MacEwan's photographer, Steven Stefaniuk

2018 in photos

December 17, 2018 | Campus Life

From vibrant orange sunrises to student portraits, we take a lot of photos around here.

And though we usually let the images speak for themselves, this year we asked MacEwan’s photographer, Steven Stefaniuk, to share the behind-the-scenes stories of his favourite photos of 2018. 

I woke up at 6 a.m. to take this photo. It was early September, and I was pretty lucky to get a shot with no cars or people on the street. I like the colours and composition and how it doesn’t just capture campus, but that feeling of being a downtown university.

I wish you could hear what it sounded like when I took this one. The staff at kihêw waciston, MacEwan’s Indigenous Centre, were hosting a jingle dress and powwow dancing class for high school students, and everyone was so engaged. I like the vibrancy and colour in this photo — you can feel the energy coming through.

This dog was super photogenic. He’s part of the Pets Assisting With Student Success (PAWSS) program we have here. I took this at Open House, and it’s funny because I’d already taken lots of photos of other dogs earlier that day, but I’m glad I went back in the afternoon and saw this corgi. I just love corgis.

I take a lot of student portraits throughout the year — probably three quarters of the photos I take are of people. I met with this biology student, Lexi, and I asked if she could hold a cockroach — I’m glad she said yes! I love that her excitement came through in the photo.

I took this photo as students were walking in at Convocation this spring. I noticed this guy look up at who I assume were his parents, and I knew it was going to be a cool shot. I really enjoy taking photos at Convocation because I get to see students have that “I finally made it” moment.

This spring we had Indigenous dancers and drumming at Convocation for the first time. I love this image because of the motion — there’s a bit of a blur, and it brings you into the action of the moment. I also think the photo shows how the dancer was feeling the music in his movements.

The beekeepers offered me a suit, but I figured the bees wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t bother them. It would have been fine, but near the end of the shoot I tried to get a bit closer. The bees didn’t like that. One got stuck in my hair and stung me in the face. It was still a good day though — the sun was in exactly the right spot for taking photos.

I started taking these large-scale student photos at New Student Orientation last year, and I love the energy in this one from September. You can feel the excitement of all the new students.

I like the composition and colours in this picture taken at the John and Maggie Mitchell Art Gallery during the CHILDISH exhibition. A group of children from Early Learning at MacEwan came to visit the space, and this kid wandered away from the group and was followed by a staff member. He was so excited to get a closer look at the art and ask questions.

This is Mark. He’s a music student and just the nicest guy. He came up with this idea to help prepare meals and then host a music show for people at Boyle Street Community Services. I met up with him when he was mixing cheese in this massive bowl for one of those meals and I kept asking him to flip it over and over again because it looked so cool.

Aapo-Matti is from Finland. He came to MacEwan through a study abroad program. To me, he’s kind of the quintessential music student — he carries his guitar around with him all the time. This image captures what Allard Hall is all about — a community of artistic people creating together.

I saw a photo on Instagram where someone took a reflection shot using the outside of Allard Hall as a mirror. It looked really cool, so I decided to try one of my own! I’m really happy with how it turned out. I had to get really close to the building to take it. You might see me on campus, lying on my stomach or back to get the perfect photo. People stare, but I’m used to it. If the photo looks good in the end, I don’t care what I look like while I’m taking it.

And photographer Steve’s final tip?

“I tell dad jokes. I like making people laugh so they feel comfortable and don’t have a fake smile in the photo. My favourite joke is ‘What’s the difference between a well-dressed man on a bicycle and a poorly dressed man on a unicycle? The answer? Attire.’ My New Year’s resolution is to find a new favourite joke.”

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