For this season’s look I decided to riff on the cyanotype and the x-ray or “Ray-o-gram” process from photography’s experimental days of olde! This was inspired by an exhibit by Jonah Samson that I reviewed early in 2022 for Galleries West. Jonah has spent a great deal of time creating cyanotypes from natural materials and I recalled emulating the process for some editorial stories I needed to illustrate years ago. I thought it would be a bold and striking way to market chamber music so I gathered various instrument parts and did some scanning and tweaking to get the graphic effect you see here. Font is the bold and reliable standard for vertical readability; Poster Gothic
Sooner or later, over ten concert posters, you get tired of all the blue!
And one last poster for the Emerson Quartet’s last ever Vancouver appearance.
This is a still from a new video I did for Veda Hille’s dreamy setting of a WH Auden poem which appears on her excellent 2022 release Beach Practice
You can see the video here:
This portrait accompanied my Galleries West review of Jay Cabalu’s wonderful show Extra! at On Main Gallery, curated by Paul Wong. We met up at The Crescent in the Shaughnessy neighbourhood of Vancouver and did a walkabout in the arboretum, which remains an under utilized park in what was once the home to our great colonial coal barons and thieves.
These are the new official portraits of Early Music Vancouver’s concert master Chloe Meyers. She’s appeared with EMV many times over the years but these are the official portraits in advance of the 2022 Bach Festival. If you’ve not attended any of their concerts they are some of the most diverse among all the city’s music presenters. Check out their events at:
I’ve done many portraits of BC author/legend George Bowering over the years but this one was a little different. Asked by the publisher to think “So you want it darker?” (in reference to Leonard Cohen’s final album) I had George ascend the stage at the legendary Penthouse Nightclub for a kind of dark stand-up look to introduce a new collection of essays. Last Essays was the working title but I prefer it for this image which, if you know George’s usual broad smile for the camera is kind of funny…in a dry way! I used the font Landmark (recently used for Friends of Chamber Music’s poster campaign) because it had the right kind of “showbiz” feel.
I really enjoy working for Friends of Chamber Music and designing each season’s posters and digital advertising content. This year has been no exception! I pulled back a little bit from last season’s more abstract approach to include hints of instruments. The main display font is Landmark which seems to me to combine a hint of a neon showbiz with solid tradition.
Sometimes I like to share travel photos. This one is a recent favourite taken on a trip to Alert Bay. If you know anything about the history of the Kwakwaka’wakw people you know of their incredible artistry. This magnificent memorial pole to Billie Moon, was carved in 1931 by Willie and Joe Seaweed and still stands in the original ‘Namgis burial grounds. It is a required visit if you are anywhere near the north island. The power and beauty of these poles when the mists inevitably roll in on a summer afternoon is sure to put you in a reflective state.
Also worth visiting is the Alert Bay Biological Reserve. Here is a video I made using footage shot there during the summer of 2018. It weds well with a piece of music from Japanese ambient music composer Chihei Hatakeyama’s CD Mist.
To learn more, visit the U’mista Cultural Centre:
This is my latest work for Vancouver’s premier chamber music presenter: Friends of Chamber Music, now in their 71st season! In addition to the street posters I’ve created a new, more abstract look that foregrounds the group and repertoire info for a series of lightbox ads. Placed in backlit vertically mounted screens at the city’s theatres, people often watch these turn over several times. Highly effective! You’re probably wondering where the photography is in all this. It’s there. I designed these around images I made from paint store sample strips. The composition and feel comes from an appreciation of 20th century abstract painting…and even Brian Eno’s light sculptures/installations of the 80s and 90s.
In the last few years I’ve had the opportunity to meet and photograph some of my favourite visiting artists who record for the ECM label in Germany. They’ve also been some of my favourite portrait sessions and I use the occasion to write about and highlight their new releases and concert appearances on my personal blog and on social media. I thought I’d post a few here. Upper left is the awesome trumpet player Avishai Cohen prior to headlining the Chutzpah Festival. Upper right is one of my favourite cellists; Anja Lechner, photographed at the Seattle Art Museum. Lower left is Simin Tander who was here for the Jazz Fest after a stunning performance at Christ Church Cathedral. Finally, lower right, a percussionist with few peers; Thomas Strønen, photographed at Ironworks prior to a recent Jazz Fest engagement.