A Nod to the TEDxVancouver Performers

Well, here we are. My first #NaBloPoMo project is at its end, so I thought I’d end with a bang and highlight the awesome performers at this year’s TEDxVancouver.

There will be actual videos of the speakers’ presentations forthcoming, and I’ll be posting them with their awesome backstories – but these people were fantastic!

I wanted to acknowledge them with my camera.

So, here’s a bit of a TEDXVancouver montage. Enjoy. And thank you, as usual for your ongoing support. It’s greatly appreciated.

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

I can’t wait to photograph the next TEDxVancouver!


#WhatISaw Has Opened Eyes

In addition to my #NaBloPoMo project – trying to post every day for the month of November – I also had another project on the go.

I called it #WhatISaw and I posted iPhone photos on my Instragram account. It was a very interesting, sometimes difficult exercise. Where to shoot, what to shoot, and will it be interesting enough??

As it turns out, I had more then enough interesting photos to shoot, in my own neighbourhood, and anywhere in Vancouver I happened to be.

It’s done something else, though.

I think #WhatISaw really has driven home the point that a legally blind person like me can give the rest of you a real, tangible idea of how we see our world. I’ve shot whatever I felt like, and sometimes it’s been fairly ordinary, sometimes beautiful, sometimes funny. But it’s been straight through my eyes, um, eye.

I’ve enjoyed it so much I plan to keep going. But I think I may change it up. #WhatISaw could be #WhatIAte, or #WhoIMet on some days. But the main thing is that you’ll continue to see me!

And within a few days, they’ll all be linked to my Flickr page as well.

And if you have any ideas on what you’d like me to discover, please let me know. I’d love your input!

And now, I’d better plug my iPhone in. Who knows what awaits me tomorrow?

Thanks for your support. It’s greatly appreciated.

TEDxVancouver Memories – Mohamed Fahmy

I’ve been a fan of TEDxVancouver for several years now. I also photographed the event for fun a few years ago. This year, I offered to join the small group of volunteer photographers for two reasons. First, I always welcome the opportunity to showcase my photos. But I also wanted to hear Mohamed Fahmy speak. I’ve been drawn to this brave, passionate and articulate man and his struggles over the past few years.

Mr. Fahmy, you may recall, is the award-winning Egyptian-Canadian journalist and author, and former Egypt Bureau Chief of Al-Jazeera International who in 2013 was wrongly imprisoned in Egypt for more than 400 days for allegedly collaborating with and airing “false news” on the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. He was finally pardoned by the Egyptian government in September of this year.

Here’s his conversation with host Riaz Meghji.

And here’s what I was able to capture on camera.

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

The capacity crowd was mesmerized, and Mr. Fahmy was given a standing ovation at the end of the interview. But it wasn’t all seriousness.

Near the end of the session, Riaz asked whom Mohamed would like to play him if a movie were to be made on his life. Knowing that George Clooney’s wife Amal Clooney was one of his lawyers, the audience broke up. Mr. Fahmy smiled, and said that he was grateful for everything the Clooney family has done for him – and left it at that. Riaz got a further round of laughter by offering to stand in if George was too busy! It was a welcome moment of light-heartedness during an intense discussion.

I’m thankful that this man who has suffered so much trauma can now enjoy a new life here in Vancouver, where he’s a Global Reporting Journalist in Residence at UBC. And I’ll never forget what a privielge it was to be there to capture these moments.

But there’s more!

This was hands-down the best TEDxVancouver I’ve attended, so I’ll also be showcasing some of the other speakers who enthralled me, motivated me and moved me to tears and laughter.

Stay tuned.

NaBloPoMo – Near the Finish Line

Today is the 25th of November. I’m 25 days into my NaBloPoMo project – essentially, writing a blog post every day for the 30 days of the month. This is my 22nd post, which obviously means I’m a few days behind and won’t make my 30 in 30. It made me stop and take stock, and I wondered out loud if I should be feeling disappointed.

But you know what?

I’m not.  

I’ve accomplished a lot in my first-ever NaBloPoMo. I’m doing better than I thought I ever would. I’ve possibly surprised some of my more proficient blogger friends with what I’ve done so far. I’m happy, not only with the number of posts, but also with the kind of posts I’ve actually written.

I’ve been true to me, I’ve been able to showcase my photography, and I’ve been a lot more courageous, a lot more disciplined than I thought I’d be. I’m also very touched by the feedback and encouragement I’ve received, which I never expected. Thank you.

I still have five days to go. There will be more words, more photos. I just needed today to regroup, screw up my confidence, pat myself on the back and move on. I’m hoping that most of us who sit in front of the computer screen and give our words a voice need to do that once in a while.

And after this NaBloPoMo exercise is over? I am promising me – and you – that you’ll hear more from me. I’m enough of a realist to know that I may never write 20+ posts every month – but I’ve caught enough of the writing bug to feel certain that I will continue.

I hope to cover more of what makes Vancouver the place I love through my words and photos – food, drink, events, arts, non-profits, people – but it doesn’t mean that I’ll lose my passion for or stop writing about advocacy, politics, PR and social media, the people I care for, and every once in a while, my cats!

Someone wrote me after hearing me on CBC Radio last week, and told me that I write like I talk. Good. It means you’re getting the real me. And whether or not I write a dozen posts or 20 every month moving forward, that’s exactly what I want to deliver.

At the end of the day, that’s what will matter to me.

And on I go…


And Then, CBC Called…

Yesterday, I posted on the significance on November 17th for me. Not only was it my late husband’s birthday, burt it was also World Prematurity Day, and as a middle-aged preemie myself, I wanted to celebrate the occasion by telling my story. I was really touched by the response!

And then today, I got a call from CBC Vancouver, wanting to talk to me as a follow-up to my piece and my life as a tiny survivor. I was excited, happy and terrified! But I had met  host Stephen Quinn a few times before, and was very comfortable, so I made it through!

You can hear the CBC On the Coast interview at approximately 1:16:55.

I’ve discovered that I’m also in an article on the CBC web site. I am truly blessed.

But it’s not just about me. It’s about every tiny baby who’s struggled, survived and is a miracle, no matter what they achieve in life. Anything and everything is possible.

Stay scrappy kids. This old gal did.