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2021: A Year of Gifted Moments

Sooooo it turns to that I’m a bit of a control freak and that I’m very hard on myself. A lot of those who know me personally are rolling their eyes like “no shit,” but it was a surprise to me, ha. As I was working on this year in review, I was looking over my list of sessions from this past year, thinking about the balance between community-based work – families, grads, weddings – and commercial work – branding, for magazines, for companies.

I’m always intrigued by the commercial aspect of my work and where it allows me to travel to, to publish with. It just means more representation for Indigenous people, when these kinds of jobs come up, and I love that. Headshot for the Globe & Mail? Got you. Portrait of an Indigenous artist for Blackwood Gallery? Bet. Persuading my cousin to get somewhat naked as I write about fat phobia in NDN Country? Say less.

But I am always trying to balance it with community work – I love going into small communities and reserves and photographing those unforgettable moments – the grads dressing up, the high school sweethearts getting married, the families chasing their kids around. For me, community is the heart of what I do, and I always want to be accessible, available, around. 

And as I was looking through these, I was fretting because there is so much commercial work, and I was like – where is the community? 

Then I remembered we were *still* in a pandemic. That for months, the North was cut off to me. That for months, visiting people not in my bubble wasn’t an option. That new variations came up. That a vaccine was developed. 

And now that I look over this body of work knowing that, remembering, it makes my community even more significant to me. Gifted moments of celebration amongst an unsteady world, moments I was invited into, masked and vaxxed, of course. And I’m grateful. 

So, here’s to the celebrations of 2021, and to the moments to come in 2022. Can’t wait to see you, camera in hand, ready to laugh with you once again. 


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    welcome tho.

    Welcome to the blog, showcasing the latest sessions and adventures. In case you missed it, I'm Tenille, Dene photog, living in Treaty Six, YXE. Feel free to lose a couple hours creeping around, and drop a line if you have any questions.

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    gilchrest_erica@mailxu.com