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


    Tuesdays, right?

    by Chris Payne on May 26, 2015

    Rolling out of bed is always a tough one and is usually met by a squinty “how many days until the weekend?” look in the mirror.  Not much can cure that situation, but there are ways to make it a little less of a drag.  Music, a new kind of soap in the shower, exercise (if that is your thing)…  but for most people- it’s a cup of joe.

    Check out this cool interactive ad by the people at Lew’Lara and TBWA Brazil for the Brazilian coffee brand Café Pelé.

    Good morning everyone!


      Nikki Ormerod Cracks a Cold One

      by Chris Payne on May 22, 2015

      We here at Westside love our beer.  You can find it next to a big ol’ Friday BBQ burger on our picnic table, in the hands of a team celebrating the end of an exciting week, hard day or, heck, who are we kidding its noon somewhere!  More often than not the barley pop is centre stage in one of our shooter’s spotlights.  Well, gridded Profoto head is more accurate than a spotlight, but I digress…

      Nikki Ormerod may not be the first name you think of when it comes to shooting the hoppy nectar, but when the bright minds of  Sid Lee started putting together a looser, more lifestyle take for Moosehead Nikki was the obvious choice.  Her keen eye and disarming manner worked together very well to amp up the style quota.  On a side note, this production took shape in just under a week and shot over a single rather epic Sunday.  Keep your eyes peeled when you’re out and about, because they’re currently plastered all over the city!

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      In case you can never get the perfect look at these billboards because you were focused on driving or not tripping over anything (both wise choices) check them out below!

      1- Moosehead

      2- Moosehead

      3- Moosehead

      4- Moosehead


      Executive Creative Director:  Jeff DaSilva

      Sr. Art Director:  Andrew MacPhee

      Art Director:  Jordan Dunlop

      Copywriter:  Ryan Chiasson

      Account Director:  Karim Tubbeh

      Strategist:  Jerry Furguson

      Art Buyer/Producer:  Dana Klyszejko

      Production:  Westside Studio




        Camera Kits & Pocket Picks: Dave Delnea

        by Chris Payne on May 19, 2015

        There have been some interesting websites that have peaked the interest of the avid consumer in all of us over the past while.  Websites such as ShotKit and Everyday Carry have given us a glimpse into the bags and pockets of photographers as well as other creative (and not so creative) people.  It is strangely fascinating.

        We decided to combine these two ideas and show you what our photographers shoot with, how it influences them and what helps them to live their daily lives as photographers.  Starting with Toronto based Vancouver native, Dave Delnea.

        Rather than have us talk you through the kit, we will let Dave tell you what it is, why he’s got it and/or why it is important to him!

        DAVE DELNEA:
        “When Chris asked to me to show my gear in order to give a little insight into how I work I figured I’d focus on a few of the bits that lend a unique trait to my work.  Not pictured is a storage room full of the usual lights, stands, tripods, light modifiers, clamps, sandbags, and all that other good stuff you’ll see floating around on any given set… but here are few of my favourite bits.”


        A – Nikon D800
        B – Nikon D3X
        C – Hasselblad 500cm w/lenses and backs
        D – 70-200mm f/2.8
        E – 24mm Tiltshift
        F – 24-70mm f/2.8
        G – Polarizer + Graduated Neutral Density Filters
        H – 85mm f/1.8
        I – 20mm f/2.8
        J – 50mm f/1.8
        K – 17-35mm f/2.8
        L – 2 x Acute B Heads
        M – Ringlight
        N – 2 x AcuteB2 Generators + Extra Batteries
        SLR KIT (A, B, D-K)
        “The SLR kit is still the workhorse for most of my projects.  We’ll pull a digital medium format system into the mix when needed, but this system lets us work a lot faster, and also allows us to make use of a lot more natural lighting conditions with how well it performs in low light.  I shoot mostly with Nikon equipment but have used Canon for some projects as well… both systems can produce amazing images.  I’m constantly adding and upgrading gear, but I always travel with 2 bodies and a mix of lenses ranging from 17mm to 200mm.  I also use tilt/shift lenses fairly often to keep those lines straight when shooting architecture or cityscapes.”

        Location Light Kit (N)

        “The Profoto AcuteB2 system is what I pack for most of my location lifestyle and sports work.  Whenever we’re shooting work where we want a looser, more unscripted feel to the action we’ll use these units.  On larger sets we’ll partner them with the more powerful (and much heavier) Pro-B system.  They’re powerful enough to wrestle with bright sunlight and they are light enough to carry for hours.  Oh – and the construction is tough as nails!  Pictured is 2 packs, 2 heads, a ringlight and a bunch of extra batteries for those looooong shooting days.”

        Hasselblad Film Kit (C)
        “Hasselblad Film Kit – Not used much in my commercial work, but when I’m feeling burnt-out and creatively uninspired I’ll often take this guy out for a little low key street shooting.  There’s something about the sound of that Hasselblad shutter that always helps me to fall back in love with taking pictures.”
        O – Elinchrom 74” Octa
        P – DJI Ronin
        Q – 44” Epson Printer
        DJI Ronin (P)
        “This is a new little toy I picked up recently as I’m starting to create more and more video/motion projects.  An amazing gimbal rig that can steady anything from a DSLR to a Red Epic and allow for some incredible smooth camera moves.  It also looks & feels like something Batman would own – and that oddly makes me happy.”
        Elinchrom Octa (O)
        “I have all sorts of lighting modifiers.  Softboxes, striplights, beauty dishes, reflectors, umbrellas… all have their place and their purpose.  But if there’s one modifier that feels like I’m cheating it’s this one – it just throws out a soft, even, wrapping light that makes it one of the easiest most forgiving lights to use (at least after the pain in the ass of setting it up and sandbagging the hell out of it so it doesn’t turn into a giant sail on location).”
        44″ Epson Printer (Q)
        “Some people say that perhaps I’m compensating for something… they may not be wrong.”
        With these posts we should also learn what other goodies are in Dave’s life, perhaps more often than his camera.  What does he have on him the rest of the time?  Ninja stars?  A gremlin?  Mouth wash?  Let’s take a look at what he carries with him on the daily.
        1 – Apple Macbook Pro

        2 – Tsovet Watch
        3 – Rayban Way 4147’s (these are great for people with [literally] oversized heads like me)
        4 – Jaybird Bluetooth Headphones (cause otherwise I tend to get tangled up in wires when I’m working on my fitness)
        5 – Kent folding comb (because bicycles and motorcycles require helmets)
        6 – Passport (always close at hand)
        7 – Moleskin Notebook
        8 – iPhone
        9-10 – Way too many keys
        11 – Bottle Opener (because summer = drinking in the park)
        12 – Beer Koozie (same reason as above)
        13 – JW Hulme Co. Wallet (it’s surprisingly hard to find a great wallet)


          Remember when we had to rewind things?  Those funny scribbley sounds if the play button was pressed at the same time as rewind?

          It feels strange that this past week cassette boxes were delivered to some folks who had probably never held this archaic, masking-tape-labelled plastic box before.  NO, WE ARE NOT OLD.  It is a pity that our kids will never experience the 7-10 seconds of crackley blank tape at the end of the cassette before the inevitable “cluh-chunk” notifying you that it was time to flip that tape and hit play again.  Good times, good times…

          Why the nostalgic rambling?  Well we are just gassed that our very own Tyler Gray has just released a brand spankin’ new motion spot along with an equally amazing new promo to go along with it.  A quick look into the rural Ontarian’s way of dealing with the winter, beard and all.  Take a gander at the motion spot won’t you?

          Tyler Gray – THE SPOT from Westside Studio on Vimeo.

          “Throw back to the days when cassette tapes and Lee Iacocca were king and K cars were more prevalent than nerds at a Star Wars convention.  After going to the Sparta Dragway (45 minutes south of London On.) a few times over the past couple years shooting and people watching, this idea came to me while cooped up last winter wondering how all the car nuts make it through the winter when the drag strip is locked down tight.  To bring a bit of context and back end, the bearded dude drives a gloss black ’88 Buick Grand National SS in the summer and goes to the track every weekend.  He listens to Lynard Skynard and he’s the guy you don’t fuck with and you don’t touch his car…EVER.  Trapped in the grip of winter, this bearded dude is stuck driving his winter beater but still has his sights on the track.”-T.G

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          As you can probably tell, this motion spot shot in the dead of winter, in what seems like the middle of nowhere.  That should fairly accurately show the dedication Tyler put into this creative.  It takes a special kind of guy to willingly go out into the freezing cold to shoot something like this.  At least he was able to drag a bunch of equally fearless/crazy guys with him.

          To package the spot up and send to agency creatives we decided to run with the thought “what is under the front seat of a K car?” Duh the bearded dude’s cassette tape collection of course.  Does anyone still have a cassette player?  No.  So we put the spot on a credit card style USB key and stuffed it in the cassette box photographed and designed specifically for this.  Inspired by my own tape collection from back in the day, masking tape and hand written names were written on the back and hand delivered.  -T.G
          Director: Tyler Gray
          DOP: John Ker
          Writers: Tyler Gray & Dave Pigeon
          Production: Westside Studio
          On Set Audio: Alex Beetham
          Audio Mixing: Silent Joe Audio
          Voice Over: Evren
          Music Track: Stone River
          Music Production: Gypsy Soul Records
          Colour: John Ker
          SFX: John Fenton


            Joey L and The hung over horseman!

            by Chris Payne on May 8, 2015

            What else would this mean?  Yep, another edition of Joey’s amazing Dudes With Cameras series was put up today.  In this one, Joey creates amazing images while avoiding getting stomped by a horse. Yeah, why wouldn’t you end your work week with this?



              Shanghoon with a Tangerine Twist

              by Alex Beetham on May 7, 2015

              In the hustle and bustle of this industry, photographers often have jobs tucked away on a (hopefully multiple) hard drive(s) that, well, just sit there.  That’s a shame, and good work deserves to be shared!  For example, Shanghoon just re-discovered this refreshing campaign he shot a couple years back for Molson.

              Here’s a step by step look at creating Shanghoon magic:

              Step 1)  Acquire many tangerines.


              Step 2)  Have a skilled food stylist peel some perfect twirls.


              Step 3)  Delicately prop said swirls & twirls.


              Step 4)  Take a (many) break(s) to play with Mandu.  Would you look at that face!?  (For more Mandu, search #westsidewoofs on instagram)


              Step 5)  Apply Shanghoon digital sorcery.

              Step 6)  (not pictured) Dedicate a decade of relentless work to your craft, constantly experiment with gear & techniques, surround yourself with talented & enthusiastic people who share your passion, and just be flat out talented.



              Not too shabby for something forgotten about in the archives, eh?

              All Images © Shanghoon


                What’s that Noize?

                by Chris Payne on May 4, 2015

                What is your opinion of Graffiti?  Vandalism or public access art?  Improvement of a bland concrete wall or defacing public property?  If you are reading this, you most likely tend to think of graffiti as expressive art form on potentially massive canvases.  The glass is more than half full when artists and creatives look at graffiti, which is why we were pumped to see that the latest edition of Wallnoize was coming to our hood.




                The vandal culture that the walls seem to speak of sounds like a threat against public security, but the artists painting their respective squares on the wall under the bridge at Bloor and Dundas seemed like a community of diverse styles and personalities.  Much in the same way that artists would share studios, these people share walls throughout the city.  It feels like there may be lessons to be learned just in that idea.






                  Pain Free in Portugal with Dave and Advil

                  by Chris Payne on April 30, 2015

                  Advil, the great reliever of migraines, muscle pain,  joint paint, head pain and in some cases pain cause by arthritis. Yup, pretty much all the pains.  Nobody is a stranger to the magical elixir contained within the liqui-gel or the fast relief found in each pill. Its something called ibuprofen I’m told, but you already knew that, didn’t you? Anyone who has ever consumed one too many alcoholic beverages has longed for an Advil at one point or another…

                  Dave Delnea had the pleasure of flying to Portugal to shoot Advil’s most recent ad campaign. Under the creative direction of Darcy Maloney and art direction of Pearce Cacalda of Y&R Toronto, the images that have come back are nothing short of amazing.  With the addition of great copy via Kevin Hoessler these ads are hard to miss.  They have been spotted numerous times around town, maybe you have seen this one?

                  “When the opportunity comes to work on a project that allows you to escape from the deep-freeze that is winter in Toronto, one does not say no!  I had the pleasure of spending a week in Lisbon, Portugal working with the creative team from Y&R to produce a series of print ads for Advil.” - Dave Delnea

                  “Shooting this in a looser, less-exact style of lifestyle imagery and rolling it out with a bunch of huge wild posting style paste up ads was a really different approach for a pharma company.  Hat-tip to Darcy, Pearce and Kevin for making it happen, and of course to Pfizer Canada for running with it.  …oh and obrigado Lisboa for all the great port and octopus salad!”- Dave Delnea


                  The campaign took many faces and contained many humorous Advil and ____ lines.  No one can resist smirking at the site of “WATAAAAAAAA” spelled out, no one!

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                  Along with this slew of print ads, there was also a great TV spot made.  Our pals over at Rooster have one of them on their website that you can watch by simply clicking here.  Wow, easy, yep.


                  Client: Advil
                  Agency: Y&R Toronto
                  Creative Director: Darcy Maloney
                  Art Director: Pearce Cacalda
                  Writer: Kevin Hoessler
                  Print Producer: Antoinette St. Angelo
                  Photographer: Dave Delnea
                  Producer: John Stevancec
                  First Assistant: George Moreira
                  Local Assistant: Vasco Monteiro
                  Motion Director (TV Spots): David Masters



                    Spikes, lightning, tequila and Joey L

                    by Chris Payne on April 27, 2015

                    The latest episode of Joey L’s dudes with cameras came out today.  These behind the scenes looks into Joey’s shoots are amazing, take a look!