2014 in Retrospect
A wonderful year, with so many wonderful moments and experiences!
To begin with, I received many accolades from my piers this year. The first was a Best in Class award in the “Industrial Portrait” category received from PPOC – ON (Professional Photographers of Canada – Ontario Region) presented to me at the convention in Toronto. At this same image competition, I was also very proud to have all four of my images submitted in the Commercial category accepted, one also earning a “merit”. All of this came as a surprise to me since I was competing in this category for the very first time. Those who know me well know that I’m first and foremost a portrait photographer. I decided to change things up and challenge myself by competing in another category, so I am particularly proud of these results.
Then came the PPOC national image salon and a Best in Class “Portrait” award presented to me at the Winnipeg Convention. I am very proud of this image, since it’s the portrait of my friend Marc Langis and was one of the four images that led to my earning the Ontario Portrait photographer of the year award in 2013. And it’s always very nice to receive a national award. I also received my first bar – Master of Photographic Arts at the Winnipeg convention: the result of many years of participation in image competitions and services rendered to the association and to the photographic community.
Another nice surprise was to have my four images accepted in the out of province category of the PPOC–Atlantic image salon. An excellent way to test images before the next national competition.
But the icing on the cake for me this year came from the Professional Photographers of America image competition. I’ve been a member of the PPA for a year and all four of my images received a merit. This means I get a bronze medal in the international image competition and I am so very proud of this award. It also means I’ll be going to the Imaging USA convention in Nashville in February to receive it. I’ll keep you posted.
I also received my 18th accreditation in the Environmental Business Portrait Category. I try to obtain at least one accreditation per year. And as a way to step out of my comfort zone, I’ll submit images for accreditation in categories that aren’t what I typically shoot.
I also had the chance to present a few conferences, including one in Toronto as part of the NoBS Inferno workshop. That was a real blast and I really loved the experience. The subject of my presentation was wedding photography and it was very well received, with a lot of positive feedback. (The fact is that even after all of these years, I’m still very passionate about photography. And I guess this passion shows when I speaking on the subject.) The other conference was presented at the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orléans as part of the “Artpreneur” day. This was a first for me: speaking about photography to an audience mainly made up of non-photographers. A bit stressful but it went very well.
Many beautiful weddings to shoot this year. I’m so very lucky to have these extraordinary clients enabling me to live my passion and grow as a photographer while shooting their big day. Thanks to them, I’ve had the opportunity to experience so many unique moments this year. I also had the pleasure of working with many artists (for CD projects launched in 2014 or to come, etc.) including Dominique Forest, Bryan Browne & Elise Letourneau, Bianca Basso, Dave Quessy and Norteno. There are so many talented artists in our region: do yourself a favour by getting to know them.
My best experience in 2014 as far as personal and professional growth goes was the PPDQ (Photographes professionnels du Québec) symposium that took place at Le Baluchon in Saint-Paulin in the Laurentians: a two-day weekend workshop with Corsican photographer Bruno Mayer and photographer friends of the PPDQ. I obviously also greatly enjoyed attending PPOC’s provincial and national conventions: many great speakers sharing their know-how and the opportunity to see the most beautiful tradeshows and interact with friends and colleagues from the PPOC.
I also discovered acrylic painting after taking a course at the Shenkman Arts Centre last winter. It really opened my eyes to some very interesting possibilities. The only problem: not enough time. It requires more time and patience to get ready and more materials, but I definitely intend to find some time for painting in 2015.
I experienced a bit of a downer in the fall when I found out I had to leave my studio in Orléans, since the owners were selling the building. I haven’t yet found the ideal spot to set up my next studio but I’m working on it. The ideal for me would be to find a space to share with one or two other creative types. In the meantime, I’m working from home, which works out quite well given that most of my shoots are on location and there are several interesting venues available when studio space is required. We also lost our calico, our pretty and gentle Mimi. We had her for 15 years and you don’t get over such a loss overnight. There’s a definite void and we see reminders of her everywhere but we can console ourselves with the fact that we gave her a very good life and a lot of affection and that, in the end, she didn’t have to suffer for too long. An interesting note came out of this though: our 2nd cat—a tabby named Ziggy that became part of our household four years after Mimi, is so much happier since. Certain cats are gregarious by nature and enjoy being with other cats, and then there are the “alpha” cats, much happier to be the only cat in a household. And Ziggy is obviously meant to be by herself, it’s so obvious now. The changes are so noticeable, it’s almost as if someone planted a different personality in Ziggy’s body: she looks the same but everything else has changed. We had initially decided we would wait a bit before setting off to find a second cat but as a result, we’ve decided not to do that: we’ll let Ziggy be the only cat and queen of this household!
To end the year on a high note (no pun intended!), I decided to finally go ahead with a major project and fulfil a dream I’ve had for a great many years: I will be recording and releasing a vocal jazz CD. I’ve always been involved with music and being a drummer thrilled me to my core. I rocked for a great many years until I had to give it up because of tinnitus. I then turned to vocal jazz which is gentler than rock. With the help of some amazing professional musicians, I now think I’m really ready to go ahead with this. I should be in the recording studio in January. I’ll keep you informed on the developments on this project that will really force me to step out of my comfort zone. 2014 also gave me the opportunity to do a few live shows here in Orléans at the Café Latté Cino with Jean-Pierre Allain, Mark Ferguson, Normand Glaude and a few of my singer friends. A great big thank you to Nicole Ratté for accepting to be the special guest at one of these shows. Our dear Nicole is so talented and such a joy to work with!
All in all, this has been a wonderful year and one where I experienced so many wonderful moments and emotions. A big thank you to each and everyone of you for your support throughout my adventures as a photographer or my musical projects: my friends who never say no when I have an idea for a shoot and require a model as well as those who take the time to encourage me with their kind words in person or by sharing them on social media. 2015 promises to be a wonderful year, filled with good things and great experiences and I would like to end this by offering my warmest wishes to you and yours for a wonderful and outstanding New Year.