Friday, June 26, 2015

Carifest 2015 & the power of referral

Back in April, I received an email from the Carifest marketing person letting me know that they were going to use another one of my parade photos for their promotions. Instead of hot and sexy, this year they chose a photo of a young girl, which I thought was a nice change.

At first I thought this was cool, because this would make it the third year in a row that one of my photos was selected.  Then I thought it was nice that this time they actually sent me an email to let me know.  The first time was a surprise and the second time I watched for the banner on Stephen Avenue.

Then I received a second email asking if I would be available to do a portrait of her son for his first birthday that was coming up in a couple of weeks.  She wanted some photos in the park and some studio-like photos.  She thought I was a professional photographer.

When the panic subsided and my heart resumed its regular beat, my brain went into problem-solving mode.

Luckily, because I keep in touch with people I've met on photography outings (mostly on Facebook) I knew Jo-Ann Brown was into portraits and had a portable studio!  When I asked Jo-Ann if she would be interested, her reply was super keen. I told the Carifest mom that I was a hobby photographer, but suggested that Jo-Ann would be the perfect photographer for her.

Unfortunately, it turned out that a surgery opening that Jo-Ann had been waiting for came up around the same time as the photo shoot request. Jo-Ann tried to rearrange the date and then referred the mom to another photographer that she knew, but neither of us know how it turned out.  Hopefully it went well.

I don't know what the referral protocol is.  Should I have followed up? Is now too late to ask or do I wait until we meet at Carifest?

I think it's time to take a business course.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Getting Better

Last week I did a photo shoot with a coworker who also teaches yoga.  Marie asked if I would do some promo shots for her website.  After not doing any major photography for almost two months I was super keen.  Unfortunately, the body (still recovering from a weird flu/bronchitis/laryngitis thing) was not so much.

Marie had emailed me a bunch of examples of photos she liked.  She wanted a combination of gritty urban and artsy black & white. She also wanted to pose with people rushing past her.  We had a blast figuring out poses on the Peace Bridge and the main stage at Princes Island Park.  Within three hours I was feeling exhausted, but pleased that we had done some good work.  The next day my thighs felt like I had done a boot-camp training session!

Marie was concerned about the darkness around her eyes. "In every photo I'm in I look like I am tired," she said.  "Can you do anything?"

Of course! I said.

After spending too much time fiddling with the healing brush tools, I went on YouTube and found a video that taught me how to use the patch tool and the healing brush tool together. So easy! It even worked on the little stage floorboard impression on her forehead.  Nik software Color Efex Pro 4 fog filter was used to soften the look.

Before editing from RAW

After editing


Calgary Community Services Guide

At the beginning of May I was hit with a wicked bronchitis-laryngitis, and possibly flu, combination.  Two months later bits of it linger.  Occasionally my voice squeaks like a teenage boy.

During my convalescence I received an email request from the City of Calgary.

Turns out someone from the City was trolling Flickr and came across a photo I took five years ago with my first digital point and shoot.  At the time I didn't really know what I was doing as far as composition goes.  Plus I was just beginning to feel comfortable with my little Canon G10.

The City employee asked if they could use it for the 2015 Calgary Community Services Guide and they were willing to pay!  At first I thought it was a scam, but I took it on faith and it turned out to be legitimate.  Within a month I received ten copies of the Calgary Community Services Guide, with my photo on the cover, and a check to Wanda Martin Photography for $50.

The bank was a little uncertain about cashing it, since I did not have a business account. I explained that I wasn't a business and that it was payment for one photo.  Since it was only $50 the bank figured it was okay to cash the check, but suggested that I might consider registering as a business if I started making anything substantial.  Once again I'm considering taking photography business course at SAIT.

Still, earning $50 in five years... not giving up the day job any time soon.

But, warm fuzzies... still priceless.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ming - final sleep

After a long illness, my best friend & her husband recently said goodbye to their 18 year old rez-born friend, Ming.  He will be missed.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Ryan... rest in peace

Memorial Planned for Homeless Calgary Artist
When it came to art, Ryan Delve was “flowing and bursting with ideas and aspirations.”
He also wanted to give back to his community at the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre. Two years ago, Delve and another Drop-In Centre client came up with the idea to clean up and beautify the underpass beneath the 5th Avenue flyover in East Village.
The pair started meeting weekly with local artist Mark Vazquez-McKay to come up with a plan for the space, which was known for being a dangerous area of the city. Last May, they finally painted their mural.
“He was funny, he would get so excited, he would sometimes almost turn into a child when he would start talking about art,” recalled Vazquez-McKay.
A little more than a year later, Delve was found dead just steps away from the mural, the victim of a homicide.
“The irony of the whole thing that he was trying to improve the space and he was a victim of the space as well,” said Vazquez-McKay, an instructor at the Alberta College of Art and Design.
He and Wendy Lees, who runs a program called “create! in the East Village” are planning to go to the mural Sunday morning and clean up the area in Delve’s honour.
“I’m hoping that people bring some flowers and stuff and just really try to remind everyone there of what he did,” said Vazquez-McKay. The memorial will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. under the 5th Avenue flyover.
Though Delve was committed to his art, he still struggled with poverty, Vazquez-McKay said.
“When I did run into him between sat year and this year, we’d see each other quite a bit just crossing paths,” he recalled.
“He was a complicated person. He had a lot of struggles, of course, as recovering addicts do, but he was trying really hard.”
Vazquez-McKay said he will remember his friend through his art.
“Art was something that [Ryan] grabbed onto,” he said.
“I see it as sort of his legacy.”
Published on: June 6, 2015, Last Updated: June 6, 2015 8:12 PM MDT


One of my apprehensions about working where I do is meeting someone who eventually dies unnaturally. Last week it happened. 

Ryan Delve, an artist and resident of the Drop-In Centre (known as the DI) died a few yards away from the mural he helped create.  Just a few yards away from the DI.

I did not know Ryan... only took a few photos of him last year while he helped create the mural ... only spoke with him briefly ... he seemed like a really nice guy. 

Kind of reminded me of my little brother. 

Maybe it was the brother factor or maybe Ryan's friendly manner -- I felt at ease taking photos and chatting with people after dark in a part of the city known for violence.  That same night a stocky First Nations woman sidled up close to warned me, "A guy got beat up just over there." She pointed to the hill above where the new DI mural was being painted. "People get beat up here all the time," she said.

Too close

I wish I took better photos.

Ryan, rest in peace.


Addendum : October 11, 2015

Ryan's friends have set up a memorial for him under the fly-over near the DI where he was killed.  The mural has nothing to do with Ryan and I don't know if it was there before he died, but it seems fitting that a memorial be created there for him.