Movember brings out some crazy shades in these 2 Saskatoon photographers

Just look at the self portraits posted daily by ultra-competitive Mo Bros Liam Richards and Derek Elvin.

Shutterbugs and friends Liam Richards and Derek Elvin take Movember very seriously

Liam Richards, left, and Derek Elvin, right. (Liam Richards/Derek Elvin)

Liam Richards figures if he's going to ask people for money every day during Movember, he'd better juice things up a bit.

"Who really wants to look at a Facebook feed or any social media feed that's just, 'Hey, send me money' over and over again?" he said.

That's why he recently posted a photo of his stubbly self looking like the star of some hard-edged mid-'90s Michael Mann crime thriller.

Richards says this recent post was influenced by movie posters for films like The Town and Michael Mann's Heat. (Liam Richards)

And why he'll keep posting similarly-striking self-portraits for the next 25 days.

"It seemed like a pretty fun and easy way to raise awareness and funds for research," he said of his Movember exploits, now entering their seventh year.

It also helps to have some stiff but friendly competition.

Close colleague and fellow creative Derek Elvin has matched Richards silly frame for silly frame for several years now.

Take Elvin's 2015 Photoshopped send-up of Sylvester Stallone hanging from a rescue line in the opening scene of Cliffhanger.

Elvin recreates the opening scene of Cliffhanger. (Derek Elvin)

Here is a photo of the alpine actioner in case it slipped your memory.

"Yeah I do some weird stuff," said Elvin.

Both are motivated not only by a desire to flex their creative muscles outside the bounds of work contracts, but also by a sincere concern for the larger themes of the Movember movement.

"As time has gone on," said Richards, "a lot of the causes, especially with Movember expanding into mental health in the last two years, started to hit home pretty hard."

"It's gotten more guys talking about things that were deemed kinda sissy before," Elvin said.

Richards and his partner Keeley Kapiniak, a breast cancer survivor. (Liam Richards)

"Now it's just brought to the surface and everybody is willing to talk about it."

Cancer, the original focus of Movember, has hovered especially close to Richards' life.

His mother and stepmother had breast cancer. His partner Keeley Kapiniak was also diagnosed with cancer in 2012, although she's now in full remission.

"Any time you have something affect you that closely, you start looking at everyone around you. You question your own mortality," he said.

$5 non-posting penalties

The underlying personal motivations are leavened by what Richards calls a "mild" level of competition between him and Elvin.

Elvin is in the blue toque and Richards is next to him in the ball cap. They both photograph Saskatchewan Roughriders games. (Derek Mortensen)

"Mild" is putting it rather, uh, mildly.

Richards and Elvin have agreed that if the other Mo Bro fails to post a video or photo online during any of November's 30 days, that person must donate five dollars to their own Movember campaign.

"It's a small amount, but it's enough to get you off the couch," said Richards.

"I feel like it pushes me creatively," said Elvin.

The Michael Mann influence is felt strongly by Elvin, too. (Derek Elvin)

Here's a further sampling of their Movember portfolios.

Richards' post the day after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (Liam Richards)
(Derek Elvin)
(Liam Richards)
Elvin's recreation of Risky Business. (Derek Elvin)


Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Saskatoon

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