The phrase Kla-how-ya, which is the Chinook word for “welcome”, was the phrase of the day as visitors were greeted at the Pan Pacific yesterday during a media event which marked the erection of an aboriginal village in the lobby of the hotel. Representing First Nations from around B.C., the village will showcase their culture and remain in the Pan Pacific’s spectacular lobby throughout the Olympic Games.
We were lucky enough to shoot the ceremony side-by-side with the talented Deo Cruz, who was able to help us capture all of the key moments as an event of this scale usually requires more than one shooter. We call him our secret weapon.
16 First Nations members got a hand from the hotel’s kitchen staff to carry the massive 40-foot ceremonial canoe Raven’s Song, which will be the focal point of the village, through the front doors and up two flights of stairs to a stage. The canoe was built by Bill Helin in 1993 for a journey to the Commonwealth Games in Victoria and is said to have been on eight different journeys since then.
Helin, along with six apprentice carvers, took more than four months to carve Raven’s Song, representative of a Tsimshian war canoe, out of a 540-year-old red cedar log. The raven is also the most profound character in First Nations mythology.
The Kla-how-ya village officially opens to the public on Feb.12. For 16 days following, it will showcase traditional dancing, cedar-bark weaving, aboriginal fashions, jewelry making, carving and storytelling.
Several days following the international Help-Portrait event, the team at Jonathan Cruz Photography and the many amazing volunteers are still reeling from an extraordinary day spent with some extraordinary people.
The crew set up shop at the Carnegie Library in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown eastside. It was snowing lightly – the perfect day to come inside, have something warm to drink and have your family portrait taken by one of five local photographers, volunteering their time to give back to the community.
It was a busy day, snapping pics, running to and from Gastown Photo (who kindly donated all the beautiful black and white prints!), and framing each portrait for our subjects. All the frames were donated by Homewerx on Davie Street – stop in and check them out – and we were also fortunate enough to have five fabulous makeup artists on hand to gussy up all the gals before each shoot. Special thanks to William F. White International for donating all the lighting and equipment and Off-Set rentals for the makeup stations!
The purpose of the event was to demonstrate that each and every member of our community matters and everyone deserves to have their photo taken with their loved ones. The positive response from the community lead to nearly 400 people having their portraits taken that day.
Thanks to all the many volunteers that made this event a success and a big congrats to all the other events around the world! See you next year.
Philanthropy and photography will go hand-in-hand December 12th as local shooters set up shop in the downtown eastside to photograph families for the holiday season. As the newest member of the Jonathan Cruz team, I seem to have arrived at a good time. Aside from the edgy glamour of Gastown, teeming with artsy folks and film sets galore, I find myself working among some truly dedicated people. Dedicated to giving back to their community at a time of year where it always seems to mean the most.
Help-Portrait is a movement that started with one Nashville-based photographer, who set out to create a social network to engage and inspire photographers around the world to give back to their communities in the form of a photograph. This quickly spread world-wide and I’m excited to get involved here in Vancouver with Jonathan and his crew of talented volunteers.
We’ll be setting up shop at the Carnegie Library on the corner of Main Street and E Hastings Street on Saturday, December 12 from 10am-7pm or until the last shot has been snapped. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and say hello!
Follow the Help-Portrait movement on Twitter or visit http://www.help-portrait.com/ for more information on how you can get involved or coordinate an event in your community.
Guest blogger – Heather Magee