I learned film photography when I was in 14 years old. It was my first year at a new school in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It was an elective, but due to a learning disability, it was my favourite class. I inherited my moms Canon FTB camera that she had brought everywhere when she was traveling the world. Northern Ireland, Morocco, and Egypt. To this day I still have that camera. My photo’s were black and white, contrasting, experimental, blurry… Considered not mainstream. My teacher questioned my eyesight and marked my photos as weird.
I was also a voracious movie watcher. I tried to see as many as I could on television and in theatre. My favourite genre’s being science fiction, westerns, and nature documentaries. I had a family that loved hiking and camping and road trips, and I was privileged to grow up with the ability to do so. Even being able to road trip Four Corners and Monument Valley in 2012. My biggest regret was not having an interest in photography when I was there.
When I was later in my teenage years, my photography fed into my skateboarding, and my skateboarding fed into my photography. I only wish that I had combined the two, and was able to save some of the photographs that I had taken. I had wanted to submit my photos to Transworld Skateboarding, long before learning that there were professional skateboard photographers with expensive professional cameras.
After learning about $3000 cameras, I swore to continue using working class cameras like the Canon AE-1 and Canon FTB. My most recent camera purchase, as of January 2023, was the Lubitel 166, a $100 Twin Lens camera from the Soviet Union.
As I grew into my senior year of high school, I became more severely mentally ill and lost my ability to venture far from my house, and my passion for photography was lost. Even skateboarding had ceased its ability to bring me happiness. A few years had gone by, and a new set of friends inspired me to start skateboarding again, and I was able to start taking flip-phone and digital photos to replace my film camera.
It wasn’t until March 2020 that I was able to get my hands on another film camera, the Canon AE-1, and relight my fire for photography. In 2019 and early 2020, I was working the graveyard shift in downtown Vancouver. The normally busy city centre was empty, quiet, and perfect for urban landscapes. I got off work at 7am, and took my camera out into the empty streets to capture the beginnings of the COVID pandemic in monochrome.
In 2021, I published my first zine, Surbated: Lost in the Pacifist Northwest, to document my first year back in photography. I had taken the word surbated from Cormac McCarthy, the author who often made up words to fit his own narrative. I was inspired by McCarthy’s Border Trilogy to attempt to write a western using only black and white photographs. Due to the pandemic restrictions of the time, all of the travelling and photos I had taken were of British Columbia.
I continue to expand and grow my photography. Learning best through experience - trial and error and mastering the basics.