Blog Professional Development – Presentation by Douglas Kirkland

Professional Development – Presentation by Douglas Kirkland


I was recently invited to a presentation by Douglas Kirkland by my photography friend/classmate/ex-manager Tina Krueger (definitely check out her portfolio). This talk held at the SFU Vancouver Campus and was put on by Vancouver Photo Workshops which continues to bring awesome speakers to Vancouver. You may not know the name Douglas Kirkland but he is a Canadian who has photographed 150+ movies but is probably most famous for his images of Marilyn Monroe.

Douglas Kirkland Presentation in Vancouver

He has got to have been one of the most energetic speakers I’ve yet to see (the man is ~78 and I’m sure he could whip my ass around the track). He is also one of the few photographers who is not a specialist, when asked “what he shoots” he responded with;

“…pictures, I like to shoot pictures.”

This really resonated with me as I feel this invisible pressure to specialize in a certain area of photography ever since I heard there was a photographer in New York that makes his living shooting silverware… I’m not even kidding. It’s nice to see someone out there that is just jazzed on taking pictures of anything! He goes on to say;

“…you can do so much with your camera”

Which is an obvious truth but sometimes I can restrict myself with the many rules I’ve learned in the Langara Photo-Imaging Program. It’s better to keep your gear simple and go take pictures vs. getting stuck in the office planning this creative that never gets off the ground.

Someone from the audience asked the age old question (paraphrased) “What do you think about the advent of digital and now everyone’s a “photographer” in their mind” well his wife Francois actually fielded this one and said quite simply:

“…the decisive moment still exists”

This is in my mind what differentiates professionals from amateurs. No matter how “accessible” the art of photography becomes Professionals will continue to consistently capture the “decisive moment” with a high quality image. That guarantee will always have value for an actor, a bride, or art director.

His total and insatiable passion for photography is infectious and I couldn’t help but want to leave the theater mid-way through his talk to go create some images.

Douglas Kirkland Presentation in Vancouver

At the end of the night I was able to meet him personally and shake his hand.

Kurtis Stewart with Douglas Kirkland at his Presentation in Vancouver


Thanks for the creative kick in the ass Douglas, can’t wait to show of what I come up with!

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