Life by Selena Photography

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This is a Life by Selena Photography blog featuring recent photographic and video projects by Montreal photographer Selena Phillips-Boyle. This blog is my new initiative aimed at sharing a wider selection of photos: the spontaneous fits of laughter, the up-dos and the flowers, and your grandma dancing all the young folks off the dance-floor. I’ll be showcasing new projects on Mondays and throw-backs on Thursdays, with a potpourri of smaller projects dusted in between.

33 : Capture CAPE (Behind-the-Scenes)

The clock has just crawled past 4am when my phone vibrates. There are few projects that will motivate me to get out of bed when the sky has yet to see the first rays of morning sun. Luckily for me, this was one of them. The project entailed travelling around the province of Québec, exploring small farms, intersecting with farmers of all kinds, and working with a solid video and photo team. Our objective was to develop a multimedia toolkit for member farms of the Coopérative pour l’agriculture de proximité écologique.

These farmers focus on environmentally friendly production and local distribution, and they’re passionate about it. The farms are void of massive combines and prototypical factory farm production techniques; instead we saw workers working the soil by hand and intimately touching their animals. During our travels we saw a wide range of produce, from your typical apples and red peppers, to less well-known tomates de terre. I think it’s safe to say that we all learned new things about food production throughout this project.

Luc: “J'ai cru que les carottes ... c'était du fenouil.”

Behind-the-scenes of professionalism and impeccable visual production, I captured some hidden moments with Luc, Sébastien, Duane, Daniel, which I aim to share in this post. Working so closely with a team of five, group dynamics develop that are simultaneously rewarding and challenging, inside jokes emerge (“erreur de prononciation!”), and new phrases are learned (“T’es ben fen”). For me one of the most thrilling shooting moments came when we driving alongside a delivery van, Luc in the passenger seat filming, Sébastien in the back directing, and me at the wheel, careening along the highway at 100kph trying to keep a smooth pace with the delivery van. (Yes mom, I promise, we were all wearing seatbelts.)

Luc shares this story: "Un splendide matin, dans une magnifique vallée. Sébastien tournait en drône, Selena prenait des photos et moi je tournais au trépied. Vue de l'extérieur, nous n'étions pas une équipe, mais des travailleurs séparés. Dans les faits, nous étions une équipe très bien rodée, nous étions bien coordonnés pour couvrir le plus efficacement et esthétiquement les lieux. On respectait les espaces de chacun. C'était une douce et lente 'danse à distance'."

With its early mornings and long shooting days, the intensity of this project also led us to understand new things about ourselves.

Duane: "A compréhension de l'importance de placer son énergie de différente façon selon la phase du projet."

Luc: "Tourner du beau ne fatigue pas. J'ai réalisé, par comparaison avec d'autres projets, que l'on tournait beaucoup, mais que je ne me fatiguais pas autant que je ne l'aurais cru (vu les horaires assez marathonesques). Hypothèse : tourner dehors, tourner du beau, tourner des gens sympathiques, ça ne fatigue pas. Ou du moins, ça implique la fameuse  'bonne fatigue'."

This is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding projects I’ve had. In my role as video assistant, I learned from Luc about the technical side of shooting video: lighting set-ups, shooting angles, technical equipment details. From Sébastien I learned a finely honed interview style which elicited some prima interview footage. In my role as team photographer, I used a photojournalistic style to capture environmental portraits, landscapes, and the daily details of working farmers. It was truly a pleasure to intersect in such an intimate way with a community that I may not otherwise have the opportunity to organically intersect with. Thank you to everyone who allowed me the intrusion of pointing my camera their direction.

This blog post was written and photographed by Montreal photographer Selena Phillips-Boyle. Thanks to Luc Bourque and Duane Boisclair for their contributions. A select collection of environmental portraits and landscapes can be seen in Blog 34 : Capture CAPE 2. This photo series represents a collaboration between the Coopérative pour l'Agriculture de Proximité Écologique (CAPE) and 88mph. More images from this project will appear on her Instagram and Facebook.