I’ve always believed that 90 per cent of good photography is situational: putting myself in environments that inspire me will produce my best work, which is usually when I’m alone in nature and far away from any city. What I’ve learned recently however, is that sometimes the opposite is true.
A couple weeks ago I was hired to shoot something in Chicago, Ill. Walking the busy streets was a bit of a culture shock since I had just come from spending a few perfect days waking up before sunrise, shooting the wildlife of Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba. What I was most struck by was the amount of unnatural and constructed texture, color, shadow, and light contained in the city. Instead of being put off by this change, I tried to embrace it. I walked around shooting at anything that contrasted with the wild I had just been surrounded by in my home province.
A dog pulling at his orange leash, a freshly chopped tree stump surrounded by a decorative metal grate or a pink feather purse strung up on the fence of a construction site. These seemingly mundane elements that were the most foreign to my normal photographic tendencies became my focus.
I guess if I can’t capture the natural world that I love so much, I’m going to try and capture the opposite of it. Most of the photos from Chicago won’t make it into my portfolio, but it was an interesting exercise. I’m reminded again that shooting outside of what is comfortable to me is often the best thing to keep myself progressing.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada