UM unsung heroes: Part 3
This creative project by campus photographer Mike Latschislaw features faces from around the U of M — some that we see on a daily basis but may not know too well, others that work behind the scenes to keep the U of M functioning and vibrant.
Latschislaw, who has an artistic photography practice outside of his daily work at U of M as an photographer in Audio Visual And Classroom Technology Support, says he had fun with these portraits and finding people who clean the halls or (wo)man the cash registers at the bookstore. He also had fun with the lighting and approach to the portraits — many of them are humourous, playing off cultural motifs (a Dragons’ Den ad for the catering staff photo); others symbolically represent the work done by their subjects (such as the background in the bookstore portrait, which melds binary code with first lines of great novels).
We asked him how he got started on the ‘unsung heroes’ project:
Latschislaw: I get to meet a lot of the great academic staff through functions and events I’m booked for, which is something I really enjoy about the job. I wanted to provide examples of different ways to light people in the studio, and I thought it would be cool to feature the “unsung heroes” you see in the halls of the U of M every day. For fun, I thought I’d shoot these photos as if they were being cast in a new television series you might see ads for.
How did you get into photography?
Latschislaw: I learned lighting while attending the Vancouver Film school. I picked up my first camera while living in Chicago and starting shooting rolls of film focusing on the great architecture there. It became a hobby while working as a character animator in film and television in L.A. and Montreal. The passion for photography replaced my interest in animation and I became a full-time photographer a few years before coming to the U of M.
Ed. note: The editors of UM Today wholeheartedly celebrate this creative project by campus photographer Mike Latschislaw — and we hope readers will too! Though playful in tone, “Unsung heroes” is a sincere tribute to the people photographed — and not only to them, but also to them as representative of the many support staff here who go above and beyond for the good of the wider university community.
A “hero” is “someone admired for their intelligence, abilities, or personal qualities.” We could add the word “contributions.” I believe that this is the sense in which Mike intended the name of the project.
I also believe that there are many others in the university community who would echo Mike’s sentiment — myself included. As editor of the UM Today website and of The Bulletin before this, I (along with my co-editor, Sean Moore) hear weekly from people at the university about many such “unsung” support staff and fellow co-workers. And while their actions may not fall into a narrow definition of the word “heroic” — their actions are often selfless and their personal qualities are admirable! And in this case the expression is meant as a heartfelt “thank you.”
— Mariianne Mays Wiebe
Who are the deserving U of M “unsung heroes” you could add to his roster?
>> Above: the series set of photos
>> Scroll down to see large images and some Q + As with the subjects.
Michael Elves, program director, UMFM 101.5, the University Of Manitoba’s Radio Station
What do you like about what you do? We are a volunteer-driven station and I have the great pleasure of working with students, staff, alumni and community members in creating interesting radio programming. Also, I have had the opportunity to record live sessions at the station with great local and touring artists, including an icon of my childhood, Fred Penner.
How long have you been at U of M? I’ve been in this job since October 2005.
If you could do any job in the world for one day, what would it be? Tough call, but I guess it would be to manage the Minnesota Twins in a game.
Jared McKetiak, station manager, UMFM 101.5
What do you like best about your job? A lot different things. I get to work with a great staff of co-workers here at the station, as well as with UMSU, who is our parent organization. I get to work with an amazing core group of about 75-80 volunteers who make UMFM sound fantastic each and every day. And most importantly, I get to work for the students of the University Of Manitoba, helping them to promote their events and making the campus a better place to be each day!
How long have you been at the U of M? 12 years going strong!
If you could do any job in the world for one day, what would it be? It might sound cliched, but honestly, I am doing what I love and wouldn’t change it for the world!
Chadwick Ginther, assistant buyer, U of M Bookstore
What do you like best about your job? I’ve been a reader all my life and have never not had a book on the go. Being able to recommend books I’ve loved, and sharing the joy they’ve given me is my favourite aspect of being a bookseller.
How long have you been at the U of M? I am a relative newcomer at the U of M. I’ve been here almost a year.
If you could do any job in the world for one day, what would it be? For only one day … I’d have to say pilot. I love flying — and hopefully the skill set would stay with me so I could do it whenever I wanted.
Natasha Martin, receptionist and customer service clerk
What do you like best about your job? What I like best about my job is the interactions I have with the staff and the students that come into the store. I like getting to know the staff and students that come in frequently at the Bookstore.
How long have you been at the U of M? I have been at the U of M Bookstore for about 4 years now.
If you could do any job in the world for one day, what would it be? If I could do any job in the world for one day I think it would have to be a physician. I like the concept of figuring out a diagnosis.
Henryk Cecelon, utility caretaker
What do you like best about your job? Being surrounded by intelligent and intellectual people
How long have you been at the U of M? Over 25 years.
If you could do any job in the world for one day, what would it be? Job of the football fan, watching live Barcelona-Real Madrid and meeting them after the game.
>> See parts 1 and 2 of this project.