For Canada’s Hubert Kang, his hobby and his career are the same. Being a professional photographer allows him to do what he is truly passionate about every day. He believes that is the key to driving himself forward, as he never loses interest in his work.
“I like photography as an art form. I also like working with people. Being a professional photographer allows me to work with different projects and different people almost daily. It’s exciting and interesting,” he said.
This attitude has allowed Kang to soar to the forefront of his industry in Canada. His photos have been featured in the Globe and Mail, a leading Canadian newspaper, and his images have helped large brands for campaigns for Fairmont Hotels and Fairmont Royal York, as well as Canadian Tourism.
Kang often shoots advertising campaigns for travel and tourism companies and destinations. He continued this pattern when he created imagery for the last three seasonal campaigns for Metropolis at Metrotown Mall, the largest and most successful mall in the Vancouver Area. His images were used extensively for outdoor billboards, especially in the busiest subway station in Vancouver. They were also used online and in print. The video he directed was used as a spot in cinema as pre-roll advertising before the feature movie.
Traditionally, Metropolis used mostly fashion photography for their campaigns. For their new brand, however, they wanted to take a storytelling approach showing sweet moments in life. Twice Brand therefore reached out to Kang, knowing that he would excel at such a feat. His efforts helped boost customer interaction at the mall.
“I am really proud to see the success of the campaign. Metropolis took a risk to try my photography skills, which is very different from what they usually did in the past. It was great to see that I was able to create these beautiful and effective images to reward the client taking the risk,” he said.
The central theme of the campaign is “life happens here”. Right away in the brainstorming process, Kang and the team at Twice were looking for activities that are photographically compelling and yet at the same time showing enough emotional quality and products so that they could advertise the mall. Kang came up with unique ideas for the Christmas shoot. For example, he shot a group of friends at a dinner party, showcasing all the food, gifts, decorations, cookware, and more that highlighted what could be purchased at the mall. The ad also told a story and evoked an emotional connection that people could resonate with when they looked at it.
“It is very inspiring that I can return to my documentary photography roots and apply it to a commercial project. I was also attracted to the project because of the large print implementation they planned to do with the images. It’s a very photography driven campaign and I was intrigued to lead it,” said Kang.
It was exciting and refreshing for Kang to bring a new photography concept to the largest mall in Vancouver. He and his team elevated the standard of productions for Metropolis. He was a big part of the creative process in coming up with the stories and finding locations. Then when it comes to actually shooting the photos, his approach and thoughtfulness in considering everything from production, art direction, lighting, and model performance led to images that look natural and interesting, and at the same time help Metropolis’ reach out to the targets they want to reach. This is a combination of Kang’s artistic sense and experience in both commercial and documentary photography, exemplifying what a unique skill set he possesses.
“I enjoyed this project for so many reasons, but most of all it was the people I worked with. I have worked with Twice many times throughout my career so there is a lot of trust between us. The creative team at Twice was very collaborative and open to new ideas from all members of the crew. It was a great feeling to work with a group of like minded professionals who are on top of their game in this field. I really like the execution of the project as well. Metropolis took up ads that took over one of the largest subway stations in Vancouver. It was an immersive experience to see these images printed large scale plastered all over the station. With so much advertising moving to digital these days, I really enjoyed seeing the images in print,” he said.
Kang credits his vast success as an advertising photographer to the work he does as a documentary photographer. His eagerness to tell stories for his clients rather than simply taking a photo is what makes him so in demand.
One of Kang’s most heartfelt projects in his career is the work he does in Uganda. He has gone there to document the progress of baseball development in the country, showing how the sport positively impacts the lives of the children in the country. In the future, he would like to extend the project to other sports as well, as he has seen the incredible power it has to positively influence one’s life.
“I have enjoyed teaching quite a bit. I guest lecture in our local colleges from time to time. I like being able to give back to my community since this profession has given me such an incredible life so far. I like spending time in Uganda to teach photography to the local children as I see they enjoy having another way to express themselves and tell their stories,” he said.
Kang also will soon be starting a new photo project on the relationship between people and animal. He is passionate about animal rights and likes to utilize his skills to help promote the causes he cares about. Be sure to keep an eye out for it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
It’s not often you’ll find a cinematographer with the eye of a skilled artist and the mindset of a trained athlete, but that’s just what cinematographer Ross Radcliffe brings to the table. Well-versed in the technological aspects of filmmaking and seemingly indestructible in any harsh environment, Radcliffe possesses a unique combination of talents invaluable to the industry. He is able to keep up with the greatest extreme athletes in the world, giving viewers the opportunity to experience life’s adventures in corners of the globe we’d otherwise never see.
Radcliffe has been directly responsible for capturing cutting edge footage included in some of the nation’s top-rated shows including Travel Channel’s critically acclaimed series Jackson Wild as well as The Last Alaskans, Animal Planet’s second-most-watched series last year. A professional lacrosse player turned cinematographer, Radcliffe has dedicated thousands of hours to perfecting his craft, and has captured breathtaking images from the Alaskan Yukon to the great African plains while keeping up physically with the world’s most extreme sporting.
No stranger to the frigid Alaskan temperatures, Radcliffe displays his strengths flawlessly for multiple shows based in the Alaskan climate. One show in particular, National Geographic’s Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet, showcases this cinematographer’s visions magnificently. Without Radcliffe’s sharp eye, technological ingenuity, and physical stamina, Dr. Oakley’s life-saving emergency surgeries performed in season 2 may have never been captured. Radcliffe’s contribution to the production not only brings picturesque scenery and landscapes into homes worldwide, but it also opens up the doors to catch a glimpse of science and biology so uniquely fascinating, yet otherwise unobtainable.
Last week I got the opportunity to interview Radcliffe about his work as a cinematographer. In our interview, he opens up about what led him to pursue a career in the field, his views on the relationship between technology and storytelling, and the importance of physical fitness in his field of work. For more information on Ross Radcliffe, be sure to check out the interview below.
Where are you from? When and how did you become a cinematographer?
RR: I’m from Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, on Vancouver Island. I became a cinematographer in college; I was actually a star athlete on both the lacrosse and track & field teams- I was even drafted to play professional lacrosse- but unfortunately, after sustaining a series of bad injuries, I made the tough decision to put an end to my athletic career. I quickly turned my attention to camera work, dedicating all the time I’d previously spent training my body into training my eye behind a camera. Before long, I was producing my own videos, which lead to an internship with Susie Films, a full service, pitch to post production company. That internship turned into a full-time job, and before I knew it, I was shooting content for reality TV, commercials and short films. I now work as a freelance cinematographer for National Geographic, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and Travel Channel. As a cinematographer, I specialize in the projects that are both physically and technically demanding.
What does the work of a cinematographer entail? What are your responsibilities?
RR: To be a cinematographer is to be a visual storyteller. I get to craft images that effectively move the audience through a story, with all the twists and turns of emotions along the way. As a cinematographer, I test and select camera and lighting packages that will best tell the story at hand, and I communicate with the director to best craft the image of the story they strive to tell. I think a big responsibility of mine, due to the type of projects I shoot, is to stay on top of my physical conditioning. When I film a subject, I want to make sure their are no barriers between the story and the audience, so I have to be a pro at following along, no matter the conditions or situations might be. In my field, a good cinematographer blends into the situation to let it play out as naturally as possible.
What do you think makes good cinema?
RR: I believe that good cinema comes from the relationship between technology and storytelling. When those two things work well together, people will watch.
What has been your favorite camera to use so far and why?
RR: My favorite camera is the Sony FS7. This new camera, capable of filming footage in 4K resolution, is the perfect camera for adventure-based cinematographers like myself since it is lighter than its predecessors, and has the ability to shoot a wide variety of profiles to suit all types of projects, and can be outfitted with a variety of third-party accessories. To that end, the Sony FS7’s native E-mount lensing system can easily be adapted to use both Sony and Canon lenses, which are both phenomenal lines of lenses.
Can you tell me a little bit about the projects you’ve done?
RR: I was the director of photography on The Travel Channel’s show, Jackson Wild. The show revolved around the Jacksons, a family comprised of the world’s best professional kayakers. During this production, I followed the Jackson family to Germany, Austria, South Africa, England and Zambia, where I faced the crazy challenge of keeping up with them- physically. Being an athlete myself, I was able to capture mountain biking through Europe and waterfall jumping in Africa but, for the record, running around Africa with a 40 lb camera on your shoulder isn’t easy!
I also worked on National Geographic’s Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet, as the director of photography. I really enjoyed being just one step behind Dr. Oakley, a famous wildlife veterinarian, through Alaska and the Yukon as she gave aide to all different types of animals. While this project was extremely demanding physically and sometimes entailed stepping in stinky animal droppings or running from an angry muskox, I was honored to be part of such a small, handselected team. Each member demonstrated such an amazing ability to wear many different hats, so to speak, and the results were well worth it. Looking back on the experience, I really loved capturing the vast personalities of the beautiful Alaskan backdrop, and using it as almost another character in the show.
Perhaps one of the most fun and challenging project I have contributed to is The Animal Planet/ Discovery Channel’s The Last Alaskans, where I was worked as a specialty camera operator and equipment mechanic for the entire second season. The Last Alaskans has garnered critical praise from top international publications around the world for its genre-busting take on the people and families who reside in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, located just above the arctic circle. During production, the crew lives out in the field with the talent; to give you an idea of what this is like, I can tell you that every morning I woke up in a tent in -30 degree weather, and immediately started a fire. Long story short, making this show wasn’t easy, so producers gathered only the best crew in the TV industry to execute the show’s production because of its extreme physical and technical nature. With the great success of this show discussed in the New York Times and the Washington Post, I am proud of my important contributions to the production.
What would you say your strongest qualities are as a cinematographer?
RR:I take great pride in my physical ability to endure extremely harsh and exhausting environments while capturing content. I also keep myself well versed on the latest and greatest camera technology as it hits the market, and I figure out how it can be best utilized in the field.
What projects do you have coming up?
RR: I am the Director of Photography for the next season of Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet. I have also been offered a job with Discovery Channel’s Alaska: The Last Frontier, but until I have a visa, it will be impossible for me to accept this opportunity.
What are your plans for the future?
RR: I plan on continuing to travel the world, gathering and telling stories of unique people in captivating places. I am also interested in working on feature films.
What do you hope to achieve in your career?
RR: I want to create a body of work that I am proud of; ultimately, I’m determined to tell stories that inspire and move people.
Why are you passionate about working as a cinematographer and why is it your chosen profession?
RR: Being a cinematographer is the only job I have ever had that doesn’t feel like work. Every day that I wake up on location, I truly cannot believe how lucky I am. I’m honored and humbled to be instrumental in telling stories about people and places that would have gone otherwise unnoticed. It gives me a beautiful opportunity to put myself in the shoes of people living a different life experience than me, and I love trying to see the world from their eyes.
We are all born with unique gifts that make us different from the rest of the masses. Some know from an early age exactly what those gifts are, while others, arguably the majority, have to go through the sometimes grueling process of trial and error before their true ‘purpose’ shines through clearly.
Today, Toronto-based photographer Peter Tamlin is sought out by major companies like cosmetic leaders including MAC, CoverGirl, Revlon and Clairol to jewelry designers such as Dean Davidson and award-winning stylists like Caffrey Van Horne to use his creative eye to capture their products and designs for all the world to see. But, if you asked Tamlin back in high school how his life would look in 10 years, chances are he wouldn’t have predicted himself having a career as an internationally celebrated photographer, but that’s exactly what has happened. After discovering his love for photography at the age of 19, he dove in full force and hasn’t looked back since.
Aside from the impressive list of clients Tamlin has shot for to date, he has also had his personal photography work featured in gallery shows including the “Vision-Perceptions of Light” exhibition at the Warren G. Flowers Gallery in Montreal, Canada.
In 2011 he earned the award for Best Fashion & Beauty Photography from the prestigious Applied Arts Photography & Illustration Awards for the intriguing black and white photo he took of Tea that is featured below. The way he endows the shot with a feeling of movement and the whimsy of a fairy tale make it a difficult photo to take our eyes away from.
Tamlin has shot editorials for a diverse collection of some of the most read magazines around the world including Fashion Magazine, Plastik Magazine, Lush Luxury Magazine, Fantastics Magazine and countless others. While he is continually pushing the boundaries of the mainstream with his personal photography style, what has made him such a success in his field is the fact that he is able to strike a balance between what his clients want and what he finds creatively inspiring.
Regardless of whether they are fashion models donning new designs or products for the various companies that hire him to shoot their ad campaigns, Tamlin is a miracle worker when it comes to creating the perfect lighting to capture his subjects. His unique ability to light a model’s skin in a way that glows effortlessly while still looking natural was a huge draw factor for Shoppers Drug Mart, which hired him to shoot their Glowing Skin campaign in 2013.
To find out more about photographer Peter Tamlin, what inspires him and how he got to where he is today, make sure to check out our interview below. You can also check out more of his work through his website: http://www.petertamlin.com/
Where are you from and how did you first begin learning photography?
PT: I was born in Scarborough, but raised in a small town named Stouffville, both in Ontario, Canada. I’m now based in Toronto.
When I was 18, one of the first friends I met in Toronto was a photographer and was an assistant to famed photographer David Lachappelle. My friend would always show me David’s photography books and expose me to the many types of pop-culture photography coming out of New York. When I was 19, I bought my first 35mm film camera and began shooting and experimenting.
Are you self-taught or did you go to school to study photography?
PT: When I was 23, I moved to Montreal and enrolled in the Dawson Institute of Photography. It was a two year program and I graduated at the top of my class.
What is it about photography that first inspired you to pursue it as a profession?
PT: Basically, I love the idea of being creative and creating artwork that is captivating and original. Professionally, I detested the idea of working a 9-5 job and doing the same thing everyday. I wanted a career where I could always be setting new goals and where there is no limit to the success I could have.
I also wanted flexibility with my schedule and to be able to work when and where I want. I love the idea of being able to travel as well.
Can you tell our readers about some of the projects you’ve shot?
PT: In Jan 2015, I was hired as photographer for a campaign and hair competition shoot for Aveda Canada and specifically for Civello, which is an Aveda Salon in Toronto. Over the course of two days we shot 7 different models, each with different hairstyles. The photos were used in a campaign and also entered in the NAHA’s (North American Hair Styling Awards) and also the Constessa’s, which is a Canadian hairstyling competition. The entry was named a finalist in the CONTESSA Awards for Canadian Salon Team.
I was hired for this shoot by Aveda Canada’s Creative Director, Kristjan Hayden. I worked directly with Kristjan to develop the direction for the shoot. The concept was based on movement and motion of the hair, so with the specific lighting I developed with Kristjan, I was able to use a special effect to illustrate the movement.
I believe the reason I was asked to be involved in this project was because of my unique creative vision and my ability to bring original and captivating ideas to this project. Hair photography is not only about showing the detail in the hairstyles, but also about presenting the hairstyles in creative and interesting ways. I think the specific lighting, set, special effects and retouching treatment I produced for this shoot are extremely unique, interesting and effective.
In 2013 I was hired to produce the Glowing Skin advertising campaign for Canada’s largest drugstore chain, Shoppers Drug Mart.For the Glowing Skin Campaign, we shot 4 different models in one day. The purpose of the shoot was to showcase clean, healthy, glowing skin. The photos were used in a national advertising campaign, appearing on billboards, in stores, newspapers, magazines, online and many other advertising outlets.
I was hired again as photographer for Shopper’s Drug Mart in 201 for their 30 Days of Beauty campaign. We shot 30 different models ranging in age from 16-60, over seven days. The purpose of the campaign was to showcase diversity in beauty. Again, the photos were used in a national advertising campaign appearing on billboards, in stores, newspapers, magazines, online and many other advertising outlets, as well. Each model was featured for each day in September 2014.
It was extremely important for these projects that the lighting capture the detail on the skin and the texture and colour of the products used. The lighting I used for both shoots was designed specifically to the needs of each campaign. For the Glowing skin campaign, it was very important that the skin looks healthy and glowing. The lighting that I designed incorporated many different light sources from multiple directions giving the skin enhanced luminosity.
For the 30 Days of Beauty campaign, it was very important that we showcased diversity in beauty, but in many different ethnicities and ages. The lighting that I used was softer and more flattering than standard beauty lighting. This meant that the light helped highlight and enhance each model’s own beauty.
Early in 2015 I was hired by Dean Davidson, a top Toronto based Canadian jewelry designer, to shoot his spring/summer campaign. Being the first time I had a chance to shoot for Dean, I wanted to do something completely original for him, so I suggested that we have the model pose in a pool of water. The model’s name was Hannah Donker from Elite Models in Toronto.
Then in October Dean approached me to shoot his fall/winter campaign. Again, I wanted to do something original, so I suggested shooting in a set of mirrors. The model’s name was Emily Van Raay and she’s represented by Anita Norris Models in London, ON. I worked with a very talented team with Greg Wencel doing the hair and makeup, and George Antonopoulos as the stylist. Both shoots were a great success and very well received.
In June I was hired to shoot an editorial for the September issue of FASHION Magazine, which is Canada’s leading fashion magazine. The editorial was titled “Team Spirit” and the theme for it was androgyny. It was a 10 page editorial and we shot in the ballroom of the historic King Edward Hotel in Toronto. The editorial featured two models, Alice Ma, represented by NEXT Models and David Chiang, represented by Ciotti Models, both in Toronto. Hair and makeup was by Susana Hong and the Fashion Director was George Antonopoulos. The editorial featured many top fashion brands including DSquared, Burberry, Vivienne Westwood, Gucci and Dries Van Noten.
Most of my work is photography, but I am also inspired by music videos and films, so over the past few years I have branched out in that direction. In 2013, I was hired to produce and direct and show package video for one of the top male modeling agencies in Toronto, Elite Model’s.
In one day, we shot nine different male models in the studio in front of a black background. The video was black and white and high contrast. I really enjoyed the editing process of the project and I was able to experiment and create with many different filters and effects. Even though the video is very different from my photography work, it was very popular and gained over ten thousand views online.
What has been your most memorable shoot?
PT: I would have to say that most memorable shoot would be the Elite Models video. It was a project where I had no restrictions or limits to what I could do. I was able to experiment with editing and effects and create something very bold and original. Also, it was great working with all of the models. Shooting photos can sometimes be tedious, but shooting this project was very exciting and enjoyable. It is probably the one project that has gotten me the most exposure.
What is inspiring you as a photographer now?
PT: It’s hard to say what inspires me now. My inspiration changes daily. At the moment I am really inspired to do shoots that are very dark and macabre. When the industry is moving into a more bright and fresh mood for Spring, my gut is telling me to go in the other direction.
Aside from the jobs that you are hired on to shoot, how would you describe your personal photography style?
PT: Captivating, dramatique, intense and unique. My main priority as a photographer and visual artist is to always be creating work that is original and reject the “norm.”
I always try to go against the grain and turn convention on its head. My most successful projects have been ones where I did something unexpected. I also enjoy experimenting with contrasting colours.
How much freedom do you have when it comes to creating the direction of a shoot for brands like Mac and Covergirl?
PT: Unfortunately, with those two clients specifically, I don’t have much freedom. For Covergirl, the direction was very conservative and commercial. Basically, it was a standard beauty shoot. We shot a pretty model with 4 or 5 makeup looks. The lighting was very basic in order to show off the product.
Clients like Dean Davidson, Greta Constantine and Aveda are the ones that give me more creative control. I generally have no limits to how creative I can go with the direction for those shoots.
Do you have a specific area of interest or subjects that you prefer to focus on with your photography?
PT: Commercial. I like to focus on conceptual beauty and hair projects. I find that I can be more creative in that area than the standard fashion shoots.
For my creative work, I like focus on models or subjects that are unusual, bizarre and outside of the norm. I like photographing unique characters that don’t fit in the fashion industry’s molds.
How do you keep productive and retain your creative edge?
PT: I try to keep productive by always exposing myself to different and new experiences and people. I’m constantly researching new concepts and lightings. The best way I’ve been able to retain my creative edge is by always pushing myself to do what no one else is doing, being original and pushing boundaries.
What has been some of the best advice given to you by another photographer?
PT: The best advice I’ve received wasn’t actually from a photographer, but one of my best friends. When discussing what career path I should take, he said I should “do what I love.” It was really the catalyst for me to pursue photography professionally.
What special advice would you like to share with other photographers?
PT: Don’t follow trends.
Do what makes you happy.
Who are some of your favorite photographers?
PT: David LaChappelle, Steven Klein, Mert & Marcus, Txema Yeste and Solve Sundsbo.
What equipment would we find in your camera bag or studio for a typical shoot?
PT: Generally, I shoot with a Canon 5d Mark II, my MacBook Pro, and a Profoto ComPact-R kit and lots of colour gels.
What lighting equipment do you favor and why?
PT: Profoto is the brand I learnt with and probably the most popular and versatile.
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