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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Beyond the Helmet

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Author: Valerie Ceppi (Valerie Photography Inc., 2010)

Valerie Ceppi is a passionate and dedicated Vancouver-based photographer who recently launched a book called ‘Beyond the Helmet.’  This photo-book focuses on firefighters in Vancouver and highlights the remarkable respect Valerie carries for the men and women who are involved in this profession.

Her creativity and desire to strengthen public knowledge of the sacrifices and commitment firefighters make towards their communities is reflected in the striking black and white photos throughout her book.  Each picture depicts the daily realities of a firefighter’s experience, while portraying an objectivity and perceptiveness that allows the viewer to fully understand the juxtaposition of toughness and tenderness that is so unique to the profession of firefighting.

Ceppi’s keen eye and mastery of the analogue camera delivers an intriguing pictorial engaging the observer to participate in daily activities while encouraging an emotional response.  The strong attention to light and shadow gives each photo a poignant expression of compassion and strength, reflecting Ceppi’s emotional connection to the subjects.

What appear to be everyday nonchalant activities are in Ceppi’s eyes, an act of community and determination.  Firefighters have never been sexier, but have also never been so human; ‘Beyond the Helmet’ characterizes the power needed to battle one of nature’s strongest elements with the very human conditions of compassion and caring.

Like the firefighters within, ‘Beyond the Helmet’ serves a greater good. As a demonstration of her respect and commitment to local firefighters, proceeds from the purchase of the book will be going to the British Columbia Professional Firefighters’ Burn Fund.

As such, Ceppi is hoping that all of us – the community members served by these wonderful firefighters – can help their cause. 


Beyond the Helmet can be purchased through Valerie Ceppi’s website.




One comment

  1. we live in nyc, but frequent this blog regularly.  i lived through 9-11 and with the 10th universality coming up, the cover of this book alone almost brought tears to my eyes.  sounds like a great read.