When one thinks of Canada, usually the first impression that comes to most of our minds is snow, snow and more snow. While Canada does get a good amount of snow, the country is more than just scenic mountains and winter sports. Although there is plenty of that, the new season of AdoramaTV’s ‘Through The Lens‘ web series aims to showcase some of Canada’s finest photographers who are well known not only for their outdoor adventure work, but also portraiture, fashion, dogs and even light-painting.
The 10 episode season of ‘Through The Lens: Canada’ debuted on February 7th, with new episodes being added to the AdoramaTV YouTube channel twice a week, on Wednesday and Friday at 10:00am EST. So far, three episodes have been released, and if they are any indication of what’s to come, this may be the best season of ‘Through The Lens’ to date.
So before you binge-watch the first three episodes, let’s get to know the 10 Canadian Creatives being highlighted on this season of ‘Through The Lens: Canada.’
We have been big fans of Elizabeth Gadd’s work for years, and once you see her environmental self-portraits, you will understand why. Gadd has a unique ability to find the scenes that are so dreamy, you would think her shots are ‘Photoshopped.’ But the reality is quite the opposite. Gadd relies on the incredible scenery in her home province of British Columbia and her determination to be in the right place at the right time to create the look she is so famously known for.
And occasionally, you will even see an adorable puppy in Gadd’s photographs. That is her sidekick, Pepper the Adventure Dog, and he is one handsome fella. He is also just as famous as his well-known mother, even being the star of Passenger’s music video ‘Heart of Gold.’
I often take my self portraits far away from the camera, usually facing away from the camera. I want people to use their imagination when looking at my photos. It could be anyone in the photo. It could be telling any kind of story. Growing up, I was always drawing and painting. And it was always nature and animals. When I started to take my self portraits, it was scary. I always preferred to be behind the camera. I started to discover that taking these self-portraits became a really therapeutic experience for me. I hope that my photographs show the positive connection between humans and nature, and I hope it inspires people to try to seek their own beautiful connection with nature.
Check out Gadd’s episode and some of our favorite photographs.
Toronto based photographer Jamal Burger is a relative newcomer to the photography life. He started his photo journey four years ago with only his phone. When he was in a sneaker shop, the owner asked Burger if he would be interested in taking photos for the store. Without a camera, the creative offered a compromise. “Buy me a camera and I will work for you free of charge for one year.” That chance encounter started Burger down the road of pursuing a career out of his passion, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Burger loves capturing ‘moments’, which led him to focus his energy on street photography, which meshed well with his monochrome style. He also developed a love for giving back through his work. He aims to inspire kids that chasing your dream isn’t impossible. And with that chance encounter and Burger’s relentless passion for capturing the moments, he is proof that any dream is possible.
Even if you don’t know his name, you have most likely seen some of Taylor Burk’s photography. With an impressive client list including BMW, The North Face, The Travel Channel, and Red Bull, Burk always finds a way to add a sense of jaw-dropping adventure to the campaigns he is hired to photograph. And with almost half a million followers on social media, it’s obvious that the adventure seeking public responds to Burk’s take on the connection between people and nature.
We caught up with Burk to chat about his seemingly non-stop action-filled life.
You are one of the most well know Adventure photographers out there today. Does this even feel real? That you get to just live out your passions and dreams for a living?
It is something that I don’t take for granted, I am extremely fortunate and privileged to be doing what I do for a living. I still have a lot to learn and there is always room for growth. I aspire to continue to create a good name for myself in the industry.
On Instagram, Your life looks epic from sunrise till lights out 365 days a year. But surely there are some challenges with this lifestyle right?
Often people forget that my Instagram feed is just a curated collection of photos. It doesn’t represent a complete picture of my life. It’s just a highlight reel of some of my favorite photos/moments spread out over time. I like challenges and with this lifestyle you have to learn to adapt. Sometimes you hardly get any sleep, are away from home for long periods of time and away from loved ones. At the end of the day, I am doing what I love and wouldn’t change it for anything.
If you could see Taylor Burk in 25 years, what is he doing?
Hopefully climbing a mountain, healthy, surrounded by good people still doing what I love!
Based in the artistic village of Elora, Ontario, Wayne Simpson didn’t always see himself being a professional photographer. Now known for his dramatic portraits, his photography began as a hobby while working as a graphic designer. Simpson soon found his passion for his photography consuming him, and he started spending the majority of his time building a rapport with his subjects in order to get them comfortable, which wound up translating into photos that would become more than portraits. They would become stories, enticing viewers to wonder about this person’s life and experiences.
Simpson told us about his biggest influences and why his style of photography intrigues him.
I would say that my biggest visual influences are the work of Caravaggio (Italian painter), Joey Lawrence (Canadian photographer) and Lee Jeffries (British photographer). These are all artists who I feel work very well with light and are masters of conveying mood and emotion in their work.
I think I am drawn to people with a lot of character because there is a certain honesty in their faces. Most of my subjects don’t attempt to cover blemishes or perfect their skin – they wear the wrinkles and scars with pride. There are stories in those features – that’s what I love and appreciate. On another level, I love getting to know the people I photograph. These are often people who are different from the majority of society and in some cases they are simply misunderstood. I find it incredibly enlightening to talk to them and see the world through their eyes.
Maria Koutsogiannis is the daughter of Greek immigrants, and her mother’s simple cooking style helped shaped Maria’s love for food. She was always amazed at how her mother was able to take very few ingredients and convert them into an incredible meal. Soon, Maria started making her own recipes, focusing on making delicious, yet healthy meals. The fitness fanatic credits her healthy eating to curing any ailments that she had and aims to inspire people to eat healthier and exercise through her food and fitness blog. She graciously shares her recipes on her website and has even authored a vegan cookbook, all while honing her photography skills to make her food look as amazing as it tastes.
Now that we are starving, we reached out to Maria to ask her about her obsession with food.
“Greek food is one of our favorites! Out of all of your recipe knowledge, is Greek still your favorite food? Do the tastes remind you of childhood, being from a Greek immigrant family?”
I am obsessed with Greek Food! I love it the most. It’s simple, beautiful and so nourishing. You can add olive oil to anything and it’s completely transformed. Lemon, Olive Oil and Oregano are the flavours or my childhood. I would also eat olives like they were grapes and feta like it was the only food group. Growing up my mother made a lot of lemon roasted potatoes, fresh fish, garlic potatoes and fresh greens and salads. I was pretty blessed to eat well, all the time.
“You fully believe that one’s mental and physical well-being comes starts with the food you eat. How do you try to convey this philosophy to your followers?”
I convey this philosophy to my followers through honesty, transparency and positive words of affirmation. I explain to them the benefits of different ingredients, how they will fuel you and even go as far as shattering common misconceptions of food! Balance is key. Give yourself space, forgive yourself and be kind.
“Your upcoming cookbook highlights vegan meals. You say these recipes have a story behind them. Can you tell us a little about this?”
Sure, they are each related to my background with Bulimia. Each recipe is special as they all helped me overcome my fear of food and overcome my battle with bulimia and body dysmorphia. I talk about how parents should talk to their children about food and their bodies. We touch on my past experiences with body shaming and even talk about why Bulimia was born and how it ACTUALLY saved my life and helped me find and start FoodByMaria. Each nightmare has a blessing and my worst fear became my best friend and business. I feel very lucky.
Stevin Tuchiwsky lives and breathes adventure. And his home country of Canada provides no shortage of adventure and beauty to help the young photographer create images that his Instagram audience of 230k followers drool over. His unique ability to capture adventure sports and landscape scenes of Canada’s most dramatic locations makes Tuchiwsky a favorite partner for local tourism boards and outdoor brands looking to share the Canadian adventure.
We sat down with Steve to talk about his incredible work and what Canada means to him.
It is obvious from your work that you most likely will never convert into a studio photographer. What is it about the outdoors, the backcountry, and capturing the activities and athletes that draws you in? Where do you remember this love for the outdoors being born?
Ha, I wouldn’t say never but you are most likely right. I have been thinking lately that I am ready for a new challenge and would like to swing more to a few portraits here and there. That being said I think the biggest thing that draws me to photographing the outdoors is the uncertainty. You never know what you are going to get, but when everything lines up it has often been the most rewarding times for me. Some of the most rewarding times, or memorable images I have shot have also been in some of the most miserable conditions. It is easy to get caught up in that perfect moment but I think sometimes things come best when unscripted if you can say. I think my love for the outdoors came from being able to have the freedom to do as you please. I obviously mean this in a creative way, not disrespecting way to the outdoors, but that the outdoors provides so many activities to do, and some of the coolest ones I think!
For those of us not from Canada, is it really the mountainous outdoor playground that we think it is from the Instagram posts that we see?
For the most part, yes. I say it like that cause it’s also easy to make something seem like it’s not. Regardless the mountain ranges here provide a little bit of everything for all ages and all skill sets. I think that is the thing I love most about it. If you want to just go for a drive and get lost to some of the most spectacular sights you can easily do that. If you want to challenge yourself to some type 2 fun to see some of the most amazing sights you can also do that. It is really endless here.
Where do you see Steve Tuchiwsky in 25 years?
Oh that is a tough one. I seem to have an ever growing demand of passions and interests where I always want to be the best at what I do. In the end though whatever I am into at that time that can make me smile is all I really can ask for.
Naskademini is a Montreal-based photographer who is well known locally for his fashion, lifestyle, portraiture and luxury photos. He has turned his passion into a full-time business by working with brands like Cadillac, Nike and Timberland. His photographs have graced the pages of Esquire, The Gazette and more.
While photography is his passion, he still finds time to lend his creative vision as a consultant for magazines and fashion trade shows. His use of light is stunning, creating intimate and clean portraits of his subjects.
We sat down with Naskademini and and talked about how he approaches his work, and what the future holds.
Your client list is impressive to say the least. But it seems that you don’t just like capturing generic content for your partner brands. You like to tell a STORY. And that story usually has a emotional aspect. Can you tell us a little about how you approach your photography, especially on a paid assignment for a brand?
My approach to photography is leaving a piece of my existence in every frame. My photography or art is a culmination of a life time of love, pain, culture, triumph, success and failure, and most importantly heritage. Being a photographer of Caribbean and African decent , I think its important to have that revealed in every shot I take especially for paid client work. When a footwear brand asked me to highlight their new basketball sneaker photographed on a model, i thought it would be important to have my young black model in a setting that the masses rarely get to see. So instead of having him on a basketball court I had him in a studio setting reading books while dressed in athletic gear and footwear. It was very important for me to control and direct the narrative rather than deliver the status quo. That is one example of leaving my mark in my work .
On your website, it famously says…”The Journey is still ongoing and as Naska says He is still writing his bio.” What do you envision that bio saying in 25 years?
I envision my bio saying , ‘He treated all of his subjects with respect and showed them in the best light possible.’ I would like for my bio to also reflect the impact that I strive to have on my community and inspire young artist and photographers to be inspired and know that following your dreams and passion is possible despite all of the barriers and obstacles that are placed at your feet. I believe we are always just one frame away from changing the world.
Nothing is greater than the bond between a man and his dog. Ok, there is one thing greater. When that man beautifully documents the bond between himself and his dog. And luckily for us, we can all come along for the ride as Andrew Knapp takes us on adventures with his dog Momo. And Knapp’s adventures with Momo seem to resonate with people, as the pair has accumulated over 600k Instagram followers who come along for the journey. Knapp’s Instagram feed will keep you busy for hours, as the adorable adventure puppy will keep you swooning and the incredible scenes captured through Knapp’s lens will make your jaw drop.
Creativity flows from the Vancouver-based photographer Eric Veloso. His stark images are thought-provoking, and a unique take on urban life. Veloso is also the creative director for Street Dreams Magazine.
Veloso seems to find beauty in what most people would never notice, and that is what makes his imagery so appealing. From abandon cars to crosswalks, Veloso is rarely without his camera, documenting the lives of him and his friends in the big city on the British Columbia coast.
Maybe the most ‘out of the box’ creative on this season of ‘Through the Lens’ is Eric Paré. He is well known for his light painting and bullet time photography, leading most viewers to wonder: ‘how did he do that!?’
We have wondered that plenty of times ourselves, and we don’t really have an answer. But the season finale of ‘Through the Lens: Canada” should hopefully provide us some answers.
But curious to get a sneak peak, we reached out to Eric to talk about his mind-blowing work.
Where does your inspiration for your work come from?
These days it’s mostly about finding a good balance between an interesting light, a dancer, and a background. I travel a lot to find great landscape and from there, I see how I can incorporate my work into what I see. For the light-painting shapes I’m doing, the inspiration comes mostly from Kim Henry, the dancer I work with. She takes a pose, and I follow her movement with my light-tubes.
How do you think it was born in you?
I’ve always felt an urge to create some visuals. Something that can make some sort of impact, but it was highly undefined. I didn’t really know what it could be and I never really looked for it. I was not even considering that I could do this through photography. I did a lot of user interface design, graphic design, and playdough. Light-painting was not something I was interested with and it came to my life after a succession of various events. It’s only when I started to make a few that I discovered that it could be used as a professional tool and that there were some crazy amazing light-painting artists out there. The thing with this technique is that even if it’s super old, it is so under-exploited. There are so many different ways of doing it, and in the next years, we’re going to witness more specific genres and signature styles that is going to make this technique get more recognition.
Where do you find your most inspirational moments happening?
No doubt when I’m outdoors and the conditions are hard (strong winds, cold, waves…)! When things get complicated, there’s always something magic that happens. Or at worse, if we can not get a good picture, then we have a good story. For studio work, it’s very different. We think of different ways to move with the light to generate visuals that make the viewer try to figure out what’s happening. I love showing the process to demonstrate how simple the light-painting is. The surrounding tech is quite complex but it runs smooth enough so we don’t have to worry too much about it, meaning we can concentrate 100% on the creative part.