by Tom Nesbitt on April 21, 2014

Phaedra Kennedy. If you don’t know who she is, you probably don’t work in the photography industry. She was holding down the producers chair for Chris Gordaneer long before I arrived on the scene. She has been helping photographers here at Westside do what they do longer than she would like me to let you know. What is her secret you ask? Is it the hair?

Phaedra is big fan of hard work and as if the 9-5, or 7-6, or 8-10, or what ever the hours that a producer works weren’t enough see finds the time to peruse a life outside of production. Phaedra is a fierce competitor on the Running and Multi-Sport circuit here in Ontario, with an exceptional list of achievements to her credit. To compete at this level one has to be fully dedicated to the training, which is hard if you work bankers hours. A producers life is many things, but regular it is not. Phaedra manages to find the time, to fit the “work” in before or after the work.

Today Phaedra will race the Boston Marathon. This will prove to be tremendously emotional event after the tragic bombing that marred last years race. Thankfully Phaedra finished well before the bombs exploded, but sport has an amazing ability to connect people. After returning to Toronto she connected with runners here in the city to host a commemorative run.


Last Thursday during a particularly lengthy shoot with Nikki Ormerod, Phaedra and I were chatting in the hall about the life work balance. About the how and the why we do what it is that we do. Here is what she has to say…

Being a producer in the ad business can be all consuming so having an “outlet” has always been a priority for me. That outlet for me, is running. It provides me with a myriad of things – a way to decompress, an opportunity to work through a problem at work or do the complete opposite and just tune out. Whatever the case may be, I always come back from a run refreshed and ready to go.

As a runner, I love to compete so I’m almost always training for something. This year, I’m headed back to Boston to run the marathon again. Balancing training with work can be tricky but I usually find a way to make it work, even if it means getting up at 4:00 am. Yes, there are days when work trumps training and I’ve learned to be ok with that, I just make a point of picking up where I left off. Besides, sometimes your body can do with the extra rest.

This week in particular has been incredibly busy with work but I’m in the midst of my taper so realistically if I miss a workout, it’s not a big deal. All the hard work is done. Now I just have to get through two 14 hour shoot days before I hit the road. Good thing I own several pairs of comfortable shoes. ~PK


Best of luck today P-Rock, we will be cheering for you! You can track Phaedra’s progress at the Boston Marathon website.



    by Matt on April 17, 2014

    Vicky Lam is taking over the Blog to share her latest cover story – take it away Ms. Lam!

    © Vicky Lam

    With all the frosty weather we’ve been getting across Canada these days, it’s hard to believe that Spring actually started over a month ago. Nonetheless, be prepared to look sharp for when the time comes for picking up the latest Spring Style issue of Precedent Magazine.

    It’s no secret that I have an affinity for shoes of all kinds. So it was even more exciting when I found out that not only I’d shoot the cover, but the cover story featured local shoemaker, Peter Feeney. As much as I like shoes, this was the first chance for me to get a glimpse into what exactly goes into the making of a pair of shoes.

    We’ve all heard of bespoke suits before, but how often do we think of bespoke shoes these days? A cordwainer, (aka a shoemaker) is hard to come across nowadays. The process of getting tailored shoes made sounds like a luxury and a unique craft that seems extinct in today’s mass produced fashion industry – which makes it even more inspiring to hear Peter’s story.

    I’ll tell you more while you get a look behind the scenes as we laid out just some of the tools and materials Peter uses on a day to day basis.

    © Vicky Lam

    Peter left his job in advertising and home in Toronto and ventured to Florence, Italy, where he apprenticed for four years to learn the art and craft of shoemaking from the real masters (and also learned to speak Italian!).

    Fear alone would deter many of us to stray away from following such a unique passion and dream, but Peter persevered and brought back what he learned to become one of the very few, unique cordwainers in Toronto.

    © Vicky Lam

    It was a pleasure for me to meet someone that is so passionate about their art, and also to learn more about the process that goes behind the construction and design of one pair of shoes. Peter is a one man team, but when I saw all the materials and tools he had in his studio to make just one pair, I was blown away. The amount of detailing that goes into each shoe is impressive, and consequently takes at least 40 hours if not more to construct. Befittingly so as each pair is a unique testimony of Peter’s craftsmanship and representative of his clients’ personalities.

    © Vicky Lam

    And here’s a closer glimpse of the final image we ended up with. You’ll notice “the last” in the middle there – that’s terminology for the custom-moulded model which a cordwainer uses to form a pair of shoes. This time, we used Ted’s lasts because his feet appeared slender, proportionate and seemed to be average sized.

    © Vicky LamPhotographer: Vicky Lam
    Client: Precedent Magazine
    Associate Editor: Braden Alexander
    Art Direction: Gilbert Li & Isabel Foo from The Office of Gilbert Li
    All shoes, Tools & Materials Courtesy of Peter Feeney
    Assistant: Rebecca Leach

    To get a closer glimpse into Peter’s story check out Precedent’s article here. And to see just some of the possibilities Peter offers for a bespoke pair of shoes, check out his site.

    © Vicky Lam

    Many thanks to Precedent and The Office of Gilbert Li for having me take part in such a fun, eye-opening and inspiring project! And also for including me on the contributor’s list :D .

    © Vicky Lam

    Have a great Easter weekend everyone! ~ Vicky

    All Images © Vicky Lam



      by Tom Nesbitt on April 16, 2014

      Westside Studio is many things, but mostly we are a creative space. A space where ideas are shared, challenges are met, and people create some truly amazing work. The ever-evolving world of photography has seen many changes over the years. The advent of digital is one of the greatest democratizing advancements to happen in a long time and it has presented a playing field more level than ever before. One area that this has effected the most is in the realm of motion.

      For the longest time moving images have required rather large crews and equipment packages in order to accomplish their task. At a certain level, digital has mage it possible for photographers to become directors, and aspiring directors and production companies create work of their own, without the massive overhead of prime lenses and 18K’s. Our good friend Spot Cinema is just this kind of production company.

      © Spot Cinema

      Mike Rybinski, the man behind Spot Cinema, has kept his offices here at Westside Studio for several years now. He first entered our doors working along side Matt Barnes. Helping Matt recreate his stunning stills work as moving stories. Since then, Mike has worked with many of the photographers here at the studio in a similar capacity. Mike is a most capable talent. Whether directing, DOPing, or editing – he and his team do it all with relative ease.

      All this to say, we felt it time to share some blog time to one of our dear friends and creative collaborators. Ladies and Gents, a look at a few of our favourites from Spot Cinema.

      KFC BIG BOSS (Full Production)

      Union Pacific (Editing) | BTS of Sheepdogs (Juno Winning) Music Video (Full Production)

      The Dulux Collection (Film & Edit)

      They’ve recently launched a completely redesigned website, where we encourage you to check out more of the fantastic work being created by Mike and his team at Spot Cinema!
      TGIW ya’ll.
      Image & Videos © Spot Cinema Inc.



        by Matt on April 8, 2014

        Nikki O took full advantage of extra hands around the studio during the recently passed ‘Intern Season’, and showed some youngins a fun and safe way to perform with water in the studio. Here’s the lady herself with some words before we get into her latest PHOTOGASM.

        I shot this fun performance inspired creative a little while ago. Thanks to the help of some awesome people here at the studio, and some hard working interns from Sheridan and Humber, I was able to pull off some wet and wild photos. Hope you enjoy. ~Nikki

        © Nikki Ormerod

        © Nikki OrmerodPhotographer: Nikki Ormerod
        Styling: Nadia Pizzimenti
        Hair & Makeup: Jukka
        Assistants: Alex Beetham, Spencer Blackwood, Joanna Gigliotti, Caitlin Allen, & Michelle Brussolo

        © Nikki Ormerod

        © Nikki Ormerod

        © Nikki Ormerod

        There’s a few more images from Nikki’s creative over on her blog, but before you go here’s a bit of behind the scenes thanks to Nikki and Stylist Nadia P!

        © Nikki Ormerod

        © Nadia PizzimentiImages © Nikki Ormerod
        BTS Images © Nikki Ormerod/ Nadia Pizzimenti



          by Matt on April 7, 2014

          The past week has been a quiet one here on the Blog, as the seasonal change seem to be taking far too long for our liking and we can’t seem to get out of bed. But that’s certainly not to say there hasn’t been some exciting news here on the Westside, and so in preparation of a week starring some new creative work from Nikki O (along with some other fun features) we figured it best to catch up on one Westsider’s big news.

          It’s been a hell of a first quarter for Matt Barnes’ 2014. Between a steady stream of new images and the addition of the cutest little princess you’ve ever seen, you might think things would come to a calm for the new papa-bear – well you’d be wrong.


          That’s right! Matt picked up the 2014 Juno Award for Video of the Year, for he and Spot Cinema‘s work on “Feeling Good” by The Sheepdogs! Matt and company have gotten some awesome shout outs from Applied Arts, Sheridan College (Matt’s alma mater), and even the ninja battling Sheepdogs themselves. So if for some reason you’ve never seen the masterful piece, put your best party pants on, click away on play, and prepare to be feeling good.

          Video © Matt Barnes



            by Matt on March 20, 2014

            Since announcing their intentions to move north of the boarder back in 2011, Canadians nationwide have been patiently awaiting the arrival of discount department store chain, Target. It has taken some time to get their feet firmly planted, but with stores starting to pop up last year and 36 locations now open across Ontario, it’s only appropriate they start getting loud about their landing.

            With thanks to kbs+p Art Director Travis Cowdy, Andrew B. Myers found a number of colourful products in front of his camera, which he captured for the following ads.

            © Andrew B. Myers

            © Andrew B. MyersPhotographer: Andrew B. Myers
            Client: Target
            Agency: kbs+p
            Art Director: Travis Cowdy
            Copywriter: Phil Coulter
            Producer: Kirsten White
            Prop Stylist: Casey Tuninga
            Assistants: Gabe Nivera, Rebecca Leach, & Michelle Brussolo

            © Andrew B. Myers

            While walking on Toronto’s King Street, Andrew spotted some of his work in the wild and was quick enough to snap a pic for you to see. Here’s a word from Mr. Myers about catching his shots, along with an added bonus video featuring production assistant Jimmy.

            I kind of want to ride it. And let the driver know. They’d probably just shrug and tell me to take a seat. ~ Andrew

            © Andrew B. Myers

            Images © Andrew B. Myers
            Video © Kirsten White


              IN PRINT | VICKY’S GREEN DAY

              by Matt on March 17, 2014

              In honour of St Patty’s day, Vicky Lam has decided to reflect upon one of her most memorable, and green projects of last year. Here’s Vicky to tell you more.

              It isn’t often that I have the opportunity to work on life-sized sets, but this one project had me really excited just by the sound of it. I love working with colour and have always wanted to shoot physical typography, and this shoot had it all. When the folks at DDB Toronto contacted me about this idea, I was giddy inside, because I could finally work on a monochromatic set! I love the subtle play in tonalities and it reminded me so much of the days in art class when I had to do painted colour studies. It was finally the moment to use those skills and bring them to life in a photograph.

              © Vicky LamPhotographer: Vicky Lam
              Client: Manulife Financial
              Agency: DDB
              Creative Directors: Paul Riss & Rob Sturch
              Art Director: Loretta Lau
              Copywriter: Jordana Rapuch
              Photography Producer(s): Kirsten Nichols & Phaedra Kennedy
              Prop Stylist: Christina Yan
              Prop Styling Assistant: Carmen Cheung
              Prop Painting: Rob LaFrance
              Typography Builder (that’s right, these were built too!): Jamie Oxenham
              Retouching: Robyn Nowoczin
              Assistants: Mike Smith & Alex Beetham

              For a large set like this, I enlisted the help of a super team to make it all happen. Prop stylist, Christina Yan, found all of of our office supplies and furniture set, and then passed them along to prop maker, Rob LaFrance to paint them the infamous Manulife green. It was amazing to see all the items in person, and a bit surreal to see already green plants painted greener.

              Seeing all the items in one tone was surreal, but also reminded me a bit of American fine art photographer, Sandy Skoglund and her elaborate, coloured sets. It was really neat to be able to channel some inspiration from her body of work. Working on this one set also made me really appreciate Sandy’s work even more (see some below), as it took a real team and planning to bring all the details together.

              © Sandy Skoglund

              Here’s a glimpse into our shoot day and a closer look at the physical letters, prop maker Jamie Oxenham made for us. But first, did I mention we shot this en français as well?

              © Vicky Lam

              © Vicky Lam

              © Vicky Lam

              © Vicky Lam

              © Vicky Lam

              Many thanks to DDB for having me shoot such a fun project and of course, all the great folks to make this all happen! ~ Vicky

              © Vicky LamImages © Vicky Lam
              Single © Sandy Skoglund


                Western Canada celebrates its heritage through Heritage Park in Calgary – Canada’s Largest Living History Museum. Visitors escape the everyday into a world celebrating the people, animals, and machines that pioneered the west.

                Divided into four areas that each showcase a different time period in Western Canadian history, Heritage Park celebrates its golden jubilee this summer and to help visitors remember to Escape Today, local agency C&B created a fantastic campaign for this western treasure. Calling upon George Simhoni to assist in bringing their vision to life, the man who’s no stranger to Alberta packed his bags and headed west to meet up with Art Director Phil Copithorne.

                For those who’ve never been, the living history museum is located on 127 acres of land that sits within the city of Calgary, and it was with this close proximity in mind that George and Phil went to work.

                © George Simhoni

                © George Simhoni

                © George SimhoniPhotographer: George Simhoni
                Client: Heritage Park Historical Village
                Agency: C&B
                Art Director: Phil Copithorne
                Accounts: Leigh Blakely
                Retouching: Stir Editing
                Producer & 2nd Shooter: John Stevancec
                Assistants: Luke Molliet & Chris Wedman

                Before we blast into some behind the scenes from George’s trip, a preemptive special thanks to everyone at Heritage Park and C&B for helping Producer John Stevancec live out a boyhood dream.
                Now enjoy a look at things on location.

                © John Stevancec

                GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-Gabe-01 GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-Gabe-02 GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-Gabe-03
                GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-Gabe-04 GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-Gabe-08


                GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-John-04 GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-John-08
                GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-John-05 GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-John-09 GeorgeSimhoni_HeritagePark-EscapeToday-BTS-John-13



                For more info on how you can get yourself aboard the S.S. Moyie, or one of the many other historically stimulating sights of Heritage Park, give a click to their website and see what’s been keeping people coming for the last 50 years.
                Images © George Simhoni
                BTS Images © John Stevancec & Gabe Nivera


                  NEWS | WESTSIDE WELCOMES JOEY L!

                  by Tom Nesbitt on March 11, 2014

                  Lindsay, Ontario. Home of the Scugog River, famed Leafs centre man Joe Primeau, and Grey Cup winner Carl Coulter, just to name a few. This is also the original home and native land of a truly remarkable photographer – Joey Lawrence. You may know him as Joey L, or you may not know him at all, though you’d probably have to be living in Bobcaygeon or some other place without modern conveniences. But should that be the case we are here to make things right.

                  Ladies and gentlemen would you please welcome the newest talent to join the Westside family – and notable resident of Lindsay, Ont (just ask the Wiki) – Mr. Joey L.

                  © Joey Lawrence

                  © Joey Lawrence

                  Currently residing in Brooklyn, NY, Joey is a pure talent. His portraiture skills, whether working in a controlled studio setting alongside some of the industries biggest celebrities or on far away locations, working amongst some of the worlds most remote peoples, are second to none. His passion for travel and exploration can be seen in the work amassed from his many adventurous journeys to Ethiopia. Joey has an energy about him that is both captivating and disarming which allows him to be more immersive and build a closer connection to those he photographs. Amongst all of this he some how finds the time to pass on his wisdom through teaching – something that has helped him fund his many personal photography and filmic endeavors. Oh, and did I mention that he’s 24?

                  © Joey Lawrence

                  © Joey Lawrence

                  © Joey Lawrence

                  With a client list that would make anyone envious. From National Geographic to Coca Cola, Nickelodeon to Smirnoff and many in-between Joey L is sure to be listed as a notable resident of Brooklyn sometime soon. So click on over to his portfolio and enjoy.

                  © Joey LawrenceAll Images © Joey L