Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Travelers Reunited and the NY Photo Festival

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” 

– Miriam Beard

See photo albums below: 

Cait, Ro and Dunc Visit Vancouver

New York Photo Festival

After I returned from California, I decided to attend the New York Photo Festival. I was not in any kind of financial condition to go, but decided that I really couldn't afford not to go either. There were opportunities for me to show my work to photo editors and gallerists during the festival so I decided to create a book filled with my favourite images from '07 and '08. This proved to be a much more time consuming task than I bargained for but definitely a rewarding one in the end. See a digital version here.

During this time, Cait paid me a visit on her way home to New York from New Zealand. We had met in Chiang Mai, Thailand on a jungle trek. She was traveling with her friend Ada. The three of us went on to Pai together for a week of yoga, Reiki, banana pancakes, swimming, bon fires, gypsy bars, meditation, wheat grass juice and goodness.  We met up again in Bangkok later and crossed the border into Cambodia together, which you can read more about here:

We went our separate ways after Cambodia. Cait headed south of Bangkok to a meditation retreat before starting a teaching gig in Thailand and I went on to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. We kept in touch over the next several months and come October ('08), we found ourselves both in New Zealand where we got to explore a little more of the world together again.

Since both of us were on a tight budget, as per usual, we spent most of the time walking around Vancouver: Yaletown, Gastown, Commercial Drive, Kitsilano and English Bay. This gave us oodles of time to catch up on all the happenings since our last goodbye at the Auckland airport. When I had to work on my photo book we just planted ourselves in a coffee shop for the afternoon.

A couple of weeks later (May '09), Rosie and Duncan also paid me a visit! I met them exactly a year before in the Perhentians, Malaysia. We shared a cab to Kota Bharu after getting off a flight from Kuala Lumpur. We spent a fantastic few days together on Besar, the bigger island of the Perhentians. We later met up again in July in Kuta, Bali. They had left England to go on a year long round the world trip and lucky for me, they not only included Vancouver on their North American itinerary, but also NY, where I got to meet with them again later that month.

The New York Photo Festival took place in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), Brooklyn, also known as the new photo district of New York. This was another time when I felt I was a part of something really big happening in the photography industry. I like that feeling.

I took in lectures and exhibitions from many photographers but the one I remember and was inspired by the most was Tim Hetherington. His exhibition called 'Sleeping Soldiers' used powerful audio, video and still images, extremely effective in bringing you to the steep hillsides of Afghanistan and the experience and emotion of war. It is photographers like Tim Hetherington and James Nachtwey that I hold in  such high regard, who  capture and share with us a reality that most would rather pretend didn't exist.

The hot topic at the festival was photography complimented by other forms of media. More and more photojournalists are incorporating video and especially audio into their repertoires, rendering their stories much more effective. Brian Storm from Media Storm suggested I do the same. His site features some of the most memorable photo essays I've seen in a long time. Jonathan Torgovnik's 'Intended Consequences' documents Tutsi women who had been raped by members of the Hutu militia, many of them contracting HIV as well as becoming pregnant, during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. View his multimedia presentation here, and you will see what I mean by 'effective'.

There were many events, lectures and moments worth noting but I will stop there, otherwise I might never finish this extremely delayed blog installment!

In the evenings I met up with Rosie and Duncan again who were staying only 3 blocks from my hostel before they departed back to England. Cait and I managed to squeeze in meeting in the East Village, Chinatown and Little Italy as well as having tapas with my favourite NY couple, Carolina and Rodrigo (from Brazil). We met on a boat in Halong Bay, Vietnam and had kept in touch ever since. Read more on our  Hanoi expedition here.

I returned from New York very glad that I had gone and feeling hopeful for the future of my career. I had just participated in a group exhibition at Exposure Gallery in Vancouver called 'Streets' and was about to exhibit in another called, 'Salon'. At the same time that 'Salon' was going on, my images went up at Ronda Shott Photography for the Camrose (AB) Artwalk (thanks to my Mom). I had less than 2 weeks left to make the final preparations for 'In Transit', which was to take place in Auckland, NZ with Sam Bech and Karen Williamson on June 6th, 2009. Needless to say, I was a very busy girl...which is hard to complain about when you are doing something you love so much!

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson


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