As part of a campaign to highlight the wealth of Directing talent in British Columbia, the DGC-BC asked us to shoot 36 directors over three days.
The main challenge was to show the directors "on set and at work”, which would mean shooting 12 portraits per day on a set that looked like a big production, with each shot looking different enough so that the images would feel candid.
The amazing team at the DGC worked with their extensive contacts to get us on to the sets of various TV shows during down periods, and worked with us on the creative side to make sure we had all the “prop” rental equipment needed to make each scene look authentic while moving through the shots in 45 minutes each.
As with everything, the devil is in the detail and the lion’s share of the work happened in preproduction and planning, so once each shoot day rolled round we new exactly where each element in the frame needed to be. There were some forced last-minute changes due to the sets being active, but as with any true collaboration we were able to keep moving quickly, get the shots, and have a ton of fun at the same time.
Chinook Therapeutics is a drug discovery company developing precision medicines for kidney disease.
Whilst we know what most of those words mean, we’re no scientists. We were obviously pretty excited to see a real working lab, and during the scout asked “what does that do” way too many times. We were disappointed to see that no-one makes their coffee using test tubes and Bunsen Burners.
The fine people at Chinook were looking for some portraits of the team that didn’t feel like weird realtor headshots (West Van bus stops - we’re looking at you) and a couple of banner images for the site of people working in the lab.
While Vancouver is known as an outdoor city, a green city, a tech city and a livable city, it’s easy forget that at its heart it’s a port city. Without the port, it’s not unreasonable to say that Vancouver would be a very different place.
From the moment we saw the brief, we knew this was a perfect assignment for us. The project involved pairing up Vancouver residents who are connected through the port - through their jobs, hobbies or history.
Working closely with the team at TAXI, the production was built with a focus on local. The location was a music studio that saw former glory as Vancouver’s first City hall (and at another time a police station and a morgue), and the photo the backdrop was hand painted by artists a stone’s throw from port itself.
Our rep and producer Lisa Kaulback has friends on the force. And she learned they do a charity calendar each year featuring the dog squad. Never one to miss an opportunity Lisa set up meetings and thankfully the VPD decided to give us a shot. Each of the four photography companies represented by Lisa got a crack at 3 months of the 2019 calendar.
These are our versions.
Judith Law is the Executive Director of Anxiety Canada - an organization that provides tools and resources to help Canadians manage anxiety.
2017 campaign with DDB.
This was a spring / summer 2017 campaign with DDB.
Hotel Zed is a one-of-a-kind place to lay your head for a night or a month. From the retro room decor to the VW camper that serves as the shuttle bus, you know you’re getting something a bit different.
Then there’s the pool, with it’s custom paint job and The Zedinator slide, which really feels like it’s own character. Obviously we wanted to shoot it.
Mandy (the CEO and owner) didn't take much encouragement from us on this one. She had her shoes off and was wading in before Kev finished saying rotary phone.
Hotel Zed is in Victoria BC, shot for Hotelier Magazine.
They are a consulting firm in the resource sector - rocks, digging, safety, the environment and a bunch of other cool stuff we know very little about.
They wanted a collection of portraits that matched their firm: well executed, relevant, and sincere.
Photographed at Britannia Mine Museum in BC.
We were referred to these guys by a colleague photographer, to refresh the staff portraits for the company website.
They wanted the images in b&w and to make sure that they images showcased personality and approachability.
These were shot across multiple sessions and years.
The Cure For the Common Wedding. That's the slogan for Vancouver based wedding and event planning firm Filosophi. Erin Bishop, the owner and lead planner and creative mind behind the company has been hiring us through the years to shoot unorthodox ads that speak to their slogan. I think it's safe to say that Erin's idea here for 2017 was on the mark. Not too many bomb disposal images are found between the covers of most ... er ... any wedding industry magazines.
Here are the other ads we've shot for Filosophi through the years
An author's portrait.
It’s tough to sum up a project that pretty much consumed two years of our lives and had been on our minds for closer to six.
Back in 2011 we started mulling the idea of a portrait-based book that explored stories of related to Vancouver history and culture, told through the people who live here today. To tie all of the shots together (and as a nod to the fact that we live in a rain forest), each person was soaked with water at the start of the shot - a feeling we’ve all shared after being caught in an unexpected downpour.
By 2014 we felt ready to start shooting, and got the first 30 or so images in the can before then launching a Kickstarter campaign the following summer for pre-sales, in order to fund the printing of 2,000 copies of a 9x12 hardcover book, ready for Christmas 2015. In retrospect, on the numerous occasions where publishing industry people told us that our timelines were insane, we should have listened.
Aside from all the research and planning, the shooting and the post production, there was the Kickstarter campaign that in itself was more than a full time job. To add more fun to the mix, Adam and his wife had a baby boy, while me and my partner were doing long distance with her living in Victoria. I think I lost about 30lbs and grew a substantial number of grey hairs. But the book launched officially on December 16th 2015, and now I wouldn’t change any of it.
We were fortunate to convince some incredible people to give us their time - some you might know, others you most likely won’t. Some stories would make you smile, others - well let’s just say Vancouver has had its fair share of black marks and shameful episodes, some of which are ongoing today.
But that’s the reality of Vancouver - a place shared by many, all of whom have stories of struggle, heartache and victory, and our only hope was to bring together some of the stories for everyone to see.
Founded in the summer of 2014, Kit and Ace market's clothing made of Technical Cashmere™, and is the brainchild of Shannon and JJ Wilson. With plans to open more than 60 locations by the summer of 2016, the combination of this explosive growth, an innovative product and the family's lululemon legacy mean that requests for press images come thick and fast.
We spent a few hours with Shannon and JJ capturing what a typical day might look like (if such a thing existed for the hands-on co-founders).
The social media geniuses at Popcorn came to us with a concept that could be boiled down to three instructions - make it gold, black and weird.
A lot of their inspiration was from the style of Baroque paintings - lots of deep shadow and lots of drama.
The bubble bath was a lucky accident - we spotted it during the location scout and the rest was inevitable.
It's hard to believe that Hoostuite have only been around since 2008. In that time they went from zero users to over 5 million without advertising their product, and have since surpassed the 10 million mark (including none other than Barack Obama).
They approached us to shoot a body of work that could be used in upcoming campaigns, to accompany tweets and Instagram posts, and to help continue to engage their sizeable Facebook following.
Over two days and using three locations, we shot both professional models and Hootsuite employees - with mascot Owly making a much anticipated appearance.
Marfa Texas. Go there. By day you’ll feel the dry heat and see the cactus. By night you’ll feel the cold and hear the train passing through.
There’s a saloon, and there’s a sheriff. You can get grits on your tacos and pints of Lone Star for a buck. This is Texas, home of the Cowboy.
You’ll also find one of America’s major centres for minimalist art. In fact, the further you look into this town, the more you realize that although they may look like cowboys, you’re surrounded by artists.
July of 2009 Mongoose hired us to shoot their upcoming album cover and art work. The name of the album was going to be Rock n Roll Knife fight and the guys envisioned an homage to the 1979 film The Warriors.
A few weeks later the band scored a UK tour and the promotor told them that while Britain is Great, they don't look too kindly on blade-related references so the album name and artwork wouldn't fly. An alternative name of "Stabby Stabby Punk Ruckus" was also rejected.
Erika is a designer, artist, single mom and now a ticketed welder.
We took these portraits to commemorate the completion of her training and the beginning of her new career.
It was a rainy December night in Vancouver, 2012, and The Venue on Granville had a double bill feature: The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, and The Boom Booms.
Back in 2011 part of the second floor at Save On Meats became the studio for Dan Climan. He was charged with creating all the vintage style, hand painted signs to be used throughout the newly renovated Save On Meats building. The task took him a few months.
We were hired to shoot the signs for a book about the building.
After we finished we couldn't resist and headed to the roof for a portrait session with Dan.
Rob and Erin from Side One hired us to shoot their first ad. They were a new event band comprising of a handful of the best session musicians from the city.
It's been a few years since those days. Although Cory may no longer rock the moustache, the band still rocks every party they're hired for; and these days they're hired for many.
And the record store is still Zulu Records.
Ty came to us for one of our STRONG Project shoot days. He had been living in Vancouver for a few months on an indefinite layover on an ongoing Canada/US train hobo adventure. He'd already lost his left leg below the knee and a few fingers along his journey and it seemed as though the journey was far from over.
Zach's agency hired us to fill out his press kit. We spent the day with Zach at the velo-drome in Burnaby.
Two things that stood out from this shoot: cyclists have massive thighs, and it takes cyclists with massive thighs to get those bikes nearly horizontal on the banked wooden track.
We shot Mark Brand For BC Business magazine when Save On Meats was still a building site. Today it's a thriving cafe - ask about the bacon milkshake.
He was dying and living out his days in hospice at St. Paul's hospital in downtown Vancouver. He had no family or no friends so he was going to die without anybody remembering him. Our friend RC knew him from the neighbourhood he worked in and asked if we'd come and photograph him.
He told us of how he used to be on the Canadian swim team, and held Canadian swimming records for a while. But he left the team before his career ever went anywhere.
He had been homeless for years before he ended up here.
Seven25 are a design and typography firm based in the heart of rainy Vancouver.
Ross Rebagliati is probably most famous for being the first person to win an Olympic gold in a Men’s Snowboarding event. He was later stripped of his medal after THC was found during a blood test, though at a low level that Ross claimed (and current WADA rules would support) was from second-hand smoke.
His medal was eventually returned to him on the grounds that marijuana was not on the list of banned substances at the time anyway.
BC Business Magazine asked us to shoot Ross for a Q&A, and we got to ride the mountain with someone who’s not only a great guy but also an Olympic legend.
This job has it’s perks...
While Vancouver might be better known for being the birthplace of yoga pants, there’s a skate shop on W4th Ave with far deeper roots into the city’s history and culture.
PD’s Hot Shop - owned and run by Skull Skates founder PD - has legendary status in the world of skating. In contrast to Luluemon, Skull Skates started small and stayed (relatively) small on purpose. There is one other PD’s store - in Toki City, Japan.
Shot for BC Business Magazine.
They're a wedding planning company and they plan weddings that aren't traditional. Erin, Coco and the rest of the gang are the cure for the common wedding.
These images represent the ads we've shot for them through the years.
Josh came to us in need of a portrait of himself, for his website. He's a sound engineer and gets to play with that big ass sound board in the background. That board recorded some of the Beatles tracks along with countless others. It currently lives at Warehouse Studios, Gastown, Vancouver.
Josh now lives in Toronto.
Aprons for Gloves is the charity boxing tournament featuring workers from the Vancouver restaurant industry. Each season a new round of contenders - some new some returning - spend three months training there asses off for a shot at the main event fight night. Some make it all the way, some don't.
This series follows Sean Sherwood (Fiction, Lucy Mae Brown, Century) through a day of training during the 2013 season.
A BC Business magazine assignment. This is Guy Cramer. He's the founder of local company called Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp. Basically these guys design the camouflage patterns for most of the major militaries around the world. You name 'em: Canada, USA, Australia, Jordan, Afghanistan... the list goes on.
They also produce other technologies. One of them is a light bending technology that can be applied to a material. Yep. They made an invisibility cloak. Seriously.
Uruguay. A combination of simple, often primitive living, combined with modern conveniences. It's not a rare thing to see people getting around on horse back while also speaking on mobile phones.
Other facts about Uruguay: it was the first country in South America to legalize same-sex marriage, it was the first country in the world to fully legalize cannabis, and the president drives himself around in an old VW Beetle and lives in a small modest home with his wife - he offered the presidential mansion up as a homeless shelter.
This little town is up the coast about half an hour from Brazil. The many streets are dirt track and the houses are generally very simple. Your first impression is that they are simple huts, except they have full electricity, gas stoves, wifi, fridges, microwaves etc.
Album artwork for Nick's 2009 album Too Much To Do and some more recent promo shots.
A series of portraits of Argentinians met on a trip to the South American country November 2013.
A BC Business Assignment.
In December of 2012 we heard H.A.M. for the first time and immediately wanted them to collaborate with playground.is. Despite their busy schedule we got a yes out of them. These are two events we followed them to so we could snap them play live for promo content for the upcoming event.
The first is the first time we experienced them play live. It was at the Squamish Music Festival in 2012. They were playing the small local stage and they absolutely destroyed it.
The second is the Commodore in Vancouver. They were opening for another band that but owned it like a boss. Incidentally November 8th, they will be headlining at the Commodore. With tours and festivals all over North America, these boys have been busy.
2009 Bikrams yoga calendar.
October of '09 we drove down to Seattle to shoot the Norwegian electronic rock band. The show, in a small bar venue away from downtown, was the final stop on their American tour. The irony was this was one of the smallest venues along the trip.
They certainly rocked that tight little venue with the gusto fit for a stadium.
Late in the evening after the show the fellas hit an all night karaoke bar with exactly the same gusto.