Nicole Garbutt’s Tin Woman

In September I was asked to partake in photo project organized and imagined by Nicole Garbutt, a make-up artist in Yellowknife. The scope of the project was to create alternate ending to fairy tales and have different photographers capture each scene. I’ve worked with Nicole in the past, and was excited to be part of a project with her. But to have my photos displayed alongside photographers Pat KaneDave Brosha and Tara Marchiori, I was elated. These are photographer’s who inspired me to pursue this career and continue to inspire me. The show was called Once Upon a Painted Wonderland, and was only open to the public for a few days. Here are the photos Nicole and picked as the favourites from the shoot I did:
Tin Woman2 © James MacKenzie

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Dead North: Fare

Last weekend I helped a friend shoot his entry for the Dead North competition. The competition is a series of short horror films submitted by film makers across the north and screened at the Snow Castle.
From the performances I saw captured during the making of Fare, I know this will leave more than a few people shocked and maybe even grossed out. Should be a good one! And I’m looking froward to all of the other entries too.

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Northern Trails


I’ve spent a few years playing with long exposures and star trails. The hardest part about shooting them in the North is that when it is dark enough to shoot them, the aurora get in the way.

I knew that I could take multiple photos and then stack them in post processing, but I never knew what the end result would look like until now.

This is a series of 104 photographs shot over 22 minutes on Yellowknife Bay. It is my first attempt at stacking photos like this, but I think it will be my norm from now on. I love the results!

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Making Mountains from Gravel Hills

I was asked to do another Polaronesie shoot, something I’m always happy to do. But this time I was presented with a bit of a challenge.
I was asked to make the photos look like they were taken on top of a mountain. Mountains are pretty sparse around Yellowknife, NT, so I took the shoot to the Bristol Gravel Pit.

After a little bit of Photoshop work, I got these.

You can look for the rest of the photos from this shoot on

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Sunset at the Falls

One of the most visited and photographed locations around Yellowknife is Cameron Falls.
I’ve spent many visits trying to find a way to shoot them that hasn’t been seen before.

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The Mourning Flags

This summer has been a very tragic one for the NWT and its Airline community. With three fatal crashes in a few short weeks, spirits have been shaken and our grit put to the test.

Northerners pride themselves on working in some of the toughest conditions in the world, because we are tough people. Never the less, we are tough people filled with sadness at the loss of our family, friends, and co-workers.

A friend of mine, recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, introduced me to a line of thinking that put a silver lining around the dark clouds that have been looming.

There are elements in life that destroy hope, faith, happiness, and love. It is easy to fall pray to this destruction, especially when it is all around you.

My friend encouraged me to create something. When it seems like everything is being torn down, build something.

Create a positive attitude. Create a piece of beautiful art. Create a loving community.

Create something that will last forever.

I made this photo to commemorate my friend lost in the Air Tindi crash on Tuesday.

The flags at half mast is a sign of mourning known to everyone. I burned the edges of the photo to emphasize the bright center. With the flag poles leading the eye directly into that bright spot, it gives the feeling of ascension.

Creating this photo made me feel better. And I know, because we’re tough people of the North, others are creating too.

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Legislative History

Being a journalistic photographer often times means being prepared to shoot what is around you with what you have at a moment’s notice. Other times it requires months of preparation, organization and even possibly re-shoots to get what you want.

This series is a little of both.

A little known fact about our Legislative Assembly is the celebration that happens at the end of each Assembly. Recyclable paper, meant to symbolize all the paper passed through the House, is dumped on the MLAs and Ministers on the last day of session. This is the end result.

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Urban Aurora

I have to thank Pat Kane for sending me the text that got me out of bed the other night. I was half asleep when he told me to look out towards Con Mine. I then spent the next 3 hours running all over the city capturing the lights in as many different locations as I can.

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