Just added a few new images to the ol’ portfolio. Figured it was about time I went into the archives and gave you folks something more to soak up. There are two images from my ‘Creepy Stalker’ shoot which had its debut at my exhibition for Scotia Bank’s Nuit Blanch last fall in downtown Toronto at the Bovine Sex club.

To view my full portfolio please click here.





Here is an excerpt from an excellent article by Harold Merklinger over at Luminous Landscape:

I would argue that an image, whether a painting, a drawing or a photograph, is a graphic portrayal of some object, scene, story, or idea that conveys some message to the viewer through the sense of sight. Even a drawing or painting may involve some degree of technical assistance in its preparation, be it a measure taken by means of a brush handle and thumb, a projected image, a sketch or even a photograph. It may also be entirely the imagination of the artist. A photograph necessarily relies heavily on technical assistance, but also involves some degree of human intervention. A human probably at least determined where to point the camera and when to push the button. A photograph necessarily requires some scene or object to serve as its origin. That origin does not need to be identifiable, but it usually helps to have at least a few clues. From there on, it depends what photographic game the photographer chooses to play. Is the scene identifiable? Is there some action or situation that is to be portrayed? Is it a play on colour and/or light? How much detail or lack thereof is appropriate? Am I satisfying just myself, or do I have a viewer or audience in mind? Does the viewer understand or need to understand my intent? The answers will vary.

You can read the rest of the article here


25Jan

Bridezilla

For legal reasons, I don’t photograph weddings myself, but I wonder how much this broad paid for her wedding dress?


The following is not a question and answer section as was the original intention of the photography talk series. I however recently went through a mini data crisis of sorts, and I wanted to use this feature to highlight my failures and hopefully help others avoid my mistakes. Data backup after all, is an important part of the modern photography experience. 

I recently learned a very expensive lesson that could have easily been avoided. Without going into explicit detail, my main working hard drive in my PC was about to fail (all the signs were there) and I had gone ahead and backed up all my data before replacing it. There wasn’t much to back up, as I had a regular backup routine already in place, and all of my photos were backed up to an external USB 3.0 RAID enclosure, where I had two 2 terabyte drives running in a RAID 1 mirror. Unfortunately when I bent down to move my computer’s tower and replace the internal working drive, I forgot that the USB 3.0 enclosure was set on top, and it fell to the floor. Long story short, both hard drives were active at the time, and the impact with the floor damaged both of them mechanically. Thanks to my good friend Gordon at Fixsys labs, I was able to recover 100% of my data. But it cost me $2200 in data recovery alone (believe it or not this is in the mid range of the potential expense of this type of recovery). The point of this article is to educate you, my friends and fellow photographers on how to properly protect your mission critical data. In my case, I nearly lost all of my photography and my extensive collection hidden camera footage from the change rooms of various Wal-Marts.

Make sure you have copies of your copies copies.

You better have more than one of these or your data is at risk!

It is of crucial importance to have at least three copies of all your critical data. In my previous setup, my RAID 1 mirrored drives should have provided me with two exact copies of whatever was stored on the RAID 1 mirror. Should one drive have failed, I could have A) popped another drive into the RAID array and continued where I left off, once again having two copies or B) pulled the remaining non-damaged hard drive and put it into my system or an external enclosure to allow me to access the data (this is one of the benefits of using RAID 1). There are many people that will argue about the various different RAID setups, but as a matter of opinion and preference, I prefer the ease and simplicity of a RAID 1 mirrored array.

However since I managed to mechanically damage both drives in the external RAID enclosure at the exact same time, I was shit out of luck, and my data was gone (at least temporarily).

My system is now composed of the following storage components:

  • My C: system drive runs my operating system (Windows 7 64bit pro/ultimate) and is composed of two 100GB Vertex 2 drives in a RAID 0 Array (Raid 0 allows to drives to act as one, resulting in maximum performance
  • I have a D: drive which I use for virtual memory, and to store things like internet cache, Adobe Bridge thumbnails, the Photoshop scratch disk etc. It is a single 74gig Western Digital Raptor 10K SATA drive
  • I have purchased a new working drive, a 600GB Raptor 10k drive. When I do photo shoots, I immediately copy them to this drive, and work on them from this speedy device until I archive them later (I also backup all the camera raw files immediately after copying them to this drive, and then later update the backup with new edits and settings from the shoot etc.)
  • My first external storage unit is once again two 2 terabyte drives in a RAID 1 mirror in an external enclosure. This gives me two copies of each file should I not throw it on the floor again
  • My second (and new to me) external storage unit is a single 2 terabyte HP USB 3.0 drive, which makes a back up of the photos stored on the first external enclosure

This now gives me a minimum of three copies of all of my photos (one on each drive in the RAID 1 mirror, one replica of those files on the single 2 Terabyte external enclosure). In the case of my most recently shot photos that I may still be working on, I have a fourth running copy on my 600GB Raptor 10k internal drive. This may seem excessive to some, but I have spent literally hundreds of hours of my time creating these photographs, and given that they sell quite well at art shows (and soon online) how could I possibly risk losing them? I was lucky to have not lost them the first time, and it cost me $2200 (plus the cost of the new hard drives). What’s more is that I’m not even done outlining proper backup procedure yet.

I am currently in the process of finding an online backup service to store the final high resolution edits of all of my photos. It is absolutely crucial to keep a backup of your critical data somewhere off site in the case of a fire or robbery. When I finally narrow it down and choose such a service, I will be certain to update this article.

It was important for me to write about this, as I wouldn’t wish what I’ve gone through lately on anyone. It is debilitating watching gigabytes upon gigabytes of vagina’s disappear before your very eyes. I got lucky and with the help of some charming experts, was able to recover (snatch?) every last one. You however may not be so lucky. I implore you, take data backup seriously, and come up with an effective plan today. Mechanical failure of sensitive computer components is an in-exact and unpredictable science. Whatever it costs you today to make copies of your files, it will cost you ten times as much to have them professional recovered tomorrow. The rule of thumb is three copies of each file you need as a minimum, with one of the copies stored off site.

Lesson Learned. I hope this helps someone out there prepare for the worst and avoid the mistakes I’ve recently made.


So a bunch of friends of mine got together this week and made their version of the ‘Shit ____ say’ video. As a group that works in and lives in the Fitness industry, I have to say they did a pretty bang-on job. Please understand when viewing this video that they put this together very quickly, and didn’t have time to put together costumes for the video. This is actually how they all dress.


I was saddened to read the news this morning of Kodak’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. This of course comes as no surprise to anyhow, still for many, the news is hard to swallow. The digital revolution is upon us in a very big way, and has been for a little over a decade now. Without question, Digital has killed the celluloid star. Progress like this is of course inevitable, but a recent upsurge in the film movement would perhaps refer to it as regress. I’ve purchased and made use of new-era instant film from The Impossible Project. I even returned to an old Canon A1 film camera and roll of Ilford 3200 ISO black and white, which I still have a dozen or so exposures left on. Hipsters have recently forced the arrival of a low-budget film camera revolution. However as previously stated, this major shift in the photographic paradigm has been inevitable for years, and today is the first last day of Kodak’s life. Barring something miraculous, today is Kodak’s last moment. I’m not sure anyone could say it better than David Gonzalez of the New York Times.

RIP Eastman Kodak


14Jan

Apocalypse Trailer for Sessions Magazine

Via Paul Buceta’s youTube account comes the Trailer for the new Sessions Magazine (Vol. 5) which also happens to be the issue that my shoot ‘They Were Out of Blondes’ was featured in.


The other day a good friend suggested that I spend more time sharing my thoughts on photography. They pointed out that I often go off on rants, waxing poetic on one obscure facet of photography or another. I get asked a lot of questions about my photography and some of my answers read like essays, as the questions I get asked are rarely of a technical nature. People are more inclined to wonder about my cerebral process than my technical process, which is smart because I’m not really sure how most of my equipment works. Part one of this series shall deal with answering your most common questions:

What the fuck is wrong with you Richard?

What the fuck is wrong with me? What the fuck is wrong with you? I’m not certain anything is wrong with me, I am just likely more honest than your current sex partner. See, my mind has no space for stagnation. Like most people, I get tired of looking at the same things all the time, over and over. My mind is not limited by the boundries of popular morality, and yours shouldn’t be either. I don’t feel guilty about the things I think or the way my mind works, because I can’t control it. But I can share it with the world. And so the photos are just a way of releasing the pressure in my head, caused by the backing up of ideas. I promise you, at some point during the course of your relationship your boyfriend has thought about handcuffing you to something and taking pictures of finger-banging you. Probably very early on in your relationship, actually. And even though the newness and discovery of the romance has faded, he still thinks about it, only now its your best friend finger-banging you while italian opera music plays on a phonograph and he’s sitting on an old wooden chair nearby, jerking off. Trust me, he’s thinking about this right now.

Seriously?

Yup.

What kind of camera do you use?

Fuck off. Do you really think that makes a fucking difference? A good photo begins a long time before charging a battery, formatting a memory card or setting an F-stop. The equipment is just the technical necessity for sharing with the world what you see. Photography is the study and manipulation of a situation for the purpose of preservation. And if that quote shows up on your Facebook profile or your Twitter account you owe me fifty cents. And my fucking name better be right under it. Richard Forsythe Northwood.

Why are all your photos of naked women?

They aren’t all of naked women, I’ve taken many photos of naked men as well, just that in most all cases they’ve had naked women on top of them, around them, etc. This is because no one likes looking at cocks unless they’re doing something. Also as one of my parole conditions I am required to take pictures of puppies once per year until 2016.

How do you come up with your ideas?

Strangely enough, most of them occur to me while I’m standing at a urinal. This has made for many uncomfortable and awkward moments when I’m desperate for some creative thought but I don’t have to pee. Given that no one should ever be in a public bathroom longer than they have to be, I’ve often resorted to other creative devices. Drugs, alcohol, your sisters Facebook profile. Sometimes all three at once.

What is your editing area like?

Ummm there’s a computer, a couple of monitors, a mouse, fuck I don’t know its like everyone else’s editing area? What the fuck is an editing area? I have a desk and a computer. On that desk sits a lot of junk and a dirty ash tray made out of a sliced up Red Bull can. I constantly have music playing while I edit photos, but it is always the musical score from the hit television show Dexter. Is that weird?


14May

Addendum

Remember a while back when I posted this? Well there has been much confusion since. Many of you have inquired about me taking pictures of your lady friend but have shown concerns that you aren’t married to her. So let me make it perfectly clear:

Wife, Girlfriend or whoever the hell you’re banging, if you send her to me with an envelope of cash rest assured I will take her picture.

money bag


I suppose that in my drunken haze, I forgot that there were MORE photos from my now infamous birthday party. I had my iPhone with me and I was snapping away furiously it seems. And I wasn’t the only one, that phone was being passed around like a promo girl in a nightclub. What a party, what epic fall-out from the damned thing. Thanks again to all that attended. I think we better have another no-pants party REAL soon. Click here to see the photos.

The original pics from the Birthday Party

Richard’s Interview on 20/20 about the Party

Psychs Interview on 20/20 about the Party