35 years - Thank You!

I can’t believe that 35 years ago this month, I officially started my commercial photography business! In some respects it doesn’t feel that long ago that I signed the lease for my first studio in Edmonton. When I start thinking about the countless experiences I’ve had and the thousands of people I’ve met, photographed and worked with over the years, I guess it has been a long time! 8 years in Edmonton, then 9 in Calgary and now over 18 in Ottawa. My gosh!

In the process of reflecting over the years, the only thing that makes sense, to celebrate such a milestone, is to be grateful. So many people over the years have trusted me, or more accurately us (I’ve always been surrounded by an awesome team) with their photography projects to shoot. Everything from portraits, to commercial advertising projects, to corporate communication initiatives, to websites and social media projects, to special commemorative anniversary books. I’ve had the great opportunity to photograph people, places, animals, food, planes, trains, automobiles, machinery, architecture, orchestras, research teams, athletes and students. I’ve been able to work on projects to help tell visual stories for so many different sectors including, healthcare, education, culture, tourism, oil & gas, mining, technology, hospitality, professional services, agriculture, military and social enterprises.

The photography business has changed drastically over the years. I once shot film and visited a lab, sometimes several times a day. I’ve developed thousands of rolls of BW film by hand and have spent more time in a darkroom than I can remember. Now we shoot everything digitally and move imagery around the world sometimes only moments after the image has been shot. An image was once ‘airbrushed’ by a special artist, now we can finesse a photo on our phone! With all of these fast moving changes, I can most honestly say, I’ve never been more inspired and excited to shoot!

It’s so humbling to think of how many people I have to thank: clients to assistants, agency owners to art directors, designers to account coordinators, banks managers to accountants, other photographers and especially friends and family!

With a very grateful heart, thank you to everyone who has lent a helpful hand and who has played a patient and generous role, in a very fun 35 year run! Bring on the next 35!

THANK YOU,

Dwayne.

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2018 and Beyond - Claudia Salguero

We're very pleased to include Colombian born artist, Claudia Salguero, in our 2018 and Beyond portrait series! Claudia is a multi-talented and entrepreneurial creative person, who loves helping her community experience art. She is a latin-jazz singer, who passionately performs at her annual sold-out concerts, at the National Arts Centre. She is also an art-based facilitator, working with various community groups in Ottawa to create collaborative art projects. Claudia recently completed a large BE YOU mural project at St. Laurent Mall, of which she painted with the assistance of various Ottawa high school art students.

Claudia is constantly moving and working on so many generous art initiatives in Ottawa. With her creative drive, she helps students, immigrants and people of all ages and cultural backgrounds, feel empowered by collaborating in art!

 © Dwayne Brown

© Dwayne Brown

We asked Claudia, as a collaborative artist, what she's most positive about as Ottawa moves forward into 2018 and beyond.

"Ottawa is more vibrant every year. As an active visual artist and a musician, and also as part of the audience, I can feel the pulse and I love it. As a community arts-based facilitator I can also see a more welcoming response to diversity and more opportunities to work and create together, not despite of our differences, but embracing them and understanding that they make us richer and stronger, both as individuals and as community.

Welcoming diversity is the best way to have a healthy and empowered community in a multicultural city as Ottawa. I am positive our leaders will continue to work with this idea in mind, opening opportunities for minorities to merge and demonstrate with their talents, how much they can contribute on the development of our city."

Thank you Claudia! We're very proud to include you in our 2018 and Beyond portrait series. We love your kind spirit and generous energy!

Please take a peek at Claudia's website: www.claudiasalguero.com  You can also follow her projects on Twitter: @closalguero and Instagram: @claudia_salguero

2018 and Beyond - Andrew Reeves

We're very pleased to include local architect Andrew Reeves in our 2018 and Beyond portrait series. Architecture is the cornerstone to any city's aesthetic statement and physical legacy. Andrew is leading a creative team at Linebox Studio and they are designing some of Ottawa's most exciting architectural spaces. These spaces are beautiful compliments to Ottawa's culinary, business and residential urbanscape.

Andrew has designed cool and elegant projects for clients such as Riviera Restaurant, El Camino, Fauna Restaurant, Shopify's Ottawa head quarters, as well as many other commercial and residential spaces in our city, Montreal and Toronto. We wanted to include Andrew in our series, not only because of his passionate leadership with Linebox, but because he leads with a quiet and kind humility.

 © Dwayne Brown and Anita Ruivo

© Dwayne Brown and Anita Ruivo

We asked Andrew, as a creative architect, what he's most positive about as Ottawa moves forward into 2018 and beyond.

"I've always been positive about Ottawa and have always felt spoiled living here. We have world-class museums, art galleries and performance spaces, as well as incredible festivals and enviable proximity to nature, parks and rivers. Ottawa has such a strong foundation from which to build a truly dynamic city and I believe we're well on our way.

In the past five years or so, I've noticed a real change in Ottawa where a general amazing scene is developing. There's a strong restaurant culture emerging with a true respect for food. The already strong music scene is getting stronger and there are some important infrastructure projects underway that will continue to elevate Ottawa as one of the world's best capital cities.

I love being a part of a city that is finally recognizing that it is a place! We are not a forgettable and sleepy town. We are a city where people and important businesses are choosing to stay. There is plenty happening on any given night and big projects are making big statements on a global scale.

The future is bright for Ottawa and we wouldn't choose to be anywhere else."

Thank you Andrew. We're very proud to include you in our 2018 and Beyond portrait series. You are helping to beautify Ottawa, one cool space at a time!

Please take a peek at the work that Andrew Reeves and Linebox Studio have created: www.linebox.ca

2018 and Beyond - Eric Chan (EEPMON)

We're very grateful that digital artist and creative speaker, Eric Chan, was able to make some time for his 2018 and Beyond portrait. Eric, also known as EEPMON, keeps very busy working and collaborating on local creative projects, including a recent 100ft mural project for the Science and Technology Museum. He has also been travelling as a delegate in China along with Canada's Heritage Minister, Mélanie Joly. Eric told us he was very honoured to be selected as one of the 48 delegates to represent Canada’s Creative Industries to China.

In addition to the delegation schedule for Shanghai and Beijing, he has also been invited by the President of the China Animation Comic Game Group to speak at their 2nd General Assembly in Guangzhou – a conference which has the official approval by the China Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

 © Dwayne Brown Studio

© Dwayne Brown Studio

We asked Eric what he's most positive about as a creative business as Ottawa moves forward into 2018 and beyond?

"I am very optimistic and positive as a digital creative studio working here in Ottawa. The Digital Age allows total mobility. Geographically speaking, Ottawa is at the heart of the action. We are just a short flight away from Toronto, Montreal and New York City. Our national policy decisions and institutions happen right here in this city. I like to think it is Canada’s HQ."

Thanks Eric, for participating in our 2018 and Beyond series, you truly are a local creative collaborator with a positive and international focus!

To view Eric Chan's work you can look at his website at: www.eepmon.com  and/or you can follow him on Instagram at: @eepmon

2018 and Beyond - Harley Finkelstein

When you first meet Shopify's COO, Harley Finkelstein, you are immediately drawn to his positive energy and his inspiring smile. His day-to-day style is casual, with his trademark black t-shirt and jeans but, without a doubt, Harley means business! Along with a dynamic leadership team, he has helped take Shopify from a medium local technology company, to a large publicly traded and globally recognized entity. Shopify proudly now empowers over 600,000 businesses online and offline, in more than 150 countries worldwide. Pretty cool!

We're very grateful that Harley agreed to participate in our 2018 and Beyond Portrait Series, not just because of his entrepreneurial and business acumen, but also because of his forward thinking vision for Ottawa. Just as Shopify looks outwardly to international potential, it is still very much a local company that celebrates our city, along with its young and creative talent.

 © Dwayne Brown Studio

© Dwayne Brown Studio

We asked Harley what he is most positive about and how our city can help its local entrepreneurial community, as Ottawa moves forward into 2018 and beyond.

"The collective ambition of our community has never been higher; Ottawa is firing on all cylinders right now. This is Canada's moment and the incredible entrepreneurs in the city are a huge part of that movement. We conducted a study recently and found that nearly 70% of Canadians want to be their own boss someday but only 30% have started their own business. I'm so excited to see how far Ottawa's entrepreneurs can go.

As a city and community, we need to continue to support each other, first and foremost. We need to invest in our local inventions and promote our home town success stories. To encourage this we need to build a strong community of other entrepreneurs who can mentor, inspire, and invest in our future leaders. If Ottawa can grow this community, there's no limit to our success."

Thanks Harley, for making the time this week for some photography and for sharing your vision for Ottawa's future!

For more information about Shopify and how it might even help you start an online business: www.shopify.com

2018 and Beyond - Jamaal Jackson-Rogers

As we move forward into 2018, we're reminded that art is an inspiring voice that reflects where we've been and where we're going. We're very honoured to include Jamaal Jackson-Rogers, Ottawa's recently appointed English Poet Laureate, in our 2018 and Beyond Portrait Series. Jamaal is not only an award winning poet, he's also an arts educator and mentor to many of Ottawa's youth. He believes his work coaching youth helps them build creative foundations, which in turn, gives them more opportunities.

We met Jamaal for the first time last summer and we were immediately taken with his kind smile and generous spirit. He was humble and genuinely curious about the projects Anita and I work on. Meeting people who are more interested in others, than sharing their own story, is always refreshing! That said, we believe Jamaal's personal story is very interesting and has given him the foundation for his art and his work guiding others. He grew up in Ottawa Community Housing with limited means, which has given him a grateful perspective and respect for those who have challenge in their lives. His rich cultural background, his Muslim faith and his work as an artist, has given him the base to teach that differences are a better reason to unify than to segregate.

Jamaal also has a humble reputation for being a creative entrepreneur. To create and present art is sometimes more fun if you need to find alternative ways to fund and share it - making entrepreneurialism part of the creative process!

 © Dwayne Brown Studio

© Dwayne Brown Studio

We asked Jamaal for his thoughts on 2018 and beyond.

"I imagine 2018 to be a year of great innovation and creativity. Our little "big" city is maturing in so many ways; from the completion of the light rail, to the funding boost for the arts and culture sector, to affordable community based real estate opportunities for start up businesses. Ottawa will (finally) carve out a niche for itself in the landscape of progressive, urban places to collectively live, work, study, and dream, in Canada."

Thanks Jamaal for taking the time to sit for us and to share more of your story!

If you'd like to learn more about Jamaal Jackson-Rogers' art and his work supporting youth and other spoken word artists, please take a look at his website: www.justjamaalthepoet.com

2018 and Beyond - Stephen Beckta

As everyone knows, the Ottawa restaurant scene has really evolved and blossomed over the last few years. We have cool, new places with hard-working restaurateurs and creative chefs. At the head of this culinary curve has always been and continues to be, Stephen Beckta. If you ask anyone in the business or someone who loves great food and exemplary service, "Who is the best in town?", the answer is always one of Steve's restaurants, Beckta, Play or Gezellig.

The reason we selected Steve for our 2018 and Beyond Portrait Series, is not just because of his restaurant expertise and reputation, but because of his humility and passionate commitment to his guests, team and the Ottawa community. If you've eaten at any of the Beckta restaurants, you'll know what we mean. You feel like you've been welcomed in to eat at someone's home - Steve's home! His staff feel much the same. They're all respected as a critical part of the team regardless of their position and there is always a meal before the lunch or dinner service.

When we photographed Steve, we asked him if there were any initiatives that were close to his heart, outside of the restaurant business. He smiled and quickly mentioned the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, of which he is currently the Board Chair and which he regularly attended when he was a boy himself.

 © Dwayne Brown and Anita Ruivo

© Dwayne Brown and Anita Ruivo

We asked Steve what he is most positive about, as Ottawa moves forward into 2018.

"For Beckta, Play and Gezellig, I would say 2018 is all about constant renewal, looking at everything we do to make them the most compelling spots for guests to dine in - and staff to work at - in Ottawa.  We are in the process of some great development plans for all three, and we can’t wait to tweak them all to even better care for our guests, employees and community stakeholders. 

For the Boys and Girls Club (where I am the new Chair of the Board), this year is all about sustainability.  Growing and developing a greater number of long-term relationships with donors and the three levels of government so that no matter who is in the board chairs or management offices, we never have to say no to a single kid in need in our at-risk communities, and we can even grow our services in those communities most in need."

Steve Beckta cares dearly for his customers, smiles proudly when he talks about his family and he takes Ottawa's future very seriously! Thanks Steve, for taking the time for our portrait and for making us feel at home at Beckta for the shoot.

Please use these links for more information about Beckta, Play and Gezellig.

CAFFEINATED CATALYST - Learning Beyond School

I had a great coffee visit this morning with Algonquin Advertising student Mariam Dawi. It's always cool to meet with young people who really understand the value of connecting and learning from anyone and everyone. Mariam also really gets the value of putting herself out there to help others, in the pursuit of learning. Education is such a dynamic concept and happens everywhere you have an open mind, not just at school.

Mariam spoke very highly of her Ad profs - Greg, Jake and Jane, who go above and beyond being educators and really mentor the students who are open to learning more. She's also in hot pursuit to meet more folks in the local ad/pr community, so keep an eye and ear open for this young, smart and energetic student.

 © Dwayne Brown Studio

© Dwayne Brown Studio

CAFFEINATED CATALYST - Challenge

In this day to day, online connected world, it's so nice to get a LinkedIn invitation to meet for a coffee in person. Face to face is always the best way to share ideas and truly connect! It was great to meet with Martin MacArthur at the Tim Hortons on March Road this morning. We chatted about his business efforts (marketing for ReEnvision Marketing) as well as our various studio initiatives and the overall positivity in the Ottawa market. The most interesting part of the conversation was how we all have a choice when facing challenges in business and life.

Halfway through our meeting, Martin mentioned "you know I'm completely blind, right?". To be honest, I didn't know and to be even more honest, it didn't matter. But it then inspired us to talk about the concept of challenges. I've always been a big believer in treating challenges as a opportunities to creatively overcome them!

I look forward to getting to know Martin more and to see if we can help each other's businesses in the future. For now, I'm just grateful for the opportunity to meet, chat about Ottawa and share a coffee!

 © Dwayne Brown Studio

© Dwayne Brown Studio

2018 and Beyond - Ibrahim Musa

We're very proud that the first portrait in our #2018andBeyond series is Ibrahim Musa. Ibrahim and his family arrived in Canada as refugees from Iraq when he was 4 years old. Now, at only 19 years of age, he has received the Mayor’s City Builder Award in recognition of his volunteer work with youth in Ottawa. He's humble, intelligent, hard working and has a determined and positive vision for Ottawa!

Ibrahim has worked with many local youth groups and is currently the Communications and Engagement Coordinator with Youth Ottawa. He is well recognized for founding and running the Cuts for Kids Foundation, an initiative that he says is his way of giving back to a city that has been so helpful to his family. Cuts for Kids offers free haircuts to underprivileged children in marginalized neighbourhoods. Ibrahim believes a professional haircut increases a youth's self-esteem and over all well-being. Along with his team they offer free snacks, fun activities and information for social resources to everyone attending the events.

 © Dwayne Brown Studio

© Dwayne Brown Studio

We asked Ibrahim what he's most positive about, as Ottawa moves forward into 2018.

"I'm excited to see more young people grow their ideas on how to improve Ottawa, in collaboration with city leaders. Through business, non-profit, arts and academia, the power of youth will shine in 2018!"

Thanks so much to Ibrahim for sitting for us this past weekend and for all he does to help and inspire Ottawa's youth! You can follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and/or Instagram to learn more about his work.

2018 and Beyond - the Portrait Series

As photographers, our happy place is shooting. As portrait photographers, our extremely happy place is photographing faces. Both Anita and I love people and getting to photograph them. That passion, combined with the great satisfaction of meeting interesting people and sharing their stories, has culminated in creating a local portrait series. Ottawa had a spectacular anniversary year in 2017 and now our city is moving forward into 2018 at a pretty exciting pace. Anita and I got to thinking, that we'd love to meet and photograph some of the people who will be driving that positive pulse.

The people we're seeking are the innovators and creatives, the compassionate and caring, the shining stars and unsung heroes. There are so many interesting and remarkable individuals in our dynamic city. The series will be black & white for its timeless simplicity. The portraits will be shot primarily up close since we feel that the face and eyes so beautifully share a rich story about a person.

Today we marked the beginning of our #2018andBeyond portrait series by photographing Ibrahim Musa in the studio. We'll be sharing Ibrahim's portrait later this week and look forward to moving ahead with more portraits in the upcoming months! 

Please follow our series on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 © Dwayne Brown Studio

© Dwayne Brown Studio

Strength, determination and love!

It was such a heartfelt day yesterday for us, shooting at the Youville Centre here in Ottawa. All the young moms were so proud of their babies and toddlers as we captured portraits of them for the upcoming holidays.

This is a project that is very dear to us and it’s something we look forward to every year! The moms and babies were a treat to meet and photograph and everyone at Youville were so nice and helpful. We love how photography can really capture the unique personalities of the moms as well as their strength, determination, and love for their children!

Please take a peek at the Youville Centre website for more information and/or if you'd like to see how you can help this great centre help the teen moms at Christmas - www.youvillecentre.org

Dwayne + Anita

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 © Dwayne Brown + Anita Ruivo

© Dwayne Brown + Anita Ruivo

Caffeinated Catalyst

Coffee is more than caffeine and perhaps it's even more than just a beverage. I think it's actually a pretty good connector and a great excuse to meet up with new people. Since the beginning of September, I've been busy saying hello to clients via email and sharing imagery through our social media accounts. I've also been connecting with a lot of new folks on LinkedIn. Last week I had an idea to try and connect with new people face to face by creating a LinkedIn article, inviting anyone who'd like to go for coffee, to message us. To be honest, I wasn't sure if anyone would take us up on the offer. Well, yesterday I met up with the first person to reach out to accept the offer, Mike Tobin.

Mike was awesome to meet and get to know. He is, as his linkedin profile states, a bilingual voice over talent. Pretty cool and pretty unique! We talked about a lot of things: creative stuff, business stuff, family stuff and how helping the universe helps others in pretty wonderful ways. Something I found interesting is how both Mike and myself wanted to know how we could help each other, as opposed to what we could gain from the meeting. Perhaps coffee is also a catalyst for friendship!

If you'd like to have a coffee with Anita and myself, please send us a message on any of our social accounts or through our contact page. We'd love to meet, get to know you and of course, buy you a coffee! :)

Dwayne.

 Bridgehead Coffee with Mike Tobin.

Bridgehead Coffee with Mike Tobin.

The Hidden-Away Festival for Everyone

It seems like Ottawa has almost over night, turned into a summer festival city. There are so many festivals, for just about everyone. Most of these events are right in the middle of the city, celebrating the historic and cultural landmarks and the beautiful neighbourhoods of Ottawa. Last night we ventured down to experience a different approach to a festival, one that is almost hidden away and hard to find, unless you know where to look. Perhaps the venue (underneath the Bronson Bridge, between Carleton University and Brewer park) is the perfectly appropriate location. The House of PainT festival celebrates the local Hip Hop culture, highlighting DJing, MCing, dance and graffiti art. 

To quote the House of PainT website, "Hip hop began as an expression of cultural defence and reclamation for marginalized communities. Continuing with this tradition, House of PainT is committed to supporting communities in fostering safe, respectful, anti-oppressive and empowering spaces."  We love that a festival, on the surface, may look like just a fun expressive urban event, actually has such respectful core values.

We really enjoyed the event. It was beyond visual, very respectful and inclusive, super affordable (pay what you can to enter) and it was filled with some pretty awesome music and dance!

Dwayne.

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 © Dwayne Brown

© Dwayne Brown

The Value of Shooting Personal Imagery

We love shooting commercial / corporate photography, there's no question. But we believe strongly that, to be able to photograph corporate portraits really well and intuitively, we need to be shooting other things all the time - every single day, actually. That said, both Anita and I love shooting personal imagery, be it floral, architecture, street or faces. It's our happy place in a way, but more importantly, it helps to make the camera less of a tool and more of an extension of our mind's eye!

Dwayne.

 © Dwayne Brown

© Dwayne Brown

 © Anita Ruivo

© Anita Ruivo

 © Dwayne Brown

© Dwayne Brown

Tenacious Elegance - Patty Sánchez

I first met Patty Sánchez a couple of years ago while she was doing a quick winter visit to Ottawa to skate on our canal. Of many things, she is a professional ice skater and at the time, was working with Disney on Ice, so the canal skate was a dream come true for her. Patty is a very good friend of Anita's, as she was her first student to come to Ottawa from Spain when she was only twelve. She's in town this week reconnecting with both Anita and Ottawa!

The bonus of all of this is I get to know Patty better. I'm learning that this petite, elegant, young woman with her disarming smile, is a super driven and tenacious person. As I write this post, I'm reminded that photographing her with our studio 'Wrangler' is perhaps a bit apropros, much like Patty.

What I love about Patty is, she doesn't settle! She's grateful yes, but she is always pushing herself beyond her borders and beyond her own achievements. From what I've learned from Anita, she has always been like this, even as a bright eyed, curious, young girl visiting Canada on her own for the first time. Her drive and determination is very inspiring!

Dwayne.

 © Dwayne Brown

© Dwayne Brown

Street Art Mentoring

We've had the great opportunity to do some creative mentoring, with a few Spanish students this summer for Anita's company, Funlanguages. Each of our three students, Raquel, Selene and Fernando have been such a treat to meet and spend time with, including getting to know each of their unique personalities and interests. We've shared many of our creative and entrepreneurial philosophies as well as introduce the students to people we know who have chosen creative and alternative paths for their lives and careers. We're very proud of our students - their open minds, their determination and their generous and kind hearts!

One of the students Raquel, has quite a creative eye and keen interest in music and dance, so we've spent some time exploring some of Ottawa's urban street art. Fortunately, Raquel didn't mind stepping into a few images!  :)

 © Dwayne Brown

© Dwayne Brown

Unicorn Sighting!

Loved seeing this cool and random art installation, the other day while driving through Gatineau. Unicorns are mythical, iconic and little quirky - and so many people love them! Once we posted the image on Instagram, we had a few requests for prints. If you're a proud unicorn fan and you'd also like a print, please send us message via our contact form. :)

Dwayne.

 © Dwayne Brown

© Dwayne Brown

The Face of Architecture + Opportunity

As most folks know, we're most known for photographing corporate photography with a strong leaning towards capturing portraits and people in their work environment. I've always said "faces are the most fascinating real-estate to photograph!" and I strongly believe that. That said, we also love any and all photography challenges and opportunities, especially when we get to shoot for great clients. Right now, we're in the throws of creating a wide variety of imagery for Algonquin College's upcoming viewbook. Most of that imagery is of students in campus and learning environments, but yesterday we got to photograph some architecture for the college and even though there were no faces in the photo, I still love how the image compliments their brand story!

 © Dwayne Brown

© Dwayne Brown

International Friends

Yesterday was a really fun day shooting at Algonquin, for their Language Institute. We started the morning in the classroom photographing international students learning English - courageous students in my mind, putting their pride and insecurities aside, doing their best to learn English in a country so far from their homeland. Then onto a large computer lab, where so many students wanted to help us with the photos by generously volunteering to be models. It was more than a computer lab full of students, it felt more like an inclusive family of friends. It was so nice!

We then finished the morning by taking a handful of students outside, to photograph them interacting and just hanging out. As I took this photo, it occurred to me, Algonquin is of course offering education, but perhaps more importantly, they're providing an opportunity for students from around the world to make friends. The five students in this photo, were from Ivory Coast, Vietnam, Mexico and Lebanon. Neither of them had ever met, before coming to Canada to study at Algonquin and now they're all great friends! How cool is that!?

Dwayne.

© Dwayne Brown