Category Archives: photographers

Alice Esposito reminds us it’s never too late to change your mark on the world

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Poster for Alice Esposito’s work with Vincenzo Castella

In today’s day in age, it is nearly impossible to envision a world without photography. Picture yourself walking down the street toward the supermarket, only imagine a lack of billboards, advertisements in store windows, and posters on the walls. What would magazines look like? Or film and CD covers? How would we capture perfect moments in time? Photography is a universal language, spoken and understood by people from all different walks of life. It speaks to our eyes, but more deeply, to our souls. It is an undying profession and as technology advances, we are increasingly able to see the world through millions of different lenses. It is an exciting time to be a photographer and for artists like Alice Esposito, it only heightens a passion that has been embedded within her from the time she was a child. For Esposito, photography is both a skill and a hobby, but above all else, it is a job that she has enjoyed building into a career.

“For the kind of photography that I do, it is essential for me to travel, to meet new people, and to learn new cultures. It is something that I truly love to do and the way photography connects me with people all over the world is something rare and beautiful. The potential to tell stories in countless different ways is magical,” tells Esposito.

Esposito has differentiated herself from her competition by more than just sheer talent. She has developed a way to combine her photography skillset with her interest in filmmaking in such a way that gives her a unique edge and understanding of her industry. Her filmmaking skills have earned her several prestigious jobs across the world. For instance, Esposito worked as a photographer and videographer from 2009 to 2011 in Italy and was tasked with filming for multiple different events, conferences and Exhibit Shows. Later on in 2011, she landed herself a job as Vincenzo Castella’s photographer and personal assistant, where she experimented with different cameras and set ups to bring Castella’s photography to a different level. Whenever she was tasked with one of his projects, Esposito would heavily research the concepts, study any and all appropriate mediums, and determine how best to showcase his visions. She is a trusted talent and has an unprecedented ability to capture the ideas of her clients or employers flawlessly.

In 2011, following a conversation with a colleague, Esposito was inspired to tell her own, original, compelling story to the world via stop motion animation. She was excited about the opportunity to explore stop motion animation, as it was the first time she had worked with it. The video short that she created, called Thend, tells the story of a man who occupies a city but consequently becomes occupied by it. The story presents the idea that human beings often forget that when they invade the earth like a virus, they eventually find that the earth, or in this case, the city, ends up infecting and assailing man. Essentially, the story is a reminder for people everywhere to be mindful of the consequences of destroying the earth out of personal interest. Esposito and her team aimed to remind people to think about the repercussions of their actions and to be careful where they step, what they do, and ultimately, of the legacy they will leave behind.

For Esposito, the joy of creating Thend, in collaboration with Carlotta Roda, was based on the ability to both explore her storytelling abilities, as well as to dive deeper into the art form that she lives and breathes for. She took a lead role on the production, leaving herself in charge of the visual style that was to be achieved, the choice of equipment, the set locations, and more. Her natural affinity for photography and videography allowed her to see the project from a unique angle and to bring it the level of quality that the premise and script demanded. In the end, Esposito could have never anticipated the wide-range success that the short would receive. Upon releasing Thend, it was selected for a special screening event called Cronachedi Fotogradia in Verona. It was subsequently screened on the show VideoSoup at Artist’s Television Access in San Francisco in 2011 and was later shown at SiFest 2014 Urban Space Garden.

“The success of the film came as a surprise at first. It started out as something that was supposed to be a fun way to collaborate with other colleagues. When it became a success, I was honored. I loved seeing the way it was received and knowing that I took a risk in showing something new and different but that it paid off big time. It made people think and I enjoyed answering questions about the process of creating it. It was humbling to hear their thoughts and interpretations as well,” says Esposito.

For Esposito, creating Thend presented a series of unforeseen challenges that she is fortunate to have encountered. Every set back and obstacle allowed her to build and refine her skill set and provided her with a series of opportunities to learn new things about her artistry. The reality of working with stop motion is that it is precise and any minor mistake can create a large impact on the final result. The project required a very diligent, detail oriented artist like Esposito and the final result of Thend was a reminder that all of the hard work, time, and dedication that she put into its final production was more than worth it.

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Alice Esposito and Stella Tinucci on set, photo by Nilangana Banerjee

Today, Esposito continues to use her exceptional skills to show the world how powerful photography and videography truly are. She is currently working on creating her own, independent production company and with that, she has some short films moving their way through the editing process. In addition, alongside Director and Producer, Stella Tinucci, Esposito is collaborating on a television pilot called Surreal Estates. The show has been successfully crowdfunded and Tinucci attributes a large part of this success to Esposito’s prowess as a filmmaker.

“Alice’s efficiency, combined with her warmth, add to her talents and knowledge of her craft. She has a very keen eye and she cares about details. This attention to detail, coupled with her professionalism, make her a pleasure to work with. She is also a strong communicator, which is key in this industry. She will do great things,” concludes Tinucci.

Watch Esposito’s astounding work in Thend here.

Top photo by Claudia Caldara

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Following a Dream: Indian Photographer Akshay Kandi

As adults many of us, at least on occasion, put our passions and dreams on the back burner when it comes to pursuing our professional careers and opt for jobs that appear the most beneficial for our bank account. Luckily though, just because we chose a career at one point in our life it doesn’t mean we have to stick it out forever if it doesn’t make us happy. For many people this change can be an intimidating decision, but many have done it and most will tell you that while it took a leap of faith, the reward was worth it. One courageous individual who chose to leave his former career behind and pursue a path fueled by his passion is Indian photographer Akshay Kandi.

“I have a bachelors in computer science,” explained Akshay. “But later when my brother brought me a camera I started clicking. It was a hobby, but it became serious in my life and I take it seriously as my profession.”

Once Akshay made the definitive choice six years ago to divert his path away from computer science and devote himself fully to his work as a photographer, doors began to open and international success quickly followed. In the early stages of his career Akshay apprenticed for well-known Indian photographers such as Badri Narayan and Bharat Bhirangi, which helped him hone his craft, and later served as the lead photographer for Kamal Kiran Photography.

As Akshay’s personal body of work as a photographer grew audiences and magazines quickly began taking note and in 2012 one of his stunning images was included in Better Photography Magazine, which is not only one of the leading photography magazines in all of South Asia, but it is the No. 1 photography magazine in India. A huge accomplishment for Akshay at the time, having one of his images featured in the industry’s leading magazine definitely helped showcase his talent to future clients and the public at large.

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Photo by Akshay Kandi featured in Better Photography Magazine

From shooting collections for renowned Indian fashion designer Archana Rao, who is frequently featured in Vogue and won the prestigious Vogue India Fashion Fund Award, to product shots for Cleanse High, one of India’s leading juice detox programs, Akshay has since been tapped by an impressive range of high profile clientele to capture the images that sell their products.

“It feels exciting and I’m so happy,” said Akshay. “I don’t want to say that I’m lucky but I will say one thing that this has shown me is hard work pays off.”

Considering that a quick glance at an image holds the power to generate interest in a brand to a potential customer, the competition between the photographers a brand chooses to shoot their product is high; and the fact that so many have selected Akshay to capture their products says a lot about his talent and the aesthetic appeal of the images he creates.

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Frau Frau Clothing by Archana Rao shot by Akshay Kandi

In 2015 Akshay shot a series of images for Archana Rao’s label Frou Frou, which were used to market the label to the public, meaning Akshay’s shots made it into several magazines, in addition to being featured on the brand’s social media outlets. Akshay’s shots brilliantly captured the modern, upscale personality of the brand while drawing attention to the feminine essence of the collection in a way that appealed to the taste of Frau Frau shoppers. His expertise in lighting was an integral asset for this shoot in particular, especially when it came to capturing the clean, white glow of the clothing, such as the blouse featured above.  

His unique way of setting the stage in order to make the products he shoots stand out to viewers has been a huge draw for many of the companies that have continued to hire him over the years– something that can easily be seen in the images he created for Cleanse High, which were featured in WOW! Hyderabad Magazine.

Photographer Akshay Kandi
Cleanse High juice shit by Akshay Kandi

Photographer Akshay Kandi
Some of the other major clients Akshay has shot for over the years include luxury leather shoe brand VAPH, Vellanki Foods, an Indian food company that has stores across the U.S. and India, and most recently A.K.A designs, which designs helmets for the U.S. Navy, and many more.

Aside from his exceptional creativity behind the lens and seasoned skill when it comes to setting up each shot in a way that accentuates the subject, one of Akshay’s unique strengths is his versatility. His ability to tune into the vibe of the client, whether it be a clothing brand or food manufacturer, and represent that in his images have made him a strong force in the industry. This was incredibly important for his shoot for the U.S. Navy helmets designed by A.K.A Designs, for which Akshay travelled out of the studio and into the elements in order to find the perfect location to showcase the product.

Photographer Akshay Kandi
Images for A.K.A Designs shot by Akshay Kandi

“I wanted to show a rugged look in the pictures, because these products will be used by Navy officers. We needed to have a realistic look in the pictures, so we went uphill where there were rocks and the ground was full of sand,” explained Akshay. “And after the hard work we got some amazing pictures.”

In addition to being sought after to photograph products for brands across the globe, Akshay has also tapped into the world of on-set photography, making a name for himself with his work shooting promotional and BTS photos on the set of films such as Manikandan Mathivanan dramatic film “Fated” and Alessandra Romano’s “HER- Levels of Love.”

As with any creative career, since he first began Akshay Kandi’s photography has evolved in a myriad of ways, especially in terms of inspiration and the subjects he chooses to focus on.

“Now a days I’m concentrating on portraits and fashion, I’m trying to come out of my comfort zone and take up new challenges,” said Akshay. “I keep traveling to different places and looking at different people and trying to feel the emotions on their face. It gets more interesting clicking their portraits and trying to create some kind of story. Sometimes I feel very shy to go and click their portraits but I push myself to get that one amazing portrait, because once you lose it it never comes back.”

Photographer Akshay Kandi
“Allegory” by Akshay Kandi

 

Award-winning photographer Jennifer Roberts is one to watch

When Jennifer Roberts was just a child, she was always taking photos on her mother’s camera. She loved looking at them. Whenever she would go on a trip, she would take that camera and capture everything she saw. At the time, photography was just a hobby, but as years passed she realized she could turn what she loved into a career.

Roberts is now an internationally sought-after photographer, with an esteemed resume that has earned her the reputation as one of Canada’s best. She has shot for the world-renowned Wall Street Journal, and The Globe and Mail, one of Canada’s largest newspapers, as well as magazines like Canadian Business and Moneysense. She is an award-winning photographer, and her shots for Getty last year featuring Academy Award winning actress Michelle Williams received won a 2017 Applied Arts Annual for Best Portrait, and was nominated for a Communication Arts Award.

“I would say my style is very natural looking but also has a nice polished edge. I like using light in a natural looking way and always try to make sure any artificial light doesn’t look too source-y. Depending on who I’m photographing I’ll decide how much direction to give. I find that when shooting actors and actresses, they don’t need much direction. They’ll know their best angles and be able to provide a lot of interesting poses. If there is a specific angle for the story or tone then I’m happy to provide a little direction. If someone isn’t familiar with being in front of the camera then I’m happy to give some direction so they’ll feel more comfortable,” Roberts described.

Recently, Roberts has shot features for Canada’s largest and leading news magazine Maclean’s, founded in 1905. The magazine has published the work of Canada’s top photographers and photojournalists, including Roberts.

“It was a career goal of mine to be a contributor to the magazine. Working on Maclean’s stories are always really interesting. The topics are very timely and relevant. The art department leaves the photographer with lots of room to be creative and they like the photographer to provide lots of options. It’s also great to know that the end product will be seen around the country,” she said.

Shooting for Maclean’s, Roberts has done very high-profile projects, often being commissioned to shoot subjects with sensitive subject matter. One of these pieces was shooting a critical piece about Dr. Darryl Gebien, titled “How fentanyl turned an ER doctor into an addict.” Dr. Gebien was a former drug addict, also being charged with illegally prescribing fentanyl. Roberts did a portrait shoot with him in his home and she had to be extremely gentle with him as he was really worried about being photographed. In the end, Roberts had captured a beautiful series of photos of Dr. Gerbien that really spoke to his personal struggles.

She also photographed internationally renowned artist Ed Burtynsky, for a profile on his career as an artist. When shooting the Ed Burtynsky, she was on a super tight timeline and small window of opportunity with Burtynsky, but she was able to photograph beautiful studio portraits that really captured the mood and tone of the story.

Another feature included shooting Kristine Johnston and her husband Jimmie Johnston for a piece on Alzheimer’s and Assisted Suicide in Canada. Roberts says she had to be very delicate and gentle in such a sensitive situation. Jimmie Johnston was suffering from Alzheimer’s and was seeking the right for assisted suicide.

Later, she a story following NDP Leadership Candidate, MPP Jagmeet Singh. This was no easy documentary piece, as she had to photograph him while he went about his day in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. She also shot a portrait of Giller Prize and Governor General Literacy Award Nominee Gary Barwin, and worked as a freelance photo editor at Maclean’s Magazine 4.

“As a photo editor and producer, I’ve hired Jennifer countless times over the past five years for photography assignments in Maclean’s, Canadian Business, MoneySense and Tourism Toronto. She continually delivers the best quality of work and exceeds my expectations with every assignment, whether shooting portraits, food or reportage. I have found her to be versatile in her photographic ability, resourceful in difficult situations that may present itself on a shoot, highly creative in her approach, and always reliable. I can say with confidence that she is a well-respected and established photographer in the industry and among her peers,” said Kayla Chobotuik, a Canadian Business Editor.

What was, however, the most influential of Robert’s work for Maclean’s was her feature for the social movement Black Lives Matter. The shoot from demonstration won international Applied Arts Award for Best Documentary photo and was a nominee for an international Communication Arts Award. It demonstrates great documentary ability as Roberts was originally commissioned to shoot a Pride Parade, but when the protest broke out, she was able to capture award winning photos of the event.

“When I won the Applied Arts Award for the Black Lives Matter photo I was really excited that more attention would be given to the issue. By winning that award and being nominated for a Communication Arts award I knew even more people would have the opportunity to see an image from their demonstration. I was also really proud that the photo was being recognized as award worthy,” said Roberts.

With such innate talent, there is little doubt as to why Roberts receives the accolades she does. She is definitely one to watch for.

Artist HuiMeng Wang shares vulnerability and understanding of the world with worldwide audiences

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Visual artist HuiMeng Wang

Born and raised in Inner Mongolia of China, HuiMeng Wang always had a passion for art. Her mother always had a deep appreciation in literature and the Chinese Opera. Growing up, she read nothing but fictions, and would always fantasize about bringing the narratives to reality, in one way or another. Despite this passion from an early age, Wang did not initially feel she was ready to explore being an artist. That patience is what sets her apart from so many. She studied science and engineering, travelled the world, experienced other cultures and immersed herself in life. It was during her travels that she realized she was ready to be an artist.

“I felt I had enough things to talk about and I felt this strong desire to talk about them. A diverse educational and cultural background has made me immensely conscious about the changes and formation of personal identities, during a socio- geographical, professional and/or cultural transition,” said Wang.

During her travels, Wang conducted a 4000-mile road trip in Tibet, photographing its landscape. She created a collection of the photographs, titled The Isolation Book, and it is one of her most remarkable pieces. On a plateau in the northeastern Himalaya, at an average elevation of 16,000 feet, Tibet enjoys great natural remoteness. Its extraordinary physical isolation is also reinforced by political complexity, Wang says. She drove through out the vastness of Tibet week after week, as an observer, as well as a bearer of the great isolation and loneliness.

“People’s state of mind can heavily change the visual perception of a landscape or cityscape. And in that sense, The Isolation Book is a metaphor of my personal struggles through isolation. When one is in isolation, or sometimes self-seclusion, the eagerness of engaging with the outside world always comes hand in hand with the resistance. Such conflict creates great intangible tension, which overrides the reality sometimes, and urgently needs to be described in a form of emotional resonance,” Wang described.

Wang’s initial interest in the project was to truly understand isolation. From the time she was a child, she always has felt more comfortable by herself than when surrounded by others, so she wanted to understand what it was to be truly alone.

“I wished I could understand the nature of isolation better, how it exerts influence and disguises itself. And that is why I picked up a camera initially,” said Wang.

Wang’s photography is extremely impactful for all those who see it. It is perfectly framed, shot, and edited, and with The Isolation Book, each picture is its own essay, worth far more than the usual “1000 words” mantra.

“HuiMeng is a natural photographer capable of composing visual poetry from any scene. Her intellect is stunning. her insight is incisive and her sensitivity is sublime. she is complex and profoundly complex. She is a dream to work with,” said Lonnie Graham, who has worked alongside Wang on various photography projects. “Her uncanny ability to understand a situation and interpret it makes her outstanding. This is what she does with her image making, so that as an installation artist her concepts become dimensional.”

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HuiMeng Wang in Fire Green as Grass

Many around the world know Wang for her outstanding artistic abilities. They know her celebrated work, and the exceptional understanding she possesses of her craft. She is more than just an artist, she is a creator and a storyteller. Just last year, she dined by herself on a suspended table for one hour. While trying to cut and eat a 16oz steak, she had to carefully maintain the balance of the table, and put out the fire which the flowers constantly caught from the candles. Titled Fire Green as Grass, the piece interprets the mental state of an immigrant, displaced and isolated often, for whom conducting daily activities becomes a struggle in itself.

“The title came from Dylan Thomas’s poem Fern Hill. I lived in a place that’s also called Fern Hill in New Zealand for a while. It was the most surreal and beautiful place, but I was also incredibly alone,” said Wang.

Wang normally acts more as a director in her pieces than performer. However she felt the need to perform herself for this piece to truly convey the message.

“I thought I’d be embarrassed to perform in front of the audience. But when I did, even though there were a lot of people watching and the flowers were constantly on fire, I felt peaceful. I also felt like I was saying the things I wanted to say,” Wang described.

Wang’s vulnerability in Fire Green as Grass captivated audiences and critics alike. A fellow artist and friend, Jeremy Morgan, says that Wang has an ability to do this with every project she takes on, whether it be a video, photograph, or exhibition.

“Our conversations have always been a meaningful, creative journey, metaphysically moving from one space to another. HuiMeng has a luminous mind, and is self- possessed but without arrogance. Her generosity and original spirit permeate all of her interactions with people around her. In her performance and filmic work, she displays a poetic, philosophic and socio-political sensibility that is noteworthy wherein beauty, elegance and poignancy are perfectly balanced with precision, focused with intelligence and humanity. She is in every sense a creative being, an artist who is both unique and a powerful presence,” said Morgan.

With such a commitment to her craft and respect around the world for what she does, it is obvious to all that sees her work as to why Wang is considered one of China’s best recent visual artists. Not many can achieve what she has, and she still has so much left still to show the world. However, she does have advice for those looking to follow in her footsteps.

“It sounds silly, but my advice is make absolutely sure that you really want to be an artist before you commit. You don’t want to be an artist because of flexible schedules or some certain lifestyle or things like that. You want to be an artist because you cannot imagine yourself doing anything else. You want art to be the center of your life,” she said. “Also, some wise man said: make work, faster. That is my second piece of advice. Always make work, don’t pause for too long.”

Fashion Photographer In Focus: Irem Harnak

Some photographers have the rare ability to flawlessly capture a scene through the lens of their camera and create images that are nearly impossible to forget. And Turkish born fashion photographer Irem Harnak, who is known for her work as the photographer behind campaigns for Birdy & Grace, Titika, Joeffer Caoc, Zubaida Zang and Albert Yuen, is one of them.

While Harnak has become one of Canada’s leading fashion photographers since moving there over 13 years ago, she didn’t begin her photography career until she moved to London to study multimedia during college. There she says she was “inspired by the city, it’s rhythm, speed, architecture as well as various cultures…”

Harnak earned quite a bit of international attention in 2010 when she was selected as the Merit Winner of PDN’s international fashion photography competition, “The Look.” For the competition, which focuses on fashion and beauty imagery, Harnak captured her male subjects in a striking black and white photos series that tells a story of classic mod glamour.

“The photos are of male models getting ready at a fashion show backstage. It is a cinematic capture of the anticipation, stress and boredom of people at a hectic environment of a fashion show,” explains Harnak.

Over the years the cream of the crop of magazine publications, such as Marie Claire China, Superior Magazine, Flare, Fashion, Fantastics, 1968, Pause, FAB, Fiasco, The Fashionisto, PRESS the Fashion magazine and many more have all featured Harnak’s captivating work.

Whether she shooting high fashion editorials or attention grabbing street-style photographs, Harnak knows exactly how to set the scene and pose her subject in order to create captivating imagery. Her versatility behind the camera is immediately evident when comparing the slew of striking editorials she has shot for the popular Canadian magazine, PRESS The Fashion magazine, over the last few years.

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Katya R. shot by Irem Harnak

In a 2013 editorial for the magazine, Harnak captured Elite Model Katya R. with a visual flavor that screams dark, vintage androgyny. What’s unique about the photos is the way Harnak manages to keep Moore’s feminine side intact, even in the midst of the highly contrasted images and the model’s wardrobe of suits.

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Carly Moore shot by Irem Harnak

In 2013 Harnak had another editorial included in PRESS the Fashion magazine, this time depicting model Carly Moore, who’s been featured in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar on several occasions and has walked the runway for the world’s top designers including Gucci, Calvin Klein and John Galliano. Dressed in high-end Chanel and Dior pieces, Harnak captures Moore looking fresh, edgy and fierce in a black and white spread that undoubtedly caught the attention of PRESS’ readers.

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Eunique shot by Irem Harnak

Her shots of Eunique from Emer Olsen Models for the ‘Summer Flux’ editorial featured in PRESS The Fashion’s Summer 2015 issue are both fierce and fun. Through her use of a popping tangerine background in the shots of Eunique, who wears a dark hoodie by Silence + Noise and hip sliders by Opening Ceremony, Harnak created the perfect juxtaposition of fun summer vibrance with sporty chic sensibility.

“On each story I came up with the mood and did the casting to find the perfect girl that would fit the concept. For that reason it was really liberating and fun,” says Harnak about the editorials she shot for PRESS The Fashion magazine.  

In addition to being the photographer behind numerous high-profile campaigns, Harnak works regularly with leading Toronto modeling agencies such as Elite, Sutherland, Elmer Olsen, Spot6, Ciotti, B&M and Lang for editorial and commercial work– something that has provided her with the perfect pool of diverse talents when casting for shoots.

While the striking editorials Harnak has shot for countless publications over the years have brought her to the forefront of the fashion photography industry, it’s her versatility as a photographer that has made her such a successful and sought after artist. As the photographer behind famous women’s golf apparel company Birdy & Grace’s spring 2014 campaign, Harnak proved her ability to capture commercial print photographs just as easily as she does high fashion. Her shots of Golf Channel’s spokesperson Win McMurry for the Birdy & Grace are stunning and right on point with the classy, upscale Birdy & Grace brand.

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Win McMurry for Birdy & Grace shot by Irem Harnak

Over the past decade Irem Harnak has become one of the hottest fashion photographers in the industry today, however her skills are by no means limited to shooting fashion projects alone.

Harnak says “being able to capture a cinematic moment” is what drew her to photography in the first place. With that in mind, it’s not at all surprising that with her skill and creativity she has also been chosen to work as the director of photography on several film projects over the years.

To get a look at her work cinematic work in motion, make sure to check out the feature film “Personal Space,” a beautifully shot romantic drama starring Mark DeNicola from the series “Omega” and James McDougall from the award-winning film “SOS: Save Our Skins” and “ABCs of Death 2.”

From the Screen to Magazines Andreas Holm-Hansen is Red Hot

Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark international actor and model Andreas Holm-Hansen was born with perfect bone structure, fiery red hair and a freckled and fit physique that effortlessly turns heads.

Over the last few years redheaded models with a healthy dose of freckles have gotten a major boost in the eyes of the public thanks to the work of leading photographers like Michelle Marshall, Maja Topcagic and her 2015 photo series “Freckled,” and Keith Barraclough’s “The Redhead Project,” but the list would not be complete without mentioning the innovative work of Thomas Knights.

In 2014 Knights released the Red Hot 100 book, a photo series that has been called ‘the ultimate bible for hot ginger men,’ and with his good looks and natural red hair it’s not at all surprising that Andreas Holm-Hansen made the cut, which makes him one of ‘the 100 sexiest Red Hot Guys in the World.’

Knights and Holm-Hansen clearly had a successful collaboration as the photographer called him back to shoot his newest exhibition and book “Red Hot II” earlier this year. Not only is Holm-Hansen featured throughout the book, but he also nabbed the cover shot for the “Red Hot II,” which was released in October. You can also check out Holm-Hansen in the highly seductive video that was made to promote the book, which reveals him in all is red headed freckled glory. Anyone who watches the video would find it difficult to say that Holm-Hansen is anything but on fire.

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Andreas Holm-Hansen on the cover of Red Hot II by Thomas Knights

 

In 2012 Holm-Hansen also landed a featured role in the music video for three-time Grammy Award winning artist P!nk’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” which has been astonishingly well-received by fans earning more than 72 million views on YouTube.

As a model Holm-Hansen’s international appeal has been a driving force in his success. Earlier this year he landed a massive campaign for Väla Centrum in Helsingborg, Sweden; if the local Swedes didn’t know him before, they definitely know him now, considering his face is plastered to the outer walls of the popular shopping center, and he is featured on the cover of the center’s Winter issue of Väla Magazine.

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Andreas Holm-Hansen on a billboard at Väla Centrum

From massive billboards to a lengthy list of high-profile commercials, Holm-Hansen’s captivating aesthetic appeal has made him a go-to talent among advertisers across the world. Audiences across Europe will immediately recognize him for his featured roles in popular commercials for brands and organizations such as Miracle Whip, Telmore Play, Eovendo, Synoptik, Danske Bank, Norwegian Airlines, Komplett, The Zulu Comedy Festival and others.

In addition to being featured in a number of magazines such as Tantalum Magazine, Visionarios Magazine, Elléments Magazine and PAF Magazine, he’s also been the face of a number of massive print campaigns including B&O’s H6 Limited Edition, Phoamy, Arbejdernes Landsbank, DSB and Sundhedsstyrelsen’s Stop for 5.

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While his unique look has definitely put him in the spotlight, Andreas Holm-Hansen has a whole lot more than a just good-looking face going for him. Through a series of lead acting roles in productions such as Benjamin Murray’s crime mystery “The Hit” and “Don’t Bring Guns to a Knife Fight,” Jose Rico’s “Blood Legacy,” Jesper Holm Pedersen’s “Shit Happens” and David B. Sørensen’s “Bellum,” Holm-Hansen has proven himself to be a diversely talented actor who can bring virtually any character to life. His knock-out performances to date have revealed him as the rare kind of actor who is capable of captivating his audience regardless of the genre.

One performance that really stands out though was when Holm-Hansen took to the screen in the recurring lead role of ‘Mad’ Mads Steen in the satirical series “Dreaming in Mono.” Presented mockumentary style, “Dreaming in Mono” follows the rivalry of two Nordic ski champions, one of which desperately wants to break a record on a monoski and starts his own team of underdog skiers who actually think it’s possible, they are Team Monoski!

We first encounter Holm-Hansen’s character ‘Mad’ Mads Steen trying to fix his broken down car in the middle of blizzard wearing nothing but his underwear, furry hat and boots, making it easy to see how he earned the nickname ‘Mad.’ Unfortunately for Mad his skiing skills have something to be desired, which makes total sense considering his prior ski experience consisted of using his ski poles to thrust himself across the flat grass-covered lands of Denmark. It’s not a stretch to say that Holm-Hansen is one of the leading comedy highlights in the series, as we continually watch his character lose his balance and flail uncontrollably down the slope every time he clicks into his skis and sets down on actual snow.

Mad could easily be considered Team Monoski’s awkward rebel, but his constant boundary pushing ways eventually put him on thin ice with his teammates. In fact, “Dreaming in Mono” dedicates an entire episode to an intervention with Holm-Hansen’s character where the team tries to get the brash Dane to curb his unsportsmanlike ways, which leads Mad to huff and puff and storm his way all the way back to his hotel room; but thankfully for the team he comes around in the end.

 

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Poster from “Dreaming in Mono”

 

Produced by the Swedish production company Happy Fiction and created by the international creative agency Perfect Fools “Dreaming in Mono” was written and directed by multi-award winner Jens Jonsson, who earned the Grand Jury Prize from the prestigious Sundance Film Festival for the film “Ping-pongkingen” in addition to being nominated for two Guldbagge Awards, which are the Sweden’s equivalent of an Academy Award.

The seven episode series was broadcast by four major TV networks in the Nordic countries, with Andreas Holm-Hansen dazzling audiences the whole way through. The series, which was ironically created to promote McDonald’s in the Nordic countries, but rarely,  if ever, mentions  the fast food chain verbally, also stars Bernard Cauchard (“Superhjältejul,” “It’s My Turn Now”) and Alexandra Alegren (“Gåsmamman,” “Madness of Many,” “Olivia Twist”).

With a rather astonishing list of leading roles in film and television projects, and even more high-profile modeling campaigns already under his belt, Andreas Holm-Hansen is one of the few actor/models we can confidently say will be doting his wide-spread talents upon both industries for years to come, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for this talented Dane.

 

Spanish Photographer and Videographer Captures Wedding Memories that last a Lifetime

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Wedding photography from Padilla-Rigau is brought to breathtaking life by Cristina Tomas Rovira.

 

Cristina Tomás Rovira knows she’s done her job when goosebumps are part of the end result. She is a photographer and videographer who specializes in photographing and filming wedding videos for Padilla-Rigau, a celebrated photography company headquartered in Barcelona.

“You are witnessing a very special day and you need to make your clients feel like Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant,” said Rovira, an outstanding photographer who is also recognized for her work in music and fashion. “I always want them to have chills while watching the video. If the couple says they’ve got goosebumps while watching it and they love it, that’s all that matters and I feel proud and happy.”

Rovira oversees all of Padilla-Rigau’s filmmaking and has served in the role since 2010, when the company was formed by Bernat Padilla and Anna Rigau.

“This is the 6th year that we’ve been shooting weddings,” Rigau said. “We’ve evolved and we’ve created the Padilla-Rigau style. Lately, a lot of the couples that hire us tell us that they knew that they would hire us before they were even engaged. That is amazing — they love how our videos and our photos connect. Cristina’s work connects with the people, and given we work with emotions here, she knows how to make people happy.”

Padilla-Rigau’s videos range from three and half to four and a half minutes long and highlight all the intimate happenings at weddings, from the preparation moments just before the ceremony all the way to the bride and groom’s exit following the reception.

It’s a day-long shooting process that captures memories made for life.

Rovira, who has also collaborated with famed music photographer Joseph Llanes (Rolling Stone, Billboard, Spin and many more), said, “By the end of the day, all the guests and the couple are so used to us being there that they give us the best reactions. We are like four more friends who brought a camera and are capturing everything nonstop.”

The videos unfold as short romantic films shot in HD and set to music. They evolve from season to season and are altogether emotion-stirring, beautifully crafted, stylized and artistic.

The required ability of a photographer and videographer in the case of weddings extends beyond technical camera aptitude. There’s a need to develop rapport, to blend into the environment naturally and to shoot with delicate sensitivity. Rovira’s talent resonates deeply in this regard and lends itself to exceptional photography and filmmaking.

“I like people, I like emotions and I like to capture those emotions,” she said. “I treat every wedding as it was my own or one of my friends or family members, and I think to myself what I would want to see as a bride, as a friend and as a family member. After so many years shooting weddings, you kind of film instinctively.”

Rigau notices the same sentiment featured in Rovira’s work and said, “She’s been doing this for a long time now and she is great with emotion and her way to capture those emotions is beautiful. I think she sees weddings through her lenses, thinking she is filming a romance comedy movie. And it’s amazing. The other day, we were talking about how the four of us can sense when is going to be a high five, or a kiss, or a hug before it happens. She knows that she is filming one of the most important days of someone’s lives, and she treats that day the same way the bride and groom do.”

It’s a team-oriented approach that’s propelled Padilla-Rigau to the pinnacle of wedding photography.

“What makes Padilla-Rigau special and step out from the rest is that we are a team of two photographers and two videographers,” said Rovira, adding that Ferran Clotet rounds out the team. “We work together and synchronize. Like playing any kind of sport, sometimes you throw the ball without looking — you know your team is going to catch it because you’ve know each other really well. That’s our thing.”

The strategy and collaboration has certainly been working. While wedding season traditionally ran from mid April to September, Rovira noted how the schedule has expanded to a nearly year-round basis. Padilla-Rigau has booked more than 65 weddings in the last two seasons, Rovira said.

With a bevy wedding photographers shoring up the industry, Padilla-Rigau has risen to such outstanding heights in large part due to its dynamic video productions spearheaded by Rovira. It was a creative decision to trim down and succinctly portray the essence of weddings in a way that would bode well for sharing on social media.

“We were one of the first companies in Barcelona to do these highlight reel videos,” Rovira said. “When we started, Facebook was only like four years old and in Spain it got really popular around 2007. We decided to focus on that. People wanted to share their life and fast. So we wanted to step out of the old fashioned wedding videos that lasted forever and that families were forced to watch.”

An important component inserted in the videos during editing and post-production is the accompanying music selections that help set the tone and ambiance. A few clients may request specific songs, but most entrust Padilla-Rigau for musical selections.

“I think they like to be surprised by it and I love music, so finding the perfect song for the perfect moment is what makes me love my job even more,” said Rovira.

And the most rewarding part?

“It feels awesome to hear back from the couples who tell me that they felt all kinds of feelings watching the video and they felt like they were living again that day. I’ve cried reading most of their emails or feedback,” said Rovira. “When you hear from them and what they say is good, you feel such relief and happiness. As in any other job or in your personal life, you feel over the moon when you make someone else happy.”

Padilla-Rigau also shoots for events and fashion. In these areas, Rovira has photographed for a Friday’s Project branded campaign, for Shana Shops and for the Oysho free yoga Barcelona, Barcelona Night Out, Hard Rock Cafe Barcelona and luxury hotel events, among others.

“In fashion, we’ve noticed that our clients love Cristina’s work because she listens to them,” Rigau said. “She makes their ideas and thoughts real. She puts the same effort as she does at weddings to show emotions, even in fashion. She wants to make the people feel something while watching the video. She is fast, and a lot of times, she makes a great video when at first hand it could seem impossible.”

For more on Padilla-Rigau, visit: www.padilla-rigau.com

Watch their wedding videos on Vimeo:

https://vimeo.com/padillarigau

For the latest and greatest from Cristina Tomás Rovira, visit: www.cristinatomas.com