Capture Photography Festival 2016 Preview

The Capture Photo Festival is entering its third year, and doubling down on its public presence. Vancouver isn’t super-huge on public space, but watch for billboards, transit stations, and even a power station to pull double duty as giant surfaces on which to display lens-based art.

Besides the public art, galleries across the Greater Vancouver Area will be hosting photo-based exhibitions, resulting in a many-faceted megashow that Vancouverites would be crazy to miss.

Capture Festival: Full Details

I was thrilled to get a glimpse of what’s on tap as Executive Director Kim Spencer-Nairn and Program Director Meredith Preuss hosted a media preview in Gastown.

Nine stations along the Canada Line will display a series of giant-sized images. The King Edward stop will be showing off John Goldsmith’s Bondi Beach, winner of the Georgia Straight/Capture Festival Canada Line Competition.

The Dal Grauer Substation (that building with the huge transparent outer wall next to the Scotiabank Cinema) will host a massive work by Steven Waddell. As with last year’s Dal Grauer installation, it will only be revealed at the last minute.

Photo of a photo of Dal Grauer Substation
Photo of a photo of Dal Grauer Substation

My favorite of the evening was a sneak peek at Viewpoint, by Erin Siddall and Sean Arden.

Sean Arden and Erin Siddall
Sean Arden and Erin Siddall

Siddall and Arden turned a shipping container into a camera obscura, aptly named Burrard Inlet Big Camera, which will sit at Lonsdale Quay. It gets its name in homage to Giant Camera, the camera obscura perched near the Cliff House in San Francisco.

Container Vision (model), Erin Siddall and Sean Arden
Container Vision (model), Erin Siddall and Sean Arden

Big Camera will sit atop another shipping container, in which Cate Rimmer will curate images from First Nations artist Ryan McKenna.

Here’s a map of the 2016 Capture Festival public installations. The festival runs April 1-28. Indulge your love of photography, or ignite it for the first time.

@jordanyerman peeking in Burrard Inlet Big Camera model

A photo posted by Erin Siddall (@erinsiddall) on


Tokyo Toy Taxi Photo (or, “The Compromises of Conceptual Photography”)

As a photographer, you must get comfortable with compromise. For example, I wanted to use a crane to hoist a Tokyo taxi up into the air above Shinjuku.

I then wanted to lean out a window and photograph it, lit only by the ambient lights of Kabukichō’s iconic signage and the street below.

Shinjuku Lights

Reality check: I have no taxi and no crane. I’m also not in Tokyo at the moment. What I do have, though, are a toy taxi, a portable, hard drive, some white paper, my phone, and my bathroom.

I turned out the lights, and used my phone to light-paint the front aspects of the toy taxi. Then I slowly moved the phone around behind the taxi to approximate the signage.

Tokyo Toy Taxi TestI held the phone still in a few spots to get some of the busy-ness of the screen to approximate the aggressive signage of the actual street; it’s quite easy to create a smooth, streaky background by simply sliding the phone (or any light source) behind the model.

I guess my point is, should anyone in Tokyo be able to hook me up with a crane and a taxi, I feel I’d do a great job with that shoot.


Babies cry on flights: Deal with it

Babies are babies, and so shall they act like babies.

I usually fly from Vancouver to NYC aboard the second leg of Cathay Pacific’s HKG-JFK megaflight. It’s… very family-oriented. Lots and lots of screaming babies. The moms and dads are like, “Whatever.” That’s the right attitude, in my opinion, provided they’re actually trying to comfort their kids. Which they are. Because nobody likes having a tiny person with no volume control screaming in their ear.

So, yes, I agree with this opinion piece.

Why you shouldn’t give out goody bags while flying with a baby – Parents (

Beyond Manga: JAL Brings Iconic Art to the Skies


My latest for the APEX Media blog discusses JAL’s rollout of the AVANT IFEC system. The Android-bases in-seat entertainment system is configurable… so JAL was able to launch the first-ever in-flight manga library.

In doing so, JAL is paying tribute to an art form based in 17th-Century woodblock prints. As a huge ukiyoe fan, I’ve written more about manga’s history before:

 Now I’d love to see an IFEC-based ukiyoe library…

Beautiful Jets: Top 10 Airline Liveries of 2014

Pretty, pretty planes

‘Tis the season for best-of-2014 lists. Check out APEX Media’s  Top 10 Airline Liveries of 2014 . Actually you should keep an eye on the APEX blog all the time, since it puts out some awesome travel-industry stories.

While I love Air New Zealand’s paint-it-black approach, my favorite from the list is Air Inuit, whose majestic birds may or may not be friends with Garuda Indonesia’s mythical garuda.

The deliverables included an original logo-type and typeface inspired by the syllabic orthography of the Inuktitut language and an evocative livery design that reflects the Inuit printmaking tradition.


A SkyMall Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday shopping stress setting in early? Struggling to find that perfect gift for that special someone?

No worries. Jessica Samut at APEX Media has your back. She’s waded through SkyMall to find some hidden gems of WTF.

Ignoring the grotesque yard trolls and cat water beds, Jessica homed in on items you might have missed during cruising-altitude perusal.

Thanks, Jessica, for putting together such a season-saving guide. I want the shark submarine.