Jim Friesen - Photography

Last week we had an amazing day for skywatchers. I have never seen anything quite like these alto cirrus formations before.

One of the perks of having family visit from across the country is the chance to show off this amazing part of the world. I was showing my cousin Sharon, and her husband Ernie, one of my favorite spots near our house when the atmosphere put on a show.


No fancy Photoshop just crazy clouds. The photo doesn't really do it justice. 

Today's software allows the digital photographer to create images that mimic the equipment and techniques of photography's analogue past. I am sure some photographers feel this is a shortcut that subverts the art but there has always been a small subversive side to me anyway. As much as I admire the artists who use the original equipment, it is not practical for me.


I recently downloaded the software that Nik is now giving away for free. It was a price I couldn't refuse. It took a while but I finally tried it. I decided to use a couple of images that I probably would have discarded because I thought they might not express what I felt when I took the photo. I think Nik allowed me to create images that are worth saving, sharing and looking at again; images that make me understand why I wanted to get out my camera when I saw the scene originally. They were taken with the same Sony RX100 but were treated to look like photos that were the result of using equipment and printing techniques from two different eras.

I was walking with Dusty a couple of weeks ago when her ball went into the water and was quickly swept beyond our reach. She stood at the edge of English Bay watching her toy slowly drift away while she made tentative forays into the surf but without the confidence to follow through. A young couple came along with their black lab and, after analyzing the situation, sent him in to get the ball. To our relief he brought the ball back. We spoke for a minute and as they walked away I took a picture of them against the backdrop of the city. I liked the way the photo turned out. 


I fantasize that they might see this and would somehow get in touch and I could repay their thoughtfulness with a momento of a spring afternoon ... that's one of the gifts of photography, saving a moment that might easily be forgotten.

This is a relatively new image that I hope to show at the South Main Gallery during the Capture Festival. Capture is a month long celebration of the photo arts where Vancouver galleries feature local photographers. I am proud to be part of the "Intervals: Photography In Flux" show that will be openeing on April 2nd. Here is a link to the Capture website. I hope to see some of you there.

One Saturday afternoon in the early 1970's I was browsing the used record bins in one of my favorite record stores in downtown Winnipeg. I happened to buy two albums that day. I had never heard of either Eric Satie or Dan Hicks but I liked the album covers and very quickly came to love the music. 


Eric Satie was a unique voice and character in early modern music and Dan Hicks was equally singular in the last half of the 20th century. In a time of glitter and glam and endless guitar solos, Dan Hicks was a songwriter whose influences ranged from all across the accoustic spectrum, from jazz to country swing. He had a sense of humor and great driving rhythms but it was in his ballads that I found his most moving moments. My favorite was "News From Up The Street" from his "Where's The Money" album.


Dan Hicks died a couple of days ago, on February 6, 2016, to be exact. This article from Rolling Stone talks a little bit about him and gives some nice examples of his music and stage personality. There is also a link to Dan's website in the article where you can purchase albums. 


The photo above is one I took of one of my favorite trees, on a point at the end of Spanish Banks. Like the music of Dan Hicks and Eric Satie it stands alone and gives me joy and comfort every time I visit it.


Okay, no more death for a while.




There are questions that I ask myself with every photo I display. Is it journalistic or artistic? Is it symbolic, metaphoric, a narative, or is it purely, sensually, decorative? Or, is it some happy combination of all those things? What is the chord that is struck inside the viewer and will it continue to vibrate whenever you look at it?


When I took this photograph (it is actually two or three photos stitched together) I was on my way home, from Nanaimo, by ferry. I had just spent 24 hours with an old friend, his family and friends. I hadn't seen him for over thirty years before that weekend. By the time I started working on this photo, just a few days later, he had passed away. 


For obvious reasons, at least to me, this photo reminds me of a famous 19th century painting by Arnold Böcklin, but with a very different effect. There was no morbidity in Albert (Bo) Gray, just a sadness at having to leave the people and things he cherished. There was no fear. He was the first among our group to strap on a backpack, head out into the world and face the unknown. 


Before he left, Albert reminded me that we pass the torch of love down through the generations one act, one sacrifice, one person at a time. Nice trick Bo.



I didn't get to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah so I will do that now. I want to also wish everyone a Happy New Year! This is going especially to those friends and family struggling at this time of year. Keep searching for the beauty in the world. My best to all.


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