travelled to Theresa Spence’s camp, she’s the Attawapiskat chief who has been fasting, consuming only tea and fish broth for the last month. The island itself is located in the Ottawa River between Gatineau and Ottawa. The symbology is perfect because the island is pretty much literally in the shadow of parliament.
So we took photos from around the camp and some of the happenings while we were there.
I wasn’t able to get a picture of her though. The supporters in the camp were very welcoming, but we were told we could not take pictures near the sacred fire. Spence was on the other side of this fire flanked by tarps and wind blinds. There was no way to get a picture without being immediately removed by some angry supporter, and it would have been grossly disrespectful.
While Idle No More has largely been my focus since I got to Belleville, in the month before coming to school I had been fascinated by the growing teacher’s unrest. In Guelph in early December Elementary teachers staged a one-day walkout as part of a series of province-wide one-day strikes to protest new legislation, which would eliminate their right to strike and other collective bargaining rights.
In the days leading up to the strike I emailed several news outlets to say I would be there, looking to see if there was any interest. I received an email from the Canadian Press while I was at the event asking if I could call when I had photos. After working at top speed, I rushed home, the nearest source of Internet, and started editing. The photos were filed by noon and by 2pm I was elbow deep in dish water at the café I was working at. The universe raises up and casts down.
My pictures ran briefly on the Guelph Mercury’s website, as well as in print and online with the Toronto Star and online with CTV. It was my second time selling pictures to a wire and reminded me why this is where I want to work some day. It’s so exciting to send in your pics, then wait and watch where they appear and in some cases where they don’t.
Prior to December though, I wasn’t doing a whole lot. Some personal stuff and some commercial stuff. But I was mostly saving money for school and taking it easy. I did finally process the remaining rolls of film I had from Costa Rica. There is still one more stage though, I need to actually print pictures from the negatives. I finally got a hold of the remaining printing equipment I needed, thanks to the generosity of my aunt’s dad. However, when I moved to Belleville I brought the equipment, but forgot the negatives.
Needless to say if a crude scanning method looks like this I REALLY want to print them soon.
SO from this point forward my posts will focus on my progress through Loyalist College’s photojournalism program. That should mean I’m shooting a lot more and have more to post. What’s exciting for me is it gives me the chance to return to some of my old haunts in Ottawa, like this weekend for example. Hopefully I’ll be able to shoot some sports at Carleton.
Until the next post.
P.S. To the staff at With the Grain, thank you for making this fall way better than it might have been. A definably crappy job was made much, much better because of you guys, dishwashing was never so good, so thanks… a lot.