Sunday, March 22, 2015

the value of great ideas and loyalty

It's no surprise that everyone loves great ideas, and my friend and colleague Shawn MacDonell has loads of them. Now ideas are one thing, but where the real sizzle is, is making those ideas come to life. Shawn definitely has ideas, but he also has the drive and courage to make things happen with his creative company Creativision. This is all great of course, but what I love the most about Shawn, is his loyalty and commitment to friends. The other night Shawn was hosting a table at the ConnectOTT event, while Anita and I were photographing a handful of entrepreneurs for loveOttawa at the event. In fine Shawn MacDonell style, he was proudly wearing our loveOttawa t-shirt under his suit and couldn't wait to share it with us. The point of the story is, Shawn is always the first to shed light on others, and I love that about him!  :)

© Dwayne Brown

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Dynamic Mix

We were shooting yesterday at Conversant, a local Intellectual Management Company, capturing executive portraits as well as a wide variety of vignettes to help tell their story. It was cool seeing CEO John Lindgren working at his standing desk. I've always loved, when possible capturing stilllifes of desks, as they tend to be a revealing portrait of the executive. With John's desk, I loved the dynamic mix of technology and analogue - not to mention the problem solving metaphor of a Rubik's Cube!
John Lindgren
John Lindgren

© Dwayne Brown

Sunday, February 22, 2015

We love shooting on location!

As a photographer, I love shooting on location. Every space and environment brings challenge and opportunity. Every space has it's own sense of scale and composition, and the great spaces also have great light. This week we got to shoot portraits in some very different spaces - The Indigo Hotel here in Ottawa, The new Jack Astor's restaurant in Lansdowne and Celestica in Toronto for Banfield. The Celestica space was so lovely, with such great light and cool lines - and it provided a powerful yet calming backdrop for this corporate portrait. Perhaps they're right, location IS everything, or at the very least, it's helpful! :)

© Dwayne Brown

Monday, February 16, 2015

jazz is love

We had such a cool experience the other night shooting loveOttawa portraits backstage at the Valentine's Day Leonard Cohen Tribute concert, for The TD Winter Jazz Fest. We photographed artists, staff and volunteers - asking them what they love about the festival and jazz music. Considering the cool folks and great personalities we shot, I thought some of the images deserved a little more love - and presenting them in black and white!

Big thanks to all the behind the scenes folks and especially to the artists below! Dan Francks (Iron Buffalo), Jay Malinowski, Martha Wainwright, Reuben and the Dark and Scott Helman.

All images © Dwayne Brown

Sunday, February 15, 2015

the simplicity of ideas and the strength of a respectful dynamic

We had a shoot the other day for Carleton University, photographing an aerospace engineering student for an ad promoting the university. The conversation started with Carleton's creative director Greg MacDonald calling to book some time with us, then us meeting him in his office to chat more about the tone and feel of the ad. We knew we needed it to a confident portrait of a student - confident but not overly cliché. We knew we needed to allow for copy space. And we knew we needed the portrait to be honest and authentic. I guess the reason I'm writing this blog post is because it's worth mentioning that so much goes into a simple enough looking photo, before we even take the camera out of the case - and much of that has to do with getting into each others head (and having each others back). It has little to do with what equipment we use or how much lighting we set up. The success of any commercial photo has everything to do with the respectful dynamic between everyone involved, as it did the other day! Thanks Greg for always being a client who trusts. Thanks Connor for bringing your confidence and pride to the shoot (not to mention a nice ironed shirt!). And thanks Anita for always being such a supportive creative partner.

© Dwayne Brown

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

there is no greater love......

So many people have great ideas and good intentions, and some people take these ideas and put them into action - and action almost always makes a difference. Today was one of those days that an idea became an amazing reality and I believe made an amazing difference. A week ago Elizabeth Young, owner of Flowers Talk Tivoli (a beautiful flower shop in Westboro), reached out to Anita (my loveOttawa partner) and I through our loveOttawa initiative, via twitter, to talk about Valentine's Day. I ended up having a coffee with Elizabeth and suggested the bold idea of making 50 bouquets for the teen moms at The Youville School as a surprise Valentine's Day gift. Elizabeth didn't blink an eye or even talk about what that would cost - she just said "Absolutely, we HAVE to do that!" All of this led us to today, when Elizabeth, Anita and myself delivered these beautiful bouquets to The Youville Centre this afternoon. The young moms were so appreciative and Anita and I were so humbled - especially humbled when we overheard one girl say "This is the best Valentine's ever." and another saying "I've never had flowers before." Thank you so much to Elizabeth and her generous team of florists for giving the Youville girls such a meaningful Valentine's Day!  :)

© Dwayne Brown

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