May 012012

 WHAT TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY ARE YOU CURRENTLY FOCUSING ON AND WHY?

On a personal level I have been hitting the streets of Parkdale where my studio is located and documenting people on the street. I get a chance to stop and look around me and observe what might otherwise elude me. People walk by fast and these moments get missed. There is a complex dynamic happening in Parkdale as it is gentrifying and holding out at the same time. There are days when you can feel the tension more than others from line ups at the soup kitchen to line ups for trendy restaurants. This is an ongoing project and may never end. I am planning a show. I also shoot in my studio and on location for commercial clients ranging from architectural, food/product to lifestyle.

TELL ME ABOUT A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO INSPIRES YOU

There are so many photographers I admire. These photographers inspired me to try photography: Irving Penn, Eugene Atget, Robert Frank, Berenice Abbott, Joel Peter-Witkin and Shelby Lee Adams.

FOR YOU, WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST PARTS OF PHOTOGRAPHY?

The best part of being a photographer is the access you get into spaces, places and people’s lives. It is never the same and you have to adapt to each new situation. It is soooo much better than working at a desk. I love editing too and finding more than you thought was in a a shot.

The worst part for me is being undervalued by other people. Some clients just don’t get the value that a photographer brings to a shoot. We are resourceful, creative and problem solvers. A good photographer should be paid accordingly.

WHAT IS THE LATEST PIECE OF PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT THAT YOU HAVE ACQUIRED AND HOW IS IT USED FOR THE TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY YOU DO?

300 watt Arri Fresnel lamp. I love adding a bit of HOT light to still life and product shots. It gives that hardness that a strobe can’t deliver.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY AND WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAMERA?

I was living in Vancouver and bought a Mamiya C330 medium format camera and started shooting ads for a clothing store. I loved it and realized I needed to learn more so I moved to Toronto and assisted for 5 years in a commercial studio learning every format that existed before digital.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LENS IN YOUR BAG?

My wide Canon 16-35 f2.8L. It is sharp and sees everything.

WHAT, WHO OR WHERE WAS YOUR ULTIMATE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE?

I have had some great experiences being a photographer. I love the variety of work from shooting celebrities to documenting poverty in my own backyard. I have yet to have a really bad experience so in terms of the ultimate experience I am still waiting for it. I don’t know what it will be but I hope I am ready for it.

WHAT, WHO OR WHERE WOULD BE YOUR ULTIMATE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE?

I would love to shoot a magazine spread for Vanity Fair or spend some time with Appalachian Kentuckians.

WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU CURRENTLY LISTENING TO?

Mogwai, Kraftwerk, Katy Perry.

THANK YOU AND KEEP SHOOTING!

www.aaronmason.ca

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Mar 012012

 

WHAT TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY ARE YOU CURRENTLY FOCUSING ON AND WHY?

I have worked as a Freelance Photographer in the fields of Portraiture, Architecture, Stills and Historical Processes such as Gum Bichromates, however currently I am focusing more on my Fine Art Photography – at night. It’s something I started experimenting with shooting at 16 and have come full circle to enjoying the experience these past few years, once again. The long exposures allow for truly being in the moment and I shoot this work with chrome, (yes, I still shoot slide film, everything on my website was shot with film 🙂 ). Kodachrome 64 was my go to favorite film forever but now I shoot with Velvia.

The majority of my personal work is captured at night, as this is when I am most inspired and has been an element of my work for over 20 years. There is mystery at night, and I feel that this body of work is an expression of a photographic meditation through a long exposure. I have been able to merge my two loves of Photography (picking up a camera at the age of 12) and Yoga, I began to practice in 1990, so 22 years ago, however I have been teaching this as well since 2006. The peace and tranquility in these scenes are what I hope will transcend for the viewer, so they might take away something as magnificent as belonging to something greater, or just something inspiring and as necessary as hope.

TELL ME ABOUT A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO INSPIRES YOU

In my University days studying Fine Art, we learned about the History of Photography. It was incredible seeing the first images ever created – it would be impossible to pick just one, I would say that I have been inspired by the early photographers, Nicephore Niepce, Julia Margaret Cameron, to the great classics, Andre Kertesz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Irving Penn and in Fashion, which is where I started, Richard Avedon, Sarah Moon and Herb Ritts. It’s the way they were able to tell a story, with such depth, richness and truth.

FOR YOU, WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST PARTS OF PHOTOGRAPHY?

The best part of Photography is that connection I experience in the creating of the image, the magic, whether it’s in  photographic meditation with nature or with a person – being in that flow, or the zone, it’s a beautiful dance of give and take. To me, they are both sacred however when another soul, allows me to capture their essence, this is an experience I do not take lightly and that’s why I take time with my portraits – to allow the person I am photographing to emerge and share their true self as they begin to feel the trust. Without this, their inner being, you can capture just the mere shell, and the image won’t have the energy, the gravitas that each of us carry within us, always.

The beauty of photography, for me is the creative process but like all things there is the practical element that is important as well, the yin and yang, without the other, one can not exist. If I really had to focus on my not so favorite part, it would be keeping up with the latest and most powerful computers and software at the studio and on the road. This is so essential in creating the data base of my life’s work, which is all digitized today, scanning all my film along with the raw files from digital shoots and the amount of storage this requires especially having to back everything up on different hard drives.

WHAT IS THE LATEST PIECE OF PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT THAT YOU HAVE ACQUIRED AND HOW IS IT USED FOR THE TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY YOU DO?

Coming from the world of film and television, I learned how to light with Fresnel tungsten and daylight balanced lights (like Mole-Richardson’s used in the Hollywood films of the the 40’s) so I was delighted to see a portable easy to use light called The Rotolight. I used it recently on a music video shoot and it worked beautifully. Created by brilliant designers in London from Pinewood Studios.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY AND WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAMERA?

I picked up a camera when I was 12, more for documenting family events with a Kodak Instamatic that was a birthday present from my parents. But then I became fascinated with photography when I started experimenting with long exposures at night on a friend’s camera, an SLR that took 110 film. The first real camera, 35mm, I bought was a used Minolta XG7 and then a year later I upgraded to the X700. It was the perfect camera to buy at 17, light and affordable which allowed me to learn about photography and carry it everywhere. I also began a camera collection years ago and my oldest is from 1895.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LENS IN YOUR BAG?

My all time favorite lens is the 150mm F 2.8 from my Mamiya 645, fabulous for portraits when I was shooting medium format. Right now, while I’m traveling, my favorite lens is the EF24-70mm F 2.8 for my Canon 5D. And since I travel with my film camera as well, it’s a 28-85mm, as the portability of both these zoom lenses is priceless.

WHAT, WHO OR WHERE WAS YOUR ULTIMATE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE?

Again, it’s tricky to pick one – I feel that I have been so fortunate to do what I do, that each experience has been incredible. From all the people and performers I have photographed to all the places I have been, I can’t pick one…but if I had to, there was one that was so profound – I was hired to photograph a home birth and I was on call, just like the Mid-wife. The mother to be and I did a beautiful pregnancy shoot a few weeks before hand so she would feel comfortable with my presence at the time of her giving birth. Talk about the magic of the universe, from 5 people in the room, there emerged 6. I will always feel honoured for witnessing the birth of Paris 🙂 who is a teenager today.

WHAT, WHO OR WHERE WOULD BE YOUR ULTIMATE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE?

That’s a tough one to answer, I love to travel, so wherever my next destination is, will be amazing. Every shoot is so special whether I’m photographing a person or a specific place and I am grateful for all the experiences I have had so far and that I will have in the future.

WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU CURRENTLY LISTENING TO?

After an amazing intimate concert down here in Florida, I have been loving the sounds of Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion. 🙂

THANK YOU AND KEEP SHOOTING!

www.jacquelinebenyes.com

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Jan 012012

Photographer In Focus – Alan Flores

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WHAT TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY ARE YOU CURRENTLY FOCUSING ON AND WHY?

I focused on wedding photography for the majority of 2011 for three reasons. 1) Shooting weddings is not an easy thing to do. After talking to many seasoned, professional photographers out there I found a lot of them agree with me and some chose not to shoot weddings at all. I look at this as a challenge and a way to improve my skills as an artist. A wedding photographer must be able to produce excellent images in all sorts of lighting conditions, is always pressed for time due to the unforeseen and sometimes unreasonable timelines, be a director in charge due to the necessity of managing people with a wide variety of personalities…the list could go on. Long story short, wedding photography forces a photographer to use all of his/her skills and there is no room for errors or weaknesses. 2) To be in the presence of family and friends all gathered to celebrate two people in love. Yes, it sounds cheesy but to be a part of the celebration is a very rewarding experience especially when you know you play a big part in the bride and groom’s special day and also in their future years when they look back to remember the event through your work. 3) Shooting weddings can also pay very well as long as you charge your proper worth. 🙂 Having said all that focusing again on shooting fashion and editorials is one of my goals for 2012.

TELL ME ABOUT A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO INSPIRES YOU

It is hard for me to name just one. Sometimes I like to research some of the great photographers before our time. When I look at their work I see a common thread in that the images they produce are timeless. For portraiture some of my favourites are Yosuf Karsh, Irving Penn, Alfred Stieglitz and Richard Avedon. For fashion I admire the work of Steven Meisel, Peter Lindbergh, Mario Testino and Russell James.

FOR YOU, WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST PARTS OF PHOTOGRAPHY?

The best part of photography for me is that there are so many different types of photography out there. If I start to get bored with one genre I can always pick something else to shoot. The worst part of photography is that it is very expensive! I’m not saying every photographer needs all the latest and greatest toys but if you want the good stuff then you have to have deep pockets…if you know what I mean.

WHAT IS THE LATEST PIECE OF PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT THAT YOU HAVE ACQUIRED AND HOW IS IT USED FOR THE TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY YOU DO?

The latest photographic equipment I purchased was a pair of Photoflex StarFire flash units. For situations where you need portable lighting to shoot outdoors it is not always feasible or convenient to bring strobe light heads. I already own two Nikon Speedlights, however if I wanted to buy two more it would cost me almost $1000. The Photoflex StarFire flashes are great especially when using them as off camera light sources. The reason they are more affordable is that they do not have TTL functionality but if you are the type of shooter that likes to control the power manually then its hard to pass these up. I’ve used them to shoot portraits outside the studio as well as weddings.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY AND WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAMERA?

Being the son of a photojournalist there was always a camera within reach at home. When my father came to Canada he started to shoot weddings and I tagged along as his assistant. That planted the seed and the rest is history. My first camera was a Yashica Electro GX. Basically it was a small 35mm rangefinder type camera.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LENS IN YOUR BAG?

My go to lens is a Nikon AF-S 24-70 f/2.8 and its on my camera body most of the time. My favourite lens however is my Nikon AF-S 70-200 f/2.8 VRll. Its sharp, focuses extremely fast and it truly is a workhorse of a lens.

WHAT, WHO OR WHERE WAS YOUR ULTIMATE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE?

Time was November 2005. Place was Italy. It was my first time in Europe and everywhere I turned there was always something worth shooting. The country, the people, the food…everything was beautiful! I couldn’t put my camera down and I filled so many memory cards. Yes, that was the ultimate experience alright but the sad part was that I was on my honeymoon and to this day I have never heard the end of it. 🙂

WHAT, WHO OR WHERE WOULD BE YOUR ULTIMATE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE?

I would love to shoot beside Russell James photographing the Victoria Secret Angels all around the globe. I would ask him to teach me the ropes and then I would work my butt off to impress everyone in the hopes that VS would hire me as one of their regular photographers! LOL

WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU CURRENTLY LISTENING TO?

Compilation of classic house anthems. 🙂

THANK YOU AND KEEP SHOOTING!

www.floresfoto.com

 

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Dec 012011

WHAT  TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY ARE YOU CURRENTLY FOCUSING ON AND WHY?

I enjoy all types of photography, but I tend to be most active on the fashion runway. Like they say, the grass is always greener on the other side, and compared to my day-job, the fashion scene offers a unique and exciting experience.

TELL ME ABOUT A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO INSPIRES YOU

I am no academic when it comes to photography. If something is pleasing to the eye, then that is good enough for me. My early inspirations came from viewing online photoblogs, and one blog I periodically revisit is that of Kathleen Connally. Her site A Walk Through Durham Township is a mix of beautifully captured landscapes and portraits that give this city slicker a glimpse into a different pace of life.

FOR YOU, WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST PARTS OF PHOTOGRAPHY?

The best part of photography is at the end of the whole process when I have made my image selections and posted them on the web for people to see. The worst part of photography is having to heavily post-process a huge batch of photos because of poor event lighting.

WHAT IS THE LATEST PIECE OF PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT THAT YOU HAVE ACQUIRED AND HOW IS IT USED FOR THE TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY YOU DO?

The last piece of gear I purchased was the 1560 Pelican Case. It is an absolute advantage to own one of these things. In addition to protecting my equipment, it can be used as something to stand on if I need the extra height. In a pinch, I can stand on the case vertically and gain an additional two feet to see over the photographers in front of me!

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY AND WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAMERA?

My first camera was a Kodak T550 which used the APS film system. In retrospect, I am not happy with the film format, but I just wanted something to take pictures of my friends and family. My first SLR was the Canon EOS 20D and it opened up a new world of possibilities to me. Armed with this new camera, I started a photoblog and was constantly looking for new subject matter to capture. I searched online for events to photograph, and eventually, through this process, I made my way onto the fashion scene.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LENS IN YOUR BAG?

I am always bragging about my Canon EF 135mm f/2.0 lens. The focal length can be tricky to work with, but its fast-focusing and sharpness at f/2.0 make it a joy to use.

WHAT, WHO OR WHERE WAS YOUR ULTIMATE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE?

This fall I joined the crowds at the Toronto International Film Festival in the hopes of photographing some celebrities. I knew Brad Pitt would be there, but the moment Angelina Jolie emerged from the car, I directed all my energy to photographing her since this was my first time seeing her. These events always involve hours of waiting, and when the moment comes it is sheer panic as you fight off the crowds for a clear shot. To get one or two shots that I like form the thirty seconds of chaos was very rewarding for me.

WHAT, WHO OR WHERE WOULD BE YOUR ULTIMATE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE?

Some day, SOME HOW, I hope I can acquire enough credentials to photograph the Victoria Secret runway show. That would just be pure awesome.

WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU CURRENTLY LISTENING TO?

Right at THIS moment? U2.

THANK YOU AND KEEP SHOOTING!

www.canadawears.ca

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Nov 012011

Starting this month of November, I will do a monthly post focusing on photographers. Over the years I have been lucky enough to meet and work with amazing photographers working in many genres. I also find or read about fantastic photographers on the internet that I would love to know a little more about. I guess you can say that this is a small token of my appreciation for their inspiration. These posts will always have the same 9 questions and can be viewed in the Photographer In Focus category displayed in the right widget. So, without further ado, our first Photographer In Focus is Colette Stevenson.

WHAT  TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY ARE YOU CURRENTLY FOCUSING ON AND WHY?

I am currently working on portrait photography. People’s faces. Its something I avoided for a time, perhaps because I was intimidated by the intimacy of it but now I’m learning to embrace that intimacy.

TELL ME ABOUT A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO INSPIRES YOU

I love Diane Arbus. She doesn’t shy away from her subjects. Her work is direct and honest.

FOR YOU, WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST PARTS OF PHOTOGRAPHY?

The best part would be when the picture I saw in my mind becomes a reality. The first time I look at it and say “yes that’s what I saw” is thrilling. The worst part? Easy, lugging equipment.

WHAT IS THE LATEST PIECE OF PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT THAT YOU HAVE ACQUIRED AND HOW IS IT USED FOR THE TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY YOU DO?

A macro lens. I like to get right in close to the subject and this lens helps me do that. Of course I am not using it for portrait photography…yet.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY AND WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAMERA?

I’ve always had a camera and I’ve always loved photography although I seem to have spent a lot of my life on the other side of the camera. My first camera was a Nikon F-601. You can still get film so maybe soon I’ll dust it off and take it out for a spin.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LENS IN YOUR BAG?

Nikon 50mm 1.4G. Great portrait lens.

WHAT, WHO OR WHERE WAS YOUR ULTIMATE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE?

I think the ultimate so far was wandering through the streets of Havana very early in the morning when the city was just waking up and some folks were just going home.

WHAT, WHO OR WHERE WOULD BE YOUR ULTIMATE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE?

That’s a tough one! I would like to go back to Dublin. Its a beautiful city. I love Dublin.

WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU CURRENTLY LISTENING TO?

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Vic Chesnutt. There’s a constant stream of new music into my home and into my life and these are the latest discoveries for me.

THANK YOU AND KEEP SHOOTING!

www.colettestevensonphotography.com

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