Getting a cover is always exciting. My world of photographer is not as focused on the editorial world as many of my colleagues, but I still manage to squeak a cover here from time to time.
My lastest cover is a shot of Mike Hopkins taken last July on a road trip to Rossland to grab some stills. This was a little scrub that initially I was not very impressed with, but using the skills we have and our collective ability to crush it, we pulled of some rad shots. It is very nice to see this as the latest Big Bike Magazine cover. This is the second Hopkins-Teichrob cover so far.
Recently I was fortunate enough to be able to pen and photograph a feature for the current issue of Mountain Life magazine. Mountain Life is a west coast culture magazine, which I have worked with for many many years. The first feature I ever penned was with them (on a surf exploration – camp trip), and I continue to enjoy working with their team. The current issue is ‘the Photography Issue’, so it is ideally the best issue to ink a feature in as a photographer. I think the editor (Feet Banks) and I went back and forth a good five plus times to get this piece how we wanted it, but in the end it flows with two narratives, both helping explain the mindful thought behind these pictures. Here is the piece:
Table of Contents - Raph Bruhwiler, Vancouver Island, BC - Ikelite/Stand Film
Photography is magic. Certainly there is a science behind it, and a history – photographic experiments with pinhole cameras date back to the fourth and fifth centuries – but the way a photo freezes time forever, all the ideas and premeditation of the photographer coming to fruition with the pressing of a shutter button… to me, that’s magic. And the great thing about magic, just when you begin to understand how it works, there’s always a new trick waiting in the shadows.
* * *
A creek flows through my backyard, it inspires me at unexpected times and has been the subject of more than a few off-season photo experiments. The creek helps me slow down and think. This past autumn as the forest filled in with rich colours and my workload conveniently dried up to a trickle I revisited an idea I had been rattling around for a while. The only reason I hadn’t tried it yet was simply that I hadn’t tried it yet, and that’s a pretty bad reason. I grabbed a digital projector and a headlamp and headed for the creek.
* * *
As photographers we twist dials and turn knobs to capture light, colour, shape –things we can never grasp with our bare hands alone. By changing the composition and framing, focal length and exposure the photograph, and resultantly what is portrayed, will also change. No two images will ever be the same yet each is able to provoke ideas in a viewer that may not have otherwise existed.
Whether it is slide film chemically recording actual particles of light or a modern digital CCD (charge-coupled device) converting those incoming photons to electron charges, one concept of photography has remained constant: to represent and share the three-dimensional world in two dimensions. But viewing a 2D representation of the 3D world has never felt fully satisfying to me and I’ve been trying to find that lost dimension for a while now. I think I found it in the woods down by the creek in my own backyard.
* * *
It took four electrical cords linked to cover the 50 metres across my yard, down the bush, over a calm section of the creek and into my first projection site. There are few scenes darker than a moonless November night in BC but I managed to stumble-haul my loose kit of a projector, laptop, tripods, and camera through the forest – and only once slipped on the old 20cm–wide “bridge.” Even with power cables plugged in and devices connected, I wasn’t overly optimistic about the idea of re-shooting my own photos projected onto logs, leaves, trees and rocks. A lot of things can easily go wrong. Is this a waste of time? Is it stupid? If this was cool wouldn’t someone have already done it? Should I just go back inside and avoid the bear that is probably lingering nearby? The creek answered me by continuing to gurgle along as it always did, blanketing all other thoughts in blissful white noise.
I got back to work.
* * *
For me, conventional photography consists of three major steps: premeditation of the image to be captured, the actual image capture, and post-production/editing. The end result of an image is limited solely by the imagination of the photographer. With the photos in this series I wanted to divert the process partway through and re-combine my raw images with the beautiful environments that surround and inspire my work. Each photograph starts as an original digital image I’ve previously shot. These images are then projected onto carefully selected surfaces that complement or enhance some element of the original photograph.
There are no computer tricks at work here; it’s pure photography. The goal of this work is to expand our collective concept of photographic representation, and to engage audiences to stare and interpret, guess and question, to be confused and understand, to look again and to think beyond what they initially see. By deleting preconceived notions and allowing thoughts to flow freely through the mind, we open the door to pure creativity. This is how the first images began 1600 years ago and how new ideas will continue to develop and broaden the photographic horizons.
* * *
I almost knocked everything into the water at least twice, stumbling around the dark edges of the brush trying to shine a light on the third dimension. But from those first images projected onto a pocket of ferns I realized I’d found something at least, a seam to be further explored. Many images didn’t work, time flowed past without notice, but then a photo would land on the ferns and just pop out at me and reinvigorate the process. This began as a “why not?” idea but as things began to click I found new purpose with every projection and every shot. One of my favourite things about shooting photographs is when I surprise myself. That happened, then it happened again, and again.
* * *
I’ve been down to the creek a half dozen times since that night, even set up a tarp to be able to shoot in the relentless winter rain. I think about images differently now. No matter what I shoot I find myself looking for those elements of depth and ways I can lift the third dimension to the surface.
Photography is science: chemicals on a metal plate or digital pixels on a screen. But that science is an arena for creativity, one pushing the other until both evolve into something unique. Art, creativity, photography, magic…
These days, it’s all going off at the creek down in the woods in my backyard but I imagine you can find it almost anywhere if you aren’t afraid to look.
I am very excited by this adventure into a new avenue of visual representation and look forward to future endevours that will lead me and my photography in ways I cannot currently imagine. There will be some really cool work being done along these realms right here in Roberts Creek, with a collective of individual wizards I’ve come to known…stayed tuned for more details in Spring.
Let me begin by saying that usually I am not a huge fan of photo competitions. How do you judge images so different from each other, seemingly not comparable. I guess at the end of the day, the components that make a great image remain the same. I usually do not enter photo competitions for this reason, and that it is often seen as a waste of my time to bother submitting, paying fees etc. For The World Open, I took a different approach.
The World Open is a new photo competition that summoned over 9000 images from all over the world. There were five categories (action, street, nature, people, open), and I managed to get one photo as a finalist (top 40 / category) in the ‘action’ category. I am very stoked on this, as all I wanted to do by participating in this comp was to have a presence in this body of images, to help get my photos to a few more eyes.
My finalist image is of Kyle Norbraten riding on the Oregon Coast.
A quick little update with STAND teaser that we just completed. More collaborations with the final output than ever before and we are super stoked. To join the team, head over to http://indiegogo.com/standfilm to contribute. Defend our coast, no tankers, clean oceans for all.
In June 2012, I spent nearly two weeks traveling through Haida Gwaii, B.C., on a sailboat. This was my first time on a sailboat and it would be for a solid 10 days straight, so I was hoping we would hit some good weather along the way. I think if i were to describe my experiences in Haida Gwaii, it would take way too long for anyone to read. I’ll save those written words for something more editorially appropriate, and provide most of my story telling in the form of images. I like telling stories in various ways, but at the fundamentally simplest level, photographs remain my trump card. Photos are timeless pieces, capturing a bit of history. History that will never be repeated exactly.
The totem poles throughout the watchman sites in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve are such incredible things to be amongst. These ancient cedars saw 10,000 year old rich and complicate culture of the Haida people in its peak. Complex class systems with rules and regulations and a deep appreciation and respect for art and creativity. With the arrival of Europeans, collapse of the First Nations people was quick via diseases that their immune systems had no way of fighting. An estimated 95% of the Haida people perished from illnesses such as small pox. Cultural genocide was attempted by the government at the time, but the Haida stood strong, albeit in small numbers, and now their culture is on the rise again.
The ocean provides so much. More than anything for me, it provides a place of solace. Without a doubt, the single best place for me to retreat to in times of mental mazes and chaos, is the ocean. A coastal rainforest is the next best substitute. Sea lions and sunstars shared a majestic glassy day on Hecate Strait with Norm Hann, slicing his way through the calmest waters I can imagine. It was a real treat to have this special day where Norm paddled from Burnaby Narrows all the way to SGang Gwaay, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (pictured below in evening light). In typical coastal fashion, the next day the winds were howling at 56 knots, thats 100 km/h. Do we really want super tankers traveling in seas with 100 km/h winds? Nope.
A rather nice way to end our film shoot in the most logistically difficult shoot of our lives to date, with evening light on the massive onlooking totems of SGang Gwaay.
a mixed bag of gallery and article image usage over the past couple of months
As seems to be the theme of my blog, it’s been a while since my last post. In the past couple of months I have been working mostly on Stand film (standfilm.com). May was spent figuring out logistics of traveling through Haida Gwaii, park permits, filming permits, insurance, flights, more flights, sailboats, ferries, food, beer, and everything inbetween. During that time and upon my arrival, I’ve received a number of recent publications that I’d like to share. Three mags chose my images for covers in the past few months. I am very stoked to see the diversity amongst these covers. Something I find interesting with all of these is that the originals were shot as landscape images. The way I frame a landscape image often allows it to be a perfect two-page spread or cropped into a single page. Although this is the first time that I have action covers not shot vertically.
Dirt magazine, from the UK, printed this cover of Kyle Norbraten in Fernie, BC. This shoot was plagued with problems from the beginning with the whole build being done in the rain and fog, mud-mitigation was the name of the game. Finally after days of rain and nearly being struck by lightning, the clouds parted and we had a day and a half of good weather for filming. I did a pan this one and only time in the whole shoot and it turned out exactly how I wanted. Sometimes things just click, when the rider is in the zone, I’m in the zone, and everything is just flowing. This was one of those moments. I presented this cover to Kyle with a little bit of handy cam work by Dylan Dunkerton. You can check it out here...Kyle’s reaction is priceless.
Dirt mag, UK, Cover with Kyle Norbraten
Original still image for the Dirt cover.
Earlier this Spring, I also landed the cover of Big Bike magazine with Graham Agassiz shredding in Kamloops golden light.
Big Bike mag, France, Cover with Gragam Agassiz
Original still for the Big Bike cover.
Upon my arrival from Haida Gwaii, I saw this image below posted. It is Darcy Turenne shredding in Sorata, Bolivia, on the cover of Australian outdoor magazine, Outer Edge. The trip her, Hopkins, and I went on to Bolivia last year was incredible, just hitting the very edge of trails to be ridden in that country. I know I will be back sometime in the future. Thanks again to Travis Gray of Andean Epics for the priceless guiding and facilitating, even if things were a bit loose. This issue of Outer Edge also features a story from our Bolivia trip penned and photographed by yours truly.
Outer Edge mag, Australia - Cover with Darcy Turenne in Sorata, Bolivia
Original still for the Outer Edge cover.
I have been working a lot lately on getting full articles in magazines. This allows more of my imagery to be showcased while at the same time providing words to fill in the blanks. The two major pieces that have be getting good press are 1) trip to Sorata, Bolivia from last spring, and 2) From the Inside Out bike film articles. Here is a sampling.
Dirt Magazine article (words and photos) for From the Inside Out
Mountain Life mag Summer 2012, photos
Big Bike mag, France, Bolivia article
Big Bike mag, France - Inside Out article (words and photos)
Stand mag, Hungary.
Time to keep the wheels spinning and head into some fresh zones. I’ve been doing a lot of scouting lately and am really excited about one zone in particular, which may be a 2013 mission, but who knows, maybe the stars will align for 2012.
This evening was one to remember. All day it had been nice out. We got a bunch of gardening done, had a long bike ride, had a swim and were cooking dinner on a fire at the beach. We were cruising and so were the low lying clouds which we noticed were disappearing. As the moon rose, it did so nearly right at sunset and the colours that it picked up were incredible. Heather didn’t even see the moon at first because it looked so odd, and I was scrambling down to the beach with gear in hand.
It is incredible the detail we can see in the the moon. So many craters and features like the massive crater on the bottom right of moon in frame.
The photos do the rest. shot at 300mm with a 1.5x crop (450mm eq.).
Good to be home at one the beach.
The UBC Botanical Gardens are awesome. Straight up. With areas on both sides of Marine Drive, the gardens span a rather large amount of land and include a massive diversity of greenery, from towering cedars to twisted and shaped fruit trees to tropical plants. For some reason, during my six year stint attending school at UBC, I never once ventured into the gardens’ back corners, maybe because as soon as class was done I was pinning it on my bike home. Thus, it was rather nice to hear that my sister was getting married at the gardens, and finally I’d get a chance to walk through the forests and see what it was all about.
I was tasked with the job of wedding photographer for this celebration, and although I am sometimes uneasy about shooting family and friends’ weddings (because it cuts into my experience of the day and evening), I decided to take this one on as I knew the area would produce some great shots. Scouting the gardens the day before the wedding, I located some spots to shoot if it was sunny and if it was cloudy…sunny being the more difficult one as the forest would be full of hotspots and the white dress would be a massive light reflector out in the open. On the wedding day, we snapped shots at a few choice spots in the gardens and then a few at the Museum of Anthropology.
Following the shoot, the ceremony and reception were a blast. Shooting a wedding is a high pressure scenario for a photographer as you have one chance, that’s it. Two bodies with different lenses is mandatory if you are going to capture those moments properly, and after what felt like only a few minutes (but was more like 20) of stealthly running around capturing the happenings, Kristine and Geoff were officially both Andersons. Something I always keep in the back of my head, and warn my clients about is the desire to shoot in golden light. Usually something like this “So, the light might get really good this evening, around 7:30pm, and if you are interested, there may be the opportunity to crush some nugs.” Well, maybe not exactly in those words, but that’s the point. Luckily for all of us, this wedding was one of those where the light began to fire, and it happened to do so in between speeches and dessert – a perfect time to steal the bride and groom and capture the best images of the day. I’ll let the images do the rest of the talking, but needless to say, I was very happy with the result. It wasn’t until after the power light photoshoot was over that I realized the magnitude of what just aligned – the day the couple had chosen for their wedding happened to be sunny, the location they chose happened to have a nice open pagoda, the sun happened to be setting directly in-line with the center of the pagoda, and we all happened to have the time and be alert enough to capitalize on it. Thanks to Paulla and Kourosh for assisting in that.
For more information about wedding shoot packages, please contact me for options.
Gallery (click image for larger view)
Golden evening on the west coast.
The ocean is increasingly my lifeblood. Maybe it’s because I continue to spend more time wrapped in a rubber suit than in the past, but it has become the natural progression of myself. I live a few hundred steps from the beach although surf in this area is rare and tiny. Despite this, I often find myself sitting on some logs watching little mouse and cat barrels peel off the point for hours on end. There is always so much activity going on in the water whether it be waves, birds, mammals, or boats, many things are always happening. When I need a little quiet time away, I’ll wander down the beach along the high tide line, keeping an eye out for unique pieces of wood to take home and put in my stash of ‘cool wood to work with in the future’ pile. I’ve scrounged like this for years, but only in the past few did I really begin to tune into the other elements along the tide line – plastics.
100m of beach in waters that appear crystal clear and clean still yield plastic constantly. This is from one high tide.
When one spends so much time near the water, the evidence of daily plastics washing up on our beaches hits you square in the face. Inspired by a friend of ours, Taina, a number of years ago we began consciously being very aware of our plastics consumption and cutting down on anything that wasn’t necessary, and most isn’t. There is often the misconception that we as humans, citizens of Planet Earth can do nothing to stop the shit storm of destruction and waste that we currently have set in place. The ozone holes are opening, the oceans are filling with plastics and our streams are being polluted for the sake of big business. No, we cannot change some of that larger scale stuff by ourselves, but when you take a moment to think about it, many of those ‘big’ problems have ‘small’ beginnings. It is our job to care for this planet in order to maintain human species survival, as not only to save the animals and the trees, but to save ourselves. As critical habitats and species on Earth die off due to human pressure, so will we. We’ve managed to rape and pillage the land and sea at such an astonishing rate in the past 100 years, that we almost do not know where to begin to cut back. Well here are some things that are dirt simple to cut back on or stop using completely. Change starts small and grows big, everyone needs to do their part and fundamental societal change will follow. It has to.
1) Straws – do not use a straw. If you go to a store or bar or restaurant, either do not take a straw or make sure to ask your waiter or bartender not to put a straw in your cup. We are not 2 year olds who do not know how to drink out of glass. Straws are a massive waste of one-time use plastic and can easily be eliminated.
2) Plastic bags – like straws, there is absolutely no reason nor excuse with the knowledge we have today, to use plastic bags. Buy a few cloth bags (most people already have a lot) and remember to take them when you go grocery shopping, get beers, or whatever you may purchase that gets shoved in a plastic bag only to be pulled out as soon as you get home. The age-old argument of ‘I re-use my plastic bags’ doesn’t fly anymore, as it is better to not use in the first place and we all know that. We all forget from time to time to take bags to the store or we need some food on the fly, and for those cases, simply ask for paper bags or don’t use any bags at all….after all, most things are already packaged. Simple, easy.
Canadian night barrel.
3) Bottled water – unless you live in a 2nd or 3rd world country where potable water from the tap doesn’t exist, leaves those bottles on the shelf. If nobody buys them, producers will stop making them. Many areas have better tap water than what is in the bottles (and some bottled water is tap water), and the usage of plastic to hold that water is absurd. 10 years ago when one would go to a business meeting or out for lunch, it was a common status simple to be drinking a bottle of water alongside your chic suit and tie; however, now, when we know the destruction plastic does to the environment, consuming water from a bottle is frowned upon as it should be. Don’t be the douche who orders bottled water.
There used to be massive trees full of knowledge and history. Now there are only stumps and spindly trees
4) Paper napkins – Mitchell Scott wrote a piece that involved napkins a while back in KMC magazine, and I think he nailed it. Napkins and kleenexes are made of wood, wood comes from trees, and trees are essential to consuming the CO2 in our air and transforming it into energy making themselves grow to only consume more CO2. So why are we cutting these wonders down in order to whip our greasy hands on them once and toss them into the garbage? When I was a kid, my dad rocked a hankie all the time. I thought nothing of it, it was just what everyone did. Nowadays, the hankie has gone the way of the Dodo bird, but why? Image? It is now cool to be aware, informed, and intentional with your environmental actions, so ditch those paper napkins, don’t buy them, don’t take them, don’t use them, and pick yourself up a hankie. Use, re-use, re-use, and when dirty enough, toss it in your washing machine alongside your clothes.
5) Everything else that is one-time use and plastic based (milk jugs, yogurt containers, bulk bags, garbage bags, excessive packaging, cigar tips, among a few thing) – no matter what you are buying, invariably you will have a choice of packaging options, and simply being aware and conscious of your day to day decision making, will make a big difference.
Enjoy nature and the ocean in their clean and pristine conditions and lets all work together to help keep things that way.
Andy ripping a wave well past last light. Solo.
After 7 days of ski touring from our yurt in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan, we skied on the funnier 20 minutes of my life. We deciding to ski all of our gear out from the yurt (some of which horses brought up), which yielding some hilarious moments of crashing on log and horse skidded snow roads, creeks, and horse shit. The evening light made it extra rad. After our ski back to the home-stay, Schumacher and his barely-alive-do-everything vehicle arrived and we drove home in clear skies and awesome light. What followed is what follows in pictures. Explanations not needed.
Evening play by play:
I keep on finding myself describing Kyrgyzstan as many trips within a trip. There were so many individually unique experiences throughout the trip. As a result, I am going to share these experiences in blog posts like this one and the workshop piece.