Your Top 3 Wedding Investments from Real Brides

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Flowers, venue, menu, DJ, live band, travel, invitations, honeymoon, officiants, family, friends, cake, dress, suits, gifts, best men, maids of honor, etc, etc, etc…

The list goes on, believe me – it took at least two years for my wife to plan our “simple, summer wedding”.

If you don’t get ahead of things and lock down what’s actually important, you can easily get lost in all of the minutia that weddings can entail.

Over the years, I’ve covered many weddings.  It goes without saying that I’ve also had a lot of conversations with brides.  I was always making note about what was important to them while they were planning, then comparing what was truly meaningful for them post-wedding day.

So whether you’re a bride-to-be starting to make your list or one who is neck deep in cake samples, invitations and dress fittings, save yourself some grief, doubt and buyer’s remorse by taking the advice from these experienced bridal champions.

There are three things that pop up across the board from almost each and every bride I’ve talked to – her dress, the rings and the photography.

It may not be immediately obvious why all three of these are so vital, but once you take a second to think about it, you realize that these are the only items – besides your new spouse – that you actually get to keep after your wedding.

Let’s explore them a bit to get a clearer picture:

 

 

 

The Dress – the star of the show, the reason we’re all here, the bride is the sparkling jewel on the crown that is the wedding day.  You’re on top of the world and all eyes are on you – and your gorgeous dress.

If the suit makes the man, then the dress makes the bride, right?

It’s what all your guests remember when they think of how beautiful you were, it’s one of those ‘specifically for you’ items that make the day extra special for you – because it is your day after all, and it’s what you’ll be showing people throughout your life from your wedding albums.

No bride wants to settle on something that ‘will do’, that just sets them up for big regret later – but you can’t go back… and you will be stuck with images of that dress for the rest of your life.

Even faced with the fact that you will only wear it this one time, my brides have insisted that there are a myriad of options for their dresses, like a Trash the Dress session or passing it on to one of their children for their wedding.

Now for those of you that are interested in a more daily use item, that’s where we move onto…

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The Ring – It’s packed full of symbolism – together, forever, unbroken.  You keep it as you build a family and life together, grow old and most likely pass the onto your children and their children’s children as heirlooms.

Very romantic, as it should be.

Rings can be customized to a degree that is borderline insane nowadays.  Designed to whatever tastes you and your future spouse have.  Whether you’re a fan of Star Trek, Star Wars or Starbucks, the sky is the limit.

Rings are a physical symbol of your love and dedication to each other – and it doesn’t hurt the ego to show off a little bling every once in a while.  It’s a reminder of what led up to this special day and every day following.

But if you’re wanting an injection of 100% emotional nostalgia, we come to…

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The Photography – beyond a shadow of a doubt, your wedding photography is the most emotionally charged and connected momento you will ever own.

They are windows into your day; not paintings or sketches – light from those slices of time were actually captured and can be displayed forever in your albums and on your walls for you and your whole family to relive and enjoy for all your lives.

If you have a great photographer, they’ll catch those candid moments where real emotion reveals itself, between you and your mother, father, grandmother, siblings, children, friends, new spouse – the list goes on.

Looking at those images 50+ years later, you can still hear the music and laughter, feel the caring arms embracing you both as two families come together, and the same joy and excitement you felt that day.

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I will admit, I am a little biased when it comes to these three items, but while a dress is worn once and rings can be replaced(although that would probably be accompanied by a very cross spouse…), your wedding day can’t be reshot.

Because your photography holds the strongest connection to your memories of your wedding, the decision of both who you hire and how much you invest shouldn’t be taken lightly.

And I should know, my wedding photographer was dropping the ball – starting on the wedding day.  I won’t go into the details because I don’t believe in bashing another photographer and she has since gained more knowledge in the industry and taken actions to rectify our relationship.  But if I were to do it again, I would’ve done it very differently.

 

Do these make sense?  What would you consider the most important decisions for planning your wedding?

From what I’ve learned over the years shooting couples, I find the most important part is the couple themselves, and that’s my motto for each and every wedding.

It is your day, right?

Sarah+Darren-111

Michael Carty

http://michaelcartyphotography.com

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How To Turn Obstacles Into Opportunities

Obstacles aren’t things that get in our way; they’re what carves the path towards our goals.”

Bump, hitch, snag.

We’ve all had them, obstacles that hinder what we want to achieve. Whether it’s a work project, trying to lose weight, quitting a habit like smoking or anything else we want to aspire to or be.

You’ll even find them in your love life.

Most approach obstacles as a hurdle to get over. You need to work harder to continue on your desired direction.

Over the years, I’ve come to believe that obstacles – with a certain perception – can be incredible opportunities if approached correctly.

If you’re working on a project and a team member can’t contribute, maybe that’s the time to flex some new skill muscles to take the slack or perhaps another talented individual you’ve wanted to work with for some time could take their place.

If you’re trying to lose weight but the holidays are approaching, imagine exploring unique and delicious dishes you could try that would not only be a novel treat during a family get-together but healthy for you as well.

If you’re trying to quit smoking and your roommates are like chimneys, is it inconceivable to explore the possibility of moving? Or getting them on the quitting bandwagon and supporting each other? Or making a rule to only smoke outside? Or go for walks/runs when they are smoking inside?

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What can a lot of the time be a deal breaker for your goals can also be turned into positive, supportive, actionable and life changing opportunities.

 


 

Oil’s Big Fall

I’m going to use the current drop in oil prices as a real life example and show you what I mean.

With the drastic drop in oil prices, the following events occurring is not unreasonable:

  • the oil industry will have to scale back in order to continue production
  • a number of oil industry jobs will be cut
  • unemployment will rise
  • workers with homes who are now unemployed won’t be able to pay for their mortgages*
It's MUCH lower now.

It’s MUCH lower now.

This looks incredibly bad. And it is, unless there is some way to change our perception and approach solving this situation in a proactive way.

 


 

Leveraging a Crisis

What other effects does this price drop have on our economy? Other industries?

One industry that will be hugely effected is the airline industry.

Fuel is an enormous cost to airlines. It literally fuels their business, and normally the cost of an airline ticket is proportional to the cost of oil. Oil goes up, ticket prices go up – and vice versa. So naturally most, if not all, airlines ticket prices will start to drop.

But what if an airline chose not to go in that direction? What if they chose to keep their prices where they are?

I’m not suggesting they pocket the money – they would be the most expensive airline around and if nothing changes in their services that won’t be well received. But what if instead they put that extra revenue towards something that bolstered their service, and at the same time inadvertently helped to soften the blow to our economy from the oil industry?

The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”
Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage

 

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GREAT Read.

 

What if they put those revenues towards update their technology, refresh and retrain their staff, increase maintenance intervals, upgrade their planes or hiring more supportive staff positions?

Remember the unemployed oil worker with the mortgage he can’t pay? I bet he has some time to spare…

Doing any or all of these things would increase the value of their services and public opinion would allow for their higher ticket costs. The increased hiring would also make a smooth transfer of trained, hard-working individuals from one industry to another.

And when oil rises again(and it is most likely going to), they can be the ONLY airline to tell the public that they won’t raise theirs.

This is called playing the long game, it’s based on perception, leveraging and refusing to give in to the urge of instant gratification. It’s also the smart way of doing, well, anything.

Now what happens if EVERY airline did this? What if every fuel-dependent business did this? Trucking, boats/ferries, public transit, etc? What an incredible effect it could have on a large spectrum of industries across our economy.

 


How Green Energy Benefits From Cheap Gas

 

I know the team at Scotian Windfields personally and they are all about community, energy security and a sustainable future.

I know the team at Scotian Windfields personally and they are all about community, energy security and a sustainable future.

I’m not blind to the effect that this oil price drop will have on green energy.

I’ve heard people argue that when oil was high people would conserve, which both made green energy more attractive and helped the environment. But now they say that people can start using oil and gas more casually. This will not only turn interest away from green energy but the environment will start to take a beating.

I choose to look at this situation as an incredible opportunity for green energy.

Yes, oil prices have dropped and people will use oil and gas more liberally, but because of the oil industry’s need to scale back it’s infrastructure, it is not the best nor the most stable place to invest in right now.

The oil industry has taken a large hit; it’s weak, hurting and bleeding out. It needs time to stabilize, heal and recover.

The alternative(yes, that is a pun), green energy has an extraordinary opportunity to position itself as a reliable solution and prospering investment to the current economic/employment crisis.

Green energy can draw the attention of investors and government funding to bolster themselves while oil is on the mend. Like the airlines, they can pick up the slack by creating jobs, offering training and upgrading technology.  Build new initiatives, integrate them into the surrounding communities, eliminate our dependency on non-renewable resources.

By the time the oil industry rights itself, the green movement will be a real force to reckon with.

But only if it acts NOW.

 


 How Am I Wrong?

So don’t get hung up on the drama that obstacles immediately instill in you when they appear. Take a breath, sit back and say to yourself,”How is this going to work FOR me? How can I leverage this? What direction does this take me?”

They aren’t bumps, hitches or snags to your plans. Obstacles aren’t things that get in our way; they’re what carves the path towards our goals.

Don’t agree with me? Tell me why! I’d love to hear some other opinions and I’d love to hear some examples of how you’ve taken an obstacle and leveraged it into an opportunity.

Talk soon,

Michael

*the recent drop in interest rates will have little to no effect on this since a person without a paying job can’t pay a mortgage regardless of the interest.

How Finding Your WHY Will Help Reconcile Your Creative and Business Sides

 

  “My job is not taking pretty pictures.”

Work-Document

 

There’s a large disconnect for creatives when they move from creating for themselves into the world of creating for money.

 

The Creative Side hates the thought of putting a number on their work and peddling their business like a greasy used car salesman.

The feeling of freedom that they had from self-expression gets replaced by the cold, hollow desperation of selling oneself to pay the bills.

Worries over rent, supplies, gear, food, etc not only dull the passion of creating, but it also dulls the creative process by being a very real distraction.  It is easy to slowly move from work that you once enjoyed to work you need to do to eat.

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The Business Side also has its complaints.  It expected a simple and automatic setup.  Clients come, you work, they pay, you laugh all the way to the bank.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

It has demands in order for business to run smoothly and in an upward direction.  Workflows, agreements, insurance, collections, projects, customer service, refunds, policies, events, social media, tutorials, workshops, etc etc etc.

Additionally, the Business Side doesn’t have time for the frivolous personal projects of the Creative Side, it has work to do.

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The Nova Fashion Incubator – a great place to connect

I had the privilege to attend an event with a group of designers last month.  As we discussed their work and how it relates to photography, I said something blunt and honest to them,”My job is not taking pretty pictures.”

Professional suicide?  Not in the least, but I do think it may have got some attention.

I explained that as a creative – just like they are, my job is expression – whether expressing myself or expression for a client doesn’t matter.

I continued that for a business client, my job is to find the voice or brand message or style or essence of their business.  To know it as true as the founder and their most loyal customers would understand it.  Using this knowledge, I create imagery that best exudes that essence.

Let me say right away that the objective here isn’t to make a brands message louder – there’s too much noise out there as is.  The purpose is to give their brand clarity.

Any photographer can take a decent product image.  But if the design of that image doesn’t resonate with the brands message, it will fall flat and just be more noise.  Clients will walk on by, not even recognizing the brand and potential clients won’t even know that it exists in the first place.  That’s where clarity is key.

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Let’s look at a brand like Nike.  Nike has a consistent brand message.  You recognize it right away when you see an ad in a magazine or a commercial on TV.  “Just Do It”, a large check mark or even just seeing people running in gear will reflexively bring to mind Nike.  It may even make you feel like getting up and going for a walk or run – especially for those of you that are loyal customers of Nike.

 

How does that happen?

 

Again, their images have a strong and consistent brand message, and it’s not just their product itself – but how it is presented in images for advertising(clarity).  That message resonates with the brand, which comes through clear as a bell in their images, which then resonates with their clients.

 

If I’ve done my job right, that’s what I offer my clients.  Any client of any business.

 No-Worriesrs

With clarity, I create an emotional connection and stimulus with a brands client base that reminds them of who they are and who they aspire to be.  The product will then resonate with them on a strong level personally, they’ll feel more like ‘who they really are’ when they wear a specific style of shoe or makeup or dress or hairstyle or tattoo, or when they use a Mac instead of a laptop, or when they drink Starbucks instead of Tim Horton’s.

 

People tell the story of their lives by their actions and purchases.  My work with business clients is to connect the right people to the right brands that help them paint a clearer picture for themselves.

 

And I do it all through my photography.

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So, what the hell does this have to do with your conflicting Creative/Business Sides?

 

This is how I’ve personally rectified and reconciled them for myself.  This is my WHY.

WHY do I shoot photography?  WHY is it important to me?  WHY is it important to others?

My WHY is clarity of expression for the purpose of stimulating emotion.  In other words, I feel emotions that make me want to create and what I want to create I want to evoke emotion in others.

 

 

It’s connection and beauty and truth and purpose and limitless and human.

It’s honest and sincere and comes from a place of vulnerability because it is who I tell myself that Michael Carty is.

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My Creative Side is happy because the projects I work on are fun and dynamic, they are challenge me to connect people, to express an emotion and the design options are unlimited.  I don’t have to feel sleazy when talking shop because I come from a place everyone can relate to.

I know the challenges of business and creativity first hand and that also helps to create a personal connection with my clients and their businesses.

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My Business Side is ecstatic.  Work and projects come in steadily with businesses and organizations that I’m excited to work with and can only enhance my career.  The enthusiasm and energy that would normally be reserved for creating has grown and bled over to my business activities.  It now encourages personal projects, not because it gives me a break from business, but because it helps me get more business and find new and dynamic ways of creating work that is fun and exciting.

 

It may take a while, some thinking, maybe some writing or sketching or listening to music while staring at the ceiling, but follow the path to find your WHY and these warring factions will fall into a cohesive peace that will make you a better creative and business person.  It will allow you to see what is truly important and what you can let fall to the wayside in work and life.  It can become a mantra to bring you back to earth when the minutia overwhelms the senses and you lose yourself in the forests of mass information consumption.

 

Need a headstart?  Check out Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why – great read and direction.

 

Find your WHY, find your reason and then share it with the world.

Michael

Nova Fashion Incubator: Taking Charge of East Coast Fashion

When you first think of fashion, the East Coast probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind.

You’re more likely to think of New York, Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, L.A., Toronto or a number of other places considered a Mecca of the fashion world.

The East Coast on the other hand, specifically the Maritimes, tends to bring to mind thoughts of summer party’s in the woods, the fishing industry and tourism.

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A peek into the Nova Fashion Incubator before our meeting… and Christmas party…

That’s all about to change.

The Nova Fashion Incubator is a new non-profit organization in Halifax, NS who’s mandate is to

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tis the season

“…establish a growing and profitable fashion design and garment industry on the East Coast by providing the space, equipment and mentorship needed for fashion professionals to build and grow their businesses.  The goal of the Nova Fashion Incubator is to raise the level of qualified and proficient designers in the area, making East Coast fashion recognized across Canada as a professional and credible industry.”

 

 

 

This Friday, new equipment will be brought in and set up.  The Incubator will be up and running by Monday for any and all members/designers to utilize the space and equipment, getting an enormous head start towards designing, making and shipping their lines, which is one of many key elements in the organizations plan to strengthen the coasts fashion industry – by supporting designers.

Juki

Don’t drool on the Juki

 

The Nova Fashion Incubator’s leading team is seriously creative and ambitious.

We have co-directors/founders Amanda Kincaid of LINE Magazine and Laura Corkum of Lady Lamb Designs, with board members Conni Zafiris of Zafira Apparel and Michelle Kulyk(photo unavailable), who has an extensive background in the fashion and garment industry, including design, manufacturing and teaching.

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Amanda, Conni & Laura Photo Credit: Mag Hood

I’m proud to be an Associate Member of the Incubator and am excited about the ideas for 2015 discussed at the first few meetings.  I can’t go into detail about everything, but I’m looking forward to lots of unique shows, shoots and travel.

Another facet of support that they are giving designers are learning workshops.  The first is a two day Pattern Grading course, you can check out the details here.

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Conni modeling with our mannequin.

I’m currently discussing a basic photography course for simple product shots where the option of a full studio setup would be overkill.  This way designers can up their photo skills a bit when shooting pieces like jewelry.

I believe this organization has the potential to become huge and a game changer for the industry, and with leaders like these four smart and ambitious women(and supporters like yours truly) – the sky is truly the limit.

So check out the studio and all the new gear to play with this Monday, and tell them Michael sent you.

 

To find out more information regarding the Nova Fashion Incubator and how to become a member, please check out their site here.

Interview with Improv Comedian and Comic Book Creator, Ian Boothby

To tell you the truth, when I started interviewing Ian Boothby at Hal-Con – I was a little intimidated.

 

Besides being a successful comic, both on and off the stage, he writes for CBC Radio and is best known as one of the main writers for The Simpsons and Futurama comics – which, of course were the staple in my life as a young man.

 

Ian was completely approachable, even inviting, on the showfloor where he was set up to meet fans and sign autographs.  As the chaos surged around us, we had an open and frank discussion on overcoming reading obstacles, staying fresh and what’s happening in 2014.

 

Click Ian’s photo below to hear the interview.

Ian Boothby

Ian Boothby

 

Interview with comic artist and writer, Ty Templeton

“All art is skill – none of it is talent…”

                                                       – Ty Templeton

Ty Templeton by far was my favorite person to interview during Hal-Con this past November.  Ty exudes self-confidence and decisiveness in his work that only proves why he is successful and that he definitely deserves it.  Among his work, he has written for comic giants like Batman and Spiderman, which in itself is impressive and somewhat intimidating to any interviewer – but Ty also has the ability to make one feel at ease and open to dialogue, thank the gods…

We spoke about many topics ranging from creative blocks, Beethoven as a child and my favorite – talent vs. skill(you’ll find this about 15:00 into the interview).

By the end, I wanted to attend the Ty Templeton’s Comic Book Boot Camp, even though I’m a photographer and not a writer, I know that it could only increase my creativity and productivity as an artist.

Click Ty’s photo below to listen to the interview in its entirety.

WARNING: CONTAINS USE OF PROFANITY AND SUBJECT MATTER THAT IS OF A SENSITIVE NATURE – SO EITHER GROW UP OR DON’T LISTEN 😉

Ty Templeton

Ty Templeton

Thank you Ty for your time and letting me pick your brain, it was a pleasure.

Michael Carty

http://michaelcartyphotography.com

Powerteams and Happy New Etc!!

In any team sport, the best teams have consistency and chemistry.
– Roger Staubach

Goodbye, sweet 2013…

This is most likely going to be my last post for 2013, I’ve already posted 2-3 others and besides the festivities about to happen, I also have a lot of fun, creative things to get my hands dirty that I really should get back to.

Floating

I want to leave you and 2013(I’ll see you on the other side…) with something special, something that will boost your creativity, your workload, your quality, your everything.

No Man Is An Island…

Look, I get it.

You want to prove something to someone – your parents, spouse, children, friends, old boss, old coworkers, the jerk across town, etc.

You want to show them that you can do this, all of this on your own.

Your skills are killer, your ambition is stellar and you won’t let anything stop you.

So get out of your own damn way already and ask for help.

One Kind of Help…

So there’s help as in,“I’m drowning in this mess and am about to lose my shit – help me!!”

And then there’s help as in building a team of like-minded creatives to collaborate with on personal projects in order to:

  1. build new and dynamic bodies of work
  2. increase the quality of (both) your services
  3. be creative for the god’s sake!
  4. charge more $$$
  5. increase the quality of your craft
  6. get outside of your comfort zone
  7. network with each others network
  8. many many more

Intro to Heidi

I’ve collaborated with creatives before, but over the last few months I’ve been mainly dedicated to working – when at all possible, with my new MUA/Stylist, Heidi DeBoer.

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Model Josee Hicks and SuperMUA/Stylist Heidi behind the scenes

Heidi is awesome.  Can I just say that?

Her passion for creative work is unquenchable.

This past fall, she lead the make up for the Atlantic Fashion Week and has been collaborating with an array of fantastic photogs – including yours truly…

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We have a bunch of new and imaginative concepts to put out this 2014 that I know you are going to love, some light and airy – others dark and nightmarish – I may receive hate mail for some, but that’s what being creative is like right?

You can’t please everyone all the time.

Intro to Crystal

Crystal started out as a client and model for Heidi and I and now she is one of my most outstanding maternity/newborn/child/family/boudoir photographers.

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She’s very new to the scene, but she has the ambition and drive to see things through – sometimes I even feel like I need to catch up to her!

Our holiday staff party – minus Heidi 😦
Our holiday staff party - minus Heidi :(

Our holiday staff party – minus Heidi 😦

Crystal’s innovation is remarkable and her love of the craft is second to none, I can’t wait to really dive into what we can do together in the new year and bring some value to the market and local areas.

If You Build It…

It was a nice movie, but what I’m saying is that building a strong and enthusiastic team around you will work wonders for your photography.  It will give you new drive and other minds to bounce ideas off of, it will make you accountable to others depending on you showing up with your game face on every time.

I love my team of creatives, I can’t wait to see what we do in 2014 and how it changes and grows during the year to come.

So never underestimate a strong collaborative team, they will be your support and help promote your shit as you help promote theirs.

I’ll Miss You…

First let me give you this link to a NYE post I did in 2011 interviewing such creatives and friends as Dane Sanders and Jake Garn.  It will give you a glimpse on their perspective on things photog-related.

Last, I want to thank all of my friends(old and new) and family(old and new), clients(etc) and collaborators for a great year, I had a lot of fun and adventuring, we had our second child who is so adorable – and he knows it.  Thank you to my other son for being so loving to his brother and my wife for all her support and love – I love you all!!

Happy New Year from the Carty’s!!
Happy New Year from the Carty's!!

Happy New Year from the Carty’s!!

See you on the other side!

Michael Carty

http://michaelcartyphotography.com

Hal-Con Makes Me Want To Dress Up

This November, in the middle of my Movember growth, I had the great pleasure of attending Hal-Con, a comic/sci-fi convention in Halifax, NS.  This was due in great part to photographer and friend Jake Garn, founder of Shoot For Love.

I brought up the convention to Jake a while back, thinking it would be a great place to source creatives of other genres on how they keep creative in their own work and what experiences they could share with us.

Needless to say, it was an incredible 3 days.

I was able to speak with 4 highly insightful and generous artists about their own takes on creative work.

Christopher Torres, comic artist and creator of LOL Comics and Nyan Cat.

Ian Boothby, an improv, sketch and stand up comedian who is also an award-winning comic book creator best known for his work as one of the main writers on The Simpsons and Futurama comics for Bongo.

Ty Templeton, who teaches script writing and illustration at Ty Templeton’s Comic Book Bootcamp and works on Batman, Superman, the Avengers, the Justice League, Howard the Duck, Mad Magazine, Star Trek and more.

You can find each interview by clicking on their names above.

First Impressions

Costumes.  Incredible Costumes.

The thought of spending time(lots of time) putting together an outfit to wear to Hal-Con was the last thing on my mind, but in the end I sort of felt left out of the fun.  A lot of these costumes were completely photo/tv/movie worthy as far as I’m concerned, which just showed the dedication and love these folks had for their genres.

Check it:

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Got My Doctor Who On

Peter Davison

Thank you to my friends at Aperture Studios for their great work and this shot!

Yes, I got to meet, get a photo with and signed by fifth Doctor Who incarnation, Peter Davison.  It was surreal, and probably as close to anything genuinely Doctor Who-ish that I will ever get to – except for my new coffee mug.

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Just to give you and idea of some of the great talent I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with…

Hal-Con had Jewel Staite, from Firefly and Stargate Atlantis.  Jewel was a sweetheart – everyone loved her(and my friend Lisa – in the purple top – was her “handler”), she loved our city and I truly hope she comes back next year.  Check out her food blog, HappyOpu – it’s epic.

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Robert Maillet, who – among other parts – played the Uber Immortal in 300, Dredger in Sherlock Holmes and Aleksis Kaidanovsky in Pacific Rim, was literally so big in person, my lizard-brain sent me into fight-or-flight mode just moments before his hand swallowed up mine in a friendly shake and got this shot snapped.  He was a great sport who catered to all of the fans requests – within reason(part of me wanted to ask him to hold me like a baby for a shot, but I thought that would be too far…)

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Rob Denbleyker of Cyanide & Happiness and hilarious/talented guy, gave me this great pose – in his hammerhead shark costume no less – for my buddy Aaron… it’s just something we do.

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At one moment, I turned around and saw Ajay Fry, co-host of Inner Space(love this show) across the showroom.  I raised my camera – we locked eyes – and got this spontaneous shot before he came over to chat and get some more posed ones.

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Garrett Wang, who played Harry Kim from Star Trek Voyager, was the life of the whole weekend.  He was playful, energetic, humorous and was up for anything that was thrown at him.  A true lover of the conventions and the fans.  We shared a moment after interviews watching the flash mob with a few other bystanders.

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Mr. Billy Dee Williams, yes, Lando Calrissian himself was another top-ranking guest at Hal-Con.  Did you know he paints? (I did)  He auctioned off The Empire Strikes Back, this large painting he created – many artistic skills in this man.

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In the end, it was great fun, great friends, great food and a great big hole in my wallet that was totally worth it – go to Hal-Con – even if you don’t like the shows or games or everything else they serve up there because believe me, in the end;  you will want to dress up too.

Michael Carty

http://michaelcartyphotography.com

Interview with comic artist and creater of Nyan Cat, Christopher Torres

This November I had the great experience of attending Hal-Con, a comic/sci-fi convention in Halifax, NS on behalf of myself and Shoot For Love, founded by photographer and friend Jake Garn.

Because of the great press access and my overdraft limit, it was an incredible weekend.  You can read more about my Hal-Con adventure here.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing Christopher Torres, creator of LOL Comics and Nyan Cat, on creativity, his experiences with success and advice for other creatives out there.  Christopher was incredibly humble and had none of the super-ego you would expect from someone with success coming to him in so short a time period.  He was extremely generous and patient with my assistant and I and everyone he interacted with at Hal-Con.

Click the photo of Chris below to hear the interview.

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To hear his his take on Hal-Con itself and fan-based interactions he’s experienced, click here!

Kill the Pain and Be Grateful

Man – a being in search of meaning.

Plato

Internal Pains

Floating

You’re struggling, hustling, busting your ass to get – “Please just let me get to…!!” fill in the blank of your career, family, fitness, life, etc.

Then life happens and you fall short, fall down, fall out.

It hurts.  Even when you’re on the path, it still hurts sometimes, inside.  In you.

It makes you sweat, gasp for air.

It makes your heart beat so hard it’s going to burst from your chest – or stop completely.

You get dizzy, nauseous and light headed.

Sometimes it feels like you’re going to die.

But you never do.

External Gains

It feels like time is ticking and the buzzer is about to go off, leaving you with… what?

What do you have to show for your time here?  How have you spent it?

Let’s work our ass off some more and buy the latest car/HDTV/camera gear/editing software/house/bed/friends…

But none of this helps.

The need to feed this hole inside is ever present and can never be filled with things of this world.

Missing Gratitude

Lying in bed the other night, I stared at the ceiling and thought of these things.

What’s missing when you feel this?  How complicated our lives must be that even in the midst of our dreams we can feel our nightmares closing in.

Then a thought occurred to me:  what if what’s missing is gratitude?

You’re grateful for what you have like most people, but do you honestly and consciously make time to dwell on it?  Do you periodically reset your perspective to the previously been/possibly could be from the currently is?

Most likely, you have a general idea of being grateful for your life, just like you have a general idea that you have to breathe in and out and have your blood pump throughout your body – it more goes without saying.

I thought of how my life was before I became a photographer full-time, before I had my children, before I met my wife.

I thought of how my life could have been if I was left with nothing and no one.

Homeless, penniless, friendless.

Cold and wet and tired and hungry and alone – with no hope for anything else.

I let myself be swept away by this imaginary world, completely submerging myself in the painful emotions that accompanied it.

Then I brought myself back to reality, and just as waking from a nightmare, the swelling of joy and gratitude that I have for my life and everything and everyone in it was so great and so intense that it was almost painful in itself.

I looked around my room with new eyes; my loving and supportive wife sleeping next to me, our beautiful 3 month old son snoring in his crib, our fun-loving 2 year old son settling in his room down the hall.

Our bed was fit for royalty compared to the hard, cold and rocky ground I could be sleeping on.

Electricity and indoor plumbing were miraculous and even the paint on the walls seemed a luxury next to the home I might never have had.

The pain of need was replaced by the pain of joy, the filling of the hole inside and feeding the need not with my own soul but with a never ending source of gratitude and thankfulness and humility.

Empathic Attitude

We’re all human – remember that.

We’re all looking for something.

We started off with gratitude, even if you don’t remember.  It was so natural and you were so young there wasn’t a word for it yet.

It was when you were the real you ALL THE TIME.  Loving freely, sharing openly, living honestly.  Fearless.

But then you were taught that this wasn’t enough.  Weird eh?

You needed to have, and to have you needed to work, and if you worked more you could have more.

And more, and more, and more, and more….  see where this is going?

Eventually it became an addiction and now we don’t know what to do with ourselves.

Go back to gratitude, if nothing else.

Feel the softness and comfort of your couch when you watch tv; acknowledge the simple ease in which you can put together your next meal; realize how much free time you actually have – if you doubt this, then look at how many hours/week you watch tv – basically sitting and staring at a big light.

Then remember how easily you might have had no place to rest your body.

How easily you might have had to scrape by a small bite to eat from the garbage – never knowing when you’ll eat again.  Or when your children will…

Remember all the people in your life that help make it the way it is instead of the cold nightmare of what it may have been.

Be thankful, be grateful and the real you will come out to do what really needs to be done in your life.

The need will be sated, the hunger abated, the whole filled, the pain relieved, the fear banished and living unobstructed.

And don’t do this for New Year’s, do it every day.

Do it for life.

Do it for everyone who’s been there.

Do it for the real you; and then you will be….

Michael Carty

http://michaelcartyphotography.com