Shedding light on the subject

QUICK TAKES: David Richert

This is David Richert, a home-grown professional race car driver in pursuit of greatness. The obvious omission from these shots, is the lack of  a car  - an editorial touch that helps  illustrate David's story. Get caught up on the details on the magazine's website and keep up with David's progress on his Facebook page


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An Honest Day's Work: Dr. Seps Pin-Up Shoot

Here's a behind the scenes look at a recent shoot for a brilliant ad campaign by Honest Agency, representing Dr. Sheps Hair Transplant Clinic. For this series, we went back in time to to let the target demographic know, that just as we can bring back the nostalgic pin-up fashions from the past, Dr. Sheps can do the same for your hair (methods will vary). Complete with QR codes, bikini models and bleary-eyed/over-worked photographer (that's me), enjoy this BTS reel, curtesy of At First Sight 


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RETRO FOTO: Darkroom Nostalgia

The Signature Awards are here again, which means a short trip down memory lane for those who are entering. In reviewing my work from 2010, I stumbled across a Signature Awards call for entries from way back—a piece I had shot for the 1998 event.

Upon this discovery, I was immediately struck by the contrast between the sheer amount of work required to achieve certain aesthetic results a decade ago versus what can be attained digitally today in fraction of the time. The five images below were produced entirely in the darkroom, and the process for all five, from first print to end print, took over 12 hours.

At the time that these images were produced, the photographic industry had reached the peak of what was possible by analogue means of photo-chemical image reproduction. Aside from the introduction of colour, the process of darkroom printing has remained largely the same: a negative was exposed, developed, placed in a condensing or diffusing enlarger, backlit, filtered onto a sheet of photosensitive paper and processed through various chemical baths. The final print was analyzed for technical and subjective issues, the process was repeated again and again, until a satisfactory result was attained. And while the quality of materials and the technology to reproduce images vastly improved, photographers and ex-darkroom technicians (such as myself) spent their free time mudding up this process to achieve unique and stylized results.

There were many techniques one could exploit, such as "pushing" or "pulling" film as it was being developed, boiling then freezing the film in between chemical baths, sandwiching multiple negatives together during printing, Polaroid transfers and my personal favourite—the print-to-print process, or using paper prints as negatives.

The images below are the result of the print-to-print process. They are unique not only in the increased saturation and contrast, but also in the fact that the actual paper fibre pattern from the paper negative was exposed right onto the end print—the over-all result lending the photo a painterly effect.

Part of the fun in working with this technique was the randomness of the final result. A minor adjustment anywhere in the process could change things radically in the final. Unfortunately, that same randomness often spiked the already high production costs and worked against its adoption as a regular service to advertising clients.



Original concept and design by Fusion

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SHOOTING STARS: Israel Idonije



For the latest issue of Winnipeg Men, we managed to intercept the Chicago Bears Defensive Tackle, Israel Idonije. Izzy was in town in support of the Israel Idonije Foundation, visiting various inner city schools.

The man stands tall at 6'6" and weighs in at almost 300lbs, and while on the field he intimidates the opposition, in person, his charm and charisma precede him - while setting up for the shoot, we could hear cheers resonating through the empty halls, as Izzy delighted a full assembly of school kids. In between classroom visits, Izzy took a five minute time-out, giving us the opportunity to capture the cover shot below.

Read the full story at the Winnipeg Men website.


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An Honest Day's Work: Richlu Catalogue Production Reel

If you work outside in the middle of a Canadian winter, you better be dressed for it. Professionally, I prefer head to toe Richlu gear.  To prove this we documented the behind-the scenes photo shoot for 2011 Richlu Manufacturing Catalogue, where the models and production team were bundled up tight against the hazards of the job.

Production credits include Honest Agency for concept and design and Bill Acheson for video production, credits & editing and Purespace Recordings for the music score.



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Artist Profile: Gerald Kuehl - Portraits of the North

For the past few years, local artist Gerald Kuehl has been dropping by the studio every six months or so to digitally document his incredible portraits for archive and reproduction. The portraits Gerald produces are jaw-dropping, realistic pencil drawings of members of Canada’s northern Aboriginal community and are part of an ongoing personal project named Portraits of the North.

The project began in 1997 and has since garnered international recognition, won awards and has taken Gerald on a journey of a lifetime. Travelling to northern communities regularly, he has accumulated a large body of work, not only in the portraits themselves, but the stories of those who are posing for them. He says, “I was fascinated by the stories of the individuals I met who had endured so much in their struggle to survive in the harsh northern environment. Those stories were often etched on the faces of these proud people through the lines and scars and even affected the expressions they wore.”

I recently heard Gerald’s presentation on the project at The Winnipeg Art Gallery, and found it incredibly inspiring in both sight and sound. If you’re a book publisher, jump on this. The body of work and documentation attached to each piece is soon to be one of Canada’s national treasures.

Get inspired for yourself at


©Gerald Kuehl 2011 

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I Heart New York

In December I celebrated a milestone: my first trip to NYC. A Mamiya AFD with an old PorBack in hand, I happily lugged the heavy gear to all the usual tourist traps. Since this was a personal trip, I wasn't concerned with quotas, layouts and deadlines.

In a city like this, there's a photo opportunity around every corner, and the challenge was to find something unique to my experience there. After about a day of overwhelming stimulus, I decided to just shoot the cliches. Since I've always been influenced by the classic nostalgia of black and white images from NY's past, I ended up taking a similar approach. Classic NYC.



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