Friday, April 18, 2014

Face to Face Social Connection

I had a really interesting and insightful conversation with a buddy of mine this afternoon. This friend of mine is also a client and I always learn more from him that I'm ever expecting to. His name is Greg MacDonald. Greg's not a new comer to the ad biz (anyone who's anyone in town knows him - and he knows them). Greg's definitely not shy or hesitant to share his opinions. He's smart and observant - and he has the ability to sculpt sentences and phrases with clever stinging wit. Today I photographed Greg for a creative and personal project of his - a project I am quite honored to be asked to participate in. (Something I'll wait for Greg to launch before I share more about it)

The point of my story is more about what I learned today from my conversation with Greg MacDonald after our shoot - a conversion over a couple of pints at D'Arcy McGee's pub on Sparks downtown. Today in our fast moving social media obsessed world where we tweet, share, tag, text, like and sometimes still even email, it's so easy to lose touch with the most valuable social networking tool - face to face conversation.

While I was sitting across from Greg doing my best to take in all that he had to say (and he has a lot of great things to say), I noticed that he had all of his 'stuff' on the table in front of him. He had taken his watch off, had his wallet on the table, his sun glasses and phone were next to his beer. Just as Greg was sharing his ideas and philosophies - he was also unconsciously sharing his everyday possessions in front of him on the bar table. It was kind of portrait in a way. Cool and revealing. And I would never of had the richness of that subtle experience through digital social connection. Thanks Greg for again teaching me something I hadn't expected to learn - and thanks for the pints!  :)

© Dwayne Brown

Friday, March 14, 2014

Make Art - And Inspire!

Make art. What is art? It's so subjective and often in the eye of the beholder. What's sort of clearer to me is what inspiration is and sometimes it's art - or what we think art is. But really what this image got me thinking about more was inspiration and sharing. Social media - whether it's facebook or linkedin feeds or twitter retweeting, it seems that so much of it is about our thirst to be inspired and then to inspire others. We love to share what inspires us! When we're inspired we can do what ever our work is better and/or move through our day with more optimism. Is this image of someone's street statement to "MAKE ART", art? Maybe. Is it inspiring? It definitely was yesterday when I shot it on a street in Soho - and I'm certain someone else will find it inspiring and more importantly I hope they share what inspires them!  :)

© Dwayne Brown

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Between and Timeless

It seems that I'm somewhat drawn to New York City between seasons, or at least to the city without leaves or sun. I love the starkness and solemness I guess. There's a quiet timelessness to the imagery you can shoot when it's like this and especially when you can shoot the imagery void of the usual Manhattan crowds. Maybe I'm drawn to this because my commercial photography is always about people, so the trips to New York are perhaps a quiet departure from that.

© Dwayne Brown

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


New York is just one of those cities that's impossible to not take photographs of, or I guess what I mean is - no matter how you point your camera or phone at it, it always looks awesome. I've been doing these trips to NYC with my son now for about 5 years and it's always fun to find new perspectives of the city they call GOTHAM. Yesterday we found a great spot to shoot a skyline shot of the financial district without leaving the island. (thanks Alex for suggesting it!)

© Dwayne Brown

Monday, March 10, 2014

A little kindness........

Thank you to Lissa for letting me photograph her sign. I was out for a walk this morning along Columbus Ave in pursuit of a Starbucks and noticed this young girl across from the Lincoln Centre asking for some kindness and holding this lovely sign. I of course put something in her hand - she smiled and that was that. But I couldn't resist grabbing two hot drinks from Starbucks - one for her as well. She was nice enough to let me photograph her sign. If you can today, share a little kindness with a stranger - Lissa's right, it certainly does go a long way! :)

© Dwayne Brown

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Strength, Grace and Beauty.

This image that I photographed this afternoon is dedicated to my bestest best friend who loves New York City, especially Central Park. This monument borders the Columbus Circle side of the park and it exudes such a strength, beauty and grace, almost as much as she does.

© Dwayne Brown - homh

Saturday, March 8, 2014

NACO Casual Fridays - Backstage Pass

Last night was a really interesting shoot for the National Arts Centre Orchestra - for their Casual Fridays concert event series. The evening to start with is tremendously less formal than the usual concert offerings, and it seems like the NACO patrons love it. My task was to capture the pre-party, backstage and post-party, and to get the images processed super quickly so the images could be shared to as close to real time as possible via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (all hash tagged #NACOfridays) - as well as shared on a huge screen in the main foyer of the NAC. It was so fun to capture guests, staff and musicians all having a great Casual Fridays experience - including Amanda Forsyth and Jethro Marks backstage after their performance. It's just so great to have a client like the NAC who believes strongly in sharing culture and trying new ways to present that culture and experience!

© Dwayne Brown

Monday, March 3, 2014

sharing the love

As many of you know I've been working on a self initiated project called loveOttawa. This project is pretty simple and very positive - I'm just asking people to let me photograph them in front of my square white canvas and then tell me what they love about Ottawa. Simple enough. The interesting thing that I'm now better realizing is that I'm apart of a social change movement in Ottawa, a quiet movement to help our city feel more positive. I know it might sound a little la-di-da - maybe it is. But I believe if a city feels more positive about itself it makes it a better place to live and work. Ottawa has gone way too long feeling it's a boring government town, because it's way better than that. It's a beautiful city, an innovative city, a cultural city, an architecturally and historically rich city - and more importantly it's a city full of people who care about each other! :)

If you'd like more information about the loveOttawa project and/or you'd like to participate, please send me an email at And please follow the project on twitter at @love_ottawa

© Dwayne Brown

Thursday, February 27, 2014

College Confidence

I've been shooting for Algonquin College for a number of years now and one thing that always stands out, is just how the College loves celebrating the uniqueness of their students. It's great that we always get to photograph the students just how they are - no over finessing or overt branding. Which I believe helps the authenticity and confidence of their brand! :)

© Dwayne Brown

Sharing The Love - #NACOfridays

It seems that the communications landscape has changed so much over the past year or so - maybe even in the past few months. Long gone are the days when organizations rely solely on tradition means to share their message or promote their products and events. Now clients are using different approaches to incorporate social media into their marketing plans, and some are doing it so exceptionally like The National Arts Centre. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend and cover an informal yet exclusive Chef Night at the NAC to unveil the food and wine that will be offered at their much anticipated Casual Friday's Concert  event on March 7th. The food at this event was incredible - only surpassed by Chef John Morris' passion for the food and his team preparing it. The folks attending were super interesting, including traditional media and loads of influential bloggers in town. The folks at the NAC really embrace the generous nature of social media and the necessity to include many partners in the process (bloggers to media, photographers to ad agencies, and of course the community). One of my NACO clients said the other day "we're super passionate about sharing culture here in Ottawa and beyond" And I think that's the magic - social media is about the honest and genuine sharing of something! :)

© Dwayne Brown

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Great Day To Make A Mistake

This is a wonderful and inspiring video about the value of making mistakes. Perhaps we all need to embrace the creative randomness of living and working with more imperfection and spontaneity in our lives - it's how the greatest innovations and advancements occur. Who knows whats around the corner when you let go!

© Jennifer Gresham

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Simple - The Authentic Story

The longer I shoot the more I appreciate the value of the simple. It's ironic that the longer one does something they learn so many tricks and techniques to do what they do well, and with photography the trick is to keep it simple and use less. Keeping an portrait image simple relies heavily on the trusting connection between subject and photographer, because the story of the portrait is all in the eyes. This is without a doubt my favorite style of corporate photography.  :)

© Dwayne Brown - Bruce Whyte photographed for Andrews & Co Chartered Accountants.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Power of LinkedIn and Your Personal Brand.

I absolutely love helping people with polishing up their personal brands, although everyone is likely tiring of my push for using LinkedIn to do it - but it's such a powerful (and free) online tool! The first step of course is to use not just a professional photo, but one that helps to tell your story. Yesterday I got to photograph Harald Augeneder, a recent grad from Queen's International Business Masters Program - his story needed to be professional, positive and friendly, and shot in an environment that would lend a hint of corporate context. It was great to work with someone like Harald who totally appreciates the value of personal brand development when looking for the right employer and building his career! If you'd like you can follow Harald's progress on LinkedIn and/or twitter at @HaraldAugeneder

© Dwayne Brown

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekend Free Download - Together

The fog and mist yesterday was so lovely. I noticed this tree along the Old Carp Road which was so eloquently split into two, almost as really long vertical heart. I love how the universe presents us these gifts. :)

© Dwayne Brown

Please use this 'link to download the file'. Feel free to print it, frame it and enjoy it - just please don't use it for any commercial applications without written permission.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Scale and Uniqueness of Space

As a photographer I love getting into 'the field' - into an industrial environment. I love the scale and uniqueness of the spaces. I had just such a day yesterday out in Kamloops BC shooting at a really cool Telus data centre. I was able to shoot some really interesting indoor high-tech spaces (modern spaces bathed in beautiful green light), but it was such a contrasting treat to spend some time shooting in some of their mechanical support spaces too. So fun!

 © Dwayne Brown

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Face of a Company

I just love when I get to shoot imagery for a company who cares more about putting their staff's faces forward more than the owner's! It was a treat to work with FIFTY last month to create imagery for Obasan's upcoming product brochure and website refresh for their Ottawa based bed company. Yes we photographed models and product, but my favorite part was getting to meet and photograph the back and front end staff of Obasan.

© Dwayne Brown

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013 - The Heart & Crown is all Heart!

Christmas. A day like no other, or a day much like any other. It depends I guess on who you are and/or how fortunate you might be. A few years ago I decided to spend some time in the Byward Market on Christmas day handing out BeaverTail's hot chocolate to folks who seemed to not have anywhere else to be on Christmas. I was blown away by how rewarding it was and how awesome the handshakes and heartfelt Christmas wishes were in return. This morning was very much the same humbling experience (thanks Grady and Chloe from BeaverTails for your help). But today I also stumbled upon an incredibly awesome Christmas initiative. The Heart & Crown Pub in the market was putting on it's annual free Christmas lunch for the less fortunate - and the place was full. After asking a few questions of the fellow at the door, Julie from The Heart & Crown took me downstairs into their kitchen so I could take a few snaps of the delicious hot turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables and gravy lunches being prepared. So so humbling! If that wasn't enough each person for lunch was also invited to take home a Christmas gift!

The whole experience reminds me just how lucky we all are and that The Christmas spirit is so rich and so humbling. If you can reach out to a stranger in anyway who might be less fortunate than yourself over the holidays or anytime after, you won't regret it - and neither will they. Merry Christmas! :)

© Dwayne Brown