Ironman Colin Hackett for LEAP Magazine (Alberta Cancer Foundation)

Thomas & I have had the pleasure of working in the past on some great projects with Venture Publishing, and in particular, their publication LEAP Magazine, which is done for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.


The two shoots which appeared in the Spring issue of LEAP were no exception, in fact, I think they might be the most meaningful time we’ve spent photographing in our careers thus far. Today we’re sharing the story of Colin Hackett and later this week we’ll post about Lisa Bailey, a Registered Nurse working in Palliative Care in Red Deer.




Like Thomas said when we first shared this cover on Instagram – “The reason we do photography is to meet amazing people and learn from their experiences. In the brief meeting with Colin he showed us what living life to the fullest looks like.”


See, Colin is a 7-time Ironman athlete, Father of 4 and loving husband, and all-around hilarious guy to hang out with. Along with all that, Colin is coping with having stage 4 colon cancer, but the way he’s handling it has changed how I view illness and life. Still training for his next Ironman, Colin’s way of discussing cancer and his situation with humour, gratitude, and without tiptoe-ing around the truth opened my eyes. Cancer is not a dirty word that shouldn’t be uttered. Cancer does not get to have all the power.


Read more about Colin and his journey on his blog here: ( or and in the article for LEAP here: (


more tearsheets.

Above is an outtake version for the cover shot.


Unlike the shot that was used for the cover, which was photographed with the camera above the water, we photographed this using a very high-tech specialized technique known as “putting an aquarium in the pool and shooting through the glass”.


It’s very complicated and I won’t get into it, but there’s a behind-the-scenes shot below.

Since then we’ve actually upgraded our underwater housing to the DiCaPac to work with our Fuji camera, but more on that when Thomas returns from Oahu

Colin kindly shared with us the story behind his tattoo.


When running in Ironman Los Cabos, the crowd around the race was chanting “Animal! Animal!” as the runners went by. Or so Colin thought, as he said to himself  “f#$% yeah, I’m an animal!” It’s what kept him going in that race.


Later he would find out that they were saying animo, which means keep going and he still uses that mantra all the time.

In classic Colin fashion, that story represents his unique mixture of humour and heart.


Below is an outtake from that same setup.

We’d like to again thank Venture Publishing (specifically Charles, who is an awesome art director!) for this great opportunity, and Colin for being an absolute champ and doing all the random things we asked him to do, and for also just being a great person and having an impact on us!


We hope you enjoyed the photos and the story. Please feel free to comment below with thoughts or questions. As always, we’ll be listening. See you later this week for Lisa’s story!

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