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Pix picks

Our photographers' top photos of 2015

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/12/2015 (604 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In any given year, Winnipeg Free Press photographers take thousands of photographs.

Some reflect the hard news of the day and make it to the front page, while others capture the joy, sadness and challenges of life in Manitoba.

Then there are those that resonate with the photographers long after the click of the shutter.

Free Press staff photographers share the stories behind their choices for photos of the year.

Boris Minkevich

Stanley Cup fever swept through Portage and Main NHL Stanley Cup after the Winnipeg Jets clinched their first playoff birth since rejoining the league. I was sent to some local sports bars downtown to get fans watching the games on TV.

As soon as they were declared a playoff team the bars spilled into the streets and the police shut down the famous intersection to accommodate celebrations. The crowds kept on coming.

Everyone was partying and singing and dancing. It was the most Winnipeg energy I’ve seen in years.

I captured this image of people bodysurfing the crowd. Although copious amounts of beer was chugged at the spontaneous gathering, not one fight broke out, not one person was arrested, and not one piece of litter was left behind. Very Winnipeg-like…

View a gallery of Boris Minkevich's top photos.

Jets fans celebrate making the playoffs at Portage and Main. (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press)

Jets fans celebrate making the playoffs at Portage and Main. (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press)

Joe Bryksa

In September, I was given an assignment to head down to Colvin Davis’ farm near Broomhill, a ghost town in southwest Manitoba. It was for a story by Free Press writer Bill Redekop on the legendary Broomhill Bird Dog Trails.

One early morning, Alabama native Davis took us out on his land that he used to train English pointers for nearly a half century. He travelled on horseback while his dog Cooper, demonstrating his tracking skills, buzzed back and forth through the grass looking for game birds.

The fog was thick and it was almost impossible to see anything. Then, in a magical 20-minute window, the fog dissipated near Davis and Cooper.

It was an amazing opportunity to create a wonderful photograph. The picture has remained on my computer desktop since. I love the light, love that subject, and loved the history.

View a gallery of Joe Bryksa’s top photos.

Colvin Davis' English pointer bird dog Cooper works the foggy fields at the Broomhill, Man., farm, home of the Broomhill bird dog field trials. (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press)

Colvin Davis' English pointer bird dog Cooper works the foggy fields at the Broomhill, Man., farm, home of the Broomhill bird dog field trials. (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press)

Phil Hossack

Four-year-old Cian Anaka draws on the family-room window with his markers while reporter Mary Agnes Welch and I interviewed his family as part of a package of stories on child care in Manitoba.

Cian has several disabilities and is extremely active, up to the point where he had to be removed from his daycare, which was difficult to find for his family.

Cian’s energy and hyperactivity was both exhausting and inspiring.

I stepped outside to photograph his doodling on the picture window with special washable markers his family supplies him as the window and walls are often his favourite canvas.

This image seemed to be a perfect portrait of his hyperactive energy creatively focused on the epicenter of his world… totally in his moment.

View a gallery of Phil Hossack’s top photos.

Cian Anaka, 4, draws on the family room window with markers.  (Phil Hossack / Winipeg Free Press)

Cian Anaka, 4, draws on the family room window with markers. (Phil Hossack / Winipeg Free Press)

Mike Deal

Some of my most memorable moments this year centred around the production of The Rivers series, which ran in October.

One assignment for the series was to gather video of the group Brigade de la Rivière Rouge, which dresses in period costumes and sings voyageur songs.

I was perched on the front end of the large canoe, which, thankfully, was fairly stable. It was quite the rush sitting on the edge of the canoe while they were rowing and singing.

View a gallery of Mike Deal’s top photos.

Members of the Brigade de La Riviere Rouge, a group that dresses in period costumes to paddle special 10-person canoes similar to what would have been used on the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. Dean Arrigo is seen at the front of the canoe. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

Members of the Brigade de La Riviere Rouge, a group that dresses in period costumes to paddle special 10-person canoes similar to what would have been used on the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. Dean Arrigo is seen at the front of the canoe. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

Mikaela MacKenzie

This is Rozalynde and, yes, her personality is as whimsical as the spelling of her name. I met her when I was shooting a video for a story on the uncertain fate of her impressive doll collection.

We visited her home — reporter Alexandra Paul, photographer Ruth Bonneville and I, the three of us feeling like a small army when only two could fit in the living room at a time.

The others left, but I had time to stay and get to know her a bit better. This picture caught her in a peaceful moment as she was making coffee for us. It was one of those rare times in life when you see who another person truly is, and I tried to capture that essence of her.

It's not a once-in-a–lifetime moment, a spectacularly lit portrait, or even a particularly special event, but it's real. It's life.

The best pictures catch just a glimpse of who that person is, and I hope to have peeked behind that mask while taking this one.

View a gallery of Mikaela MacKenzie’s top photos.

Doll Collector Rozalynde McKibbin makes a cup of coffee in her home in Winnipeg.  (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Doll Collector Rozalynde McKibbin makes a cup of coffee in her home in Winnipeg. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

Wayne Glowacki

This photo stands out for me because of how content a person can be in what seems like such a stark setting.

While in the Selkirk area for another story, I was surprised to see several dozen fishermen already out on the ice despite the mild fall temperatures. As I stood on the bank of the Red River, I saw an arm wave me over. I eased my way onto the ice and toward to the two men fishing.

"It doesn't get any better than this! It's what life's all about," said Stu Gordon as I took his picture, even before he had caught a fish.

We swapped a few fishing stories, and I was even offered a fishing rod. Sadly, I had to decline and get back to Winnipeg, but I did land this favourite photo.

View a gallery of Wayne Glowacki’s top photos.

"It doesn't get any better than this, it is what life's all about" says Stu Gordon, retired from the military, practising the fine art of angling with good weather and good company out on the Red River just north of Sellkirk, Man. (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

"It doesn't get any better than this, it is what life's all about" says Stu Gordon, retired from the military, practising the fine art of angling with good weather and good company out on the Red River just north of Sellkirk, Man. (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press)

Ruth Bonneville

Tina Fontaine's great-aunt, Thelma Favel, held back tears as she wrapped herself in a blanket and embraced a photo of Tina in her home in Sagkeeng First Nation in December.

Favel could now rest after hearing hours earlier the news Tina’s suspected killer had been arrested.

The discovery of 15-year-old Tina's body in the Red River in August 2014 galvanized the call for a national inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women.

After photographing this family and their journey from the day they laid Tina to rest until now, I, too, felt a calm.

View a gallery of Ruth Bonneville’s top photos.

Tina Fontaine's Great Aunt, Thelma Favel holds back tears as she wraps herself in a blanket and hugs a photo of Tina next to a window in her home in Sagkeeng First Nation on Dec. 11.  Next to her is a wall of photos of Tina with family members as well as a painting of Tina sent to her by a stranger. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

Tina Fontaine's Great Aunt, Thelma Favel holds back tears as she wraps herself in a blanket and hugs a photo of Tina next to a window in her home in Sagkeeng First Nation on Dec. 11. Next to her is a wall of photos of Tina with family members as well as a painting of Tina sent to her by a stranger. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

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