Monday July 1st, 2013
by Maria Luci
Grant Harder has the unique talent of making me want to live the rest of my life in each and every one of his photographs. Whether in shots of sun drenched swimming holes, mossy wood cabins or fog-covered wharfs, the scenes call out, promising days of hazy happiness and muted colors. As it turns out, I’m apparently not the only one that shares these feelings. Recently, Grant’s spellbinding photographic style entranced the photo editors at enRoute, Air Canada’s in-flight magazine. And thus, at the end of 2012, Vancouver-based Grant found himself in China for the first time.
enRoute sent Grant to China to capture images for their April 2013 cover story, “A Wrinkle In Time.” The article highlighted China’s ancient Yunnan province as a time warp-like travel spot. enRoute knew Grant’s vintage-esque approach to shooting and processing would make for a perfect companion to their story. And so, Grant traveled halfway across the world to document life and historical tourism in the Yunnan.
But it wasn’t all work for Grant. Already roughly 6,000 miles from home, Grant decided to stay awhile after his assignment was complete to see what else China had to offer. He eventually ended up in Kashgar of XinJiang province, which he beautifully documented. Below, Grant discusses exploring and capturing rural XinJiang province,
Post enRoute assignment, I extended my trip to shoot some personal work. I couldn’t get a visa fast enough for Mongolia or Myanmar. So I decided to stick with China, and go to a region that seemed, at least to me, the furthest point geographically and culturally from the province I was visiting for enRoute (Yunnan).
Two planes and a 36-hour train trip later, I ended up in Kashgar. I didn’t know exactly what I was searching for, but that’s a big part of the enjoyment. During the assignment segment of the trip, I had a Mandarin speaking guide and a schedule. On my own, I got by with an ever-increasing repertoire of hand gestures and an appetite for adventure. A highlight was staying with a Kyrgyz family in the mountains off of the Karakoram Highway, all of us sleeping in the same unheated room, side by side by side by side. We were at 3600m (2.25 miles up), so it was cold, not at night though, as the mother of the house had a particular way of preparing the blankets. I felt like a tightly wrapped burrito. Speaking of burritos, I love them, veggie burritos that is—although on the first night with this family, I happily ate yak meat and rice. I could not have guessed that the first meat I would eat in 14 years would be yak.
Overall the trip was a success, minus returning home with pneumonia, probably caused by my not sleeping for three weeks due to the excitement. Or, perhaps it was the altitude?
View more of Grant’s work at grantharder.com.
Saturday April 20th, 2013
Today’s Chicago Woman
Monday September 3rd, 2012
Sigh. Labor Day is here, which means it’s time to say goodbye to summer. It was a great few months filled with splashes, smiles, and hot dogs. Autumn is now right around the corner though, bringing with it cool weather, bright leaves and short days. But before it gets too chilly out, let’s celebrate with a few images that bid adieu to summer and say hello to fall. Enjoy!
- Maria Luci
Ball & Albanese
Thursday April 12th, 2012
Recently, MONTECRISTO, a Vancouver lifestyle magazine, called upon Grant Harder for an earthy assignment. Grant works with MONTECRISTO often, and is always happy to shoot for them in his typical “honest, with a hint of quirk” photography style. For this assignment, he would be working with art director Mark Reynolds to illustrate an article on mushroom foraging.
Before this fungi-focused shoot, Grant didn’t know much about mushroom foraging, except that he’d run into a few mushroom pickers while planting tress in northern British Columbia. MONTECRISTO’s article centered around one mushroom man, Tyler Gray of Mikuni Wild Harvest, who provides foraged and specialty foods to top chefs and fresh food enthusiasts across British Columbia. Spending the day photographing Tyler, Grant got to learn a thing or two about mushrooming, and even saw some similarities to his own past profession,
I used to work in reforestation. After spending the morning with Tyler, I came to learn that foraging has a lot in common with planting trees; you have to be efficient, know the best spots to pick/plant and they’re both paid by the amount you pick or plant. The harder and smarter you work, the more money.
The shoot itself was a somewhat casual affair. MONTECRISTO wanted environmental portraits of Tyler along with mushroom details and “action” shots of Tyler picking them. Grant had a good amount of creative freedom to play with the shoot and add his own style. He was thrilled with the light beaming through the trees, and with Tyler—not only his personality, but his handsome attire as well—all of which added to the allure and serenity of the resulting photographs. Grant says,
The elements were all there for me: great light, beautiful setting and an interesting subject. Working in a natural environment like this is where I’m probably at my most comfortable. I love the uncertainty and thinking on the fly. I guess my instincts bring through my style.
After the shoot, Grant not only came home with some great photos, but with a bag of wild mushrooms as well. Mark and the rest of the MONTECRISTO crew were really happy with the pictures and used a good number of them to illustrate Tyler’s story. Grant says that this assignment was, “a reminder in why I pick up the camera—to meet new people and have new experiences. If I’m shooting something that I would actually like to be doing myself, even if I didn’t have a camera with me, then it must be the right job for me.”
View more of Grant’s work on his website, grantharder.com.
- Maria Luci