day 27 & 28

B3K Digital is an equipment rental house and education facility, on Toronto’s east side (https://b3kdigital.com/cultural-heritage/). I’m here today for the Cultural Heritage equipment education and to finally meet, in person, their staff - what a thrill to meet people I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting online - so nice to put a face to an email address! They did not disappoint - such a warm and inviting staff of experts and I felt very welcome there for the couple of days spent at their location.

Rod McLeod, Cultural Heritage equipment rep, guided me through various equipment options and the Capture ONE Cultural Heritage software, and gave me some excellent insight into to the CH world. I was also given a hands-on experience using the gear to photograph negatives, calibration, etc.

As some of you know, I will be writing a post-grad course on this topic during my Sabbatical. B3K Digital was my first stop on a long journey of learning about this field. I’m really excited to get started with the process and feel that this industry definitely has a place at Algonquin.

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Day 29

HOME! Back in Ottawa, with my family again. Although, I love my Toronto family, It’s nice to be home.

I would like to thank all the people I worked with in Toronto for giving me such an amazing experience and opening your studio doors to me, to learn more and discuss how we can be even better as a College program. I appreciate your candour and insight into this hectic photographic world.

To my dearest friend, Tracey, thank you for putting up with me for a month, in your house! I will miss our daily laughs over morning coffees and our Dollarama shopping sprees!!

In a couple of days, I’m off for another adventure - stay tuned….

day 24

This morning I had a meeting with Natasha V at 9 Davies Avenue (https://www.natashav.com). Natasha is a graduate of the Photography Program at Algonquin College and it was important form me to get feedback from her in regards to our program. I quickly realized that she attended our program during the analogue days and her experience in the program was very similar to mine - a good experience but really nothing to do with today’s requirements in the industry. Although, we both agreed that students need to learn to slow down and shoot with intension and with the digital age, it’s easy to forget to do this. Analogue was great for this - sometimes too great, haha.

According to Natasha, another important factor is creativity and pushing students to use creative factors and instruction to develop this portion of their portfolios. While technical skills are important and mandatory in this industry, creativity will set you apart.

We discussed business elements of the industry and she was very pleased to hear that we have an Entrepreneurship course now but thinks it should be a longer course because there are too many topics to cover in one semester.

Overall, a very candid and effective meeting and it was wonderful to touch base with Natasha and get to know her.

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day 22

Today was not a shooting day but a conversation at Westside Studio (http://www.westsidestudio.com/#artists/photographers ) with Nikki Ormerod and Chris Gordaneer.

Westside Studio has taken several of our students for a field placement term and our program is very grateful for the opportunities you’ve given them. My goal of the meeting was to ensure we’re giving the studio what they needed from our students and how we can do better. I received positive feedback from both Nikki & Chris regarding our program and some input on what we need to add to the program - very minor adjustments but excellent input.

It was supposed to be an hour long meeting and quickly turned into a couple hours - sorry Nikki, I know you were on a deadline. The discussion was so useful and it was great to get to know both of you better.

Westside Studio also currently employs one of our grads, Tom Wood, who works as the 1st assistant to Matt Barnes. Tom came into the studio to say hi and have a quick lunch with me at Donna’s (https://donnas.ca) - which was amazing! Try their roast beef sandwich - you will not be disappointed! It was great to catch up with Tom and hear his input on working as an assistant and how the program really set him up for success at the studio. Always great to hear that positive feedback!

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free parking - always a bonus!

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Tom’s office

day 21

After a week break from studios and having some personal time to reflect and relax, I’m back at it. Today’s studio is Vince Noguchi (https://www.vincentnoguchi.com) , an extremely talented Toronto photographer. Vince has so graciously allowed me to come on set today and work with him during a client shoot - again, we can’t talk about the client, sorry…

Vince had a small team on set today, including, Art directors, Food Stylists, Prop Stylist, Producer, and 1st Assistant and 2nd Assistant - me! The team worked tirelessly on several set ups for the client. It is amazing to watch the fluidity of the team and I’m not going to lie, I was awkward, haha. It’s very difficult to work in a new and unknown environment. As many of you know, I’m not a seasoned tabletop shooter, I’m a portrait shooter, so it is hard to proactively assist when you don’t really know what’s next and every photographer has their priorities and distinct method of shooting. I was definitely up for the challenge though and Vince was beyond patient and encouraging with me.

It was an amazing experience and I’m so grateful to the team for their input and discussions about the industry and the college curriculum. I got a lot of ideas for our program, moving forward, that I can’t wait to implement.

On a personal note, there is nothing like hands-on experience but I’m very tired from standing all day on that concrete floor - “you know you’re getting old when…”

day nine

Located upstairs from Fiocca Studio lives Steve Krug. Steve and his team of awesomeness allowed me to visit on set while shooting for a client. It was a food shoot for commercial purposes and very interesting to watch as he and the team put together a beautiful array of images. This studio has a large team that includes photographic assistants, food stylists, digital retouchers, studio manager and more. They are a family and it is apparent in the way they work together and have a good time while being respectful of each others jobs and incredible craft.

A bonus today was catching up with Kevin Luc, another alumni working in the industry - they’re all over Toronto! I haven’t seen Kevin since 2006, when he graduated, so it was great to talk to him about the industry and who things have progressed since he graduated. Lot’s of great ideas from this team regarding our program.

A huge thank you to everyone at Krug Studio for welcoming me into your world for today. Extra thanks for Jessica Wong, Krug Studio Manager, who helped me with coordinating a visit!

day seven

Today was a stills day with Jodi Pudge(www.jodipudge.com) and food stylist, Michael Elliott(www.judyinc.com/michael-elliott/food-styling/). Extra bonus today was working with Ryan Vilaca, a graduate of the Algonquin College Photography Program, 2016. Ryan moved to Toronto after completing his studies and was the lead assistant today. So much fun to have Ryan teaching me for a change. His attention to detail and proactive assisting is truly impressive.

The shoot today was a lesson in hurry up and wait - wait for the client approval. This is standard on many shoots and allows the photographer to ensure that the images produced are accurate and what the client is looking for - product placement is so important. Sometimes focus changes and a rejig of the set is in order - better to do it now than after everything is torn down. It was great to watch as the photographer, stylist and director worked together to make the client happy with a complete change up of placement of the products and honestly, it looked just as beautiful as the first set up. How could it not with Jodi & Michael on set making shooting today looks so easy and effortless. True pro’s, for sure!!

It was really nice to work on a smaller set today and talk to all the players on this job and not feel so in the way of all the moving parts. This shoot wraps up on Tuesday and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the final day so stay tuned for more on this job.

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Jodi pudge at work

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ryan vilaca at work

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so many props

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forks, just cause they’re cool

day six

What can I say, anyone who has spent a day at Fiocca Studio knows that it is an amazing experience. As many of you know I am in awe of what they do and I feature Rob’s work in several of my class keynotes - particularly, the food module series. This day was an overwhelming, exciting and knowledge filled extravaganza.

Today started with Taeko Yamanouchi, Studio Manager, who introduced me to everyone on set and then took me on a tour of a few of Toronto’s Prop houses today, namely, Rustica Tabletop(www.rusticatabletop.com), The Props(theprops.ca) and Objekts Tabletop Props(www.objektstabletop.com). Wow!!! These places are incredible - anything you could possibly need for a shoot, these places have it. Check out the photo’s below.

Today was a motion shoot for a TV commercial, for a client. The client cannot be mentioned due to NDA but it was a big client and an exciting one to see happen. Sorry, I can’t divulge clients guys, you gotta respect the privacy of these jobs. I can tell you that it was a food client.

Food stylist, Noah Witenoff - check him out at www.nustyling.com - was on hand, with his amazing team, to make every morsel impressive. I am also a big fan of Noah’s work and showcase him in my classes as well, so this day just keeps getting better! The amount of attention to detail on every square inch of food is unbelievable and leaves the mouth watering for more. Noah’s staff were incredible with me, explaining why they do what they do with food and how to make it perfect.

On set with Rob, Zach(assistant) and the motion team was a sight to behold - every detail and movement of the camera was impeccable, under Rob’s direction. Needless to say, I was in awe of this production and at times speechless (yes, I know, that never happens to me!). But today, observation was key.

Rob, Noah, Zach & Taeko and everyone on set today were so approachable and engaged with me, I could not have had a better experience with this studio. Thank you so much.

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day three

I started my day with the ever to so talented and dedicated, Rafael Goldchain, at Sheridan College. Rafael is a professor in the Photography department and also an advocate and innovator for Research & Development in the area of rendering 3D artifacts. Rafael, myself and a few employed students and faculty spent several hours discussing the advancement of this project and they showed me their successes thus far. It’s an impressive project for sure.

We also toured the program area and discussed the several updates that Sheridan has done within the program since becoming a degree program. Also impressive and inspiring.

Algonquin College currently has a bridging program with Sheridan that allows our grads to continue their studies with Sheridan and achieve a degree in Photography - for those of you wondering…

Next visit was with Alumna, Jodi Pudge, at her 15 Adrian Avenue, Toronto studio. Jodi is a food photographer and her clients include Loblaws, LCBO, Neal Brothers, and. many more - check her out at www.jodipudge.com.

Jodi and Angus Fergusson, check him out at - www.angusfergusson.com, cinematographers, several assistants, art directors, food stylists, propping stylists, etc., were all working on a motion job when I arrived - can’t say much about the actually client or job due to an NDA - but I can say that the momentum of the team was incredible to watch and honestly, a bit overwhelming to take it all in. Everyone was working in sync with each other and, what appeared to me to be an effortless professionalism and focus on the task at hand. Bravo to all that make our food look so delicious!

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day two

I toured Toronto Image Works today with Jeannie Baxter, Managing Director. For those of you who don’t know about TIW, it was founded by Edward Burtynsky, an incredible aerial and environmental Canadian Photographer, in 1986. The facilities have an industrial, modern and rustic feel but more importantly the first impression of the staff was more than welcoming. Jeannie was so generous with her time with me and explained all the areas of the shop, starting with the drop off counter for film - YES, film! E6 is shipped elsewhere but they still process C-41 & B&W & RA-4. Various scanning options are available here too. They also offer incredible digital image printing options on a variety of fine art papers and a lower cost bulk printing. Also available is handcrafted framing in a variety of profiles - all custom to fit the needs of the client and the work.

After the tour, Jeannie and I sat down for a lengthy discussion about starting a service bureau in our program and what TIW would be looking for in an employee. She encouraged our efforts in starting the service bureau at Algonquin College and teaching about client liaison, trouble shooting the print and time management. Soft skills are the key when looking and keeping a job in this industry.

Thank you so much to Jeannie Baxter for sharing your valuable time with me.

Next was personal time - went to Sugar Beach Park and shot a bit and just chilled out and had some self-reflection time.

Balance is the goal.

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