I just take a few pictures in Ottawa, Canada. It’s colder than Moscow but warmer than Ulan Bator. Some of my pictures are as pro-level as I can make them with the equipment I have, but I’ve always enjoyed just having fun with vintage cameras, cheap junk toy cameras and instant film cameras, and so I include both aspects of my photography world on the website… particularly in the Posts section. For clients, paid or otherwise, I’ll do whatever post-processing is necessary to perfect the image, but for my personal photography, I’m interested in how the subject can be captured as it is with the camera, not in what I can make of it in image editing.

I actually started taking pictures with some level of serious intent in the late 1960’s, when I was 16, armed with a big Polaroid Model 160. It used the original black and white peel-apart roll film. By the mid-70’s, I had taught myself to develop 35mm film, and I was burning and dodging black and white prints during late night sessions in my studio apartment, on weekends when not at sea with the navy. After a while, I moved on to slide film, developing my own Ektachromes and sending out the Kodachromes. Unfortunately, most of that early experimentation was lost a long time ago, except for a few fading prints without the negatives, some vintage Polaroids, as well as a few Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides.

In the real world of making a living, I joined the Canadian Forces as an ROTP officer cadet while already attending a civilian university and I was commissioned after graduating in 1974. I subsequently served my commitment in the regular navy, after which I became a federal public servant, eventually heading a Secretary of State division embedded within National Defence. A dozen years later, I left the public service for the private sector and I also rejoined the military as an army reserve officer (technically, transferring from the Supplementary List to the Primary Reserves). Why? I don’t know. Just something to do.

During that time, while freelancing as a civilian defence contractor in naval technical documentation, I fully retrained as an army logistics (transport) officer up to Lieutenant Colonel promotable level. I couldn’t volunteer for overseas missions by that time due to a medical restriction, but I commanded units in garrison and in the field, selected and trained junior officers, served as the regular force regimental liaison officer with a united counties emergency measures HQ during the great ice storm of 1998, planned and organized reserve summer concentrations, served with regular force division and brigade group headquarters on field exercises, acted as a military spokesman on TV… that sort of thing. Oh, and I was captain of battalion shooting teams, a range safety officer and I was qualified to blow up unexploded munitions.

Unfortunately renal failure put an end to my second military “career”. Instead, I ended up spending four years on hemodialysis until I finally received a deceased donor kidney transplant from the waiting list. Aside from the 11 years in uniform, most of my civilian working life was also military in nature, having been part of Canada’s participation in the NATO standardization agreement programme in the 1980s. As such, I was a member of working groups in Canada, and I travelled to NATO conferences in Paris, London and Brussels as a civilian with naval Commander administrative status. No big deal, and certainly of little significance compared to those who served in harm’s way, but contrary to what my present circumstances might suggest, I wasn’t exactly a bum either.

I’ve always preferred just taking pictures though. I can do whatever is required, but I do tend to favour spontaneity, and for my own pictures, I like the snapshot aesthetic.

Pierre Lachaine

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