Monday, January 24, 2011

My Song

Taken @ Mercury Lounge 01.22.2011


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

San Jose: The Groom's Suite

If you liked the other photos I took around San Jose, prepare yourself because I am finally getting to the good stuff. Sorry it took me so long to get to this point but here is the beginning of the photos that I took of John & mell's wedding day!

Let's start with the Groom's suite. If you can recall, the previous night was when we had the party at the suite where everyone passed out. Obviously, getting up the following day was difficult but there was a buzz in the air and everyone wanted to look their best for John & Mell's big day.

Proud Papa

Lets go!!

What does a Groom carry in his satchel on his wedding day?


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Movie Review: Black Swan

I could have easily started off the 2011 film season with a different movie. Perhaps something more macho, like True Grit. Maybe something more true to life, like 127 Hours. Or how about something more cool, like Tron Legacy. But no. Instead, I opted to start the season off right by watching a movie about ballerinas; and I can't say that I regret it.

Little Nina (Natalie Portman) is uber excited about her dance companies newest production; a re-imagining of the Russian classic Swan Lake. Gunning for the main role as the Swan Queen seems within Nina's grasp as all the years of studious practice and the careful nurturing of her domineering mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey), has accumulated to her getting the part. However, the part of the Swan Queen requires a little more than technical perfection. The pure and elegant Nina is urged by her ballet director, Thomas (Vincent Cassel), to find her animalistic and sensual being. Though Nina prefers to be imagined as perfect and pure, her behaviour leads us to believe that she may in fact be impervious to her own desires and impulses. The new arrival to the company, Lily (Mila Kunis) from San Francisco, proves to be a worthy foe. Not only can she dance well, Lily dances with an unbridled passion which Nina begins to envy. In a whirlwind of lust and psychosomatic paranoia Nina is guided by her counterpoint Lily and urged by her director Thomas' solicitation to discover her inner Black Swan.

Black Swan is directed by Darren Aronofsky, who is one of the most important modern directors. This movie in fact falls right into Aronofsky's territory. Usually suited to directing films that contain themes of overt sexual deviance and characters who overwhelmingly display obsessive compulsive behaviours, it should come as no surprise that he has also directed such family friendly classics such as Requiem for a Dream and π. Aronofsky finally received the mainstream admiration he deserved with the success of his 2008 drama, The Wrestler, starring the then obscure Mickey Rourke. The often dark and twisted themes of Aronofsky's films may not be to the taste of mainstream cinema, however, they portray all too real mainstream ills of our modern society and explore the inner recesses of the human psyche which many would rather leave in the background. Some think of Aronofsky as a horror film maker. I think that may be a fair criticism...

Who would be your free pass? You do know what a free pass is, right? A free pass is the one famous person that you are allowed to, for lack of a better word, bone without any punishment or repercussions. Now, I know this is bending the rules a little bit but I have two candidates for my free pass. If the situation called for a one night stand, I may be swayed to choose Miranda Kerr. If the situation called for a much longer endeavor I would choose Natalie Portman. The rational is quite sound, if you'd hear me out. Miranda Kerr is the obvious choice as a one night stand because she is an astounding Smoke Show. Natalie Portman is an obvious choice for a long-term endeavor because she is not only a smoke show but an unbelievably talented actress who is Harvard educated, trained in ballet and has geek-cred as she starred in the Star Wars movies episodes 1 through 3 and the graphic novel V for Vendetta. The choice is quite clear, really. For one, Natalie and I (since we are on a first name basis) would have plenty to talk about as she is an obvious fan of the liberal arts. Natalie plays such a wide range of characters and no matter how damaged they are I find myself falling for her. For all I know, she could be a total dud in person but since she is such a great actress I could only imagine the role play that could potentially erupt in the bedroom. I assume you are nodding in agreeance.

So what did I think about the film? Well, to sum it up quite briefly, Black Swan is a fantastic psycho-thriller that will transform into something you never really expected. It had me at the edge of my seat just waiting for the inevitable climax which is sure to exhilarate and terrify the audience all at the same time. That phrase will come off as a sort of oxymoron but just hang in there for the last 45 minutes or so and you will know what I'm talking about. Black Swan has the potential to make you cringe, laugh, weep, scream and get aroused; all very important features of a well made movie in my opinion. It is a fine example of story telling in a genre that is usually reserved for kitschy effects and scares. Black Swan lives up to the hype, is a great start to the 2011 film season and an obvious front runner for the Oscars. If I found it worthy of a previously defunct Small Time Visionary Movie Review, you should probably go see it.



Monday, January 3, 2011

Favorite Photos of 2010

With this being the 90th post in just over a year, I have managed to upload hundreds of photos on the Internet for your viewing pleasure. Well, I mean, I'm not merely doing this for you or to pat my ego. I do this because I love photography, I love travelling, I love culture and I love my friends and family. This initially started as a sort of experiment but quickly transformed into a lifestyle. Yes, I have been slacking off lately. I'd be lying if I didn't say that 2010 wasn't the most challenging year yet. But one thing is for sure. This blog was a monumental positive and I appreciate all of you that followed along. So here's to 2011 and the many stories and photos to come.

To commemorate 2010, here is a selection of some of my favorite photos over the last year. Sure, they may not be technically the best photos or even the most interesting, but each photo captures a feeling and is usually accompanied by a story. This is, after all, what makes art and creating so appealing. Enjoy.

Going Off Like Fireworks

Some photographers claim that the better the equipment you have the better photographer you will be. I too took to this thought and upgraded my camera body and picked up a new lens. They were produced to the highest standard and are considered top of the line. However, some also believe that having all the newest and best gadgets also places a limit on creativity. This photo was taken at the Global Fest Fireworks Exhibition in Calgary and was my first outing with my new gear. I almost feel like the lines created by the bright lights resemble brush strokes. Remember, don't be THAT guy.

Iced Out

Spring and Fall are some of my favorite seasons. Remarkably enough, this photo was taken in the spring along the banks of the Elbow River during a photo mission with Kiko. There really wasn't much to shoot that day but we had a hell of a time kicking up these ice crystals. Sometimes, the bigger picture requires you to get really close to your subject rather than getting a wider angle.

National Pride

The 2010 Olympics were the most thrilling and memorable Olympics I have had the pleasure of remembering. Even though Calgary hosted in '88, I can't say I remember much about it. But the overwhelming sense of National Pride was too much to resist and for two weeks the entire country was united and enamored with our best athletes. I get chills when I think about our rush for the podium or the Gold medal winning goal by Sid the Kid against the USA hockey team. We were all witnesses!

RIP Banks

The only thing that sucks more about the Brooklyn Banks being closed is the fact that I visited it and didn't bring a skateboard! Yes, the Banks are like the Mecca of the Skateboard world. Yes, I just referred to a brick park in the middle of Manhattan as Mecca. But seriously, this place is legendary and is a sacred institution to a world I loved/love so much.

Cheese Please

MmMmm, this pizza looks so good. Using a camera flash is a finicky thing. Something the light is just too hot and overexposes your shot. For this photo I used a flash cord which allows me to point the flash where I want it. Want a bite?

The Character

If you saw the original of this photo you'd be unimpressed. The composition is terrible and it was overexposed. However, with a little tweeking, this photo turned into my favorite portrait of the year. This photo represents how a little digital darkroom work can make a dud a gem. Black and White doesn't hurt either.

My Perfect Sunday

There is so much to like about this photo. The texture of the wooden steps. Chloe's inquisitive pose. Her cute little red mittens contrasting with the gloomy sky. This really was my perfect Sunday. New Years resolution: Take a walk with the one you love and get lost.

Question Answered

Self explanatory why this photo is so great. Congrats again Tre & Lynne. I can't wait until the wedding! And if you want engagement photos, holler at yo boy!

Misinformed Solidarity

Yup. Another black and white shot. This was taken at the Anti-Racism Rally at City Hall. The day was quite uneasy. Police were everywhere and the expectation of retaliation by the White Supremacists had everyone on edge. Finally, they arrived. It was quite uneventful, but in this case that might have been a good thing.

Being Green in a Grey World

The human brain looks for pattens all the time, so when the pattern is broken things become a little more interesting. This photo was taken from a "socially conscious" post I made about sustainable development in urban centers. I'm sure you all were enthralled with my political forum.

The Roc

New York obviously left a profound impression on me. New York is the socio-cultural center of the entire universe. The entire experience was surreal. This collage of the Rockefeller is part of a series starring some of New York's most iconic buildings. It may not be the Empire or the Chrysler but the Roc represents so much in itself.

Where Brooklyn at?

This kid is growing up so fast. Soon enough it won't be Hello Kitty on her back but LV on her arm. You can't help but love her. Some of the best summer days were spent babysitting Boo and just observing her for a day. It's nice to have a young influence on my life.