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WINTER 2018/19


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Creativity runs through every frame, every angle and every detail in me. The D5600 makes sharing happen automatically and effortlessly using Bluetooth® and the Nikon SnapBridge app. The sharp, high-quality images transfer as you take them to your compatible smart devices*. The optical viewfinder, vari-angle screen and AF with 39 focus points encourage you to keep shooting and sharing. Play around with my enriching filters and jaw-dropping time-lapse movies. The wide selection of NIKKOR lenses will help you elevate your creations even further. Spread your creativity. nikon.ca * This camera’s built-in Bluetooth® capability can only be used with compatible smart devices. The Nikon SnapBridge application must be installed on the device before it can be used with this camera. For compatibility and to download the SnapBridge application, please visit Google Play® and App Store.


VICKY LAM BEHIND THE SHOT: “This image was created as a personal creative piece exploring typography and offfigure styling. By chance, we found matching sweaters at a thrift store and I was inspired by their designs to come up with a narrative. I used this image in a self-promotional mailer as a fun way to say “hi” to my clients.”

9   RESOURCES WE LOVE 10  VICKY LAM: EYE CANDY by Briar Chaput 16  NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK Photo school grads tell us about the transition to the real world. 21  IMAGINING EXOPLANETS: ADAM MAKARENKO’S OTHER WORLDS by Alexander Tesar 26   DAVID J. FULDE: SHOOTING WITH FLAIR by Joshua Cameron

30  HOW-TO: ONE LIGHT, THREE WAYS with Margaret Mulligan 32    GRAND MASTERS OF FLASH: Jens Kristian Balle, Larissa Issler, + Nik Mirus 36  I N STUDIO WITH TORRIE GROENING by Peppa Martin 42  R  YAN PARKER’S - STUDIO (RE) CREATIONS by Nicola Irvin 45  READERS GALLERY Submissions by our readers

EDITOR’S NOTE photo by www.margaretmulligan.com

INDOOR INSPIRATION “But out of limitations comes creativity.” —Debbie Allen

WEATHER CAN DRAMATICALLY AFFECT PHOTOGRAPHIC RESULTS. This is not a factor, however, for photographers and artists who thrive in their studios. In this issue, I wanted to find out more about how studio photographers get inspired within the confines of their cosy indoor spaces. Last winter in Canada, the weather was brutal. If this winter goes the same way, hopefully this issue will encourage you to use your cabinfever-crazy creatively. If you’re exploring the great indoors with your photography, I’d love to see what you’ve come up with. Drop me a line.

This spring we’re looking ahead at photographers who look back at some oldschool photo techniques for our amazing

analog issue. If you’ve been experimenting with film, instant snaps, found photos, or alternative processes, drop us a line and share your story. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and sign up for our e-newsletter to keep up! Your editor,

Rita Godlevskis rita@photoed.ca




@photoedmagazine WINTER 2018/19 ISSUE #54 ISSN 1708-282X

@PhotoEdCANADA @photoedmagazine



Rita Godlevskis / rita@photoed.ca Ruth Alves

Joshua Cameron

Briar Chaput Peppa Martin Margaret Mulligan Alexander Tesar

PhotoED Magazine 2100 Bloor St. West, Suite 6218 Toronto ON M6S 5A5

Deborah Cooper-Bullock

This issue was made possible with the assistance of The Government of Canada.

PhotoED Magazine is published 3x/year, SPRING, FALL, & WINTER See www.photoed.ca for subscription/advertising information. Publications Mail Agreement No. 40634032





Joshua Cameron

Nicola Irvin


David J. Fulde

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A STUDIO STATE OF MIND Make the most of the long winter nights by doing some indoor homework. Here are our top suggestions for the best ways to spend the day in your PJs while honing your craft, from theory to hands-on practical advice.

CHROMA: A PHOTOGRAPHER’S GUIDE TO LIGHTING WITH COLOR by Nick Fancher $20. — $32. Print + digital editions. Nick Fancher not only knows what he’s doing, but his instructions are awesome. NOT boring AND really well designed, Nick’s book provides instructions for studio photography you’ll use and actually want to try. From colour theory to using gels as gobos, and colour grading in post, we LOVE this resource. nickfancher.com/photography-books

DANA CLAXTON FRINGING THE CUBE With essays by Grant Arnold, Monika Kin Gagnon, Olivia Michiko Gagnon, Jaleh Mansoor 160 pages, Hardcover, 8.75 x 10.5 inches, $40. Known for her expansive multidisciplinary approach to art-making, Vancouverbased Dana Claxton, who is Hunkpapa Lakota (Sioux), has investigated notions of Indigenous identity, beauty, gender, and the body, as well as broader social and political issues through photography, film, video, and performance.

LEARN FROM JOEY L by Joey L. Online video tutorials, Free — $199.

Claxton critiques representations of Indigenous people that circulate in art, literature, and popular culture in general. This timely catalogue will be the first monograph to examine her work.

Joey L’s video tutorial site for photography, lighting, and Photoshop techniques. Why do we love this? Because the video quality is slick and he makes you want to try new stuff.

Available at Indigo & Chapters stores or online: www.chapters.indigo.ca

learnfromjoeyl.com PhotoED • 9

“This image was shot for a University of Toronto Magazine article about making bad decisions. The kid in me was overjoyed to buy all the candy my heart desired!”

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PHOTOGRAPHER VICKY LAM’S work can easily be identified by its carefully crafted, detail-oriented, and graphic style. From large corporate advertising campaigns to colourful creative projects, Vicky creates images that have an impact on a national audience, all from her Toronto studio.

Early on, Vicky considered photography “a cool way to travel the world and meet new people.” But, once she began creating images in studio, the meditative nature of the work, as well as the control she had over her environment and subjects, helped her discover her love for a more illustrative form of photography. Although she now focuses on still-life subjects, it was people who originally sparked her love for photography. As a

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young teenager, she became the official photographer on family vacations, before continuing on to the school newspaper and yearbook committee. Vicky’s stubbornness, determination, and passion led her to study photography at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary. As a commercial photographer, Vicky must produce work that satisfies not only her but, more importantly, her clients. When speaking about the challenges that come with this type of work, Vicky says that the clients are usually great to work with once the project’s concept is settled on. Most “demands” are only small things, such as a client wanting an excessive number of props in a shot or additional shots that weren’t initially agreed on. If any larger issues arise, Vicky takes comfort in the fact that she can reach out to the team at Westside Studio, her home base, to discuss ways to solve the issue — one of the perks of working in a shared studio space. In Vicky’s words, “commercial photography is a lot of problem solving, but it’s worth it to see my efforts out in the real world in a tangible form that I can share.” One of her most recent and largest accomplishments was creating images for a Google product launch. Vicky’s photos were featured in a public campaign that included images taking over Toronto’s Yonge–Bloor subway station and the stories-high digital screens at Yonge–Dundas Square. Contributing to a billboard was one 12 • PhotoED

TOP LEFT: This image was created for Precedent JD magazine. Part of a series of images accompanying the article, “Are there too many lawyers?” A graphic representation of a variety of lawyers using different coffee mugs.

TOP RIGHT: Image for Globe and Mail Style. Red-hot gifts for your Valentine. BOTTOM: Vicky stands next to her images at Toronto’s Yonge–Bloor subway station.

RIGHT PAGE: An image for U of T Magazine for an article about Canada’s Next Top Writer. Using a combination of symbolism, a sash, and confetti, Vicky was able to convey that this competition was the pageant equivalent in the writing world.


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of Vicky’s goals when starting out, and accomplishing that goal means that her work is truly out there for the world to see. Other recent work she’s proud of includes a book project called “You Care Too Much,” featuring various female artists depicting their take on what self-care means. “I’m proud to have worked on this because I was able to collaborate with friends to portray personal stories that mean a lot to us.” To produce these and other projects, Vicky used a Hasselblad H1 body and a Phase One 1Q80 back. For her everyday studio use, she typically employs her Canon 5DS R. Vicky loves what she does but also acknowledges the challenges: “there are so many things that you don’t realize going into photography school. You learn so much more on the job, especially about how advertising works. Marketing yourself is difficult. So is time management: being ready and able to drop whatever you’re doing to accommodate deadlines and recognizing a lot is out of your control — a lot of unknown elements can really tighten deadlines.” Working in a large, bright studio, Vicky is focused and works meticulously, with just the hum of a radio on in the background. She says, “studio work can be quite lonely, but it can also be very 14 • PhotoED

rewarding.” She thinks of her work as a challenge: “it’s kind of like a game of survivor; you just keep working, tackling the hurdles as needed, and eventually making it through to the other side.” When asked about what advice she would give to new and emerging photographers, Vicky says, “hang on! There will be moments where work is slow, where you might feel isolated (especially working in a studio), but keep going. Get outside, meet new people, explore artists and different types of art from your own, be persistent, and be patient. The work will come.” Vicky especially loves art gallery experiences and illustration work, and it shows. For inspiration, she often looks to artists outside photography, such as large-scale installation artist Olafur Eliasson. This Icelandic–Danish artist creates work that suspends audience attention by using simple elements to produce spatial experiences for all the senses. Looking ahead, Vicky is experimenting with stop-motion animation and is excited to keep giving everyday objects a new and exciting life, crafted in her Toronto studio, before being ready for the world to see.



LEFT PAGE, LEFT: From a series for the Canadian Food Truck Festival. A combination of food and car parts represent the two ideas together. Creative retouching was involved in order to further convey believability. LEFT PAGE, RIGHT: The cover of Cosmetics magazine for their “Innovation” issue. A graphic and abstract rendition of different types of mascara wands.

ABOVE, TOP LEFT: Shot for Globe and Mail Style, “Man vs. Marshmallow.” TOP RIGHT: Innit chairs shot for Toronto Life magazine. RIGHT: An image for Report on Business showcasing products made in Canada for an article called “Homemade.”

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We asked five recent photo school graduates from across Canada who loved their studio time at school for their advice and reflections on the transition from school studio to professional studio.


1. ADAM BORMAN Alberta / NAIT grad adamborman.com / @bormanadam Why do you love studio work?

Being in the studio allows me to create something out of nothing. It’s a great feeling. Studio photography is much more like painting, compared to shooting on location. Everything done in the studio is a construction. The only limit to what can be created is what you can dream up. Tell us about the image you chose to share with us.

This was an image that I saw in my head a long time before shooting it. Incorporating geometric elements into my images is something I have been doing a lot more recently. I love clean lines and good, simple design.

What have you learned about yourself in studio?

I tend to be too picky about small details. Working to a deadline is important for me, even if it is self-imposed. Otherwise, I spend far too long working on one image. What has been the hardest thing about being a fresh grad? What has been the most rewarding?

The best part about being in school was being surrounded by really cool and creative people every day. It has been difficult to keep the same level of momentum and drive without an immediate support network. Of course, you still all meet for coffee once and awhile, but it is not the same. The most rewarding part is doing real work for real clients in the real world. It’s one thing to shoot something cool for school, but it’s a completely different level doing it for a real client.

2. ZENNA WONG Vancouver / Langara College grad zennawong.com @zennawongphotography Why do you love studio work?

It really allows you to focus on your subject without distractions. I love the feeling of being totally absorbed in my work. Tell us about the image you chose to share with us.

Inspired by Native Shoes, I wanted to create images that blended photography with digital art. I love bold colours and I aim to create clean, dynamic images that walk the line between reality and render. What have you learned about yourself in studio?

I’ve learned that I love working in studio! Prior to attending Langara College, I had mostly shot in outdoor environments. As I spent more time in PhotoED • 17



the studio at the school, I discovered how great it was to have total control over the set and lighting.

3. PHILIPPE ST-PIERRE Quebec / Photographie du Cégep de Matane grad philippestpierre.wixsite.com/photographe

What has been the hardest thing about being a fresh grad? What has been the most rewarding?

Why do you love studio work?

It’s interesting to transition from being a student with a hectic school schedule to a fresh grad finding my own way. As a freelancer, the reality is that work can be sporadic, but I don’t doubt my career path. The hardest part now is remembering that my value is not defined by dry periods. I’m gradually learning how to invest my time in my own business when I’m not doing work for others. That being said, one of the most rewarding parts of being a fresh grad is the conversations I have with other industry professionals. There is a common understanding about the struggles of beginning your career and luckily just about everyone is willing to pass on some advice to the new kid.

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I love that I have complete control over the lighting and the mood I am looking for. I like to be prepared and I know what I want. In the studio, I don’t worry about uncertain weather, variations of daylight, or being forced to change my plans at the last minute if things are not as planned. Also, the possibilities for creative projects are endless. You can go a long way with a plain background and the lighting you choose. Tell us about the image you chose to share with us.

This is a self-portrait from a series that is not yet complete. It is all about the body shapes, magnified with contrast and colours. I didn’t originally plan on doing a self-portrait for this project. It was made as a test for an upcoming shoot and I ended up liking it.

What have you learned about yourself in studio?

I am a perfectionist and I realized that I tend to give too much attention and energy to small details. Sometimes this keeps me from fully exploring my creative concepts. It is important to question yourself on the details and the technical aspects, but it’s also important to let things go and push your creativity further. What has been the hardest thing about being a fresh grad? What has been the most rewarding?

At the end of my studies, I got a job in an e-commerce studio, where I work now. It has been an incredible opportunity, but I must admit I was a bit confused for the first few weeks because the working process is so different from what I was used to in college. The most difficult thing for me was to find my place as a photographer on a professional team. Of course, we had teamwork in school, but we were all photography students so the task division was as simple as sharing


What has been the hardest thing about being a fresh grad? What has been the most rewarding?

The hardest thing about being a fresh grad is figuring out what to do with yourself. There’s pressure to try to get a job in your field, and to be successful. But those same challenges and pressures can also be exciting because the world is truly your oyster. There are so many avenues to go down and career paths to explore. The possibilities are endless!

5. TOM WOOD Toronto / Algonquin College grad tomwoodphoto.com everything equally. After college, I felt a bit intimidated to be surrounded by professionals who knew exactly what to do and when. Working with an artistic director was new to me and I didn’t really understand the difference between our jobs, since I had to do both in school. I now love working with a team, as everyone benefits from one another’s talents. We are all doing what we are best at, and it brings our work to another level.

4. MADELINE MURRAY Toronto / Sheridan College grad iammad.ca / @__iammad Why do you love studio work?

I love the challenge of figuring out how an inanimate object can be brought to life when combined with the right lighting, styling, and composition. I think it takes a certain kind of person to enjoy working in the studio, in solitude or with a very small team of people. The studio is my place of refuge and serenity. It allows me to become fully immersed in the image I am trying to create.

Tell us about the image you chose to share with us.

Why do you love studio work?

I’m interested in repetition, symmetry, and bold colour.

I love studio work because it’s equally challenging and exciting. It’s an opportunity to explore and create a style of your own.

What have you learned about yourself in studio?

Tell us about the image you chose to share with us.

First, trust your gut. Subconsciously you know what’s going to work and what’s not, so always start with your instinct. I found that the first couple shots really set the tone for the whole shoot. When an idea doesn’t work right away and you’ve exhausted solutions to try and fix it with still no success, your confidence can really drop.

Theo is a model I photographed for a personal project. I had set up a complicated light setup to try to replicate images I love by Albert Watson (in line with his work with Nine Inch Nails). I ended up switching all of that off and only using one light and really liked how the image came out.

Know when to quit. If you aren’t happy with the shot, give it about 30 more frames and then move on. There is no point dwelling on one image if you’re not happy with it. If you become frustrated with a shoot and feel that you’re almost there, take a deep breath, step away from the camera and go for a walk. Separate yourself from the shoot and come back with fresh eyes. Scroll through what you have shot and you might see something from a different perspective.

I’ve learned that I can quickly overthink things, so I really need to get into the habit of slowing down.

What have you learned about yourself in studio?

What has been the hardest thing about being a fresh grad? What has been the most rewarding?

The hardest thing for me was understanding on-set etiquette. The most rewarding thing is that once I got it, this special skill has translated well into helping me get my own clients. PhotoED • 19


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This lava-filled moon scene was inspired by a chance encounter with a vulcanologist studying planetary bodies.

IMAGINING EXOPLANETS Journeys to other worlds in Adam Makarenko’s Toronto workshop BY ALEXANDER TESAR

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Probes, Makarenko says, are our greatest assets for exploring the universe. 22 • PhotoED


here is a box under the work table in Adam Makarenko’s Toronto studio. Like the rubbish bin of some unhinged god, it contains hundreds of planets, each about the size of a fist.

This is Adam’s sculptural library of imagined exoplanets. His works are modelled on real worlds that orbit stars light years away. Each of his creations — rocky surfaces streaked with blue, gas giants with swirls of white and red — draws on the sparse data astronomers have collected, combined with the principles of planetary composition we have learned from our own solar system. When these exoplanets are photographed against a dark backdrop, or juxtaposed against an elaborate set seething with lava or coated in crystalline spires, the images look as though they were beamed from another part of the Milky Way. In reality, each exoplanet is made of plaster or Styrofoam that has been covered in glue or paint to add texture and colour. Adam’s work shows us that advanced technology isn’t always enough to 24 • PhotoED

bring humans to other worlds — exploring the galaxy requires imagination, too. The existence of planets outside our solar system was long hypothesized, but proven only in 1992, when astronomers Dale Frail and Alex Wolszczan published their discovery of two hunks of rock orbiting a dead star 2300 light years away. Since then, 3472 exoplanets have been found, and NASA estimates that approximately one trillion exist in our galaxy alone. Nowadays, the discovery of a new planet typically goes unnoticed. But in February 2017, NASA announced that three Earth-like worlds had been found in the habitable zone of a star system about 40 light years away; in the impossible scale of space, that’s practically in our backyard. They summon to mind the possibility of life existing somewhere else in the universe — another species, or one day, perhaps, our descendants. It’s a nice thought, but premature. Discovery is an abstract term in this context. The vast majority of exoplanets have been observed

LEFT: Makarenko’s exoplanets, made of plaster or Styrofoam, typically take 24 hours to make. ABOVE: Makarenko poses with his creations. RIGHT: Makarenko adds the final touches to the set (see page 23), which measures 8 × 9 feet.

only indirectly, either by watching for a star’s “wobble” (changes in the wavelengths of its light caused by the gravity of a nearby planet) or by using a telescope to keep track of minute alterations in the amount of light recorded from a star as a planet passes in front of it. What these exoplanets actually look like remains unknown. In an essay for Atlas Obscura about the history of “space art,” author George Pendle observes that, while photography usurped illustration in a number of scientific disciplines throughout the nineteenth century, outer space remained an area “too far away to be photographed yet too thrilling to be left undocumented.” Art and science have a symbiotic relationship: art inspires new generations of researchers, while new discoveries inspire more artists. Take, for example, one of the first detailed artistic creations of these faraway worlds: the cover of The Conquest of Space (1949), illustrated by American painter Chesley Bonestell. The picture shows a rocket perched on a shadowy, mountainous moonscape. In the foreground, suited figures assemble a scientific instrument. The image helped popularize the idea of manned space travel — even rocket pioneer Wernher von Braun was a fan of Bonestell’s work. At the time Bonestell was drawing these scenes, the idea of humans going to the stars was regarded with skepticism (NASA launched its second monkey into space that same year; it did not survive). Only 20 years later, the first astronauts touched down on our moon.

RIGHT: Makarenko rotates coloured paper on a turntable and captures the results through long exposure—an idea adapted from an old special-effects trick—to create rings.

There are simpler, and more realistic, ways to show distant objects than by creating intricate miniatures. Computers have become the standard method (the producers of 2014’s Interstellar hired a physicist to help create the film’s CGI black hole). And the James Webb Space Telescope — a more powerful successor to the Hubble — will launch in 2018, giving scientists the ability to directly examine hitherto unseen exoplanets. Adam believes that his sculptures, physical planets that can be moved and touched, provide something equally important. “There is something tangible about the miniature versus something that is made on the computer — not necessarily better, but different,” he writes. “It makes these far-off places appear to be more real for me, because they are sculptural forms. The images are literally transporting the viewer to a physical place.” It will take decades for humans to reach Mars. And we may never set foot on any other planet. But in Adam’s studio, at least, it is possible to grasp entire worlds. This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of The Walrus magazine.

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DAVID J. FULDE SHOOTING WITH FLAIR David J. Fulde has a particularly unique perspective. His work references the lighting techniques of Nadav Kander, the colours of anime cartoons, and the theatrical spirit of drag queens. These things, combined with David’s charismatic, easygoing East Coast attitude, make this Toronto-based photographer a joy to follow. BY JOSHUA CAMERON

Justin Gray/Fisher Price IG: @JustinToast PhotoED • 27

DAVID J. FULDE’S apartment/home studio is piled high with cameras, books, lighting equipment, and lenses. A transplant from Halifax, David works in Toronto as a fashion and portrait photographer, an extension of his work in the film industry. Always on the hunt for new ideas, David is constantly consuming media, and much of his inspiration comes from popular culture. He also uses reference books; his collection includes beauty makeup lookbooks, fine art books, a book of famous advertising photography, and a selection of “Art of” books covering topics including anime Spirited Away and video game adventure Zelda, among others. “There’s no one source of inspiration,” David explains. “Creativity is always a mishmash of ideas. Media and culture are full of good concepts. Being a queer man, too, there’s so much culture there to pull from.” A big fan of drag shows, he is inspired by the creativity of drag queens and often photographs them. David uses Pinterest to aggregate ideas for photoshoots. “I constantly update a board of ideas so that if someone approaches me hoping to shoot, I have some references and ideas ready right away,” he says. “Sometimes I have an idea in my head but I can’t find pictures of it,” David adds. “I need to express those ideas visually, especially if I’m working with a team.” He often makes mockups or collages of ideas in Photoshop before a shoot, digitally sketching his ideas. He is also teaching himself to draw concept art for clients. “I’m not very good yet,” he laughs, “but it’ll definitely help.” To develop an idea, David likes to “cook” it. “I usually sit with an idea a little bit and let it gestate before acting on it,” he says. “I set it aside and let it come to fruition on its own. Then I go back to it a few weeks later with fresh eyes and add to it.” “Once I have the idea or the model, I seek out what I’m missing, like a great makeup artist or props. If I have a budget for the shoot, cool, if I don’t have a budget, cool.” David likes to improvise and collaborate during his photoshoots, letting ideas flow by themselves or with the help of his clients and collaborators. “I realized right away that what’s best on paper isn’t always what’s best, period. Sometimes I’ll end up with something totally unlike my original ideas,” he says, “but those can end up being my best shoots.” David uses a wide range of cameras for studio work, from a Fujifilm X-T1 mirrorless camera to a Mamiya RB67 6×7 format to an enormous Fujifilm GW690 medium format camera. His go-to lenses are a vintage Pentax 50mm f1.4, a Vivitar 85mm f2, and a Jupiter 28mm f1.4. He also uses a few Cactus wireless flashes for studio lighting effects. 28 • PhotoED

DAVID J. FULDE’S TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS NEW TO THE STUDIO 1. Have your gear, lights, props, makeup, and whatever else ready before your client arrives.

“Lighting was something I work really hard on to get right,” he says. As a way to get back at a boss who discouraged creativity outside the workplace, David made 100 self-portraits in 100 days, documenting the progression of his improving skills and learning new techniques along the way. “Photo number one and photo number 100 are exactly the same shot, but the 100th photo uses all of the things I’d learned over the course of the other 99 photographs,” he said.

3. Always have music playing! It lightens the mood.

“I’m extremely inspired by the photographic work of Nick Fancher and Nadav Kander,” says David. “Their mastery of lighting is what sells each photograph, in my opinion. That’s where I learned my lighting techniques.”

5. You’ll mess up sometimes, and that’s okay. Roll with what happens. Maybe it’ll turn into a new idea.

David’s work was recently featured in the 10X10 photography exhibition project at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto during Pride 2018. Ten queer photographers were each tasked with taking pictures of ten queer subjects. In an effort to bring some faces from Nova Scotia to the project, David made sure all of his 10X10 subjects were from the East Coast.

2. Be nice. Treat people like people.

4. Say your client’s name! A little recognition goes a long way.


TOP LEFT: Emerjade IG: @em.er.jade

TOP RIGHT: Mango Sassi IG: @MangoSassi

TOP CENTRE: Lexxicon IG: @officialexxicon

LEFT: Maria Rubio IG: @MariaRubio_ model

Now David is working on a zine that looks at identity in a new photographic way. “I want to explore this idea as far as I can, I’m driven by my own desire to be better,” he says. While he works on this creative endeavour, he will continue shooting projects with advertising agencies, doing more photoshoots with drag queens, and using his home studio as much as possible.

fulde.ca PhotoED • 29



Our expert contributing portrait photographer


Changing up your standard one-light setup, just by moving a few things around, can get you some very different results.

keeps things simple and effective.

IF YOU’VE EVER BEEN ASKED to whip up a portrait for a friend or a client, and have felt as though you kinda know what you need to do, but have managed to get only one look with that one light you’ve got ... we’re here to help.

These variations basically involve moving your light and reflector (a foamcore board) around to create really different moods.

MARGARET’S TOP TIPS 1. Foamcore is an ideal reflector. Because of its stiffness and slightly glossy surface it bounces more light than matte cardstock or fabric.

2. The larger the card, the better its spread of reflected light. Tape two pieces of foamcore together with white gaffer tape for a more effective bounce card. It will also be foldable for easy storage.


Using a speedlight or professional flash unit, here’s all you need + your camera + a friendly model. Luckily, we have Joshua!


Pros use this lighting all the time as it’s a solid and beautiful light, but we wanted more.

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3. Don’t ignore the floor! A warm-toned wood floor or brightly coloured carpet will reflect light and tint colour onto the subject. Cover the floor with dark fabric or cards to minimize unwanted colour from invading the shot.


We love the look of a backlit natural


light portrait, but these conditions aren’t available on demand.


Place the stand with the umbrella high,

behind, and to the side of the subject. Aim the light not at — but over the subject’s head, with most of the light spilling onto the white card placed close to the camera on the opposite side. Light will reflect off the card and fill in the subject’s face.





This side-light setup, when positioned just right, can get you a really nice glow in the eye.

Place the stand with the umbrella

high and at 90 degrees to the subject, positioned between the subject and the camera.

Next, place the foamcore card between

the light and the subject, so that most of the light falling onto the side of the head is blocked. Play with the placement of the card to achieve a soft transition.





Give your subject a little extra moodiness with some Rembrandt lighting.

Turn the umbrella to a vertical position (as if

out in the rain) and place the stand 45 degrees to the camera position. Raise or lower the stand to achieve the desired amount of light in the eye socket. To soften the shadow side of the face, place card close to the subject to reflect the light back in.


Check out the triangle of light on the left side on Joshua’s cheek, and how the back wall has gone dark. To help control the tone of the background, tip the umbrella slightly away from the wall to make it even darker.



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JENS KRISTIAN BALLE Vancouver /YVR jenskristianballe.com

Why do you love studio work?

I love the control: a studio environment allows me to perfect every single little detail…. also it doesn’t rain in a studio. Tell us about the first time you worked with a client on set. How did it go?

I don’t think it’s that memorable or exciting, we were shooting some very simple product shots on white. I did continue working with the client, so it must have gone all right. What is the most important etiquette rule for emerging photographers to keep in mind in the studio?

Should be a given, but, be professional. What is the one piece of studio equipment you would never want to be without (besides your camera)?

I do love gaffer tape. I don’t think I have ever done a shoot where it hasn’t come in handy.

THIS PAGE: Jens Kristian Balle “Something Fishy” OPPOSITE PAGE: Photo: Larissa Issler “The Appraisal” Prop Stylist: Franny Alder 32 • PhotoED


Inspired by the wise words of Grand Master Flash circa 1982, “It’s like a jungle sometimes. It makes me wonder how I keep from going under,” we asked three Canadian studio photographers at the top of their games what it’s like to be a studio pro. Here is what they had to say.

LARISSA ISSLER Toronto / YYZ larissaissler.com IG: @larissaissler

Why do you love studio work?

I feel like most people think I’m crazy for loving the studio! I’m drawn to the creative control and attention to detail required for studio work. From composition to lighting, it’s all about getting the right balance for me. I truly love visual organization — working with something until the composition is just so brings me satisfaction. It’s almost embarrassing. Tell us about the first time you worked with a client on set. How did it go?

My first big shoot was working with a collection of pieces from high-end jewellers — we’re talking rings that could be the down payment on a house! It seemed so crazy to me. It was a rush to work with couture pieces

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and to light finely crafted gems. It took longer than I anticipated, but my team worked hard and after two long days we had photos that everyone was excited about, including the client! I learned a lot, especially about the importance of a realistic and achievable shoot schedule. It was a big stepping stone for me. What is the most important etiquette rule for emerging photographers to keep in mind in the studio?

It’s so important to charge your worth. It’s easy to get pulled into “do this job for free and we’ll send you 10 more paying jobs” shtick, but the reality is that this rarely works out for the photographer. Not only do you fuel a fire of underappreciation for skilled photography, but you will forever be the “cheap” photographer to that agency/ client and it’s near impossible to change that perception once it’s set. You always have to remember that on top of the fee for your creative skill and training there is the cost of your gear, lighting, studio, computer, insurance, travel time, assistants, edit time, catering, etc. Don’t undervalue yourself or your expenses. The whole industry will suffer as a result. After all, this is your job we’re talking about. Your dentist wouldn’t accept half of her set fee, why should you? What is the one piece of studio equipment you would never want to be without (besides your camera)?

There are lots of little tidbits that I love to use in the studio. My favourites include light modifiers and grip rigs. Force me to pick and I’d say Plexiglas and mirrors are my top two. Plexi is such a versatile light modifier and allows you to control gradients and reflections in a delicate way. I always have it on set. I also have a go-to bin of various sized mirrors that makes an appearance on almost every shoot. Bouncing a little extra light into the scene just where I want it, and nowhere else, is a favourite trick of the studio trade. 34 • PhotoED

LEFT: Personal photo project by Larissa Issler “Ducks” Series: Figures of Domestication Prop Stylist: Krystin Leigh-Smith BELOW: Photo & Styling: Larissa Issler “Just a Sprig of Honeysuckle” Featuring Bloom Gin



Montreal / MTL nikmirus.ca Why do you love studio work?

I like the control of the environment and enjoy being able to build an image from the ground up. Rather than going out and capturing a moment or feeling, I love being able to create images piece by piece. I get a lot of pleasure starting from an idea or sketch, assembling materials, manipulating light, working through technical details, and watching an image come to life in front of the camera. There is also a collaborative element that plays a major role in the work that I do. I often work with assistants, art directors, and set designers. It’s enjoyable working in a collaborative environment to create something beautiful. Tell us about the first time you worked with a client on set. How did it go?

One of the first shoots I did was for an eyewear company and I had a really positive experience. I had spent some time prior to the shoot with the client pitching fun and colourful ideas. It was nice that I was able to develop a relationship and get to know them before we got into the studio. This helped with my nerves considerably. When the shoot was over I remember feeling really great. It was nice to be able to see a project through from start to finish. Most importantly, it gave me the confidence to pursue more commercial work. What is the most important etiquette rule for emerging photographers to keep in mind in the studio?

There is a level of confidence and control one should maintain in front of your clients. Stuff can happen in the studio. There can be miscommunications. Gear can malfunction. This is true for any shoot in or outside of the studio. I think it’s important for photographers to learn to be able to maintain a level of control on set even when things aren’t going as smoothly as planned. The last thing you want is to have your clients start

An image created for the Red Bull Music Academy Campaign in 2016.

questioning your abilities. If your clients feel confident in you and have a good time with you on set, you’ll develop ongoing business. What is the one piece of studio equipment you would never want to be without (besides your camera)?

I would never want to be without a studio column. It’s not a must, but it makes life as a studio photographer that much easier. The one that I use on a weekly basis isn’t the fanciest (it has its quirks), but I’d take it over the most

high-end tripod any day. It allows me to change camera angle, height, and position very quickly. It’s also super solid and you can lock it into place. This is a huge benefit when there are many people working around a set or when making images with multiple exposures. I also think that every studio photographer should have a decent tool chest full of various materials such as tape, wire, fishing line, small blocks, cleaning material, chopsticks... I could go on and on. It’s amazing how often I go to this kit during a shoot. PhotoED • 35


TORRIE GROENING Peppa Martin’s visit to Torrie Groening’s Vancouver studio reveals the ethos of an avid collector and artist; high intention, high production, and an elegant manifestation of a good idea. BY PEPPA MARTIN

TORRIE GROENING’S STUDIO was built in 1910 by architect Frederick Mellish, and originally housed the Norwegian Lutheran Church. Mellish was a well-known architect from Ontario who moved to Vancouver in 1908 and went on to build a number of homes, churches, and warehouses. Subsequently occupied by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Cry in the Wilderness Church, and lastly, the Basel Hakka Lutheran Church, the building was decommissioned as a church in 2008 and became a private residence. Torrie’s family’s ongoing work on the building has included a new set of altar windows that echo the Gothic archway of the interior stage and exterior brickwork sourced from local neighbourhood tear-downs.

I met Torrie at her studio on a postcard-worthy day, saturated in sunshine. I rang the buzzer at the tall wooden gate and was swiftly greeted by the artist along with her sociable pug, Stella. Warm, engaging, and with pale rose-pink hair reminiscent of vintage chintz, Torrie toured me around the studio, pausing at projects in various states of progress. At 1700 square feet, the studio sprawls under an uncommonly high ceiling and is encircled with tall, broad windows that drench the room with natural light. Worktables are oriented around the 36 • PhotoED

room. An array of paints, pastels, coloured pencils, pigments, and brushes occupy drawers and containers. Tripods with lights and a medium format camera gather around the constructed set of a developing photo series. Cubbies overflow with small ornamental glass vessels in a kaleidoscopic rainbow of colours. A giant inkjet printer looms large in one corner, easy chairs surrounded by shelves of art books create a lounge area under a massive monitor, and surfaces are strewn with test prints. “I work in two linked methods: I draw, paint, or make prints of objects — these pieces exist independently and later may appear in new-collaged compositions and be used as props in photobased work,” she explains. One quickly discovers Torrie’s métier: collections. “I started collecting bits of nature when I was a kid — rocks and things on the beach,” she says. Torrie now photographs her found and collected objects and, by employing a process of cut and paste, creates large-scale collage artworks. “The creative part is building the sets, researching, finding objects, composing, and assembling,” she muses. “I work on the still life images like stage sets: the objects, the actors, and myself, the director.


Objects are chosen for their evocative sense and may take on new understanding when linked by proximity to another. These new works include objects from nature and from those shelves where we stow the things that are not treasures, but objects kept for their particular allure. With the collection and arrangement of the still life scene, I create unlikely, but not impossible situations. In this fluid state, the collages are added to and economized until the composition is established. Several objects have recurring roles in new works, often transformed for their new setting.” Seated in the lounge/library, we enter into a wide-ranging discussion on the local arts community, our mutual acquaintances, artist’s biography books ( Josef Sudek, Georgia O’Keeffe), her 38 • PhotoED

upcoming book-making workshop in Italy, and her creative ethos (namely, “high intention, high production, and an elegant manifestation of a good idea”). After two decades of working in traditional printmaking and collage in Vancouver, Victoria, and Toronto, Torrie shifted towards a hybrid practice of digital photography and collage, after she moved to San Francisco in 2001. “It was an exciting time to be in California with new digital technology in photography and printing. Artists were beginning to create mixed media works that embraced this creative freedom and technology. I saw artists Deborah Orapollo and William Wiley using digital photography adventurously, like artists do…and I was heartened that the

PREVIOUS PAGE, LEFT: Torrie with her work Colour Seeker, The Colour Collector’s Way a mural commission installed over five floors at Vancouver General Hospital. RIGHT: “Destiny Bouquet” Photomontage, 2016. THIS PAGE: A detail from The Color Seekers, The Color Collector’s Way.

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museum community began accepting these works. As well as home to many of Adobe’s top Photoshop masters and instructors, San Francisco had the benefit for me of an enthusiastic art community.” It was a life-changing experience that catapulted her into a new phase of artistic practice, after many years of working as a stone lithographer. Torrie’s recent successes include an exhibition at the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts, and participation in Houston’s Fotofest 2018 with a solo show at Foto Relevance Gallery. She also completed two public commissions that were featured in Vancouver’s Capture Photography Festival in 2018. The first Capture Festival project was a commission from the philanthropic Leong family to provide a public art installation at the new Segal Family Health Centre at Vancouver General Hospital. Occupying five stories, Colour Seekers, The Colour Collector’s Way is printed on transparent vinyl affixed to the windows of each floor, making it visible from both the street to passersby, and inside to patients of the facility. The second Capture Festival project in partnership with the Gastown Business Improvement Association took place in what she describes as “the most charming alley in Vancouver.” Torrie’s photo-collage work in this unusual venue featured a piece called Alley View Bouquet, a Delivery for Mrs. Deighton, curated by Kate Henderson, celebrating an unsung heroine of local history. Mrs. Deighton was Qwa-halia (Madeline) Deighton, a Squamish woman who married John “Gassy Jack” Deighton (for whom Gastown was named) at 12-years old — 30 years his junior. The Deighton family ran a hotel, which caught fire and burned down in the Great Fire of Vancouver in 1886. On the night of the fire, women from the Squamish Nation paddled back and 40 • PhotoED

ABOVE: Alley View Bouquet, A Delivery for Mrs. Deighton. A Vancouver public art project, 2018. RIGHT: Colour Seeker, The Colour Collector’s Way, installed at Vancouver

General Hospital. Patients and staff experience the images as colour that fills the corridor during the day, while the images appear in a glowing lightbox to the public from the outside at night.

forth between their home on the North Shore and what is now Gastown, in canoes to rescue people. Torrie’s piece aims to pay tribute and shed light on the lesser-known women of this local history. Currently, Torrie is tackling a new approach of merging her photography with 3D sculpture. While no longer a house of worship, this photographer’s studio is doubtlessly divine.


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STUDIO (RE)CREATIONS Edmonton based photographer, RYAN PARKER’S unique selfportrait project pays homage to some of the most iconic images created of celebrities by some of the top photographers from around the world. BY NICOLA IRVIN

Images from left: Original image by Martin Schoeller of Steve Carrell

Original image by Dan Winter of Arnold Schwartzenegger

Original image by Yousuf Kars of Humphrey Bogart

Original image by Mark Selige of Mikhail Baryshnikov

Original image by Bruce Webe of Matt Damon

Tapping into his background as an actor and his talent as a photographer, we wanted to know more about why and how Ryan Parker decided to take on this personal challenge. What inspired you to take on this personal project?

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A portrait study forum through Peter Hurley’s online learning platform ‘Headshot Crew’ includes studying a new master photographer every month. I wanted to be sure I would invest time into each master, so starting a project based around my study seemed to be the best way to keep myself accountable.

Who’s next on your list to emulate?

And ruin the surprise? Just kidding! Avedon for sure. Platon. Maybe even Laudermilk, who knows? I’m actually working on Platon right now. He is one of my all time favourite photographers. He’s the real deal. What is involved in your process?

I try to immerse myself in the photographers’ work that I’m studying. I buy their books (and not just the ones with pictures). For Dan Winters I spent an entire day photographing any dead insect I could





Bruce Weber - Matt Damon

find in my studio. Meticulously threading insects onto fishing wire gave a lot of insight into Dan Winters and his work. Once I find an image I want to re-create, I start sourcing props and costumes. I’m also an actor, and having connections to costume designers and prop masters has helped when I needed something a bit more obscure - like a six-foot tall American flag. While the props and wardrobe are coming together, I do a lighting test. As this is a personal project, I’m tight for budget, so if I need a specific light I don’t have, I try and make do. For instance, an oncamera ring flash was recreated by using a small white beauty dish with a deflector and a sock on, positioned directly behind the camera. When I have everything I need, I jump into the studio. My camera is tethered to my computer so I can see how I’m doing, and I’ll have the image I’m trying to emulate at the ready for reference. I keep going until I get something I’m satisfied with. I’m always exhausted when it’s done. Then I share my first edit with a few good photographer friends to get another set of eyes on the results. What are your criteria when you’re choosing an image to recreate?

I need to know I can do it. I’m trying to re-create these portraits as close as I can straight from the camera. If the shots require some specific location or clothing or furniture that makes the image what it is, and I can’t emulate it, I stay away… at least for now.

What is the biggest challenge that you’ve encountered on this project? Any attempts that have not been a success? What has been your biggest personal success?

When I’m shooting, I’m completely alone. Which has been rewarding, but also proves to be a big challenge, especially if both my hands are required in the portrait. I use a Yongnuo RF Wireless Remote Trigger, and when both hands are needed in the portrait, my big toe presses the trigger, occasionally resulting in leg cramps! I’m always a bit nervous someone will burst into my studio and catch me alone ‘in the act’ not sure why… fake blood on my face, tape wrapped around my head, shirt off slapping my own hands in a long exposure… it’s all a bit ridiculous but I love it. The Seliger and Winters recreations especially expanded my knowledge of lighting techniques. Creatively, I feel like this work has helped me immensely with my personal and professional work. It’s been a fascinating project and I’ve found that my style has started to evolve with the things I’ve picked up through this work and studying the greats. To see more of Ryan Parker’s recreations and get more behind the scenes details on how he set up each shot, check out his website. www.parkerphoto.ca PhotoED • 43



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MICHELLE BRUCE Saint Catharines, ON

www.michellebruce.com IG: @michellebrucedotcom

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STEPHEN BROOKBANK Halifax, NS Implements

“A series of everyday objects and materials that have some special significance for the owners, beyond the practical intention of the object.” TOP ROW: “Wrench of Alexandra Cousins, Wrench and Welding Mask used by Johnny Laskowski at Barton Air, Hamilton, ON” 2016 MIDDLE ROW: “Curling Iron and Mixers of Marcia Laskowski” 2016 BOTTOM ROW: “Cameras of Simon Willms, Trevor Hughes and Alexandra Cousins” 2016 www.stephenbrookbank.com IG: @stephen_brookbank

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LEFT: EMILY HUSSEY Petrolia, ON ‘Stoic’

www.gwnphotography.com IG: @gwnphotography


Saint Catharines, ON ‘Tar #1, #2, #5, #11’ “Taken in collaboration with my father, Tar explores themes of blue-collar labour. Tar is a commonly used substance in roofing, the profession my father worked for 45 years. Together we smashed open hardened tar to reveal the shiny insides of this ancient black substance. We discussed and setup compositions of the material he was so familiar with, and I photographed it, immersing myself in the organic forms and textures.”

www.dannycustodio.com 48 PhotoED IG:• @danny.custodio

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Toronto, ON ‘Essentia 1’, ‘Essentia 2’

www.christina-gregoire.com IG: @christinagregoire


Winnipeg, MB ‘Everybody Hurts...Sometimes’

IG: @prettypixels_photo


www.cullenphotos.ca IG: @karolinecullen

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www.juliakuziw.com IG: @juliakuziw

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St. Jo


nich IG: @



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ohn’s, NL


holasaiden.ca @nicholasaiden

GHT: DY H. MCPHEE Spring Island, BC


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DAVID POLLARD Ottawa, ON ‘Ageing Beauty’


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Toronto, ON CLOCKWISE: ‘Duaa’, ‘Abigail’, ‘Keessa’, ‘Wyatt’, ‘Ebony’

www.alisonmaxwell.ca IG: @alsnmxwll

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Toronto, ON LEFT TO RIGHT: ‘Portrait of Antea’, ‘Portrait of Paul’, ‘Portrait of Pascal’, ‘Portrait of Chaz’

www.katedockeray.com IG: @katedockeray

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TOP LEFT: JOHN STEELE Collingwood, ON ‘Cocktails’

www.studiosteele.com IG: @studiosteelephotography


Toronto, ON “Hot Pink is part of a still life exploration in colour and minimalism using simple and readily available objects.”

theodoramitrakos.com IG: @theodoramitrakos


www.chantalchapdelaine.wixsite. com/chantalphotography

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Ottawa, ON LEFT TO RIGHT: ‘Shelina 2’, ‘Shameen 2’, ‘Shelina 1’, ‘Shameen 1’

www.mayadesrosiersphotography.com IG: @mayadesrosiersphotography

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Toronto, ON ‘Gender Hue’ “Gender Hue is an exploration of the idea that gender is more than what we put on our bodies. I look at with how we express ouselves through fashion. In this series, I wanted to explore womenswear with a male subject to create vibrant visuals that are against the normative of mens fashion.”

IG: @mt.tiff PhotoED • 67

TOP LEFT: JEFF CURRAN Toronto, ON ‘Happy Hour’



Toronto, ON ‘Repeat’, ‘Don’t Drop the Roses’, ‘Dream’

www.malikdieleman.format.com IG: @malikdieleman_artist

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Toronto ‘Conne ‘Conne

IG: @a


Toronto ‘Tea Tim “Ritual setting session sketche shootin we took pastries result.”


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o, ON ections V’, ‘Connections IV’, ections VII’



o, ON me’ is an important aspect of the stage for a photographic n. I have ideas written and ed out well before I begin ng. Half way through this shoot k a break with tea, fruit and s. The break inspired this


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Montreal, QB LEFT TO RIGHT: From the ‘Ordinaries’ Series, ‘Candles’, ‘Stationary’, ‘Toothbrush’ “This project is minimalism inspired and features a selection of objects from daily life. The exploration of illustrated aesthetics puts an emphasis on play between colours and textures.”

www.tomberthelot.com IG: @_tomberthelot

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