Building anchors and rapping off Wasootch Ridge in the rain in Kananaskis, Alberta with Erinn Locke this past summer. #prana #scarpa, #petzl #northface © 2019 Greg Locke
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Back in August outdoor retailer, Atmosphere, came out to Newfoundland to shoot their fall ad campaign on the iconic East Coast Trail …and it was a blast! Our crew of eight hiked, scouted explored and shot in locations from Flatrock to LaManche over 5 days. Even Cape Spear …as far east as you can go in North America! For a photography and ad people its very rewarding to be doing full on advertising production on location in beautiful place.
Producer: Kaitlyn Smith
Art Director: James Wallbank
Production Assistant: Terry Day
Models: Camille Stopps, Morgan Locke, Michael Zatylny, Faraz Qureshi.
Summer nights on Marine Drive with TJ, Mango Lassie and the AMG Mercedes e63s wagon. © 2018 Greg Locke
Newfoundland Quarterly is Newfoundland and Labrador’s premier arts and cultural magazine. It’s reproduction quality, design and quality makes it a perfect place for me to place my ads. If you love magazines, do check them out
OK, that might be a bit delusional. July was a weather torture test in Newfoundland and “Winter is Coming” has become “I told you so” as December gets a firm grip on us and we resign ourselves to the dark months. ….BUT! August was awesome and the summer stretched well into October so we got to do some great “fall” shooting that looked like an endless summer. A little bit of climbing with the Newfoundland Youth Team in Stiles Cove, yoga in the Manuals River with climber and circus aerialist Keely Whitelaw, getting dirty in the political trenches with Marg, Princess Warrior and glorious “summer” photos with NSO musicians Chantelle Jubinville and newest member Rosemary Lawton. The remote sandy beach at Lance Cove Point at the southern tip of the Avalon Peninsula is a match of anything in the tropics …ok, the temps were chilly but it LOOKS like the Caribbean! We took sheep for a boat ride on the islands off Tors Cove, danced with Katie Hardy at Cape Spear and it even made our shoots with Toromont CAT much more pleasurable. Our vacation adventures in August saw us out on the road kayaking, canoeing and exploring the out-of-the-way areas of north east coast of the island. So, here is good-bye to summer and hello winter. Bring it on. Skiing and ice climbing coming up.
The NSO 2015/16 season subscription brochure is finally out with violinist Jessica Pereversoff on the cover. Designed by Perfect Day Canada and printed by Quikprint in St John’s. We shot this on a cold, wet, windy March day. Challenging for all involved! …but mostly Jessica. Hair and Makeup by Olivia Chafe and Erinn Locke on assisting duties.
In 1982 I had been shooting news for a couple of years and was expanding my perspectives and trying some commercial and advertising photography. Doing a little organization in the file room this week I found this 35mm Kodak Extachrome 64 transparency. As I recall, there wasn’t much lighting but lots of reflectors and graduated filters. It was an instant flashback to a warm summer evening, a fun car on a long drive with a fun crew. One of my first paid ad shoots it was for a friend who owned an import auto business. I can almost smell that English leather interior now. …greg
St. John’s, Newfoundland skyline reflected in the glass of the Scotia Building office tower. Photo by Greg Locke © 2013
By Greg Locke
When the Canadian dollar was worth 80 cents US, American film companies came to Vancouver and Toronto to make movies and TV series. The accountants did it to save money but the creative departments liked it because these Canadian cities, their skylines and wide swaths of their architecture, were so generic that they could pass for an American city.
This homogenisation of the North American urban landscape was seen as a positive trait for the film business but it pointed to the lack of distinctive image and by extension visual identity of our cities. Notwithstanding some iconic landmarks like the CN Tower, Signal Hill or the Parliament Buildings what sets our cities apart visually to give them their unique identities?
Architecture, geography and history is the answer and St. John’s, Newfoundland has all three in its favour when it comes to creating an identity all its own. Is it any wonder that they play large in the government’s award winning tourism marketing and the city itself is a more of a character than a scene in the hit CBC TV series, Republic of Doyle …albeit in slightly over-saturated hues. The city is a visual feast with an identity all its own.
The multi-coloured houses of the downtown woven among historic buildings and sites, all set against the backdrop of surrounding hills are what comes to everyone’s minds when you say St. John’s, Newfoundland. They are unique and have value as such.
Marketing studies and TV glamour aside as a photographer and media producer I experience this with almost every assignment for a mainland TV company or publication. They want their shots to say St. John’s. It can be a product ad or a business portrait for a corporate annual report or magazine, they all want St. John’s as the backdrop. The city has become my studio and as a location it is in demand because it gives a unique and dramatic setting …dare I say exotic? It certainly is for those not from here.
I think everyone gets that we have a dramatic geography and environment. That’s pretty basic. What is more ephemeral is the role of our history.
Because we have hundreds of years of history we have a legacy of art which documents the evolution of our culture and society. Be it music, visual art or the written word it is a documentation of our existence, our daily lives and even our political history. Art was the first form of journalism.
Architecture is the art of designing buildings and structures. The design of the places we live, work, worship and play and like all art reflects the society and culture that created it.
The results are cultural symbols and works of art. Historically, civilizations are often identified with their surviving architecture.
Of course, with art you have style and that is often represented by the tastes of a society at the time and will often mark a period in history. In a place with long histories you get a variety of architectural styles that reflect the evolution of society. It’s what gives a city character and identity. New architecture has to live alongside the old, not replace it, to maintain the cultural and historic continuity and identity of the city.
If historic buildings and properties are destroyed needlessly for contemporary style or expediency then we are destroying our history and cultural identity as surely as if we destroyed our books and visual art.
The city loses its unique identity and stops being a marketable or desirable place to visit, do business or be a creative centre simply because it will be, visually, no different than any other small Canadian or American city.
Tourists, film crews, photographers and business conventions come here because of St. John’s’ unique geography, history and art. That art includes our historic architectural cityscape.
Greg Locke is a professional photographer and media producer in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He sits on the board of the Newfoundland Historic Trust. This article originally appeared in the Newfoundland Historic Trust publication The Trident. (Down load pdf of the full spring issue)
The Latest from Greg LockeWelcome to the blogs at Stray Light Media and GREG LOCKE PHOTO. Here you will find some of our current work, adventures, personal stories notes from the road while on assignment and news and insights from the photography, video, film, digital imaging and media world. Not to mention, more often than not, late night ramblings from the studio elves. Share your thoughts, ideas and opinions. Comments are welcome, but moderated, so bring your insight and smarts to the discussion.
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