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Protected: Lisle Ellis Trio

by on Sep.16, 2010, under Photography, Projects

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The piano trio

by on Jul.16, 2010, under Concerts, Events, Media, Music, Photography

The piano trio is where my friend Paul Plimley really lives. Yes, I can interest him in electronics; and he does play guitar, vibes and percussion — but he really lives his most joyous moments with bass and drums.Plimley-Guy-Niggli-Trio

The trio with Barry Guy, Paul Plimley and Lucas Niggli was one of my personal highlights from the 2010 Vancouver International Jazz Festival. They reached the highest levels of improvisation in ensemble performance where they meshed into a texture of beauty and complexity that shone with emotion.

Lucas Niggli is a Swiss drummer who plays with style and delicate strength. He stretches the boundaries of percussion while playing in the pocket for the band. This balancing act displays the greatness of a drummer; too much steady time keeping and the innovative spark fades, too much of stretching one’s own personal boundaries and the connection with the ensemble is lost.

The photos show the level of communication and emotion present in the Ironworks as each of these expert musicians wholeheartedly joined their considerable individual talents into a cohesive whole.

Barry Guy (below) is a bass player living in Switzerland, who plays with Lucas often. This evening of music allowed him to display many extended techniques and timbres. He played with intelligence, skill and unrepentant emotion. His composition, Fixed, Fragmented, Fluid; had been played as one of the festival opening works in a larger ensemble that included this trio. That was structured improv, but this was free and he was able to fly with his fingers and bow with authority.

There was a Canadian pianist who completed the trio named Paul Plimley. I must admit to being biased when I write about Paul, but I have seen him play in Vancouver many times, and grace the stage of the Ironworks with other trios. This was one of the best performances I have ever witnessed from the maestro. The combination of Barry Guy and Lucas Niggli challenged, supported, encouraged and battled with Paul in the most delightful way possible. There was always a spirit of fun and several times the joy crackled in the air like electricity.

I was a photographer that evening, soundless and motionless focusing on the light and motion as I was transported by the music.

There are other photos of a larger ensemble concert featuring these three musicians taken by Chris Cameron posted on the Coastal Jazz website here.

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Voice Over Mind Festival Performance

by on May.09, 2010, under Concerts, Events, Photography

Vocals have always been a large part of my performance practice and I have been working on developing even more techniques in vocal improvisation. Every Saturday at 10am, I am now practicing with the Voxy Choir, directed by Kate Hammett-Vaughn and Carol Sawyer. This ensemble offers workshops every week to stretch our performance preconceptions by introducing us to teachers outside of the mainstream of music.

Kate and I have known each other since I used to write reviews and the Women In Music column for Nite Moves magazine in the late 1980’s. More recently, I recorded, mastered and co-produced her CD, So Lucky To Be Me. Kate is a great vocal teacher and very well connected in the Vancouver and Canadian jazz community. This enables her to bring in a variety of talent to lead workshops with Voxy Choir such as her long time musical collaborator, Ron Samworth.

I only met Carol Sawyer recently, but she impresses me with her diversity in artistic practice that encompasses video, photography and other fine arts as well as her imaginative performance art.

Workshop leaders outside of music have included Jay Hirabayashi, best known for his work with Kokoro Dance and  a young man from the theatre, who I was introduced to as Paul. This Saturday, May 8th;  the workshop was at The Western Front with NY performance artist/composer Shelley Hirsch.

Shelley Hirsch was in Vancouver to perform on the Friday evening as part of the Voice Over Mind Festival. Some members of the Voxy Choir, including me, had also participated in part of the festival at the Chan Centre on Wednesday evening under the direction of DB Boyco and Christine Duncan. Shelley will be continuing to perform locally in Seattle, WA and Victoria, BC.

The mixed choir was drawn from Voxy and DB’s students, including members of the Roundhouse Senior’s choir. We sang an adaptation of Songbird, written by Vancouver performer/composer Takeo Yamashiro for the Songbird Oratorio, a homage to the plight of birds surviving the encroachment of urban development. This composition was followed by a conducted improvisation led by both choir directors. I sang in the low section, as most of the choir could only sing in the upper range and I have worked hard to expand my range in the low part of my voice.

(continue reading…)

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More photos available for viewing

by on Mar.28, 2010, under Events, Photography, Projects

Now I have chosen to go with Photoshelter to host some of  my galleries, I will be uploading more events that I have photographed. Now I have completed the Canadian League of Composers event that occurred at the Western Front back in January. See my progress on my Photoshelter  homepage here.

Soon I will have other galleries hosted. I realized after I started this account that I could easily host this level of  photo storage and slideshow view on my own site. So here is a slide show of the Canadian Composers I photographed in January. If you are pictured and you would like a copy, please contact me. You are welcome to copy the image off the site but please credit me if you use it professionally. Most of these photos are untouched and would benefit from an application of graphic design skills. I am willing to trade or accept an honourarium for the work.

I attended several events during the Vancouver 2010 Cultrual Olympiad and my friend Paul played with Phil Emerson and Tommy Babin in the trio, “String Stories”. The light was very tricky and I am still getting used to my new 50mm 1.8 lens. My Nikon D50 did the best it could in my hands and this is the result. I learned a lot from taking these photos, but they still preserve some great moments.

One of the other really cool shows was Umalali, a group I had connected with at the 2009 Folk Music Festival. I have yet to obtain permission to post images from this concert, but here are the pictorial  examples of Olympic Security – Belize style.

Have to get back to music now.

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Professional Photo Hosting

by on Mar.15, 2010, under Concerts, Events, Media, Photography

My photography has moved to the level where I am being paid for photos and several of my friends are interested in the documentation of their concerts and events. It is a lot of work to process RAW photos and develop them with a degree of individual care that they deserve if they are not going to be used. They should also be custom formatted for print or web publishing and there are a number of other considerations. Now I take a lot of photos, processing was becoming too time consuming. I had to find out what other photographers were doing to manage this situation.

Welcome to Photoshelter, a very cool photo host that is as professional as you want it to be. This is a custom search box to check if you  are listed in a photo on the site. Here is my homepage – VIX.

Right now, I only have one gallery of Viviane Houle, Stefan Smulovitz and Dider Petit playing as a trio at the Light Gallery on Monday. I have posted a couple of the photos with their permission. In the top photo Didier was acting tired and critiquing Stefan’s laptop offerings (below). It was all in good fun and the concert was amusing.

Their intent was humorous, right from the start, as the first piece was an accompaniment to the performed text of the clause in the artist’s contract that restricts their right to criticize the Olympics, the sponsors or anything else about the “Big O”. The rendition was quite sardonic, but did not constitute a violation, as they were just reading the contract. There are some rumours that the Olympics have copyrighted our year, so that it is an infringement to use Vancouver 2010 in this sentence. I guess this is permitted use because I am talking about this concert that was held as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

I have to confess I did not watch the hockey game, but I love the Cultural Olympiad. There is more, yes, much more. HIVE3, one of my favourite theatre festivals is part of the fun and John Kosrud strikes again with the Ice Age March 20th in North Van. I have been busy this weekend with concerts by Paul Plimley and a new music group from Taiwan at Performance Works on Granville Island. I am getting into the action while I can because with the Arts cuts after the Olympics leave town, it is going to be a lot quieter than usual in Vancouver.

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Phil Minton and the Feral Choir

by on Jan.25, 2010, under Concerts, Events, Music, Photography

The Vancouver New Music Society brought Phil Minton to lead the Feral Choir, a group made up of local volunteer singers. This program of  improvisational vocal workshops leading to a performance has been popular at locations all over the world and there are samples of audio and video on the official site from several sites in Europe and Australia. We were very lucky that he chose to return to Vancouver to share some of his expertise with us.

The last time I saw Mr. Minton in Vancouver was with Maggie Nichols, a longtime collaborator, who is also from the UK. As I was doing my usual Jazz Festival volunteer shift as Crew Chief at the Ironworks, I had the opportunity to share in the fun as the duo warmed up in the green room. The show was very inspiring and opened up vocal areas that I had not previously concentrated on.


Phil Minton in action

I was looking forward to the workshops and performances and I signed up early. There is no audition and Phil’s workshops are open to anyone who wants to sing, so there were many people attending who I do not know. Singers I did know included Kate Hammett-Vaughn, Carol Sawyer, Soressa Gardener and DB Boyco among others.


Phil Minton and his Vancouver Feral Choir 2010

I did take photos of the rehearsal such as Phil in action and the pre-performance  at Ironworks, but my daughter, Jhayne Holmes, took this group photo (above) with my camera. The low light conditions are difficult for the Nikon D50 with the kit lens — we will see what her newer Nikon photos are like.

There are more photos to come, but I will send them to the performers through Vancouver New Music as I did not get specific permission to post them.  Perhaps they will post and I will link.

I did record the concert with my Zoom H4 and  Vancouver New Music recorded as well. One of the choir members was recording at the rehearsal for CBC broadcast, so it might be part of a radio show soon. There may be some sonic samples of the amazing choral sounds that were made today.

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Seoul Design Olympiad 2009

by on Aug.07, 2009, under Design, Open Source, Photography

seoul-compeI am so excited to be chosen for the second round of the 2009  Seoul Olympiad Design Competition! This world-wide competition attracts entries from designers from many fields, from furniture and fashion to industrial and animation. I entered the magazine I made to demonstrate my integrated media skills. Only 661 designers have been chosen to advance to the second round of judging in all categories. I don’t know how many are in my graphic design section, but probably hundreds remain.

Last year, the 2008 Seoul Design Olympiad was a huge event with Cirque Du Soleil performing, the world’s largest recycled plastic sculpture and an enormous design conference. The winner of the competition receives an award and all of the final round designers have their work displayed in Korea at the event.


Download a copy of my entry, pictured at left,  here. If I reach the final round, there will be a “People’s Choice Award”, where internet votes are counted. If I get to this point, I will let you know.

Victoria Gibson, Artist Journal was written, photographed, edited and designed as a solo project. So many of my web and graphic design contracts have multiple contributors that I wanted to showcase my work.

The project was created using Open Source Software on a Ubuntu Linux operating system. Photos were taken with a Nikon D50 and processed using UFR plug-in for the Gimp. Design was completed with Scribus. The computer is an Asus notebook from Korea.

It is encouraging to receive international recognition for my design work. Wish me luck in the second round.

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Vancouver Folk Music Festival Volunteer Experience 2009

by on Jul.18, 2009, under Concerts, Photography, Projects

This year I am volunteering at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival because I was asked to document the volunteer experience, in a similar way that I did with the Jazz Festival volunteers. Usually, I don’t volunteer for every festival in Vancouver, but there is a really good festival line up and I wanted to attend anyway.

One of the big differences between the documentation that I did at the Jazz Festival and this experience, is that I am handling the audio recording of interviews with the participating volunteers. I have a partner, Dean Buscher (2nd from right – wearing the shades), who has a Nikon D3 and all the fast lenses he needs. This a photo I tool of the 2009 “Volunteer Experience Documentation Committee”.



I am honoured to be doing sound recording at the festival because of the work my friend, Sylvi MacCormack, (pictured left) has done by creating a soundscape record of the festival that is posted on their site; VFMF Soundscapes 1999-2002: Festival Quartet for Solitude

Sylvie is a woman I really admire because she has devoted her life to her music and art. Despite all of the obstacles she has faced, I always see her smiling and excited about a project she is involved in. She certainly contributed to my experience of the Folk Festival through her work.

She was present at our orientation and will be continuing to document the sound events at this year’s festival. I am dedicating my participation, including this web page, as a tribute to her and in recognition of her pioneering work that helped to develop this idea.

As we were receiving our directions I noticed a group of very well equipped photographers standing nearby. I went over to photograph them. This festival has a major crop of Nikon D3 cameras sprouting up everywhere and this was a dense patch.

I was happily taking pictures with my camera, when one of them handed me his deluxe model and requested I take one for him. I was amazed by the clarity of the screen and the camera was so crisp when operating the shutter. I can’t complain about my Nikon D50, it is a good camera and I can learn a lot with it. BUT, when I really want to get good, I will have to invest. Photography really is one of those arts where money makes a difference.0023_Vic_photgrapher

The photographer who traded cameras with me, ever so briefly, took a photo of me – with mine. Notice the poor form, not totally balanced to be tripod steady and continuing to wedge a program under my arm. I hope the result was not too bad!


The real story is the audio, so I include a couple of interviews with the photographers. I will post individual photos, but Alyssa is second from right and Colin is third, next to her (camera at ready) in the group photo.

Colin Mills interview

Alyssa Burtt Interview

I have added Alyssa’s interview to my podcast feed.
More from fellow volunteers and my own posts on the Folk Music Festival Site.

My gallery software now automatically creates a gallery of images on the page, so I added a few more of the photographers. I am going to have to figure out how to edit this as it makes duplicates. Edited and updated.

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Vancouver Jazz Festival 2009

by on Jul.06, 2009, under Concerts, Events, Media, Photography

The Vancouver Jazz Festival, produced by the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society,  is over for another year, tonight is the volunteer party that is the final event. This year, I was more involved than ever before as I not only volunteered as Crew Chief at the Ironworks, but I volunteered to take photos of my fellow volunteers.  These photos are also hosted on Flikr under username jazzvolunteer and I have my set; Victoria’s Volunteers.

Click on any image to start, click on the << or >> to navigate  and click on the image to end. With this basic viewer it only shows the page you are on, so you have to change to the next page. The more sophisticated plug-ins make viewing all the images possible.  If you need instructions for the plug-ins or to make the gallery work go to the Gallery page.

Victoria’s 2009 Jazz Festival Volunteers

Photography is a social art and in that way, being a photographer at the festival  is very different from being a musician.  If  I walk up to people in the street and start singing, they think I am strange, move away slowly, and would hesitate to get in an elevator with me. I find I have to set up sactioned events to get people to participate musically. But, if I walk up and ask to take their photo, it is a much more socially acceptable artistic connection.  People like to have their pictures taken and they trust me enough to  give me their contact information so I can send them the image. They are friendly and happy with the process. I am really enjoying interacting with people since I started to take photos and I meet a lot more potential friends.

In Vancouver society, there usually  is some distance between the community and the music makers. Music making can be isolating because so much time is spent practicing alone.  In performance, music is a special event that occurs in an area separated from the audience, where the community is expected to be passive observers and listeners. As a musician, you come into a prepared area, present your show, then leave without having any direct personal contact with the receiver of your art. This is not the case in other cultures I have studied, and I was very happy that it was not the case when I attended a workshop on Saturday.

Saturday, I had an encounter with three amazing French musicians cellistDidier Petit and bass clarinetist, Sylvain Kassap with drummer, Edward Perraud. They made my life complete during their workshops by asking me to sing with them.

Vancouver musicians bassist, Clyde Reed and erhu player.  Lan Tung also joined the sonic esploration.  I had such a wonderful time as these musicians, solo and in ensembles, know how to open up and create the space that welcomes music in. My next post will be about this event.

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