Meet James Raffan. Speaker. Creator. Explorer.

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Arctic Swimming, Bug Salad & other Trail Delights

Somewhere around 1960 or ’61, my dad gave me a Kodak “Hawkeye Flashfun” camera he got free in a promotion for buying gas from ESSO (to fuel an über-handsome—not!— pink and black Plymouth that he bought because he got in a fender bender while on a test drive … but that’s a whole other story). From the moment of taking this little beauty out of its crisp cardboard box, until now, I was entranced by the feel of the paper rolls of 120 B&W film and by the smell of the four-gang flashbulbs that came with it.  And so began a lifelong love of photography.

Although I started taking pictures for publication in Grade 7, as a staff photographer for the yearbook (called the Waverley Drive “Hoofer”), as an occasional contributor to publications in high school, and as a very keen low-light and concert photographer for the student papers and yearbook at university (loving 400 ASA Tri-X film pushed to 1600 and playing with the developing chemistry), it was of some concern that I not be identified as one of those “camera geeks” which, of course, I was … but in secret.

Photography has been, and remains, a most pleasurable way of interacting with people and places.  Over the years, I have become more and more conscious that a camera creates a very particular kind of blindness, if you’re not careful, because of the way you can concentrate on “getting the shot” to the exclusion of appreciating in any other way what is actually happening in front of your eyes.  But photography is also a way of seeing and celebrating in a semi-permanent way (especially now with digital imagery, which can go “poof” when you least expect it!) the patterns and colours and forms and relationships on the lines and circles of the trails we travel.




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Amherst Canoeobilia Mural Minden
Another Icy Morning Nome
Arctic Circle Dive
Arctic Circle Swim
Are you going to be long?
Atanigi Laughs
Big Laugh Committee Islands
Bottle Toss Ocean Current Study
Bug Fingers
Bug Salad!
Burnside Sailing on Aylmer Lake
Canoe Country Sign
Church made of driftwood Iceland
Crazy Paving Arctic Style
Crossing Paths
Door Bell Tuba
Evening Serendade Twin Turbines
Finishing Up
First Frost
Form and Function
Fresh Meat
Go play outside!
Harpa Concert Hall Reykjavik
Headed for Beechey Island
Hey! What's That?
Hot Summer Evening
Ice Abstracct
Icelandic Wall Wisdom
Icy Morning Nome
James Bay Winter Happy Cold Lucky Lunchers
Kayak Rainbow
Man's Best Friend
Mask of Sorrow Monument Magadan
Midnight on the Des Groselliers
Midnight Sun Mandala Khanty Mansiisk
Montreal Snacks
Morning on the Coronation Gulf
Mowgli meets the NGS Photographer
Nature's Halloween Candy
New Friends on the Thames
Night Tent Night Sky
No, that's my ball
Northwest Passage
Notes on the bug situation
On deck aboard Nunni
Parked! in Shishmaref Alaska
Peace! in Lutselk'e
Pouring Gold at the Arctic Circle in Siberia
Ptarmigan Twin Otter Taking Off
Rankin Hicks and Pepper
Red, White and Blue
Rock and Water Greenland
Rock and Water Imagte
Rough seas
Sic Sic Photographer
Side Street
Sky Hiking Baffin Island
Slow Food
Smoking Whitefish on the Peel
Snow Dogs Canoe
Sorry-gone fishing
Spilled Grain Churchill Sea Terminal
Spirit of the Grand
Sunshine spray
S'up Dawg?
Tagged! in Magadan
Tears in the Gulag Still
Tent Door in Evening Light
That's my ball!
The Closer She Gets II
The lads celebrate catching supper
The Wendigo Shows for Brekkie
Veg Market in Siberia
Waving the Flag
Wedding Fence Murmansk Harbour
Who are you?
Wings at the Arctic Circle
World in a droplet
World's Briefest School Bus

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