Welcome to [EDIT]ION Volume 61! We're so happy you're here! Your free, monthly digital publication is packed with stories, thoughts and opinions that will inspire you in between issues of the original, award-winning print magazine.
Cover Story: Coastal Magic - The Fine Art Photography of Harrison Burton
Also in this issue:
- Prince Edward Island Hosts Canada's 2023 Games by Jennifer Wood
- Atlantica Hotel Refined: Exclusive Interview with Mr. Sukhdev Toor
- Willie O'Ree at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery by John Leroux
THE FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY OF HARRISON BURTON
BY JAMES MULLNGER
One of the most exciting fine art photographers working in Canada today, Harrison Burton is the very epitome of a chameleon. An underwater cinematographer, producer and aerial photographer with an endless drive to tell stories from the remote corners, depths and coastlines of the world.
Harrison was born and raised on Canada's east coast before travelling west to explore the far reaches of the Canadian Rockies where he developed his craft in motion pictures. The salt air brought Harrison closer to home a few years ago where he developed an international award-winning video production house for Brainworks in New Brunswick. He is a certified advanced diver, ice diver, dry suit diver, dive expedition leader, a certified RED camera operator and an experienced drone pilot. His passion for conservation and the natural world drives him to push into the unknown each and every day. Working for clients around the globe, he is as adept to adapt in an art gallery, a boardroom, in the sky or underwater.
[EDIT]ION: Your work is stunningly beautiful. How would you describe what you do?
Harrison Burton: I would describe the work I do as a combination of art and activism, focused on using my skills as a photographer and underwater cinematographer to raise awareness about the beauty of our aquatic ecosystems and coastlines. I hope to showcase the beauty of these one-of-a kind places in a way that is unparalleled and unexpected. I want people to stop and question how something so beautiful can exist right here in our own backyard. Perhaps they may even question what they're looking at.
It starts by scouting for unique features on the coast using satellite imagery. From there I plan out a weather window, golden hour light and a takeoff and landing zone for my drone that gets me as close to the feature of interest as possible to reduce the risks of flight. The name of the game is to be in the air for as short a period of time to achieve the most stunning images possible and land safely.
At the core of my work is a deep longing to share my passion for conservation through these powerful images. Many of these places are threatened by commercial development. These coastlines are truly one of a kind, unlike anywhere else on the planet and it is my privilege to be able to capture and share their beauty with the world. I hope to continue to expand the reach of my imagery to inspire regional travellers and international travellers to explore the Maritimes and experience these places for themselves.
[EDIT]ION: How did you get into photography?
Harrison: I got into photography as a young boy taking photos with a disposable camera of the big fish I would catch to share with friends and family. This eventually led me to a crossroad of choosing between a career path in marine biology or photography. It was clear even as a young boy that the natural world needed a voice at every turn. I took inspiration from Rob Stewart, a Toronto based documentary filmmaker. His film Sharkwater which advocated for the ban of shark finning showed me the power that media has to move people to change. This put me on a path to study photography at Nova Scotia Community College. I eventually moved to the west coast where I pursued a career in video and film with much success but like many who venture west, there was always something missing. I needed the salt air in my lungs. It's in our bones.
About 5 years ago, I was called back to the coast to work on a series of nationwide productions for Brainworks Marketing, based in Moncton, New Brunswick. I am still working with Brainworks on an ongoing basis to direct, produce and manage commercial productions across the Maritimes. My coastline imagery and underwater documentary filmmaking is produced by my company Fresh Waters Entertainment. Brainworks has been a long time supporter of my work with Fresh Waters Entertainment. They're a co-producer for my new documentary, Expedition Nictau about a historic exploratory scuba diving expedition I led in Mount Carleton Provincial Park. This documentary does not yet have a release date but I expect it to be available by the end of 2023.
This coastline focus has been an incredible creative outlet at a time when I most needed it. I frequent these areas with my partner Keshia for diving and photographic exploration as often as I can. We're happy to hop in the car even after a long day of work and hit the road in search of new places. We creatives go through peaks and valleys and this has certainly been a peak I have very much enjoyed sharing with my partner and my fellow Maritimers.
[EDIT]ION: What do you love most about it?
Harrison: I think what I love most about it is the adventure and pursuit of finding these unique perspectives. The majority of my coastal imagery is shot looking straight down at the coastline. This creates a 2D view which can be interpreted differently for each and every viewer. I often see one feature like a face in the landscape or on the seafloor, but I'll receive a message from someone telling me they see a wolf in the same image. It's really quite fascinating how it captures the imagination. Some clients even request for me to visit and capture a location I have not yet been to. It's satisfying to know my imagery has deep meaning to these individuals, which fuels my passion to continue this work.
[EDIT]ION: Your calendar titled Coastal Magic - Fine Art East Coast Aerial imagery was just released and it has been fantastically well received. How does that make you feel?
Harrison: This is the first of its kind in the Maritimes featuring unique coastal imagery and my goal is to produce an edition of it each year for the foreseeable future. Each image featured in the calendar shows the exact coordinates so adventurers can experience these places for themselves on their next road trip. It certainly feels pretty good to see the level of interest and passion that my clients have had for the imagery. It's also never been more important to support local artists that are focusing on storytelling around the environment. All of the funds from the sale of these calendars go right back into funding more imagery as well as my underwater documentary filmmaking. As a scuba diver and underwater cinematographer, I am privileged with seeing and experiencing more coastal regions than most. My hope is to one day fuse this aerial imagery with underwater imagery in a way that has not yet been done. The ultimate goal is a book series that profiles my images with submitted stories from all over the Maritimes telling one-of-a-kind tales of each and every one of these unique coastlines.
Fresh Waters Entertainment Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/freshwatersfilm
Contact Harrison directly via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prince Edward Island Hosts Canada’s 2023 Winter Games & illumiNATION Festival
by Jennifer Wood
The Games will have athletes vying for glory as they compete in winter sports including Cross Country and Alpine Skiing, Judo, Gymnastics, Speed Skating, Figure Skating, Biathlon, Boxing, Para Alpine, Wheelchair Basketball, Special Olympics Figure Skating and many more. Those honored at the podium will receive a gold, silver or bronze medal, designed by local artist Christina Patterson. PEI 2023’s medal reflects the beauty, culture, and history of Prince Edward Island, while also representing the very best in Canadian sport and the spirit of the athletes.
"The thoughtfulness behind the designs of these medals truly captures what Prince Edward Island represents - a naturally stunning and iconic place where people celebrate togetherness in all that we do,” says Premier Dennis King, Province of Prince Edward Island. “These will undoubtedly be timeless keepsakes for the 2023 medallists and our provincial sporting history."
For fourteen days across thirteen communities, the illumiNATION Festival will present 100+ artists, and the province will be aglow with music, culinary, visual art, and interactive exhibits, shining a light on the diverse and thriving arts scene and cultures in PEI and the rest of the country. Celebrations will take place across the Island with every event open to the public and free to attend. The festivals’ Mainstage Concert Series will feature some of Canada’s most talented artists, including The Beaches (February 23), Serena Ryder (February 24), The Trews (February 25), Joel Plaskett Emergency (February 28), Classified (March 3) and many more.
Be sure to check out the Canada Games website for up-to-date program information and the illuminNATION Festival. From athletes and coaches to volunteers and fans, the 2023 Games will make every Canadian an Islander.
ATLANTICA HOTEL REFINED
One of Halifax’s most popular hotels is shining bright after a majestic $17 million renovation.
In this exclusive sponsored interview with Atlantica Hotel owner Mr. Sukhdev Toor, [EDIT]ION gets the lowdown. Late last year, Manga Hotels completed work on a colossal $17 million renovation of the much loved 238-room Atlantica Hotel in downtown Halifax. “The hotel was an older property that needed work. It was an extensive renovation — not just lipstick here and there,” Sukhdev Toor, president and CEO of Manga Hotels tells [EDIT]ION. The property boasts 238 luxury rooms, 12,000 square feet of meeting space, a pool, a fitness centre and a sauna.
The hotel was built in the 1970s by Atlantic provinces entrepreneur Ken Rowe, who also once owned Canjet. It was originally a Holiday Inn Select, but Rowe changed it to an independent about 12 years ago. Manga purchased the hotel in July 2017 and the rest, as they say, is history. As one of the most in-demand hotels in the Nova Scotia capital for conferences, visitors, tourists and business travellers, there is a lot of excitement around this renovation and here at [EDIT]ION we are delighted to share the inside story.
[EDIT]ION: The 238-room Atlantica Hotel in downtown Halifax has always been synonymous with quality and refined service but this new renovation takes it to a whole new level. How did the renovation come about?
Sukhdev Toor: We needed to reposition the hotel because it had not been renovated in a very long time. We decided to renovate, not only the rooms, but the whole building exterior and meeting rooms, to upgrade it to a boutique hotel and bring it up to current expectations. we also introduced a new restaurant concept to bring dining experience to a new level. Being an independent hotel, we wanted to present a great quality hotel to the Halifax area. We upgraded the guest rooms with new 55-inch televisions and the washrooms with new walk-in showers. We also upgraded all the meeting rooms and board rooms creating 12000-square feet of modern space to cater to the wedding and corporate market functions. To add to the new Cannery Kitchen and Social restaurant concept we created a new upscale bar with private dining rooms, moving the front desk to make the Cannery Kitchen and Social Bar a new focal point when you enter the lobby. We invested in renovating and upgrading the outside of the building, and implemented ACM material. This new exterior was met with great accolades from the locals. Our guests are pleasantly surprised with the new look, and we are also upgrading the swimming pool and fitness centre by May 2023.
[EDIT]ION: What are the highlights for you?
Sukhdev Toor: Definitely, the exterior of the building and our new washrooms, new restaurant, new front desk, and new meeting space and the new upcoming pool and fitness centre.
[EDIT]ION: What has the feedback been like?
Sukhdev Toor: We have received great feedback - guests love it and we are always asked whom is it designed by, so they can duplicate it. We feel great on what we have done and accomplished, repositioning the hotel at a whole new level.
[EDIT]ION: The Atlantica hotel is one of the province’s premier destinations for conferences and is located close to Halifax’s largest hospital and Dalhousie University. How will this beautiful new renovation build on that?
Sukhdev Toor: We spent $17 million to bring it to modern standards bringing high standard Refined Hotel experience to the existing area.
[EDIT]ION: Please tell us a bit about the designers involved and who you collaborated with on the interior design.
Sukhdev Toor: The interior designer was Jolanta from Royal Design out of Toronto, for the lobby level. The restaurant concept was done by Ken lam from Navigator - they are well known for their restaurant concepts. We have worked with these two firms on multiple occasions.
[EDIT]ION: What’s next for the Atlantica Hotel?
Sukhdev Toor: We have repositioned Atlantica Hotel as a 4-star full service hotel with changes to our amenities, service, food & beverage as well as the meeting space. With the great size of the hotel in this market, we hope to stand out as best in class.
Click here to book your stay at the Atlantica Hotel now: www.AtlanticaHotelHalifax.com
Willie O’Ree at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery
by John Leroux
Photographs by Kelly Baker
Painting: Willie O'Ree" by Tim Okamura, oil on canvas (2019)
The Beaverbrook Art Gallery hosted a special public event on January 18, 2023 – one that honoured one of New Brunswick’s finest citizens and a hockey icon. A monumental portrait of Willie O’Ree was presented to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery through the generosity of Brenda and David Sansom (pictured below) as donors.
Willie O'Ree was born in Fredericton on October 15, 1935. He was the first Black player to play in the NHL, breaking the colour barrier during with the Boston Bruins as he suited up in a game against the Montreal Canadiens on January 18, 1958. He lost sight in his right eye after being hit by a puck at a young age, but amazingly went on to play professional hockey for 21 years. Many years after his retirement from the sport, O’Ree would become the face of hockey diversity throughout North America as the director of the NHL’s Youth Diversity Program. O’Ree was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018, and in 2022, US President Joe Biden announced O'Ree will be awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for his contributions to "hockey, inclusion and recreational opportunity."
The public unveiling took place on the 65th anniversary of O’Ree’s first NHL game. Measuring five feet by five feet, the powerful portrait painting shows an older O’Ree proudly wearing his Boston Bruins jersey, while he holds a hockey stick and sports his Hockey Hall of Fame ring. The portrait was featured as the cover image of O’Ree’s recent autobiography Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the NHL’s First Black Player as well as the poster image of his recent film documentary.
The portrait artist is Tim Okamura, a contemporary painter who investigates identity, the urban environment, metaphor, and cultural iconography. Born in Edmonton, Okamura earned a BFA with Distinction at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary before moving to New York City to attend the School of Visual Arts in 1991. After graduating with an MFA in 1993, Okamura moved to Brooklyn, where he lives and works.
Okamura is known for his depiction of BIPOC subjects in urban settings, and for his combination of graffiti and realism. His work has been featured in several major motion pictures and in London's National Portrait Gallery. Okamura was one of several artists to be shortlisted in 2006 for a proposed portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. He received an invitation to The White House in 2015 to honor artists whose work addresses issues of social justice, where he received a letter of commendation from then Vice President Joe Biden.
140 members of the public attended this free unveiling event at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, as they were welcomed by an honour guard of hockey players from the Fredericton Junior Red Wings, who were all wearing a special jersey with the Bruins colours and O’Ree’s face on the front. Tim Okamura was present at the event and spoke at length about the roots of the painting, how he met Willie O’Ree in Philadelphia for the portrait sitting, and how much creating the painting meant to him as an artist.
Beaverbrook Art Gallery, 703 Queen St, Fredericton, NB E3B 1C4
Art Director: Lindsay Vautour
Senior Editor: Jennifer Wood
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