In January 2016, the all Canadian singer-songwriters series NAC Presents celebrated 5 years of loving Canadian music with a live show entitled #FOMO featuring A Tribe Called Red, U.S. Girls, Mehdi Cayenne and The Lionyls. Fantastic live art was provided by Ariane Beauchamp and Robbie of Ottawa’s Fall Down Gallery. Seeing a national institution continue to surprise, inspire and reinvent itself up close through excellent curation, programming and execution is both awesome and encouraging. It was a blast to be a part of the event and to try and distil the energy that was in the National Arts Centre that night into a brief film. There was so much fun footage to work with that it was difficult to encompass a wide ranging showcase into 1 minute and 20 seconds, but I’m delighted with the results, and hopefully it succeeds in it’s task of giving you a case of #FOMO. Filmed by Alexander Vlad and Alex Brazeau for the National Arts Centre. Music by A Tribe Called Red.
A little while after the new year, as is tradition, thousands of media professionals thaw out, sober up or get back to business and say “what the hell happened?” As we begin taking stock of the previous 12 months for cerebral clarity, emotional sentiment, data backups or to draw fresh marketing material for the next push, we hopefully will encounter standouts along the way. For me, this next image is such a standout.
Shot in Bucharest, Romania while working for a Canadian textile import brand called Poco Loco. The gig had taken me all over the country, shooting everywhere from castles to medieval mountain cities, but I finally snagged the frame I was looking for on my last production day in Eastern Europe, in Herastrau Park. After the jump is a narrow crop of the shot, which I also find striking. Oh, and the model’s natural, wild eyes which seem to follow you around the room. Continue reading
Follow indie rockers Lost To The River’s recording process at Gallery Studios in Ottawa, Canada through a three part mini documentary. Formerly known as Miss Polygamy, it has been an honour, and frankly a ton of fun to document the band over the years and to witness their evolution into a more mature, cohesive unit. Shot and edited by Alexander Vlad, with additional camera by Val Volfson, look out for the second episode in the coming days! Check out Lost To The River online at LTTRMusic.com and discover some incredible new music.
In 2012 I had the great privilege of shooting for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when Doha, Qatar hosted the UN’s COP18/CMP8. COP is the Conference of Parties, basically when the world comes together to figure out how to save the human race from man-made climate change. The other side of the curtain gave me incredible insight into the process, protocol and perils of the climate change debate.
As a photographer, but also as a human concerned with the state of the planet we call home, to see how our collective future is debated over and quantified in geopolitical and economic terms is most definitely sobering and enlightening. It both demystified the workings of geopolitics and compounded the importance of vision, action and compassion when tackling issues of global consequence.
With the recent successes scored at COP21 Paris, I cannot help but look back to my experiences during COP18 and remember just how hard ministers, delegates and activists had to fight for such even the smallest concessions from industrialized nations.
My own country of Canada was actively acting against the interests of low-lying and at-risk nations through climate change policy and took home several “fossil of the day” awards for being environmentally backwards, often touting previous achievements instead of committing to the necessary action in the present.
With cautious optimism, I am pleased that our new government takes such a more proactive stance on climate change and took power just in time to be a positive voice for much of the Paris convention. Stay tuned for Part II.
We love location work at Captivate. Like really, really love it. Near or far and all the challenges and rewards it brings. After a few trips and several months shooting in Europe in 2015, one of my favourite shoots was much closer to home in Montréal. We were working with our friends from Kania Couture, a Canadian based clothing brand that retails online and from their swanky York St (Ottawa) boutique. The gig was to produce a short documentary about their entirely made in Canada manufacturing process, and after wrapping up that portion of the project we had enough time to cast a model and do some fashion portraits in Montréal’s Old Port district. Which, of course, is when the storm hit us.
Location lighting can be tricky enough without dealing with the elements, but heavy rains present their own unique set of challenges. We tackled this by wrapping the lenses in a scarf/rubber band combo, and trusting that the robust Canon 5DmkIII, Speedlite 580exII’s and ziplock bagged transmitters would get us through. For the sake of the model, we tried to keep her out of the rain as much as possible, but to get the shot the lights and myself were almost constantly exposed to the storm. Even still, we worked through a number of looks and locations and had an absolute blast. Check out Kania.ca to see some more of the shots in action!
The day after St-Patrick’s day is usually associated with calling in sick and stepping around puddles of green hurl, but this year (and please for every year after) it was all about rock & roll. Ottawa bad boys of rock and longtime collaborators, Iconoclast, teamed up with Kelowna-based The Wild to rile the crowd up for tour headliners One Bad Son, who in turn blew the roof off of Maverick’s and brought signs of life back to a deeply hungover Rideau Street.
On a blustery March night, Dear Blackwolf (Arturo Portocarrero and Joseph Perry) took to the stage at Irene’s in Ottawa to drive home the final leg of their tour with The Wicked Mercy and Brandon Allen. Described as a “high octane blues rock due” they blend roots and rock genres to create something guitarist Joseph calls rumble music. Photographed by Alexander Vlad.
Check em out online, they’re definitely worth a listen!
Oman was always one of my favourite parts of going to the Middle East. The people, culture, occasional access to bacon (for a Gulf State) and incredible geography all contribute to making it a worthy destination. Even on the way out of the country, our cab driver insisted we had enough time to tour around Sultan Qaboos impressive Al Alam Palace. I had a mini tripod in my carry on bag that required me to spend a good amount of time on my belly, drawing curious looks from the palace guards, but it was worth it to capture the symetry and presence of the front, along with how vibrant it is, in stark contrast to the muted desert colours of palaces in other Gulf monarchies. Photographed by Alexander Vlad.
I’m a really big fan of aggressive, hard light, so when a brief came in to shoot some bold looking food images to promote an event series called The Supper Club, I decided to take a swing at making bare bulb work for food. Photographed by Alexander Vlad for Antidote Magazine.
Ottawa based Real Estate firm Coldwell Banker Rhodes were celebrating their 75th birthday at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. It was an absolute pleasure to shoot in the main hall amongst the machines that chronicle a century of flight. Photographed by Alexander Vlad.
This was one for the books. The Ottawa Craft Spirit Society threw a stellar tasting party at Maker Space North, featuring a tremendous amount of small batch liquor from all over the world, including several in our region. Music was provided by Ottawa’s finest, DJ Dusty. Photographed by Alexander Vlad.
Trying to continue this trend of photographs from warmer weather, here’s a strobist portrait of Ottawa DJ/producer Michael Wayne. Two speedlites bracketed together on Mike’s right, each on 1/2 power and another on his left also at 1/2, triggered with Pocket Wizards. Due to silly lack of an ND filter in the kit at the time, it was shot at f20, 1/160. Photographed by Alexander Vlad with assistance from Alex Brazeau.