Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Visiting the Homelands (snapping all the way)!

[Photography] is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever . . . it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.
-Aaron Siskind
View photos here...and here

Most of the first 48 hours home from Bali were spent asleep in Millet (just outside of Edmonton, AB). I used to live with Sue and Garry there while I was finishing my practicum for my Business Degree. I think of their place as a shangri-la, a peaceful country retreat and a second home. Their house is beautiful yes, but it feels like a home because of all the laughing, hugging, delicious cooking and love consistently filling up the space inside. Anyone reading this who know Sue and Garry, know what I mean!

After the battery recharge, I headed on down to Jasper National Park to attend and shoot a wedding. Driving through the picture perfect mountains under ubiquitous skies with turquoise freshwater lakes to gawk at along the way, reminded me just how beautiful my own backyard is. It was also comforting to be driving in a car, that has a seat belt, on paved roads, with speed limits and law enforcement (despite the speeding ticket I received in the mail a few weeks later)!

I had taken photos of Jody's family the previous winter and was delighted to shoot her wedding also. They are such a cool and close family and it's hard not to feel all kinds of goodness whenever I see them.

The wedding took place near a lake in the late afternoon followed by a reception, dinner and dance at the Sawridge Hotel. The intimate celebration was charming and exquisite and it was so fantastic to be a part of it...congrats to Jody and Glen!

I spent a few more days in Edmonton before flying back to the homeland of all my homelands...Saskatchewan. What could be more of a quintessential prairie experience than hanging out with my Dad and Jumper the cat on the farm in Birch Hills? Bali is certainly a paradise yes, but this was paradise country style...the sound of the crickets chirping at night, the smell of freshly cut grass, driving anywhere within a 50 mile radius and getting a friendly wave from everyone you pass, running through the fields and not encountering another soul and breathing in what seemed like the cleanest, purest air on earth (which my lungs definitely needed post Asia). I made my Dad a blueberry pie..from scratch (ok maybe not a big deal but I don't do that kinda stuff often)! Although I love my life in the city, one needs a dose of where they came from every once in awhile and I'm proud to be a country girl! It was probably the best visit home to date.


At the end of the week, Dad and I went to Saskatoon for my cousin Michael's wedding. He and his fiance Amy, had asked me to be their wedding photographer and I couldn't have been happier to  both be in attendance for their special day and also to document it for them. It is not very often that all of the Tomtenes gather in one place but almost everyone was in attendance for this one! There was lots of catching up to do and the day went by in a blink. Michael, Amy and the bridal party were ridiculously photogenic and so much fun to photograph. It was a perfect day and only the beginning of many more for them I'm sure. Love you two!


I said goodbye to my Papa the next day and boarded the plane back to Edmonton. The next few weeks were spent catching up with family and friends I hadn't seen in ages. Edmonton is so fantastic in the summer..unending festivals to attend, the bucolic river valley running through the city and Whyte Ave. bustles with crowded patios, musicians playing on the street and always a friendly, laid back vibe...something I've missed since moving to Vancouver. 

I also got to photograph my ex-boss's family. Russ had hired me back in 2003 as VOXCOM's Creative Writer and Marketing Specialist. So many good people and experiences came into my life because of this, and I will always look back fondly on those amazing 4 years working with Russ and all the marvelous friends I made at VOXCOM.


In August, I received an email saying I had been chosen as one of 10 students to participate in David Alan Harvey's 'At Home' Workshop in Brooklyn, NY in October ('09). David Alan Harvey is a National Geographic photographer. A member of the photo agency, Magnum. Curator for Burn Magazine. An iconic photographer. I let out a giant gasp and almost fell off my chair when I got the news (in front of several onlookers at Starbucks:-/). Was it real? Was someone joshin' me? Stay tuned to find out.

Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.
- David Alan Harvey

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