PLUS—Picture Licensing Universal System

At a CAPIC event last held night in CBC’s Glenn Gould Auditorium (and webcast across the country to CAPIC meetings and individuals), Jeff Sedlik was in TO to deliver to a nearly full house the most amazing news of the efforts of PLUS, the system he and his cross-industry cronies have been building the past decade for standardizing rights language and image licensing. The idea is to make it a no-brainer through technology so that all rights language and image licensing becomes as standard as IPTC meta data and systems like Panatone colours. It leaves one very hopeful, if also a bit skeptical about the rate of compliance and implementation that may occur, and of course presumes good will and integrity on the part of buyers which we know is far from the truth in many cases…but the ideas and method seem very solid.

According to PLUS’s website news, here are just three key items pulled from many:
IPTC Integrates PLUS Standards. The Board of Directors of the IPTC voted to approve a revision to the IPTC Photo Metadata Standard, incorporating a significant number of rights-related fields established in the PLUS Standards.

Adobe Announces CS4. PLUS Leadership Circle member Adobe Systems has announced Adobe® Photoshop® CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended. Look for PLUS “File Info” panels in an update to CS4.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 PLUS Plug-in Beta. Developer Timothy Armes begins beta testing of a plug-in that allows users of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 to embed PLUS metadata in image files.


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I could’ve been a contender…

Today’s Financial Times headline reads:

US ‘ready to lead’ on climate change

(FT article as brought to my attention by Jamie Laidlaw: Thanks Jamie!)

I heard that news item on CBC and thought to myself: there goes the unexploited competitive advantage that Canada has had these past few Bush years.

Canada could have been a world leader in greening industry, but instead under Mr. Harper we seem bound to squander our advantage on tax cuts, and turning northern Alberta into wasteland. And now, from the sounds of the budget leaks, we will have to play catch up… that is if our own government ever comes to the realization that they’ve already fallen behind again.

“I could’ve had class. I could’ve been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum…”—Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando), On the Waterfront


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Exhibition opening last night

Well, after nearly seven weeks of intensive night and day scrambling, agonizing over edits, writing and re-writing my statement for what seems like the 110th time in 10 years, unlearning and relearning Photoshop, driving my friends at Elevator Digital *(thanks Bob & Kevin, and Rinath) crazy, my little installation launched last night as part of Architecture At Harbourfronts Winter 2009 exhibit, Building on History. Great job Pat, Marlee and Carly and all the crew.

Here are a few quick snaps from that opening reception:

[svgallery name=”hrbrfrntopening”]


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Statement (Short): Elegy for a Stolen Land

Forced by food shortages to emigrate, six generations ago my Scottish ancestors settled in Southern Ontario, a rich, natural environment that for millennia, and until not long before, had been homeland to successive waves of First Peoples.

When moving home after years in cities to raise a seventh generation in that same place I’d been raised, the sheer rapaciousness of human activity in Ontario’s countryside – the naked erasures of heritage, and our diminishing capacity for a secure local food supply– got me thinking about changes in the meaning of land.

How does one document shifting occupation? What is the distance from “earth mother” to “real estate”, and what evidence remains of aboriginal cosmologies or European animistic traditions, and colonial history? What are the implications for power over the cultural interpretation of land-human relationships imposed by such terms as “land use”? Which ways of thinking and being in relation to land are most suitable to sustaining life?


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Exhibition: An Open Opening Invitiation


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Exhibition Announcement

Markham, Ontario   43°54'28.78"N  79°14'59.11"W, facing South-Southeast, circa May 21, 2004  Tracks of heavy equipment carved into the muddy subsoil on the former James and Adam Clendenen family farms, during its development into a suburban subdivision of roughly 2,500 homes.

Six weeks ago I learned that I had been granted a last minute exhibition opportunity at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, opening January 23, a little less than 3 weeks from now. Since then I’ve been madly preparing for this show and likely will be working right to the bell, and so have had little time for anything else. (Normally one might have 6 months or more of warning to prepare…).

Entitled “Elegy for  Stolen Land”, my installation is the latest incarnation of a body of work that began photographing in 2000 which documents the rapid and radical changes humans have been making to land in Southern Ontario. My installation is part of an exhibition called Building on History in the Architecture at Harbourfront Centre gallery space that examines the consideration of history in architectural design. In a sense, I suppose my contribution to this enterprise is to act as a foil, showing what happens—as has been the case throughout much of North America during the past 60 years—when history has been utterly ignored.

The Public Opening Reception is Friday January 23, 2009 from 6 – 10 p.m., in and around the York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West , and is part of the giant opening festivities (ten exhibitions in all) at the Admission is Free. And bring your skates!

For more information:,


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Iranian-Canadian Blogger Hossein Derakhshan (a.k.a. “Hoder”) Disappeared in Iran, Presumed Arrested by the Iranian Authorities

Iranian-Canadian Blogger Hossein Derakhshan (a.k.a. "Hoder") Disappeared in Iran, Presumed Arrested by the Iranian Authorities

Toronto, Canada. Iranian-Canadian blogger, Hossein Derakhshan, at the Toronto City Hall, Nathan Phillip’s Square skating rink. ©Peter Sibbald, 2005

Iranian-Canadian Blogger Hossein Derakhshan (a.k.a. "Hoder") Disappeared in Iran, Presumed Arrested by the Iranian Authorities

Toronto, Canada. Iranian-Canadian blogger, Hossein Derakhshan, a.k.a. “Hoder”, on the Toronto Island Ferry. ©Peter Sibbald, 2005


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It begins: Joining the 21st Century of Social Networking…

On the first day of Christmas… I sent to me… a new weblog.

What could be more narcissistic in this day and age than a blog!

Blogs are too often about the blogger which, to my mind, grows increasingly tedious—especially when that blogger is me— and so I will try to make this one less about navel gazing and more about the world out there.

I will also try to keep my posts short, though on this inaugural day, I will immediately break that rule.

And I in my cap…

On this Christmas morning, which should be all about World Peace, as my children lie all snug in their beds, I awake to find myself thinking about the world’s growing state of turmoil and in particular the increasing tensions surrounding Iran. And I’m thinking about  Iranian-Canadian blogger, Hossein Derakhshan (nicknamed Hoder) who was arrested in Iran some weeks ago and is being held, apparently for his views, and the fact that he previously visited Israel, which is a crime in Iran, and has given them grounds for accusing him of spying on Iran for Israel.

I don’t know much about Hoder’s views since I can’t read most of his blogging which is in Persian but I gather that his views are strong, have changed radically over time and have alienated a lot of people on all sides. I don’t know if I’d agree with what he wrote earlier or more recently. To me, that is immaterial.

You can read Hoder’s mind  on his blogs, though of course you won’t find anything about his disappearance since he has not been able to maintain his blog.

Go to: and, or search The Guardian (UK) where he has been a frequent contributor.

I will not go into much detail over Hoder’s disappearance here, since I have no first hand information to report (links for news reports are below however), but it is alleged that on or about the 1st of November 2008, immediately upon returning to his home country after several years of exile in Canada, Hoder was arrested and whisked away by the Iranian authorities. And since then, little has been heard from him.

Canada—which should be concerned about the disappearance of one of its citizens—is not; because it has not officially been informed by the Iranian authorities of the arrest. And the current Harper conservative government has made little secret of it’s disdain for artists and culture workers, or its passivity toward the abuse of people of middle-eastern origin by other major foreign powers in the so-called “war on terror”.

There is much being made these festive days of the Canadian soldiers who are risking their lives in Afghanistan on behalf of our way of life, our freedom. In the past month, Canada exceeded 100 of our own dead there.

I would contend that Canada should be concerned any time one of its citizens disappears in a foreign country whether or not the foreign government is alleged to be involved, and regardless of the views  of the individual who has been disappeared. And if that foreign government is one which has, as Iran has, a record or killing Canadians during it’s interrogations,  such as it killed Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi on July 11, 2003, ( then Canada should be doubly concerned, doing everything in it’s power to intercede on our fellow citizen’s behalf. To do anything less is to make a mockery of the commitment and sacrifices being made by our young men and women in Afghanistan.

Now, why would I be concerned? First, and most simply,I am an Canadian citizen. Second, on a Business Week photo assignment a few years ago, I did Hoder’s portrait and spent the best part of a day with him. Something about this fellow—his intense commitment and his fearlessness and the liveliness of his mind—left an indelible impression on me. He was also a keen amateur photographer. Finally, it was Hoder who encouraged me to start a blog, and after our shoot was over, gave me my first lesson on how easy it was. I’m just a little slow getting around to it.

And so this, my first bog entry, is dedicated to Hoder and all those human beings, regardless of race, nationality, religious belief, gender or sexual orientation who risk their lives to exercise free speech.

I will upload a photo or two of Hoder in the next day or so.

Meanwhile you can read more both about Hoder and the reports of his disappearance here:


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