November 2011

TGIW | Don’t You Know I’m LOMO?

by Westside on November 30, 2011

I recently snapped a few pics on Matt Barnes’ new LOMO camera, and wow what a feeling! Shamefully, Its been a while since I loaded a camera with film, took pictures without the ability to delete them a second later, and waited a week or so to see the actual photos. Remember the sound of the auto-rewind?

As wonderful, exciting, and practical as it is to shoot with a digital camera, there is something magical about shooting film. Maybe its all smoke and mirrors dusted with nostalgia, but I’d rather not know where the mystery lies.

Lomography is a great community and I’m especially inspired by their list of 10 Golden Rules!

© Matt Barnes

Check what Mr. Barnes got up to with his LOMO here!
TGI’dub kids!


    IN PRINT | Malek Hits the Switch on Ordinary

    by Westside on November 29, 2011

    Premiering this week with a bang is Astral Media’s Switch Off the Ordinary campaign which features work from our very own Quebecois connection, Monsieur Jean Malek! The 3 shots are currently running in Toronto and Montréal so in keeping with his heritage here’s a look at the ads en français.

    He’s a busy man these days so I kept it short and sweet and simply asked, ‘Quelle image est votre favori?’

    Of the three, my favourite shot is The Warrior. The costumes were designed specifically for this campaign and I just love how this one looks in the shot. Also the character position is very cool.

    All Images © Jean Malek


      PHOTOGASM | Matt Barnes does the 2 Stroke

      by Westside on November 28, 2011

      What happens when Matt Barnes takes some dirt bikes and pretty dudes out to Gopher Dunes for a day? The answer? A big ol’ blast of photogasm simply titled, 2 Stroke.

      Always one for a visual aide, Matt brought along Mike from Spot Cinema to shoot some footage over the course of the day. A quick word from the Spot gang before we get to the first of 2 videos for your viewing pleasure.

      Matt aimed to create a shoot with a late sixties-mood, so while maintaining high resolution and image sharpness, we played around with various filters, colour combinations, speeds and frame rates to achieve that feel. While working on a behind-the-scenes video, we produced a short sampler to help us choose the colour and effects treatment for our piece. We couldn’t decide on what look we liked best, so we featured the piece with a number of different treatments. Our sampler turned into a post-worthy exhibit, and is now one of our very own little look books; showcasing some epic footage of the boys, their toys and some dramatic golden sun!

      Now for a further look into the world of Matt Barnes and how his creatives come to life, here’s Spot Cinema’s behind the scenes look at 2 Stroke.

      All Images © Matt Barnes

      For more comprehensive look at the shoot head over to Matt’s blog where you will find lots more visual goodness. CLICK HERE.


        IN PRINT | The Samsung Chronicles: Chris Gordaneer

        by Westside on November 25, 2011

        In part one of our tale, George Simhoni went to Alberta to create a stunning panoramic for Samsung. Part two of our tale takes us to the other side of the world with Chris Gordaneer. I’ll leave it to Chris to fill you in on the details.

        Back in August, my good friend Wain Choi came to us with an exciting project – George and I would each take a new Samsung camera to a great location of our choosing and put it through it’s paces. The catch? Come back with some beautiful images. After some back and forth and a great deal of research the decision was made to head to South Africa to photograph tribes people and animals.

        What a trip! Besides seeing countless animals, we met some very welcoming people who were pleased to have their portraits made. Hope you enjoy them!

        And now a look at the final ad.


          IN PRINT | The Samsung Chronicles: George Simhoni

          by Westside on November 24, 2011

          A short time ago Samsung approached a few Westside shooters with a job opportunity unlike any other. With more details regarding the job, here’s George Simhoni,

          We were asked by Art Director Wain Choi to do the new campaign for the Samsung NX-200 the latest micro 4/3 offering from Samsung – boasting a 20 megapixel sensor, a large variety of interchangeable lenses, fast auto focus, and up to 7fps. Despite facing a few challenges with being given a pre-production model I found it small and handy to travel with – I would recommend this camera. Our assignment was to create a majestic 180 degree panorama which would be complimented by close-up elements within that very same panorama. I chose to go to Alberta, close to the border with Montana to create these images.

          All Images © George Simhoni

          Here’s a look at the final ad.

          { 1 comment }

            TGIW | Thank God It’s Movember

            by Westside on November 23, 2011

            A moustache on a man either works or it doesn’t. It’s a hairline between cool hipster, distinguished man and el creepo you hide your kids from. But in Movember it doesn’t matter! The objective here is to change the face of men’s health, and who can argue the value in supporting our closest pals, successfully Mo’d or not.

            Recently one of our photographers, Tom Feiler collaborated with Bensimon Byrne‘s David Rosenberg, Hayes Steinberg and Chris Harrison on these clever ads to create mo’wareness.

            © Tom Feiler

            © Tom Feiler

            © Tom FeilerAll Images © Tom Feiler

            To Support this great cause, get your mo’ney out and donate HERE!

            I couldn’t resist posting one of our own Westsider’s sweet and subtly offensive Mo’s. Spenser, this is for the dance photo!!

            © Spencer Forrest



              PHOTOGASM | …literally.

              by Westside on November 22, 2011

              From the moment he joined the Westside team, I have been wanting to share this series of images from our newest shooter Jean Malek. Shot earlier in 2011 for Snap! magazine, the series is a wonderful showcase of Jean’s abilities as both a photographer and creative mind. Featuring a cast and subject matter reminiscent of a well endowed P.T. Anderson film, it is my absolute pleasure to present Jean Malek‘s series:
              Dirty Dogs.

              I asked Jean to share some background on the shoot, and Monsieur Malek came through in a big way.

              One day I got a call from Shayl at Snap asking if I would participate in their 14th issue. I would have to tell a story with a title starting with 2 D’s (example: Dirt Devil, Ding Dong, etc.). After giving it some thought I picked Dirty Dogs as my title and decided to do a shoot about a retro porn crew filming a scene.

              Initially casting the shoot was a challenge. When it comes to choosing my models I’m very picky, and I almost never choose my friends as talent because they are too close to me and I have difficulty imagining them as characters. Eventually I started to picture some colleagues with moustaches, it was really funny AND worked perfectly for my vision.

              The most specific look I had for a character was my idea for The Director. I surfed through hundreds of casting agency images until finally finding the right guy. The most difficult part of the shoot was explaining that yes, c’est un tournage porno, mais pas un vrai. Tu comprends?

              Our location was a big room at a Montreal hotel, nothing classy, a bit kitsch. There was almost 20 people on set that day: hair and makeup stylist, set stylist, coordinator, producer, art director, client, 2 assistants, storyboard artist, and a big talent pool. We shot the entire series over the course of one very long day, finishing up around 12:30am.

              I wanted a very cinematic look and feel to the images and used continuous light for the entire project. Overall it was a great day on set, nobody was too uncomfortable, and we were able to do each shot I had planned.

              The soundman is my assistant Julien. He is definitely gross in the images. It’s so fun to be able to imagine someone in a character and make it come to life.

              PS. Just for the record there was no real sex involved in the shoot ;)

              All Images © Jean Malek

              The storyboards from the second image were drawn by a Montreal artist by the name of Olivier Gourde. In addition to The Director’s illustrations, Olivier sketched shot layouts for Jean which he was nice enough to provide for your viewing.

              Big ups to Jean for droppin’ the skinny on his series.
              If you haven’t yet done so, go take a further look at Jean Malek’s portfolio.

              { 1 comment }

                IN PRINT | Matt Barnes Goes Long

                by Westside on November 21, 2011

                In a continuation of his campaign for Harry Rosen, Matt Barnes recently shot CFL commissioner Mark Cohon. Spot Cinema worked with Matt on the shoot and the outcome is a nice little BTS video for you to enjoy after viewing Matt‘s passing shot.


                  IN PRINT | George Simhoni: Travelin’ Man

                  by Westside on November 18, 2011

                  George Simhoni is no stranger to traveling. Nor is he a stranger to bringing along his camera and snapping up some beautiful images for provincial tourism campaigns. You might remember last April when George worked with Travel Alberta on their 2010 campaign. If not have no concerns, he did it again for 2011 and we have all the good stuff for you to see!

                  A quick word from George about his trip.

                  Float planes, canoes, helicopters, jaw dropping scenery, rafts, crazy weather, jet boats, motorcycles and great creative and production teams to work with.
                  I thrive on this stuff.

                  All Images © George Simhoni

                  A collection of BTS shots from the trip.

                  Remember when George said there was some crazy weather? Well come hail or high water the man gets it done!


                    5+ | Nancy Vonk & Janet Kestin

                    by Caitlin on November 17, 2011

                    This week we’re doing it a little differently here on 5+.

                    Westside was fortunate enough to spend a little time with ever so popular, Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin from Swim.

                    Nancy and Janet have been long time friends of Westside from their many years at Ogilvy and Mather here in Toronto. We were VERY excited to hear about their new venture, Swim, and wanted to get them in here to find out more.

                    Nancy & Janet © George Simhoni

                    When did you first start working together? What brought you together?
                    N: We met 20 years ago, when I was an art director at Ogilvy and Janet came in as a freelancer to help me with a “fem hy” project (could it be more cliche?) over the May 24 weekend. We had an instant friendship. We had both had talented partners in the past, but it struck both of us that this was a first for seeing so eye-to-eye, and the incredible ease we felt together through the scary creative process. For whatever reason, we trusted one another quickly and felt no judgement when we brainstormed ideas. It was liberating to not care about looking stupid as ideas flew into the air.
                    J: It’s so long ago now, that it should be impossible to remember, but like all good things it’s as vivid today as it was in, yes I’ll say it, 1989. Ogilvy Toronto was working on an assignment to help out the Chicago office. They needed a woman to work with Nancy on it (it’s true, it was the dreaded “feminine hygiene” products) and there weren’t any female writers. I was busily trying to get out of advertising at the time, so home with my 4yr old, writing poverty-inducing articles for Owl magazine and doing the occasional bit of ad freelance. Ogilvy called and asked me to work with Nance, whom I’d never met. It was the May long weekend. We spent all of it in the office. We laughed and laughed. Were instant friends, but as I didn’t plan to work in advertising ever again (you can see how well plan turn out), we didn’t actually start working together for real for another two years.

                    What was your first project together?
                    N: Our first major project together was for Dove. That remains a big moment for us all these years later. We had a visionary client (Peter Elwood) with a big challenge for us. He was ready to do whatever it took to respond effectively to a daunting development: Dove was about to lose its patent, and its major competitor was about to launch their version of Dove. We’ve since recognized the biggest ideas are often born of crisis, because in those circumstances, minds are more open to unconventional solutions. We left behind Dove’s long running campaign tricks (1/4 moisturizing cream, women speaking happily about their husbands liking how soft their skin is) in favor of presenting objective proof Dove is milder than any soap. The Lever team did an inspired job of helping us to understand the truths of how Dove is made, what makes it different (literally, it isn’t a soap) and why it’s actually so much better for skin (its neutral pH doesn’t strip out oils which is why regular soaps dry out skin). We were able to present a compelling reason to believe no other bar could be better, which preempted the news from the major competitor. The work was intelligent, simple and convincing. Sales went through the roof. The work won major awards, including a Cannes Lion. Our creative director at the time told us it was the moment we went “from junior to senior.” because the work was so rule-breaking for the brand, it wasn’t appreciated globally at first. But ultimately it was so successful, it became the new high bar for the brand globally. Ironically, 20 years later, some of the influence from the “Litmus” campaign has created some brand ‘rules’ we don’t agree with. But that’s for another day.
                    J: Our first legit project together as a writer/art director team was the Dove Litmus Test. It was a blast to do, the clients were amazing, and it set the tone for our partnership ever after.

                    Why has it worked for you two over the last 20 years?
                    N: It’s worked for me and Janet because we’re so alike, and so different. Alike in our overall consensus on what great work is. Different in how we manage the process and people, which I’d like to think is good yin-yang. Our differences make for better decisions; we respect one another’s point of view and factor it in to anything we do of consequence. It has also worked for so long because we are best friends. That dynamic can work against a team, often good friends mean the important factor of “I disagree!” can be missing. I guess that hasn’t been a problem for us. Ultimately, the area we’re both most passionate about is the same: the people part. Because of that we’ve had a shared interest in mentoring and the career development of others, for a very long time. We built a career on that. We have been writing our advice column, Ask Jancy, since ’03. We wrote an Adweek book together on career advice. Now we’re writing a new book on female leadership. And oh yeah, we started a new business together. That’s a lot of shared interest. Working with Janet is incredibly fun. Even on our worst day, there’s always laughter. That’s had a lot to do with staying together.
                    J: We’re very close friends and we’ve managed to make that last and work for this whole time, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’m not sure that if we’d remained writer/art director we’d still be working together, though I’m sure we’d still be friends. I think the fact that we became creative directors, with different, though parallel work lives, is the thing that’s kept us together. Ironically, despite having had offices that faced each other, but 8 feet apart for the 13 years, we didn’t see each other all that often, except socially. But both in work and in life, we’ve always been “there” for each other, helping bring ideas in for a landing, dealing with family crises. It wouldn’t work for everyone, but it’s been good for us.

                    What inspired you to take the leap into the “Swim” pool?
                    N: We had the notion of the “next” being grounded in talent development for a long time. It was always our favorite part of the CD job. It was just a matter of what we were going to do with that. No creative director makes it to 65, there was always going to be the next career. 13 years in that role was really fantastic, we had experiences and achievements we wouldn’t trade for anything. And it was time for a new experience. We were transparent with Ogilvy about our goals and they supported our decision in the end. We worked closely with Steve Simpson, the North American CCO of Ogilvy as we developed our vision; his feedback as it took shape was great. He believes so strongly in the need, and our approach, that he has booked groups well into 2013. We had our first group in NYC last week. It went really well. There was that moment of truth (the one I used to feel, right before seeing a rough cut for the first time)—does it work? Honestly, it went better than I even hoped. I love this new role. All the good stuff.
                    J: You know when it’s time to do something else. Look around. There are no “old” creative directors. Once you feel like you’ve done whatever it was you set out to do and there’s nothing else to learn in that role, it’s time to think about what’s next. For us, Swim was a logical next step. We’ve spent our whole careers, long before we were CDs, putting energy into teaching and mentoring. From online advice column, to book (Pick Me) to Swim, it’s clearly been a journey though we didn’t know that then.

                    What are your hopes for future of this industry and what influence do you hope Swim will bring?
                    N: Janet and I have big ambition for putting a real dent in the problem—our industry and others took leadership training off the menu years ago when budgets dried up in bad times. The consequences are finally so keenly felt, we can’t look away any more. Clients are turning to others for their solutions as credibility wanes. The best students are looking at other industries; the ‘coolest job’ thing isn’t ringing true anymore. The CD’s we talked to around the world as we made the decision to leap from our old jobs all felt the next level down where the future leaders should be looks like a case of arrested development. It’s been sink or swim for so long, people have stumbled up the ladder at best, without the skills to lead others. We hope with so much press on the subject for the past year or so, budget priorities will be revisited, as has been the case for Ogilvy. We’ll see how far we get in the next little while. If the will is there, the steps to get back on the rails will be taken. Happily, we’re seeing a bunch of will.
                    J: Our ambition is to bring some strong, new leaders into the business. Everyone works so hard just getting the work done that there’s no time to learn the skills of management (how dreary does that sound?), which is entirely different. It’s like stepping through an invisible curtain that you didn’t even know was there and oops there are all these new expectations and people flounder. There isn’t time to flounder anymore. The world with that luxury is past. We hope we can help people step through that curtain with more knowledge and a little more confidence.