Feb 28, 2014

Farewell Weddingstar

A week ago I spent my final day as the Web Media Editor for Weddingstar Inc. For almost five years I produced original photography, video, and supporting content for the company's magazine, web pages, and social media network. It was a position that I didn't exist before I started in 2009, and one that I came to define during my time with the company. 

From selecting equipment to building our in-house studio, my position was one that I took a great deal of pride in. In my first few years I traveled to Calgary on several occasions to capture behind the scenes footage for our major magazine shoots in the Calgary Opera House and at Rouge Restaurant. I also traveled to Singapore to capture footage and photography of a new custom machine that our company was producing, and was essentially gifted an amazing experience as a result. 

During my time at Weddingstar I shot thousands and thousands of images, implemented a new 360 degree technique for showcasing our products on the web, and in my last year played an instrumental role in finding and working with a new publisher to produce Weddingstar's first ever digital magazine. I worked hard to continually push my position in a direction that would've allowed for more creative content to be produced in-house, but unfortunately it eventually became an uphill battle that I couldn't win.

A year ago things were already rocky. Content creation became a smaller and smaller part of my job and basic shots on white and supplemental image requests filled my days. The production of the magazine had moved in-house for the first time ever and I quickly requested on several occasions to play a role in creating supporting content for it. Instead, I was tasked with finding a digital publisher as the creative resources for the project were still going to be with another company out of house. 

In the last six months my position became a shell of what it once was. I ended up spending hundreds of man hours fine tuning work with our digital publisher, and basic photography projects started to dry up. The one bright spot, and the potential saving grace, was the content that we were still producing for our social media. I pushed for this to be more of a priority, but the requests were ignored and we were always left to pull something together last minute and with no budget. 

In January of this year the frustrations were finally recognized. It seemed like social media was finally being talked about. We thought we'd finally get a style guide to follow, our YouTube channel would finally get some needed attention, and we'd finally have a serious talk about content creation. The optimism we felt was almost immediately shattered though when key players on our team were shut out of meetings (myself included) and decisions were made to essentially outsource all content creation to streamline the company. The support we'd been fighting for had dried up completely. 

It was only after this decision was made that I finally got a chance to voice my concerns directly. The argument had nothing to do with my work, but instead became about the resources available. There was no longer a commitment to create content in-house, they had already been sold on their new plan, and despite everything that I'd produced and ambitiously pushed for the decision came swiftly that I'd be getting laid off towards the end of February.

Lots of nice messages from my co-workers.

It's a hard pill to swallow when the work you've done has been so personal and when you know the potential was there to do so much more. I had essentially built a small department at the company, capable of creating original videos, photo shoots, and animations in-house, and now it was being disregarded. Perhaps most frustrating though, is that I was never given a fair shot to even try and save it. The decisions were made without me or other members of the team, and it felt like the company essentially marginalized a handful us in the process. 

My frustration was short-lived however. My last year at Weddingstar had already made it clear that I was outgrowing the position I'd created for myself there, and I could see that things were starting to move backwards. As a result my contract work outside of Weddingstar thrived, and the work that I was doing part-time for other companies not only seemed to utilize my skills better, but it was also proving to be more lucrative.

I'm now in new territory for the first time since leaving film school. I'm not sure what's next exactly, and I'm testing out the waters. The challenges in front of me are exciting though, and I'm anxious to see where I might end up now that I'm on the hunt again. Ultimately, I'm proud of the time I spent at Weddingstar and I'm especially proud of what I accomplished there. Despite a natural fear of the unknown, I know the best is still yet to come, and that in the end this had to happen to let me get there.    

Feb 21, 2014

Building a Portfolio Album

This blog has always been a great showcase for my work, but with years of material archived I figured it was about time I put together a portfolio album on my Editing Luke facebook page. So far I've gone through dozens of past photo sets, both personal and corporate, and I've assembled collages to highlight the different projects. I'm off to a great start with the album, and I think it makes a strong impression for anyone who's interested in taking a quick glance at my work. 

Check out my portfolio album here.

Feb 19, 2014

Gallery Prints at the Peacock's Feather

Late last year I was busy exploring consignment opportunities in Medicine Hat to showcase some of my photography. I contacted The Peacock's Feather on North Railway Street with my idea, based entirely on the notion that I thought my work would fit well with this trendy vintage shop. As it turned out, the owner agreed.

Fast forward a few months and everything is good to go. I delivered 10 original prints to The Peacock's Feather over the weekend, and I'm excited about the partnership. We worked together to decide which images would be great to start with, and ultimately I decided it would be nice to feature a lot of my shots from Medicine Hat's historic clay district (and naturally my Around the Hat series).

These 10 framed prints have been specially made for sale in The Peacock's Feather, and they're also the largest prints that I've ever made available for purchase. Each print is 16x24" and mounted in a 20x28" white gallery style frame.

Much like when I exhibited my work with Thinking Hat last fall, seeing many of my images in this size was a first. The rich colours, textures, and details are only more vibrant in this scale, and that's also due in part to professional grade printing that I had done in Toronto to produce these. It was also the same printer who helped me create the acrylic panels for my airport art wall commission.

At the end of the day I'm excited to be trying something new. Instead of producing everything custom and to order, I'm excited to provide a more ambitious option that's good to go. With the large scale photographs ready and framed, it's as simple as visiting the store to see what you like - and my photography is in good company too.

I'm overjoyed to see my work hanging in a place as unique and original as The Peacock's Feather. I couldn't be happier to be consigning with this great local business on North Railway (right across the street from the historic train station) and I think we're a good match. I want to encourage everyone to go down and have look at my new prints on display and explore this amazing vintage shop.

These are the 10 prints (seen above from left to right): 

1. Hycroft China Factory - Conveyor 
2. Assiniboia Inn Neon Sign 
3. Medalta Potteries - Exterior
4. Hycroft China Factory - Windows
5. Hycroft China Factory - Interior
6. Hycroft China Factory - Vintage Dials
7. Medalta Potteries - Interior
8. Sweet Caporal Painted Wall
9. Instruments / Guitars
10. Medalta Potteries - Vintage Machine

Visit The Peacock's Feather at 339 North Railway Street SE in Medicine Hat, Alberta. 
Open 11am-5pm Thursday to Saturday. You'll find all of my prints upstairs.

Laying out where the prints will hang.

Store front reflection.

Feb 18, 2014

Kenya Chords by Pogo

I've been an avid fan of Pogo for years now, and his editing and sound mixing using pop culture is incredible. His skills go beyond that though. This is one of his entirely original creations using footage he shot in Kenya. The result is an amazing soundscape and a visual expression of the local culture.