It's a grey Sunday morning and the freshly opened Thom Bargen on Graham and Kennedy is packed with photographers. We've been invited by From Here & Away and the TB owners to capture the dynamic new space and sip complimentary espresso while we're at it. As people mill about and intermittently snap photos, I take some time to sit down with a few of my favourite Winnipeg photographers, chat about their work, and grab a quick portrait.
Joey Visser’s photography community From Here & Away gives local and global photographers an opportunity to share their perspectives, collaborate, and explore. That spirit of exploration is at the heart of Joey’s photographs. He tells me, “I love the natural world and photographing it pushes me further. If I see a cool opportunity to capture something different, I’ll often climb a little bit higher, hike a little bit further. It helps me get to the heart of what makes me feel good.” Whether camping solo in a Jaguar Preserve in Belize or spending an afternoon on the Manitoba prairies, Joey’s aim “as an artist is to capture nature’s intangibles. Those things we can’t describe, but that we feel when we’re outdoors, just living like any other creature.”
Most of the work on his Instagram page and website has been shot with his 5D Mark III. He shrugs, “I’m not a huge gear guy, I just like stuff that’s weather resistant and dependable.”
For Daniel Crump, street photography is photojournalism that creates “a daily record of existence.” Most of his work is an even mix of black and white film photography and iPhone snaps. The black and white film allows him to capture high contrast scenes, but he also loves how discreet and convenient shooting with an iPhone can be. Daniel’s portraiture showcases ordinary Winnipegers, often waiting at a bus stop or just walking down the street. He tells me, “The longer I’ve been doing this, the more I can get a sense if people are open to having their photo taken. If I’m not sure, I’ll take someone’s picture and approach them afterward. It’s rare that people are upset by it. Especially shooting film, more people are charmed.”
Carrie Lynn Unger’s photography largely features people. “People are my number one,” she tells me. “Even if I’m shooting a landscape or an object, I’ll try to get a person in it.” Her professional account, mostly digital, predominantly features photos from engagement shoots and weddings, since she “loves capturing the relationship between people.” Her personal Instagram veers more toward candid moments with friends and schoolmates, caught on film. When Carrie Lynn takes a portrait, she’s always “trying to capture someone’s essence. I want to look at my photographs and go ‘Yeah, that’s exactly what that felt like.’”
Eric Ballard loves to experiment with film and funky vintage cameras.“Film makes me think very critically about how I approach a scene. It helps me to slow down,” he says. He’s also been playing around with black and white film photography more lately because, “ I appreciate how that makes me think about contrast. You have to look at shadows and highlights, because they play differently in black and white.” He adds that “shooting film I get consistently better shots. It’s also helped me move faster and work better when I’m shooting digital.”
Most of his photography features portraiture, where he tries to connect with his subjects. He believes when that connection happens, and you can “see what they see, you can get something really special.”
On Instagram, Simeon Rusnak features Winnipeg in its high contrast, candid iPhone glory. He says, “I shoot a lot of places and faces with my pro camera. I also do studio shoots and work for the Uniter, but for Instagram it’s a lot of people interacting with places. I’m drawn to line, shape and form. It’s cool to observe from the other side of the street.” With iPhone photography, “it’s a matter of realizing the limitations and working with them.” Yet Simeon also likes the way iPhones “eliminate a lot of variables. You don’t have to think about aperature, ISO and shutter speed. You just look at composition and capture, like you’re using a waist-level viewfinder.” He also believes “It’s a great inroads for people who are starting into photography.”