Liam Mogan’s new creative is just the cheesiest

by Chris Payne on July 21, 2015

When you think Kraft dinner- what do you think of?  Rainy mid-day meal?  A savoury snack in the wee hours of the morning after a night of drinking?  Fond memories of how much you ate during college?  Whatever the case may be, it is hard to find anyone who doesn’t harbour at least one memory of the golden yellow pasta dish.  Liam Mogan recently decided he would put a new spin on KD, where he put his head together with food stylist Andrew Bullis and art director Taylor Shute to create dishes that would stir curiosity in even the most upper crust of fine diners.  Did you catch those puns?  Ladies and gentlemen, may we present to you- Kraft dinner five ways.

1.  Kraft Dinner Crostini with smoked and pickled cherry tomato, “haute-dog” foam, chimichurri, micro basil and ketchup reduction.Polenta

2.  Kraft Dinner White Cheddar Spirals on dandelion greens with hotdog petals, powder cheese foam and duck egg yolk.


3.  Kraft Dinner “Cubist” Croquette twice fried with albacore tuna, baby kale and lavender on Balsamic reduction and ketchup gastrique.

4.  Kraft dinner polenta with summer sausage, heirloom radish, chervil, yellow asphodel and cold pressed olive oil.


5.  Kraft Dinner white cheddar puree with Spam.  Sea asparagus salad with Kraft Dinner vinaigrette and cheese rimmed Kraft Dinner Miso.


Liam had these images printed out and has been dropping them off to a few folks around town.  The outer wrap of these prints has been known to instantly provoke an intense craving for mac and cheese, so please look on with caution below!



Photographer: Liam Mogan
Food Stylist: Andrew Bullis
Art Director: Taylor Shute

All images © Liam Mogan 2015


    Nikki Ormerod and a project called IF

    by Chris Payne on July 15, 2015

    Last Thursday evening at 7:00PM, the Westside Studio doors were open to those who would attend Nikki Ormerod‘s show curiously named If.  If was comprised of two dozen black and white portrait photographs in various print sizes.  These images accompanied a motion instalment that represented Nikki’s push into the world of directing along with her partnership with Spy films.  I would say things are going pretty will for Nikki aren’t they?!  For your viewing pleasure, please check out only a selection of images from the project and watch the motion spot below.


    “This project initially began as a personal project that would help me to bridge the gap between my stills work and my motion work. I have been shooting commercial and editorial stills for years now and have always wanted to get into directing.  The way I see it – being a photographer is directing.  I direct my set, my aesthetic, my light and my talent.  I feel that having the experience in the commercial world and the background in photography gives me a leg up.  Directing moving pictures just seems like the next step for me.  I wanted to work on a project with people I trust and also creative thinkers who would allow me the freedom to experiment and have the patience to let me learn.  It has been an incredibly huge learning curve and I was very humbled when some of the industry’s best offered their help on this project.

    Stuart Campbell and I met a few years back when he was still working as an art director.  As he began to make the shift from Art Director to Director of Photography it really made me think.  It was a huge inspiration and I knew that I wanted to collaborate with Stu from the beginning.  Marni and Carlo from SPY took notice of me a while back and helped with the project from the start.  They connected me with the right people and helped to get the best team of people working on this with me.  I really could not have done it without their amazing guidance and leadership through everything.  Graham Chisholm from Married to Giants was the editor on this spot.  IF was truly a collaboration between Graham, Stu and myself. It wouldn’t exist without them.  Wade Odium from Alter Ego Post did the colour for this project.  Since Wade has a background in photography it was incredibly easy to work alongside him. I was able to show him my vision through my stills and he immediately saw it.
    Since the content for this project was so minimal, the casting was paramount.  It took me weeks to cast for this.  I worked with casting director Stephen Milo to help find the right mix of people for this.  I also personally did street castings and skimmed through old casting sheets.  After hand picking almost 100 people to come shoot out of over 400 submissions, I was finally able to write parts and plan my approach.” – Nikki Ormerod
    “I had always planned for this project to work as my promo for the year as well.  I shot still portraits along side the motion – a task that is becoming more frequently required in the industry, but luckily something I love to do.  I was connected with designer Tia Hughes who really brought this promo to life.  In the end she worked on an entire rebrand for me and everything ended up playing together beautifully.  From there I planned to have a formal screening and art show with the final pieces.  I’m represented by Westside Studio for Stills photography and they offered the studio space up for this event.  I showcased the final film spot along with 24 large format prints.  Erika Jacobs and Tom Nesbitt help to make this night a total success.  
    For those wondering about the title of the project; IF  is a poem by Rudyard Kipling.  When Graham brought the clip of Dennis Hopper to the table everything fell into place.  The tone of the reading was what tied everything together.  I’ve always loved this poem and even loved it when Dennis Hopper recites parts of it during his rant in Apocalypse Now.  As he states: “IF is the middle word in life”.  This poem is a timeless and poignant mantra to life and self development.  It was really beautiful to direct all of the talent through the poem and allow them to interpret it in their own ways.
    Thank you to everyone who was involved!” - Nikki Ormerod


    If from Spy Films on Vimeo.

    Pretty impressive, no?  Nikki’s show was a hit with all who attended.  Special thanks to sponsors S M L and Junction Craft Brewing for helping to make this night a pleasure for our guests eyes and taste buds.  Check out some of the photos from the night below!

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.


    Director: Nikki Ormerod
    DP: Stuart Campbell
    Production House: Spy Films
    Stills Production: Westside Studio
    Executive Producers: Marni Luftspring / Carlo Trulli
    Editor: Graham, Chrisholm – Married to giants
    Colour: Wade Odlum – Alter Ego
    Music By: Andres Lara & Spencer Edwards
    Sound Mix: Apollo Music
    Casting: Milo Casting
    Designer: Tia Hughes- Art and Mechanical
    Print House: SML Printing
    Producer: Erika Jacobs
    Thanks to: Tom Nesbitt, Erika Jacobs, Tia hughes, Tom Smith, Eric Perrella, Cheyenne Bloomfield, Alain Elliott
    Assistants: Christa Michelle, Spencer Blackwood, Jamie Rosenthal, Hassan Mohammad


      Liam Mogan in Sharp Magazine

      by Chris Payne on July 9, 2015

      Things have been smelling great in the hallways here at Westside since Liam Mogan has started shooting.  Some days- it smells like maple bacon, some days it smells like butane…  Either way- it always smells like progress, the best smell of them all.  Recently Liam’s work landed on a 6 page spread in the summer edition of Sharp Magazine and a contents page as an added bonus!  If you weren’t hungry before reading this, you may want to have something to snack on close at hand.

      IMG_7464 IMG_7466 IMG_7472 IMG_7476 IMG_7480

      I’ve been working with Sharp for a few years now.  It’s always a very fun, creative, and even an award winning experience.  Typically we’ll do still life stories but this time they asked me to shoot one of their first food features!  It was a fantastic shoot filled with delicious food and lots of fire and lighter fluid!“- Liam Mogan.

      Hope you find a copy of Sharp mag on the stands and pick it up.  An awesome group of people are behind this magazine and have been making amazing content for a while now.  Check out Liam’s work for this issue below!









      Food images © Liam Mogan 2015

      Photographer: Liam Mogan
      Food Stylist: Andrew Bullis
      Art Director: Evan Kaminsky
      Graphic Designer: Stevie Visser

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        George Simhoni & the INFINITI Q50 Limited

        by Chris Payne on July 6, 2015

        Back in the midst of the polar vortex, George Simhoni decided 2015 was going to be all about automotive photography.  When George sets goals, he sure is driven to fulfill them.   He’s had the pedal right down to the metal (floor mat?) so far this year, as one of our rosters busiest shooters!  We are most pleased to share one of his latest jobs, done with Lance Martin, Josh Day and the fine folks at UNION for INFINITI.  Check out their latest whip, fresh in off-white:  The Q50 Limited.


        Right?!  George then brought another into the studio, to properly show off some details.  She’s got curves in all the right places…

        “It was so great to have the opportunity to be part of the Infiniti Q50 project.  Working with Josh Day was a wonderful collaborative experience.  The car was beautiful and fun to work with too.  I am proud of our accomplishments and the images we produced are fantastic.”- George Simhoni

        Here’s a little BTS look at one of the location days:

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        All Images © George Simhoni

        Creative Director: Lance Martin
        Art Director: Josh Day
        Copywriter: Caitlin Keeley
        Agency Producer: Jen Dark
        Agency: UNION Advertising Canada LP
        Photographer: George Simhoni
        Photography Producer: John Stevancec
        Assistants: Logan Allmendinger, Peter Chan, Jeff Jamieson


          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
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                    “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