Sunday, January 11, 2015

Authentic Intensity

I've been shooting for Elmwood School for quite some time now - maybe a dozen or so years now. And they've always been the most awesome client! They have in many ways just let me come in and shoot what I've wanted to shoot, which is often when the best photos happen. The consistent element that I've always tried to shoot for them was authentic imagery - imagery that is honest. And at the end of the day, honesty often best tells a story and allows you to really believe in a brand. Thanks so much to Teresa Stirling and to Cheryl Boughton (Elmwood's Head) for putting their faith in my camera! :)

© Dwayne Brown

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Very Humbling Merry Christmas.

Christmas morning is magical to wake up and come down the stairs to the smell of coffee brewing - then to see a treasure trove of gifts under the tree all ready to open. Then a big breakfast surrounded by your loved ones, to then start preparing a massive feast of turkey and all the fixings. Such a beautiful picture. But what if you don't have a home, or a tree, or gifts, or food to cook, or a family to be surrounded by? Not so magical. There's a surprising large amount of people here in Ottawa in that very situation. Anita (my loveOttawa creative partner) and I got to meet a bunch of these folks this morning while handing out hot chocolate to them. It's so humbling to say the least, to hand a simple hot chocolate to someone who likely doesn't own much more than the clothes they're wearing and for them to look you in the eye and say a very appreciative and heartfelt "Thank You - Merry Christmas". Very Humbling!

Doing this on Christmas morning has become somewhat of a tradition now, and I hold it very dear. It's cool how a small gift of a hot drink on a cold day, lets someone who is marginalized know they matter and are respected - and their appreciative words back to us are the most amazing gifts in return.

 © Anita Ruivo - the loveOttawa project

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Unexpected Icing on the Cake.

The beauty of creating a project like loveOttawa is being able to drive it in which ever direction you allow or desire. But to be honest, I haven't really wanted to control it too much other than it being a positive conversation or tribute to the kind heart Ottawa proudly wears. I initially created loveOttawa to create a project that would allow me to photograph portraits of people who help make up the dynamic fabric of our city, and I've been so grateful to of photographed so many incredible folks. The unexpected icing on the cake has been to be a part of the forward-moving changes happening everywhere in Ottawa!

As December unveiled itself and the holidays loomed, I wanted to shoot a series of portraits that wouldn't just capture the positive, but would also perhaps influence a positive conversation. So Anita and I set out to photograph a series we call "the 12 days of responsible Christmas celebrating" - a series including some of the best restaurants, hotels and bars in Ottawa sharing their unique and festive non-alcoholic cocktails - drinks that a designated driver could order or perhaps someone who's pregnant. The response to this series has been amazing and so positive. The Ottawa Citizen has ran a story about our series as well as the online blog Apartment 613. Our images from the recent series have been shared and liked on Facebook (including Mothers Against Drunk Driving Ottawa), retweeted and favoured on Twitter and liked by so many Instagramers!

A super big thanks to all of the folks who support loveOttawa, including all the great restauranteurs and bartenders who created some pretty awesome drinks for this series. Please have a safe and happy Christmas!

Niall Robertson-Patterson photographed at El Camino - © Dwayne Brown

Laurie Jones photographed at 222 Lyon Tapas Bar - © Dwayne Brown

Adrian and Will photographed at The Belmont - © Dwayne Brown

Meredith Brown photographed at The HPH - © Dwayne Brown

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Such Love and Inspiration

Yesterday was such a special day - a day that we got to experience such love and inspiration. Anita of Funlanguages Canada and I had the humble privilege to photograph Christmas portraits of teen moms and their wee ones for The Youville Centre. These young moms while being so appreciative and proud of their babies and toddlers, were such an inspiration to us to see them so dedicated to their high school education while doing their best to be young moms. A day like yesterday helps to put many things into perspective - while many complain about the simple challenges in life, others with limited means face great adversity and challenge with such determination. Our compliments to The Youville Centre for offering such a supportive and dynamic environment for these young women to finish their high school education and providing a safe and nurturing environment for their young families. And most importantly our compliments to all of the awesome young moms of Youville for being such an inspiration and for doing their best to be great moms!

© Dwayne Brown

Friday, November 14, 2014

Still Speechless

I've been shooting imagery for the National Arts Centre Orchestra for many years now and I've always considered it to be a privilege to do so. Last night that privilege was so enhanced by having the opportunity to photograph Alexander Shelley conduct the orchestra. It's been said by many, that Shelley's upcoming tenure as the orchestra's musical director will mark a new and exciting era in the orchestra's history. All anyone needs to do is to come to witness his elegant vigor, his youthful energy and his almost ballet like style to conducting the orchestra, to see just what everyone is talking about. Last night's concert was breath taking, humbling and I'm so lucky to of been there to capture it!

© Dwayne Brown

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Humble Excellence

The absolute coolest part of being a corporate photographer is to be able to meet and photograph people who are changing the world. Today Anita and I had just that experience - we got to photograph Dr. John Bell at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute for the Terry Fox Research Institute. In the world of cancer research, John Bell is a rock star because he's creating viruses that fight cancer cells. The thing is, although he's on the cusp of changing the face of cancer treatment and therapy, he was so humble - which made today's experience so much richer!

© Dwayne Brown

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Jacks Gets Wet for ALS

As we all know there's a really fun Ice Bucket Challenge phenomena happening right now everywhere - friends, family, work colleagues, celebrities and businesses are challenging each other to dump ice water on their heads to help raise money and awareness for ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Sounds fun. It is fun! I've been hearing arguments that the people participating don't know very much about the disease - even if that was the case, what's the harm in that and isn't that the idea of creating awareness? I don't know anyone personally with ALS but two friends of mine do, and from what I know of these two individuals with the disease they're very proud people and would likely love that others are having fun while they raise money to help. Yesterday I dropped by Jack Astors Kanata to help them celebrate the management team (including my daughter Claire) getting soaked by their staff/peeps who raised $750.00 for the privilege of dumping ice water on them. Yesterday money was raised, awareness was raised and so was Jack Astors team spirit! A pretty awesome equation in my opinion! :)

© Dwayne Brown

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cover Boy

A big thanks to Ted Simpson of Kitchessippi Times for a great photo and a kind article in this month's edition. It's admittedly a little odd to be on the other side of the camera and even more difficult to relinquish control to another photographer - but Ted a wonderful job. Thank you!  www.

© Ted Simpson - Kitchissippi Times

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ottawa Tourism's Instagram Photo of the Week - Free Download

It's so cool to make Ottawa Tourism's Instagram photo of the week - what a better way to say thanks than to give away a free download of the image with the link below! Thanks Ottawa Tourism and loveOttawa!

© 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, July 23, 2014

#OttawaInsider - Free Download

I was asked a couple weeks ago by Ottawa Tourism to participate with an Instagram initiative called Ottawa Insider - posting images onto my @loveOttawa Instagram with the hashtag #OttawaInsider, then also re-posted by Ottawa Tourism. The whole premise of the project is to share a photographer's unique perspective of Ottawa. Well, I had no idea just how amazing the initiative would be - my followers on that account have almost already doubled in a couple days and I'm able to now share imagery with even more people. And it's also now made the loveOttawa project via Instagram have an even greater positive influence and reach - super cool!

An image that I posted this evening received so many positive comments and likes I've decided to post it here with a link so that people can download it for free with the link below. :)  If you haven't already subscribed to, please do so that I can then send you some invite info for our upcoming loveSummer event happening in August!

© 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.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Spending Time at Home

As most people in town know, I'm pretty crazy about photographing people and faces, but I also really love shooting home architecture - especially when it's as nice as Cardel Homes has to shoot. I've been shooting for Cardel for several years now, and their homes just get better and better every year. They have such a sense of home and always a focus on detail - and of course it doesn't hurt that everyone who works for them are just great folks! :)

© Dwayne Brown

Monday, June 2, 2014


I've pointed my camera in pretty well every direction possible, but last night my son and I focused our sites skyward. We took our new telescope out for it's first run and with a little patience we captured a slice of the moon with the iPhone. If you've never had the opportunity to look through a telescope, you must find a way! It's the most humbling and inspiring thing I've done in quite some time - and I get to do it with my son. :)

© Dwayne Brown

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Humility of the Heart

There's no question, I'm super fortunate to be a photographer and I'm so very lucky to have so many great and interesting projects to be a part of, but one of my favourite clients that I get to shoot for is the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. The other day I was given the assignment to shadow Dr. Michael Bourke and his team as they did afternoon rounds in the Intensive Care Unit. I was humbled by just what an amazing group of people work at The Heart Institute - such an innovative and passionate team. So very humbling.

© Dwayne Brown

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Creative Portraits - Part 1

I'm always hungry to photograph faces and while I was in shooting a commercial project for the folks at McMillan a month or so ago, I was inspired to head back to photograph a handful or two of their creative people. But who can just stop at a few portraits when the people are so awesome and interesting - so I think I ended up photographing around 25. It was such a great way to get to know some of the people at McMillan that I wouldn't normally get to meet and then to have the opportunity to capture an intimate portrait of each of them was so cool. Thanks to everyone who indulged me that day who sat and braved the camera! Here's a sampling of the portraits. :)

© Dwayne Brown

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 conversation 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