Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Do I shoot video?

Select Components of Wolfpack Night Vision System

Do I shoot professional video myself? I was going to say "no, not really," but I think it would be more accurate to say simply "no." Although if you could clearly see the reflection in the lens of the piece of high tech imaging gear in this video frame you would see me, as well as the guy holding the gear. So I did actually shoot this. (And no, we did not use this take in the final cut.) But I am not going to shoot your video.

I am, in every other instance, a big believer in bringing a high professional standard to any work I do and, probably to my detriment as a professional photographer I've never been one to say "Sure, I can do that!" if I had no idea how to do it. Richard Branson

"If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes - then learn how to do it later!" 

would not be impressed.

But who says he's right? What about Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours (ref. Outliers, Penguin Books)? If I am not going to be an expert until I put in 10,000 hours of practice I need to find someone who's already done it. And I have! In truth, I've known this very well established film and video producer for a really long time.

So if you need a high quality corporate video, by all means call me! I've got Dave and Dave's got the talent, the skill and way over 10,000 hours!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Today is launch day for the brand new BLACKS website by Forge Media + Design working with Environics PR! The new beta site is a work in progress featuring multitudinous solutions for making tangible art out of photos. As they say on their Facebook page:

"BLACKS is your Playground for Photography, an inspiring one-stop shop to express yourself with your pictures. Explore, experiment, learn & create!" So many cool ways for people with a passion for recording and interpreting their worlds through photography to actually get their images out of storage and onto walls and into their decor.

Ever since digital capture effectively took over from film it has been my concern that a huge number of family (visual) records are at risk of being lost forever as technology makes it easier and easier to shoot tons of images and just leave them in your camera, phone, iPad, or whatever capture device you're using, any of which could be lost, or damaged in a heartbeat. So I love the idea of making various forms of output more and more accessible and affordable. And I hope people use them! (At least, as a start, please, please backup, backup, backup!)

My team and I had the chance to create eight of the new web banners, with the rest of the site imagery coming from various sources. We were lucky to get Bridget Sargeant, prop stylist, in between interior decorating, staging and propping gigs. Bridget brought the perfect mix of talent, knowledge, experience, style, vision and hard work to the project. She had the challenge, as always with a well considered branding exercise, of sourcing props that fit within the guidelines, in this case developed by Taxi (lead agency for BLACKS). The BLACKS team from Taxi dropped by on the first shoot day to offer some additional art directorial input which was great. Thanks Dave Watson! 

Bridget and I also had a chance to look at one of the newly renovated stores at Yonge and Eglinton ~ great looking store ~ so different from the old Black's stores we've all known for so long! I didn't take any pictures but, as someone who rarely uses Facebook, I am, yup, going to reference the BLACKS Facebook page again if you want to see pics of their new store look. Honestly, I wanted to order something myself! I wish I had space on a wall somewhere.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Another WoodGreen Annual Report

Rites Of Passage Program Participants

I don't think many of my clients know I shoot annual reports, and it's true that I haven't shot a ton of them, but I have had the privilege, for the last few years, of working with the tireless and inspiring people at WoodGreen on theirs. Such a fantastic organization, and as the Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications Jessica Malone mentioned to me, not an organization you would necessarily know about if you're not in the demographic having direct need of their multitudinous programs and services.

Here is a ink to a PDF of their 2012-13 AR which I'd have to say is my favourite yet : 
(I think the only shot that's not mine is the headshot of the Board Chair.)

I particularly like the image above. Although the sun came out, the sky was not blue (it was white...I had to add this one in later), the ground was almost a swamp and it was so early in the season there was hardly a blossoming plant to be found. (You'd never know from the picture, right?) These (temporary) gardeners were troopers having had to traverse a very large maze of soaking wet ground to get to this spot. And then a bee came along and made it almost impossible to get a shot at all. (Not kidding.)

We're about to start shooting the 2013-14 AR and I can't wait to see what the super talented and creative team of designers at Gravity Inc. comes up with this time. We could use some leaves on the trees!! Just saying...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Natural Makeover Diet

 When H-C Canada's senior designer and I started to discuss the perfect counter top for this cover it turned out that he had literally just bought a table with the exact kind of surface we were looking for. Thus began the making of this very group effortful cover. When we couldn't quite hide the strap on Dr. Joey's undergarment she was lent a strapless one (by moi) that wasn't quite the right size, but was just going to have to be to be close enough! And somehow during hair and make-up Joey and the talented and gracious Victoria Dixon make-up artist decided Victoria's bracelet would be the perfect accessory for the cover shot. Discovering that not only did they have similar taste in jewellery but that their birthdays are on the same day, they then gifted each other their bracelets, Joey explaining the inspiring story behind her funky beaded bracelet. Very cool and inspiring: the bracelet was made by Heads Up For Charity.

This shoot was inspiring to me on another level as the topics of nutrition and healthy eating are close to my heart. I am constantly amazed at the seemingly pervasive lack of knowledge and sense around food and eating. (I don't mean to be negative but the journey of a close personal friend who has a diabetes-like condition has really opened my eyes to the amount of misinformation out there.) Dr. Joey obviously walks her talk appearing so glowingly healthy and fit that at one point we were worried she looked too young in the pics! 

See more about the book at HarperCollins.ca, and more about Dr. Joey at DrJoey.com. 
BTW, assistant Melanie Godecki managed to score a bag of Dr. Joey's Skinnychews and reported to me that they are delicious!