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

Alex the Great

Some of you may know Alex Néron. Those of you who do, know Alex is kind, funny, positive, creative and an all round nice guy. All you need to do is search for Alex on Facebook and you'll see just how loved this man is (especially by his wife, Marta). Anita and I ran into Alex and Marta just before Christmas at one of the Bridgeheads on Wellington, and I couldn't resist asking Alex if I could take a quick photograph of him. I'm so glad he agreed. It's one of my favourite portraits of 2016, it may actually be one of my favourite portraits, period.

It might be worth mentioning that Alex has cancer. He doesn't wear it on his sleeve and he doesn't make it a big public thing. What he does make public though, is his love for life, his love for his family and friends, and his love for Marta. As they say, "love conquers all". Not sure if it's true, but it sure does make life so much more wonderful! Thanks Alex, for being a such wonderful example for all us!

© Dwayne Brown

© Dwayne Brown

2017 - The Ultimate 'Happy New Year'

Its now 2017 and with a super charged and well attended New Year's Eve celebration, Ottawa has officially opened its doors to welcome the rest of Canada and the world to experience what so many of us love about our city. Both my creative partner Anita and I are very glad to be right in the middle of all the fun with our loveOttawa project. We'll continue to photograph and interview people for our blog/website and ask them what they love about Ottawa, as well as shoot new city and event imagery for our Instagram and Twitter feeds. We love helping everyone feel positive and great about our city!

The loveOttawa project has been a pretty awesome ride for us. We've already met so many interesting and dynamic people, who have had such great stories to share about themselves and Ottawa. We look forward to meeting as many new people as we can in 2017. Our project has also given us unique opportunities to experience great cultural events and we can only expect the fun to continue during this special year for Ottawa!

We're always eager to discuss new opportunities to collaborate with local businesses and organizations to help shine light on their unique offerings or initiatives. Please feel free to contact either Anita Ruivo or myself at ideas@reasonstoloveottawa.com for more information about sponsorship, ideas and/or social media collaborations.

©Dwayne Brown - the loveOttawa project

©Dwayne Brown - the loveOttawa project