Blair Gable is an independent photographer working and living in Ottawa, Ontario specializing in political news coverage, professional sports and environmental portraiture. Having inside access into Canadian federal politics, Blair has been able to photograph some of the most powerful Presidents, Prime Ministers and Royals in the world.
Here is a little background:
I am a full-time editorial photographer working for the countries largest media outlets, including Reuters, Macleans Magazine, the Globe and Mail and many other national and international magazines, newspapers and agencies.
“If everyone is thinking alike then someone isn’t thinking.”
THE ORIGIN STORY
The first time I picked up a proper camera I was maybe 16 or 17 years old and I grabbed my dad’s Nikon SLR to photograph a sunset near my childhood home of Woodstock, Ontario. A few days later my dad sat me down at the kitchen table and slapped down some prints and asked me if I had really taken those photos. I could tell my parents were surprised (and maybe a little proud) at how well they turned out. I was hooked. I proceeded to burn through film and had to take a job at the local camera store to help pay my tab – plus I got to learn about all the gear and had a sweet staff discount. It is ironic that I was originally hired to do digital retouching and manipulation when I do no retouching and manipulation to my images now.
When I turned 18 I started shooting for my high school year book and apprenticed with the photographer at my local newspaper where I ended up working for the summer, shooting photos and working as the darkroom technician. I already had more than a year of newspaper experience before I went to Loyalist College to take their Photojournalism program in 2001. Between college terms I worked as a photographer/reporter/page designer for the Goderich Signal-Star newspaper and immediately after graduation began an internship at the Ottawa Citizen followed by a summer at the Windsor Star. I left Windsor for a contract position at the Chatham Daily News and received a staff position at the St. Catharines Standard less than a year later. In 2005 I accepted a staff position at the Ottawa Sun and two and a half years later I left the Sun to work as an independent photojournalist in Ottawa.
In 2001 I started working as the web developer for the Eastern Canadian News Photographers Association and remained so for six years and in 2002 I helped to create the Great White North Workshop (a successful photojournalism conference) which I co-chaired in 2007. I also sat on the steering committee that helped create Canada’s first national photojournalism association, the News Photographers Association of Canada.
In the end, I think I was always destined to be an independent photographer rather than a staffer as I was always the creative entrepreneur when I was young. In grade school I used to draw sports logos and cartoon characters to sell to my class mates for lunch money on hot dog day, though I quickly realized that winning their money playing poker over the lunch hour took less time. Now, I would never change what I do even though photography was really more of a fallback career for me. It was a path only to be followed if my career as a rockstar did not pan out. Over the years I wanted to be many things – a magician, fire fighter, lawyer (I really only said that to pick up a girl), chef – but I told my high school guidance councillor that I was going to be in a band. The closest I have come to living that dream is beating Guitar Hero on expert – so photography it is!