2022 with Prime Minister Trudeau
This yearly retrospective (2020, 2021) started as a pandemic project. The work of trimming down the photos has turned into a yearly exercise where I get to pick out some favourites, note what I missed and see where I can improve.
Between the last of the lockdowns, an occupation in Ottawa, war in Ukraine, a new normal in a post-COVID world, a historic Papal apology and many other happenings, 2022 was relentless. This was how I saw it.
NB: Zoom in on your browser to make photos bigger, Medium no longer does full page photos — so I am open to suggestions for a new platform in 2023.
Ukraine and back in 52hrs
Both the office and my family had been talking about the eventual possibility of visiting Ukraine with PMJT. I got a phone call a few days prior and started getting ready. We received briefings ahead of the trip, and many others along the way.
Security was a main concern, so we kept a tight circle of those who actually knew where we were going. I told my wife and that was it.
Turns out she was less concerned about me going to Ukraine for a day than she was about me walking through the blockades in Ottawa during the convoy protest.
Papal visit 2022
Pope Francis visited Canada for a penitential pilgrimage to apologise for the Church’s role in residential schools. The system saw tens of thousands of children separated from their families to attend schools meant to rob them of their culture and heritage. Many abuses happened at these schools and many children never returned home.
Her Majesty the Queen
PMJT and staff woke up on September 8th to news that members of the Royal Family were rushing to the Queen’s side. As we awaited news, we carried on our morning with briefings before the final day of a cabinet retreat in Vancouver. And then I ran into National Security and Intelligence Advisor Jody Thomas, who had a look on her face and pointed me to PMJT’s briefing room. At that point, it was clear to me what she was here to tell the room. With one nod to the Clerk of the Privy Council, Janice Charette informed the room of the Queen’s passing. I knew the impact this would have on the PM and asked everyone to clear the room.
After a short time, PMJT and the team began drafting a message to Canadians to be broadcast live once the news was made public.
I have a photo of the month of September’s schedule sitting on the table — a schedule that was then thrown out and completely redrafted as all of our days would focus on the next steps. Cabinet would need to meet in Ottawa to proclaim the accession of the sovereign, statements made in the House of Commons, and eventually a trip to London for the funeral.
Often times I am either editing or trying to catch up on some sleep, so taking more photos is not exactly at the top of my list. I am forcing myself to document more of the in between moments of the job with little projects like these below.
Nerd stuff – Storage and archiving
Due to storage constraints, I do two rounds of deleting images as I narrow down what to edit and archive. One on my camera, second on the computer.
In all, I’ve filed around 24,000 photos — meaning I have personally captured, edited and captioned each one.
Adobe Lightroom is both my editing and archiving system.
We maintain folders for each one of the MPs and Ministers in our government, as well as specific folders for staff (PCO, Senior Staff and PMO), Security (RCMP/Canadian Forces, Parliament) and support staff.
Raw and jpegs are stored on both LaCie Rugged drives that I shelve once filled, and then multiple RAID units in different locations. It is not a backup if you only have one copy.
(Evergreen side note: please never accuse a photographer of not sharing photos. What a horrible business model that would be. Always ask the organizers to share, they have received them!).
Nerd stuff – Gear
My regular equipment is as follows: 2 Sony a9ii, 1 Sony a7Riv, Sony 16–35 f2.8, Sony 24–70 f2.8, Sony 70–200 f2.8.
The a9’s ability to shoot silently has been a game changer enabling me to capture even more candid moments. It is shocking how loud mechanical shutters now seem to me. Two memory card slots are essential because we live in fear of something messing up. Raw files to one card, lower res jpegs to the second.
On a day-to-day basis, I work closest with the PM’s assistants, Phil Proulx and James Armbruster, and Katie Telford’s assistants, Sarah Jackson and Katie Poirier — two Katies in the same office does get confusing.
Katie Telford, Chief of Staff, and Cameron Ahmad, Director of Communications, are my direct bosses. Thankfully they are very supportive of my work and give me a lot of room to do my own thing.
The Prime Minister’s office feels like a small family with many moving parts. Advance, planning, scheduling, communications, issues management — I pester everyone with questions so I can stay on top of what is going on and what is on the horizon. Thank you all for putting up with me.
Finally, cheers to PMJT for a great 11 years.