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Author: Kurtis

Personal – Flipping Christmas on its Ass


It would be unfair of me to ask those questions in that Minimalism post about past presents and not pose them to myself. So, I decided to do something a little different for Christmas this year. Partly inspired by Metro Vancouver’s Holiday “Create Memories, Not Garbage” campaign…

Create Memories, not Garbage


…and also Mark Brand‘s article in the 2013 print edition of “Vancouver is Awesome” about all the good we can do here in Vancouver vs. sending money to Non-Profits overseas and lastly by The Minimalists talk I blogged about earlier….

I decided to not do presents this year.

Instead, on Christmas morning me and [name redacted by request] made up 50 turkey-stuffing-cranberry-mayo-sandwiches, picked up coffee from Tim Hortons and drove from Strathcona to Kits and back handing out a Christmas feast to those in need.

Christmas Sandwich Assembly Line

Probably one of my best Christmas’s yet, I don’t think I could ever justify doing presents again after this experience.

Personal – Leaving VRX Studios and Minimalism


Dedicated Blog Reader: “Kurtis, where the hell have you been? Your last post was prior to the London 2012 Olympics!”

Kurtis: “I would have to reply with “…working”.”

I spent the last 4 months as the Post Production Coordinator at VRX Studios, they are a global full service photography company that focus’s on the Hospitality Industry. As the Post Production Coordinator I was in charge of:

• Liaising with all VRX departments to ensure the production process is as smooth as possible at all times
• Coordinating VRX’s global team of photographers, copy writers and illustrators
• Organizing and Managing all production projects
• Managing VRX’s post production workflow from ingestion to delivery
• Monitoring and prioritizing all delivery schedules
• Running and Analysing weekly reports on system activities
• Maintaining clean data within VRX’s production systems by performing frequent quality checks

If you’re looking at a hotel on Expedia or Hotwire etc, VRX probably had a hand in creating those images. My decision to leave was a hard one as they have probably the most talented retouchers I’ve had the pleasure to work with and I’ve learned so much I can’t even begin to scratch the surface in this post.

The short of it is, I just had a sense that I had no goal I personally was working toward outside of saving for retirement. I’ve been working ever since I graduated the Langara Professional Photo-Imaging Program …’cause that’s what you’re supposed to do until you’re 60 when you retire… riiiiiiiight…

I’ve let my work define who I am and I’ve found that that’s not exactly the best route to take. No vacation in 3 years makes Kurtis go something something… I’ve let a whole ton of hobbies and passions fall by the wayside all in the name of a paycheck and that needs to change. Immediately.

Enter Minimalism…

I’m by no means the Ghandi of this movement but to me here’s why Minimalism appeals to me:

“If you have less things you need less space, less space = smaller rent. Smaller rent means you have to work less, working less means you have more time to pursue relationships and things YOU want to do. We do not need to work 40 hours/week to “survive”.”

To some this may come off as an antagonistic approach to consumerism and maybe it is. I’m not saying go live in a cave and hunt things with a spear, all things in moderation (maybe a crossbow instead…). I think the biggest thing that hit me was the concept of Christmas. I pose these questions to you dear blog reader;

  1. What did you get four Christmas’ ago from your Aunt/Uncle/Cousin etc?
  2. Do you still even know where it is?
  3. Is it in a storage locker you pay $$/month for…cool. How many hours/week do you have to work to “support” that gift?

Personally, I would much rather have an experience I shared with someone that fosters growth in that relationship than a “thing”.

So, this past Saturday I attended a talk by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan NicodemusThe Minimalists“, it was their final stop of their 2012 Book Tour. I stumbled upon their site while browsing one of the many blogs I follow and really liked the message they were getting out.

*Ryan/Josh, I apologize for the terrible paraphrasing*

They started their journey to minimalism by getting rid of their things viaa “Packing Party“. Basically, you pretend you’re moving and pack everything up in your house. You only unpack things that you use over the course of the next month. Ryan and Josh were left with ~75% of their belongings in boxes…

I’ve moved 5 times in the last 2 years and still have stuff I’ve put in boxes just to take out of boxes and put on a shelf never to be used. Annoying, stressful and unnecessary.

After attending their talk I purchased a copy of their book which I promptly burned through in about a day. Throughout the book they speak of five main areas they focus on to be “happy”:

  1. Relationships
  2. Growth
  3. Health
  4. Passion
  5. Contribution

I won’t go any further into it and ruin it for you. I’d recommend you pick up a copy on Amazon or Kindle, it’s more than worth your time.

kurtis_stewart_minimalism_live_a_meaningful_life Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn


Yes, I do realize this is probably one of the longer posts I’ve written annnnnnnnnnnd Minimalism is in the title. The irony does not escape me.

Event Coverage – Lift off to London, Olympic Athlete Send Off


I was recently contracted by Canadian Sport Centre Pacific to cover their Lift off to London event in Vancouver. The event started with a private media mingler at the Creekside Community Recreation Centre followed by a public celebration at the Salt Building with some autograph signing by the many athletes there.

Minister of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development Ida Chong having her picture taken with some of the members of the Canadian Mens wheelchair rugby team at the Lift of to London Media Mingler at the Creekside Community Recreation Centre – © Kurtis Stewart 2012


Scott Dickens Olympic Swimmer
Olympic Swimming hopeful, Scott Dickens at the public celebration in the Salt Building – © 2012 Kurtis Stewart


Steve Podborski
Steve Podborski speaks to a packed crowd for the Lift off to London event in the Salt Building – © 2012 Kurtis Stewart


rowing maching
Children of all ages were able to try out a myriad of sports at the Lift off to London Athlete send off event in the Vancouver Olympic Village – © 2012 Kurtis Stewart


Athletes Autographing
Athletes sign autographs for all the attendees to the Lift off to London event outside of the Salt Building – © 2012 Kurtis Stewart


Students from False Creek Elementary show off their collection of signatures from all the Canadian Olympic Athletes at the Lift off to London Event – © 2012 Kurtis Stewart


Scott Dickens was a great speaker and had a great speech that revolved around the phrase “Why not me?”. It’s a great perspective that I’ll take forward with me for business and sports in my future.