Winnipeg photographer takes a portrait a day

A Winnipeg photographer has pledged to take a portrait a day for the whole year. David Lipnowski promised to never shoot several on one day and stockpile images, so each portrait was made on that day.

David Lipnowski builds the 365 Portrait Project every day in 2013

A Winnipeg photographer pledged to take a portrait a day for the whole year. David Lipnowski promised to never shoot several on one day and stockpile images, so each portrait was made on that day.

Lipnowski has posted his photographs — mostly of Winnipeggers — on his website, along with short write-ups about each one.

Now, the 365 Portrait Project is complete.

The whole project was a big learning experience for him. "I think the biggest thing was how much perseverance I had to have to actually complete this. I thought about giving up many times throughout the year when it got really tough and cold. I was surprised how I was actually able to make it all the way through and go out every single day of the entire year to get it done."

 He said he met some pretty interesting people through the year. "Sometimes you see someone on the street and you think they would make for an incredible portrait, and now I have an excuse to do that," he said.

Lipnowski said most of his subjects were strangers he stopped on the street, but he admitted that it could sometimes be tricky to convince people to have their picture taken.

"You could ask 20 people on the street before someone will agree. I've learned a lot about social psychological phenomena about approaching people on the street. I'm getting better at judging who would agree but sometimes people still surprise me."

Some of his subjects are famous, like astronaut Chris Hadfield, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Gov. Gen. David Johnston as well as local celebrities like documentary maker and activist Ed Ackerman.

"He's an incredible guy to photograph, he's got a lot of charisma," he said of Ackerman.

But he also admitted that it was the ordinary people on the street that made the most visually interesting portraits.

Lipnowski said people were not shy about sharing their stories with him.

"The camera is a passport to get into other people's lives. When you have a camera and you show them this picture you've made of them, they kind of open up to you," he said.

"Sometimes you learn some incredible things by talking to people you wouldn't normally talk to. It's one of the big surprises I've found doing this project."

Overall he said it's been a very positive experience, and he has found that subjects all have one thing in common.

"Anyone who agrees to it has their own charm. Generally they're nice people who agree to help out an artist approaching them on the street."

As for the future, Lipnowski hopes there might eventually be a book. He would like to mount a show in an art gallery to reach a different audience.


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