1. On the topic of Olympics, I thought I would share a recent project I shot for the Globe & Mail for the upcoming Sochi games.

    I pitched an idea to John Lehmann, The Globe’s west coast photojournalist, and we both agreed to try it out at the Canada Olympic Media Day. This is a time where almost all of the Canadian Olympic hopefuls are introduced to the media in one day. Different agencies, outlets, publications and newspapers all have separate hotel rooms which they use as studios and the athletes are each slotted with around 15 minutes of time in each room. This is where all the interviews, pictures and quotes are from when you see all the pre-hype to the Olympics on T.V or in the newspaper. 

    Anyways, we decided that we would shoot the athletes on a polaroid camera and have them sign the the bottom of the polaroid image with a message to Canadians. While the polaroid was developing, John would take a portrait of the athlete on a digital camera and sports writer Dave Ebner would interview them. 

    This was a different approach and produced an interesting collection of images. Other photographers from different publications produced some beautiful work as well, including Jimmy Jeong for the Canadian Press which can be seen here.

    The final product turned out great and the Globe used the Polaroids as a two-page ‘Folio’ and on A1. 

     
  2. Just go shoot. 

    The Pigeon Park market is 2 blocks away from my apartment and every Sunday I often find myself walking down and loitering around Carrall street for a few hours or two. This is a people watching playground, my overwhelming curiosity pulls me in and the high tide of characters keeps me under.

     
  3. An update from the last few weeks assignments. I have a few personal projects that I am currently working on and will post them here as soon as they are published. Thanks for looking!

     
  4. Here are a few photos from last week’s assignments which concluded with 3 days of Davis Cup Tennis over the weekend. 

     
  5. Some assignments from last week. 

     
  6. "Ken Hayden has owned and operated the Varsity Ridge Bowling lanes in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver since 1981. The bowling alley itself has been around for close to 63 years. New condo developments have driven the Kitsilano icon to shut down shortly, leaving the city of Vancouver with less then 4 bowling alleys, a feeble number compared to over 20 bowling alleys present 40 years ago.”

    Ben Nelms for The Globe & Mail.

    Read the story here - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/its-the-final-frame-for-famed-vancouver-bowling-alley/article9650340/

     
  7. A few singles from the last weeks assignments. 

     
  8. Mathew Arthur, 30, has converted his van into a 45 sq. foot living space. He is intending to live in his new home for a year.

    I spent a few days with Mathew shooting a small picture story I pitched to the Globe & Mail. 

    Read more about Mathew his van here:

    http://qa3.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/seizing-the-opportunity-to-live-with-less/article8798256/?cmpid=rss1

     
  9. In the shadow of the Superbowl.

    I have always really enjoyed covering pro tennis. Photographing it is much different than any other ‘Canadian’ sport such as CFL or NHL. The field of play is much smaller, but angles and clean backgrounds are always on your mind. Although there was no beautiful light like the Australian Open has (see colleague Mark Blinch’s work here) there was emotion and a great story line. This year’s Davis Cup earned Canada their biggest win in Tennis since, well…ever.

     
  10. A few assignments from the last week or so. 

     
  11. Press conferences are known to be rather dry, boring and most of the time irrelevant. This is especially true visually. However, that being said press conferences are a crucial communicative link between the general population and the source of the news. 

    The public release of the the long awaited Missing Women’s Inquiry was neither dry, boring and certainly very relevant.

    Greif stricken mothers and family members of women who were slaughtered by serial killer Robert Pickton where overcome with emotion at the findings. Along with commissioner Wally Oppal, Attorney General Shirley Bond was fighting back tears.

     
  12. Left - Author of the book Wheat Belly William Davis poses for a portrait at Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver

    Right - Joe Wai, owner and architect at Joe Wai Architect Inc. is pictured in his office in Vancouver, British Columbia

    (Ben Nelms for the National Post)

     
  13. The Gastown Grand Prix, a.k.a the Tour De Gas town, is a bicycle race in Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood. Since 1973 the Gastown race has been won by many famous cyclists’ including; Lance Armstrong (1991), Gina Grain, and Alex Stieda. The race is 50 laps (60 km) around a tight cobblestone circuit for the men and 30 laps for the women. 

     
  14. Sometimes photo stories don’t work out as planned. This is understandable and no matter how much effort or time you put behind the lens it is more often than not, out of your control. That being said, simply because it never goes anywhere does not mean it was worth it.

    A number of months ago my Reuters photo editor sent out a call for photo story pitches in relation to the upcoming Olympic games this summer. I did some research and pitched the idea of following an Olympic hopeful female boxer in Vancouver for a month or so. The catch with this story is that Female boxing is making its debut at the London Olympics. It is the last Olympic sport that isn’t open to Females athletes since women’s wrestling was added in the 2004 Olympics. This story has news value, visual opportunities and potential for a solid feature package for the Reuters wire and its clients around the world. It looked promising and I started to photograph Jaime for a two months.

    It is safe to say that women’s boxing is certainly the undercard compared to the flashy main events long time held by their male counterparts. Training is much the same. Jaime has an inner group of sparring partners and often spars with the same individuals week in and week out. Jaime and the small group of dedicated women boxers in the Vancouver area are all like minded in that they want to see the sport grow. This was evident from day one of shooting this story. Jaime helps out and basically manages the Astoria boxing club on Prior and Main streets in downtown Vancouver. Alisha, who is a part-time school teacher, often brings a group of elementary students to her matches at out of town casinos.

    Although this group of women do all they can to help the sport they love, they often find themselves facing circumstances completely out of their control. Jaime hasn’t fought since before I started photographing her in February. She has been scheduled in a few matches, including a larger fight in which she was starring in the main event. The last minute cancellations are partly due to ill opponents but in the larger picture, are simply caused by the lack of female boxers at the calibre Jaime and her peers are at. With the debut of the sport coming this summer the sport will hope to gain a wider range of appreciation, acceptance and interest. Younger female boxers will be more encouraged to compete in the sport afar witnessing their boxing idols win Olympic glory.

    Jaime unfortunately did not qualify for the Olympics this year. Another Canadian, Mary Spencer of Windsor, Ontario managed to get on a wild-card sport earlier this week and will be making the trip to London to fight for Canada.

    The photo story I worked on with Jaime has come to an end, for now. In retrospective, everything was worthwhile. These things happen and ‘rolling with the punches’ is just another skill you have to have to be in this business.

     
  15. Fans greet Victoria Beckham at Holt Renfrew Vancouver while she is in town prompting her fashion line in Vancouver, British Columbia June 15, 2012. REUTERS/Ben Nelms  (CANADA)

    Victoria Beckham poses for the media and fans at Holt Renfrew Vancouver while in town prompting her fashion line in Vancouver, British Columbia June 15, 2012. REUTERS/Ben Nelms  (CANADA)

    A young girl waits for Victoria Beckham to appear at Holt Renfew Vancouver on June 15, 2012 Vancouver, British Columbia. (REUTERS/Ben Nelms)

    A Vancouver Police officers draw their weapons on three people in a car on Burrard Street in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 19th, 2012. (Photo by Ben Nelms)

    Vancouver Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon makes a save against Conor Casey (R) of the Colorado Rapids with Whitecaps Jay DeMerit during the second half of their MLS soccer game in Vancouver, British Columbia June 16, 2012.   REUTERS/Ben Nelms    (CANADA)