Thursday, May 24, 2018
1. How did you get started in video and photography?
Growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s, I was captivated and intrigued by music videos by David Fincher and Mark Romanek, who directed videos for Madonna, Michael Jackson, Nine Inch Nails, EnVogue, etc. They were dark, aggressive, glamorous, but most of all, inspiring. Without even really knowing or understanding what I was watching, I still knew that it was a world I wanted to be a part of.
When I was 18, I met my first boyfriend. He was an assistant to David LaChapelle and showed me one of David’s books, Hotel LaChapelle. It was the spark that lit my interest and obsession with photography.
After graduating high school, I experimented with many different career paths, fashion marketing, retail, hair dressing, all of which I more or less hated.
Fortunately, though, it was the key for me to learn that I should pursue my passion for photography wholly and completely. At 25, I moved to Montreal and enrolled in the Dawson College Institute of Photography. After completing the program, I moved back to Toronto and began my career as a photographer and video director.
2. What were some of the biggest struggles you had when you first moved to New York?
Being new to NY has many challenges, but the most significant challenge has been deciding on what course of action I should take in order to stand out and get noticed.
The fashion industry in New York City is extremely fast paced and highly competitive. Being based here has forced me to think carefully and be especially strategic about which projects I pursue. In a city with a virtually unlimited amount of models, stylists and hair & makeup artists, not to mention stunning locations, it has been challenging to decide on which concepts to shoot, which magazines to shoot for, which models to shoot and ultimately what I want to say as an artist and photographer. However, this is a welcome challenge.
3. What artists from the past or present have influenced you the most?
David LaChapelle, David Fincher, Steven Klein, Chris Cunningham, Alexander McQueen and Mark Romanek.
4. What would be the most important thing you want potential clients to know about you?
Since the day I started shooting I’ve always tried to be original.
The photos that always attracted the most attention were the ones where I did something completely unexpected, unorthodox and outside the box. Even though not everyone liked or appreciated those photos, they were ones that set me apart from the crowd and helped me stand out.
Even though my work had evolved over the last 10 years, I always try to bring that mentality to every shoot that I do. From my more mainstream commercial projects all the way to my creative editorial projects, I always aim to bring something new and original to the table.
5. What kind of impact do you hope to make in the fashion industry in the next 10 years?
Some of my favourite photos from other photographers were campaigns from the 2000’s for Alexander McQueen, DSquared2 and Dolce and Gabbana by Steven Klein, Steven Meisel and Mert & Marcus.
These campaign shoots were completely original, innovative and had a high level of production. They used multiple models, elaborate sets, extravagant styling, and had strong visual message, but most importantly, they were memorable.
This is what I want to contribute to the fashion industry. I want to create imagery that is bold, intense and captivating, all while having the same impact as these iconic and unforgettable campaigns.
I will always strive to maintain my own distinct creative vision and hope to be known and sought after for a style that is unmistakably mine.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
🆕 Elite Toronto is excited to announce the addition of Elena England to our happy team!
Elena has a significant past in the modelling industry having Co-Founded an agency in Kiev where she was responsible for the scouting, development and all international placements. She also brings invaluable skills from her experience working in Public Relations focusing on strategy, business development and sales. Elena will be primarily supporting both the Women’s & Men’s Boards in booking, development and placements within secondary foreign markets.
Elena is an enthusiastic leader with a proven success record, a solid presence for models both in and out of town and is always smiling! We know everyone will be as delighted to work with her as we are! Please come by and welcome her!
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Thursday, April 5, 2018
How did you get drawn into filmmaking?
-- I’d always loved film growing up but never considered it as a career path. In my teens I pursued photography as a hobby, as it seemed a natural compliment to my love of film, then in university I studied Cinema Studies but still didn’t consider it a professional option. Things started to change during the period that I was working as an assistant in London after working for Mario Testino. It was at that time that video cameras started to become more accessible. I found my love for film taking over from my photography work and I was gravitating more to film work, eventually getting hired more and more for directing.
Why do you think film as a medium works well to compliment fashion?
-- I think because fashion has always been about visual storytelling at its core, and that’s exactly what film does. Film allows fashion to go further, to expand on visual stories and themes that print is limited by. That being said I still love photography and I am shooting stills more than ever.
Can you describe your style to us?
-- I think of my work as having an overall dreamlike quality to it. Falling between the abstract/ethereal world of the mind and the sheer beauty of the physical world. Imagery can exist on a level beyond the confines of the superficial and into something more human and emotive. I see my work almost feeling like a memory, where the emotions feel real but the visuals are otherworldly.
You’ve assisted high profile photographers, such as Mario Testino, in the past. How did that come about?
-- I was looking for an internship in Toronto but opportunities were limited. So I decided to go big and get in touch with photo agencies who represented my favourite photographers, one being Art Partner. I ended up getting the internship and assisting a lot of photographers on Art Partner’s roster, and working a lot with Mario Testino’s Head of Production and agent, who then introduced me to Mario.
Why do you think there has been an increased interest in fashion film in the last decade?
-- I think it’s a natural evolution, and the inherent ability of film to tell a story makes it so appealing to fashion. I think that people are gradually becoming more attracted to moving images in fashion, as film is becoming more accessible and naturally has the ability to elicit more of a connection than other visual mediums.
How do you find or generate ideas for your films or is it a different process for every project?
-- For commercial work a project usually starts with a brief and then I work closely with the campaign creative director and client to bring the concept to life. For personal projects I often have a of couple ideas that I’m building over time. Waiting until I have the right talent and team together before I start to film.
Fashion designers are notoriously picky when it comes to creative output. When you come up with the idea for a film, do you ever have any conflict with the designer?
-- It depends on how much creative confidence the client or agency has in me. For the most part it’s been smooth interactions, and for some more difficult ones I just try to roll with it and focus on making the best product I can.
Can you tell us about a current project you’re working on?
-- I have a short film project that’s been a long time in the works, and working on a fashion film with Ezra Petronio.
Are there any other fashion houses you’d like to work with?
-- I’d love to work with Gucci. The work they’re putting out with Glen Luchford is amazing. Off the top of my head Isabel Marant, Acne, Missoni, Bottega Veneta, Missoni, Miu Miu, and Chloe.
What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers and photographers?
-- Be true to your own vision, really listen and pay attention to creatives who you respect, and be prepared for a lot of rejection (and I mean a lot!) Other than that it’s a breeze.