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Shutterstock Captures the Essence of the CreativeMornings Community

Reality is not passive; we actively shape it with our thoughts and actions. Our personal universe is based on the stories we tell ourselves and the worldview through which we look out into the world.

Last month, CreativeMornings and Shutterstock (one of our global partners that makes our work possible), celebrated the theme of Reality.

Shutterstock surprised the community in 10 cities—London, San Francisco, Montreal, New York City, Vancouver, Singapore, Toronto, Berlin, and Chicago—by hiring local photographers to capture the diversity and backgrounds of their own CreativeMornings community.

Not only do we get to observe and study the work that was produced, but also read more about the photographers who made this possible—how does their worldview shape their work and what do they hope to communicate? How do they use their lens to capture reality, and at the same time, inspire us to look into a new direction to change our reality?

We are excited to share the full album of portraits of our global creative community. Here’s a sample: collage1_1


Meet Kait Ebinger, New York City

Kait is a California native who lives in Brooklyn. She makes art with cameras, pencils and paint and enjoys bike rides, beaches and getting funky on the dance floor.

What was your favorite moment of photographing CreativeMornings attendees in your city?

I love seeing how people react to the camera. Some people are bashful, some are smiley and some people literally jump into frame. I like that a portrait can sometimes tell you everything and nothing at the same time.

Who is your favorite reality-bending photographer?

I like Diane Arbus for the way she messes with our notions of beauty. That’s pretty reality bending.

How do you hope to portray reality through your photography? Do you think that this kind of ‘reality’ can help the world better understand each other and their community?

I like to convey a sense of intimacy in my work. I like creating small moments in which my subject feels comfortable enough to feel beautiful or vulnerable or thoughtful, whatever it is they are bringing to me that day. My hope is that we can understand the vastness of human emotion and our connectedness through that by viewing people in these spaces.

How can we strive to be more real, more human in our daily lives?

Don’t ever feel guilty or bad about being exactly who you are. Create the life you want and live it.

NewYork_Kait

Connect with Kait on Instagram and website.


Meet Norman Posselt, Berlin

Norman is a commercial photographer, retoucher, and photo editor in Berlin, Germany. A lover of typography and communities, he specializes in events and portraits, and is also the Photo Director of Europe’s famed design conference, TYPO Berlin.

What was your favorite moment of photographing CreativeMornings attendees in your city?

There was no particular special moment but when people start joking around and feeling super comfortable in front of my camera that always feels great.

Who is your favorite reality-bending photographer?

High end fashion photographer Zoë Noble working and living in Berlin, Germany. What she does always looks like pure magic…the setup and photoshop skills.

How do you hope to portray reality through your photography? Do you think that this kind of ‘reality’ can help the world better understand each other and their community?

I am not sure if it makes the world better but maybe at least a little bit better looking.

How can we strive to be more real, more human in our daily lives?

Honesty is important. Just be honest, care about people and treat them the way you like to be treated. There is no reason to be impolite or arrogant in any way.

Berlin

Connect with Norman on Instagram, Twitter, and website.


Meet Erin Conger, San Francisco

Erin is a Californian who loves whiskey, dogs, art, her brothers, being outside, and shooting film. She moved to San Francisco six years ago from Southern California on a whim, and she considers it her best decision ever made. Her love for people is the inspiration for her work. She’s eagerly waits for the right moment that captures raw emotion.

What was your favorite moment of photographing CreativeMornings attendees in your city?

There were so many great spots for portraits in the Thumbtack office. I loved finding a place for each person.

How can we strive to be more real, more human in our daily lives?

I think for creative types, it can feel too vulnerable to share insecurities and issues we have with our work - it’s so personal. But it’s valuable to remember that people you look up to face problems too. I connect with people much easier when they’re open about their fears. It’s nice to give/get support and different perspectives in those situations.

SanFran

Connect with Erin on Instagram, Twitter, and website.


Meet Michael Garner, London

Michael is an Oklahoma creative living in London. He is best friends with his wife Jennifer and is the videographer for CreativeMornings/London. Michael loves Jesus, great coffee, travel, and interesting stories about people and their lives.

What was your favorite moment of photographing CreativeMornings attendees in your city?

I loved that after their portrait, everyone ran off to different parts of the city to do their creative work. I love being part of a network of people doing amazing things, even if we’re not sitting together to work.

Who is your favorite reality-bending photographer?

I’m currently really into shots that take a different perspective on what I see around me on a regular basis. So, I’m watching David Wallace for his levitating objects, Tobi Shonibare for his portrayal of our beautiful city, VisualCollective for their travel and wanderlust shots, and my friend Alex Wolf for her elegantly simple look at life and the UK.

How do you hope to portray reality through your photography? Do you think that this kind of ‘reality’ can help the world better understand each other and their community?

I really try to get people relaxed before taking their photo. You can see when people are tense or nervous. Sometimes they can hide their emotions in their posing and body language, but their eyes don’t lie. If they’re tense, stressed, sad, excited, or relaxed, it especially shows in their eyes. If I can help them relax, I feel like the photograph tells a better truth.

How can we strive to be more real, more human in our daily lives?

As a Christian, I think there is a perception of close-mindedness and judgementalism. However, in my spiritual life, it’s actually quite the opposite. I’m the most real and more human when my spirit is healthy and growing.

London

Connect with Michael on Instagram and website.


Meet Jacqueline Chang, Singapore

Jacqueline Chang is a relationship photographer. She enjoys meaningful conversation exchanges, journaling in the morning and drinking Chinese tea. She is constantly intrigued by the buzz of busy cities.

What was your favorite moment of photographing CreativeMornings attendees in your city?

Getting to ask this particular attendee, Holly, about her tattoo sleeve and the significance of the numbers inked on her skin.

Who is your favorite reality-bending photographer?

Rinko Kawauchi and how she brings out beauty in the vernacular by bending reality into poetry.

How do you hope to portray reality through your photography? Do you think that this kind of ‘reality’ can help the world better understand each other and their community?

Reality is a derivative of honesty. Going through the motions or a running a flawless performance is nothing if it is not honest. I think this kind of ‘reality’ increases empathy especially when glass walls of pride are shattered.

How can we strive to be more real, more human in our daily lives?

To not be so preoccupied with getting so that you can respond to giving.

Singapore

Connect with Jaqueline on Instagram, Twitter, and website.


Meet Ace Boothby, New York City

Ace was born in the fields of Iowa (not literally) to some sensible hippies. Growing up in a pleasant community, art and the pursuit of creative intelligence were encouraged. His love for photography and media soon flourished. After numerous adventures too small and too grand to mention, he now resides in Brooklyn, NY where he works and has just a downright great time.

What was your favorite moment of photographing CreativeMornings attendees in your city?

Seeing many different personalities in quick succession!

How do you hope to portray reality through your photography? Do you think that this kind of ‘reality’ can help the world better understand each other and their community?

I hope to garner a greater appreciation of simple moments and the aesthetics inherent, with my photography. Capturing and studying beautiful moments, both seemingly mundane and otherwise helps expand ones awareness of the infinite diversity of reality. When people are exposed to diverse images of things they wouldn’t normally consider to be interesting or beautiful, I think it starts to change their understanding of their world.

How can we strive to be more real, more human in our daily lives?

Take time to be quiet within and know yourself. That greater understanding will reflect outward positively.

NewYork_Ace

Connect with Ace on his website and Instagram.


Meet Tora Chirila, Montreal

Tora is a photographer and a makeup artist. As a photographer she focuses on portraiture, fashion & beauty imagery and loves collaborating with other creatives, artists, advertising agencies, etc. When she looks through the lens, she always look for the most beautiful side of people, things and life surrounding her. She changed careers from a (not so creative) path in the business corporate world to photography & makeup. This inspired her to become a creativity enthusiast. Since January 2016, she has become the official photographer for CreativeMornings/Montreal.

What was your favorite moment of photographing CreativeMornings attendees in your city?

I didn’t really expect all the enthusiasm of that morning. It was so exciting, beautiful and fun to see all the people that wanted to be part of this portrait project. It was photo rush hour :). See link below. This was my favourite moment.

Who is your favorite reality-bending photographer?

Benjamin Von Wong—his work is amazing, I’ve been following him for years…and what do you know? He’s also from Montreal, and I had the opportunity to meet him a couple of times. I would love to have him as a speaker at a CreativeMornings Montreal event.

How do you hope to portray reality through your photography? Do you think that this kind of ‘reality’ can help the world better understand each other and their community?

I think the phrase that best describes how I see reality through my photos is this one: “Because when you stop and look around this life is pretty amazing…” In my images I like to be an observer (and even a creator) of beauty. I hope my images to awaken a deeper appreciation for life, people around us, and experiences we go through. Life can be tough but there’s always a good side of things—you just have to focus on it.

How can we strive to be more real, more human in our daily lives?

Stop judging/being judgmental, and look at reality and everyone around you through a lens of love. We’re all so wonderfully different yet we’re all the same, each fighting our own battles and each with our own story.

Montreal

Connect with Tora on Instagram, Twitter, and website.


Meet Aura McKay, Vancouver

Aura has been creating and living a life for more than 15 years, first, as a professional photographer and now as a business coach for creative freelancers. She loves sharing experience, knowledge, and signature business planning with other creatives. Seeing others achieve the results they want and thrive in their lives and businesses is her way of taking a stand for prosperity through self-expression, positivity, and empowerment. Aura’s photography style has always been about colour, vibrance, and collaboration with the subjects. Her coaching brings similar energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to working with others.

What was your favorite moment of photographing CreativeMornings attendees in your city?

The willingness of our community to participate, their patience, playfulness and sense of fun. So many great faces and personalities. It was amazing to be able to connect more with people by sharing one of my passions and creative skills.

How do you hope to portray reality through your photography? Do you think that this kind of ‘reality’ can help the world better understand each other and their community?

Reality for me is all about perception and I wanted to consider each individual as unique and do my best to say something specific about who they are. This is all about initial impressions, brief conversation, observing body language, asking some key questions….and doing it all very quickly with energy and vitality to keep them engaged and distracted from the process of photography. I did use lighting and gave coaching notes for posing in order to get closer to what each person was expressing about themselves that day. Tools to help me express the reality I saw. I like to see the best in people and the world. I do believe that what we focus on expands. So, yes. A world where we choose a reality that focusses on the best of what each of us can bring through our full self-expression could help the with better understanding and community.

Vancouver

Connect with Aura on Twitter, Instagram, or website.


Meet Pete Thorne, Toronto

Pete Thorne is a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Major in Photography). He is the author of the senior dog photo book, OLD FAITHFUL: Dogs of a Certain Age (HaperCollins) which has been interviewed and written about on popular websites including: Bored Panda, Esquire, Buzzfeed, Mashable, Huffington Post (US,UK,CAN), Distractify, PetaPixel, Fast Company, One Green Planet, Mother Nature Network, ABC,PBS, CBC, Daily Mail (UK, US), International Business Times, Fast Company Design, and numerous foreign language websites. Pete currently resides in Toronto and volunteers as a photographer for a number of local animal rescue organizations. Pete is represented by InkWell Management.

What was your favorite moment of photographing CreativeMornings attendees in your city?

I have been photographing a lot of old dogs and chubby cats over the past while so it was great to photograph humans again. They actually do what they are told. Well most of them (laughs).

How do you hope to portray reality through your photography? Do you think that this kind of ‘reality’ can help the world better understand each other and their community?

Most of my work recently is about animals, but with a focus on those that don’t often get portrayed. Old, overweight, frail, scruffy, etc. So I guess if I were to apply that mindset to “reality” I’d like it if we could all adopt a more inclusive world view that focuses less on what is deemed acceptable and beautiful. If we could place more value on the differences between us I feel that could make for more enriched communities.

Toronto

Connect with Pete on Twitter, Instagram, or website.


Meet Chris Gallevo, Chicago

Chris is an advertising art director, graphic designer, photographer and artist living in Chicago. He has been photographing the CreativeMornings/Chicago chapter events since it’s first morning in 2011.

What was your favorite moment of photographing CreativeMornings attendees in your city?

When two of the attendees asked me to take a Will Ferrell / John C. Reilly “Step Brothers” style photo of them which I quickly obliged. It was hilarious.

Who is your favorite reality-bending photographer?

David LaChapelle

How do you hope to portray reality through your photography? Do you think that this kind of ‘reality’ can help the world better understand each other and their community?

I hope to capture as much of the happy side of humanity as possible, even if it’s a brief moment; a smile, a laugh, someone’s eyes lighting up, as quick as it happens photography makes those moments lasts even longer. I hope that the more people of varying cultures are exposed to each other the more they’ll see the context in which why people love a certain way or hate certain things. Understanding through visual communication can be such an efficient and effective tool and of all the many purposes it can serve, I hope mine serves as a reminder for people to be cool to each other.

How can we strive to be more real, more human in our daily lives?

Get out of our comfort zones once in a while. Volunteer for things, meet people you wouldn’t normally meet and constantly remind yourself that everyone’s struggling with something in one way or another.

Chicago

Connect with Chris on Instagram, Twitter, or website.


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