Toys Beware, Black Friday is Here!

by Alex Beetham on November 27, 2015

Nothing brings home the holiday spirit quite like trampling someone for a cheap TV.  Do you see the terror in these toys eyes?  Good.  That means that Vicky Lam and retoucher Robyn Nowoczin have done their job, and executed flawlessly at that!  Approached by Open for a Toys’R'Us Black Friday promo, the smiling faces of many a popular character needed to be transformed into terror…  ”Please don’t tear us apart, you savages!!”

Client:  Toys R Us
Agency:  Open
Art Director:  Tyler McKissick
Project Manager:  Nicolas Rouleau
Copywriter:  Samara Luck
Creative Director:  Martin Beauvais
Retouching:  Robyn Nowoczin
Photography Assistant:  Rebecca Leach

A different variation:
Toys_FRENCH_webHere’s a little look at before & after retouching:
Turtle compareDid you spot our favourite minion covering the Toronto Star yesterday?
Toronto Star Cover

Be safe out there folks!

All Images © Vicky Lam




    Muskidermy, by Liam.

    by Alex Beetham on November 24, 2015

    Our Liam Mogan is a multi-talented individual.  Known for his gorgeous food, he can tackle just about any situation you put in front of his lens.  Take for instance, when Sharp Magazine (a long time client of his) approached Liam to shoot this seasons cologne with stuffed animals.  And by stuffed animals, I of course mean fine examples of taxidermy.  Bear with us and take a merganser at how our deer friend Liam made it happen:  (sorry not sorry)

    boss_flat burberry_flat
    It’s a great feeling when a pervious client comes back to you with a killer brief. So, needless to say I was pretty pumped when I heard from Evan Kaminsky, AD on Book for Men, about photographing designer fragrances with high end taxidermy. On top of a cool idea, our shoot would be an eight page feature. Now the kicker; we had to shoot in on location, a few hours away, in a garage without ac, on the hottest day of summer. No problem, although I may have lost a few pounds in sweat by the end of the day, I think the images turned out quite exceptional. Thanks, Even, Jo, and Allie for sticking out in the trenches with me.     – Liam

    D&G_flat dior_flat prada_flat zenga_flataustral_flatCheck out the spreads in the latest issue of Sharp, on shelves now!

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    All Images © Liam Mogan


      Welcome Ashley Capp to Westside!

      by Alex Beetham on November 17, 2015

      It is with great pleasure that we welcome Ashley Capp as the newest member on the Westside roster. Ashley honed her skills working along side some of the industries top food photographers and it shows in her lighting and compositions. A keen design sense combined with a realist approach to the food itself help to create stunning images that leave you wanting nothing save for a second helping. Already well acquainted with the best stylists in the business, Ashley has been featured in House & Home, Style At Home, Covent Garden, Clean Eating and The Globe and Mail just to name a few.

      So before you settle on what to have for lunch, why not browse through this sampling of some of Ms Capps work to help jump start those hunger pangs.


      Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 3.41.06 PM

      CarvingPorkRoast05Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 3.41.26 PM Food_HealthierCooking_Feb_2015_06 AntipastiScreen Shot 2015-11-16 at 3.42.03 PM
      Tasty, right?  You can check out more of her work on her personal website, or in Westside’s portfolio.

      Ashley LaunchWelcome aboard Ashley!!

      Ashley Launch_FACE


      All Images © Ashley Capp


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        Nikki Is Wildlife (We All Are)

        by Alex Beetham on November 13, 2015

        The iconic black and white panda logo hasn’t had a new campaign out in the world for 7 years.  John St. took this challenge head on and brought in Nikki to capture their concepts visuals.  Once again, they created something beautiful together:

        WWLBRD15015_WWF We Are All Wildlife_24x36-3

        I was approach by John St To work on WWF and the creative immediately spoke to me. I have been a long time supporter of WWF and the amazing things they do for animal kind and our environment . This new campaign just ties us all together so beautifully. We all spend so much time and effort caring for our own families. We work so hard towards pro creating . We need to recognize that we are all animals and should look to the wild life on our planet as just extended family and work just as hard to protect them. “When animals thrive – humans thrive.” – WWF

        I always love working with the John St peeps and always jump on anything they pass by me because I know it’s going to be well crafted and poignant . I’m so in love with the custom type Mo built. Amazing team all round . Can’t wait until next time :) – Nikki

        WWLBRD15015_WWF We Are All Wildlife_24x36-4 WWLBRD15015_WWF We Are All Wildlife_24x36-5 WWLBRD15015_WWF We Are All Wildlife_24x36-6Strategy already picked up this campaign and sung it’s praises.  You can also check out the motion component there too!

        Keep you eyes peeled for this work in a couple different formats around town.

        WWLBRD15015_WWF We Are All Wildlife_35x11_rev-1WWLBRD15015_WWF We Are All Wildlife_35x11_rev-3 WWLBRD15015_WWF We Are All Wildlife_35x11_rev-4


          Vicky Kicks Off Diwali With Kia

          by Alex Beetham on November 11, 2015

          Vicky Lam painstakingly worked her tail off with stylist Dee Connolly on this automotive Rangoli design.  I’ll let Vicky tell you all about it:

          Happy Diwali!

          Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights and is the most important holiday of the year in India.  It is the largest and brightest of festivals and marks the triumph of good over evil.  To mark this occasion, art director Jeff Popovich and copywriter Jonathan King got in touch with me to create a Rangoli design for Kia. Rangoli designs are traditional floor decorations created from coloured flour, rice grains, fine sands or with flower petals.  They are often created near entrances of houses and in courtyards to welcome goddess Lakshmi and to bring good luck.  I was so excited to be asked to create something so colourful and beautiful, yet so meaningful.  Here it is:


          I knew creating a design entirely out of fine powders would be challenging and require the utmost patience, so I asked stylist Dee Connolly to help me on this project.  With the tight deadline (shot just last week!), we had to get creative with our materials and approach.  Traditional Rangoli is usually traced out on the floor with chalk or paint and filled in with coloured powders.  We however, worked with a template of the design Jeff created as our base.  We were not able to find enough true Rangoli powders, so we looked towards powdered paints and even powdered drink mixes and spices.  Finally with a little help of retouching by Robyn Nowoczin, the colours of the design really came to life.

          After spending a long day and night creating only half of the 3ft wide design, I have much admiration for professional Rangoli artists who are able to whip things up freehandedly and so quickly. Rangoli designs really are an art of their own and a unique expression of a beautiful festival.

          Client: Kia
          Photographer:  Vicky Lam
          Agency: Innocean
          Art Director: Jeff Popovich
          Copywriter: Jonathan King
          Stylist: Dee Connolly
          Retouching: Robyn Nowoczin

          Check out some of the progress pictures with a little BTS action.

          _MG_4324 _MG_4318 IMG_6477 IMG_6486 IMG_9590

          All Images © Vicky Lam


            A great Canadian rye meets a great Canadian photographer, what a lovely synopsis to set the stage for what is certain to be amazing images.  …or night out…  Well anyways, this may not be the first time Chris Gordaneer and Crown Royal have met, but it’s certainly the most beautiful, that is for sure.

            These new images that Chris shot for the the Canadian rye company take classic Chris Gordaneer landscape photography and match it up with his studio technique.  Those amber colours pop off of these backgrounds and that bottle of liquid gold really demands your attention, doesn’t it?  Or am I just thirsty?  Check out these additional photos that Chris shot for Grey, New York for the American market.

            15006-BARREL LAKE FINAL-b

            15006-CROWN ROYAL GRAIN FINALb

            Westside Team:
            Photographer:  Chris Gordaneer
            Producer:  Kirsten White
            Assistant:  Brendan Smyth

            Traffik Group team:
            Art Director: Alex Rodriguez & Ed Jover

            Grey New York team:
            Writer: Pieter Melief
            Group Creative Director: Anthony DeCarolis
            Creative Director: Stu Mair
            Group Creative Director: Han Lin
            Designer: Ryan Hoelting
            Account Supervisor: Lyz Montague
            Account Executive: Nicole Murphy
            VP/Producer/Director: Floyd Russ
            Art Producer: Sarah Guidotti


              Best Coffee In the World. Actually.

              by Alex Beetham on November 3, 2015

              You may know by now how much we love our coffee here at Westside, and we’re thrilled being partnered up with our neighbours Propeller Coffee Co. for the past year and change.  We’re incredibly excited to share that they’ve just been named Roast Magazines Micro Roaster of the Year!! This is no small task. For only having their doors open for just over 2 years, they were matched and measured up against the best roasters from around the globe and came out the victor.  They are an incredible team making delicious coffee, and we are always eager to sample their latest offerings!

              Check out the article here! As an added bonus, many a photo in the article were snapped by Derek Shapton, Liam Mogan, and studio manager Alex Beetham!

              _DSC2331 1


              For some extra afternoon reading, we interviewed co-owner Losel in a previous post to get to know what Propeller is all about.

              Congrats everyone!  So very well deserved!


                Chris Payne, our fuzzy friendly rep has been photographing concerts, bands, playing in a band or two and keeping an eye on the pulse of what new music is buzzing in people’s headphones.  So we asked him to tell us about his current favourite Canadian bands, why he likes them and what he recommends listening to right this second.  Take it away Payner!


                Admittedly, I have a fondness for heavy and punk music, which I am well aware may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  I grew up listening to punk bands like bad religion, NOFX and pennywise.  After a while my tastes changed and I listened to heavier bands like Glassjaw, Alexisonfire and whatever other post-hardcore flavour of the week that was popular on myspace that month.  

                My taste in music can be boiled down to a fairly simple rule; music should sound like the person/people making it have passion for what they are doing and that passion should be apparent in their music.  I find that intensity and energy makes the most satisfying music as you can really connect to it.  This same passion can be found across all genres of music, be it jazz, 90′s influenced hip-hop or metal- I have a great appreciation for those who physically exert themselves while performing. 

                So for the sake of keeping this relatable and brief, I will focus on my favourite Canadian bands as of this moment.  Maybe it will be funny to look back on it someday.  These are in no particular order or ranking and I welcome suggestions of new music always!

                1.  The Flatliners

                One of my favourite bands of all time (not just Canadian bands) is Toronto’s The Flatliners.  This band has been around for over 10 years and have not stopped writing thoughtful lyrics, catchy riffs and some of my favourite songs to date.  Some of my favourite times playing music have been shows that we have opened for the Flats, the crowds they draw are made of the best people.  I have also shot a few Flatliners shows over the years as well- they have what I would consider one of the best live shows I have ever seen.  This band holds a special place in my heart and it is an added bonus that they are local.


                2. METZ

                I love bands that turn up as loud as they can, yell most every word and ooze energy from every possible note, all while maintaining melodies and diverse rhythms.  METZ has a great way of creating tension in their songs and making you feel like you are in some kind of horror movie-esque trance while remaining amped by pounding rhythms that keep you looking forward to every next track.  This band is loud and proud, I love it.

                3. Sloan

                Anyone who writes a best-Canadian-bands post and does not tip their hat to Sloan was most likely born after 1995.  Yes, they have written a few of those songs that everyone knows, but in the realm of famous Canadian bands, Sloan seems to have been swept under the rug of Nickelback, The Tragically Hip, City and Colour, etc.  It is a shame because this band is just plain rad, no way around it.  I have had the pleasure of shooting Sloan as well, it’s a tough life as a concert photographer- you know?


                4. Shad

                The undisputed king of the 5 panel hat.  The old prince maybe, but the new host of the Q.  Shad’s music is interesting- lots of 90′s influence, lots of unique and creative lyrics.  Overall a great listen.  I am a fan of energy, which Shad has tons of but definitely keeps his cool during every line.  He used to play live with a DJ, a bass player and he would play acoustic guitar- now there is horns, drums, keys and electric guitar.  So things have progressed and Shad is obviously very different from the current hip hop and rap offerings.  I must say, I haven’t kept up with his music so much with his recent releases- but the dude can’t do anything but be solid.  Check out the half hour set video below to get familiar with his live show- it is a spectacle and you will see what I’m talking about.

                5.  This last one is a struggle, there are so many bands that deserve the kudos.  Leaving this up to 5 choices is tough.  I will stick to my favourites as of this moment.  


                I have been listening to Northcote for the last few months as they have released some new music lately which has been the soundtrack to my fall thus far.  Matt Goud used to play in a hardcore band called Means, which I also really enjoyed.  There isn’t much to be said for Northcote other than amazing songwriting and a voice you can really warm up to.  Plenty of care taken in his music and you can totally hear the love he has for the songs he plays.  Great tunes.


                I would be remised if I didn’t include an honourable mentions section in case you need some more music for your rainy mid-week.  If you want, please also check out Teenage Kicks, The Dirty Nil, Cancer Bats, Counterparts, Poor Young Things, Spells of Vertigo, Billy Talent, Rush, Sum 41, The Weakerthans, The Arkells and a great many more.  



                All photos © Chris Payne 



                  RYU Apparel gets a workout with Anthony Redpath

                  by Westside on October 19, 2015

                  RYU Apparel is a Vancouver based athletic apparel company.  RYU (Respect Your Universe) exists to provide the highest quality athletic clothing that can be worn inside or outside the gym.  As the quality has been cranked up on the average active wear, they needed to stand apart.  Enter a good idea: to team up with Anthony Redpath in order to create a beautiful website that brilliantly shows off each of their clothing lines!  Boom!  After all, RYU’s philosophy for imaging speaks volumes about their business.

                  Our Mandate for imagery: Beautiful Tough - imagery without compromise to highlight the outstanding design, technical features and materials of RYU apparel being propelled by high performance multi-disciplined athletes. At the same time, capturing the timeless style that RYU imparts to those who live in its association through sports and all life activities.”

                  Now take that brief and compare it to Anthony’s images RYU clothing in action.  Nail on the head, folks.

                  Mantra_1500px Rest_And_Recovery_1500px Running_0259_1500px Running_18614_1500px There_And_Back_1500px Train_And_Develop_1500px

                  “These are some of my favourite images from the RYU design lab shoot.  They have a design lab up in Squamish, one hour from Vancouver with five internationally experienced designers.” -Anthony Redpath

                  RYU-DesignLab-01_1500px RYU-DesignLab-02_1500px RYU-DesignLab-04_1500px RYU-DesignLab-05_1500px

                  RYU has recently gone under a bunch of changes with its new CEO, Marcello Leone.  He stepped in as president and has done wonders for the company.  Here is a portrait that I shot of him”- Anthony Redpath


                  Some really awesome work by Anthony for this project and he will be shooting more with RYU in the coming months.  So, be on the look out for more great images like these!  To learn more about RYU apparel, click here.  Check out some BTS of creating these shots!

                  IMG_8379 IMG_8442 IMG_8568 IMG_8638 IMG_8685 IMG_8728 IMG_8775 IMG_8779

                  Photo Assistants: Rob Seebacher, Kyle Gibson, Nathan Beausoleil
                  Art Direction: Jay Gundzik
                  Copywriter:Rik Klingle-Watt
                  Creative Director: Jay Gundzik
                  Makeup Artist: Christine Fritz
                  Wardrobe Stylist: Sarah Ainsworth
                  Producer: Sean Frith
                  Digi Tech: Kathleen Loski


                    You are out grocery shopping, paying for dinner, buying parking, or whatever else you may swipe/tap/insert your credit card for.  You’re probably collecting points that in 5 years you may redeem for a $50 gift card.  Woohoo!  Well George Simhoni recently created some photographs for Scotiabank’s GM Visa campaign where you can redeem points that go towards the purchase of any GM vehicle!  Car vs. gift card… you decide.  George worked with Chris Harrison and Hayes Sternberg to create these photos outlining the campaign!  Check them out below!


                    “I had the pleasure of joining the creative duo of Chris Harrison and Hayes Steinberg from Bensimon Byrne with agency print producer Magda Czyz to produce the launch of the Scotiabank GM Visa campaign introducing the Scotiabank Visa reward program where you can use your points towards any of GM vehicle purchases.


                    We had several locations with a variety of props and talent featuring a different vehicle per location.  We were demonstrating all the situations you could be in and the items that you typically buy that will help you purchase your new vehicle.
                    The challenge of keeping two sets of clients involved with all the steps in the photography project is always an interesting challenge but Scotiabank and all the client representatives from the different GM car brands were all proactive and great to work with.”  -George Simhoni
                    All in all some really great automotive photography by George, with a bit of a backstory to the viewer.  The little red stars denoting the things that can rack up the points towards the purchase of your next GM car.  If you go by any Scotiabank right now you will most likely run across one or two of these photos so keep an eye out!
                    For your added viewing pleasure, check out these cinema graphs that George also created.  These are kind of fun and George has become very good at creating them.  See if you can spot all the moving parts to each photo!  That last one is pretty tricky to spot!
                    boat_v4b camp_v6
                    Here, for your viewing pleasure are some behind the scenes images of the production involved in creating these images.  They feature assistants Abe Roberto and Jon Brown modelling with their best looks and a goose invading some personal space.  Enjoy!















                    ACD, Art Director: Chris Harrison
                    ACD, Copywriter: Hayes Steinberg
                    Agency Producer: Magda Czyz
                    Photographer: George Simhoni
                    Producer: John Stevancec
                    Production Company: Westside Studio
                    Assistants: Bryan Ulrich, Abe Roberto, John Wayne Brown, Gabe Nivera, Logan Almandinger
                    Retouching: Mark Tyler