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2013 Year and a Few Months In Review

25 Dec

Let’s try this again shall we (sorry for the technical difficulties). *Note: resolution not formatted for full-screen viewing. Watch HD Version here.

Well, that was fast. A blur really. Is it a sign of old age when the years fly by? At any rate, I can’t believe we are at the doorstep of 2014. When anyone asks me what kind of work I’ve done this year, I can’t really put my finger on it: a little bit of everything I suppose! And I mean that! Being a professional photographer in the North means wearing many hats. Some days I’m a commercial photographer, other days a photojournalist, a wedding photographer, a portraitist, a landscape shooter, fine art photog, quick and dirty news stringer, event shooter and everything in between. In this business, in this part of the world, versatility is key and it certainly has opened some big doors for me this year.

Above are some photos taken in the last 16 months. This is my first full-year as a freelancer after working as a magazine staff photographer for 8 years. It was a very tough decision to leave a secure job and jump into the void but I’m thrilled I did, and to be honest, kind of wish I did it sooner. As a rookie in the freelance world, I’ve been incredibly lucky. It is not easy to find work in photography, period, let alone make it a full-time gig. For that, I’m incredibly thankful.

To my clients, thank you for giving me the creative freedom to do what I do and inviting me to be part of your team and family. Some assignments that stick out for me this year are:

– an 8-page feature in Canadian Geographic on the GNWT’s trapping program.

– being hired by Outside the Cube as official photographer at the 2013 Yukon Quest, “the toughest race in the world”.

– pitching, shooting, writing and designing the Our Yellowknife campaign for The City of Yellowknife

– working with Venture Publishing in Fort McMurray and Fort Chipewyan.

– commissioned for various photo assignments for EdgeYK magazine.

– working with The Hotkey Marketing Group to promote “Destination Deline”.

– creating and launching True North Photos, an online image collection and collaboration with some great friends/Northern photographers.

– publishing my first book: “North”

So what’s in store for 2014? You might notice a few branding and marketing tweaks over the next few months (ie, new website and hopefully a new workspace), but really, my main goal is to constantly produce great ideas and images for my local clients, and to be an ambassador for Canada’s North though my national work.

Thanks again to everyone for your support this year, and have a wonderful 2014!

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Deline, NWT

4 Dec
The Deline shoreline, along Great Bear Lake.

The Deline shoreline, along Great Bear Lake.

Had a great assignment in Deline, NWT with the fine people at the Hotkey Marketing Group out of Penticton, BC. Myself, Jason Knibbs from Hotkey and Marty Ann Bayha from ITI hit the streets of Deline, visiting artists, elders, school children and generally enjoying the sights and sounds of this beautiful community. For anyone traveling North, make sure to put Deline on your list – it is THE spot in the NWT for cultural tourism: we went ice fishing, had a cookout, snowmobiled and snowshoed, just a few of the experiences you can enjoy. It was also my first time to the community, and I have to say it is one of the friendliest places I’ve been to in the North. Big thanks to Jason, Marty Ann, Jackie, Bruce, Verna, Gordon, the Grey Goose Lodge and everyone else we met – hope to be back soon!

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“On The Line” in Canadian Geographic

26 Sep
Opening spread to "On the Line", Canadian Geographic Oct 2013.

Opening spread to “On the Line”, Canadian Geographic Oct 2013.

Canadian Geographic has picked up my photo story about Colville Lake’s trappers in the latest issue of the magazine (October 2013). I’m pleased that they’re sharing with their readers a way of life that many Canadians might not know still exists. And while this story might make a few readers gasp and protest, I applaud the staff at Can Geo for showcasing NWT trapping as it really is in Colville Lake: a traditional lifestyle, an economy for a small population in a remote part of the country, and a way of keeping cultural values relevant for their young people.

This is my first photo essay for Canadian Geographic. Special thanks to photo editor, Laura Stanley, and to staff writer, Michela Rosano, for bringing this story to life and being so enthusiastic to help share it with their readers. An especially big shout-out goes to Francois Rossouw and Marti Lys for letting me tag along with them – in my opinion, all levels of government should follow their lead and hire photographers, videographers and artists to document Northern life in such a rapidly changing world. Most importantly, thanks to the trappers and the people of Colville Lake for inviting me into your homes and sharing your life and culture with all of us.

You can click the images to see the pages larger, but if you get a chance, pick up the October issue of Canadian Geographic. There is also an accompanying online gallery, which you can see here.

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Our Yellowknife: Anna Pontin

5 Jun

Anna PontinClick image to see full screen

So, I’m pretty excited to reveal a campaign I’ve been working on with The City of Yellowknife called Our Yellowknife. Over the next few months a series of promotional ads celebrating the unsung heroes and do-gooders of YK will appear in both print and online media around town, and possibly, across the country.

The reason? YK is a beautiful city in an incredible part of Canada, but we tend to focus strictly on the landscapes and wildlife of the place when promoting ourselves. To anyone who comes North, it might be the natural beauty that brings them here, but it is ultimately the people they meet that make a lasting impression (at least in my experience that’s been the case). So, why not showcase the people who call it home and what they do to make Yellowknife Canada’s best city?

Here is the launch ad in the series featuring 4th grader, Anna Pontin, a cool young lady who is helping raise money, musical instruments and clothing for the YK Day Shelter. Anna is a total rock star and deserves all the praise in the world for taking the initiative to help people who need it most.

This is the first large campaign that I’ve been part of since going freelance less than a year ago. I’m doubly proud of this project because the idea was developed, pitched and produced entirely by Pat Kane Photo: the photography, the interviews, the writing and the design. It’s been a fun experience and I’m also meeting some really great citizens in the process!

A big shout-out needs to go to the communications team at The City of Yellowknife for taking a chance on this idea. They are doing a great job promoting Yellowknife and its residents, whether its through print ad campaigns like this or video campaigns like this, from my buddies over at Artless Collective. Keep an eye out for more profiles of YKers who are doing great things for Our Yellowknife. Who knows, you might be featured next!

Peter Rice, Summit Helicopters

7 May
Peter Rice at the Summit Helicopters hangar.

Peter Rice at the Summit Helicopters hangar.

Here’s a couple shots I took of Peter Rice, one of the great employees at Summit Helicopters (formerly Trinity Helicopters). Peter is being featured in a helicopter magazine – and I actually think it is called Helicopter Magazine, funnily enough – as a “Top 40 under 40”. I’m still not sure if the folks at the publishing place even got these photos because Dropbox and FTP sites seem to be the most complicated way of transferring photos on the planet! Anyway, I hope these pics are published in the magazine because Pete deserves it. He’s a hard working guy who gets along with everyone and gets things done. Congrats on being named Top 40 Under 40 in your field of work!

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2013 Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race

27 Feb
A dog team rests at Braeburn Checkpoint.

A dog team rests at Braeburn Checkpoint.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to work as alongside my friend Alistair Maitland as the official photo team for the 30th running of the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. The race is a long one: 1,000 miles (1,600 kms) that crosses some of the harshest terrain in Alaska and Yukon. To those not very familiar with mushing, you may have heard of the more well-known Iditarod Sled Dog race? Yeah, well, this is the difficult one.

Sometimes called “the toughest sled dog race in the world”, the trail follows the Yukon River between Whitehorse and Fairbanks, alternating directions each year (Fairbanks to Whitehorse in even years). Mushers travel day and night, from checkpoint to checkpoint, over mountains, through overflow, across streams and sometimes surrounded by caribou. When one musher was asked why she did what she does, her answer was simple: “To get away from you people!”, a musher’s way of saying, “to be one with nature.”

For nearly 3 weeks I traveled with the awesome PR team at Outside the Cube based in Whitehorse and helped capture the event as it unfolded. Thanks to all the good people I worked with and met along the trail. I made some great new friends and it was awesome to be part of The Quest Family. I’m not going to post many mushing photos here, but more behind-the-scenes of the places and people that were part of the Yukon Quest. Enjoy!

To see more photos and get updates, visit: www.facebook.com/YukonQuest and www.yukonquest.com.

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Colville Lake, NWT

21 Dec
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Colville Lake, Northwest Territories.

I just returned from a pretty awesome assignment in the tiny hamlet of Colville Lake, NT, just north of the Arctic Circle. I was invited by ENR and the GNWT to document the annual Christmas “fur run” where wildlife officer, Marti Lys and Francois Rossouw, the head of fur marketing for the territorial government, purchase pelts from local trappers. What made this trip really unique was that we snowmobiled from the town of Norman Wells, an 8 hour excursion in bitterly cold temperatures reaching below minus-40.

The trail was pretty rough so it took us close to 12 hours to reach Colville. Along the way, my sled broke down (not my fault!) and the trail was brutally bumpy which slowed us down a fair bit. But we eventually made it. Over the next few days, Marti met with trappers and purchased furs which will make their way to auctions in Seattle and North Bay, Ontario in January. Some might question the ethics of trapping and harvesting fur but I got to learn some of the ins and outs of the industry: not only is it sustainable and manageable, but the economic and traditional boost it gives to the families in this remote community is essential. Simply put, trapping is a way of life here. An important way of life for adults and kids alike.

Here are some photos from the trip. I’ll be pitching this story to a couple of magazines in the new year – Colville Lake is a community you have to visit if you ever get the chance, and the people I met while I was there are some of the most interesting and good-hearted in the North. I hope to make it back some day.

The trip: flight from Yellowknife to Norman Wells, snowmobile to Fort Good Hope then on to Colville Lake.

Flight from Yellowknife to Norman Wells, snowmobile to Fort Good Hope then Colville Lake.

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Marti and Francois.

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Fort Good Hope.

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Modeste, a Colville Lake trapper, scrapes down a wolf hide outside his cabin.

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Inside Modeste’s cabin.

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An elder rides through town.

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Bern Will Brown, founder of Colville Lake. Bern is a former oblate missionary who is a renowned artist, journalist, writer and explorer. He lives with his wife Margaret in the log home he built more than 50 years ago.

Margaret Brown feeding one of her dogs.

Margaret Brown feeding one of her dogs.

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Bern's museum.

Bern’s museum.

Bern's church.

Bern’s church.

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Adrian

Hockey rink.

Hockey rink.

Dogs wander freely in town.

Dogs wander freely in town.

Marti counting marten.

Marti counting marten.

Robert Kochon with marten, fox and wolverine pelts.

Robert Kochon with marten, fox and wolverine pelts.

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Mark Kochon.

Mark Kochon.

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Robert Kochon with marten and wolverine pelts.

Modeste with his wolf pelts.

Hauling in 8 wolves.

Hauling in 8 wolves.

Inside the cabin.

Inside the cabin.

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Wolf carcasses are sent to ENR for sampling.

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Marie Kochon.

Marie Kochon.

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Sheldon Snow, teacher and head of the Youth Fur Trapping program.

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The local B&B - only $260 a night!

The local B&B – only $260 a night!

Antler tower at the Colville Lake Lodge.

Antler tower at the Colville Lake Lodge.

Marti Lys.

Marti Lys.

Abandoned cabin overlooking lake and mountain.

Abandoned cabin overlooking lake and mountain.

Northern Lights. Proof that I took an aurora photo for once in my life.

Northern Lights. Proof that I took an aurora photo for once in my life.

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