Photographers at play

by DaniGirl on May 15, 2011 · 13 comments

in Photography

Do you know Kym? She’s one of those warm, energetic people that you feel you’ve known your whole life within 10 seconds of meeting her, the kind of fascinating person you want to sit and chat with for hours about everything, because the conversation jumps crazily from topic to topic with a happy randomness of intersecting experience.


She’s also the author of, and for the last year or so she’s been working on a 100 Strangers project with a lot more vigour and enthusiasm than I was pursing mine! (She’s done 67, I’ve done 6. She meets people, gets to know them, and tells a full story in words and pictures for each person she meets where I chat, snap a picture or two, and am done.) In her own words, ‘It’s about style, but not just style. It’s also about telling the story of Ottawa’s people right off the streets of Ottawa herself. This town is more than meets the eye. Over the next several months I want to meet, talk to, and photograph 100 strangers. Pictures will tell one story. People will inspire the other.’


Can you see why I wanted to be a part of her project? So when Kym asked on Twitter if anyone was interested in playing along, I finally found the courage I’d been seeking for months as I’ve been following Kym’s project and said, “Pick me!”

And then Justin butted in. Do you know Justin?


Justin is a very clever and talented wedding and portrait photographer, but I’d never admit that out loud cuz he’s also a bit of a pest in a little brother sort of way. He’s the antithesis of me as far as photographic style is concerned — he’s methodical where I’m random, strobist to my love of natural light, and sets shots up rather than shooting what he comes across.

When I said, “Pick me!” to Kym on Twitter, Justin piped up and said, “No, pick ME!” in typically annoying Justin fashion. Things denigrated into poking, hair pulling and tit punching, in a twittery kind of way, and there was talk of a cage match. In the end, we decided a big photographic playdate would be in order.

Do you know Younes?


Younes is a friend of Kym and Justin, and one of Ottawa’s most respected photographers. I can’t quite tell you how Younes ended up playing with us that night, except I think Justin roped him in so he’d have a ride. And Younes brought Amanda, who was smart enough to stay on the fringes of our little photo bacchanalia in the Arbouretum on a gorgeous spring evening.

The official purpose of our gathering was for Kym and me to meet, so I could participate in Kym’s 100 strangers project, but really, it’s just a lot of fun to get together with people who are as obsessed with your hobby as you are. And as the newest kid on the photographic block, I learned SO much even as we did nothing but bounce around and play like kids in the park. Kids with thousands of dollars worth of photographic equipment, that is.





(Yeah, I’m pretty sure Justin is shooting Younes’ butt. I didn’t ask.)


This next one is not my picture, it’s one of Kym’s, but I love it so much I wanted to add it to my post. It’s fascinating to me how different the look and feel of each person’s photographs are. That’s me on the far left, just a second or two before or after I shot the first picture of Justin I posted above.

The Ottawa Arboretum

You can see Kym’s full set on Flickr, and I’ll link up with her 100 strangers post when she posts it.

This next one is one of Justin’s. All of that lighting kit is his — intimidating as hell and a bitch to carry, but I have to tell you, after working playing with Justin and Kym, I’m really going to have to re-think my reluctance to use my flash. Clearly, I am missing out!

Kind of a Big Deal

There’s some more great stuff, including some incredible portraits of Kym, on Justin’s blog. I have to say, I think that their pictures are on the whole better than mine — I still have a lot to learn — but I think I also had the most fun, so I’m okay with that. 🙂

And, if you STILL want more, you can see a few more of mine on Flickr.

Thanks Kym, for being the inspiration for this fun night out in the park. I hope we’re not strangers anymore!


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nat May 15, 2011 at 7:33 am

Meeting Kim was one of my highlights of the last year…

Looks like a lot of fun!

2 Amy @ Muddy Boots May 15, 2011 at 8:34 am

With each of these posts yall put up, I get even more envious that I missed the fun… assuming i would’ve been invited had I not been thousands of miles and a continent away…

I think photog playdates are the best idea ever!

3 Justin Van Leeuwen May 15, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Finally blogged photo play with @relishing @justinvl and @younesbounhar : Their pix are better, but I had more fun!!

4 Coco May 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Adults (?) at play….what fun!!

5 kimusan May 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Here are @DaniGirl's impressions of being a stranger. @justinvl @younesbounhar

6 meanie May 16, 2011 at 11:14 am

Kim photographed me for her project – it was a huge deal for me bc I don’t necessarily like to be the focus of anything, but it was a bucket list thing for me. She made the whole thing so fun and put me at ease, I think everyone should do it 🙂 Looks like a great time was had by all!

7 DaniGirl May 16, 2011 at 12:10 pm

K, it was your shoot that finally motivated me to be brave enough to volunteer!! I LOVE it!!

8 Lara May 18, 2011 at 7:35 am

Your photos are awesome – I love them!!
I loved being a part of Kym’s project – I still regularly use the photos even though I’ve totally cut my hair and look completely different 😉

9 smothermother May 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm

i’m no. 57. it was such a great experience, and you are right. kym is very much the person that you can sit down and tell your life story to within minutes of meeting. and i pretty much did.

looks like you got a lot out of the play date.

10 Karen June 29, 2011 at 10:56 am

Isn’t Kym amazing!? I was so nervous, but she is so good at engaging people. She looks just as good in front of a camera – it’s impossible to be such a warm, friendly person without that coming through. I love the photog playdate idea. Playdates aren’t just for kids!

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