by Colleen Smith
This is an important year in Canadian history commemorating the bicentennial of The War of 1812. There are many activities and events across Canada celebrating 200 years of peace including battle re-enactments in period dress. Celebrations honouring troops who fought in the 32 month war will continue until 2015. Photographer John Hyrniuk shares his experience through images of battle re-enactments from this past summer.
When Zoomer magazine originally approached John with the idea of shooting the War of 1812 re-enactment they wanted him on the battlefield with his gear. They soon realized they couldn’t get John on the field while the actors were doing their work, and they dropped the concept. Not to shy away from a challenge, John decided to head out on his own and shoot for himself. Armed with his Canon 5D MK II, the EF 85mm f1.2L (his favourite lens), a Profoto Pro 7B pack and head with small softbox, he set out to various locations across Ontario where these battles were being “fought” over the course of the summer.
A self-taught photographer shooting professionally sine 2002, John likes to photograph the unusual and the quirky – usually celebrity lookalikes. The war re-enactment and its colourful characters fit right in to his photographic philosophy.
I asked John which of the many portraits he captured over the summer was his favourite, he answered without thought “The kid with the Bugle”. Why?
“I don’t know…I just like it, it’s one of those pictures that captures the moment well, the setting, the expression”
“I don’t like to have the people just standing there, it’s more interesting if they are doing something”
When he finished this project he went back to Zoomer with his photographs, and though they weren’t images captured on the battlefield, Zoomer Magazine was more than happy with the portraits John captured. They can be seen in their September issue.