volume five – issue four – january 2011
Publisher Sheridan Student Union Inc. sheridanstudentunion.com
Creative Director Josiah Gordon firstname.lastname@example.org This issue is dedicated to Lorelei Sparrow Gordon, born Dec.18, 2010
Editor-in-Chief Michael Burton email@example.com
Editor at Large
Michael Burton Jennifer Horn Matt Main Jenn McBride Bryan Myers Riley Wignall
Tyler Doupe Josiah Gordon Mike Luciani Satesh Mistry
Matt Barnes Kevin Bryan David Burton Mark Galaszkiewicz Rafael Goldchain James Greenspan Andrew Mark Hildebrand Jennifer Horn Christopher Muir Kathy Muldoon Nikki Ormerod Howard Simkins David White Mark Zibert
Travis Online Michael Burton Chris D’Alessandro Derek Heraldo Matt Main Stephanie Martyniuk Bryan Myers Curtis Sindrey
Photographers Kevin Bryan Luis Mora Brooke Wedlock
Sales Team Jayme Bennett Chuck Erman Josiah Gordon
Bryan Myers firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Beetham Unique Media Solutions
The Sheridan Photography Program
Bryan Myers had the task of writing a profile on the spectacular Matt Barnes. Thanks Matt for chatting with us, and telling us a couple funny stories along the way. Your work is an inspiration to all the students here at Sheridan.
Nikki was kind enough to sit down with one of our young writers Matt Main to talk photography. She showed Matt the ropes of Westside Studio in Toronto and had a chat about her style of work. Thank you Nikki, and thanks for showing Matt a good time in Toronto.
Thank you to our resident badass, and one of the photography gurus here at Sheridan. David helped us choose the photos that went to print for this issue, and we just happened to do a profile on him while we were at it. Thank you David, for everything.
We’d like to thank Mark Zibert for taking the time to talk to us. Mark is one of the busiest people we’ve ever encountered, but we managed to get a hold of him. Check out his profile this issue done by the one and only Jennifer Horn.
To contribute to travis please e-mail email@example.com
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by Jennifer Horn
by Bryan Myers
by Bryan Myers
Who the Hell Is...
by Jenn McBride
Andrew Mark Hildebrand DESIGN
Make sure to check us out online at travismag.com. Or if you're into it, check us out on Twitter, @travismag.
by Michael Burton
by the Students of Sheridan
by Matt Main
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editor’s rant I yell and throw things
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I’m sticking to my strengths. Yeah, you heard that right. I’m sticking to what I am good at, and that is writing. Being a photographer, I gave that a try once. I shot some half decent photos, I shot my friends playing music, riding their bikes. It’s a cool feeling when you’re in the photo pit of an intense concert, but was that right for me? I was taken over by what the digital age of photography has done to so many others before me. The ability to share those photos online with all your friends. I wasn’t making money off them, I wasn’t doing anything spectacular or new. But for those 20 minutes in the pit, I felt special. But I’m no photographer, and with this issue I learned some very important things. Are you ready for this? Blunt trauma honesty here we come. Just because you bought a $500 SLR doesn’t mean you’re a photographer. And just because you made a Facebook page with your name, then the word “photography,” that also doesn’t make you a photographer. Hell, even if you’ve taken a mirror shot of yourself with a fancy camera, that doesn’t make you a photographer. I am guilty of all those things. The photography industry is a terribly competitive world. Cutthroat, mean, kind of evil too. Only those who have true talent, patience and luck will make it anywhere. But at Sheridan we are graced with such an incredible amount of talent. I’ve met with these students, worked alongside them, and I can tell you that these young creative minds are the best in Canada. That is saying a lot, but you have to meet me halfway on this one. The attention to detail and precise lunacy is unmatched – you cannot find this type of work anywhere else. So for all you photo-kids, shutterbugs, or whatever the hell you youngsters say nowadays, here’s to you. We have devoted this entire issue to the photographers of Sheridan. We’ve even used fewer words, because we’re just going to let all these photos speak for themselves. So this is what I want you to do. Don’t just browse this magazine between classes. Don’t flip through it. Take it home with you and take care of it. Pull the pages apart and plaster them on your walls. Cuddle up with it and spend some time with it. Every little detail in this photo issue is analyzed to the point of insanity, so try to appreciate that if you can. I give you a thumbs up, I set off figurative fireworks to all those who have contributed to this issue. Staff, students, and graduates – we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all that you have done for us. Let this issue be a message to any new students thinking about taking photography here. There is some serious competition, so take notes and learn from this. This should motivate you to do better than what you see here. To everyone who loves photography, keep shooting, and keep devoting crazy amounts of time to your craft. Photography will never die, and this magazine is proof of that. If you truly love this art form you won’t just show off your camera at parties. You will be shooting, and shooting everything you see. As for all the newbies out there, I have one piece of advice. Facebook doesn’t ruin picture quality, you’re just being silly.
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For James Greenspan, Lomography isn’t just a style or culture. He lives and breathes this stuff every day. He’s the one responsible for pushing this incredible style, and art form into the Canadian photography scene. by Bryan Myers, photos by Luis Mora “It’s almost like a piece of jazz music,” said James Greenspan, owner of The Lomography Store and Gallery located at 536 Queen St. W. in Toronto. He points to the walls of his store, which are covered with thousands of amateur photographs. There’s order in all this chaos, but you may not see it. Lomography is a brand of cameras originally developed by a Russian company. Today Lomography is a style of shooting characterized by the charm and colours of it’s photographs, and it’s unique and quirky cameras. Greenspan, who also considers himself an art enthusiast, said there’s no planning when it comes to where each photo will go. All the photos aligned together in his store create a one-of-a-kind quilt pattern. This is the largest Lomography wall in Canada, which resembles a magic eye. From a distance it seems as if there’s a hidden image in the mosaic, an image that can only be seen if you’re looking hard enough for it. Amateur photographers looking to grab some great deals on gear should drop by the Queen Street store and gallery. The store offers workshops and information sessions that can help people build on
photo skills. For those who are interested in Lomography, you can stop by and sign out one of their cameras and try it out. The store provides you with a roll of film, and a guided tour around the trendy Queen St. neighbourhood. Recently, the staff led a tour of the Queen St. alleyways, and is currently planning a tour around Trinity Bellwoods Park. There are a few rules of Lomography, but one of them is simply to break the rules. For devoted hobbyists, Lomography is a lifestyle and not something one does on the weekends or after work. The first rule, carry your camera everywhere. “Lomography cameras see things brighter and more dramatic. I see things intuitively through the eye of my Lomo-LCA,” Greenspan said. What was once a trend in Russia has now grown into an incredible photo market. There’s a large variety of cameras in the Lomography world, some make certain colours pop, some are more vivid than others. Greenspan hands me the 360, a tube-shaped camera. I pull the drawstring and it spins around in a circle. It takes a 360-degree panoramic shot. Another camera looks like an old-time video camera.
The photographer peeks through the top and adjusts two lenses to create one ultra vivid photograph. The history of Lomography adds to the charm of the distorted photos the camera’s produce. What was once manufactured in Russia in the early 1980s as a common people’s camera, was later given away alongside Reader’s Digest subscriptions. The camera was trashed and the company ceased production, only to be rediscovered in 1991 by two Austrian students browsing a camera shop in Prague. After that, it was love. The use of Lomographic cameras ballooned once the students took these cameras home, and their demand rose. Today there are shops all over the world, and the cameras are available at Lomography stores across the globe. Some cameras are more expensive than others, but you can walk away with a camera for under $100. Each camera comes with a small booklet with some tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your new camera. I bought the Fisheye 2, and the instructions advise shooting from within a foot of the subject. Worse still, another Lomography rule is to “shoot from the hip.”
Shooting the unsuspecting is a daunting task for a mild-mannered journalist. It’s going to take some time to build up the courage to get in people’s faces with my camera. So far I’ve only worked up the courage to snap a couple pictures of my cat, and my little sister. The beauty of Lomography is not in the way pictures develop, but rather how the philosophy embraces a sense of free-spirit and candidness. In a way, shooting with a Lomographic camera feels like flexing a muscle that one never knew existed. Each camera produces results that differ greatly from what reality shows. The store offers a lot of variety. Not only can one choose from various styles, but there’s a wealth of film available. For amateur and professional photographers, Lomography encourages thinking outside the proverbial box. It becomes a way of life rather than a mere hobby. Greenspan claims that it’s a form of citizen photojournalism. For now, the Toronto Lomography Store aims to expand the community locally and continue to offer tours and workshops to those who are interested. The only way to really experience this is to go ahead and get your hands dirty. Next time you’re on Queen St., pop into this inspirational store and see for yourself. You might find the hobby you’ve been looking for. t
by Jenn McBride photograph by Brooke Wedlock
The minutes leading up to what David White calls his “first chance to enter the big leagues,” was spent nursing the flu over a bowl of white porcelain. “It was pretty gruesome,” he said. I appreciate that he was being less than descriptive here. We get it. Only the most dedicated photographers would just stand up and get the job done. “I like the adrenaline rush of being under pressure,” White said. When he sits down, he tears into the corner of his Hawaiian pizza slice, which he had practically consumed before we began talking. It was an odd way to eat pizza, the ripping coupled with an occasional traditional gnaw. It was a contagious practice, and I found myself eating the same way. I credit it to paranoia of ruining this first impression with a bad pizza face, maybe even some mozzarella cheese on my chin. The conversation we have with each other wasn’t mundane, it was just shoptalk over a decent spread of clichés. He calls it bumper sticker quotes. “We are not going to live forever, but a good photograph will.” He’s a soft-spoken, silver-haired man who has figured out how to take really nice pictures. And with that ability, he is teaching photography here at Sheridan. Over the course of an hour he talks a lot about his life and how photography has shaped almost every part of it. He even met his wife through the lens of a camera. “She was the best model I have ever worked with,” he said. What’s cool about White is that his time at Sheridan has gone full circle. He’s a grad from the Applied Photography class of 1990, and now he teaches for the very same program. Maybe it’s this turnaround that makes White so gosh darn approachable. “I love it when a student comes to me with an idea that they want to try. I work closely with the students and define their ideas. That’s why I like this job, because I am constantly finding new things, new images. I get a kick out of it.” Brooke Wedlock, a photographer for Travis who had been listening in quietly
spoke up to confirm that. “Yeah, even though he’s pretty low-key, everyone who has ever had him as a teacher calls him their favourite.” According to some of his students, he’s a badass. When I tell him that, he throws his hands over his head, locking his fingers behind his neck. He was either embracing his inner Chuck Norris, or was completely thrown off by the badass tag. Either way he tries to justify the rep that unbeknown to him, has become his unofficial alias. “I see myself as a photographer first and a teacher second. I’m not cookie cutter. I’m innovative, open to input from students and like to have fun in the classroom. Does that constitute as badass?” Well Mr.White – I suppose it does.
This was a good moment to bring up a picture I recently saw of White standing on a desk wearing a black cape, one arm stretched out in front and the other behind. “Oh that,” he said. He springs forward laughing. “That’s Captain four by five.” And to think I almost compared him to Superman. “When I teach four by five cameras I have this habit of wearing the sheet, and I become captain four by five,” he said. “It really only comes out one week of the year. I suppose that’s where the real badass comes from.” Mystery solved ladies and gentleman. White is dressed in red and white plaid - accompanied by a green, let’s call it a masculine floral scarf. He sees photography as presenting the world in a different
viewpoint. “Photography is a great way to talk about life. It speaks to our culture. It’s of the moment. It’s creating an image that starts a conversation and leaves people with a question.” “That’s another bumper sticker,” he adds. At this point, available space on my hypothetical tailgate is dwindling. White sees himself as a student with more experience. He’s been guiding students to success through his teaching, and has managed to make a productive career from shooting portraits of corporate big wigs. “It’s been a good career, it’s a lucrative area of photography. Like last year I shot the President of President’s Choice.” He strategically paused during that sentence for comedic effect. Even what he describes as his worst day on the job could still be considered one hell of an accomplishment. He once got himself into a situation with Prince Charles and Camilla’s royal toes. “Prince Charles has a charity called the Prince’s Trust. He was opening a sailing centre on the South coast of Wales and I was chosen to be the official photographer for the day,” White said. “I spent about four hours photographing him from about eight feet away. At one point I backed up and stepped on Camilla’s toes.” Mortified, he still got the shot and was spared any royal backlash. I’ll assume that all the greats have a moment like this. With lunch wrapping up, for the first time the conversation turns from photography to his undeniable fame that will result in appearing in Travis. As he gets up to leave he presents an unofficial rider to be fulfilled for when he gets his picture taken. It’s short, just green M&Ms. He probably won’t get those M&Ms, but here you go David White, consider yourself famous. t
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One Shot with
Andrew Mark Andrew Mark left us speechless with this yearâ€™s cover photo. He got the shot that sent shivers down our spines, and left us wanting more. Thanks, we hope our magazine can do your work justice. by Michael Burton
“I’M REALLY GRILLING YOU on a Monday morning,” I said. “Yeah, but it’s 1 p.m.,” Andrew Mark said as we chatted at one of the many coffee shops in Oakville. It feels like morning, but it isn’t. This coffee shop is bustling with chatter, people carrying shopping bags and sipping on espresso. I’m asking specific questions about his work, and how he managed to pull off one of the most stunning shots we’ve seen all year. “It’s a personal creative,” Mark said. “I know this girl from way back and I asked her if she’d be interested in going out and just shooting. We just had the most phenomenal day. That shoot alone was probably the most successful shoot I’ve ever done.” “I just saw it and made it happen,” he said. His photo was the perfect fit for our cover. The girl, her smile, the serene and warm feeling of Mark’s photo couldn’t be better. It screams for your attention, while being incredibly easy on the eyes. A one-in-a-million shot if you ask me, something that could never be recreated, even if you tried. Are we lucky for having such a spectacular cover? Well no, there is no luck involved. We call it talent, careful planning, and a wild
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obsession for challenging yourself to do better. We’ve searched long and hard for the perfect photo for this issue, and it wasn’t easy. Mark walks away with $200 for his hard work, and a couple bragging rights he may or may not use. This photograph beat out close to 200 other photos. It was chosen as the best by Sheridan photography professor David White, and the staff here at Travis. Mark is into his 2nd year of photography at Sheridan, married at 20 years of age and originally from St. Catharines. He literally knocked our socks off with his work - we had to go looking for them. And if you’re interested, you can see more of his work online alongside his stellar wedding photography. “It’s like a full on photo shoot,” Mark said describing his passion for shooting weddings. “Everyone is dressed up, you got the makeup on, you got the stylist going. You have the whole reception hall decorated. I’m not a traditional shooter by any means. I’m so far from traditional wedding photography that I see it as more of a fashion shoot than romantic or ooey gooey.” Mark hopes to be shooting weddings full time when he graduates, starting up a business and making an impact in the Niagara region. When the wedding season slows down he plans to do more commercial work, and hopefully start a second business to focus on commercial photography. “I just really like the ability to make a business out of it. For me photography is just as much of a business as it is about photography,” Mark said. “If you can’t make a business out if it you’re going to flounder. I’ve been able to start up a wedding business that is going to help me go somewhere with my career. That will get my name out there, and bring in cash to fund any further development.” “It’s a really big industry and you don’t need 50 grand worth of cameras to start up,” he said. Mark is hoping to take advantage of Niagara’s reputation as a wedding hot spot, and build his list of clients from there. “It’s super competitive, anyone can pick up a camera. It’s the only profession where on the weekend anyone can go out and take some pictures. You don’t hear people saying, ‘Well on the weekend I went up to Boston and did some brain surgery.’” “You have to be good, but there’s work out there. Especially in the wedding industry, it starts with personal connections and develops. It’s still an art, and you need personal ways of doing it,” he said. “If you can sell your personality and style there’s a market for you. Even if it’s the same thing everyone
else is doing. If you do it different, better, or you have a unique way of doing things, there’s your market.” The tools he’s been given by the Sheridan photography program have inspired Mark’s outlook on the industry. Sheridan has developed a reputation as one of the best schools for applied photography in Canada, and that’s why Mark ended up here. “I heard it was the best, I didn’t apply anywhere else,” he said. “If I was going to go to school for photography, it was going to be Sheridan. My cousin-in-law graduated from the program. I just decided it was going to be Sheridan or it was going to be nothing.” As for influences on his own work, he cites Rob Campbell a photographer from British Columbia. He tries to stay away from contemporary shooting, and bring his own style and view into every shot. “The idea is to blow your mind with every shot. Every shot has to just rock,” Mark said. “It’s between perspective, lighting and angles. To document the day and do it well you need incredible light and incredible perspective. With that, you’re going to succeed in the business.” With the knowledge Sheridan has provided, coupled with Mark’s own personal drive, it’s easy to see that he’s going to make an impact on the industry. His style is unmatched – and his own professionalism is going to push him into bigger and better things. But it’s one step at a time just like the rest of the students here at Sheridan. After graduation he is going to be thrown into a world of professionals and amateurs battling for position in one of the most competitive industries in Canada. It will be Mark’s own passion for his craft that will separate him from the masses. His love for all things related to photography will make him shine brighter than every kid out there with an SLR and a Facebook page. “It just developed into a hobby, a passion, and then a career,” Mark said explaining why he is still shooting. “It’s hard to put my finger on why I love photography. I could go into anything and enjoy it, but photography just worked.” t
...& made it happen
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Annual Photography Issue Thank you Sheridan. Thanks to all the students who submitted their work. Thanks to anyone who put their own time and creativity into this contest. This issue proves that there are some seriously talented photography students learning the ropes here at Sheridan. We gave all the photography students a canvas, and we were blown away by the results. It wasn’t an easy task trying to narrow down 200 photographs to fit into one magazine. After a whole bunch of coffee, a lot of concentration, and some help from Sheridan faculty – we’re more than pleased with the results. So go ahead and enjoy this Sheridan. The hard work that went into this issue can’t be appreciated online or through Facebook. It’s right here in your hands. There is something about a photograph in print that is just so much more special than an image on your computer. If you see something that you like, show it to a friend, plaster it on your bedroom door. Do whatever you have to do to appreciate the talent we are so lucky to have here. And if they say a photograph speaks a thousand words, well you’re about to see a whole lot of words. Enjoy, and thanks again. t
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photo by Luis Mora
by Jennifer Horn
ONE OF THE LEADING PHOTOGRAPHERS IN TODAY’S INDUSTRY IS A SHERIDAN GRADUATE. MARK ZIBERT LENT US SOME OF HIS VALUABLE TIME TO CHAT ABOUT THE INDUSTRY, HIS STORY, AND WHAT STUDENTS CAN DO TO MAKE THE MOST OF THEIR SHERIDAN EDUCATION.
HAVE YOU EVER TRIED to get a hold of Mark Zibert? I mean, really tried to get a hold of him. Should you ever decide to honour him in some way, like in a magazine, it might be a challenge. But for us folk at Travis, we attempted this all in the midst of a terribly chaotic work schedule. We followed photographer Mark Zibert’s footsteps to get the story, and some might even say we had to hunt this Sheridan graduate down. We really wanted to talk to Zibert, like really wanted to talk to him. So we went after him like good journalists should. This entailed endless pestering e-mails, consideration for an at-the-airport photo shoot, and early morning wake up calls. Because if you don’t already know, he’s pretty damn fantastic. Why you ask? Well for starters Zibert is an award-winning Sheridan photography graduate, and for that he’s down in our books as a rock star. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. We are Sheridan crazy, and despite the fact that Zibert was planning on shooting in Argentina, we were still able to sit him down for 15 minutes. He focuses on the advertising industry, but occasionally gets his creative hands dirty with commercial film work. He admits to steering his efforts toward film school at first, but after being rejected by various colleges he was left to follow through with plan B. “It’s not like I was super disappointed,” he said. “Film was my first choice, but photography was right there and in hindsight, I’m glad it went that way.” At age 19, Zibert was eager to start a career for
himself in the world of media arts. Sheridan College provided just what he was looking for, a program that based its teachings on techniques, practical work, and theory. “Because I was young I didn’t really care about theory. I just wanted to take pictures. The technical approach was very good for me though.” As Zibert will say of any industry, going to school provides you with a good base and after that you still have to continue learning and making mistakes. “School is great to give you the basics and you definitely learn a lot at Sheridan as with any other photo school,” he said. “You’ll know enough on how to become a good assistant and give you a general understanding of the tools to do it. But once you start assisting and shooting your own stuff, it really forces you to learn.” David White, a photography lecturer who once worked closely with Zibert, said that he remembers him as quiet, laid back, and down to earth. When this busy photographer isn’t flying around the world on location shoots, the two will try to meet at least once a year to catch up. When commenting on Zibert’s work, White affectionately described the connection he has with his subjects. “He does exceptional work. You get the sense that he’s enjoying it. It’s very playful,” White said. “When he’s working with a particular character in a shoot, he is definitely comfortable with them and gets them to really work for him. He gives them the direction he is looking for. You see the connection he has with people, he’s genuine that way and he draws it out of people.”
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After leaving Sheridan, Zibert wanted to get right into doing his own shoots, so he avoided taking the assistant route. He set up meetings with companies only to be turned away for his lack of experience. He ended up spending the next year freelance assisting to improve his portfolio. “Photo assisting is like another form of school, it’s more like a continuation of school after college.” He acknowledges not only the importance of assisting itself, but also the choice one makes in regards to a mentor. “I think it’s important that when you do an internship that you find photographers that you are excited about. Work with photographers whose work you admire and who you will really learn from.” Zibert boasts an impressive line of clients such as Nike, Adidas, Pepsi and Nokia. These are just a few companies that have hired him to shoot for their advertising campaigns. He constantly travels the world, and at one time spent eight months on the road. He’s also won a Lucie Award for Best Print Advertising Campaign, one of the highest achievements you can grab in the industry. He played a big part in China too, being awarded their first Gold Lion award at the Cannes Festival when he shot the
I DIDN'T REALLY CARE ABOUT THEORY. I JUST WANTED TO TAKE PICTURES Adidas Olympic advertising campaign. His former teacher David White added that Zibert is one of the leaders in the industry, and only a handful of students have reached the level he is at right now. Yeah that’s right, he’s a rock star. But it’s better to understand who he is through his work, and appreciate his drive that keeps pushing him forward in the industry. It makes you wonder, with the right tools and a little bit of luck, you could be the next photographer we end up hunting down. t
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by Bryan Myers
Things worked out a bit differently for Sheridan photographer Matt Barnes. No graduation ceremonies, no diploma. But even after all that, he still managed to see his work hung up high on the Gardiner Expressway. We got a good kick out of that, and so did he.
“Cow, I need you up here, on the right,” Matt Barnes is directing me. He guides me from my comfortable, hidden place in the crowd into plain view. Right beside the sexy Native-American and the shirtless Mexican wrestler. On the other side of the couch is a tanned, fake-boobed, blonde Asian woman who might as well be naked. Barnes is unaffected by any of this as he positions the Halloween partygoers on the set to compose the perfect party. This is all staged. I’m
photo by Kevin Bryan
here for the free drinks, cow costume and all. As for Barnes, well he is here to shoot a calendar for Jagermeister. His hands are constantly in motion, like he’s composing a symphony. One hand is telling me to go right, and left is telling the guy in the caribou costume to come forward. Next he’s telling me I need to look like I’m partying. I don’t party. As much as I tell people I party, I don’t party. But the countless free drinks are loosening me up. I’ll play along a little bit. This is way outside of my comfort zone. Barnes is paying attention and encouraging me. He could just as easily shove me in the back or off to the side. But he wants me up here. So damn it, I’m up here. A few days later, we’re sitting inside his office, a lofty room inside Westside Studio located at 70 Ward Street in Toronto. The foyer has a few vintage couches, a barbershop chair from the ‘50s, and Charles
Bronson’s coffee table. “I don’t even know if that’s true, it was on the tag. They got a sucker like me to pay a couple hundred bucks for it,” he said laughing. It very well could be Charles Bronson’s coffee table. The walls of the foyer are lined with photos, some of celebrities, some for advertisements. I even notice a picture of Travis photographer Kevin Bryan. He just happens to work alongside Barnes. It’s all of Barnes’ most recent shots. Spencer Forrest, Barnes’
assistant and a Sheridan grad, comes in and out of the office occasionally. At one point his wife Shelley pokes her head in the studio door. While I look down at my notes, I can tell they are having a silent conversation with each other. I look up and they both realize they’ve been caught and burst out laughing. Barnes is a likeable guy. He’s down-toearth, and most noticeably off-the-cuff honest. He’s wearing white Chuck Taylor lowtops and horn-rimmed glasses. He’s tall with tattoos. He’s soft spoken, surprisingly. Born in England Barnes grew up on the East Coast, and moved to Ontario in 1996. He spent his teenage years in Port Dover, that tiny little beach town that is home to the Hell’s Angels. It’s rubbed off on him. He’s got a reputation for being a rule-breaker. “I want to be seen and do things that are cool,” Barnes said. Then he starts musing about what the word “cool” means. It’s a
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I’m not good at
following the rules loose term that our society uses all over the place. For decades “cool” has meant something indescribable. It’s a hard word to really define. You either are, or you aren’t. “James Dean, Elvis, Steve McQueen, those are cool guys,” he said. So I asked him. “Matt, do you think you’re cool?” “I don’t know, maybe. Yeah, I do. I’ve got a good outlook, a cool job, I’m easy to get along with.” Well, he’s right. Barnes is a cool dude. He’s got that ‘50s sense of the word cool written all over him. He takes things in stride and his quiet confidence seems to drive his career. All of this comes across in his photography. How Barnes views the world is reflected in his shots. He’s a rule-breaker who managed to be teacher’s pet while at Sheridan despite dropping out. “I’m not good at following the rules, but I’m not as wild as I was then,” said Barnes about his time at Sheridan. After leaving Sheridan he found a job six months later as a digital retoucher. Today, Barnes has shot for Air
Canada, the car company Infinity, Alexisonfire, Drake and Will.i.am. “When my first billboard went up on the Gardiner for Infiniti, I’d drive with my friends so I could take pictures of it on my phone,” he said. Photography, it would seem is not something that he could give you tips on. Much like being cool, you either are, or you aren’t. “Shoot everything close to you, or around you,” he said. “Show your world, share your world.” That’s what makes Barnes a success. He invites you into his world in a photo and shows you what’s going on in his head. “I met this guy on Facebook,” Barnes said next. “Leron, he was a good looking guy and I wanted to use him for shoot. ‘Come in at six,’ I said. The same day there was a casting call for another shoot next door. At the front of the line there was this guy that looked like Leron, I grabbed him and we shot for 45 minutes and then the real Leron showed up. The whole time I’d been talking to this fake Leron about our Facebook conversation and he was going along with it.” “We had a girl go missing from the Jager shoot. Her mom called us trying to find her. We had no idea, the next day she showed up as if nothing had happened.” Barnes laughed and showed me a picture of Super Mario, Luigi, and the blonde posing lewdly. “I just think this is hilarious.” These anecdotes are a snapshot into the world of Barnes photography. The Jagermeister photo shoots were a series of staged parties, twice a day for a week. The open bar policy led to a long list of tales that are only somewhat remembered. Barnes has woven himself into the fabric of the Toronto media network. What’s next for Barnes is of his choosing. He loves his work, admitting that he doesn’t have too much else to talk about outside of photography. But clearly his passion and drive for the industry makes him a very interesting person. And maybe, just maybe, an inspiration for all the students here at Sheridan. t
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photos of Nikki by Luis Mora
by Matt Main
I push the buzzer and wait outside the doors of Westside Studio in Toronto. A receptionist greets me then tells me to follow. Leading me down a long, white hallway, she opens the last door on the left. This takes us to a room that looks like an old warehouse with cameras focused on a large white wall. “She’s right at the top of the stairs,” the receptionist said - pointing to the left side of the room. I head up the old stairs and I see Nikki Ormerod sitting at her computer. She’s looking at photos of a half-naked woman in a swimming pool. “Hey Matt, how are you?” she asked me. “Oh and don’t mind the half-nude lady on my screen, it’s from a photo shoot I did earlier today.” Without even saying anything to her, she’s shown one of her main styles of photography. Taking pictures of partially, or even fully nude models is nothing new for Ormerod. In fact, she’s taken more than her fair share of nude shots. “I’m really comfortable with shooting girls naked. It’s nothing new to me but it’s a different story with guys. I’ll get that giggly, embarrassing, and uncomfortable feeling just because it’s a guy.” Aside from people without clothes, Ormerod works as a photographer at Westside Studio. In her work she shows an interesting style that separates her photos
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from your typical kid with an SLR. “I like mixing fashion with portraiture. There also has to be a narrative to it. This gives my photos a surreal edge,” she said. We chat and insists she make both of us an espresso. She sips on her espresso slowly, holding it in her hands. “I’m inspired by film, photography, stories, random ideas, fashion, music and whatever is trending. I’ll still go out and buy a CD mainly because I like the album art.” Just like anyone that’s proud of their work, Ormerod likes to clutter her workspace with what she’s done in the past. “I usually collect things from photo shoots. I have a pair of $900 Ferragamo shoes beside my iMac and there’s a bull’s skull in the corner.” Above her computer, she has copies of each book she’s shot covers for, and a collection of vampire fangs used by her models. Six years ago Ormerod graduated from Sheridan after taking applied photography. “I went from being the average photog student at Sheridan to being on a tour bus with Slayer. Sheridan did everything for me. The teachers taught me everything I needed to know. After I graduated, some photography class friends told me how George Simhoni, the owner of Westside Studio was looking for an assistant. So I called him directly.”
From there, Ormerod was Simhoni’s assistant for three years until she ditched that job to work on her own freelance ventures. She used to own a studio in Liberty Village where she took modelling pictures that perfected her photo skills. Eight months ago, Simhoni contacted her asking if she’d like to be one of Westside Studio’s photographers. Because Westside Studio is so established in the industry, it was a big deal for Ormerod. Over her six-year career, she has wound up getting jobs from shooting FashionTelevision’s Jeanne Beker, to taking live shots of the thrash metal band Gwar. “Shooting Gwar was one of the highlights of my career,” she said. “If you know who they are then you know how crazy they are live. I was running around in the pit in front of the
I went from being the average photog student at Sheridan to being on a tour bus with Slayer band covered up trying to not get fake blood sprayed all over me and my camera.” Before coming to Sheridan, Ormerod was considering taking math in university once she finished high school. The year before she graduated, she took a photography class that slowly grew on her, developing into her passion today. Her teacher said she should stick to photography instead of math, and that moment shifted her life forever. “That push my teacher kept giving me was enough confidence to take a photography course at Sheridan instead of doing math for the rest of my life.” Ormerod continued to push through her college courses and into the industry. She explained that most photographers have to be incredibly outgoing to succeed in the industry. Many of her male peers from college went on to get jobs right after graduation. “I figure a lot of photography is all about personality, but a lot of girls are really shy,” Ormerod said. For the girls who seemed a bit shyer and timid, they faced further challenges down the road within the male-dominated industry. Being a photographer is something Ormerod proudly admits she was meant to do. After being with Westside Studio for a short time she already has plans for the future. “I’ll stay here for as long as I can.
Hopefully, I’ll get more jobs that make even more money. I really want to travel and make that a part of my career.” Ormerod has come a long way since her time at Sheridan. Her story, her photography, and her own drive is a reflection of all her hard work over the
years. Hopefully some Sheridan students can learn from all this. “You’ll never know where life takes you after college. Just keep doing what you love, and it’ll pay off in the end,” she said sipping on her espresso. t
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Special Guest's Picks
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Published on Jan 20, 2011
The 4th Annual Travis Magazine Photography Issue. With special grad profiles from Mark Zibert, Matt Barnes and Nikki Ormerod! We also did a...