Author Archive

What is a Binner? Giving back to help others

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Helping in the community

Late last year, I was asked to shoot and direct a PSA for the as a public awareness video and fundraiser. I was contacted by longtime friends and collaborators on many projects, Mark Busse and Johnathon Strebly, who were leading the HCMA team helping the Binnersproject with this campaign. Working with lead designer Bonnie Retief and project architect Alexandra Kenyon, we set out to ask the question “What is a Binner?”

This was a very personal experience, the impact that shooting the video had on me was profound and moving . The project participants that we interviewed all had stories of challenges and life experiences that placed them in the DTES. Not the life that I know and can only imagine what life had been like for them as they spoke in front of the camera. Now their involvement with the Binners project led by cofounders, Anna Godefroy and Gabby Korcheva has brought some dignity, pride and purpose to their lives. People can make a difference in the community if you get involved.

“I am always grateful for skilled creative professionals like Rick who generously find time in their often crazy schedules to help produce media with meaning and impact.”           Mark Busse – Director of TILT Curiosity Labs

“Rick was able to capture the true essence of our Universal Cart Initiative, as well as connect with the binners we work with. In the filming process, he was attentive and professional with the interviewees, and the final video was light, meaningful, and the message clear. He was wonderful to work with!” —                                                                Anna Godefroy – Director, Binners Project

I have always believed in the importance of community and not for profit work, offering my time and skills to help others and hopefully make a difference somewhere. The BinnersProject  is one working concept that really does make a visible and big difference to people in the city that I have always called home.


Client: HCMA / Tilt for

Creative Direction: Mark Busse/Johnathon Strebly

Project Architect: Alexandra Kenyon

Senior Designer: Bonnie Retief

Director/DP: Rick Etkin

2nd Camera: Jonathan Bell-Etkin

Editor: Alec Richardson


Petcurean Go! Dogs and Cats!

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

Petcurean Go! Packaging and Campaign

Petcurean Go! Packaging

Dogs, cats, kittens, puppies, sounds like the ideal talent for a photography project. As a complete dog lover, when a client says I want to talk about a shoot that has all of the above as subjects for an integrated campaign and packaging, you just say yes.

Last year I was approached by Matthew Clark of Subplot Design Inc. to produce a new series of animal portraits for their long-time client, Petcurean Pet Nutrition to use on packaging and promotion of their Go! Brand. Matthew had previously commissioned me to shoot their own Subplot portraits in black and white and then saw a photo on Instagram of my family pup, Shotgun, that was done as a lens test. Both of these were heading in the right direction for the look and feel needed for their project. The Petcurean brand is well-defined and the quality of the images, like their brand, is premium.

Leap forward almost a year and I can finally share the results of some of the fun we had. The clients helped with talent casting and I assembled a fantastic crew to make it all a success. Added to lots of planning and preproduction for one prelight day and then 2 days of fun with cats and dogs, we created the chemistry for great things to happen.

Matthew Clark, Founder and Creative Director of Subplot Design, “They say never work with pets or kids. Well, I have done both, sometimes together. And when it came time to photograph dramatic portraits of 10 dogs and 5 cats in 2 days, with a mix of amateur and professional pet models, with all the organization and creative talent required, who did I call? Rick Etkin

I have worked with Rick for over 25 years and he is the perfect combination of big-shoot-production-organization-experience with creative-detailed-obsessive photography.” said Matthew.

“And he’s nice, which actually counts for a lot in this business.”

Claire Jensen, Creative Services Director for Petcurean said I’ve been on many photoshoots throughout my career and I can confidently say that the GO! SOLUTIONS shoot that Rick organized and shot was by far one of the best.

The studio was beautiful and spacious, the crew was professional, welcoming, down to earth and fun loving. The food? Where do I begin. How many photoshoots are you on where the photographer bakes homemade bread the night before and brings it to the set for the crew and clients to enjoy for breakfast!?

Aside from the environment that was created for us, the talent and expertise that Rick and his team displayed was clear from the onset. Our end result was high quality images that will carry our brand to a new level on packaging. The images were exactly what we briefed on, and we couldn’t be happier.

If you get the chance to partner with Rick on a project, don’t miss it!

Despite the warning to never work with animals, with the extraordinary talent of Pawsabilities owner, Paul Jasper, the animal trainer working animal magic with the owners of the featured animals, the shoot was a total success with so many image choices for Petcurean.

I am pretty sure everyone worked with smiles on their faces for the entire 3 days. Dog licks and snuggles were being given freely, kitten cuteness was at 11. Who could ask for more?

The Clients:

Client: Subplot Design for Petcurean Pet Nutrition

Design and Creative Direction Matthew Clarke

Project Writing by Pete Pallet

Final digital post was by Matthew at Subplot. 

The Crew:

Co-ordinator Lucie Lareau;

1st assist @_JayDelaney_

Digital and assist @KevinLanthier

3rd assist, PA and BTS photographer @lkbelletkin

Craft and catering by Tina Mohns.

The Technical:

The images are being used in multi platforms and media, from the packages to trade show display walls down to Instagam posts. The packaging is printed with black ink on silver foil. Hard edge light and contrast were needed and everything had to be shot against black duvateen. With all of the 15 four-footed talent, it was essential to stop all action, shoot fast and produce sharp huge files. This was accomplished using profoto A10s and nikon D850 with sigma Art 85mm for most of the session.

To see more images visit

#Profoto #profotoA10 #nikond850 #sigmaart85mm #nikon24-120 #petfood #dogportraits #catportraits #packaging #advertising #germanShephard #catactors #studiophotography #vancouver #BTS #betterwhenyoutether @subplotdesign @petcurean @stage6studio @beauphotostore @tethertools

…..and now for something completely different

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

I am quite honoured to be included as an advisor and presenter in the inaugural Phoenix Training and Professional Development Program taking place from August 13-16th in Squamish BC.  This music industry event is an initiative of Music BC, SFU Beede School of Business and supported by Creative BC and FACTOR



I am deep into creating my presentation, a case study of my real business, using the Business Model Canvas for formulating a future action plan and discussing how business adapts to personal priorities over an extended career.

In addition, I am partnered with Terry Mcbride of Nettwerk records along with 4 other business leaders, as advisors to the lucky 12 music professionals selected to be part of the development program!




Preparing for my Phoenix presentation

I am looking forward to being part of this event and there is no doubt that this will be a great opportunity for everyone to gain some insight and knowledge as well as open a few doors to previously unseen directions.


More Information:


 PHOENIX will provide participants with practical business guidance. It will include a comprehensive review of the different business models found in the contemporary music sector, as well as deep analysis of each business model brought to the lab. Advisers and mentors are drawn from both the music industry and the business world, to give participants a range of perspectives on possibilities and ways forward. The work becomes more personalized for each participant as the workshops progress. Psychology sessions are incorporated to give participants tools for working more efficiently and achieving better work/life balance. Resilience, time and behavioral management are also topics that will be covered in the program.

Subplot’s Superheros Portrait Session

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Subplot Portriats

Roy White and Matthew Clark Subplot  Partners

What can you say when a top Canadian design team asks you to do their portraits for their promotional and profiles? Knowing their standards are extraordinarily high, their clients’ are super-stars and I have known them forever, I was genuinely flattered and said sure…

For those that know Subplot’s partners Matthew Clark and Roy White, serious turns to hysterical pretty fast and they wanted to capture something that reflected their personalities. I think we succeeded and given the creative was to work with a superhero look, I expect it will get some comments as they roll them out.

In Matthew’s words:

“Rick really makes our vision come to life – and then some! He is collaborative, inventive, and is technically perfect. And to get that with a bunch of designers as his subject-matter, well that’s a miracle. But we are so amazingly impressed and happy with our portraits. We’ve never looked so good!”

Subplot -Matthew Clark

Matthew Clark

Roy White

Subplot Design's Creative Team

Subplot Design’s Creative Team

About Subplot

Creative Certainty (tm)

Deductive, decisive, pragmatic, didactic, methodical, empirical, clear-eyed,
fresh-faced, eyebrow-furrowing, poetic, alchemic, chimeric, grenade-throwing, mind-blowing, rule-breaking, breathtaking, kick-at-sacred-cows, maybe-not-what-you-expected-but-for-sure-what-you-need brand design.

assistant: Ehsan Mahdizadeh final digital post: Matthew Clark

Community and Creativity

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Tina Mohns

Tina Mohns

There are many connections that you can make as a photographer, some random, some from assignments, others through community. I have always been an advocate for community, even an activist. This has brought me on many adventures, along with some detours but almost always leading me to people with similar ideas and beliefs on the way.

Pennylane Shen

Pennylane Shen

I have directed my work to my passion, creating “Imagery That Stirs” for myself and for clients. With most of my community work, although it is related to creativity I don’t often get to indulge my passion and profession as a photographer with camera in hand.

Olivia Sari-Goerlach

Olivia Sari-Goerlach

When the opportunity does come up, I jump in lens first. One of those opportunities is being part of the great international arts organization, Slideluck, whose irresistible mandate is “building community through food and art’. Along with co-director Tina Mohns, I have involved other influential people with community interests to help and then placed them in front of my camera so we have a consistent series of portraits of the great people who are the jury and team that is behind the event.

Matthew Clark

Matthew Clark

It was both a chance to recognize the people, that without their help, this event could not happen and for me to have more than an organizational role in Slideluck Vancouver.

Johnathon Vaughn-Strebly

Johnathon Vaughn-Strebly

The jury are all accomplished creatives in the design and art community with extraordinarily high standards, international reputations, community leaders, activists, educators and more. Each has pretty lofty expectations and deserves more than just a passport headshot. The organizing team are all photographers with certain expectations as well so the bar was set high to begin with.

Hope Morris

Hope Morris

We all had a great time during the shoot and I hope you agree the results speak for themselves.

Avalon Mott

Avalon Mott

More about the jury

Slideluck Vancouver lV

Imagery That Stirs – my new website

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016


Imagery that stirs

For the last few months I have been working on a what has been, a labour of love and I am really pleased to be able to finally share my new completely redesigned and updated website to showcase my images!

Photography has been a means of expression, and a source of art and commerce in my life for almost as long as I can remember. I cherish being able to tell stories and communicate ideas and thoughts through imagery.

I have always sought an emotional response to my images, personal or assignment related. To create imagery that stirs …memories, desires, compassion, involvement, fun, or other connections with the viewer.

People inspire me. Children and those who better our world inspire me. The quality of light and how it plays in the beauty of art and nature inspires me. I am always inspired by the creative ways in which people communicate.

As a social and active person, I have enjoyed meeting and interacting with many people who have contributed to making my life much fuller and richer. It is only natural that my images reflect things important in my life; people doing things in interesting places.

I call Vancouver my home, but you may find me working wherever my skills are required. Check out the galleries  “Places I Have Wandered” and “Italy” to see where I have had the privilege to shoot.  “Plantlife” and “Concrete Jungle” are the first of my return to the personal vision and art of the beauty around us.

I hope you will check out the site and would love to hear any feedback. Of course, if you see something that you like and I could help you with your image needs, give me a call!

Portraits of an Artist

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

I recently had the great privilege of being commissioned to work with Backun Musical Services, makers of some of the finest woodwind products in the world, based here in Burnaby B.C.. One of their artists, Eugene Mondie, is currently the Assistant Principal and Eb Clarinetist with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.. Eugene had come to Vancouver to meet with Backun for some custom work on his clarinet and to do a publicity photo shoot for them, which is where I came in. This image is one of my favourites of the session with both the artist and the instrument looking their best.

Portrait by Rick Etkin of Eugene Mondie for @backunmusical with ‪#‎BackunArtists‬

Portrait by Rick Etkin of Eugene Mondie for @backunmusical with ‪#‎BackunArtists‬

Shape, Shadow, Light and Form

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

This is the start of a new personal photographic series that I have been working on recently.

It is inspired in many ways by classic  black and white photographic technique, a series that explores the world around me. All of these subjects were discovered while out walking in areas of Vancouver and were photographed using only natural available light. The images feature the beauty in the shape, shadow, light and form in nature.

I hope you enjoy the series online and eventually on the walls of a gallery.


All images were created with my iphone 4s. For some people a smartphone is a toy, a tool for others and for me, another means to allow creative and artistic expression.
(all images ©rick etkin 2015 and not for reproduction without written permission)

The Importance of Freedom of Expression

Thursday, January 8th, 2015


The morning of January 7th will be remembered for the horrible actions of a group that thought that a Sword is more powerful than a Pen. The massacre of 12 people in Paris in an attempt to silence free thought and expression, will not be accepted by those who believe in democratic and free speech.

All over the world, people gathered in silent vigil to show that we will not bow to this horrible attack. There will be no fear, there will be no silencing of free expression, nor the freedom of press. For those that use terror to control their own people and try to control those who do not follow their beliefs, they have accomplished the opposite. Yesterday’s actions have angered most of the world and proved that we cannot be silenced.

In the age of social media and the internet, more is shared, faster and wider than ever. We know what people are thinking all over the world in an blink of an eye and a click of a mouse. I found out about the Vancouver Vigil via social media and knew that I needed to attend. The horror of the events in Paris struck me very deeply and I wished to show both my respect and defiance by attending.

When I arrived, I was struck by the cross section of people already there, from children to seniors and all walks of life. The silence was overpowering and the signs and pens held by the crowd said volumes.

I chose to record and share what I saw. I am not a photojournalist but felt compelled to document and tell some of the story and feeling of the Vancouver Vigil. This is part of my stand against what happened…

The pen is mightier than the sword will ever be.

"Je Suis Charlie' Slient Vigil at Vancouver Art Gallery Jan 7 2014

“Je Suis Charlie’ Slient Vigil at Vancouver Art Gallery Jan 7 2014

"Je Suis Charlie' Slient Vigil at Vancouver Art Gallery Jan 7 2014

“Je Suis Charlie’ Slient Vigil at Vancouver Art Gallery Jan 7 2014

"Je Suis Charlie' Silent Vigil on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery Jan 7 2014

“Je Suis Charlie’ Silent Vigil on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery Jan 7 2014

"Je Suis Charlie' Silent Vigil on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery Jan 7 2014

“Je Suis Charlie’ Silent Vigil on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery Jan 7 2014

"Je Suis Charlie' Silent Vigil on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery Jan 7 2014

“Je Suis Charlie’ Silent Vigil on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery Jan 7 2014

"Je Suis Charlie' Slient Vigil at Vancouver Art Gallery Jan 7 2014

“Je Suis Charlie’ Slient Vigil at Vancouver Art Gallery Jan 7 2014

“Of Football and Family” – SFU aq magazine editorial

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

SFU Coach Chapdelaine

SFU Coach Chapdelaine –

SFU aq Magazine Cover feature on Clansmen Coach, Jacques Chapdelaine and his sons

SFU aq Magazine Cover feature on Clansmen Coach, Jacques Chapdelaine and his sons

A few months ago, I had the great pleasure to collaborate once again with Vancouver art director, Jane Edwards Griffin for her client, Simon Fraser University aq magazine. It was the cover and editorial spread featuring Jacques Chapdelaine, the coach of the SFU Clansmen Football Team and his coaching assistants, who happened to be his two sons. The feature is called “Of Football and Family”

There is a great history with the coach and the team, and now they are the first Canadian University team to join the NCAA league in the United States. SFU aq Magazine decided to feature this important story for their readership and Jane called on me to create the feature’s photographs.

Squeezing an hour of the coach’s precious pre-season time was instrumental in the final outcome. In the end, had to shoot on campus in the mid-day sun between 11:30 and 1:00 on a very hot, cloudless day in August. Not at all the ideal time to shoot, so finding the right locations was essential. Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of the sports complex’s busy passageways to hide from the direct sun.

Working with Jane is always a treat; she is very hands on and involved to get the best possible results, always open to ideas. We both feel the results of this shoot were fantastic and as the publication has just been released, we will soon get feedback from the readers as well.

“When art directing, my intention is to allow the best opportunity for “all the stars to align”. In the case of aq’s November cover feature, I could not have wished for better synchronicity. Coach Chapdelaine, his two son’s on set, the glorious light filtering through from the Terry Fox field, and of course Rick’s keen eye, intuition and rapport with those in front of his lens. Thank you for being such a bright star, Rick! “

Art Director Jane Edwards Griffin

Of Football and Family - SFU aq Magazine   The Chapdelaines – SFU Clansman Football Coaches


Read the full feature at


Shooting for The National Geographic Society

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

National Geographic event In British Columbia, Mulling the Role of Natural Gas in a Sustainable Energy Future

National Geographic event In British Columbia, Mulling the Role of Natural Gas in a Sustainable Energy Future

    My First National Geographic Society Assignment

At one point in every photographers career you will dream of shooting for the National Geographic Society.

As an organization, the mission of the National Geographic Society is to inspire people to care about the planet. Throughout its 126-year history, it has encouraged conservation of natural resources and raised public awareness of the importance of natural places, the plants and wildlife that inhabit them and the environmental problems that threaten them. The Society also encourages stewardship of the planet through research and exploration, and through education. Through their many media and communication channels, they reach an astounding 500 million people every month.

So you can imagine my response when a friend and client called and left a message asking if I would be interested in shooting for National Geographic. Like a very fast shutter speed with no delay of course I said yes!

The Society has been hosting a series of workshops and think-tanks around the world on the issues of energy and the future called “The Great Energy Challenge” and Vancouver became a focus for a very timely discussion about natural gas and its role in the world’s energy future. The event, held just prior to the Globe2014 conference on the environment brought many industry ( Andy Calitz, Paul Jeakins) and environmental leaders ( Wade Davis, Mark Brownstein, Ellis Ross) along with academics and other stakeholders into one room, to discuss the future of natural gas and how it impacts on the environment, economies, and our way of life.

The Great Energy Challenge - A National Geographic Initiative in Partnership with Shell

I was asked by the National Geographic organizing team to attend and photograph the discussions for use on their blog, printed reports and communication pieces. It may not be what most people would think of me shooting and although it wasn’t for the Magazine with months in the arctic waiting for perfect light and polar bears, it was my first assignment for National Geographic and it is already online with my credit as photographer. It is very thought provoking to read and worth checking out.The Great Energy Challenge - A National Geographic Initiative in Partnership with Shell

I felt extremely fortunate to be able to part of this important dialogue about energy and would like to think that there are other National Geographic assignments in my future, time will tell.

National Geographic event In British Columbia, Mulling the Role of Natural Gas in a Sustainable Energy Future

National Geographic event In British Columbia, Mulling the Role of Natural Gas in a Sustainable Energy Future

Inspiring People, Inspiring Stories

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Meeting Chris Hadfield at the XL Leadership Summit was truly an honour for the space geek and photographer I am. Photo by Kim Stallknecht

Meeting Chris Hadfield at the XL Leadership Summit was truly an honour for the space geek and photographer I am.
Photo by Kim Stallknecht

On February 13th I had the great fortune to represent CAPIC Vancouver as Chapter President and attend the XL Leadership Summit held at Hotel Vancouver.

This inspiring event, presented by the Twenty Ten Group featured a series of fantastic leaders and speakers talking about many topics related to Leadership. Speaking to a packed house, the first up, has had the opportunity to lead literally out of this world and spoke about “The Sky Is Not The Limit”. Col. Chris Hadfield   (@Cmdr_Hadfield) is without doubt, the most famous astronaut since Armstrong walked on the moon.

His talk was humble, funny, fascinating, captivating and inspiring. The entire audience soaked up every word from describing the “Man Diapers” that he put on before his first flight into space to his fluent Russian story about the Ammonia leak that took place just days before he was to return home from the ISS.

Col Hadfield offered many insights into his approach to leadership in a place where there is no room whatsoever for mistakes (the ISS). “Prepare for the unknown: visualize failure”, repeat and do it again so you are ready for anything. “Value everyone on your team” was another way he succeeds. Each member of his crew gets “listening” time where he asks for ideas and gives responsibility to the team so they remain engaged.

His humbleness included describing himself as a failure, as he had not attained the goal he set as a 9 year old watching  Neil Armstrong walk on the Moon. That goal was that one day would walk on the Moon as well… I think we can all agree Col Hadfield is no failure!

By the end of his talk I was completely inspired and, along with the entire audience, easily could have listened to much more. I had not so secretely hoped I would be able to meet him and perhaps, have him sign a book featuring his photography, that my daughter, Lindsay had given me for Christmas.

Fortunatley after his talk, I ran into photographer, Kim Stallknecht, who was on her way to photograph other attendees with the speaker. A big thanks to Kim for the opportunity to not only get the book signed but have a chance to meet briefly and have my photo taken with Col Hadfield!

There was so much more inspiration through the rest of the day, but for me the highlight came at the start of the day.

Many thanks to the team that put the day together, it went well beyond my expectations!

@XL_Summit  @Cmdr_Hadfield

Going Green for Veggie Day in BC

Friday, February 14th, 2014

A fun day shooting with Lamarque Films and Relevention Marketing for BC Greenhouse Growers’ Association’s new BC Veggie Day campaign set to launch March 1st. I worked on the print and web campaign alongside the film production crew.

It was a perfect combination of location, light and propping that made every shot look fantastic. The temperature was a chilly -7 at the start of our outdoor session and was much warmer with about 90% humidity inside the beautiful greenhouses of Windset Farms.

With people and food and great locations, no doubt this is “imagery that stirs”

BC Veggie Day

BC Veggie Day

BC Veggie Day

BC Veggie Day


BC Veggie Day

BC Veggie Day


BC Veggie Day

BC Veggie Day

BC Veggie Day

BC Veggie Day


BC Veggie Day

BC Veggie Day

BC Veggie Day

BC Veggie Day

Something New, But Really Just a Full Circle.

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Long lost Diploma

Full Circle

It seems funny how we can move forward, do new things, have new unfamiliar directions and end up going in a full circle. On Monday of this week, I began teaching one course on Professional Practices with Langara College in their Continuing Studies Photographic Department. This is the first full semester of classes I have taught. I have done many one-off lectures and talks for many schools and groups around Vancouver but not ever a full course.
It is a natural progression for me, I have always believed in sharing knowledge, protecting photographers rights, have been deeply involved in community and giving back or paying it forward when I could.

My experience has been both rewarding and at times trying, as is the life of the self employed. We all ride the roller coaster and photography lends itself very well to that. Being asked to teach about Professional Practices to a class of 29 gives me time to reflect on just what does make this business work and how perhaps I can help them avoid some of the mistakes that I have learned from.

As I prepared for the class I wondered how I was going to introduce myself and give them some insight into my experience. I thought about how interesting it was to be teaching in a classroom literally just down the hall from where I studied photography from 1976-1978. Many things have changed but there is still a real familiar feel to being there.

In my introduction to the class, I spoke about my Olympic experiences and goals as a child. How in 1976, I had just returned from Montreal and started my student life at Langara. Many years later, I ended up achieving my goal of involvement in the Olympics working at Vancouver 2010. I was also able to include Langara students, staff and other alumni in work and volunteer positions at the Games in the Press Operations Department. This led to me being recognized by Langara as an Outstanding Alumnus and a chance to give a speech to the 2010 graduating class. I talked about my roots at Langara and how I had come full circle then and here I am again 4 years later teaching a course starting on the eve of the 2014 Games.

All of these have been an important series of events for me, but what really brought things all together was a phone call I received the very next day after my first class. A colleague and past studio mate, Robert Earnest called and said he had a box of my “stuff”. He did not say what it was, except that it had come from our old studio that we left over 12 years ago. I did not know that he had maintained the darkroom and now he was clearing it out.

Robert came by with the box and I opened it with a tremendous amount of curiosity. What I found, was something that brought the full circle right back to the beginning. Along with film reels and tanks, lenses and darkroom accessories there was my College Diploma from Langara. It is yellowed and fragile, the glass long since broken but the diploma is in one piece. How ironic that this long forgotten piece of my photographic education and history shows up now, just as I begin teaching at Langara.

Eyes open – seeing the opportunities

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

ricketkin_bridgeAs a photographer, I’m always be on the lookout for creative possibilities to make images. Photographs that stand out and get attention even if they are in places where cliches happen and everyone has a camera.

The freedom of the smartphone has made a huge difference in what I shoot for fun. My iPhone is always with me so I am enjoying the chance to shoot and post different more personal visions of the world.

Today’s posts are from the last couple of weeks. To see more check out my instagram

BC Ferries - Gray November day

BC Ferries – Gray November day

November Rains

November Rains

The Bigtop in Vancouver for Cavalia

The Bigtop in Vancouver for Cavalia

Exploring gets the attention of #explorecanada

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013


While out on a photo exploration and day off last weekend, I photographed this peaceful scene at Cultus Lake in the Fraser Valley. It was shot with my iphone and adjusted slightly and posted on my instagram account. With the tag #explorecanada, it was discovered by their team at the Canadian Tourism Commision, included on their featured weekly roundup IG page and viewed and liked by over 2800 people!

Thanksgiving for all reasons!

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Thanksgiving comes in all shapes and sizes,
For all reasons and beliefs,
For family and friends, support and health,
For whatever you have to be thankful for,
Hopefully you’ll have the best of all
for you this weekend
Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving comes in all shapes and sizes for all reasons

Thanksgiving comes in all shapes and sizes for all reasons

Creative Test Shoot – Available Light in a beautiful space

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Last week I had the opportunity to do a creative test for an upcoming project that will give me creative freedom to shoot beautiful story telling images, action, moments and emotion.

Jamie Swirling Leopard Dress

Jamie full length.
Jamie full length.

Jamie leopard dress swirl

Jamie leopard dress swirl

These images came from the first session of a full day of fun shooting with a great production team and group of people in front of the camera. This space had the most amazing available light for shooting. I hope I can get back there to shoot again soon.

I will post more  of the images from the other sessions over the next few days. Keep tuned to this space for more about the contract, I hope to know the outcome soon.

A very special thanks to Jonathan, Lindsay, Ellen and all the talent for making this possible in an incredibly short period of time!

Well Known Vancouver Domes

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

BC Place at twilight

BC Place at twilight

Queen Elizabeth Park Vancouver

Queen Elizabeth Park Vancouver

Vancouver's most frequently seen dome

Vancouver’s most frequently seen dome


Three of Vancouver’s most famous domes photographed in one night last week. A little bit of iphonography fun!

Photohaus Mobileography 2013 Gallery Show

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

geometrics photography by rick etkin, all rights reserved copyright 2012

Iphoneography geometrics photography by rick etkin, all rights reserved copyright 2012

So pleased to be included in this year’s photohaus mobileography show. It’s great to feel recognized for the fun I have had creating iphone based images over the past year. Proving that the best camera is the one you have with you, I have shot more freely and more personally that I have for some time.

I am honoured to have a total of 9 pieces made up of 18 of my images on display in the gallery. The opening is tomorrow (Friday 26th at 7pm) and is open to the public. Come out and see how creative photographers make use of cameras that come with a phone and a computer!

The show is up until August 17th


All about the Light

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Reaching for Saturn at the Illuminares Lantern Festival- Its all about the light

Reaching for Saturn at the Illuminares Lantern Festival- It’s all about the light

All of my life I have followed, observed, marvelled, designed and created light. My life as a photographer would be impossible without the ability to see light differently than others. This image is from the Public Dreams Illuminares Lantern Festival in Trout Lake shows how inspiring light can be.

The theme of the 25th Anniversary Festival was “25 Light Years” a journey through space at light-speed past the planets. This sculpture of Saturn was on that journey and inspired my idea to take this photograph.

Recent Work

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Lifestyle image - Home Mechanic

Lifestyle image – Home Mechanic

Returning To My Roots

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

After a seemingly extended absence from the world of actual image creation, filling my time with producing events,  nonprofit leadership, the corporate world, arts connections, software training, instagram and social media, I need to remind the world I really am a photographer first and foremost.

To get back into the minds of my clients (who must have wondered where I’ve been), I will be doing even more social media, promotion and getting my work back into view everywhere!

I’m already online at,  instagram and on facebook. Not to mention twitter  @ricketkin and on  So now I’m integrating all of this to get some great followers and creating valuable and exciting content that will be noticed.

Oh right, and of course in between all of the marketing I will be shooting, creating, producing and make a living!

Jason Loutitt Ultramarathoner

From a series of portraits I’ve started about interesting people

Ah the life of a photographer.

Works of Personal Photographic Discovery

Monday, August 20th, 2012

After a rather extended non-blogging period, I have returned to my writing and posting, updating my website and adding images that don’t really belong anywhere else other than facebook or instagram (#rick_etkin) but I wanted to share more than the short bursts allowed in those forums.

Discoveries - personal iphonography Ikea Lamps
Discoveries – personal iphonography
Ikea Lamps

I have immensely enjoyed creating and capturing images with my iphone that I might not have taken with my Lumix, Nikon or other heavy pro gear that I have the occasion to use. “The best camera you have is the one that you have with you”…(chase jarvis and many others). It appears I have taken that to heart and find myself shooting constantly and I have amassed a large library of images from my travel, walking, discoveries and day to day visual observations.

Getty Museum Los Angeles - iphonography
discoveries – travel iphonography
Stainless Steel Bowls - Commercial Kitchen iphonography
discoveries – personal iphonography

The reaction to my personal work has been very strong, positive and encouraging and I am happy to begin sharing some of this with more people in the very public world of the internet.

Feedback and comments are truly welcome.

Watch this space for regular updates! ( I promise)

The Showdown interviews on Global Morning News and Urban Rush

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

John and Rick during the Urban Rush interview - will be online Nov 29th

John Lee and I will be talking about Friday’s Showdown presentation on Global TV Morning News at 8:10am Friday morning followed by Shaw’s Urban Rush to be shown at 5:00pm
Tickets for the show are available online at:
or at the door after 6:00pm

GDC and CAPIC present a post Olympic Showdown

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Devo fans at the Whistler Medals Plaza during the Vancouver 2010 Games

Devo fans at the Whistler Medals Plaza during the Vancouver 2010 Games

FRIDAY 7-10pm, November 26th, 2010 at EMILY CARR UNIVERSITY OF ART + DESIGN

Join us for this special evening celebrating still
images and moments from the 2010 Winter
Olympic Games by two of Vancouver’s prominent
commercial photographers, John Lee and Rick Etkin.

Learn behind the scenes stories and the commitment required to
capture Canada’s historical spirit of the games.


The Society of Graphic Designers/BC Chapter welcome you

to an ‘Olympic Photo Showdown:Lee vs Etkin’on Friday, November 26th, 2007.

Each special guest will showcase select images from
their award-winning portfolio of behind-the-scenes
Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic photographs while
sharing stories about each special moment captured.

After the presentations, a short Q&A period will be
available to the audience with a social reception to follow

Master Film Workshops – The Passion Remains

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Passion Remains!

A weekend on film making with Peter Anderson asc and Andrew Lesnie asc, acs

All about 3D and Lord of the Rings….

Andrew Lesnie at the VLAFF Master Lighting Workshop

Over 2 days last weekend I spent more than 10 hours in a totally inspiring workshop with two of the film industries’ top cinematographers. The event was organized as part of the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival and featured 3D and special effects supervisor wizard, Peter Anderson and Director of Photography, Andrew Lesnie.

Both of these gentlemen have a lot in common aside from 3 decades in the business, they are still passionate about what they do and share this information freely with their peers, upcoming stars and film school students.

With a filmography that includes movies that just about everyone has seen (perhaps multiple times) the chance to hear some of their tips and techniques in person was a draw for over 100 people to the sold out workshops.

Peter Anderson spoke on Saturday about his passion for making 3D movies of almost everything. When asked what makes a good candidate for filming in 3D, he replied “almost any movie; as it is about the storytelling and 3D is only a tool in that story.” There are some films that have used the technology for helping the horror get more real or so fish can bite the audience. Perhaps they aren’t the best films made and there are films that won’t get any better just because they are in 3D but Peter felt that well written films planned in 3D will always have an audience for the experience.

Working with massive, heavy, complex, stereoscopic camera gear on just about any type of support you can image (race cars, planes, boats, cables…you name it) and calculating moving optical and physical distances to make sure the audience doesn’t get acute eyestrain while often working in conditions that would test most people… well you get the picture. I am sure there are those that sometimes wonder how Peter can have worked so long and remained so low key and soft-spoken.

One of his bigger challenges came with working with U2 on their U23D-the movie, like the size of the band, it utilized the largest 3D camera crew ever assembled with more than 7 3D cameras running simultaneously in 9 concerts in 7 different cities in the Southern Hemisphere. I believe he said that more footage was created than for Avatar….

Peter’s commitment for the industry and the community is obvious from his involvement on so many trade committees, guilds and association boards. It only seems logical that he would make trip to Vancouver to talk the workshop after delivering another massive movie (The Legend of Daming Palace) the evening before…

He is very technically minded and has a tremendous discipline in his work. His photography pastime reflects his mindset. He will take a 4×5 view camera to a destination of choice with only 1 loaded film holder (real film). A shot is only created if he thinks everything is perfect – no take two or take twenty. Get it right the first and only time by planning every detail. In his 3D and effects specialty, that is the only way to succeed

I believe his mantra runs “ I should have done this on the day but I didn’t so I will fix it post – is a mistake”

Andrew describes the lighting in the Master Lighting Workshop

Andrew describes the lighting in the Master Lighting Workshop

Andrew Lesnie who is here in Vancouver finishing principle shooting “Caesar -Rise of the Apes” opened his presentation with a talk about one of his favourite films, “Babe”. If you have not seen this film, now is the time to rent it before you read the rest of this post so you can understand the art and craft of Andrew and how he works.  The first time I saw it with my kids I was in awe of the quality of every part of the visual storytelling. It is a masterpiece.

As Andrew went through the stories of his work on Babe, you knew quickly that he loves his work. It seems that there are those that have the great fortune to be able to pursue a life-long, single career passion of the path they choose. Peter and Andrew both began as kids and have never strayed from their love. Sure it may seem challenging at times but their passion never feels like a “job”.

It became quickly apparent that the old axiom “never work with kids or animals” didn’t hold much credence with Andrew. The opportunities to make the near impossible happen, without the “new methodology of computer imaging” that is accessible now, showed his film making abilities. Just imagine taking a children’s fantasy book and bringing it to life without computers…Writers and directors may have the idea, but it is the cinematographer who needs to bring it to the screen.

After showing many examples of how things took place, how he solved problems, lit and shot the final outcome, the attendees were hanging on every word, absorbing ideas like light in the depths of the darkest set of Lord of the Rings, his next subject.

Since none of you have likely been hiding in the caves or Mordor for the last 12 years, I am sure I don’t have to describe what it must be like to meet and listen to the lead of a huge visual team that brought the LOTR series to the screen.

Andrew has a great presence and a very low key personality, not necessarily what you would expect with some-one who worked on the biggest single film project ever. He engaged everyone, filled us with many stories about selected scenes and how they came about. He shared stories and details about working with Peter Jackson, the director and how “simple setups” were really multiple shots with changes and coverage so he would be lighting some very large areas as for 360 views, never knowing where the camera may end up next.

In his original plan for the series, the vast majority of scenes were to be back-lit for drama (check out the DVD’s) and Peter Jackson wanted the actors to have catch-lights in their eyes. Once I had heard the stories, I know I will go back and watch the trilogy with a different “eye” and understanding.

Master Lighting Workshop

Andrew demonstrates lighting for storytelling on a small set at the VLAFF Master Lighting Workshop

Needless to say this could be a long post if I don’t move on.

The master lighting workshop portion of the day was based on the simple premise that lighting is part of the storytelling and you must be thinking about the action, motivation and the story being told. A good director of photography will work to enhance the story, the drama or impact by creating the environment with lighting. Know the script and add to it with light and shadow. Set moods, create drama and mystery.

Andrew quickly demonstrated the ability to change moods, depth and story on a small set.  Once again all of the attendees were paying close attention with many writing notes, shooting reference stills and video. It is quickly obvious that Andrew’s skills are second to none.

The next portion of the day featured the more recent “I am Legend” with Will Smith. More dark dramatic action filmmaking that would test anyone’s abilities. Andrew described lighting a chase using a single flashlight to shooting a massive scene with thousands of extras on the docks of Manhattan. Not for the faint of heart…

At various times he entertained us with his methods of getting what he needed done, despite the direction of a director or producer. I think everyone was wondering how he or she would have handled the evacuation sequence.  A scene that evolved within the pandemonium of many people with guns, helicopters, explosives and shooting at night in NYC post 9-11 with multiple cameras.

Karl Hermmann, Peter Anderson, Andrew Lesnie

Panel discussion at the VLAFF master film workshop with Karl Hermmann, Peter Anderson, Andrew Lesnie

Panel Discussion

The event ended with a panel discussion that included Peter, Andrew and local Vancouver cinematographer and workshop host, Karl Herrmann.  The theme of passion for what you do was repeated. Stay inspired, focused and work on your storytelling.

All three of the panel have been working for over 30 years and followed their passion prior to that. Very lucky to have such a privilege to work at what you love and for all of us participants, very, very privileged to have such great leaders in the industry willing to share and inspire us.

I left the workshops inspired and ready to go for when I get my next $200 million feature ;-). In reality I am, once again impressed by our community and the talent and desires of all of us to strive for great things. It appears that Adidas campaign “ Impossible is Nothing” is true…

I look forward to next year!

Thank you to all of the sponsors who made this possible!

Langara Press Release – Rick Etkin Named 2010 Langara Outstanding Alumni

Friday, June 18th, 2010

100 WEST 49TH AVENUE TEL: 604.323.5511
VANCOUVER, BC FAX: 604.323.5555
For immediate release
June 17, 2010

Rick Etkin Named 2010 Langara Outstanding Alumni

Presentation of the Outstanding Alumni Award to Rick Etkin

Vancouver, BC –

Rick Etkin is the recipient of the 2010 Langara College Outstanding Alumni Award for Industry Achievement. The annual award celebrates the contribution of exceptional individuals who have enhanced the reputation of the College through their inspirational career, public service, community service, athletic, arts and culture, or academic achievements. He was awarded the honour at the College’s 44th annual Convocation Ceremony held on June 3.

Since his graduation from the Langara College Photo Technician program in 1978, Etkin has owned and operated a successful advertising photography and commercial production business. He is an active member of the photographic community and is a founding member and current president of the Vancouver Chapter of Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in Communications (CAPIC). In addition to his work with CAPIC, he has volunteered with the Variety Telethon providing photographic services during the telethons as well as for public relations purposes.

In 2010, Etkin realized a childhood dream of being part of the Olympics when he was chosen to be the Supervisor Photo Services for the Mountain Region with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. He shared his Olympic experience with the Langara community by recruiting photo department instructors, alumni, and students to be part of his press operations team.

“Rick is an active leader in his industry and a sincere advocate for our College,” said Dr. David Ross, president of Langara. “He has served on our Professional Photo-Imaging program advisory board for over 25 years, guest lectures for the program and hosts students for work practicums. We are honoured that he is a Langara alumnus.”

Langara College, located in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada, provides University, Career, and Continuing Studies programs and courses to more than 20,000 students annually. The College’s expansive academic breadth and depth allows students to choose their own educational path. The College offers three bachelor’s degrees as well as a comprehensive variety of diplomas, certificates, and citations.
– 30 –

Media contact:
Dr. Ian Humphreys, Ph.D.
Director, Communications & Marketing Services

Langara College

Survive? Think thrive – An evening with Selina Maitreya

Monday, June 14th, 2010

CAPIC VANCOUVER Presents another great informative event.

Hosted by Rick Etkin

PRESENTER: Selina Maitreya

Advance tickets available at Beau Photo. Tickets may be purchased at the door by cheque only, payable to CAPIC Vancouver Chapter
Members: $40/$65 | Non members: $65/$90

DOOR PRIZE: The View > From Here! Authoured by Selina Maitreya ( A 9 hour/12 chapter MP3 program valued at $199 donated by Selina Maitreya. Other door prizes will also be drawn

This current lecture, SURVIVE? THINK THRIVE! presents and outlines Selina’s beliefs, that photographers can, and are thriving in today’s tough economic times. Through a power point program that uses real life examples, Selina will outline the steps photographers can take to move from a survival mode to prosperity. The lecture will be followed by an extensive Q&A session.

Participants will learn:

  • The TRUE difference between surviving and thriving in today’s business market
  • What steps other photographers are taking to ensure that their business will thrive.
  • How to maximize empty shooting calendars for future prosperity
  • What constitutes a competitive product to today’s assignment photo buyer
  • The way to match your vision to different industries
  • Steps to bring the sales process back into the marketing equation –
  • How to successfully utilize, and combine traditional and contemporary marketing tools (websites, emails, portal placement, blogs, and social networking)
  • Whether an agent or a marketing assistant is the right for them and how to find the right team member

The event will also feature a Q&A period when Selina will answer ANY questions about the business that your members have. There will also be on opportunity to schedule one-on-one consultation times with Selina.

Book Signing

You can pre-order copies of “How To Succeed In Commercial Photography: Insights from a Leading Consultant” direct through Allworth Press. Please contact Selina for ordering details. Selina will happily sign her name and scribble a note for anyone purchasing a book at the evening’s end.


Langara College


Raymond Lum Photography
Whitebox Studios

Winnipeg Presentation – My Personal Games Experience

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Click for video
A very quick look at my games experience – an excerpt from the presentation.

A short but successful trip to Winnipeg. Thanks to my host Ron Weston, Superintendent of the St James-Assiniboia School District (and a former volunteer in press operations at the Whistler Media Centre during the Olympics) I was able to share my experience of the Games with photography and art teachers from the district..

The participants of the presentation wearing the latest in photo ID

The multi image extravaganza covered the steps through my time at VANOC and the role that I played and how it related to the photography that was seen around the world. It starts with the destination (an amazing collection of photos from the Games) and then changes to the journey of how the photos came into existence. Many thank yous to the photographers who allowed me to share their work!

The talk included insightful peeks behind the scenes of the photographers at work. There were great portraits of my colleagues, who made the experience so great, and views of some of the planning that it took to accomplish all of the success. The participants gained a lot clearer idea of what was involved in my role at the Games.

The instructors were there to see something that they have not experienced in photography and then discuss ways to help motivate their students to explore and enjoy photography in school and beyond. I believe that the day was a success the teachers had lots to talk about after.

I would be happy to share the presentation with others that are interested, send me an email  for more details.

Some sites around Winnipeg which had record rains a couple of days earlier.

Heavy rains raised river levels in Manitoba past flood stage and made this walkway at The Forks impassible.

Stairs to an underwater walkway at The Forks

The Palm Lounge at The Fort Garry. Not a bad place to spend time on tech support to sort out software problem. Good java and jazz found here.