Last summer I was back at my parents’ house in Burlington, Ontario and I wound up looking at old family photos. I have always liked looking through the albums my mom had put together over the years, but this time I wanted to see more. Curating family photos is no easy task as some of us know. Actually, I fear far too many people reading this actually don’t know because they never print anything, but that’s a discussion for another day. What I mean is; sometimes the prints pile up and it gets hard to look at the ever growing task and actually get started organizing and cataloging. A large Rubbermaid bin in my parents basement is a testament to just that. I dove in and looked through the piles, and I mean all of them. I spent about 5 hours rooting though the mostly unsorted pictures, pausing to reflect on my childhood, and the family history sitting before me. I made a small pile of photos I wanted to have when I was done, and when I was, I scanned them and put them on my laptop. When I got back to Nova Scotia, I went through the thousands of photos on my hard drives and grabbed some which I had taken, or which had been taken by others and sent to me.
My original intent when looking through the pictures was to post one photo from each year of my life, but after seeing the photos and having enough trouble getting the total down to this number, I decided to amend that idea and come at it from a different angle. I just wanted to show my life in photos. Now, there were some challenges to this, like having prints but no scanner at the moment, (so some photos are omitted, if I get a scanner I will add a few more) but I think I did a decent job. Living in a different province from my family, I know that a lot of what they see of my life comes via what I post online. I spend too much time just enjoying my family’s company when in Ontario to bust out the photos and have a slideshow. As much as this post is something I’m doing for myself, it’s something I’m doing for my family. I don’t think it’s too often you can see highlights of 30 or so years all together at once, so this will serve as a visual thank you to my parents and to my family for taking a few seconds to capture what at the time may have seemed like inconsequential moments. I really cherish the photos from my childhood and with my family, specifically the ones playing with my brothers. I can only hope that when my child is born in June (or thereabouts) that I will be able to find the balance between participation in my kid’s life, and capturing those moments of importance, and just daily life, the way my parents did. And yes, you read that correctly, Robyn is pregnant and we’re expecting our first child in 2014.
One thing I’ve learned through this process is that a photo needn’t be perfect to be, well, perfect. Neither of my parents will claim to be photographers (though Dad, sorry, but Mom’s better than you), but the photo quality never factored in while looking at the photos. As a photographer, I probably shouldn’t say that, and I cringe when I see one of my photos is even slightly out of focus, but the quality of a photo is more than just image quality. Moment quality is unequivocally more important.
So here it is, a glimpse into my life to this point in about 125 photos.
Me as a baby, I have my buddy Oscar the Grouch with me of course
I was a bit chubby, but that didn’t stop me from posing like a model
On the steps of my grandparents house with Grandma holding me, and Kevin and Brandon wearing matching outfits. That didn’t happen too often to my recollection.
Oh, just winning a baby race.
With Kevin and Brandon, I guess I liked Pittsburgh Teams at this point. Notice I still have my Oscar the Grouch.
Just doing some art at the studio.
I was clearly enthralled with the Pumpkin. Brandon and Kevin probably did the actual carving.
At least one of us can focus. Kevin and Brandon were probably just jealous of my awesome Mack shirt.
Feeding Preston what appears to be some sort of slop. Look at my expression, no wonder I’m picky.
Putting up Christmas lights with Dad. Yes, I’m wearing a Sabres hat. For a long time they were my second favourite team.
I really don’t know what I was doing with those sunglasses but I find this photo hilarious.
I had trouble spelling Pittsburgh for years because of that shirt. It was soooo comfy though.
I won a colouring contest so we took a picture. Preston is clearly a hipster in 1990 as per his glasses. Note the Keith Primeau Niagara Falls Thunder Poster on my bedroom wall. He was my favourite Thunder player.
All cozy in a Grandma knit sweater, rope swinging at gymnastics, and a solo shot with my prize. I named that dinosaur Denver, and used him as a weapon against Preston when he would make noises in his sleep, which was quite frequently.
Having a hot chocolate break from tobogganing, also, scoring a goal, that’s me jumping in the centre.
I never did like to touch the fish. Thanks Kev for helping me out with that.
Niagara Peninsula Chess Champion, Camping (I still have the shirt), Hockey photos in Niagara Falls, rocking the blue skate blade holders like Gretzky.
Midnight snack with my dad. Those were the best cookies ever, I don’t think Colonial exists anymore, at least not in Canada.
Mario Lemieux t-shirt Easter present. I still have the shirt and plan on putting my kid in it some day.
With my best friend Dave at the Carnival in Niagara Falls
With Preston, we were so proud of whatever on Earth we made.
With Dave at the pool in St. David’s
Playing in the snow in the back yard in Niagara Falls with Preston and his friend Katie.
Travelling team for Softball, I was playing up a division with Brandon and Kevin.
The first photo might be my all time favourite. I wish I knew how that ended. The 2nd was my first time going to hockey. The 3rd, I am pretending to make a great catch while doing the crowd sounds (you know what I mean).
Playing road hockey, I liked playing in net and I’m sure they liked shooting at me. Remember those plastic stick blades?
At Jack Astor’s (apparently in front of the Doug Gilmour wall) after winning the provincials. Ryan on the left, and Jake on the right, were my line mates. As you can see, I was small growing up, but I was still the leading scorer ;)
Select baseball after winning a tournament. I’m the little guy in the middle of the first row. My dad’s in the top right, he coached me for many years in baseball.
This was a proud moment, being awarded MVP of my league while in Midget.
We took a guys trip with my dad to Pittsburgh in 2003 and saw the Penguins beat the Hurricanes 3-2. I loaned my brothers Penguins gear and I wore all yellow. Lemieux had 2 assists & i got to see Ron Francis play for the Canes.
The only photo I have of me playing high school hockey for the M.M. Robinson Rams
Grades 10, 12, OAC, and University graduation. For those who don’t know, OAC was essentially just grade 13 which all Ontario students went through until it was eliminated in 2003.
Just the kind of thing that happens when brothers get together. I am certain I didn’t deserve this. I am also certain that I have no idea where this photo was taken.
A rare occasion. All 4 of us getting together to play ball hockey in Waterloo. We all attended Wilfrid Laurier University, but I believe Preston was not yet out of high school at the time.
Got my university degree in Psychology.
On the streets of Dubrovnik with some heavy bags.
At the World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, with Borut and Max.
At the World Championships, this photo was on TSN’s website.
Exhausted after playing 3 straight games of inline hockey in Ljubljana, Slovenia. I found the playing surface difficult to play on as it was more slippery than the concrete or asphalt I was used to.
This ad for Guinness is brought to you by Dustin’s massive strength. These Irish guys were in awe of that strength
My first time touching the ocean was in Auckland, New Zealand. It was really cold.
Getting in to it with a guy who took a late shot after the whistle in Christchurch. Thanks to Holly who captured this moment with my camera and then recorded my first goal with my video camera the next game.
Silver Cup beer after beating the New Zealand National team. If you know me, you know I don’t drink, but I made an exception.
Standing outside the change room at a rink in Gold Coast, Australia. I wear 67 because it’s between Lemieux’s 66 and Jagr’s 68. It’s also the year Canada became a country.
Sitting at the edge of a sheer cliff waiting for sunset in Yosemite National Park in California.
Shane and I having a costumed fight at Halloween, you can tell he’s a Ninja because he is defending himself and looking at the camera at the same time.
I met this guy at a Pens/Oilers game in Pittsburgh. He ended up being from Burlington too, and I wanted a picture with the awesome sign, he was happy to oblige.
In the dressing room the night I got my teeth battered by some asshole after the whistle. My teammates had me in good spirits.
The dental work related to the cross check to the teeth was fairly extensive including 3 root canals, crowns, bone grafting, and after wearing a flipper for a couple years, finally an implant. I took a selfie while some work was being done.
At the entrance to Davos Switzerland while there for the Spengler Cup. I took a long hike before sunrise that morning and it was well worth it.
At an outdoor rink in Davos. After my main bag went with the plane to India, all I had were my skates, my camera, and a couple other articles of clothing, so I made use of the skates.
On the ice with Team Canada during their family skate at the Spengler Cup, that’s Justin Pogge on the right.
Sitting with a book at a beacon in Oakville Ontario
My best impression of a Packers fan while in Wisconsin for work. I took my tooth out for added effect
The day I had my tooth pulled to put a post in for the implant. I was so swollen I could barely speak.
My second time in Dubrovnik, writing in my travel journal at a cafe.
Waiting for dinner in Dubrovnik at a little restaurant.
Dubrovnik, jumping the opening in the turret atop the old town walls on the left. At hostel Celica in Ljubljana on the right. The way the doors lock is a major hazard in case of a fire, you need a key to open it from the inside.
Sneaking up on a swan at Lake Bled, Slovenia. What a beautiful place it is.
Above the walled city of Dubrovnik with Robyn. This was the start of our day trip to Mostar in Bosnia.
In Croatia, sitting on the pier at sunset
With Robyn at the old bridge in Budapest, Hungary.
On the Old Bridge in Budapest. I’ve got a Popeye cigarette in my mouth here. My shirt says “Give a hoot, don’t pollute”
With my friend Tilen in Slovenia. I met him in 2007 and I am glad to say we still talk frequently (mostly about hockey)
Taking photos of Kotor, Montenegro
Kevin, Dustin, Jennifer, Brandon, and Preston, on Kev’s wedding day.
Giving an impromptu speech with Chris at Kevin and Susan’s wedding.
This is what happens when your chin hits the ice. 2 days later it would get re-opened at another hockey game by a butt end. The 2nd doctor provided me with a much cleaner stitch, and likely a nicer looking scar.
Toronto FC, section 111, row 6, seats 10 and 11. Great times.
Cuddled up with my little Cinnamon. To this day she cuddles up to me like this at night.
My brief foray into the Northwest Territories.
Brandon and Courtney’s wedding in Montego Bay, Jamaica
Robyn and I admiring the view over the Escarpment.
With my brothers at Brandon’s old house having a laugh.
I was a Cowboy for Halloween, I think the look works on me.
Robyn and I in Ottawa to see the Penguins play the Senators, the Pens won in the shootout. Ruutu scored the winner.
So apparently there’s a car called a Duster, who knew?
At the winter classic in Buffalo. What an incredible experience, capped by a Crosby shootout winner.
My first attempt at light painting. A camera, why not?
Holding one of the sticks for Beersbee, an interesting game which can be played with or without the drinking aspect.
With my buddy Adam in the change room before a summer hockey game.
With the full playoff beard in effect on the final day of the playoffs.
With a camera in hand, testing some lighting
With Robyn at a TFC match. We had a good group of people in our section.
Proposing to Robyn at Peggy’s cove at sunrise on September 10th, 2009.
At the top of Signal Hill in St. John’s Newfoundland
At Chris and Larissa’s wedding.
Engagement photos in Milton by Jeffrey Chan Tin
Me, Preston, Brandon, Kevin. For my bachelor party I wanted to play hockey, so we rented the small ice at The Pond and played some 3 on 3. It was a lot of fun and much more work on the small ice than expected.
Robyn putting my ring on during our wedding ceremony. We laughed a lot during the ceremony :)
We sent this photo out with thank you cards, I think it’s awesome, we don’t know the guy.
Hall Family Photo with Robyn, the newest Hall at the time.
Giving my speech at the wedding, Robyn cheersing with her imaginary glass.
I played in a charity game with Paul Coffey, one of the best Defensemen ever. He sprung me for a few breakaways. I sat beside him in the room and we talked quite a bit, it was awesome.
Holding my first nephew Connor on the day he was born.
First Christmas in Halifax, Cinnamon wore a little red dress against her will, she’s so precious.
This was taken on the beach in Inverness.
At Tanner and Chantal’s wedding. Tanner was on the team I went to New Zealand with.
What, the photographer can’t enjoy the photobooth too?
With Brandon and Kevin being guests at the wedding I was photographing (Chad and Jordan’s) it was a perfect opportunity for a photo op with some crazy shades on.
Cinnamon as Pokey and me as Gumby
Cinny and I like to cuddle up and edit photos together.
Moments after picking up Ginger for the first time. She’s such a sweetheart.
Setting up photobooths affords me the opportunity to get some photos of myself, this time with my camera.
Robyn and I before a Penguins playoff game. I was trying to channel the hockey Gods with a yellow Lemieux jersey and a hat signed by him. It didn’t work because Fleury let in more goals than he had saves.
With Catriona Le May Doan at Intact’s Day on Skates at the Oval in Halifax.
With my first niece Mackenzie.
I photographed Mud Hero and was covered in more mud at the end than some of the competitors.
At some random valley in Ireland
Robyn and I somewhere in Ireland, the road was quiet for a little bit so we took a photo.
At Ladies View on the Ring of Kerry having some fun, acting like the wind is blowing me away.
At the Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland, one of my favourite places on the Island.
Standing atop lava columns at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. This place was the highlight of our trip.