Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes Ships Mercy

by Alex Beetham on May 25, 2016

Being a successful professional photographer is a daunting amount of work. Wrenches are constantly thrown into productions, flagged emails just keep piling up, retouching never ends, and there are just never enough hours in a day. But sometimes an opportunity presents itself that makes one step back and reevaluate not only your job, but life as a whole. This is what happened to Matt Barnes when he travelled to Madagascar to capture the work of Mercy Ships.

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1 billion, with more than 2.35 million direct beneficiaries. Each year Mercy Ships has more than 1,200 volunteers from over 40 nations. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to become the face of love in action, bringing hope and healing to the poor.

MERCY-05Every picture tells a story. In Africa, where nearly 50 percent of people have no access to a hospital or doctor, there are hundreds of stories of once-vibrant children, women and men plagued by poverty and preventable diseases, untreated illnesses and neglected injuries. These are stories of a simple toothache or scratch becoming a life-threatening crisis, and stories of the Mercy Ships medical professionals that come to the aid of the affected people. These are the stories that Barnes captured while visiting the Africa Mercy hospital ship in Madagascar to bring this campaign to life with gripping honesty and beauty.


‘MERCY’ by Matt Barnes, presented at Struck Contemporary Art Gallery May 26 – June 5 features twenty-five powerful images as part of Toronto’s Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. The original collection will be sold at the gallery and limited edition prints will be sold through an eBay auction. 100 per cent of all proceeds will be donated to Mercy Ships.


Words from Matt:

My time on the Africa Mercy hospital ship in Madagascar was one without parallel. The smells, the sights and the sounds were all new and exciting, but it was the children of Madagascar that left the deepest indentation. They had nothing, but still they wanted nothing. They were happy. I was honoured to have intimate access to such beautiful people, and the images reflect how wonderful they made me feel. I can’t imagine I’ll ever forget that feeling.     – Matt


Come and show your support on Thursday, May 26th @ Struck Contemporary.

Mercy_Evite_Apr27Matt also directed 3 spots while on board:

So much thanks to go around to the huge team that made this possible.  Credit where credit is due:

Geometry Global | Canada
Gillian Newing, Brian Quittenton | Writers
Darra Naiman | Media Supervisor
Nuala Byles | Executive Creative Director
Nancy Madonik | Managing Director
Annie Rowe | Strategic Planning Director
Greg Muhlbock, Caroline Brown | Art Directors
Cameron Miller | Account Executives
Philip Luisi | Project Manager

Ogilvy & Mather | Canada
Ian MacKellar | Chief Creative Officer
Shenny Jaffer | Broadcast Producer

Neo@Ogilvy | Canada
Nikki Defelice, Kyle Sergeant | Media Coordinator=
Juan Barahona | Search & Analytics Director

OgilvyOne Worldwide | Canada
Lindsay Renwick | Director, Social Media Strategy
Periyeh Iftikhar | Content Manager

NEAT Marketing Communications | Canada
Tara McCarthy | Public Relations

Photography Production
Matt Barnes | Photographer
Production Company | Westside Studio
Natalie D’Urbano | Producer | Westside Studio
Kyle Topping | Digital Tech
Scott Watson | Assistant

Film Production
Matt Barnes | Director
Liane Thomas | Broadcast Producer | Skin + Bones Film Company
Natalie D’Urbano | Producer | Westside Studio
Kyle Topping | Director of Photography
Scott Watson | First AC/Camera Technician
Caitlin Schooley | Executive Producer | Alter Ego
Wade Odlum | Colourist | Alter Ego
Steve Gadsen, Christine Leslie | Sound & Voice | TA2 Sound + Music
Robin Haman | Editor | Saints Editorial

Tim Maloney | National Director | Mercy Ships

See you at the opening!

All Images & Video © Matt Barnes


    Matt’s Up Schitt’s Creek. Again.

    by Alex Beetham on January 6, 2016

    Matt Barnes has once again found himself up Schitt’s Creek.  No paddles necessary!  Matt was thrilled to be approached by The Young Astronauts (very rad people) to reprise his role shooting promos for the second season of CBC’s Schitt’s Creek. As always, Matt delivered the goods.  I’m sure you’ve seen bits of these plastered ALL OVER the city ramping up to next weeks season premier, but here they are in all of their glory!

    GROUP-1Annie Murphy:
    Catherine O’Hara:
    Chris Elliot:
    Dan Levy:

    Photographer:  Matt Barnes
    Photography Producer:  Natalie D’Urbano
    Agency Executive Producer:  Alyssa Pankiw
    Creative Director:  Nev Todorovic
    Line Producer:  Jason Aita
    Assistants:  Papi (Kyle Topping), Gabe Roberto, Eric Brazier, Alexander Mavian, Andrew Gabura

    GROUP-2 GROUP-3-b

    You won’t see this one anywhere, but Matt couldn’t resist getting a frame in with Catherine!
    Speaking of this work being all over the city, just about every 2nd bus shelter and billboard are covered in Matt’s work!  Here’s a current look at the Bloor/Younge station take over.  Looking mighty Schitty!  (sorry… couldn’t resist)

    Season 2 premiers on CBC next Tuesday @ 9pm.  Check it out!

    All Images © Matt Barnes


      Matt Barnes turns up the heat with Taco Bell

      by Westside on September 16, 2015

      Matt Barnes recently grabbed his camera, took the awesome knob, cranked it as high as it would go and pointed it directly at lucky contest winners from Taco Bell’s fiery DLT contest.  Contestants entered by using the hashtag #fierydlt for their chance to be included in a calendar promoting this new spicy taco.  Matt worked with the exquisite team over at Grip Limited to create a rather spicy calendar.  Check it out below!  Along with a behind the scenes video and some tweets from the talent who we asked about their favourite part of shooting with Matt!



      YUM16798_04_FieryDLT_Calendar.indd YUM16798_04_FieryDLT_Calendar.indd YUM16798_04_FieryDLT_Calendar.indd YUM16798_04_FieryDLT_Calendar.indd


      YUM16798_04_FieryDLT_Calendar.indd YUM16798_04_FieryDLT_Calendar.indd YUM16798_04_FieryDLT_Calendar.indd YUM16798_04_FieryDLT_Calendar.indd YUM16798_04_FieryDLT_Calendar.indd




      This blazingly wicked calendar was also delivered in a clever box, adding a physical element to the amazingness.  How about that signature Papi eyebrow for September!  About as suave as the day is long, wouldn’t you say?

      DSC00912_1_sm DSC00917_sm

      Creative Director: Pat Andrews/Ben Weinberg
      Producer: Liz Crofton
      Social Content Team:  Jacquie Kostuk/Matt Stasoff
      Designer: Olivia Harrison
      Director/Cinematographer- BTS video: Kareem Hassanien
      Photographer: Matt Barnes
      Producer: Natalie D’Urbano
      Production Company: Westside Studio
      Assistants: Kyle Topping, Anthony Macri, Andrew Gabura, Alex Mavian, Lorne Bradley, Jasson Simmons


        California Dreaming with Matt Barnes

        by Alex Beetham on June 2, 2015

        At long last, the frost has left the ground (and our souls) here in Toronto.  10 degrees is completely acceptable spring time patio weather, right?  Matt Barnes wasn’t having any of winters chills, as he kept finding himself back under the warm sun of California, USA.  Matt has been kind enough to share some personal work from his last few trips to the West coast.  Below is everything you’d expect from Matt:  Sexy bods, beautiful faces, low riders, Lady Hayes flower crowns, family & friends, and… well just have a look see for yourself.  A snapshot into the world of Mr. Barnes:

        cali-dreamin-001 cali-dreamin-002 cali-dreamin-003 cali-dreamin-004 cali-dreamin-005 cali-dreamin-006 cali-dreamin-007 cali-dreamin-008 cali-dreamin-009 cali-dreamin-010 cali-dreamin-011 cali-dreamin-012 cali-dreamin-013 cali-dreamin-014 cali-dreamin-015 cali-dreamin-016 cali-dreamin-017 cali-dreamin-018 cali-dreamin-019 cali-dreamin-020 cali-dreamin-021 cali-dreamin-022 cali-dreamin-023 cali-dreamin-024 cali-dreamin-025 cali-dreamin-026

        All Images © Matt Barnes


          A Very Matt Barnes Ballroom

          by Westside on April 6, 2015

          Have you heard the one about a tiger, a peacock,  and 19 lavishly dressed people that walk in to a ballroom?

          Yeah, we hadn’t either – that is until Matt Barnes showed up.

          Byblos is an Eastern Mediterranean restaurant here in Toronto, but they have recently opened another location in Miami beach, Florida.  It is difficult to convey concisely how incredible these restaurants really are.  They combine classic cooking techniques with a unique atmosphere to leave every patron satisfied by food and experience alike.  The food in the photo was all sourced from Byblos Toronto, so given the full octopus, lobster platter and the plethora of pomegranates, you could imagine what you are in for.

          So how exactly do you differentiate the Miami beach location from the Toronto location in order for them to live as their own separate restaurants?  Your sentence may sound something like “I bet Matt Barnes could do something cool, lets see what he comes up with”.  Matt was given 100% creative control to come up with the concept, cast the talent, design the set, etc. etc. and the result, well, let’s just say we are damn proud of the result.

          The photo speaks for itself, but it is the culmination of hard work by Matt & his team, incredible vision and top notch production.  We are happy to provide a little bit of behind the scenes for your viewing pleasure, should you be so curious!

          This slideshow requires JavaScript.



          Photographer: Matt Barnes

          Art Director: Jay Pooley

          Producer:  Kirsten White, Elissa Parante

          Styling: Maeve Mckee

          Food Styling: Nicole Young

          Hair & Makeup: Nina Farrauto

          Client: Byblos Miami




            Matt takes on Movember with Campbell’s Chunky

            by Alex Beetham on November 4, 2014

            Campbell’s just launched their Movember Chunky campaign, which was shot by our very own Mr. Barnes! It looks a little something like this:

            Matt Barnes - Hockey Matt Barnes - Hoser Matt Barnes - lumberjack

            Agency: Real Interactive
            Art Director: Kelly Small
            Photographer: Matt Barnes
            Producer: Tara O’Malley
            Assistant: Gabe Nivera, Lori Waltenburi
            Hair & Makeup: Sandra Yang
            Food Stylist: LeeAnne Wright

            Check’em out on Campbell’s Movember page!

            Campbell's Movember Landing Page



              by Westside 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



                by Westside on March 7, 2014

                In a double down we’ve dubbed his Artist Corner, today’s Photogasm from Matt Barnes features two men who respectively, to put things apt, are on top of their game. While their fields are on drastically different ends of the art spectrum, both produce a product capable of wowing the masses. Much like our man Matt.

                We’ll start things off with a quick trip to The Big Apple, where Matt and his crew met with the sartorial sultan, Nick Wooster. Now in his second time before Matt’s glass, the sharply dressed fashion expert was again kind enough to share words with The Passing Shot, a sample of which you’ll find between Matt’s images.

                © Matt Barnes

                The Passing Shot: We’re pleased you were able to reconnect with Matt after meeting for a quickie a few years back. Is there a distinct difference between the Nick Wooster of 2011 and he of 2014?

                Nick Wooster: I guess I am just older. I am never really conscious of “what I am wearing” or “what I am going to look like”. I just acquire stuff that I think is cool or that I really like…and figure it out as I have to get dressed.

                © Matt Barnes © Matt Barnes

                TPS: You shot in studio this time, the result of which feels more intimate than on the street. Have you a preference to location versus studio photography, when it comes to being photographed? You’re certainly often photographed but do you enjoy sitting for a portrait?

                NW: I truly hate having my picture taken. I know that sounds ridiculous, but when I am caught on the street with sunglasses, there isn’t much I have to do. Sitting in front of a camera is way more intimidating. It brings every shred of negative self image straight into my consciousness like a bazooka, but Matt made it way less scary for me – for that I am super grateful.

                © Matt Barnes

                Our second subject of Matt’s is a man whose talents know no bounds. Musician, mixed media and performance artist, Curtis Santiago, better known as TALWST, hails from Trinidad but connected with Mr. Barnes after moving to Toronto several years ago. His latest project – Infinity – is a series of miniature dioramas housed in reclaimed jewellery boxes. Large worlds in extremely small places. It’s definitely worth the click to see for yourself – after you check out these portraits though.

                © Matt Barnes

                © Matt Barnes

                © Matt BarnesAll Images © Matt Barnes



                  by Westside on February 13, 2014

                  With week one wrapped up in Sochi, and Canadian athletes doing so well to make us proud at home, we thought it best to shine the spotlight on some podium worthy work from Matt Barnes and Red Bull.

                  As most are aware, in addition to giving you wings, Red Bull is a massive global sponsor of all things extreme. What you may not realize though, is that their athletic endorsements range in sport much wider than most other sponsors – bringing rock climbers, volleyball players, and speed skaters (just to name a few) together under the Red Bull umbrella. Amongst this long list of athletes that ride for the Bull, are a number of Canadian Olympians whom Matt had the pleasure of shooting before they took off for Sochi.

                  We’ll kick things off to the work before Matt drops by with some more details for you.

                  Erik Guay© Matt Barnes

                  Mark McMorris© Matt Barnes

                  Noah Bowman© Matt Barnes

                  François Hamelin© Matt Barnes

                  Travis Gerrits© Matt Barnes

                  Sebastien Toutant© Matt BarnesPhotographer: Matt Barnes
                  Client: Red Bull
                  Producer: Tara O’Malley
                  Hair & Make Up: Sandra Yang
                  Stylist: Marc Andrew Smith
                  Prop Maker & Set Designer: Peter Sutherland & Assoc.
                  Assistants: Papi, Jeff Jamieson, Lorne Bradley, Blake Hutchinson, & Hayley Hruska

                  © Matt Barnes

                  © Matt Barnes © Matt Barnes

                  © Matt Barnes

                  I’ve been fortunate to get the opportunity to work with Red Bull a couple times now, and it’s always been a lot of fun. There’s plenty of reasons why there are a great client to work with, but the fact that they give me so much creative freedom is my favourite.

                  I wanted to be able to capture all the elements of our shot(s) in camera, so we got Peter Sutherland to build us the rad mountain you see. Like with our work on Cold FX, Peter nailed it on this one, so a huge thank you to him and his crew. ~Matt

                  © Matt Barnes © Matt Barnes

                  © Matt Barnes

                  © Matt Barnes

                  © Matt Barnes

                  © Matt Barnes

                  © Matt BarnesAll Images © Matt Barnes

                  { 1 comment }

                    Well folks, we’re in the thick of it now. Yet again we’ve allowed ourselves to be swooned by the festive personality and chilly charm of Old Man Winter. But now that his best bros influenza and rhinovirus have shown up to the party, his true nature is becoming clearer once more. Fortunately for us though, Matt Barnes and john st. have a foolproof plan of preventative measure to help prepare yourself for their coming advances.

                    Working closely with Creative’s Stephen Jurisic and Christine MacLean, Matt and his team worked extremely hard to create a realistic campaign for COLD-FX. If you’re unfamiliar with it’s effectiveness at being your personal bouncer against the Old Man’s bros, track down a friend who plays competitive winter sports and they’ll tell you all about it. Not yet though, first let’s get into some of Matt’s latest.

                    © Matt Barnes

                    © Matt BarnesPhotographer: Matt Barnes
                    Client: COLD-FX
                    Agency: john st.
                    Creative Director: Stephen Jurisic
                    Art Director: Christine MacLean
                    Copywriter: Dhaval Bhatt
                    Agency Producer: Alisa Pellizzari
                    Make-Up: Sandra Yang
                    Wardrobe: Charlotte Carson
                    Photo Producer: Tara O’Malley
                    Set Build: Peter Sutherland
                    Assistants: Papi, Jeff Jamieson, & Lorne Bradley

                    As you might imagine, size of locations were a large concern if the team were going to successfully execute their vision. The elevator scene would be a reasonably simple in-studio build, but the bus was a whole other undertaking. Here’s Matt’s assistant Papi to tell you a little more.

                    As it turns out, building a bus from scratch is really expensive. We troubleshooted the situation a lot, and after a day of phone calls, I eventually ended up finding a junked Oakville transit bus on Kijiji (of all places!) that would actually work for our budget. Take a look at ol’ 9911, she was a real beauty. ~Papi

                    © Matt Barnes

                    © Matt Barnes

                    With their second location acquired, it was time to call in the big boys from Peter Sutherland & Associates. Peter and Matt have worked together many times in the past on memorable large-scale productions – and as the work shows – this time would be no different. With many thanks to the boys above, we’ve got a bunch of behind-the-scenes shots so you can see their progress from beginning to end. Enjoy.

                    © Peter Sutherland

                    © Peter Sutherland

                    © Peter Sutherland

                    © Peter Sutherland

                    © Matt Barnes

                    © Matt Barnes

                    © Matt Barnes

                    © Matt Barnes

                    Big thanks to everyone at john st. for bringing such a cool campaign to Team Barnes, and to Peter Sutherland’s crew for all their hard work creating the fabulous sets.

                    So as we in Toronto get ready to meet another Winter bro – Polar Vortex something or other – remember to stay warm, prepare yourself, and enjoy the day out there party-goers.
                    Images © Matt Barnes
                    BTS © Matt Barnes & Peter Sutherland