June 1, 2009

Ski Idaho

I posted earlier this year about a memorable ski vacation I took with great friends to Idaho. I recently rediscovered the photos again, and decided there was too much fun stuff going on in them to not let them see the light of day, or web.
So, here they are, in a brand-spanking new slide show on my website featuring shredding in da 'Ho. Clicking the photo will also take you there. It highlights the comedic genius of none other than the shreddah "Zed" Scott Winston. I can't wait to go back!
I also think I'm developing a taste for not processing my photos for months, and then revisiting them to see if I "see" anything new in them. I think it worked here with a couple of these photos. Thank you again to Carolyn and Isabel for letting us stay. I hope to see both of you soon!
for now, enjoy... see ya in the white room next wintah bros! Kam

May 30, 2009

Phone Photos

I'm certainly not the first to discover the ability to make somewhat-creative photos with your phone - with a lot of ease. A lot has been written about this on many different blog sites, and more and more people are embracing this rather accessible medium as an outlet for creativity.

So, one rainy day, I decided to give it a shot at Kensington market in Toronto. My opinion? It's pretty handy. Maybe not totally my style as I'm not too "artsy-fartsy" with my photos all the time, but I like the possibilities it provides. At least it encourages you to think and see more visually.

Enjoy the photos while I update my photo website. Seems like a never ending task... Kam.

April 22, 2009

The Road to Ayacucho

It's been at least 2 weeks, and A LOT has happened - believe me! By the way, Scotty, thanks for reading this, I'm writing this in large part for you!
Managed to do some climbing, first at a local gym (then went to a crag although I didn't climb), which had an awesome vibe. First off, it was outdoors, with a home-made feeling. Not too many roped climbs (not that I remember) but a lot of outdoor bouldering, fire pit, barbecue, that sort of stuff. and the people were amazing! Imagine getting off a problem, having a swig of brew and a bite of sausage right off the grill - that's what I'm talking about! Next time I'm there, I'll snap some photos for y'all!

Next off it was for a weekend at a friend's cottage and a day of climbing in an area about 50km east of Lima, the name of which I'll have to verify for you. The rock was a bit chossy, but otherwise felt like like some sort of sandstone conglomerate. The area looks like it is still being developed, as routes looked untraveled with some loose rock. The canyon had a lot of potential, and I'm sure that the locals know of many MANY more areas and access point. All in all, Peru looks like an awesome climbing destination, at least from what I saw for sport and trad. (I hear Huaraz, up north, is in a league of its own- kind of like our Bugaboos.)

On Wednesday of the following week we took a long bus ride - about 10 hours long. I realize that 10 hours in a bus is nothing amazing at all, however, within those 10 hours, all of which is done at night by the way, you go from sea level up through a 5000m high pass and then back down to about 3000 meters. The twisting of the bus up switchbacks, the speed of the descents, and the loud shear of very very poor rate movies playing throughout the night through the speakers make the ride less than enjoyable. Arriving at 7 am in the city of Ayacucho with a bad head ache, both from altitude and the in-ride experience. Ayacucho, I will leave to the next blog, because it deserves at least two or three entries to itself. All I can say is, if you get a chance to go, especially for Semana Santa like we did, don't think about it, just go! It's one of the biggest celebrations of any kind that I have seen.

Clicking the image to the left takes you to an amazing sideshow.
As always, more soon - hopefully sooner than before.


April 8, 2009

Interviews and Field Visits

The first week and a half has seen our small Paradigm Shift Project team slowly rack up a lot of miles in film and photography. We've filmed and photographed on four separate occasions which leaves a lot of raw photos and footage for editing. That's a lot when you consider the time ration of shoot to edit is somewhere around 1 to 3. Regardless, it's better to have a lot of photos and footage than less.

We've also had a few days of computer work which has resulted in edits of all things photographed being complete. PSP has posted up new material on their project page, which you can view here. In addition to captioned photos, you should also keep checking their blog for regular updates from the team, including me. And please don't forget that if you or someone you know would like to donate to the project, you may do so through any of these links. The donation is secure through PayPal.

And finally, I've managed to scramble together a project page for all of you wondering how the photography is coming along. The Peru Project is a standalone page on my website. Please access it through the link provided. You'll find complete slideshows as well as descriptions and captions of the albums. Please let me know your thoughts and comments either through this blog or via email.

Finally, we managed to get some rest at a cottage a few days ago, and got out to do some climbing - the photos are coming. In addition to this, we are leaving this evening for Ayacucho and Semana Santa (Holy Week). I expect the images to be amazing, and can't wait to put together an online album for when I get back.

Please drop me a line when you get a chance with any of your comments:
contact (at) kamilbialous (dot) com

See you in a few days!

April 3, 2009

Best Way to Get to Know a Place: Take the Bus

It's been said before, so I won't beat the same old drum, however, I'll encourage you to take public buses as much as you can abroad, and you won't be disappointed. Not only do you get to know the streets, but it provides countless opportunities for photography in a relatively safe environment.

We've been taking buses here in Lima as much as possible, and I've come to appreciate the minute intricacies of taking these 'collectivos.' First you gotta be ready to run: for the bus, getting off the bus, it's always a hussle. Two, standing is much cooler (temperature) than sitting with a sticky, sweating back against pleather in 30 degree heat. Finally, there are good drivers, and slow drivers. By good drivers, I mean that they drive the bus like they stole it. Weaving in and out of lanes, going against traffic if necessary, running reds, and taking off before you've gotten a chance to get both feet aboard. And you know what? It's a hell of a lot of fun, so do it! Take the bus!

Above: Lima bus travels down Avenida Benevides towards Larco and Miraflores.

Here are some more pictures from our documentary travels:
Left: Rebecca Sweetman and Andrea Maldonado on a rather long and hot bus ride through Lima.

Left: Traveling by bus through Lima. The woman in the photo opens the rear door, calls out to people on the street to let them know where the bus is going, as well as collects payment and distributes tickets. It's a job full of hussle. This was a quite time.

Left: And finally, just because of how cute she is, here you have Peggy and I sharing the couch. This is one of two dogs that live at the house where we're staying, to whom Rebecca has dedicated a lot of hours of training. It's paying off Beck!

Talk Soon!

On Documentary Travel Photography

First off, I would like to direct you to the original site for which I wrote this entry. It's The Paradigm Shift Project's Blog - the documentary team I am shooting with in Lima. I am re-posting it here to expose you all to the project's great blog, but also to fill in everyone else.

“In documentary travel photography, I’m often faced with presenting what are uneventful everyday occurrences to some, as new and exciting images in which the subject captivates the viewer of the image. I have been “seriously” photographing for about 5 years, and despite where and what I may be shooting, there is nothing I love more than people: young, old, rich poor, happy, or curmudgeonly.

Let’s at least acknowledge this: when we travel, and especially to destinations deemed “exotic,” we can’t help but photograph life’s everyday events, which are often very uneventful. I am speaking about those photographs we all take, such as old people sitting down on a park bench, cats walking down alleys, pictures of cars driving on a street - perhaps just an empty street – or even that lone statue or sculpture in the middle of town, that we really down know much about, but we still photograph. Why?

It all comes down to us trying to compress what we are experiencing around us through all of our senses, into only one: the visual image. The image won’t tell us that the air smelled of car exhaust and smog, the sound of the car horns peeling as the cars and buses screech by us, coupled with a foreign tongue surrounding us, or the unbearable heat and humidity that forces rivers of sweat down our backs. Hence, we try to take as many photos as we can in the hopes of “remembering.”

Left: Charming people dance to salsa and cumbia music in downtown Lima's Parque Kennedy, as crowds of onlookers also pass the lazy afternoon.

I believe there is a way to avoid this “spray and pray” approach to photography that often under-delivers results. Providing a context and reason for the subject in the photo is a start, but engaging the subject to reveal its own reason for existence is crucial – it lets us see it as
an essential part of a much greater whole. Photographically speaking, this is often difficult to achieve successfully, and just happens to my personal goal with the Paradigm Shift Project. To be truly great, we have to understand the motivation of our subjects, and PSP’s Peru project is off to a great start in this respect, through all our combined efforts.

The photo at the top is from our first full day in Lima. In parque Larcomar overlooking the ocean, there is an art installation of bottle caps collected from many different neighbourhood streets in Lima. Not only does it show the waste produced by bottled drinks, the carelessness of discarding a bottle cap, consumption patterns throughout sectors of the city, but most importantly the fact that the whole is much greater then all its little parts. All these bottle caps displayed separately could never convey the message they do when they are together. I like to think that with this project, we’re trying to combine all the voices in Lima about the necessity for urban agriculture, and I’m sure that the final total will be greater than its parts.”

Left: Andrea Maldonado gushes her affinity for Parque del Amor while overlooking the ocean at Larcomar, Lima.

That's it for now. Slideshows to follow a
s soon as I get a second to breathe. In the meantime, check out the project blog here.


March 29, 2009

Saturday Mar 28, 2009 : Toronto to Lima

We rumbled down the runway like a bumblebee overdosed on Codeine. (Think slow, kind of rolling side to side, and really unsure if we’re gonna fly.) The plane was packed full in every seat except the extra empty seat next to the window, which was mine – this remained for the flight. Score!
Just about an hour earlier I had strolled up to the check-in counter and upon being asked where I was destined, I replied, “Lima – Peru” making sure to roll the “r” to make it seem important, yet still keep it light-hearted coming from a visibly white guy. After a two hour flight I found myself in the temperate clime of Miami, my stopover en route to Lima.
If you’ve never been to Miami, like me, you may underestimate the extent to which the Spanish language is spoken in the place. It’s quite amazing really. I would hazard to guess that more than 75 percent of people around me are speaking Spanish. I love it. When I honed in on the closest airport café to fix my coffee craving, I almost defaulted to Spanish but caught myself just before uttering, “Un café Americano por favor.” It would have gone over just fine, as I discovered the employees were speaking Spanish amongst themselves.
And this is where you find me: sitting in Miami (mee-ya-mee) trying to stay on top of the blog which I’ve dedicated myself to for the duration of the trip. I look forward to my upcoming flight like I look forward to sitting in a can of peas for 6 hours. Nonetheless, my excitement is starting to build as I think about the next 5 weeks of shooting.

Hasta Luego Amigos!