Archive for the ‘People that Matter’ Category

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


…..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

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


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

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.

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

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.

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 College Outstanding Alumni Award for Industry Achievement

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Langara College Outstanding Alumni Award for Industry Achievement

Yesterday, June 3rd, Vancouver’s Langara College presented me with the Langara College Outstanding Alumni Award for Industry Achievement for 2010.  This honour was given during the 2010 Convocation Ceremonies to an audience of nearly 600 people and streamed live online.

I was also asked to deliver the keynote Convocation Address to all of the Graduates. Speaking on such an important topic in front of a large audience was a first for me. It appears that it was successful as they laughed in all the right places instead of laughing at me.

“Your address was most inspiring – set goals and go forth, everything is within reach.”

“Thank you so much! Your speech was inspiring and very well
thought out. You did a superb job!”

“Thank you for your continued connection and support of
Langara College. Alumni like yourself make us very proud.”

As you can see, I received very positive feedback from some of the college directors, instructors, parents and more than a few graduates. It was most appreciated, as I must say I was on the nervous side when I began speaking.

For those interested, the text of the speech can be read by following this link. Full circle_r_etkin

Video of the presentation can be found by following the link, look for the 3rd ceremony and then scroll to the 30 minute mark

Photos and more comments will be added when they are available.

More information to come.

About the Award from Langara:

Alumni Award Winners

Alumni are an integral part of the Langara Family. Each year we celebrate their outstanding contributions by awarding Outstanding Alumni Awards to exceptional individuals who have enhanced the reputation of the College through their inspirational career, public service, community service, athletics, arts and culture or academic achievements.

What is keeping me busy these days?

Friday, May 21st, 2010

What is keeping me busy these days?

closing ceremonies

Inflatable moose, part of "Made in Canada" at Vancouver 2010 Closing Ceremonies

Just when I thought I could get back to do what I love the most by shooting as much as I can, there seems to be a thousand deadlines for other important things that all need to be done first.


Before launching an email announcing this blog, I have had to update my website with my new work, juggle placement, run colour tests, revamp my portfolio, and decide on the cover for a new print portfolio. I also have worked on building networks and reconnecting with many people since the games, including attending the Capalino University IDEA Grad Show, The 2010 GDC Graphex Awards Night, and the Langara College Photography Grad show. Of course there were also CAPIC board meetings and the Langara Photography Program Advisory Board meetings, which I sit on.

Yaletown Sunset

View of downtown Vancouver from Granville Island - Yaletown at twilight


Next week (May 25th) is CAPIC’s Portfolio Speed Review, where I am the reviewer contact person and  will be the MC. We have a great panel of reviewers from Vancouver’s top AD agencies and design firms. Cossette, Emdoubleyou Design, Hangar 18, Karacters, Rethink and others, for a total of 18 creative reviewers. I am really looking forward to hearing the comments and getting feedback from both the reviewers and the artists involved.

Kudos to the CAPIC Board and volunteers who have helped make this a reality. A review of the event will be posted after its over.


On top of the smaller items above, I have been asked to make a four hour presentation, on June 1st, to Winnipeg School District instructors, about my experience at the Olympics and on how to inspire students in photography. This all came about during the Olympics, as one of the Volunteer Press Assistants at the Whistler Media Centre (Ron Weston) was the Superintendant of the School system for Winnipeg. He was writing a daily blog for the students and teachers back home, and included some photo related information that I passed on. There were some great collections of 2010 photography at the Denver Post blog that was a big hit with the students (and almost anyone who sees them). The next day Ron approached me thinking that what I was doing was interesting enough to invite me to speak.

So now I am in the middle of writing and creating a multimedia extravaganza that hopefully might get shown in more than Winnipeg.  It’s been great doing research on other photographers’ blogs to see what the results of all the planning that went into the Games’ Photo Services. I will post a link to an excerpt from the presentation when it’s done.

If you have a group that may be interested in seeing part of the finished presentation, let me know!


At the same time as everything else, I am trying to edit my hard drive full of games images into a meaningful collection of my memories of the experience.

Devotees with blue Devo hats

" Devotees" Fans of Devo at Whistler Medals Plaza during the Games- wearing the trademark Devo hat in "Games Blue"

I have had many requests from people to see the “inside” of the Games, so I am making it a priority along with an online gallery linked to my website. Watch this blog for the announcement of the completion of my book.


Lastly, there is the ten minute keynote speaker address that I am writing to present to a potential audience of 500 people, on June 3rd. You will have to wait before I can let you know what this is all about. Come back after June 4th.

The Games End…A Blog Begins

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

The Torch reaches Whistler Village to a welcome of thousands of cheering fans

It has been an experience that I will remember forever. For those that didn’t know of my contract with the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, I have spent the last eighteen months as Supervisor of Photo Services for the Mountains in Press Operations. I started in October 2008  and worked inside the Games until late March. In that time I worked closely with my two colleagues, Nick Didlick – Photo Manager and Alain-Pierre Hovasse – my city equivalent (more about them later) with a photo team that eventually reached over thirty managers and supervisors and over two hundred volunteers. That was just our photo operations team, the whole press team reached over five hundred people and the Games more than twenty thousand.

In 2009 I was the Photo Manager at eight World Cups in the Whistler area and helped with the planning for all of the photo positions, infrastructure and technology that would be required for the 740 photographers accredited to the Games. During the Olympics, I oversaw the photography operations for The Whistler Media Centre and Whistler Medals Plaza as Venue Photo Manager. My work expanded for the Paralympics as I was also the Venue Photo Manager for alpine racing at Whistler Creekside.

I was often working in the best, most exciting places at the Games. You can only imagine what it was like to be standing at the lip of the Large Hill Ski jump at Whistler Olympic park as the competitors launched into space at 100kph or at the Whistler Sliding Centre with a Luge blasting by at over 150hph. Blink and they were gone, but the sound and memories will never fade.

My plans were to start this blog before the Games began and share some of my experiences and photos as it happened. The best laid plans often take a left turn as there simply weren’t enough hours in the day, and since there were maybe only 3 days off from Mid January until  the end of the Paralympics I had to shift my priorities.

Photographers at whistler Creekside

Waiting in a snowstorm for the Medals ceremonies at Whistler Creekside / 2010 Paralympics

I am now gathering my thoughts and images to share, hoping that I can give you a small insider’s taste of what it was like to be involved in the largest event in the world in a role that played on all of my experience as a photographer, producer, manager, planner, film-maker and scheduler….

More to come.