Archive for the Photography Events Category

CAPIC’s 2nd Annual Portfolio Speed Review Event

Posted in Photography Events with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2010 by Josan

It was an opportunity to have 5 minute face-to-face speed feedback from art & creative directors from renowned art companies & design firms in Vancouver. It was my first portfolio review out of Emily Carr ever… Oh no..It’s the 1st one in Vancouver, the 2nd one in Canada, coz I had a portfolio review in Toronto under Magnum New York 2 years ago 😛 I have so much going on right now juggling my day job as an assistant extraordinaire for 3 neurotic (they all know they’re neurotic) & quirky (their quirkyness has some awesomeness in it, depending on the kind of day.. I guess) ladies, my yoga teacher trainer course and the readings/projects/homework required to be accomplished before the next yoga ttc weekend next month, print designs for my roomate’s burlesque business, getting ready for my very first solo exhibit at the Bees Garden at Kitsilano, editing/creating/collaborating some float mounted prints for the newly renovated Blenz Coffee Shop at Granville St & Davie St  aaand the on and off fight with the darn flu and conjunctivitis whose stubborn insistence of blooming their hideous existence in the worse possible times and scenarios is close to waning me to the closest mental ward, if there is ever one left available in Vancouver. It led to the unfortunate result on the lack of preparation for the important and educational event that I was hoping will help further my career pursuit to fashion/fine art/engagement photography. I did learn a lot though, while shrinking on my seat whenever I have to seat across one of them big guys in the art/design industry in the city at this event.

I was told by most of the art & creative director panel that (as I already anticipated), I could have done better with my book presentation. It would have been better if my work was in a polished and bigger book. I placed my postcard sized underwater photographs in a hand-made book I did at Emily Carr 2 years ago. I already knew how hideous it was, but due to lack of time and…cash flow for the time being (from investing on prints..where I still owe money to my printer..lots of em and the bottomless pit of monthly bills and debts  with student loan included). I felt obliged to toss in my work where it doesn’t fit in. Totally bad move. I really wanted to shrink. I couldn’t get myself to buy another portfolio and didn’t have the chance to make a book coz I already have a whole bunch of usable archival portfolio books at my mom’s place that I haven’t had the chance to pick up just yet, and I was once again too broke to create and print a book. I Hate it when I find myself falling head forward into that starving artist mode, except I wasn’t as starving as I was way back when, since I’m doing a work trade deal in my art mansion commune where the deal involves providing me free food.

My underwater photography, I felt got criticized a lot, especially since my kind of work lacks the polish crisp look art directors are usually eyeing. There was a diverse of feedback. Some spoke a whole lot about presentation, some where giving suggestions on how to frame the people in my photographs, some were very technical while others were just about the look and feel of the work.

Halfway through the proceeding, I literally wanted to leave.. take off from all the overwhelming constructive feedback I’ve received, mostly negative. I was convinced I heard all I had to hear especially since I felt like a squished up cockroach under the feet of the big guys. I stuck up for the next 30 minutes with wrinkly nose (in the subconscious of my mind). I got commended for exploring/experimenting the self taught process of underwater people photography. I was told that the collage aspect of the photographs was not done well & that the images were tooo super imposed, since you can super impose images to a degree, but my work had sooOoo much layers going on, too much elements they’re not done well, since it seemed like I used photoshop as a crutch…apparently. I was told that the style of photography I’m aiming for is a niche, in an art director perspective, a challenging one to market in the Vancouver art/design scene.

Dean Ponto a freelance senior art director who works regularly with some of Canada’s top ad agencies such as Palmer Jarvis DDB, like the others, criticized my super imposing/layering work, but suggested that I investigate water and ways I could do on camera manipulations and coming up with ways to play around it in the natural setting. I know that already though. I have the imagination for that. I just don’t have the right pool to do that (I’m usually doing the shoots in public pools and private pools where the swimming pool is shared with tenants in a townhouse/condo setting). Within the landscape of my conceptual ideas, I would play with food coloring and floating water proof disco lights I have. There is the unlimited possibilities of beautiful flowy fabrics that I oh-so-love and props! Lots of them! There is also using strobes above water & in the water… waterproof make up on my models… I know that. I don’t have resources just yet. I can’t afford the resources, just yet. I think that for the limited resource I have and for someone really new with this sort of photography, I did a good job.

James Bateman, a creative director for Karacters Design Group suggested that I dont focus on the staging too much and develop a way of thinking when it comes to my photography. He said that the underwater images is a very defined path, that I have to blow up my horizons in different photographic work. To explore different styles of photography. I did that already, and for the longest time I’ve been tapping on different genres of photography from studio photography, to architectural photography, to street photography, to photo tableaux, to portraiture. I tried different camera formats too from medium format, to 35 mm, to 4×5 bellow cameras. I haven’t tried them all, but I’m convinced I’ve tried a lot of approaches to photography to have a feel and to make the decision that I want to focus on portraiture, photo tableaux, fashion and engagement photography underwater… the question now is how do I make the market come to the little art town of Vancouver for my services? Especially since the film industry boom had seemed to have dropped down here in Vancouver, and a lot of film/photography affiliated industries are heading to L.A.

Ben Hulse a principal designer of his own design firm said that my photography is very art-based. It seems to be the kind of photography that will probably only appeal to the artsy sort of people. He also suggested to do  more of a play of light on subject rather than super imposing too much. He encouraged me to try to get close to my subject, maybe tighten the frame, do a close up or play around with cropping. It was mentioned to me over and over again too throughout the duration of the portfolio review, to play around with cropping and framing.

In fine art photography, it’s okay to have your signature in the image, as long as it’s in an appropriate location. In commercial photography, it’s a Big NoNo to have your signature on an image. My photographs had signatures on them, so I repeatedly distraught the big guys with this fact, this is next to the fact that I super imposed my images and had so many layers going on. lol.

I was told by one director that it was unfortunate that I came after another photographer who apparently did a waaAay better job with the underwater shoot than me Yes it’s true, his was polished, not as super imposed as my images. His model had full make up on and posing for the clothing line underwater, a fashion shoot for the clothing line Plenty. What if I don’t like the ultra clean polished look? I like the painterly, organic, expired film print sort of look. I was told over and over again that there has to be application for my work too. It had to have a purpose. A use. *Sigh* There’s millions of art that is made everyday and not all of them have any purpose at all. Just something that is a conceptual expression or a beautiful piece to decorate the house, office or establishment of some sort.

Chris Peacock, an art buyer and account manager for Cossette, an advertising agency in Vancouver exclaimed when he saw my photography “This is FREAKING BEAUTIFUL…It’s cool styling…it’s to inspire. What’s my use for it? I dont know” *Sigh* There goes the word again. Use. I cant help start questioning my photography’s use in this world at large.

Matt Warburton, a principal designer said that my photographic niche is pretty limiting. If I want to shoot people in the fashion industry and get clients in the engagement industry, he suggested that I shoot people in different ways. How I should shoot them in different environment, like the woods, in the skate park, and in the middle of the street. He thinks that the collage style I implemented was not done well, since it had so much elements going on, unless I was really good at it, I should pursuit it.

I was having migraines from all these overwhelming feedbacks when a beautiful red  rose fell from the sky with the words from Vida Jurcic, a principle designer of a design group Hangar 18. She was the 4th to the last of the jury and I dont know if it was pretty transparent on my face that I look like a crushed cockroach. She acknowledged at 1st that she knows that I received a lot of feedback on my work, probably most of them not so good, but she really thought that my photography was unique and how she really liked my photography. She thought the images were beautiful. Instead of telling me that my book sucked, she gave me suggestions on how I could present it better in the future. She envisioned me keeping the images the postcard size that they are now. These images are in a bigger book with huge white borders or white background and the book is a landscape sized book or a square portfolio. She thinks that the photographs are better on a matte finish, so that the images look classier. Of course like the rest, she told me to take out my signature. She thinks I have a beautiful signature and it will look better embossed or dye cut in the very front of my book/portofolio. She suggested that I should save up the money for it, and embossing it on white vinyl or a leather cover will give it a nice touch with the Victorian feel that my images have.

The last gentleman in the jury Mark Busse thought my photographs were beautiful too. He asked me if I’ve ever worked for the fashion industry. I said No. He asked why? Because I dont know how to market myself. He told me to check out his blog on How to sell your work as a photographer. I checked it out. It gave me a couple of good pointers. Im glad that like Vida, he encouraged me to my underwater photography pursuit. He told me that I was a beautiful girl with a niche and a talent that I should just go for it, since it’s an idea that works.


Caleb’s Hope

Posted in Photography Events on May 17, 2010 by Josan

I’ve been wondering what charity I would like to have some proceeds from my photography sales to go too. I think I’ll go with Caleb’s Hope. Right now they are raising funds for their “Real Men Dont Rape” campaign in Vancouver, which I’m hoping to be part of this Wednesday.

Boob Quake Day Today

Posted in Photography Events, Uncategorized on April 27, 2010 by Josan

Today is Boob Quake Day, and so I found out from The 24 Hours newspaper today. Hundreds of women gathered in Vancouver Art Gallery at 4 pm to show a lot of cleavage in response to the Iranian cleric saying that immodest women and the power of their boobs have EARTHSHATTERING effects! That’s soOo funny. I wish I was there this afternoon in suppport of the light hearted response to the issue, but I had to work. It’s awesome that instead of responding in a defensive serious way towards such an absurd opinion, Jen McCreight responded in a fun light hearted way 🙂

First blog I came across online about the event later this afternoon  😛

Pictage Pug

Posted in Photography Events, Uncategorized on June 19, 2009 by Josan

June 10, 2009
Elixir @ The Opus Hotel, Yaletown
350 Davie Street

Pictage is a tool/resource access for professional photographers worldwide. For more detailed information about the services they offer to photographers, check out:
Pictage is a recognized resource access for professional photographers in the U.S, alongside its other competitions. The concept is still a budding idea in Canada, and they had just introduced the company a couple of months ago. The company decided to bring in Tomas Galass to promote Pictage, either that or he volunteered to promote Pictage in Vancouver.

The meeting at Elixir was very laid back. There was like 10-15 people who came, a lot for a 1st pug meeting, according to Tomas. I was one of the three new ones who came to the pug meeting who wanted to check out further what Pictage was all about & to know more of what the service has to offer. I really like the laid back atmosphere of the meeting. It was like having beer/coffee with a bunch of friends with common interests. Most of them were wedding photographers, a couple are portrait photographers. Photo lingo was babbled all through out the night. The evening was meant soley for Pictage discussion, but we ended up just talking about Pictage for 15 minutes Updates was shared where Tomas told us that there’s a Pictage Conference in New Orleans on November 3-5. All through out the night the conversation was mostly on the networking possibilities & the viral nature of networking sites like facebook & twitter. We leaped from one photo topic to another. I learned about the other competitions of Pictage like SmugMug, the advantages & disadvantages of both services and interfaces. I was informed that SmugMug doesn’t have a good interface. You have to know CSS in order to go about it.

Backing up your drive was very informational for me and I appreciated learning about it from our discussions. I learned that DROBO (which made me think of this Filipino food, adobo whenever it was mentioned in the conversation 😛 It tickled my senses. Hehe!) is not recommendable, because it’s too pricey. They recommended that it’s always good to have 3 back-ups of the files: On-site, Off-site and one on a Digital railroad/cloud (I’m still unfamiliar with the concept). ‘m intrigued by these back up folders they talked about called “Carbon Copy Cloner” and “Super Dooper” there are other kinds of folders, but these are the most popular ones. They were talking about wedding forums and one of them mentioned that he paid a subscription to one called WFP, and Tomas shared that he prefers being on the look out on free sites. Why spend money when there’s lots of free information on the web? Why spend money on a forum that you wouldn’t have much time reading over, because of the busy schedule wedding photographers’ usually have.

It was really nice being around established photographers that night. I appreciated the fact that Tomas did not come out evangelical on us about Pictage. We were actually comparing its advantages & disadvantages alongside other similar service by different companies. He was very respectful about the different opinions presented by the dynamic group of photographers, and he opened up good questions that did not make me feel uncomfortable. Especially because, as how it usually is in these kind of meetings, I seem to be the youngest (youngest looking :P) in the group. Tomas even told me that if I ever decide not to pursue being part of the Pictage family, I should still go to the monthly Pictage pug meetings, so that I have some sort of mini-community I could go too, where we could just hang out & talk about technical photography stuff. That was so nice of him, and I can imagine myself coming back to hang out with the troop every month if my availability allows it on the scheduled meetings.

Phase One Camera, better than the non-consumer Nikon & Canon cameras?

Posted in Photography Events, Uncategorized on June 18, 2009 by Josan

June 16, 2009
Ray Lum’s Photo Studio @ Pine Street

Walter Borchenko of Toronto, the top representative in North America of the new Phase One camera did a presentation on the camera, alongside the Capture One Pro 4 software. Walter was this big hulk of a guy with that confidence that exudes an air of skepticism within my gutts, he looks like a healthier version of the artist Salvador Dali. I really like certain physical aspects of the camera. It’s easier to handle, it’s lighter than a D-SLR camera, full frame viewer, F2.8, has beautiful sharp Hasselblad lenses.. made with top of the mark camera parts. You can put different digital & film backs, even a large format backing! It was impressive. Walter repetitively had an objective opinion that it was all about the equipment, the camera a photogrpaher has. He portrayed that if we didn’t have the Phase1 camera, we are not good photographers… Did not like those words at all, and I’m sure that if Dali was still alive he would object with me.

Professional photographers were asking technical inquiries. Especially concerns that a photo shoot may unexpectedly have to deal with, and Walter never answered the questions thrown his way. He shut down the photographers with “Who gives a crap. All I know is it works” defense mechanism answers. He was a representative who should know a lot about the camera, but ironically he did not really know how it worked. We ask, and he would be “I don’t know. I don’t care to know what it’s all about. It’s magic”. It sucked that he didn’t know the nuts & bolts of the camera, coz instead of being impress, I found myself having more questions about the camera’s abilities. He spoke full of contradictions. He showed us videos where the camera was microwaved, stored in below zero environment & stepped on by an elephant. What I want to know is if it will still stay intact if it gets accidentally smashed on cement floor, or if it will still function after it falls in a puddle or water, which is a circumstance photographers may have to deal with.

Capture One Pro 4 has really interesting features that makes post-production editing of photos easier, but unlike programs like Adobe Lightroom & Aperture, it is very limiting. I found it pricier too compared to Adobe Lightroom with what it has to offer. I dont know about the Capture One Pro 4, but I can consider myself purchasing Phase One camera. I just did not appreciate how it was presented to us. I do not agree with Walter that having a good camera makes a good photographer. I still believe in the old standards of what defines a good photographer: Composition, Lighting and Creativity. I still use plastic cameras and other crappy cameras, because I like the beautiful effect of imperfection, and also I cannot afford to purchase my own non-consumer D-SLR, just yet. But that doesn’t stop me from creating good photographs. As a matter of fact, there is a revolution done by passionate photographers who were resourceful enough to come up withlighting solutions, given a limited budget. Yes, their solution may look tacky, but they are able to be in control of the given condition to make good photographs. Check the cool Strobist dude who made a revolution out of using lighting alternatives to create beautiful photographs:

Sound Sleeper

Posted in Photography Events, Uncategorized on July 12, 2008 by Josan


Yesterday, I bumped into my neighbor Jordan Bent while walking around the neighborhod trying to figure out what series to work on for Digital Imaging. He invited me to the opening of his friend Justin Wright’s Sound Sleeper in Little Mountain Studio on East 26th and Main. I really like the small and intimate nature of the studio. There was live performances from local Vancouver musicians like Maria’s in the Shower (WootWoot for a consistently amazing performance!). The passion of the young open-minded energy was really iiintense and awesome to be around. It was a night of meditation music, ambiant sounds and lullabys, upbeat dancing and yummy apple-banana-choco chip pancakes by painter Jordan Bent.