Every now and then an individual walks into our lives and without realizing the impact at the time, the universe grants a wonderful and effervescent gift. This has been true for me, in meeting Christopher Edmonstone of Christopher Edmonstone Photography. If you know me in real life, I am ever so slightly vertically challenged. As average in height as can be. Being someone whom moonlights as a festival/concert photographer having a little bit of extra height would certainly be an asset. Enter Christopher, immediately obvious to me. Over this past winter as festival season in north america came to a close I began occasionally shooting events here in Vancouver. It was at one such event that I met; “that really tall photographer” -Christopher Edmonstone. Exactly how talented, I didn’t find that out until later.
Since that evening I have been watching this intense man delve deeply into his art, in fact it has been the most inspiring experience to witness. I have never shied away from openly admitting that I am attracted to vibrant passionate people, Mr. Edmonstone has this quality in spades. Inside this project Christopher has spent the last 100 days consecutively; shooting, editing and then publishing creative and intimate photographs of some of our most talented local Musicians, Artists, Writers, Videographers, Dancers in their own homes. In a word, this passion project is all about connection.
I came across a progression of thought about the art of flow for Christopher that he shared; It was so indicative of the LoveBeingHere vibe. He expressed; “Having spent portions of the last few years traveling through India, Nepal, and many regions of south east Asia I wanted to chronicle mans symbiotic relationship with his environment. I strive to capture images of local peoples engagement with the land and am particularly interested in activities that are carried out largely as they have always been despite the rapidly advancing technological landscape in the world at large.”
Here on day 101, we are proud to present: Christopher’s latest project. #ArtistAtHome.
Well, it took a long time, a couple of months in fact, of persistently circling back with this #ArtistAtHome to find an opening in his schedule to make this happen. When you are an ultra-talented producer with Two Grammy Awards, a multi-instrumentalist and founding member of a JUNO winning band you are in demand. He has worked with the biggest names in music like Eminem, Pink, Nas and Busta Rhymes. He is constantly on the move between his studio in downtown Vancouver and New York and L.A. It really came to down to the wire on this one as we were only able to get together this morning for this shoot. I am super proud to have such an amazing talent to feature for the 100th consecutive day of #ArtistAtHome. Please meet Chin Injeti!
I was fortunate to have a long discussion with him after he recently spoke and performed at a special music themed PechaKucha Night Vancouver at The Vogue Theatre. What was amazing about his talk was that he didn’t get up and talk about all of the awards he has won and all of the superstars and ‘up and comers’ he has worked with. Instead he spoke of ‘Gratitude’ and how truly thankful that he was for the life he has. It has not been an easy road, having been born in India and contracted polio which left him wheelchair bound for most of his early life. He was grateful to his amazing parents that moved their lives to Canada to give him a better life and chance for treatment. Lessons learned in the struggle to overcome his illness have suited him well being an artist. He learned anything is possible if you work hard and he credits that work ethic as instrumental to his successes.
We chatted about the struggle and the sacrifices we both have seen in the lives of people pursuing their dreams. It isn’t easy and he says he gets anxious if work slows down. He wants his kids to have the same opportunities as the children whose parents have regular jobs and it drives him on.
I have talked to many artists about what it is like to be opening for a major act, and he told me a funny story about getting to tour with James Brown for three weeks when Chin’s trio, Base is Base was still together. Despite being the opening band for Brown, they had yet to meet him and it was nearing the end of the tour. They actually had to call somebody to arrange a meeting. As he tells it, “When the time came for them to meet James Brown, they entered a room filled with Brown’s band on one side and a bunch of women on the other side looking very disinterested. An assistant walked the length of the room to where James Brown was sitting, with hair curlers on, under one of those domed hairdryers getting his nails done. ‘Mr. Brown – the kids are here to meet you. ‘ The kids ? He replied. ‘Oh right -yes…The Kids…. send them over ‘ (Kids being Chin and his bandmates who where in their 20’s)” Apparently, Brown got up with curlers in hair, said hello to the three of them, exchanged a few pleasantries and says ‘let’s do a picture !’ With curlers still in his hair the four of them posed for a shot. No sooner had camera clicked when Brown says ‘ Ok – get the F@ck out ! ‘ Such can be, these brushes with superstars.
Many thanks to Chin for squeezing me into his schedule! For all things Chin Injeti check out his website at www.chininjeti.com
We are pleased to share that the ENTIRE #ArtistAtHome series will be running over at Vancouver Is Awesome in the very near future. We’ll update the link as it becomes available. In the mean time, head over to Christopher’s Facebook page and subscribe for the daily updates.
A note from Christopher Edmonstone:
Today is the 101st day of consecutively posting a new #ArtistAtHome portrait !!!! It really came down to the wire here. Both the 100th and 101st were photographed yesterday morning and evening! I don’t know what it means but it seems to be an interesting milestone. When I started out I had could not anticipate what lay ahead, the immediate goal being to just refine my craft.
So many things came together at the right time for this to work. Chiefly, people had to say ‘Yes’ to having me come into their living rooms, bedrooms, hallways, staircases, kitchens, closets, bathrooms and for some with alternative living circumstances, a sailboat and even a storage locker! This fact has never been lost on me and I am forever thankful.
While I was already friendly with many of the artists, for most, I had never been to their homes, for others we may have only recently met or had never met before I was at their door. Interestingly, many of the artists had never even been to people’s places that they have known for years either!
I was inspired to make this project as inclusive as possible, to not only include musicians but give me the leeway to include dancers, writers, actors and of course videographers, and photographers. With each passing day my love for the project grew and it has actually been more work than the full time job I have been putting off getting!
Many times I would have to arrange two photoshoots a day to provide a buffer, to give me some days off and time to recruit more subjects, while still posting new artists. I have been over to Vancouver Island, Whistler, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, The West End, Coal Harbour, Kits, Oakridge, Yaletown, Shaughnessy, Strathcona, Mt. Pleasant, Gastown, Commercial Drive, and Hastings Sunrise to capture these images. I have never spent so much time in East Vancouver in my life, and I have been constantly amazed at how many fantastic areas there are in the city. The hospitality I have received has been truly amazing. Many times I left homes a little wobbly and always happy.
When you ask yourself what do you want to do in your life and the answer comes back – I am doing exactly what I love to do – That is a pretty fantastic realization.
Everyday has been awesome. Everyday, I have been able to spend quality time with some of the most interesting, talented, and inspiring people in the city. The crazy thing about it is, literally, you just have to start doing it. Overcoming the mental inertia of all things you tell you yourself why something won’t work is the hardest part. I have made a concerted effort in my life to do this and it takes vigilance to remind yourself to go for what you want.
For me, #ArtistAtHome became much more than just a taking a cool photo. It was getting to know people, away from the chit chat that usually occurs out at a venue before or after a performance. There is something unique about being in someones home, photographing them. If I was a relative stranger when I came in, I felt like I bonded through the process with every single person and when I left I had a new or strengthened friendship. I think sometimes we might not appreciate how many talented people we have in this city and it has been my absolute pleasure to celebrate these people and share them with everyone I know. It has been amazing to watch the reaction and the outpouring of support the photos and stories have received from their friends and family. To have people believe in what you are doing is a pretty great feeling.
To the Artists: your stories are fascinating. From inspiring to tragic to really funny. One thing I have noticed amongst most people in the series are the sacrifices and the struggle that comes with a life of pursuing their dream. Not everyone is going to be a mega star, although, I believe anything can happen.
The definition of success at it’s core is personal.
For most, their drive comes from the love, and the need to express themselves through the doing of ‘it’ whatever their craft. Steve Bays told me the reason he works so many crazy hours is the fear of having to do something he didn’t want to be doing for somebody else, even if it means working twice as much.
In theory, this project go on indefinitely, as there are always more new and talented people to bring to you and that, is a good thing. The reality is that it can’t continue at this pace for much longer as it is not financially viable. However, I am so thrilled and proud to share with you some really exciting news. #ArtistAtHome will be run in it’s entirety, from the beginning on the Vancouver Is Awesome website! ! ! This will be a great way to introduce these artists to a very large audience. I will continue to profile artists in their homes, it likely will not be everyday though.
I have a huge heartfelt thanks to all of the Artists that have let me into their lives. The past four months have been very special to me, and it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I look forward keeping the dream alive.
Love to all !
Words by | Deanna Beaudoin