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Through her lens: Local photographers talk process

‘Trust your gut and everything else will fall into place’

Hannah Eden is a photographer and co-owner of marketing agency, North Creative.

We asked her about her creative process.

What environment do you enjoy most working in as a photographer?

I love being outdoors with families and couples and being in spaces they enjoy. Hiking trails and special places along the Ingraham are such a joy to photograph; especially if there is a dog involved!

Among every picture you’ve ever taken, what’s your favourite one and why?

It’s so hard to chose! Every image is special in its own right as it becomes my client’s memories; images they hang on their walls and save as their phone screensavers. I think the most emotional is a wedding I shot in spring 2021. The bride had lost her father and we were photographing her getting ready. She opened the locket around her neck which held a picture of him so he could ‘walk with her’ down the isle. I remember just softly crying behind the lens until there was an opportunity to give her a hug. Raw moments like that are so important; they form core memories of special days like a wedding.

What dynamic (couples, families, etc) is your favourite to shoot and why?

I love meeting couples either for engagement sessions or for their wedding, that say ‘we are so awkward in front of the camera!’ Let me tell you, when you are around the person you love, I don’t see awkwardness, only a whole lot of love! And that dynamic makes for the best candid images.

What is the strangest request you’ve had on a shoot or most experimental shoot you’ve done?

Every time I work with local musician Carmen Braden, we come up with the most wacky and wonderful ideas. In 2019, we went out onto the ice road and threw an orange rotary telephone, in the air, past her head while she screamed at the camera. In 2017, we photographed her in Long Lake wrapped in cables and mics. She is a creative force so if she is working on a new album concept I just know there is going to be an idea that on paper sounds crazy but just works when she gets in front of the camera.

Angela Gzowski is an award-winning photographer known for her portraits. She also does tourism promotion, portraiture shoots, photojournalism, commercial, products, business promotion and creative sessions.

How did you get started in the photography business?

My late father came to Yellowknife in the ’70s where he started Arctic Divers, a commercial diving business. They worked all across the Canadian Arctic doing underwater diving and welding which because of the conditions and location, mainly meant they were diving underneath the ice. A lot of his work entailed videography and photography and he always had a passion for photography, even outside of the diving world. We always had cameras around the house ever since I can remember, and I guess that I just sort of picked it up by osmosis.

What is the best advice that has improved your skill?

I hid behind my camera, thinking more about the technical aspects than the story or person I was shooting. I didn’t engage enough and ask questions. Connecting with your subject or story is so important, and when I started to be more present it drastically changed my work, and also who I am as a person. I’m always learning and with that my work evolves and changes with me.

What details do you enjoy focusing on in your work?

One thing people notice when they see me shooting in person is that I shoot very close to my subjects normally with a 35 mm lens. I hate being far away from the person, as I want to engage and get to know them. It’s difficult to connect with the subject in the same way when there’s physical distance between you. I try hard to capture that connection, and the intimate moments I share with my subjects, through my portraiture.