Newsletter - July 2017



I enjoy reading (probably more so than I enjoy photography) and have a tendency to underline quotes that match who I am and how I think or feel. Since I have the habit of going back to re-read books I come across these underlined passages from time to time. Last month I decided to start writing down the quotes on 5x3 recipe cards; what I will do with these I don't really know yet. I figured here was a good place to share a little insight into what & how I think, and also give you something to consider.

Interesting things

  • I'm running out of bookshelf space, and thinking one day of having to move my books half way across to the globe back to Canada gives me pause in buying something new. This small periodical makes me second guess my book ban.
  • Any other science fiction or fantasy book nerds reading this? Here's an older reading list that I've had bookmarked for a while. Since summer is coming and I tend to do more reading this time of year let me know if there are any I should buy.
  • Shinjuku station, the busiest station in the world. A labyrinth of exits, entrances, train lines, shops and ... sight of 1969 counter culture movement in Japan. Wait what? Hard to believe it was the stage of anti-war concerts, demonstrations, rallies and hunger strikes.
  • An art campaign created to show the environmental benefits of walking.
  • How to make a woodblock print: "To make a print one needs paper, colour and blocks." A bit simplistic since you need to carve an image into a block of wood which requires special tools, long periods of time, and well SKILL. However it's a decent simplified introduction to the process.
  • "A few hours a week, Carole does my laundry and counts my pills and picks up after me. I look forward to her presence and feel relief when she leaves. Now and then, especially at night, solitude loses its soft power and loneliness takes over. I am grateful when solitude returns."
  • Kathleen Donohoe examines the landscape of memory, the style of the prints is what originally caught my eye, this also reminds me of my own (neglected) series involving memory.

Visual Review June 2017

Call this a monthly photo-journal, a selection of images that I took during June. Most of these images I took while walking around on my breaks from teaching, but a few of these images are for projects that are currently "In Progress".

Enjoy the photos, and I'd appreciate if you could take a moment to let me know what you think (good or bad). Thanks!

If you enjoyed this month's Newsletter the best way to support it is to pass it along to someone else who might like it. Thanks for taking the time to read.

If you'd like to have this Newsletter delivered to your inbox you can subscribe here.


Lastly, I'd like to thank everyone who has purchased prints from Editions of Three! These two images have been the most popular — if you've ever wanted prints of either, now is the time, there are only a couple left of each before they are sold out!

Memory of Shinjuku
from 15.00

"What was once a black market area following World War 2, is now a maze of narrow alleys, a stark contrast to the bright and clean modern environs of the station."

Add To Cart
Cocoon #1181
from 15.00

"The shape and exterior wrapping of the building resembles a silkworm's cocoon, apt imagery for a building which houses three separate educational institutions in the heart of busy Shinjuku."

Add To Cart

Frozen & Shattered

Memory is delicate, we think of it as static, but it's fluid and ever changing. Each memory we have is clouded by our conceptions, perceptions, moods, and through time — what we think we remember may not have been.

We carry memories we wish we could destroy, to remove their burden upon us. How about a good memory? Would you willfully destroy a single good memory? Photography is one way we augment our recollection of life and events. What we photograph is how we want to conceive the present — later the past — and how we wish to be perceived. Would you be willing to destroy a photograph that binds you to a special memory or event? Would destroying it help you to have a stronger connection, especially if all traces of that photograph would be gone? Leaving you with only the memory.

That is what I did.

Moving to Tokyo in 2006 was a significant life event for me, so for this project I chose one photograph for every year that I have been living in Japan — photographs that hold special importance to me. There needed to be meaning in each photograph, a strong emotional connection to an important event or a certain memory; a photograph that would be missed if it was gone. Without that emotional connection this project would have been for naught.

Once selected I printed one copy of each photograph, and then froze them — like how I perceive the memory of that event is frozen in my mind. These frozen images, like the memories of them I carry, are clouded, cracked and distorted. Then I purposely shattered each one, much like the way our perceptions of an event can be shattered when confronted with conflicting evidence.

I then went one step further — destruction. I deleted the digital file for each photograph, and erased the surface of each one clean — I removed all traces of the photographs, leaving only these frozen and shattered images, and the memories I carry with me. I would like to believe that by purposely destroying these photographs I have strengthened the memory of the event depicted, but in time what will I recall? The authentic memory, or the reality of the memory that I have constructed in my mind ...

June 2017

Selected photographs I have taken in June 2017.

Newsletter - June 2017

Self Portrait (Spring 2017)

Keep it simple (stupid)

Self Portrait (Spring 2017)



I hope I am not alone with this problem. I have a backlog of tasks I want to accomplish, problem is when I sit down to do the work I get bogged down in details and distractions, and end up making my process too complicated. I've given the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) advice to many people, however I tend to forget it when it comes to my own work, so this past week I've been trying to follow it. The Newsletter is the first project that I plan on keeping simple going forward.

Here is a short list of things I found interesting that I wanted to share with you.

  • Anything worth doing or wishing for will require struggle, hardship and pain - and just like negative outcomes - will help determine the quality of your life. Mark Manson turns the question “What do you want out of life?” on its head.
each medium or technique offers an appeal of its own.... One jumps in and, if lucky, finds ways to proceed.
— Jasper Johns
  • There's an allure to creating monotypes - destruction in creation. I've been attempting to create monotypes, the process distills down to this: you destroy what you created to create something new. The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article on Jasper Johns process of creating his monotypes.
  • Jon Wilkening got me to sit down with him for his podcast The Creative Bar - we discuss coffee, Scotch, photography, projects and process - give a listen and let us know what you think. 
  • In art you know what you like when you see it, just as you know when you detest something. Don't stop there,  now ask yourself "why?", you won't arrive at an answer with ease. Paul Klee suggested to analyze the most elementary components—line, form, and colour—to determine what makes an image successful or problematic.
  • When I visited my family in April, I made this bread with one change to the recipe: I used yeast that needed to be activated. The added time I had to wait for the yeast worked in my favour - rather than throwing everything into a bowl and making it quickly, this added step of waiting for the yeast to do its thing slowed me down and made me pay attention; something we all forget to do in our fast paced lives. And yes, it turned out perfectly
  • 10,000 hours of practice may make perfect, but it isn’t equal when it comes to creativity, which must be original, meaningful, and surprising. Fair warning: it’s a long read.
  • W. Eugene Smith made a lasting impact on photojournalism with his photo essays, here’s a look at Country Doctor, which helped to highlight the shortage of country doctors.
  • Rob Hudson is not your typical landscape photographer, he uses words and creates fiction in his photography series. This was one of the first of his series, Toward the Sun, that I came across.
  • A very short documentary about Ed Ruscha (roo-SHAY) who has had a very long career, “I hope people are inspired by Ed's very earnest approach to art-making and the reminder that ideas evolve and the best we can do is to follow our instincts and move with them.” — Felipe Lima (director)

That's it for this month, thanks for taking the time to read! If you enjoyed this Newsletter pass it along to someone else who might like it, or tell me what you thought.

If you'd like to have this Newsletter delivered to your inbox you can subscribe here.


Newsletter - May 2017


It's May, can you believe it? Hope everyone has been having a productive year so far — some of you probably made resolutions for the year, are you still on top of those? One of mine, the Postcard project, is still on going and I still have some great postcards left to share with you.


The main reason people give up on their ideas is they underestimate the effort gap: the time it will take to go from idea to fruition
— Scott Berkun
  • Inspiration, ideas or creativity, which is most important? Hint: the answer is none of the above. Berkun has a short series of tweets which might interest some of you to read. For those who want the answer, keep reading I'll address it at the end of this newsletter.
  • "Walking is an act of faith. Walking is, after all, interrupted falling. We see, we listen, we speak, and we trust that each step we take won’t be our last, but will lead us into a richer understanding of the self and the world.” A very interesting essay by Garnette Cadogan on the realities of being black in America.
  • "Walking is a luxury in the West. Very few people, particularly in cities, are obliged to do much of it at all. Cars, bicycles, buses, trams, and trains all beckon."
  • I was told to check out this Commute Project 2016, I really like the concept of taking the same photo day after day after day, which got me thinking. I've been commuting and walking the same streets, near where I work, for 10 years — you'd think it would get boring after a few months or after a year or two. Yet the streets still surprise me with new visuals, change and growth. Seeing the same area day in and day out is a large influence on my photography and creativity and actively looking at what is currently around you; far too many people don't do this enough, instead they are always thinking the great scenes to be photographed are on holiday destinations. If you can't take good photographs where you live, you won't have much luck while on vacation.
  • I'm always curious what other photographers look at for inspiration. Do they look at famous photos? Local Artists? Their own cities? Living in Japan I look at a number of photographs taken by Japanese (also Japanese), foreigners residing here and tourists, I find this blend helps me see things that I might miss or not recognize.

Artist Journal


"The artist of the future will merely point his finger and say it's art — and it will be art."

Marcel Duchamp


Inspiration, ideas or creativity, which is most important? 
Commitment is the answer. It's what everyone struggles with, it's what drags most people down, it's what kills all potential good ideas. Everyone is creative, everyone problem solves in their daily life (yes, that is creativity), and inspiration can come from virtually anything. I use an Idea Journal to track my ideas, most of them are not good, most of them are terrible, however some will get developed further than the initial scribbles, and very few will become projects. There are also one or two ideas that I know would be extremely hard to make to fruition (logistics, costs, support, etc). The ideas I develop into projects are important to me, like all things important they take time and effort. I struggle with how I spend my time, and have yet to learn or read or discover any "lifehack" that makes it easier — besides doing what needs to be done every day. Does it get easier to stay committed? Yes, but it's just as easy to backslide and lose all progress, so pick yourself up and start doing it all again every day.

Looking to add some art to your walls? Or a gift for a friend? I have a series of prints from a selection of some of my more popular images, along with experiments, and a few favourites of my own in small edition runs of 3 which you will enjoy.

That's it for this month, I am keeping this one a bit shorter — so thanks for taking the time to read. If you enjoyed this month's Newsletter the best way to support it is to pass it along to someone else who might like it. If you'd like to have this Newsletter delivered to your inbox you can sign up for that here.