This is your second time photographing this inspiring fundraiser and awareness building event of the Kiwanis boys and girls club. How has the event evolved?
The first time I photographed this event was three years ago, and it was at another venue. The other venue felt very crowded during the cocktail hour and silent auction. Since moving over to Berkeley Church, for the past two years, the look of the photos has improved as the space has improved. People can move more freely during the cocktail hour and silent auction, which makes for easier conversation and more fluid movement as the crowd peruses the silent auction items. This year, they also had games like ping pong and mini golf for the guests, which contributed to a more fun and relaxed environment — the space at the Berkeley allows for this. The change in mood translates to fun photos of people having a good time.
How did you become aware of the Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club and what about their organization inspires you?
I became aware of this organization through the church I began attending a couple years ago, Trinity Life Church, which at the time was meeting at the Kiwanis Boys and Girls Clubs space at 101 Spruce for Sunday services. I am very inspired by the way they care for people in a way that can have a lasting impact. They are interested in the small details of people’s lives, the moment to moment things that matter in the lives of the kids, teens and families they work with.
What are the positive ramifications of having a fundraiser beautifully photographed and shared?
I think it’s nice to be able to look back on the event and see it as it happened. The space is visually arresting and attendees are smiling and having a good time. My approach is to always capture events as they are, to document it in a way that accurately reflects the mood, nuances and details. It’s in the event’s best interest to have a photographer who actually cares about the event, the people and the space, and cares to capture it in an authentic and affectionate way. When an event is thoughtfully photographed and shared, it shows that all of the people involved cared and had an emotional connection to the event.
As a photographer sharing a non profits experiences, how does your knowledge of their initiatives help you represent them visually ?
Hmm, I think I approach all events the same way. I’m always looking to capture the heart of the event, and people involved. An event like this naturally lends itself to that approach. There is such a range of emotions. There are certain things that I’m looking to capture throughout the evening, such as the look on a proud mother’s face while her daughter gives a speech about how the K Club has made her a more confident young person, the embrace after the speech, the tears, the laughter.
How is an event fueled by volunteers a unique experience?
It’s unique because you have a group of people that are fully invested in what the organization is doing, and they all care about the organization and want the event to be a success. Sometimes at a wedding you might see service providers kind of running around looking stressed or frazzled, but at an event like this, everyone involved seems to have an easiness or lightness about them, always smiling, always laughing.
Where do you look for inspiration for photography as advocacy?
I could write a very long essay about this, but I’ll give a much shorter answer: street photography. Over the past century, street photographers have been capturing the warmth, humanity, heartbreak, laughter, and humour of people from all walks of life.
A photographer chooses between taking posed photographs versus unstages photographs. You appear to have created the perfect hybrid here with naturally posed photographs. What is your take on this?
I love this question! I love that, “naturally posed.” My approach is to always document the heart of the event, so I often lean towards natural, but there are times when a posed photograph makes more sense, so I approach it the way a film director would — place people in poses, or situations, that allow for spontaneity. A posed photograph where someone looks rigid and uncomfortable never looks right to me, and certainly doesn’t resonate with me. I love to capture people’s personalities or some small part of who they are, and natural photographs do a better job of communicating this, in my opinion.