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Q & A with Leading Fashion Photographer Peter Tamlin

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Photographer Peter Tamlin

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.

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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/

You can also connect with him on Facebook here.

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.

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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.

Be original.

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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Q&A: Photographer Emma McIntyre

With a repertoire of work that spans many genres, photographer Emma McIntyre’s creative eye has captured endless subjects in a way that speaks to audiences around the world. Whether she is shooting celebrity portraits or capturing the energy of an environment, Emma McIntyre’s natural photographic style reveals her subjects with a surreal-like beauty, and something she likes to call the ‘pause’ in between our ever-changing reality.

Over the years, McIntyre, who has has amassed an impressive client list that includes Horses Atelier, Sennheiser, Hudson’s Bay Company, Tiffany & Co, and many others, has had countless images appear in magazines and newspapers like Rolling Stone, Nylon, Spin, The New York Times, and Toronto Life.

Read our interview below to find out more about this incredible photographer.

By Emma McIntyre
by Emma McIntyre

TTNN: For those who don’t know you, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

EM: I’m a photographer from Toronto, Canada. I shoot a mixture of editorial, fashion and commercial work.

TTNN: How did you learn photography?

EM: I started taking pictures in high school where I had a great instructor and learned in a dark room. We also always had cameras lying around the house because my dad was a hobbyist photographer, as was his father. I inherited a Pentax Spotmatic when I was 16 and fell in love with the whole process.

In University I worked as the photo editor for our campus paper and ended up shooting a lot during that time as well. Eventually I studied photography at NMIT (North Melbourne Institute of TAFE) in Melbourne, Australia for two years.

TTNN: What equipment would I find in your camera bag or studio for a typical shoot?

EM: My Nikon D3S with 85mm and 35mm prime lenses.

I also love to use my film cameras – a Hasselblad and a Mamiya 645 film camera. On commercial jobs it’s harder to shoot film, but I still love the feel of it and think it’s unparalleled.

TTNN: What lighting equipment do you favor and why?

EM: My preferred light is natural light but I’m fortunate to have worked with some great lighting techs in studio who have taught me how to recreate beautiful lighting scenarios that emulate natural light.

TTNN: How many shots on average do you shoot during a session?

EM: It really depends. With digital as you know it’s so easy to go overboard. I think that’s another reason I like to shoot with film if I can. You are so much more deliberate and don’t have the option to constantly check what you’re doing and tweak it. Film still forces you to be a bit more instinctive and trust that you’ve captured what you needed to. That being said I do commercial and fashion shoots with digital and in those cases can shoot hundreds of images. Especially with assignments like lookbooks when you’re firing off a lot of frames to make sure you capture a variety of angles and looks.

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TTNN: Can you tell our readers about some of the projects you’ve worked on?

EM: Recently I’ve been working with the Toronto fashion designers Horses Atelier on their lookbooks and e-commerce. It’s been a really rewarding evolution collaborating with them and their art director to strike a balance in the look with something that properly shows the clothing while still remaining artful. I’ve loved finding that balance and their clothing is so well designed and executed it’s great to work with.

Lately I’ve also been shooting a lot of music – live concert photography as well as some backstage portraits. It’s really challenging to work with the changing lighting conditions and in a really limited time (usually the first three songs only.) I’ve loved trying to capture something unique and being a part of that performing energy is really invigorating. I’ve shot several music festivals this summer like Osheaga, North by Northeast and TURF Festival.

I have an ongoing collaboration with interior designer Timothy Johnson in Toronto. I love his design work and some of his projects have been featured in House and Home, Objekt, and Toronto Homes. I’ve documented all of his projects over several years and love the meditative aspect of just shooting spaces and objects. Editorially speaking I’ve been published in a lot of local magazines like Toronto Life, Fashion, The Grid and re:porter and internationally in places like Monocle and NYLON.

TTNN: What has been your most memorable photo shoot, and why?

EM: Probably my favorite shooting experience was in Cuba – which wasn’t an assignment – I brought my Hasselblad there and it sounds like a cliche but the textures of the buildings and the color and life of the place was so inspiring to photograph. I took some of my favorite photographs in that country. By the end of the trip I actually felt visual fatigue from seeing so many beautiful things.

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TTNN: I noticed on your website you have a section entitle ‘productions stills’, what productions have you worked on? 

EM: I’ve worked as a production stills photographer (or unit stills photographer) on a number of films and television shows. My first job of this nature was for the documentary Don’t You Forget About Me about filmmaker John Hughes. Here I had an opportunity to travel with the crew and shoot B roll as well as still images on a road trip to Chicago to John Hughes’ hometown. From there I worked on a number of television shows including Curious and Unusual Deaths, Inventions That Shook The World, Rescue Mediums, Totally Amp’d and Million Dollar Critic as well as films such as Everyday is Like Sunday and Diamond Tongues (currently in post-production.)

In this role you are tasked to capture images that will function as publicity images as well as capturing general atmosphere for posterity and details for continuity. It’s always an interesting experience as a photographer because you are working with film/ tv set lighting. It’s a great learning opportunity because lighting techs in film and TV are so knowledgeable and shooting with their set-up is a bit of a luxury. It can be a fun collaboration with the producers/ directors when conceptualizing what will work for publicity images. For the show Rescue Mediums (a show about two mediums from England making house calls in North America) we decided to shoot in a foggy cemetery at night. My lighting equipment kept malfunctioning and the team was convinced it was supernatural forces at work. I like the TV and film world because it always takes you to places you wouldn’t expect and especially in the more documentary type of television you have an opportunity to encounter interesting experts and perspectives.

TTNN: You’ve had an opportunity to shoot a long list of celebrity photos, can you tell us a little bit about that experience, and some of the people you’ve shot?

EM: I collaborate with a team of great people here in Toronto who produce a long format interview magazine about cinema called The Seventh Art. They’ve attracted a number of well-respected directors to be part of the magazine and I’ve captured stills during the taping of these interviews and then often had an opportunity to capture a portrait after the interview. They always chose interesting locations around the city to conduct the interviews so this gives me an opportunity to shoot environmental portraits in new spaces. It was through this magazine that I had an opportunity to photograph Peter Bogdanovich, Xavier Dolan, Andrew Bujalski, Christopher Doyle, Whit Stillman, and Paul Schrader. I was especially excited to photograph Peter Bogdanovich as I was a huge Sopranos fan and I think he has such an iconic look. I had about two seconds to capture a portrait of him between takes and he just stared deep into the barrel of the lens and gave me an image that I just love.

Peter Bogdanovich by Emma McIntyre
Peter Bogdanovich by Emma McIntyre

TTNN: What inspires you? Who are some of your favorite photographers?

EM: Lately I’ve been loving the work of Pari Dukovic. He’s been appearing a lot in publications like the New Yorker and his portraits are so imaginative and his use of color is so beautiful. Some photographers I have admired for a long time include Nadav Kander, Autumn de Wilde, and Lauren Dukoff. Vivian Maier has been an amazing discovery in the photography world – her street photography is so inspiring. Instagram is also great in that way as means for discovering new photographers. I think it’s so important to try and soak up every type of culture for inspiration though. I find inspiration in music and film as much as other photographers. I recently saw the Nick Cave documentary and it’s always so interesting to witness someone else speaking about their creative process. His discipline and the longevity he’s had with his career is so inspiring.

TTNN: Do you have a specific genre that you focus on with your photography? What is it and why are you passionate about it?

EM: Like many photographers, I’m most passionate about photographing people. That being said I love assignments where I’m asked to go document an event, space, neighbourhood, etc. Anything that takes me into a new environment is always so stimulating and I love making use of whatever lighting situations I encounter to create something interesting and tells the story of the place/ person. Portraits are more challenging because if it’s successful it’s telling a powerful story with one image. Something that communicates more than just the surface and actually relays something about the person. My love of documentary style storytelling means I pretty much love every assignment– everything presents new challenges and often you have a really limited time to capture the essence of the person, place, or environment.

TTNN: How would you describe your photography style?

EM: In terms of style I would say I like to capture quiet candid moments and expressions both in people and in urban landscapes, details and still life. I suppose it could be described as documentary/ lifestyle with a bit of a stylized/fashion sensibility. Ideally I am striving to capture a subtle emotion, something that appears in the in between moments which can be awkward and beautiful. For all my subjects – interiors, people, still life/ food – I prefer to use natural light and try to communicate the brief moment of pause – before words are spoken, spaces are entered, still life is changed.

TTNN: How do you keep productive and retain your creative edge?

EM: Being freelance forces you to be inventive and disciplined in terms of finding new work. As far as creative edge I think it’s important to expose yourself to lots of new art, film, music for inspiration and travel always makes me feel newly inspired – even if it’s just a road trip outside of the city to get a different perspective.

A Look at Leading Fashion Photographer Adina Doria and Ivy Levan!

A Canadian citizen who was originally born in Belgium, Miss Adina Doria has travelled the world with a camera since she was three-years-old. Through photography Adina Doria has been able to communicate that which is often incommunicable through words. Doria, who is currently working as a lead photographer for Sinko Branding in Los Angeles, has shot some of the world’s hottest fashion campaigns. Her work has been featured in magazines including Germany’s Huff magazine, Milan’s Trent Prive, LA Fashion Magazine, and countless others.

With her unique vision and unparalleled creativity, Doria’s photographs have provided a spotlight for many models in a way that has led them to great success.

Doria’s work with Ivy Levan depicts the well-known model, musician and actress as a luscious bombshell in a series of photographs that are so striking it is simply impossible for viewers to take their eyes off of her.  When it comes to lighting, Doria uses her artistry to capture Levan’s fierce sexuality in a way that is both cinematic and provocative.

While Levan is undoubtedly breathtaking in each photograph, the way Doria poses her model and incorporates various lighting techniques in accordance with the model’s wardrobe and make-up is a testament to her unrivalled artistic vision.

For example, in the shots where Levan is dressed like a futuristic dominatrix, Doria uses the perfect hint of blue lighting to capture her subject in a way that makes her look like a fierce ice queen. Doria’s use of subtle red lighting in the background of the shots where we see Levan dressed in 50’s-esque pinup lingerie holding a long bone cigarette holder is the perfect compliment to Levan’s blood red lipstick and sultry stare.

Aside from her incredible use of light and impeccable eye, Adina Doria is a magician when it comes to getting the shot. She has a way of accessing her subjects most photogenic angles within seconds of meeting them, a trait which not only makes her one of the best of photographers in the world, but one of the most sought after in the fashion industry.

 

Ivy Levan shot by Adina DoriaIvy_levan_adina_doria_07
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