Winnipeg

White Lung at Negative Space by Greg Gallinger

After my day job on Monday night I hopped the first bus back to West Broadway, quickly grabbed my camera gear, and hopped another bus to Chinatown. I was feeling electric because White Lung, a killer punk band from Vancouver was playing at Negative Space, an equally cool art studio that doubles as a jam space and hub for resistant culture.

I first heard about from a couple friends living in Vancouver. This past summer I picked up a copy of Sorry on vinyl, it was one of those albums where the cover caught my eye and then I remembered the good things I had heard about them. I wasn't disappointed when I put the needle down on the grooves, nor was I disappointed after Monday's show.

I got off the bus at Main and James and wandered towards Princess. Chinatown is a lonely post-apocalyptic scene on a Monday night, even by Winnipeg standards. But as I approached the unobtrusive building that houses Negative Space I could hear the telltale signs of an underground punk rock show. It's about as grungy as you expect from an underground art space full of twenty and thirty somethings drunk, on drugs, or just having a good time. There's no security, no asshole bouncers, and as long as you aren't being a dick no one seems to give a shit.

As someone who grew up going to basement shows, listening to punk rock and hardcore music, venues like Negative Space are everything I'm looking for. However as a photographer hoping to make some cool images I was less impressed that the entire jam space was being lit by a pair of 60w lamps located BEHIND the band. I usually start by assessing the lighting, where my subject is, look at where to position myself and how to frame up some shots, and then fire off some test frames to get a sense of what ISO/aperture/shutter speed I can use, but when I looked at corner of the room where bands had set up my first reaction was "Fuck."

Given that I was at a punk show I figured it would be ok to crank up the ISO. My 5D Mark II can handle it pretty well, and who gives a shit if there's grain, all those black and white photos of 80's hardcore bands that I love are all grainy as hell and low key. So I accepted my situations (and the fact that I didn't pack my flash), dialled up the ISO to 3200, set the slowest shutter speed I could get away with while still being able to freeze the majority of the action, and tried to avoid pointing the lens directly into the lamps.

Salt Lick, Breath Grenades, and Systematic started the evening off. Unlike most shows I go to, there was actually a decent sized crowd in attendance for the openers. White Lung capped off the evening with a short but energetic set, with songs from Sorry and their self-title album. Although I enjoyed the opening bands White Lung really stole the show. Mish Way, singer and front woman for the 4 piece has an incredibly commanding presence. Her golden hair was in luminous contrast the sea of black clothing and the high contrast lighting. I decided to take advantage of this by trying to shoot silhouettes, framing the lamps behind Mish's head in effort to get a sort of halo effect.

Although I would have liked the lighting conditions to be better I enjoyed the challenge. I discovered ways of working with terrible lighting, and tested the limitations of pushing exposures. Next time I might go early and ask to set up a few more of my own lights.

The evening got me excited to shoot more music. Hopefully people enjoy my music photography as much as I do, because it's such a blast to shoot.

If you want to check out more photos of White Lung you can see them on flickr.

If your band is playing, or you're promoting a show and want photos please shoot me an email, I'd love to work with you.

Idle No More by Greg Gallinger

U of W Aboriginal Students United for Aboriginal Rights

University of Winnipeg students marched from the University's downtown campus to the legislature grounds where they held a rally in solidarity with Aboriginal groups around Canada opposed to bill C-45.

Michael Champagne, @northendmc activist and organizer of Meet Me At The Bell Tower, speaks at a rally of organized by University of Winnipeg students.

Speakers at the rally included Wab Kinew and Michael Champagne AKA @northendmc. Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs was also in attendance, Nepinak has been a vocal opponent of bill C-45, calling it illegal, colonial, and paternal.

Derek Nepinak, Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs at the Idle No More rally at the Manitoba Legislature.

Although the rally was spurred by bill C-45 it is part of a bigger reengagement of politically conscious people. Similar to the Occupy and Québec student movements, the aboriginal rights movement is regaining energy and taking advantage of social media to get people engaged.

You can see more photos from the rally here.

Conflicts of interest and fluff news by Greg Gallinger

By now anyone from Winnipeg reading this has surely heard all about the local journalists and blogger receiving gifts and discounts from IKEA and the controversy that blew up on Twitter. Lindsey Wiebe questioned her peers who accepted the invitation and gifts.

Screen Shot 2012 11 28 at 1 51 08 AM Then CBC chimed in.

CBC declined the offer to shop because of a policy against employees accepting gifts. However, reporter Nelly Gonzalez went to the event to pose the ethics question to Ikea.

CBC were then criticized for being self-righteous, after all they were just as guilty for spending an inordinate amount of time covering the opening of a retail store. Just look at the CBC Manitoba homepage.

Screen Shot 2012 11 28 at 1 58 47 AM

Nevermind the fact that Winnipeg's Mayor is facing a potentially similar fate as Toronto's Rob Ford, or that First Nations groups are contesting treaty rights in order to acquire Kapyong Barracks. Why read about real news and issues that affect more than your lust for consumerism? WE HAVE AN IKEA!!!

Before the whole debate broke out, I had read one too many Rah! Rah! IKEA tweets by news organizations and took my frustrations out on CBC Manitoba's twitter account.

Screen Shot 2012 11 28 at 1 26 05 AM

To me the issue is deeper than a few journalists and bloggers filling their faces and going home with grab bags, it's about whether these are the type of events the press and serious bloggers should be covering. Given recent cutbacks at the local newspapers you'd think their priorities would be streamlined. What is and is not newsworthy should be held under a tighter standard. Muckraking takes time and effort whereas regurgitating press releases and corporate jargon is relatively easy (it's even easier when your stomach is full of meatballs and your desk is being perfectly lit with the free LED lightbulbs).

We all need to stop acting like spoiled children after watching a toy commercial.

Winnipeggers rally in support of Palestine by Greg Gallinger

Stop the Massacre in Gaza

Although there were somewhere between a hundred to two hundred people gathered outside the Manitoba Legislature Sunday afternoon there was little said of the event in local news.

The rally, organized through social media and word of mouth, was a response to the recent escalation of violence in Gaza by the Israeli government.

The mainstream media is pretty much sticking to the same store being fed by Israel, as well as its allies (especially the United States and Canada), which is that Israel has the right to defend itself. However this war is not about defence. Simply looking at the death toll reveals how weighted the violence is in Israel's favour.

The above photo is my favourite among the dozens I took during the rally. What was most apparent to me at the rally was how many families were there, how many had relatives still living in Gaza, and how many children where standing in protest. It's easy to paint Palestinians as the bad guys when the media only print photos of Hamas and rockets being fired on Tel Aviv, but the distortions become apparent when you see the people being affected.

You can see the rest of the photos from Sunday's rally to end Israeli apartheid on my Flickr page..

Spectator Tribune by Greg Gallinger

Robert Galston, writing at Spectator Tribune:

This is the Winnipeg I get excited about; the Winnipeg that has little to do with the Official Version of progress which measures things in simple, quantitative terms. The organic, gradual and integral will always do more than the engineered, immediate and artificial to make this a better place.

If you didn't already know, Spectator Tribune just launched and already have some really nice content. Robert Galston's optimistic-yet-realistic look at Winnipeg is a great headpiece for the new periodical.* If you're more cynical Julijana Capone's interview with Pip Skid is probably more up your alley.

It has yet to be seen how Sepctator Tribune will pan out, but if today's content is any indication things are looking good.

*Not sure if periodical is the right terminology, but it's close enough.

Bus Safety by Greg Gallinger

Fort Rouge Coun. Jenny Gerbasis, quoted in The Uniter:

“If we want our transit system to grow and encourage more environmentally friendly transportation we need a transit system people feel safe riding,”

I disagree with many of the points made in this article. I am not in favour of a transit police. Although union leaders are claiming a rise in violence "not just related to fares,” significant data proving this has yet to be disclosed.

As a regular transit user I often see minor conflicts arise while riding the bus. I've seen people verbally assault the driver or other riders, but these instances are few and far between and rarely result in physical violence. That's not to say that doesn't ever happen, but I doubt the risk of violence is enough to necessitate turning Winnipeg's transit system into an Orwellian themed dark ride.

Rather than calling on the Cadets, Winnipeg Transit should be looking at improving its service in order to quell potential conflicts.

The report detailed efforts on technological modifications to buses, including cameras, fare counters and safety shields

City buses already utilize surveillance cameras, and implementing safety shields will only protect the driver. Fare counters certainly won't do anything to help the problem, as has been seen with turnstiles, these types of fare collection/enforcement methods only lead to further frustration and the potential for confrontation.

Perhaps improving service and ensuring the safety of riders would have a positive impact and deter violence. Adding more frequent buses to higher traffic routes; improving bus shelters (more whether proofing, better lighting), little improvements that go a long way in making the service more pleasant.