I went through my portfolio earlier this week, seeking the perfect PotW. One of the biggest things that can make or break a photo session is the local, so for this weeks Photo of the Week: One-of-a-kind locations will be discussed. And as a special treat, I have chosen two photos.
As a beginner photographer in a smaller town, I was very restricted in the locations I could shoot as they were already hot spots for the ‘professionals’ doing wedding, graduation, fashion or family photos. I could go to the court house, black bridge, Elmwood Park, etc (If you live or are from Swift Current, you know exactly where I’m talking about), but why? These locations have been over used and I never saw anything original or unique with the photographs because it’s been done.
It was my mission to find a locations that weren’t always the easiest to get to but provided a unique perspective and piece of art for my viewers to ponder about. I always loved having people ask me (particularly other artists) where I shot as the location was brilliant. On top of this, having the correct network of people in the community made it easier for me to secure these locations.
Some of my favourite places to photograph in good ol’ Speedy Creek were:
- The Military Airport (no longer in operation) – This is a beautiful location with a lot of history. The airport was used once as a military training facility thus the property is dotted with old airplane hangers and other buildings.
- The Tait Farm – I always had easy access to this property as it’s my cousins. Their property is beautiful with an old barn, rustic cars and a beautiful valley. They have always left the invitation open for me to show up and shoot. I’ve actually used their miniature horse as a prop with one of the models I shot.
- The old Shack – The Shack was the old night club in Swift Current. Very popular for young adults aged 19 – 23, this weekend gathering spot provided more than just a place to dance, drink and socialize in. This three story building must have been built in the 1930’s and the upper levels have fallen into disrepair. That isn’t always bad when the upper levels have floor to ceiling windows that face south, allowing for perfectly diffused light to flood the space.
- In Butt-**** No Where – This probably sounds silly, but honestly, as an artist, you need to do your research. Get into your vehicle. Drive around the city, go down some back roads, or talk to people around the community. Some of the best locations will be ones that have never been seen before.
This leads us into this weeks PotW. I drove around and tried to look for locations that are unique and unusual. Being a younger, dare devil , I found quite a large storm drain near the local golf course. Seeing I could fit in it, I took my adventure by crawling down the tunnel. I noticed the tunnel began to widen and I could slowly stand up. On top of that, I could see the light at the end getting closer and brighter. When I made it to the end, it was like a whole new world.
I thought I was the only one that took the trip down the storm drain, but at the end, it was covered in beautiful graffiti throughout. There was a large grate that stopped large debris from entering the system and at the top, it was neatly cut to allow access out of the drain. I think this was cut illegally, but allowed me to explore more. Not only did I find a unique location, there were old appliances scattered around the area. Don’t ask me how they got there, but they would provide perfect props for the shoot.
I have shot with Laila a lot as she was part of the same modelling agency as me at the time. I knew she was up for anything so I threw out the idea to her. She obviously was up for it and asked if her best friend Jesse could join. Why not – let’s shoot both parties.
We got to the entrance of the location where I led the way down the storm drain, promising our safety as we crawled down it, hoping there was no rain coming.
Once we arrived at the shooting location, we were all very excited to start photographing. As you can see, both Jesse and Laila were more than comfortable to work together and we got some amazing shots! We played around the location for a good couple hours before we headed back down the storm drain, back to reality. It is still one of my favourite locations to shoot and was so thankful for the risk the Laila and Jesse took so I could get some stunning portfolio pieces.
If you want to check out the photo set further, check out the album on Facebook. There, you will find more too the work that was completed with Laila, as well as many other pieces from the past to present.
Do you have ‘secret’ locations that you shoot? Are you needing photos and have a great idea for a location? Share and tell me your stories.
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Until next week, stay safe, stay healthy and stay distanced.