Most people think rain on your wedding day spells disaster, but for me, it created a unique opportunity to capture unusual and beautifully authentic images. Truthfully, the overcast day creates some of the best lighting for photographs, and on Mel and Matt's wedding day it was no different. Toronto has so many beautiful and authentic wedding venues but Black Creek Pioneer Village was the perfect wedding venue for such unpredictable weather with a little bit of coverage hidden away in all the rustic barns, colonial homes and natural greenery like willow trees and vegetable gardens. The intimate and cozy weather was in the end ideal for Mel and Matt's intimate and romantic outdoor wedding, the vintage and rustic elements of the wedding ceremony and reception space matched all the intricate and vintage wedding elements and details that were found all over the place. It's also worthwhile to note that they enter their wedding to the a live trumpet performance by their ultra-entertaining Arsenals, an incredible Toronto-based Jazz group that truly created an electric and fun atmosphere. Oh, and there was an ice-cream truck that showed up at midnight with some soft-served ice-cream for all the guests, something I took complete advantage of while I could.
I wouldn't mind shooting a few more rain soaked Toronto weddings with midnight bound ice-cream trucks.
Most people think Toronto is just huge buildings and large surrounding suburbs, but if you dig around a little bit, like Ellen and Troy did in the East End of Toronto, you can probably find a whole other hidden world. Here's a recent session at Moore Park Ravine near downtown Toronto.
Album of inspiration : Tycho - Dive
One very tall groom, one stunning bride, both coming home from Edmonton Alberta for their beautiful and intimate wedding at the Madsen's Garden in Newmarket just outside of Toronto. An ideal wedding venue to set an authentic vintage aesthetic. I couldn't really complain about starting my day off in Keswick, lake side cottage homes aren't too bad of a place to hangout pre-wedding. The day was spent surrounded by trees, gardens, lakes, laughter, Coors Light & two large loving families.
Music is my influence, album of the day - DIIV , Is the Is Are
Think of every golden rule of a wedding, now completely disregard those things = this wedding. Man, what a beautiful thing. No bridesmaids / groomsmen - check - no bouquet - check - handful of guests- check - bride and groom getting ready at the same time and in the same room- check - badass boutique hotels for surprise ceremony and brunch reception - check - surprise after party at their favorite bar where they met- absolutely check. Combine that with understated vinyl albums being played and THE BEST chicken and waffles I've ever had and you have the best day you can get in the middle of January in Eastern Canada. Oh, did I mention that this was a surprise wedding? Well.. surprise!
It goes without saying that Ruby and Tyson are cool cats, but it honestly felt like we were hanging out with two of our friends who just happened to be getting married that day out of nowhere. Thanks for taking us around Kingston and Prince Edwards County for your incredily beautiful (and surprise) elopement - it was perfect.
2015- Truly a milestone year for me and my career. When I first moved to Toronto to attend Journalism School I had no idea that I would be lucky enough to have the opportunity to work for and be published by some of the most respectable organizations in the industry. Last year I got my feet wet with an internship at The Globe and Mail and got the opportunity to dive in head first into an industry that's not always welcoming.
After graduating last spring I was offered a contract position with The Toronto Star (one of those places I dreamed of working while in school) and got to experience the life of a full-time photojournalist. It was truly the opportunity of a lifetime, and one that many people in this industry wish they had. While I did spend my year shooting the usual weddings and commercial gigs, my experience with The Toronto Star is what truly stuck as memorable for me as a photographer in 2015, and that's why my look back on the year only highlights my editorial work.
For the first time in my life I actually felt like I found what I should be doing day in and day out. Don't get me wrong, like all things in life there were peaks and valleys, I got a first-hand account of how daily editorial work can be taxing on you physically and mentally, but especially creatively. Truly, the creative and grueling challenge of the work is just one of the reasons I love what I do. Walking in to a situation blind, having multiple technical adversities (like shitty light or location) to overcome, working with uncomfortable subjects in uncomfortable situations in uncomfortable environments, dealing with the requirements of the reporters/ editors / layout design etc etc. are all really fun intricacies of the job. The real reason I love it though, and why I continue to do what I do, is that I get to experience all these different things, meet all these different people, visit places I would never knew existed and take photos of what essentially are my memories and experiences. In the end, I'm the one truly benefiting from it as a story teller, artist and human being.
It may sound selfish, and it sort of is, but photography is something very personal to me, and photojournalism is unique in the sense that it sort of allows me to channel my perspective and experiences through other people's stories. I guess it seems like a backwards approach to documentary storytelling, but I was fortunate enough that my editors encouraged me to do things my way, so I did, and sort of went a nontraditional route most of the time, but I don’t regret it at all.
Regardless of what I shoot, I never take the opportunity for granted, I'm pretty damn lucky to be doing what I'm doing and to have been given such a large platform to showcase my work on. I was allowed to learn and make mistakes, be colleagues with some of the top talent and most respected photojournalists in Canada / World, it was pretty fucking cool to be honest.
It's crazy to actually look back on my year and realize that I got to work for The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, VICE, etc. when months prior to my contract I was at a serious crossroads in my life and basically abandoned the idea of being a photographer. However, I lucked out when I got professors who are notable photojournalists/journalists mentoring me personally and allowed the cynical me to see the glass as half-full. It was cool that Professor Peter Bregg, Lisa Taylor and Anne McNeily encouraged me to pursue what made me happy and they allowed me to be fully prepared for what I had to endure. Although they may not know, nor may they ever know how much they affected me, I felt I had to put it out there in the Universe.
It goes without saying that I couldn't have persevered through those same hardships without the help of my close friends and family, who always supported my career path, and who always give me a shout out when they see my name in the photo by line while reading the newspapers with their morning coffee.
These photos were all made for editorial purpose, mainly for the Toronto Star since I spent most of my time working for them from Spring to Fall. Some images were published in print, online, their iPad app or all of the above. Others were rejects, part of a larger photo series, used for cut outs or layout purposes, and some have never even been submitted to my editors. Some are digital, some are film. This isn't a "Best Photos" series in a traditional sense. Some photos are bad, some photos were harder to take than others (like a grieving family of 4 kids who just lost their mom to cancer weeks before Xmas). Some photos physically hurt to take (being stuck 3 times by fucking bees) and others were just straight-up hilarious (the Mannequin Man, basically a Seinfeld episode in real life). These however are the most important and memorable images I took in 2015, for one reason or another, these images, these stories, these people, situations, etc. all left some sort of impression with me, some more obvious than others, but they are all important in telling my story as a documentary photographer during that time.
Too Long - Didn't Read - 2015 - Took photos, met Jane Goodall, got soaked in beer, ate crickets , had a blast.
*Scroll over image for caption*
I'm starting off my 2016 by showing you the end of my 2015. Joanne and Brishen's downtown Toronto wedding was everything I expected. After meeting them and spending some time around King Street I was pretty stoked to shoot their wedding. My career as a photographer sort of came full circle when they told me that their entire wedding would take place at Parts & Labour, one of my oldest and favorite clients around the GTA, I knew the wedding was going awesome and the food was going to be amazing. Brishen and Joanne's wedding was low-key in every sense of the word. A first look in the heart of downtown Toronto, followed up by being surrounded by friends and family for the ultimate all-in-one party. the hugs were authentic and plentiful, and after getting to know these two it wasn't hard to understand why all the people there were hugging them so tightly. A wedding at Parts & Labour is the ultimate cool Toronto wedding experience, and I'm just glad I got to be there to eat some amazing food and be around some of the most genuinely amazing people I've ever met. I wish them nothing but the best on their new adventures in Hong Kong!
Here's hoping my 2016 continues the way my 2015 ended.