Tuesday travels

by Tom Nesbitt on May 27, 2014

Hey its Tuesday. Why don’t you take a trip with Tyler Gray as he explores the back roads of southwestern Ontario……..

One of my favourite things about spring is hopping in the Polara and driving to places i’ve never been to. A few weeks ago I headed out to start a casual photographic journey along HWY#3’s rich 200 year history. All the north shore of Lake Erie is agriculture and I stumbled across a place called Mennomex which is essentially a grocery store run by Mexican Mennonites. If you want authentic Mexican food for dinner this weekend, this is the place to go if you have 4 hours to kill driving there and back. My next unplanned stop was at the Aylmer Stockyards. It was set back from the highway so after a quick U-Turn I ventured in to find a cool little “down home” cafe that had just finished serving local farmers breakfast before the weekly (wednesday) livestock auction began. Again, given the rich population of Mexican Mennonites and migrant workers in this area, a typical serving was pork tacos with a side of rice and mashed beans. Not into ethnic? No prob, they also serve egg sandwiches. Awesome!



If you wanna keep track of Tyler’s exploits why don’t you check out his Tumblr?


    Nikki you are cleared for take off!

    by Alex Beetham on May 23, 2014

    A photographer works for years developing their own unique style. In the service of their craft, they become ingenious problem solvers, master technicians, and tireless perfectionists. With each new project they take on, they use their technical skills and creative vision to satisfy the needs of the specific job. While not every project can claim a perfect pairing of craft and creative, once in awhile, a job comes along that is so well suited to a particular photographer’s style, it would be criminal for anyone but them to shoot it.
    This was the case when JWT’s Nicole Ellerton created the new campaign for Air Canada’s rebrand — there really was no choice other than Nikki Ormerod. We think it’s a perfect fit. And when the shoe fits as well as it does here, the results are nothing short of amazing.

    May I present Nikki Ormerods perfect fit:  Air Canada’s “Your World Awaits” Campaign.

    Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_1 Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_2 Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_4 Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_3Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_5 Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_6 Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_7

    A few words from Nikki herself:

    I felt an instant connection to the artwork for the Air Canada Rebrand. I appreciated the beauty Nicole Ellerton and JWT were trying to capture in this campaign. There really is a romantic aspect to the creative and this is a style of shooting that embodies what I truly love to shoot.  I also knew that the nature of the creative would require more work than I’ve had to do for any other project in my career to date. I was just a little excited (a lot) when I found out I had won the job. **Sorry to Nicole for screaming on the phone***.From that point on I was lucky enough to be able to really sink my teeth into every aspect of the process. It was really amazing to work alongside Nicole From talent selection to the pairings of what character belonged in what destination. It was really a delicate process. The post production which I shared with Nick Leadlay was – and still is – incredibly intricate. It’s a completely custom job every time we marry a profile with a background. Every shot deserves a completely different approach. It’s been such a huge opportunity to really let my creativity out. It has become my life for the last month and I’m looking forward to the next phases of the project. The really amazing thing about this concept is that it really is boundless – it has the potential to grown in so many different ways. I can’t wait to see what comes of it.
    - Nikki

    JWT won the Air Canada account just this past September. Here are a few thoughts form the agency side…..

    The breaking campaign, by JWT Canada, Air Canada’s new AOR appointed in September, connects the evolution of Air Canada’s product and service strategy with an ongoing commitment to deliver the world class travel experience today’s traveller expects. It also builds on a key insight from consumers that the richness of their experiences when they travel become a part of them and form a part of who they are.

    The work launches a new tagline, “Your world awaits.” which serves as an invitation to the Air Canada experience and celebrates the sense of curiosity and pursuit of excellence that the airline shares with today’s global traveller. “It’s a new voice, tone and manner for Air Canada, yes, but is also about listening to our customers,” says Selma Filali, Director Marketing Communications at Air Canada. “For us, it’s about reflecting our commitment to meet the highest expectations that will help the globally minded traveller make the most of the experiences ahead of them,” Filali explains.

    A fresh, sophisticated photographic look, a premium and global sensibility, and a more provocative tone of voice support the invitation to the enriching experience that the tagline evokes.

    You’re going to be seeing a whole lot of these gorgeous images, both online & in person.  You may have already seen some of these in your browsing:

    ac_twitter AC_website fbook youtube
    Or perhaps in the paper?

    Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_Media

    I challenge you to find a wall in Eglinton station that DOESN’T have Nikki’s work all over it.  Total media take over.

    Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_EglintonNikki-Ormerod_Air-Canada_Eglinton_2Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_Eglinton3

    It takes an incredible team to execute such an elaborate undertaking, and this group is the cream of the crop.

    Photographer:  Nikki Ormerod
    Client:  Air Canada
    Agency:  JWT
    Associate Creative Director:  Nicole Ellerton
    Associate Creative Director:  Mark Lewis
    Retouching:  Nick Leadlay & Nikki Ormerod
    Hair & Make-Up:  Juuka Sutari & Claudine Baltazar
    Wardrobe:  Nadia Pizzimenti
    Assistants:  Gabe Nivera, Abe Roberto, Michelle Brussolo, Joanna Gigliotti

    Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_BTS_2Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_BTS_3Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_BTS_5Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_BTS_6Nikki Ormerod_Air Canada_BTS_1Images © Nikki Ormerod

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      by Alex Beetham on May 21, 2014

      If you were lucky enough to have found yourself walking the halls of Westside Studio a few weeks back, you would have been greeted with a very pleasant smell indeed. What was this wonderfulness anyway? Could it be our long awaited spring finally making itself known?

      Sadly no, but do not dismay, this gets better.

      Instead, the studio was bursting at the seams with the complex fragrances of some of Higgins & Burke’s latest leafy tea offerings. From humble beginnings in 1912, Higgins & Burke have now brought there infamous loose leaf tea into the single serving market with their EcoCup.  Who better to show off their delectable leaves, then our very own Shanghoon.  Some snaps from the day, along with some insight from Shanghoon himself below:

      Shanghoon Higgins & Burke Tea
      Photographer: Shanghoon
      Client:  Higgins & Burke
      Agency:  Dashboard
      Art Director: Isabelle Santiago
      Food Stylist:  Ashley Denton
      Assistant:  Colin Rycroft
      Interns:  Jasmine DeBoer, Zeren Uyar

      Shanghoon - HigginsandBurke Composite

      It was great to shoot quality teas in the studio all day. The studio smelled like tea a couple more days after that. I should’ve bought some nice tea biscuits now that I think of it.

      Shanghoon_HigginsandBurke_BTS2 Shanghoon_HigginsandBurke_BTS1

      All Images © Shanghoon



        by Tom Nesbitt on May 13, 2014

        There are few things in this industry that do more to propel the careers of a photographer than having their work accepted into an awards annual. There are many of these to chose from. Local, National, International you name it. Each year begins a new as photographers, agencies and designers alike send in their best work in hopes of recognition. To be accepted into the pages of the annual is by no means a small feat. The competition is steep. For instance Communication Arts On average, each annual receives roughly 5000 entries and only 150-200 are chosen for the book. That means you have a 96% – 97% chance of not making the final cut. A 3%-4% chance of winning is not an attractive gamble to many. But those odds make it even sweeter when your work is chosen by a distinguished panel of jurors. And hey, you are a photographer, you are used to taking chances.

        For this year the first one out of the gate is the internationally acclaimed design publication Coupe

        In this we have Vicky Lam and Nikki Ormerod

        Vicky worked on these sinister images for Fangoria Entertainment with:
        CD: Zack Mroueh
        AD: Mooren Bofill
        Writer: Nick Asik
        Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo




        Nikki hooked up with the team at Juniper Park on these ethereal beauties.
        ECD: Barry Quinn, Alan Madill, Terry Drummond
        Design: Natasha Michalowska
        Client: Kim Good




        Next up is Canada’s leading visual communications publication Applied Arts and in this years pages we have several Westsiders…..
        George Simhohi, Matt Barnes, Tyler Gray & Derek Shapton for stills and Chris Gordaneer for both stills & motion

        George doing what George does best, for this Advertising Single entry
        Agency: Bright Red Communications
        AD: Doug Bramah

        And a couple of Self Promotional beauties too….

        North California rugged cliffs on the coast 07 no releases


        Derek worked his wonderful portrait skills on Tim Godsall for Shots Magazine


        Tyler knocked it out of the park for ESPN Magazine during ExposNation
        Photo Director: Karen Frank
        Assoc Photo Editor: Kaitlin MarronApplied Arts

        You would have had to have been living a rock if you missed these stunners from Chris Gordaneer for the Canadian Olympic Committee
        Agency: Proximity
        AD: Josh Stein
        Art Producer: Jessica Valentini
        Digital Imaging: Mark Tyler / Stir Images



        And then there were these winners from the old country in the unpublished /personal category
        Scotland-00445j copy

        Scotland-01483f copy


        Theres more to come folks. Plenty of awards to be handed out still this year.
        See ya soon.



          by Tom Nesbitt on April 28, 2014

          With the polar vortex now behind us, it’s time to trade in our salt stained boots for flip flops. Tyler Gray was able to do so a little earlier than the rest of us, as sunny California was the location to shoot a campaign for Sanuk. What started as a pair of sandals made in a backyard shed, Sanuk has grown into an international footwear brand.

          And now for a few words from Tyler……
          Aside from the job itself and the fun I always have with these guys, the thing I’ll remember most about this job was the 6am LA style earthquake wake up call. Being from a place (Toronto) where “catastrophic” events range from snowstorms to ice storms, this scared the hell out of me. It was only a 4.7 but the epicenter was a short 6 miles away from where we were staying in West LA. Between that and the numerous beers Gabe and I had at Steingarten the night before I stumbled onto set a few hours later looking like Gary Busey. I took a good ribbing from Karin et al but was all in good fun. Never a dull moment.

          Check out the final ads, and a little BTS below.

          © Tyler Gray

          Photographer: Tyler Gray
          Client: Sanuk
          Agency: Ignited
          AD: Jeremy Carson
          ACD: Karin Djelaj
          ACD: Chris Schott
          CD: Jordan Atlas
          Print Producer: Sam Helpand
          Exec Producer: Diego Espana
          Assistant: Gabe Nivera

          © Tyler Gray


          Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset


          IMG_7200Images © Tyler Gray


            NEWS | RUN PHAEDRA, RUN

            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


                TGIW | A SPOTLIGHT ON SPOT

                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.


                  PHOTOGASM | NIKKI PERFORMS

                  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


                    NEWS | BARNES’ FEELING REAL GOOD

                    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