5+ | Franc Madden

by Chris Payne on March 24, 2015

Yep, it is time again for us here at Westside to turn the attention to someone outside our immediate flock and add another installment of our 5+ series.  In this series we ask industry people from all roles to let us in on 5 things keep them inspired and able to relentlessly kick ass.  We wanted to turn the focus towards someone who many of us here at Westside have had the pleasure of working with over the years, the tremendously talented model maker, and all round solid dude, Franc Madden.
Image © Shanghoon
For those who know Franc, none of this will come as a surprise. For those that don’t, here is the deal…
Franc Madden is a problem solver, magician and artist all rolled into one.  He is a tireless craftsman.  He remains calm when under pressure and is a true pleasure to work with.  He always goes the extra mile.
As seen here, while the world around moves quickly around him, Franc still has a sense of humor and an infectious smile. He has been an invaluable part of the photography landscape of many, many, many years.  Here are what a few Westsiders had to say about working with Franc…
“Franc is a Solid and Reliable man, he can basically make anything you request, what more could you ask for?”-  John Stevancec, Producer
“Photography and in particular advertising, is about problem solving.  Model making still plays a vital role and Franc’s experience and skill is invaluable.  Being able to capture the majority of your image in camera is still the best and most simplistic route to success.  Without Franc, I couldn’t do most of my jobs.”- Frank Hoedl, Photographer
“As much as I love working with new technologies like photo manipulation & cgi, sometimes nothing can beat the true craftsmanship of model making.  Franc is my go-to model maker, and I have complete trust in his ability to make ideas come to life. I’ve certainly challenged him to create quirky things for me over the years, including a deflated rubber turkey to a car-shaped popsicle. His extensive knowledge and determination in figuring things out, as well as his easy-going nature, makes him a great working partner and a true inspiration.”- Shanghoon, Photographer
“Franc is a magician. I have never seen anyone else create a magical landscape with broccoli toothpicks and lint.”- George Simhoni, Photographer


Without further adieu, here are Franc Madden’s 5 inspirations.  We hope that they may inspire you as they have inspired him.

1.  Last year some guy “died” for a few minutes on the operating table.  His recall was the familiar out of body thing; he floated euphorically above his life, viewing everything through a misty tunnel.  My first thought was that he was riding a dirt bike, as that is how it feels when you launch one.  I love motocross at all levels, from the top guys down to the kid bouncing around his yard on a jalopy.  The sound, smell and rush of it never gets old.  Racer X Illustrated is the best portal for the sport; not only do they cover the results in real time, they also explore the depths of it, answering the questions we have and reinforcing the family values at it’s core.

Mark Moebius SL70

2.  All the painters from early Juxtapoz.  Robert Williams, Mark Ryden, Ron English, Jim Woodring and especially Todd Schorr. Master draftsmen.  I stare at their work and envy the satisfaction they must feel from their finished pieces.

3.  The Tetra Society.  They take the abilities of inventors and engineers and apply them to specific needs of people with disabilities, an applied science making the most basic functions of life a little easier.  Noble, heartwarming stuff that is genuine.

4.  Daim the graffiti artist.  His work hovers high over all the others with a depth that evades them.

5.  Artists with ideas.  True story; those who know me will think this inclusion is bollocks.  I never speak highly of the arts as a vocation.  I’m jaded as a result of too many people wanting but not doing.  I like challenging projects from people who have done their homework, are using their noggin yet need a problem solved.  Collaboration.  It’s the name of the game in all walks.  My Compadres, I have no competitors, they are allies.  I know many talented people and we feed off one another, exchanging ideas.  Even if I ‘lose’ a job to one of them, I enjoy seeing their resulting build.  It will be so different than my approach, and good.  We all make custom creations on tight deadlines and all work in our own distinct way.


    Sweet, sweet memories

    by Chris Payne on March 16, 2015


    It is pretty obvious that under the Westside roof we have a wealth of photoshop talent.  This hilarious video by the folks at CreativeLive came across our twitter feed yesterday and we thought it would be fitting to share with with you all.  Look how far we have come!


      Happy Tuesday

      by Tom Nesbitt on March 10, 2015

      Don’t forget,  always secure your stand.

      Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 5.54.38 PM


        Shanghoon’s Lovin’ It.

        by Alex Beetham on March 6, 2015

        Coffee is the life blood of a photo studio.  We creatives crave the magical caffeinated elixir to fuel our mornings, push us through the afternoon slumps, sustain our evening conference calls, and then lighten our eyelids for all night emergency retouching sessions.  Alternatively, procrastinate all day and start work at 11pm because, well, creatives.  It’s amazing what juices flow when one’s over caffeinated at 4:00am…

        With that said, it of course made for a perfect pairing when the fine folk from Cossette approached Shanghoon to create some dark roasted magic for McCafe’s new “Perfect Roast.”  Observe:

        McFreeCoffee_for blog

        Here are a few words from the ‘hoon himself:

        My first project of 2015 was for McCafe’s Perfect Roast, and I was glad to spot the shot on billboards all over town this weekend. I love coffee. Drink it every day, a few times a day at least. Hope you guys have a chance to try the new McCafe dark roast!

        Credit where Credit is due (AKA, The Magic Makers):

        Client: McCafe
        Agency: Cossette
        Photographer: Shanghoon
        Designer & Art Director: Greg LeBlanc
        Art Director: Deborah Prenger
        Production: Westside Studio
        Producer: Phaedra Kennedy
        Prop Design & Stylist: Franc Madden
        Assistant: Abe Roberto

        Keep those eyes peeled for billboard placements all over the 6! (minus the woes)

        McDonald's Billboard
        And a little BTS look see into Shanghoon’s set for the day:

        _DSF3684Jan 15 2015
        All Images © Shanghoon
        BTS Image © Alex Beetham

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          Who Needs Thrones? Chris Has Homes.

          by Alex Beetham on March 4, 2015

          It’s near impossible to discuss Game of Thrones.  The immediate response is either a frantic “SHHHH” followed by hands slapping ears to silence potential spoilers, or the friend next to them launching into a vein popping, sputtering rage since the show has mutilated the holy scripture of Mr. Martin.  Well, there’s a new show we can discuss.  Just swap out the blood sport and incest for power tools and mild asbestos, and you got yourself W Networks new hit show in the making, Game of Homes.

          Our very own Chris Gordaneer was tasked with creating some epic home renovation imagery, and the results look a little like this.  Well, exactly like this:


          In Game of Homes, Host Cameron Mathison guides teams of skilled amateur home renovators as they compete for the chance to trade their skills for the prize of a lifetime. The teams save rundown houses that are marked to be torn down and revive them into dream homes. Each team must redo the houses room by room, as they cope with small budgets, tight deadlines and even tighter living spaces.  -  W Network


          Client:  Corus EntertainmentW Network
          Photographer:  Chris Gordaneer
          VP Creative:  Dolores Keating-Mallen
          Design Creative Director:  Vince Robles
          Lead Designer:  Robin Timmins
          Producer:  Kirsten White
          Prop Stylist:  Cheryl Thompson
          Stylist:  Marie Eve Tremblay
          Hair & Makeup:  Lisa Vella
          Assistants:  Brendan Smyth,  Al Quintero, Mike Smith, Hassan Mohamed
          Interns:  Tiana Gordinho, Ashley Farina, Matt Besenyodi


          You may (will) spot a placement or two down in the tubes that look a little something like this:


          Take a glimpse into some behind the scenes from the day:


          Pre-dressed set with Lion King reenactments, and a dressed set with Chris, God of light.

          Check out the premiere March 17th on W Network!

          All Images © Chris Gordaneer
          BTS Images © Brendan Smyth, Alex Beethan, Kirsten White


            Hungry? You will be.

            by Chris Payne on March 3, 2015

            It’s blue, it’s weird, it’s awesome, and that’s just the way we like it.

            This image of the post-mortem-clucker belongs to one Liam Mogan, the third installment of new blood here at Westside since the new year.  To accommodate we have constructed a new kitchen here and by the looks of things, Liam’s pretty thrilled about his new appliances.  More to come on the reno in the near future, but in the mean time, here’s a sneak peak of the shiny new fridge and freezer, complete with Liam casually lounging about… really casually.


            Liam has spent the past few years shooting food for the grid, among other publications and winning awards with his food photography.  We can’t wait to see what he can do when he is put up against the best food brands in Canada.

            “I’m pumped to be a part of the extremely talented team here at Westside.  Ever since my college days, back in 2005, I’ve looked up to Westside as an inspiration… it’s such an awesome feeling being able to join the gang.  I’m really looking forward to working closely with Tom, Caitlin and Chris!  2015 is going to be a good one!” – Liam Mogan

            20 4032

            His welcome wasn’t complete of course, until he was fully initiated…  with fries.


            Welcome aboard Liam!  You can check out more of his mouth watering work here.

            Delicious Food © Liam Mogan
            Liam Portraits © Alex Beetham

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              How To Train Your Drone

              by Tom Nesbitt on February 25, 2015

              Its Wednesday!!

              In celebration of hump day please take the opportunity to check out some fun drone racing & crashing through the woods.

              Thanks to Gary Ogle for unearthing this for us.

              As he mentions on Facebook, Its kind of like Return of the Jedi meets Batteries Not Included.

              Some Credits and Specs……

              Porket Racer 240:

              Full Carbon Frame
              Naze32 Board
              RCX Motors
              ESC 10A SimonK
              Lipo 1300mAh 3S
              Mobius Cam
              Video 5.8GHz

              Infos :



                Photoshop Wizards are a hard breed to tame.  They are able to conjure beauty from mere pixels with the stroke of a wand (wacom pen).  They are such magical beings that some have even been known to survive for days on end by only eating cookies and tea.  At least that is what we have learned after observing ours…

                We are extra excited to announce the addition of Nick Leadlay, to the Westside roster.  Nick is the first digital retoucher that Westside Studio has ever represented (yes, he is that good).


                “I am very excited to be joining the team at Westside Studio after working closely with them on multiple jobs over the past year.  The roster of photographers, along with the studio’s client list speaks for itself.  I am especially excited about the new ground we are breaking in Canada as far as retouchers being represented along side photographers.  Tom, Caitlin, Chris and the Westside family have been so welcoming to me since day one, so a special thank you goes to them.  I am really looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together!”- N.L

                Nick has worked his magic with a couple of the photographers here at Westside Studio.  Nikki Ormerod and Joey L have both trusted Nick’s sorcery with some major projects in the past, resulting in images that you have probably seen hundreds of times by now.  Take the following images for example:

                 Nikki Ormerod



                Joey L


                When you combine extremely talented photographers with an extremely talented wizard, you end up with simply the best images possible.  What, you didn’t catch his magic in the images above?  Take a closer look at this amazing image by Joey L, shot for the recent Canon Campaign.  Slide the bar back and forth to reveal one of Nick’s latest spells in action.

                Did you catch it that time?  I’m sure you did, but in case you are curious, Nick wanted to tell you a little bit about his work.

                “This image was retouched on set during the Canon Camera shoot with Joey L.  The deadline for the image was at the end of the day, so there really wasn’t any time for mistakes.  However, I have worked with Joey before and he creates a really relaxed environment to work in, so that made everything a lot less stressful.

                The basic elements that we addressed in this image were; the focus and angle of the camera, the exposure on the female model and the elimination of any distracting elements in the scene.  We also did some subtle skin and hair work on the models, along with some global color correction/grading. Joey always likes to have a hand in the post production process and prefers to do his color grading at the end of the workflow.  This image was no different in that regard.  The majority of my time was spent on compositing the new camera into the shot from a different frame, as well as manually rebuilding the clothing around the camera and fixing the shadows.”

                So there it is folks, Nick Leadlay  has joined the team and we are pretty stoked about it.  He is currently in Tahiti retouching bikini models, which we are confident he is enjoying quite well.


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                  Project Winter Survival With Derek Shapton & Frank Hoedl

                  by Chris Payne on February 19, 2015

                  Not sure what it might be like where you are, but here in Toronto we are in the middle of a serious cold snap.  Over night temperatures have recently sunk well past minus 20 degrees Celsius.  Prolonged exposure can be deadly.

                  The homeless in particular are in tremendous danger at this time of year, which is why when Derek Shapton and Frank Hoedl were recently approached to work on a campaign for Project Winter Survival, they did not hesitate.



                  From Derek’s blog: “Frank and I shot two print ads together, an exciting collaborative process that made for a rather unusual workflow. I scouted and sourced the locations, we co-piloted the cameras and co-directed the talent, and Frank applied his post-production magic to the final retouching. Frank has long been one of my favourite photographers and it was great to be able to work so closely with him. The final results are outstanding, and in fact won an Applied Arts Award in the Public Service category back in November.” 


                  Frank lying down on the job

                  Processed with VSCOcam

                  Assistant Rebecca Leach sourcing some props


                  Derek in ninja-mode while framing a shot

                  “One of the setups also seemed to have some solid potential as a compelling little motion piece, and with the blessing of the creative team at Cundari, we gave it a go. We enlisted the help of Mike Rybinski at Spot Cinema and once the print ads were finished, shot a quick spec spot that turned out surprisingly well.”   See the final result below and visit Derek’s blog to find out more.

                  Agency: Cundari
                  Creative Director: Andrew Simon
                  Art Director: Jason Lee
                  Writer: Francesco Grandi
                  Assistant: Rebecca Leach
                  Motion Camera: Mike Rybinski
                  Motion Post Production: Spot Cinema


                    George Simhoni revs up the Lexus F SPORT

                    by Chris Payne on February 4, 2015

                    The thought of ripping around a track in one of the new Lexus F SPORT models is an attractive notion for anyone with, or without a drivers license.  The Lexus F SPORT series is a luxury/performance line up for the car enthusiast, blending technology and automotive engineering to ensure to improve every driving experience.

                    Legendary Westside studio photographer George Simhoni teamed up with Greg Trinier at DentsuBos to illustrate the power and beauty of these new slices of automotive heaven.

                    “I was asked to photograph the new models of the family of Lexus vehicles.  I knew that the weather would not be my friend in December for outdoor automotive photography.  Greg Trinier and I decided to do something very dramatic and moody since the weather suited that look more.  Our scout Brian Joe sent us pictures from the Flamboro race track in winter.  It is a very lonely and cool place off season.  It was the perfect background to photograph and dramatize the new lines on the cars.” -G.S.
                    Staying warm on this shoot looks like it may have been tricky, however it looks like George dressed for the weather while checking focus and preparing to shoot the magnificent beasts.  Producer John Stevancec kept busy by taking these behind the scenes photos.
                    Client: Lexus
                    Art Director:  Greg Trinier
                    Agency: DentsuBos
                    Producer: John Stevancec
                    Assistants: Gabe Nivera, Abe Roberto, Jon Brown and Bryan Ulrich