Nikki Ormerod

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


    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




      Photoshop Wizards are a hard breed to tame.  They are able to conjure beauty from mere pixels with the stroke of a wand (wacom pen).  They are such magical beings that some have even been known to survive for days on end by only eating cookies and tea.  At least that is what we have learned after observing ours…

      We are extra excited to announce the addition of Nick Leadlay, to the Westside roster.  Nick is the first digital retoucher that Westside Studio has ever represented (yes, he is that good).


      “I am very excited to be joining the team at Westside Studio after working closely with them on multiple jobs over the past year.  The roster of photographers, along with the studio’s client list speaks for itself.  I am especially excited about the new ground we are breaking in Canada as far as retouchers being represented along side photographers.  Tom, Caitlin, Chris and the Westside family have been so welcoming to me since day one, so a special thank you goes to them.  I am really looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together!”- N.L

      Nick has worked his magic with a couple of the photographers here at Westside Studio.  Nikki Ormerod and Joey L have both trusted Nick’s sorcery with some major projects in the past, resulting in images that you have probably seen hundreds of times by now.  Take the following images for example:

       Nikki Ormerod



      Joey L


      When you combine extremely talented photographers with an extremely talented wizard, you end up with simply the best images possible.  What, you didn’t catch his magic in the images above?  Take a closer look at this amazing image by Joey L, shot for the recent Canon Campaign.  Slide the bar back and forth to reveal one of Nick’s latest spells in action.

      Did you catch it that time?  I’m sure you did, but in case you are curious, Nick wanted to tell you a little bit about his work.

      “This image was retouched on set during the Canon Camera shoot with Joey L.  The deadline for the image was at the end of the day, so there really wasn’t any time for mistakes.  However, I have worked with Joey before and he creates a really relaxed environment to work in, so that made everything a lot less stressful.

      The basic elements that we addressed in this image were; the focus and angle of the camera, the exposure on the female model and the elimination of any distracting elements in the scene.  We also did some subtle skin and hair work on the models, along with some global color correction/grading. Joey always likes to have a hand in the post production process and prefers to do his color grading at the end of the workflow.  This image was no different in that regard.  The majority of my time was spent on compositing the new camera into the shot from a different frame, as well as manually rebuilding the clothing around the camera and fixing the shadows.”

      So there it is folks, Nick Leadlay  has joined the team and we are pretty stoked about it.  He is currently in Tahiti retouching bikini models, which we are confident he is enjoying quite well.


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        Nikki Plays Make Believe

        by Alex Beetham on December 10, 2014




        I’ve been wanting to do a shoot with Lola for over a year now. I felt like if we didn’t do it soon – she wouldn’t be a kid anymore.. This little lady was such a great model it blew us all away. She kept us entertained with her vibrant personality and with her live performance of The Llama Song. I really felt like I was a child again. It was such a fun day. I have a fascination with film (some films…) I really wanted this to feel like a total throw back to my childhood hanging out in my grandparents basement. Playing make believe. Dressing up. day dreaming. I borrowed colours from my memories and built a set accordingly. It has a very “Virgin suicides” feel to it… Its cool how ideas just grow and end up in spots you didn’t necessarily intend. I love when creative plans unfold organically and you’re left with something beautiful.

        - N


        Model is Lola,
        Her mum is Sacha.
        Wardrobe: Pascal Alhani
        Makeup: Angie DeBatista
        Set Design: Nikki Ormerod & Alex Beetham
        Assistants: Gabe Nivera & Jamie Rosenthal


        03_Lola__0337All Images © Nikki Ormerod

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          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



            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



              by Matt on February 25, 2014

              It’s 11:45pm on a brisk but clear winters eve. You and your date are wrapping up a lovely night out together. With the weather such as it is, and having spent your time filling up in one of downtowns trendy eateries, you decide (much to your dates excitement) to extend your evening with a walk through the park.

              Over flirty laughs you mutually agree that your spaghettini Aglio-e-Olio was most definitely that, and hold hands under the pathway lights. Snow beings to fall gently, bringing the two of you closer together. If ever there was a time for a romantic embrace – you know it is now.

              But that spag garlic. It’s all your date’s going to remember from your romantic moment. If only there was a way to combat the pungent aroma protruding from your face. Alas, the following image can never be you, because you forgot to Practice Safe Breath.

              © Nikki Ormerod

              But there’s hope for you yet, and it comes in the form of a lovely lady named Nikki Ormerod.

              Kids, you gotta remember to Practice Safe Breath. It’s a scary world out there, you never know what people are putting in their mouths. ;D

              Jokes aside, a really big thanks to Andrew and everyone at Sid Lee. Just like our last time out for Dentyne, it was a great day on location and our talent definitely helped us all keep hot and steamy. ~Nikki

              NikkiOrmerod_Dentyne_SidLee-WinterPrintPhotographer: Nikki Ormerod
              Client: Dentyne
              Agency: Sid Lee
              Art Director: Andrew MacPhee
              Print Producer: Emily Paterson
              Photo Producer: Kirsten White
              Hair & Make-Up: Cait Mizzi
              Stylist: Kate Corbett
              Snow Boss: John Stevancec
              Assistants: Aric Guite, Peter Olsen, Bryan Ulrich, & Jason Gordon

              A special shout out to John Stevancec, who took a break from his normal Producer role and stepped in as “Snow Boss” while on location. The weather on shoot day wasn’t quite as serene as Nikki’s image suggests, and so John saved the day with some top notch snow details and well placed snow blankets.

              © Nikki Ormerod


              NikkiOrmerod_Dentyne_SidLee-BTS03Images © Nikki Ormerod


                PHOTOGASM | NIKKI’S ESCAPE

                by Matt on February 11, 2014

                Days like the one we’re having here in Toronto are the type that remind us of the warm sunny times ahead. However some of us can’t wait another 36 days* for Spring to have sprung, and so we pack our bags and head south to hang with the birds. Nikki Ormerod is one of these types, and with late January’s low temps, she quickly made her way to the airport – fortunately for us – with camera in tow.

                I couldn’t take it anymore. So I ran away. ~ Nikki

                So take five, sit back, enjoy some new creative work from Nikki O, and maybe inspiration for your own winter escape while you’re at it.

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod

                © Nikki Ormerod*It might not feel like it, but March 20th is really that close. And yeah, this is Canada, we probably should have counted you down to Summer. But that is 129 days away. :(
                All Images © Nikki Ormerod



                  by Matt on January 28, 2014

                  We hope you’re ready for a whole lot of adorable advertising reader, as today we’re shining some light on a previously mentioned work from Nikki Ormerod. In our Year In Review post, one of Nikki’s favourite shoots from 2013 was single shot she and KBS+P did for Target. Working with Reasons Mommy Drinks co-author Lyranda Martin Evans and Travis Cowdy, Nikki and company spent a fun filled day capturing the cuteness that only a baby can create. She’ll tell you more before we overload you with aww.

                  This has to be one of the cutest shoots I’ve ever done! Working with a baby is always an interesting experience because you never know how they will react when they make it to set. With this in mind, we opted to play it safe by lining up some “backup babies”, not knowing who would be the star of the final ad. Much to all of our enjoyment, I photographed 3 of the cutest babies ever and I ended up loosing my voice from the amount of baby talk I did on set.

                  In the end it was was extremely difficult to try and choose who was the best fit, but this little lady’s smile was too cute. A huge thanks to Lyranda and Travis and here’s to hoping 2014 holds more adorable babies on my sets! ~ NO

                  © Nikki OrmerodPhotographer: Nikki Ormerod
                  Client: Target
                  Agency: KBS+P
                  Creative Director: Lyranda Martin Evans
                  Art Director: Travis Cowdy
                  Casting: Milo Casting
                  Prop Stylist: Cheryl Thompson
                  Retouching: Mark Tyler
                  Assistants: Gabe Nivera, Bryan Ulrich, & Danielle Matar
                  Image © Nikki Ormerod



                    by Matt on December 13, 2013

                    Unique to its kind, Canadian Fabric is a new charity-based annual magazine that aims to use fashion as a means for showcasing the year’s best in our nations noteworthy people, trends, and milestones. Led by Honorary Chair, Suzanne Rogers, the House of Forward Foundation has created this nationally-distributed, non-profit magazine that will donate net proceeds to a designated beneficiary.

                    Through collaborations with Canada’s leading photographers and artists,

                    Canadian Fabric will celebrate ideas, people, and themes that are relevant to each year in the areas of fashion, business, philanthropy, and culture. As a distinct Canadian identity is often rendered as elusive, the magazine will help define what it means to be fashionably Canadian by commemorating forward-thinking individuals who influence our culture and national community.

                    For their inaugural issue, Art Director Katina Constantinou teamed up with Nikki Ormerod, giving her the opportunity to spend some time with Foundation Director Sylvia Mantella. Also taking part were Cheryl McEwan, Lisa Ray, and Lynn Factor – all of whom donate their time and money to the foundation’s various causes.

                    Sylvia Mantella © Nikki Ormerod

                    Cheryl McEwan © Nikki Ormerod

                    Cheryl McEwan & Lisa Ray © Nikki Ormerod

                    Lisa Ray © Nikki Ormerod

                    Lisa Ray © Nikki Ormerod

                    Lynn Factor © Nikki OrmerodPhotographer: Nikki Ormerod
                    Client: Canadian Fabric Magazine
                    Agency: Parcel Design
                    Art Director: Katina Constantinou
                    Assistant: Jason Gordon

                    For those wanting some behind the scenes from Nikki’s day, click on over to and hit play on the launch video. For those wondering where they might find the first issue, Canadian Fabric is on shelves and awaiting your eyes at Chapters/Indigo and select high-end retailers nation wide. Can’t wait to pick up a copy? Here’s a peek inside via Nikki’s Instagram.

                    NikkiOrmerod_CanadianFabric_Insta01 NikkiOrmerod_CanadianFabric_Insta02

                    Have a great weekend folks!
                    All Images © Nikki Ormerod