How do your illustrations differ from your photography?
First and foremost , illustration is how I make a living , it’s my bread & butter , Photography has always been my ‘non client’ driven way of making images. Although I’m often given a lot of creative latitude with my illustration , taking photos is a much more personal form of expression. A large percentage of what I shoot , is done with 35mm film and vintage cameras which can sometimes lend an almost nostalgic look to the photos , in that sense , there’s some overlap with my illos which are influenced by a lot of vintage sources and aesthetics.
How did you start photographing? Anybody encouraging you?
I initially took photography as one of my majors in University and learned the ropes of the medium there. When I started working professionally as an illustrator I began utilizing photography as a tool to source out references and character studies for my assignments , so I never really ended up putting the camera down. Like many before me , when I had children I started documenting my life & my surroundings with renewed vigor . I’ve said before , the unreliable nature of memory and the fleeting passage of time were real catalysts for wanting to take more pictures. In many ways , Photography has become something akin to a visual document.
Tell me a little bit about your urban surroundings. How do they inspire you?
I live in a densely populated major urban centre , Toronto , which is the largest city in Canada with roughly the same population as Chicago. It has a large bustling financial centre at it’s core , the quintessential concrete jungle , and has a very diverse collection of neighbourhoods and pockets that emanate out from it. Like many cities of it’s scope ,there’s a real range of topography , from the modern to the turn of the century , industrial to quaint residential . All have their own allure when it comes to taking pictures.
What else keeps the ideas coming?
Walking is the absolute best way to really get to know a place. There’s something very meditative about just ‘wandering’ with camera in hand and happening upon something that captures your attention. You don’t seek out photos , in a sense , they find you. I’m a great believer in the philosophy of photographing ‘Democratically’ , there’s something potentially interesting in everything you see.
Do you prefer shooting people or landscapes?
I’ve never tried to narrow my focus that much , I love photographing everything. I don’t shoot a lot of portraits in the traditional sense , though often you’ll find figures occasionally populating some of my topographical or street shots. A lone figure in a picture can often lend a different narrative to a photo and also give it sense of scale and context. On other occasions , the intrusion of a person into the frame can dispel the calm and psychology a place and thus be a distraction.
Is there some space you like to call home?
Home for me will always be about being in the present , with family , friends and wherever I happen to be , and trying to capture it to the best of my ability.
Interview by Amanda M. Jansson