Vicky Lam Looks Smart in Tangerine

by Alex Beetham on June 25, 2015

It’s amazing what creativity can come from being conscious of pinching pennies.  Perhaps it was dorm days in college, perhaps the first few months in your own pad.  We’ve all been there, channelling some DIY resourcefulness mixed with a dash of MacGuyver.  Not always the most effective methods, but hats off for creativity to say the least.  The folks at John St. and Tangerine had far too much fun coming up with some “life hacks” to drive home some smart banking choices.  Vicky and team also had a blast creating and photographing these contraptions.  From Vicky:

Surprisingly, all of these life hacks exist out there (and work!). Whether they are the smartest money saving ways, I’ll let you decide. And fyi, the scrubbing drill actually works!     – Vicky

Take a look!

Client:  Tangerine Banking
Agency:  John St.
Photographer:  Vicky Lam
AD:  Jenny Luong
Copywriter:  Kohl Forsberg
Agency producer:  Jen Shapiro
Photography producer:  Phaedra Kennedy
Photography assistants:  Bryan Ulrich & Daniela Garcia


You may have spotted some of these scrolling through your Facebook wall:



All Images © Vicky Lam


    “Have you ever eaten dog?”

    If your response to that question was something like “what?! no?!”, “is that a joke?” or “….” then Derek Shapton’s new work for Humane Society International will alert you to a horrible fact.  The Yulin festival happens this weekend in China where in previous years, thousands of dogs have been killed and eaten.  These images and motion spot both speak for themselves and in partnership with great creative vision by Paul Bonsell, they send a very strong and clear message.  If you are an animal lover, prepare yourself.


    Yes, that is our very own #WestsideWoofs star, Jimmy!


    “The print ads were fun to shoot but pretty straightforward… as for the commercial, I’m finding that in motion work, as with almost everything else in life, getting out of the way of a good idea and letting it speak for itself is both the hardest and most rewarding approach.  We had other edits with multiple cuts and closeups and so on but ended up settling on a single-shot version, it seemed to best serve the script.” -Derek Shapton 

    Check out the motion spot that Derek directed below, make sure to share it as donations can only rise the more people see the link.





    If you want to help stop this festival that takes place this weekend- please click here to donate or here to sign the petition.

    Client: Humane Society International
    Creative Agency: Grassriots
    Creative Director/Art Director/Writer: Paul Bonsell
    Film Production Company: OPC
    Director/Photography: Derek Shapton
    DOP (motion):  Kris Belchevski
    Editor: Izzy Ehrlich, Rooster
    Transfer: Roslyn Di Sisto, Smith
    Online: Ernie Mordak, Fort York VFX
    Audio: Julian Rudd, Vapor Music
    Dogs: Christine Ford and David Smith


      The view from inside a blender?

      by Chris Payne on June 12, 2015

      Anthony Redpath has finally answered the question that has been asked since the dawn of home appliances; “what is the view like from the inside of a blender?”.  Well, okay, maybe it is more of a recent or potentially non-existent question.  Either way, Anthony answered it in some of his latest work with the creative direction of Matt Litzinger, Stephen Sandian and the lovely folks at Red Lion.  Check it out!


      “Combined with elements shot across Canada, the final image came together well: the KitchenAid Torrent blender carafe with all it’s details and reflections, our talent and her expression, and our KitchenAid equipped kitchen behind her. It was a study in physics (optics) and perspective rules to figure out the best way to translate the concept of looking out from within the carafe.  The next major challenge was getting the right reaction from our talent (being enchanted and fascinated by the blender) – we shot a lot of variations in her expression, to say the least!”- Anthony Redpath


      Photographer: Anthony Redpath

      Creative Director: Matt Litzinger

      Art Director: Stephen Sandian

      Copywriter: Jacob Karsemeyer

      Agency Account Team: Abi Berkley & Nicole Spinner

      Producer: John Stevancec

      Assistant & Digi Tech: Jeff Jamieson

      Assistant: Abe Roberto

      Post Production: Mark Tyler & Kathleen Loski


        Joey L photographing in the Syrian civil war

        by Chris Payne on June 9, 2015

        Joey L has photographed everything from A-list celebrities, to some of the most secluded cultures on the planet.  All of this before his 26th birthday.  So when people talk about those that dedicate their life to their work, Joey is someone who immediately comes to mind.  His most recent project is nothing short of another milestone in his career.  Photographing Kurdish soldiers in the middle of the Syrian civil war, in an attempt to learn who these people really are and dig deeper than the headlines or twitter feeds.

        Photography has been the  tool in allowing Joey to create a relationship with people who may be otherwise very guarded, both physically or interpersonally.  He is a terrific story teller with his images and his portraiture is a window into the lives of his subjects.  In this series, Joey allows us to look in to the eyes of the very people fighting against ISIS.  What looks back at you is truly moving.

        Please click here to visit Joey’s site.  There you can have a read and look through the extensive blog he wrote about his trip to Istanbul, to Sulaymaniyah, North Eastern Iraq.  You can also check out the video he made with a few GoPro cameras below, it is lengthy- but puts a great amount of his trip into a different perspective.

        Photo and video ©Joey L.

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          California Dreaming with Matt Barnes

          by Alex Beetham on June 2, 2015

          At long last, the frost has left the ground (and our souls) here in Toronto.  10 degrees is completely acceptable spring time patio weather, right?  Matt Barnes wasn’t having any of winters chills, as he kept finding himself back under the warm sun of California, USA.  Matt has been kind enough to share some personal work from his last few trips to the West coast.  Below is everything you’d expect from Matt:  Sexy bods, beautiful faces, low riders, Lady Hayes flower crowns, family & friends, and… well just have a look see for yourself.  A snapshot into the world of Mr. Barnes:

          cali-dreamin-001 cali-dreamin-002 cali-dreamin-003 cali-dreamin-004 cali-dreamin-005 cali-dreamin-006 cali-dreamin-007 cali-dreamin-008 cali-dreamin-009 cali-dreamin-010 cali-dreamin-011 cali-dreamin-012 cali-dreamin-013 cali-dreamin-014 cali-dreamin-015 cali-dreamin-016 cali-dreamin-017 cali-dreamin-018 cali-dreamin-019 cali-dreamin-020 cali-dreamin-021 cali-dreamin-022 cali-dreamin-023 cali-dreamin-024 cali-dreamin-025 cali-dreamin-026

          All Images © Matt Barnes


            Mary Ellen Mark

            by Chris Payne on May 29, 2015

            We as the creators of photographs can sometimes become lost in the process of creating technical perfection.  It is our job to expertly bring to life the vision of others and to lend our own unique stylistic elements to create award winning images.  Mary Ellen Mark made some of the most incredible, timeless photographs by being present during the moments that were true and honest.  The world lost an icon this week, but the library of photographs that Mary Ellen Mark left behind is nothing short of historic.  Here are some memories made by Mary Ellen Mark’s work that a few Westsiders would like to share.

            “In 1987 I was in my first apartment going to art college studying painting and photography.  I found a book of Mary Ellen Marks in the library sometime during my first semester.  This series of Damm Family who were then living in their car in LA was what made me take notice of her work.  Her ability to portray people that lived on the margins without being patronizing seemed so new to me. She was elevating them without losing the reality of their situation.  It was subtle, sensitive, bold and daring all at the same time.  I was 18 and she had already been shooting professionally for 25 years.” – Tom Nesbitt, Partner- Westside Studioimage1

            “I took photography in high school when I made the switch from Catholic to public school.  Our class went to Toronto to shoot black and white film.  I walked around with some friends- each of us shooting the different things that caught our eyes.  I was not afraid to approach strangers.  I loved it.  I craved a reaction to the intrusion and I was fascinated by the range of responses.  Some wanted to be friends and some wanted to fight.  It wasn’t until I developed this film that I really saw some things I loved.  My teacher made me print certain frames.  Close portraits – some too close.  Uncomfortable.  Strange movements.  It didn’t make sense to me at first, I didn’t understand why he picked those images to print.  He countered with telling me that is was probably the same reason that caused me to take the picture in the first place.  He told me I would like Diane Arbus and Mary Ellen Mark.  He was right. 

            After some convincing and a lot of help from my teacher Mr. Ainsely,  I changed my application submissions from Math at the University level to Photography. 
            Now after shooting professionally for years I’m finally having a show of black and white portraits.  Dennis Hopper played a huge role in this show and this picture of him as well.  Mary Ellen Mark got to shoot behind the scenes of my favourite movie Apocalypse Now.  Here are a couple shots from her time on set.” -Nikki Ormerod, Photographer
            Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 8.50.01 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 8.55.12 PM
            “I was lucky enough to actually hear Mary Ellen Mark speak in person on two different occasions when I was still in school.  Although I personally never knew of her work beforehand, I recall being blown away after attending her first talk and seeing her striking body of work.  It amazed me to see how she was able to really capture so many stories and personalities in her very raw and honest photographs.  I remember her showing us examples of her photography from the beginnings of her career, and it was remarkable how she could relate to so many people from such vastly different worlds.  She really had a gift in seeing through people and connecting with them.  I remember seeing her body of work from Falkland Road, uncovering the stories of the street prostitutes and women of brothels.  The work was raw, and very intimate and it surprised me to see just how close she was able to get with her subjects.  Sometimes it almost felt intrusive and voyeuristic.  I asked her just how she was able to gain the trust of the prostitutes despite an obvious cultural and language barrier.  She responded that it took confidence.  She persistently approached the people she met with confidence, and with that, her subjects trusted her guidance and vision to tell their stories.  This resonated deeply with me, and it is evident in all of Mary Ellen Mark’s photographs that she carried that confidence with her wherever she went, and the people she photographed trusted her with ease.    Mary Ellen Mark had an incredible gift of capturing humanity and humility, and her vision will be greatly missed.
            It’s hard for me to pick a single favourite image, because Mary Ellen Mark has had such a vast body of work, each project varying so different from others.  Sometimes her vision uncovers despair and hopelessness, and other times her work has a humorous undertone as seen in her work for Twins.  Perhaps I’m more optimistic, but I really enjoyed the Twins series and hearing the often hilarious stories behind each set of twins.”- Vicky Lam, Photographer


              Tuesdays, right?

              by Chris Payne on May 26, 2015

              Rolling out of bed is always a tough one and is usually met by a squinty “how many days until the weekend?” look in the mirror.  Not much can cure that situation, but there are ways to make it a little less of a drag.  Music, a new kind of soap in the shower, exercise (if that is your thing)…  but for most people- it’s a cup of joe.

              Check out this cool interactive ad by the people at Lew’Lara and TBWA Brazil for the Brazilian coffee brand Café Pelé.

              Good morning everyone!


                Nikki Ormerod Cracks a Cold One

                by Chris Payne on May 22, 2015

                We here at Westside love our beer.  You can find it next to a big ol’ Friday BBQ burger on our picnic table, in the hands of a team celebrating the end of an exciting week, hard day or, heck, who are we kidding its noon somewhere!  More often than not the barley pop is centre stage in one of our shooter’s spotlights.  Well, gridded Profoto head is more accurate than a spotlight, but I digress…

                Nikki Ormerod may not be the first name you think of when it comes to shooting the hoppy nectar, but when the bright minds of  Sid Lee started putting together a looser, more lifestyle take for Moosehead Nikki was the obvious choice.  Her keen eye and disarming manner worked together very well to amp up the style quota.  On a side note, this production took shape in just under a week and shot over a single rather epic Sunday.  Keep your eyes peeled when you’re out and about, because they’re currently plastered all over the city!

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                In case you can never get the perfect look at these billboards because you were focused on driving or not tripping over anything (both wise choices) check them out below!

                1- Moosehead

                2- Moosehead

                3- Moosehead

                4- Moosehead


                Executive Creative Director:  Jeff DaSilva

                Sr. Art Director:  Andrew MacPhee

                Art Director:  Jordan Dunlop

                Copywriter:  Ryan Chiasson

                Account Director:  Karim Tubbeh

                Strategist:  Jerry Furguson

                Art Buyer/Producer:  Dana Klyszejko

                Production:  Westside Studio




                  Camera Kits & Pocket Picks: Dave Delnea

                  by Chris Payne on May 19, 2015

                  There have been some interesting websites that have peaked the interest of the avid consumer in all of us over the past while.  Websites such as ShotKit and Everyday Carry have given us a glimpse into the bags and pockets of photographers as well as other creative (and not so creative) people.  It is strangely fascinating.

                  We decided to combine these two ideas and show you what our photographers shoot with, how it influences them and what helps them to live their daily lives as photographers.  Starting with Toronto based Vancouver native, Dave Delnea.

                  Rather than have us talk you through the kit, we will let Dave tell you what it is, why he’s got it and/or why it is important to him!

                  DAVE DELNEA:
                  “When Chris asked to me to show my gear in order to give a little insight into how I work I figured I’d focus on a few of the bits that lend a unique trait to my work.  Not pictured is a storage room full of the usual lights, stands, tripods, light modifiers, clamps, sandbags, and all that other good stuff you’ll see floating around on any given set… but here are few of my favourite bits.”


                  A – Nikon D800
                  B – Nikon D3X
                  C – Hasselblad 500cm w/lenses and backs
                  D – 70-200mm f/2.8
                  E – 24mm Tiltshift
                  F – 24-70mm f/2.8
                  G – Polarizer + Graduated Neutral Density Filters
                  H – 85mm f/1.8
                  I – 20mm f/2.8
                  J – 50mm f/1.8
                  K – 17-35mm f/2.8
                  L – 2 x Acute B Heads
                  M – Ringlight
                  N – 2 x AcuteB2 Generators + Extra Batteries
                  SLR KIT (A, B, D-K)
                  “The SLR kit is still the workhorse for most of my projects.  We’ll pull a digital medium format system into the mix when needed, but this system lets us work a lot faster, and also allows us to make use of a lot more natural lighting conditions with how well it performs in low light.  I shoot mostly with Nikon equipment but have used Canon for some projects as well… both systems can produce amazing images.  I’m constantly adding and upgrading gear, but I always travel with 2 bodies and a mix of lenses ranging from 17mm to 200mm.  I also use tilt/shift lenses fairly often to keep those lines straight when shooting architecture or cityscapes.”

                  Location Light Kit (N)

                  “The Profoto AcuteB2 system is what I pack for most of my location lifestyle and sports work.  Whenever we’re shooting work where we want a looser, more unscripted feel to the action we’ll use these units.  On larger sets we’ll partner them with the more powerful (and much heavier) Pro-B system.  They’re powerful enough to wrestle with bright sunlight and they are light enough to carry for hours.  Oh – and the construction is tough as nails!  Pictured is 2 packs, 2 heads, a ringlight and a bunch of extra batteries for those looooong shooting days.”

                  Hasselblad Film Kit (C)
                  “Hasselblad Film Kit – Not used much in my commercial work, but when I’m feeling burnt-out and creatively uninspired I’ll often take this guy out for a little low key street shooting.  There’s something about the sound of that Hasselblad shutter that always helps me to fall back in love with taking pictures.”
                  O – Elinchrom 74” Octa
                  P – DJI Ronin
                  Q – 44” Epson Printer
                  DJI Ronin (P)
                  “This is a new little toy I picked up recently as I’m starting to create more and more video/motion projects.  An amazing gimbal rig that can steady anything from a DSLR to a Red Epic and allow for some incredible smooth camera moves.  It also looks & feels like something Batman would own – and that oddly makes me happy.”
                  Elinchrom Octa (O)
                  “I have all sorts of lighting modifiers.  Softboxes, striplights, beauty dishes, reflectors, umbrellas… all have their place and their purpose.  But if there’s one modifier that feels like I’m cheating it’s this one – it just throws out a soft, even, wrapping light that makes it one of the easiest most forgiving lights to use (at least after the pain in the ass of setting it up and sandbagging the hell out of it so it doesn’t turn into a giant sail on location).”
                  44″ Epson Printer (Q)
                  “Some people say that perhaps I’m compensating for something… they may not be wrong.”
                  With these posts we should also learn what other goodies are in Dave’s life, perhaps more often than his camera.  What does he have on him the rest of the time?  Ninja stars?  A gremlin?  Mouth wash?  Let’s take a look at what he carries with him on the daily.
                  1 – Apple Macbook Pro

                  2 – Tsovet Watch
                  3 – Rayban Way 4147’s (these are great for people with [literally] oversized heads like me)
                  4 – Jaybird Bluetooth Headphones (cause otherwise I tend to get tangled up in wires when I’m working on my fitness)
                  5 – Kent folding comb (because bicycles and motorcycles require helmets)
                  6 – Passport (always close at hand)
                  7 – Moleskin Notebook
                  8 – iPhone
                  9-10 – Way too many keys
                  11 – Bottle Opener (because summer = drinking in the park)
                  12 – Beer Koozie (same reason as above)
                  13 – JW Hulme Co. Wallet (it’s surprisingly hard to find a great wallet)


                    Remember when we had to rewind things?  Those funny scribbley sounds if the play button was pressed at the same time as rewind?

                    It feels strange that this past week cassette boxes were delivered to some folks who had probably never held this archaic, masking-tape-labelled plastic box before.  NO, WE ARE NOT OLD.  It is a pity that our kids will never experience the 7-10 seconds of crackley blank tape at the end of the cassette before the inevitable “cluh-chunk” notifying you that it was time to flip that tape and hit play again.  Good times, good times…

                    Why the nostalgic rambling?  Well we are just gassed that our very own Tyler Gray has just released a brand spankin’ new motion spot along with an equally amazing new promo to go along with it.  A quick look into the rural Ontarian’s way of dealing with the winter, beard and all.  Take a gander at the motion spot won’t you?

                    Tyler Gray – THE SPOT from Westside Studio on Vimeo.

                    “Throw back to the days when cassette tapes and Lee Iacocca were king and K cars were more prevalent than nerds at a Star Wars convention.  After going to the Sparta Dragway (45 minutes south of London On.) a few times over the past couple years shooting and people watching, this idea came to me while cooped up last winter wondering how all the car nuts make it through the winter when the drag strip is locked down tight.  To bring a bit of context and back end, the bearded dude drives a gloss black ’88 Buick Grand National SS in the summer and goes to the track every weekend.  He listens to Lynard Skynard and he’s the guy you don’t fuck with and you don’t touch his car…EVER.  Trapped in the grip of winter, this bearded dude is stuck driving his winter beater but still has his sights on the track.”-T.G

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                    As you can probably tell, this motion spot shot in the dead of winter, in what seems like the middle of nowhere.  That should fairly accurately show the dedication Tyler put into this creative.  It takes a special kind of guy to willingly go out into the freezing cold to shoot something like this.  At least he was able to drag a bunch of equally fearless/crazy guys with him.

                    To package the spot up and send to agency creatives we decided to run with the thought “what is under the front seat of a K car?” Duh the bearded dude’s cassette tape collection of course.  Does anyone still have a cassette player?  No.  So we put the spot on a credit card style USB key and stuffed it in the cassette box photographed and designed specifically for this.  Inspired by my own tape collection from back in the day, masking tape and hand written names were written on the back and hand delivered.  -T.G
                    Director: Tyler Gray
                    DOP: John Ker
                    Writers: Tyler Gray & Dave Pigeon
                    Production: Westside Studio
                    On Set Audio: Alex Beetham
                    Audio Mixing: Silent Joe Audio
                    Voice Over: Evren
                    Music Track: Stone River
                    Music Production: Gypsy Soul Records
                    Colour: John Ker
                    SFX: John Fenton