Last summer, I did a pretty magical engagement shoot with R & R in the Don Valley. Their cute chemistry and dedication to natural settings had me pretty excited to see what they pulled off for their actual wedding. They didn't disappoint with their decision to have the ceremony at Chicopee, a venue I'd never been to before. Despite my research, I don't think I was properly prepared for how magical their forest wedding felt, and I was thrilled to be able to shoot them in this setting.
As part of my editorial & photography work with the Japanese Cultural Magazine Bento Box, I had the fortune of being asked to photograph the launch event for Uniqlo Canada. My experience living and working in Japan has made me a Uniqlo addict, so, of course, I was thrilled to hear the chain of clothing stores would be coming to Canada. When Bento Box said they were looking for someone for this particular event, I jumped on the opportunity, even going so far as to show up in head-to-toe Uniqlothes.
I've been working with MiniGeeks for a while now to provide the handmade children's fashion line with professional photos for use in applications to all kinds of geeky conventions. Katy and her micro models are always a lot of fun to work with, and the dork in me is always curious to see what kind of fandom fashion mashup she's created.
In my time at Toronto consumer internet success story, Wattpad, I became good friends with co-founder Allen Lau and his wife Eva. When Allen and Eva started their own Venture Capital firm on the side, they were using a decent, but not exactly amazing, photo of them that I'd snapped at a random Wattpad party. I suggested that we could do much better with a proper shoot, and they took me up on it.
As Allen and Eva are never very far from their daughters, the shoot evolved into a combination professional / family photoshoot. It was good to have the girls around to lighten the mood since Allen and Eva are such naturally warm people.
I've been a volunteer photographer with Emily's House, a children's hospice here in Toronto, for exactly a year now. My first event for them was last year's Hike for Hospice, and in the 365 days since I've supported them with event photography for some fun events. However, I've also helped the families they serve document the final days of some very beautiful children.
It's a challenging situation. The photos are some of the most beautiful I think I've ever produced, with the pure emotional weight of their importance making them shine in my eyes. Yet, those photos are probably the most personal photos I ever take, so I'm unable to share them. It's volunteer work, and I can attest that it is at once the most rewarding and most heartbreaking work I ever take on.
The weight of the work is illustrated in an interaction I had with one of the Emily's House nurses, who, after I'd been snapping photos of one girl and her family for an hour, asked me if I think I'd gotten enough photos. I was completely at a loss to respond. How many photos of a dying baby is enough? Shouldn't I grind my shutter down to sand, snapping picture after picture after picture in the vain hope that the next one will be the one to perfectly preserve the life that was lost?
Anyway. Hike for Hospice is definitely one the most openly joyful events I help out with. Even on a very rainy day in May, the life and energy of all the other volunteers, as well as the strength and the light of the families in attendance, was more than enough to obliterate the grey.
One of my pet hobbies is photographing Toronto streetart and graffiti. As this stuff is usually tucked away in alleys, people seem to miss just how much of it brightens up the cold concrete of our city, so I like getting it out there in front of people's eyeballs. Through my adventures in alleyways, I've had the fortune to meet one of Toronto's most prolific artists: Lovebot.
He recently put on a very small show at this studio, and I had the chance to snap some photos of him in his element. Though there are a lot of Lovebot wheatpastes/posters cropping up in the city, and the occasional painted piece, the artist made his start with actual, physical Lovebot sculptures cast in concrete. What I loved most about this shoot was that it showcased that solid concrete heritage of the art with the big stack of concrete bags smack in the centre of the room.
I was once again hired as an official photographer for the Toronto Estonian Documentary Film Festival. They wanted me back because they claimed I had a lot more fun with folks in front of the step and repeat than other photographers. And here I was thinking it was the Estonians who made it so much fun...
As part of my volunteer photography work, I am the official photographer for Toronto children's hospice, Emily's House. I was introduced to the hospice when some close friends started volunteering with the children there, and it's always a pleasure to support their charity events.
In September, Emily's House received a huge donation from WWE Wrestling stars Stardust and Stephen Amell / The Arrow. The donation was in honour of Ollie Oddsocks, a child who lived at the hospice and made an impact on Amell. Both wrestlers were absolute class acts as they helped Emily's House unveil a new room in memory of Ollie Oddsocks.