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A Vote for Gauri Gill

It’s almost too late, but …

I finally made my long-delayed trip to the AGO.  I’ve been reading about the Grange finalists and realized hey, the vote closes tonight and I haven’t made up my mind.

An alcove at the front of the exhibit features mini-docs of exactly five (5) minutes to each contestant. Relentlessly fair.

I have to admit to getting a little tired of artists’ statements. Half the time they have nothing to do with the work and most of the rest reveal nothing fresh about it. Sometimes they actually contradict what the artist is shooting.  Gauri Gill is a remarkable exception. Speaking about starting with reality and being informed by facts, her work shows her passion for making the invisible visible. She doesn’t have to say it. And in the photos from her series “Notes From the Desert” and “The Americans”, she does much more than that – she dignifies her invisible subjects with strength, playfulness and authenticity. In the case of “Ismat” (below) and many others, she invites them to play with self-representation.

What’s more, she returns to these out-of-the way villages to show her subjects the photos, and to engage them in discussions about them and photography. Hers is a photography of unquestionable moral responsibility. But more than that, she’s not just talking, she’s walking. She gets an A+ for Awe and then some. You can vote for her too at http://thegrangeprize.com/vote-2011

The work of the other finalists, many of whom share ideas about performance, authenticity and the documentary aspect of photography, are also worth seeing. More on them on Friday. The show continues until November 27th – get out and see it!

DOG IS GREAT

All a dog lover wants out of that one special photo is something that captures that je ne sait quoi about their dog. It’s something that they get to see all the time – the passion, the energy, the life-loving wonder and, of course, the connection between you and her. So why is it so difficult? Well, it’s not. It’s just that we want two things we can’t have.

One is to request a pose that really captures that personality. I don’t know about you but my dog isn’t fully alive unless she’s in motion. This morning I got this shot on my iPhone’s Instaphone. The secret to it is that second thing you can’t have: You can’t just stand back. You’ve got to get your feet into a spot where the shot is possible. Otherwise you’re sunk. And that’s true of any kind of photograph. You’ve got to stand in the right place at the right time.

Today Emmy is 11 and a 1/2. Not bad for an old girl. Below are a few shots from about 6 years back, taken with a conventional camera, but the approach was the same. See the opportunity. Have a long lens. Stand your ground. Play.

Our Sherwood Park Walkabout

I always enjoy my walkabouts. Only the bravest amateurs joined me today – the threat of rain had more clout than my promise of its special photographic qualities. Hopefully today’s shots will convince you to join me next time it rains.

The rain held off though, and we were able to look at some interesting practicalities surrounding low light shooting such as ISO adjustments, white balance and working with large apertures. The beauty of large apertures, of course, is that they force us to focus on the subject to the exclusion of all else. And then there’s the challenge of finding the unusual, that experience we might not have with the sun out and bright colours calling “shoot me!”  Here are a few from today’s shoot. I hope you enjoy them.

And i hope you’ll join me for my next walkabout – the calendar will be up soon!

Everything For the Lover of Photography

Everything For the Photography Lover

 The Image and the World

When I came to Toronto in 1979 I was of the impression that images would change the world. There were images that glorified the ways of the world and there were those that extolled the brilliance, the grandeur, the awe of nature in all its forms. Photography is not just a document of reality, nor is it purely an artistic expression.  Photography is an artist’s response to the world, and its inherent value is that it documents what is, what was, and what might be. My work (which will eventually fill in some of these pages) is in many respects about my dreams and my reality in equal measure.

Photography is also an amateur’s response to the world, and the only differences between the amateur and an artist are vision, technique and history. Many of these pages will be created to advance, train, mentor and inspire the amateur photographer. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and work for a long time to come.

– David Goorevitch

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