HERE FOR THERE
Mike Zavacky has quickly organized a fund raiser for Haitian
earthquake relief. Guy Berube, director of Gallery La Petite Mort
has donated his space.
The thing, called HERE FOR THERE, features over 40 artists who
are donating work, to be sold at a deep discount. All funds raised
will be given to World Vision Canada and the Canadian government
will match all money raised, so the money you spend on art will
Details here. Get yer sorry asses down there and buy something,
maybe even this…….
Star, Ottawa, 2009
THOUGHTS ON DONATING
There are two kinds of power.
A “leader’ is standing on a podium, talking to a crowd of people. He/
she says “JUMP” and everyone jumps. The leader has power.
You’re in that crowd, the “leader” says “JUMP” and you DON’T jump.
You have power.
Now, I pay taxes, stop at most stop signs, try not to violate folks
too, too much and so on. In other words, try to be a contributing
member of society. But the power I prefer to practice is the “not-
I’m not saying that contributing to help Haitians is wrong. On the
contrary. But I do think that the massive outpouring of help, dollars
and concern that we’re seeing should be matched by each and every
person by similar expenditures (time, money and emotion) close to
home, in our direct spheres. Less knee-jerk, more focused direct
Anyway…..that rant is my preamble to giving a BIG UP to colleague
Andrew Heatherington. He recently cleaned out his fridge. Rather
than just chuck the film he found there he decided to distribute it
to those who still use film to do stuff. This took a certain amount
of energy on his part, what with the solicitation, the packaging, the
trip to the post office and so on. This kind of thoughtfulness is
exactly what I’m talking about here. Small, local gestures go a long,
Film donated to me by Andrew.
Every so often drool will go on about some commercial or
editorial job shot. Straight up cock rocking.
But that’s mostly really boring. I mean, who wants to tune
in just to read about my (or anyone’s) latest industry coups?
Who wants lists of “achievements”? Geeks and fanboys, that’s
droolers aren’t geeks, are you? Nor fanboys. droolers want
the dope. droolers like to think. Oh yeah. drool on.
With that in mind, may I present you with some pix I took
last week. They are from a scouting expedition to scope
backgrounds for a series of executive portraits I’m shooting
next week for a big hi-tek corp.
When I shoot editorial jobs there’s hardly ever enough time to
pre-scout locations. Mostly I walk in an hour before the subject
is scheduled and use that time to figure shit out, block shots and
design lighting. Truth to tell….I really like that process, really like
making it up as I go along. It’s a rush.
But in the corporate and advertising world a different strategy is
often employed. There are more people in the loop and the images
have to conform to certain constraints. As well, the pictures often
need to perform more than one function. (In editorial, the main
and sometimes only function the pix must serve is to arrest the
viewer when he/she turns the page. Of course, it’s always a bit
more complicated/nuanced than that, but that’s the jist of it.)
Anyway, I managed to find a whole bunch of sparkly backgrounds
that read just about the same but each have their own appeal. If
you’re wondering why they’re out of focus, it’s because the execs
faces are going to be in the foreground, in focus.
Scouting is funny like that. You have to project future possible
scenarios and ways and means onto what’s in front of you. And,
it’s all theory until the subject walks out a day or a week later.
That’s when the real fun starts.
There’s this underpass in downtown Ottawa that used to be
a haunt for what my mother might call “ne’er-do-wells“.
The underpass in question
Well, the powers that be have taken steps. They’ve fenced off
the bit that the homeless would use as shelter (from the storm)
and, to further spruce the thing up, they’ve decided to use the
space to mount an ongoing series of art shows.
The first thing they’re showing is a series of photographs by Joel
Cote-Cright, titled La Bourgeoisie. Images of ice fishing cabins,
along with a few portraits of ice fisherman themselves.
Installation views of La Bourgeoisie
This space lacks the “charm” of Zoe Strauss’ I-95. (Don’t forget, this
is January in Ottawa, not exactly the kind of weather that adds “charm”
to cold, urban underpasses).
Zoe Strauss’ exhibit, Under the Freeway
But at least the organizers of the space have resisted the impulse
to use it for the all-too-standard propaganda/schlock that so often
passes as “public art”. It’s a pleasant surprise to see a local up-and-
coming photographer, who is shooting engaging work, being given
this opportunity. I hope that the experiment in the underpass
continues. Just as I hope the organizers of the space will continue
to seek out fresh, local artists who are producing work that’s