May 14, 2023
Dec 28, 2022
On the local front, 2022 marked the 10 year anniversary since I began photographing Medicine Hat, Alberta as part of my Around the Hat / Hometown Series.
On one hand I started the year feeling like maybe the series had run its course, and on the other hand quickly saw that engagement had never been higher.
As it turned out there were quite a few surprises that followed - some high-profile features, notable print installations, and even a couple of new experiences to boot. With enough encouragement, it's safe to say the series isn't going anywhere. Here are just a few of the "hometown hits" that received the most engagement in 2022.
Nov 19, 2022
Last night was Midnight Madness around downtown Medicine Hat, Alberta and the perfect excuse to tour, shop, and graze our way through local hotspots with a reminder of the beer, cookies, bagels, coffee (and more) on offer!The sidewalks were buzzing, music was playing, and even the Monarch Theatre (the subject of my now year-long documentary) was temporarily back and lit up for the night with a few screenings running. But, the deal of the night had to be the vintage projector and the stack of kitschy vinyl I snagged from one of the downtown thrift shops for a whopping $9.75.
Congrats to all the vendors, organizers, and businesses who pulled this off - a great evening all around, and a really fun way to support lots of great local shops!
Jun 6, 2022
From June 2 to 7, 2022 landmarks throughout the United Kingdom and commonwealth countries were lit purple to become beacons in honour of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebrations. In Medicine Hat, Alberta the historic Finlay Bridge was specially lit to mark the occasion.
May 27, 2022
Last night's shoot from the air was a long standing bucket list experience checked off my list. I'm proud to share that the Rise Up Hot Air Balloon Festival in Medicine Hat has hired Editing Luke as their official photographer for this first of its kind event in Southeastern Alberta.
Mar 29, 2022
It was 10 years ago today that I launched a series called Around the Hat (aka the Hometown Series) featuring scenes around Medicine Hat, Alberta. I couldn't have predicted how much would've have snowballed from this self motivated project, but from prints to production agreements to the hundreds of photo essays from around the world that eventually followed, a lot of that momentum started right here with this series.
Before the Editing Luke production company became a full-time operation I was looking for ways to create content to drive visitors to my website. I had an interest in exploration, history, and expanding my business to include photography in addition to the video production I had already been doing. Medicine Hat, my hometown, felt untapped in terms of people going behind closed doors to show off what was there. So I began to think about what it would be like to contextualize the local history into compelling plot points and to develop character out of a sense of place in a way that felt fresh, energetic, and above all, visual.
Coming from a filmmaking background and education, this was all a deliberate exercise to get my feet wet and build an audience through storytelling. My first photo essays featured the most obvious historic sites and attractions, like - Medalta Potteries, St. Pat's Church, and the Cypress Club (all posts that have now been updated since their first release).
To be clear, the history was really just a jumping off point. I wanted people to feel like they were exploring with me and still have context for what they were seeing along the way. When the initial posts attracted thousands of hits in a matter of days I knew I was onto something.
Over the years the series continued to refine itself with regular social media posts on Facebook and Instagram, and into more elaborate photo essays on this site that featured glimpses into places that most people weren't able to see or had largely forgotten about. Recently I highlighted the renovation happening inside the former Cecil Hotel and put together a recap of the former Riverside Waterslide. While larger photo series' and projects continued to follow this one, after a decade of growth the Around the Hat series alone has been responsible for millions of hits.
While the collection isn't complete and continues to expand and deviate, the lesson here has been all about approach. Sometimes a simple change of perspective makes the familiar seem completely new again - I just chose to share it as I was doing it.
Explore the complete Around the Hat series here.
Feb 1, 2022
With new owners and an ambitious renovation plan now underway, I had the opportunity to take a look inside and document the former Cecil Hotel in Medicine Hat, Alberta. This long defunct hotel was built in 1912 to serve railway passengers from the nearby train station, but in recent decades its most notable asset has been the Cecil Bar. Often described as a friendly dive, the rest of the building was literally falling apart around it.
Looking beyond the garbage and crumbling walls, there are still some incredible treasures to be found here - but yes, it's rough lol. There are still sections of original tilework in the entryway, the old neon letters still sit atop the roof, and the massive Cecil Hotel safe is still in place. I can't wait to see what happens to these spaces in the months ahead.