Westside’s Summer Intern Army

by Alex Beetham on September 22, 2014

Each spring as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, students fix their dreams on a few months free from the numbing routine of classes and assignments. Some will hit the beach and laze heavy in the sand while others party their faces off trying to distance themselves from a years worth of responsibility. But Not all students. Each summer Westside is fortunate enough to welcome a fresh crop of interns from some of the best photography institutions in the country. They come to spend their days learning the trade secrets of dust management and trash compaction, but they also get a first hand look at the day to day lives of our kick ass roster. We learn a thing or two from each other. They (usually) bring an infectious desire to learn, which helps remind us as to why got into this line of work in the first place. It’s challenging, creative and just plain awesome. This years gang was top notch, some of the best yet. But just as long summer days give way to cool autumn mornings and with the school year back up and running, we with heavy hearts have to return our five incredible studio interns back to their respective institutions of academia.


Christa_SnapsChrista stepped up as our resident horse whisperer, and became Nikki Ormerod’s muse.

“I’ve had such an awesome and unforgettable summer interning at Westside. I’m grateful to have had so many opportunities to work with such talented and diverse photographers on set. I’ve met the coolest people here, and always looked forward to coming into the studio because of its positive and friendly environment. Each day held something new and exciting and I was so happy to be around. The great relationships plus the knowledge and experience I will take away from this experience holds such importance to me.”
- Christa

Spencer_SnapsSpencer keeps Nikki’s subject in great light, and keeps Shanghoon’s Mandu on his best behaviour.

Working at Westside this summer has been one of the greatest highlights of my time as a student. For our program we’re encouraged to seek out a placement that can offer us viable training in the photographic industry, working with clients, and learning what it takes to bring a big production together in a professional manner. Westside does all of this and more, as they are simply a group of good-hearted, passionate people who genuinely want to teach you the way of the industry all while making you feel at home.

Every day is different, and I’ve had some amazing experiences both on location and in-house. Working with this team, I feel more confident than ever taking on a career in the photographic field. If I could sum up this job into one word, it’s awesome. I’m definitely looking forward to what lies ahead!
- Spencer

Olga_SnapsOlga throws a mean sledgehammer & wrap-photo gang sign.

Westside has given me valuable hands-on experience assisting on set and working with talented photographers and crew. I really enjoyed my internship at Westside and happy to have met some great people along the way.
- Olga

Hassan_SnapsHassan learned that occasionally you need to rig a 3rd story window light, and got to meet the boys.

My time spent at Westside was nothing short of amazing. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to work along side such talented photographers. – Hassan

Kate_SnapsKate helped Spencer perfect his “Blue Steel,” and very much enjoyed being photographed down to size, pre-lighting for toddlers with Vicky Lam.

Here’s the crew (missing Kate) on their final day:


On behalf of everyone at Westside, we can’t thank you enough for all your help this summer, and we wish you nothing short of the best in your next chapters. See you on set!


    Tyler Gray Goes Way Back to School

    by Alex Beetham on August 27, 2014

    The upcoming September long weekend is a significant one.  It’s the one you dread growing up, knowing that it’s festivities are overshadowed by the end of summer vacation and the beginning of a new school year.  Tyler has been out of school for *cough* just a few *cough* years now, but has had the opportunity since 2011 to annually acquaint himself with the campus of Western University.  Tyler has been producing some gorgeous images for Western over the years, and this is no exception!  Words from Tyler:

    …This has been my third year shooting with creative director Terry Rice and designer Scott Woods from the Marketing Dept at Western U.  The early April email full of layouts from Scott has has become a beacon for spring and by the 3rd week of April i’m ripe for my first sunburn of the year.   – Tyler



    Photographer:  Tyler Gray
    Client:  Western University Alumni Association
    Creative Director:  Terry Rice
    Designer:  Scott Woods
    Project Coordinator: Diana Cunningham

    IMG_0320 IMG_0319 IMG_0315 IMG_0159All Images © Tyler Gray

    Want to find out whats going on in that last BTS image?? Head on over to Tyler’s Tumblr and he’ll tell you all about it!


      Ice Buckets for ALS

      by Alex Beetham on August 26, 2014

      It was only a matter of time before Westside was nominated for the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Our nomination came from the lovely folk over at DS&P.  Upon making our donation to www.alsa.org, we gladly extend the nomination to our friends over at Traffik Group & Milo Casting!

      Here’s what a huge “bucket” of icy water being dumped on Tom looks like:


        Vicky Visualizes Vimovo’s Wedding Plans

        by Alex Beetham on August 15, 2014

        Todays post brought to you from the desk of Vicky Lam. Take it away!

        The summer months of July and August are high season for weddings.  As I’ve already spent a couple weekends this summer as a wedding guest, I started to reminisce about a shoot I did for AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals earlier this year.  Dare I say, this is by far the cutest photo shoot I’ve done to date.  I was really excited when John St. contacted me to partake in this fun idea.  I loved the concept and the idea of making an unexpected pharmaceutical ad.  This is the kind of wedding photography that is up my alley!

        So what is “Vimovo” you might ask?  Vimovo is the latest osteoarthritis drug that offers pain relief and also protection from stomach ulcers.  To illustrate the union of these two elements, we were in search of some unique cake toppers.


        After seeing their layout I knew this wasn’t something I could easily find, and knew that only model maker, Franc Madden would be perfect for this job. I get so excited when models are made for photo shoots and love seeing the process of a vision coming to life. Here are some in-progress shots of our little couple as they were carefully hand crafted for our special shoot day.

        BTS Comp_1

        Getting cake toppers made was the first step, but it soon started to feel like we really were planning a wedding party. We tracked down some drapery and an oversized cake, and we were set to go!

        BTS Comp_2

        And after some finishing touches on set, the two were styled and camera-ready for this:


        Here’s a closer look at the happy couple:


        Many thanks to the great folks at John St for having me work on such a fun and sweet concept! And many thanks to the talented Franc Madden for all of his meticulous work on bringing our characters to life.

        Client: AstraZeneca, Vimovo
        Agency: John St.
        Associate Creative Director: Stephanie Ferrari
        Agency Producer: Alisa Pellizzari
        Model Maker: Franc Madden
        Photography Producer: Phaedra Kennedy
        Photography Assistant: Rebecca Leach
        Studio Intern: Dan Berger

        Let’s end this week off with a sweet portrait of the two and a glimpse of their first dance:

        BTS DanceAll Images © Vicky Lam


          Nikki Gets Her Tiles Laid

          by Alex Beetham on July 31, 2014

          Knee pads and mortar were strewn about the studio a few weeks back by a talented team who transformed two of our studios into seas of ceramic.  Nikki Ormerod got the call to help bring Union’s campaign for Stone Tile to life.  Nikki will tell you all about it:

          Shooting for Stone Tile was nothing less than a complete pleasure. The team over at Union are so great, and we really had a blast. It was a job with many moving pieces. We built the sets in our very own Westside studio together with the awesome crew from Stone Tile. It took a week to get them completed and they looked awesome!

          Casting for this job was no walk in the park, however. We had to meet with and photograph countless of the city’s hottest men. I knew that even though this part of the job was agony , it would all pay off in the end. ;)

          It was a difficult task to choose only three men from all the amazing talent we saw that day. In the end we landed three of the best to bring our scenes to life.

          Feast your eyes.



          GEN000000009 Azure Bathroom

          GEN000000009 Azure Livingroom

          GEN000000009 Azure Foyer

          Client: Stone Tile
          Agency:  Union
          Creative Director:  Lance Martin
          Art Director:  Lorraine Sit
          Writer: Marisa Faustino
          Photographer:  Nikki Ormerod
          Assistants:  Bryan Ulrich, Jon Wayne Brown
          Producer:  Phaedra Kennedy
          Wardrobe styling: Marie Eve Tremblay
          Hair/Makeup: Cait Mizzi
          Models:  Steve B (Elmer Olsen), Maciel (Sutherland), Eric (B&M)


          Stone Tile BTS
          All Images © Nikki Ormerod


            George Ventures into the Outback for Subaru

            by Alex Beetham on July 21, 2014

            June was a month of relentless travel for George Simhoni. One of his numerous flights landed him in beautiful British Columbia to team up with DDB for some gorgeous work to promote the new 2015 Subaru Outback. A few words from George himself:

            It was a great opportunity to work on the 2015 Subaru Outback campaign with Rebecca and Dom. BC during the summer is a real treat. We usually go there for shoots in the winter and we are dodging rain most of the time. I love bringing people into the mix of car photography because it really kicks up the image and makes them more memorable. I had a wonderful team to help bring these images to fruition, from our photography and digital team, agency team and client. All great to work with.   – George

            George Simhoni_Subaru1 George Simhoni_Subaru2All Images © George Simhoni
            Photographer:  George Simhoni
            Client:  Subaru
            Agency:  DDB
            Associate Creative Director:  Rob Sturch
            Art Director:  Rebecca May
            Copywriter:  Dom Raso
            Producer:  John Stevancec
            Assistants: Sean Best, Mark Cohene, Richard Amies, Mike Phang

            Producer John Stevancec was kind enough to provide a glimpse behind the scenes:


            George Simhoni_Subaru_BTS2

            IMG_4246All BTS Images © John Stevancec



              by Alex Beetham on July 17, 2014

              One of the most endearing parts of summer has to be a trip to the amusement park. What with the games, the food the rides and the nausea. No one loves a good midway more than Anthony Redpath. The proof can be seen right here in his most recent print campaign for Playland, featuring The Playland Hot Seat. The experience took ”losing control” to a whole other level.

              Some background on Playland and the hotseat:
              Vancouver’s premier amusement park, Playland, hosts an event where winners get free tickets to Playland, with a catch: the entire experience is out of their control. Everything from the rides they go on to the number of mini- donuts they eat is determined by an online audience, voting in real time.

              Here’s what  AD extraordinaire Dominic Prevost had to say about the whole thing,

              Anthony’s extreme attention to detail and practical thinking was exactly what we needed to bring slick and stylized world of the Playland Hot Seat to life. Anthony immediately understood the concept and was keen to collaborate with us to find unexpected ways to take the execution up a notch — going as far as literally hanging our talent on ropes to have them dangle like “real” puppets!  - Dominic Prevost, AD

              And the finished product…….


              Creative Director: Ian Grais, Chris Staples
              Art Director: Dominic Prevost, Hannes Ottahal
              Copywriter: Danielle Haythorne, Jordan Cohen
              Photographer: Anthony Redpath
              Studio Artist: Jonathon Cesar
              Producer: Scott Russell

              Check out some other BTS from the day,

              IMG_82051_400_by_600 copyIMG_4843Play Land_Anthony Redpath_BTS

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                Vicky Kicks off the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition

                by Alex Beetham on July 4, 2014

                In honour of the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (TOAE) starting up today, I have the privilege of turning you over to Vicky Lam who was recruited to bring this years ad to life… only to then melt into a puddle. I’ll let her explain.  - Alex

                Every summer, Nathan Phillips Square plays host to the largest and longest running outdoor art fair in Toronto since 1961.   The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition is a sure sign that summer is well under way and is a great chance to see hundreds of local artists at an iconic Toronto landmark.  This year, art director and graphic designer, Una Lee, contacted me to help bring her vision to life.

                Vicky Lam_TOAE_Layout1

                I was excited to work on a local project that would help give exposure to hundreds of talented artists.  However, the challenge was apparent – how could we make our shot look like a blistering hot summer day with melting ice cream? And ice cream letters to boot?   The reality was that it was only the beginning of February in what seemed like the longest and coldest winter Toronto has had in years.  So, I enlisted the expertise of stylist, Christina Yan.  Christina and I have worked on a couple of typography projects before as well as a couple of shoots involving ice cream.  It only seemed fitting that we collaborate once again when the two ideas finally collided in one shoot.  After much deliberation and preperation, we worked with fake ice cream, as well as real ice cream components to get the look for a still image and also animated .gif.  With the help of dry ice, a large chest freezer, letter stencils, lots of ice cream, and a family value pack of Crisco, we embarked into this new territory together.

                Vicky Lam_TOAE_Layout2

                From there, we ended up with this:

                Vicky Lam_TOAE_175_email04

                Vicky Lam_TOAE14_layout

                And here’s a close-up of the great textures Christina created:

                Vicky Lam_detail01_TOAE

                The last challenge was to shoot a melting animated .gif.  Shooting an animated time-lapse meant there was no room for error and no turning back.  We had to use real ice cream to make it happen. We weren’t completely sure just how typographic ice cream shapes would look as they melted, but here it is:

                Vicky Lam_TOAE_Timelapse-03-July

                After two days of careful preparation and styling, we ended our shoot with a giant puddle of melted ice cream on the studio floor:

                Vicky Lam_TOAE_MG_9405

                Many thanks to Una Lee for having us on board for such a fun idea, and to Christina Yan for figuring out how to make the impossible happen!  Be sure to check out the TOAE this weekend and support local artists.  Enjoy the summer sun while you’re at it, and maybe grab an ice cream too.


                Photographer:  Vicky Lam
                Client:  TOAE
                AD: Una Lee
                Stylist: Christina Yan
                Assistants: Michelle Brussolo, Brendan Klem

                All Images © Vicky Lam

                **Editors Note** We (I) deeply regret the loss of perfectly good ice cream used for this shoot.  If you wish to contribute to the memorial, in lieu of cash we (I) would ask that you send pints of Haagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s to 70 Ward Street, C/O Alex.  We (I) thank you for your support at this difficult time.  



                  George gets Deep & Delicious with McCain

                  by Alex Beetham on July 2, 2014

                  McCain Foods has been a staple in the Canadian diet for generations. You’ve most certainly eaten their fries before (McCain produces 1/3 of the worlds frozen fries,) and at least the kid in you still knows all about sneaking fork-fulls from this guy.  I can’t be the only one, right?  Well making light of all the trendy treats springing up in recent, McCain’s enlisted the talents of Entrinsic and our very own George Simhoni (wearing his directors hat) to bring dessert back to it’s roots in these fun spots.  Check’em:

                  Motion © George Simhoni

                  Director: George Simhoni
                  Client: McCain
                  Agency: Entrinsic
                  Executive Creative Director: Anthony Wolch
                  Copywriter: Kyle Carpenter
                  Content Manager: Rebecca Brown
                  Account Manager: Sasha Bricel
                  Producer: John Stevancec
                  Assistants: Jon Brown, Alex Beetham, Logan Allmendinger

                  McCain BTS_George SimhoniBTS © Alex Beetham & his potato



                    by Tom Nesbitt on June 24, 2014

                    Winters in Canada can be pretty brutal and this past one was no exception. Polar Vortex anyone? Remember that just 6 short months ago it was dark when you woke up and then again just shortly after lunch? I know that I won’t soon forget. But, all that aside, when winter serves up ice make margaritas or something like that.

                    This past winter Chris Gordaneer teamed up with Italo Siciliano from DDB to work on some sweet new ESSO imagery. As soon as we read the “open on palm tree” line, we didn’t hesitate and started packing our flip flops & sun screen

                    This project included several layouts that conveyed the best parts of the summer road trip theme. There were both still and some moving images to be captured. The time line was tight, but like a true pros, Chris and his team made it all fit within a days work.

                    I know what you are thinking, how could they manage down there in that heat and the humidity. All I can say is these guys and gals are total pros, and they didn’t let a little sand, sun and surf stop them from delivering the goods. Have a look at just some of what they came back with……








                    all images Chris Gordaneer Photography ©

                    When the stills were all wrapped for the day, Chris dawned the motion rig and directed the talent through these scenarios……

                    Beach Holiday

                    Grama’s House

                    Credit where credit is due….
                    Client: Esso Exxon Mobil
                    Agency:  DDB Canada
                    Creative Director: Barb Williams
                    Creative Group Leader:  Italo Sicilliano
                    Associate Creative Director:  Brendan Sack
                    Digital Tech / Assistant: Aric Guité
                    Producer: Kirsten White

                    Check out some BTS courtesy of Kirsten White and Aric Guite




                    Before we sign off, let me leave you with this little ditty.