Five Featured Photographers - Chilliwack Photographers
Who are you and where can people find you?
HEAVY FIRST QUESTION GUYS
Maybe someone who’s taken photos professionally for 18 years and had a bucket of great experiences because of it but didn’t graduate journalism school because I’m short a photography course.
Find me? Wherever quality beers are sold. I dropped my business and website but post a bit on Instagram @Unkied. Started it so my nephews could see their cousins. Basically a rare-wedding-shooting, concert-going, sometimes-beer-making fathographer with a great job at the University of the Fraser Valley.
Why do you take photos?
I suppose it’s a chance to help convey connections people have that sometimes they don’t know they’re having. Freeze time. Maybe be a part of what’s happening? Help people leave something behind that shows who they were, how they lived, and maybe how they loved each other.
I’ve been lucky to shoot a bunch of major events, worked in a Kootenay photo studio and had my own wedding business. In the early days I developed my film and prints, bought photography magazines to study pictures to try figuring out light and gear and atmosphere and slowly developed my own style of putting them together, usually candidly. Pretty sure at one point I picked The Bookman’s entire photography section clean.
I don’t know what I’m doing, but I try doing it well.
Plus I got to shoot the Sollid-Johnson and Banger-Harder weddings and one of those couples is still together.
What's your favourite lens?
My Nikon 50mm 1.4 travelled with me from Delhi’s night market to Chicago’s Billy Goat Tavern, but I’ve been using a pretty uncommon Nikon 105mm 1.4 regularly for a year-ish, too.
I mostly shoot with a Nikon D850 body now. My parents loaned me a Pentax K1000 in college, the same camera I dropped in a river as a preschooler. They bought me my first modern film camera, a Nikon F60. I’ve used about a dozen bodies since.
What is your favourite type of shoot?
One where we’re having a good time with a little light that sings. I’ve connected with everyone from athletes to brides to politicians to street kids to half-in-the-bag bar strangers because once you find that groove, the photos kind of take care of themselves. I love concert and sports photography because it’s all on the fly. There’ve been heavy shoots from my newspaper days, from the empty shoe at a fatal accident to a man crying moments after identifying his dead relative on the banks of the Vedder canal to a hand under the tarp after a deadly helicopter crash in the middle of town to the ceremony for Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson.
Those hard-news shoots can be difficult but the same principles apply and they help you appreciate the joyous ones.
One photo you've taken that still speaks to you?
Corny as it sounds all the photos I’ve taken speak to me because I pressed that shutter for a reason.
A few are special, like my diapered daughter arching backwards on my parent’s footstool, shot on film. A candid photo with natural light and a genuine connection. I guess that’s what I’m always after. And the perfect bride photo.
For whatever reason, this picture of a small boy wearing a wrestling shirt in a dusty open-air mechanic’s lot after our car hit his somewhere in the Punjab resonates with me. After a tense negotiation between my friend and fixer Amar and the driver of an SUV with an apparent pro-terrorist sticker on the back, I asked without speaking the language to photograph the boy. They agreed, and just as I crouched the old man behind him reached down to straighten the boy’s head. That was the photo and I’ll never forget it.
I like to juxtapose it with an image of my straight-faced son pulling off his best Batman in our bathroom. Kids are kids, people are people. I’m just trying to take their picture.