Creativity: vs Commerce

What unusual times we are experiencing! Uncertainty and fear are such prevalent feelings. Other than the polio epidemic that ended in 1955 with the introduction of the Salk vaccine nothing in my lifetime really compares.

Social isolation that now governs our lives leaves us with much time to attack the forever full ‘to-do’ list, to read, to work on projects and of course to think about new projects and ideas. I’ve read lots, ‘who-dun-its’ for the most part. And I’ve lost a bunch of weight. No booze or restaurant food and excellent home cooked meals have paid off.

Broken wagon wheel on Cotter’s Ranch near Quesnel, B.C.

The two projects I have underway are  progressing slowly but well. So far the design aspect to my website revision is almost complete. I’ve identified the images that will appear in my first book. It will be about the critters in the Fascieux Creek Wetland. In the background, ideas for my blog are always percolating.

This article arose from my  desire to include online sales through my  website. Logistically speaking, it should relatively easy to do. But previous experiences with commerce and my photography actually  led me to give up on photography for awhile. “Is this what I really want to do?”

Barrel Racer at the William’s Lake Stampede

Like many photographers there are two chapters to my involvement with photography, film and digital. The chapter  about film began at  a very early age. Over time the creative possibilities of black and white photography captured my imagination.  I even had the opportunity to exhibit  my prints in a few art shows. Then the idea of earning money through my photography crept in and  became a serious consideration. Sadly, this motivation took me away from the creative aspect of photography. In the end, I lost my desire to make photographs just for the fun of it. I sold all my gear!

The growth of digital image making in the intervening years led  me back back to photography. There was no need for darkroom equipment, chemicals and all the other necessary paraphernalia related to film photography. Results were immediate.

Bronco rider at the Calgary Stampede

My interests today parallel those of my years with film photography. Family photography was and still is very important to me. Back then I  loved to photography events such as the Williams Lake Stampede, Kelowna’s Snow Fest and  the spring River Race on Mission Creek sponsored by radio station CKIQ. Now, I enjoy photographing events such as Versaiki here in Kelowna and the Northwest Duces Auto Show in Victoria. Most of all, I love to photograph landscapes, wildlife and other subjects that I can artistically represent with my camera.

The images included in this article were made in the mid 1970’s. My photography today reflects similar interests. The image of the old wagon axel was made on my aunt and uncle’s ranch on Dragon Lake near Quesnel, B.C. The first rodeo image was made at the Williams Lake Stampede and the last image was made at the Calgary Stampede. 

Again, I am making photographs for the love of it.  Should an  image sell my hope would be that the purchaser was moved by an inner feeling  created by that image. That’s what is most important to me.


This entry was posted in Education, My Work, The Creative Process.


  1. corolp May 5, 2020 at 7:49 pm #

    Your images always trigger an inner feeling, Stu. Stay safe and good luck with your photographic endeavours.

    • Stu Dale May 5, 2020 at 9:00 pm #

      Thanks Corol! Stay safe as well.

  2. Barbara May 12, 2020 at 3:17 pm #

    I agree with you concerning the advent of digital photography!

    • Stu Dale May 12, 2020 at 3:54 pm #

      It is interesting that there is a resurgence of film photography.

  3. Hans Arnold May 13, 2020 at 7:51 am #

    Hi Stu, your blog is interesting and it has set off a few of my own thoughts strongly related to your past as a photographer. I won’t get into my life details here but will mention that I have always had the love of photography in my back pocket and many times it interfered with other interests that I wanted to dive into. Fortunately, I persevered and now, like yourself, are in the midst of what I believe is a digital camera/smartphone revolution. It is now a huge challenge to be accepted as a professional photographer ie: selling prints and how we have to go about doing so ( exempting luck as a major factor of course ). My point is, that it all boils down to being passionate about what we do with our camera, if we are passionate enough to capture beautiful images, passionate to post-process and become in some way digital artists, than my goal has been met. The enjoyment I get out of photography is my life and I will continue to teach others, learn more, be patient with computers and software. Wishing you all the best in your continuing journey in your passion as a photographer. I truly enjoy your image posts.

    • Stu Dale May 14, 2020 at 5:14 pm #

      Thanks for commenting on my blog, Hans. I still have lots to learn especially about the computer and software aspect. It’s coming but as you say it takes time and patience. Like you I am passionate about my photography. Lately, I haven’t been out with my camera as much as I’d like but I’ve spent a great deal of time with my image library. My website reconstruction is coming along albeit a bit slowly. I enjoy your photography as well. It looks like we photograph some of the same subjects matter.
      A great motivator for me has been my uncle, George Cotter. He has gone now but lived in Winnipeg (St. Vital) and in the northern regions of Saskatchewan and Manitoba for most of his life. He was a wonderful movie photographer, his subjects being prairie wildlife. He founded Cotter’s Wildlife Productions and produced movies over 4 decades.

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