May 26th, 2010
I first met Kirsten Chursinoff at Northern Voice a few years ago, when she came up to chat with me between sessions. She recognized me from Flickr and as we talked I realized I’d seen her textile work a few years before at The Secret Garden Tea Company.
This portrait session was very much inspired by the colourful fibre art Kirsten creates with fabrics and threads. She provided all of the objects I worked with and she brought over a large variety of things to choose from. She was also very patient as I placed layer upon layer of thread over her arms and upper body. I wanted these photos to be similar to the portrait of my sister. I was interested in exploring the theme of fibre arts further and feel there are many interesting ways to use thread as a prop.
The final shot is a composite pulled together from two photos. I created the set using spools of thread and a cute pincushion Kirsten brought over, and then had her pose separately holding the giant scissors made by Peter Kiss. It all came together nicely in photoshop – after a few hours of hard work that is.
May 23rd, 2010
Sometimes I don’t have a clear idea of how I want to photograph the person I’ve asked to pose for one of my portraits. This was the case with Kristi, though I did know I wanted to use a natural setting.
My original idea was to use her garden as the setting, but it was too early in the year for the garden to have much growth. I decided to improvise and scouted around for a location near her home just before the shoot. The ivy was located at the front of her house and proved to be the perfect setting for the portrait. The vines were thick enough to crawl into and I disentangled a few and layered them over her body.
I like the smaller series of nature portraits that is slowly taking shape within the larger body of work.
May 17th, 2010
Since starting this portrait series
back in September, when I’m out walking I find myself constantly scouting for interesting locations to do more shoots. I was out on a walk in Stanley Park
when I came across this wonderful tree. I knew it was the perfect spot to photograph Jess, who I’d just asked the day before to pose for me.
It’s a beautiful old tree with multiple trunks and you can climb inside and sit amongst them. I explained to Jess that when I use natural settings like this I’m trying to convey a connection between nature and the person posing, not just use it as a backdrop. For me nature is a place to recharge, clear my head, and become centered. I think Jess captured this beautifully.
In mid-April when I took this photo, I ran into Jess in the middle of a two month sabbatical she was taking from her job. She had a wonderful attitude and emanated positive energy. When I asked her what she was up to she said something to the effect of, “hanging out, spending time with friends, learning new things, and just enjoying life.” Her words made me realize I hadn’t been enjoying my own life, and this probably goes back farther than before the art-focused sabbatical I’ve been on for the last few months. Talking with Jess was like a splash of cold water in the face. It woke me up and made me realize I needed be more conscious of taking pleasure in what I was doing, of making time for fun, of letting go, and of enjoying my life. And so I have been.
Nature is a way for me to recharge, clear my head, and become centred, but the influence of good people around me can do this too.