OCAD U Photography Program

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Tag: Directed Studio

Friday #ArtCrush: Ishkhan Ghazarian

Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University. This Friday’s #ArtCrush is Ishkhan Ghazarian, a fifth year photography student in Directed Studio. 

In this series, Ishkhan and Morgan talk about on location vs in studio shooting, lighting styles and using fine art as inspiration for his portrait sessions.

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What is your favourite lighting set up and camera/lens combination?

My favourite lighting setup is Rembrandt style lighting. I tend to do most of my shooting on location, outside the studio, so I prefer using natural light diffused through a window or reflected off a building. My favourite camera set up is my Nikon D850 with my 50mm f1.8 lens.

 

Can you walk us through how you set up the studio during one of your shoots? 

When I shoot in the studio, for most cases, I have a pretty simple setup. I am a big fan of having a one light setup in combination with a reflector. I setup the light to the right of the subject very similar to a Rembrandt style. Having one light source allows me to control the depth that I desire in the photos, and using the reflectors I can fill in the shadows with my desired amount of light based upon specific mood I want to achieve.

phoenix

Ishkhan Ghazarian, Untitled Portrait, 2017

How does your shooting style change on location vs. in studio? How do you see these two options as changing the mood or lighting of your shoots?

When I am on location verses in studio my style does change, but only slightly. When shooting on location the biggest change comes when looking for lighting. Since you are not in a studio you are constantly looking for external sources of light, whether it be from a neon sign, the sun peeking through branches or a beautiful soft light diffusing through a window. All these different sources of light change the mood of the photograph, so planning ahead, scouting the area is a good idea, but when on location things can change in an instance. This challenge is one of my favourite reasons of shooting on location, you always learn something new.  When I am shooting on location the surroundings also play a big role in the mood of the photographs. The surrounding become part of the photograph and are as important as the subjects themselves.

Do you collaborate with other artists on your shoots (stylists, makeup artists, other photographers etc)? If so, what do you see as valuable about collaborations between artists?

Yes, I often collaborate with models, stylists and other photographers. Collaborations are a great opportunity to not only learn something new from others, but also to challenge yourself to doing something you might have not done otherwise. Often you might feel like you are stuck, creatively, so collaborating with other artists give you a chance to experience something new and I highly recommend everyone to do this.

 

“Rembrandt’s paintings such as his portraits influence my lighting and composition, and Pablo Picasso’s paintings inspire my colour palate. Everyone should go to an art museum and look at fine art, these works in here are from people that were a master of their craft, and who better to learn from and get inspired by than them.”

 

When scouting or looking for models, who or what do you look for?

When scouting for models it all depends on the situation. Sometimes I will have a certain vision of what kind of photograph I am looking to create and I will match my project to the subject, or visa versa. Sometimes the project will be a collaborative effort where a model has a vision and we work as a team to make that photograph happen.

What makes you finalize the last couple images that you publish, after you have done a full shoot?

After a shoot is finished I import all the photographs into lightroom, go through all the photographs and begin a very thorough elimination process. I will be looking over the composition, lighting, focus, and expression and find the ones that speak to me the most. Sometimes your best photograph might not be the one that is most in focus but what matters is that it resonates with you.

roshan

Ishkhan Ghazarian, Untitled Portrait, 2017

What do you look at for inspirations for each of your shoots?

My inspirations come from a couple different places. One of my sources of inspiration comes from fine art. Rembrandt’s paintings such as his portraits influence my lighting and composition, and Pablo Picasso’s paintings inspire my colour palate. Everyone should go to an art museum and look at fine art, these works in here are from people that were a master of their craft, and who better to learn from and get inspired by than them.

It seems like you do a lot of on location shooting. Do you have any best practices or tips to give other photographers who want to improve their location shooting?

Practice, Practice, Practice. Always look at your surrounding, learn about your environment and take all that it can offer you.

Since you do a lot of portraiture, how do you manage getting your model or subject comfortable enough for you to photograph them?

(hahaha) I can’t give away all my secrets. Every photographer does it differently but it is about making the model comfortable. For me that just means being myself, and letting the shoot progress naturally.

Where do you see your career path going and who would you most like to work with/for?

I plan on continuing my work as a freelance photographer, running my own business.

alicia

Ishkhan Ghazarian, Untitled Portrait, 2017

What is your advice for artists who are looking to make their art practice into a business?

If there is one piece of advice I can give you is, Network, Network, Network. Start with people close to you, friends and family, it’s a good way to practice and figure out what you like and what direction you want to go into. This part can be extremely difficult and it’s very rare that it will happen in a day, but it can. Never giving up is the key, don’t lose focus and keep your head up, always.

Are there any specific OCAD-U Faculty who have influenced your work? A specific discipline or course?

I don’t think there is one specific person, but every faculty member has in their own way touched on something and has definitely helped me improve not only my work, but also my work ethic, the way I approach different situations/problems and have guided me in the right direction that I needed to go in.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to collaborate with other artists?

Ask! Be confident in your work and in yourself, you never know who might be wanting to work with you.

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You can see more of Ishkhan’s work here, and follow him on instagram.

Follow the OCAD U Photo Facebook page and Instagram for more opportunities, calls for submissions and news about students.

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Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University.

Interview by Morgan Sears-Williams

About the writer: Morgan is a photo alumni and runs the Friday #ArtCrush series on the OCAD U Photography Blog. She loves speaking to other artists about social justice, how to break barriers within artist communities and nurturing the arts in alternative non-institutional spaces. She is the Art Co-ordinator for The RUDE Collective, and has done workshops on intersectionality and allyship relating to LGBTQ folks. To see more, you can visit her website or her instagram.

Friday #ArtCrush: Natalie Wainewright

Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University.  This Friday’s #ArtCrush is Natalie Wainewright, a fourth year student majoring in Photography.

In this issue, Morgan and Natalie talk about lighting in food photography, collaborating with other artists and the influence of instagram within the realm of photography.

Who or what are your main photographic inspirations?

This year I’ve been looking at a lot of commercial food photographers such as Maya Visnyei, Ditte Isager, and Eric Wolfinger. However, I’m also very influenced by artists such as Laura Letinsky and especially by being surrounded by the work of other students.

 

What is your favourite lighting set up and camera/lens combination?

I tend to shoot with one light with a medium softbox and reflectors as needed. I use a Nikon D750 and a 28-300 lens but usually shoot at 70.

peppers

Peppers, 2017

 

How does your shooting style change on location vs. in studio? How do you see these two options as changing the mood or lighting of your shoots?

For me, shooting in studio provides a lot of flexibility as you can experiment with the light and change the set up around the fixed light, but shooting on location requires good timing and waiting for the light. I like to plan shoots and lighting in advance, so it is helpful knowing that the shoot can go on in bad weather. However, approaching summer means that there is more opportunity to experiment with natural lighting.

 

What subject matter do you tend to spend the most time working on?

Although all of my shoots involve food, I like to incorporate some human aspects and more of the food-making process as well as some general still life for some variety.

 

Do you collaborate with any other artists or food stylists? How does collaborating change the way in which you approach your subject?

Collaborating with other artists and people in general is one of the best parts of being involved in photography because it always gives you multiple perspectives and pushes the work further. It is also nice being able to work through ideas with other people who have a different styles and experience.

cake

Cake, 2017

With the rise of instagram and with so many people taking iPhone photos of their food before they consume it, what do you think is the value of professional food photography?  How does this change your creative insight into photographing food, as we are already inundated with images of?

I think Instagram is a powerful tool for photographers and being able to see so many food photographs can provide inspiration. Professional food photography has the potential to say more about food and the issues surrounding it than the average food photograph you run into online because of the time spent with the subject. I hope to be able to bring this into my work and find it an important part of considering the impact of commercial food photographs.

 

What do you think is essential to know or show in food photography?

I think the process of preparing food and the social aspect of it is important to bring into photographs and something I am working towards. It’s interesting when food photographs offer a different perspective to the everyday.

 

How does the atmosphere of your images change by including people in your photographs who are interacting with the food you prepare?
I think including people in the images brings in the human aspect of preparing and consuming food, which is something everyone can relate to on some level. It also helps visually to create movement and give the food more context.

 

People often talk about the tricks of shooting food, how to use different materials or other options than food itself. What are your tricks for photographing food that look fresh and new?

Personally, I just work with fresh food and use edible materials to add to the food to keep waste to a minimum.

mussels

Mussels, 2017

 

What are other subjects or places that you like to shoot and how does this tie into your general artistic vision?

I love to work with people and shoot the landscape with film. Shooting portraits definitely influences how I work with people in food photography and hopefully I can tie in shooting with film and some on location shoots in the future.

 

Where do you see your career path going and who would you most like to work with/for?

I’m hoping to work as an assistant for a commercial food photographer after school and eventually start my own business to work with publications.

 

sweetpotato

Sweet Potato, 2017

 

What is your advice for artists who are looking to make their art practice into a business?

My advice would be to be open to collaborations and change in work and to always be looking for people to look up to.

 

Are there any specific OCAD U Faculty who have influenced your work? A specific discipline or course?

Every course I’ve taken and prof I’ve had has influenced my work, but I’ve become especially interested in working in book format over the past couple years.

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To see more of Natalie’s work you can visit her website or instagram.

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See Natalie’s work at the

102nd Graduate Exhibition at OCAD University, May 3rd-7th.

Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University.

Interview by Morgan Sears-Williams

About the writer: Morgan is a fourth year photography student and runs the Friday #ArtCrush series on the OCAD U Photography Blog. She loves speaking to other artists about social justice, how to break barriers within artist communities and nurturing the arts in alternative spaces. She is the Art Director for The RUDE Collective, a student representative on the Photography Curriculum Committee and has done workshops on intersectionality and allyship relating to LGBTQ folks. To see more, you can visit her website or her instagram.

Friday #ArtCrush: Sheana Canthan

Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University.  This Friday’s #ArtCrush is Sheana Canthan, a fourth year student majoring in Photography.

In this issue, Morgan and Sheana talk about how lighting changes the mood of her fashion shoots, collaborating with other artists and turning your art practice into a business.

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Who or what are you main photographic inspirations?

My main photographic inspirations would be Annie Leibovitz, Nick Knight, Mario Sorrenti, Tim Walker, and Peter Lindbergh to name a few but, most of my inspiration comes from other art mediums and my surroundings as well.

 

What is your favourite lighting set up and camera/lens combination?

My favourite lighting setup would be rembrandt lighting. This lighting pattern gets its name from the painter, Rembrandt van Rijn who often utilized this light in his work.

brendan

Untitled #1, 2016

Can you walk us through how you set up the studio during one of your shoots?

For my shoots I usually set up the studio depending on whom or what I’m shooting and the concept/mood of the shoot. If the look is more grungy, I’d use a more harsh lighting setup, but if its something more eerie and whimsical, I’d use a softer lighting setup.

 

How does your shooting style change on location vs. in studio? How do you see these two options as changing the mood or lighting of your shoots?

When I shoot outdoors, I love scouting for different locations and having the subjects interact with their surroundings vs. in studio unless I have a set stylist working with me, sometimes I might be limited on props and create a story around what resources I have. Depending on whether I shoot on location, or in studio, I always preplan the lighting setup that best conveys the mood for the story I have in mind.

 

What subject matter do you tend to spend the most time working on?

The subject matter I tend to shoot the most are people and fashion.

delaney-1

Untitled #2, 2016

Do you collaborate with other artists on your shoots? What do you see as valuable about collaborations between artists?

I do collaborations with all types of artists whether it is a stylist, illustrator, a sculpture and installation artist or painter. I love mixing other mediums of art with my work. I think its important to collaborate, because it allows you to expand your horizons and network with other artists, which is important in this industry.

 

When scouting or looking for models, who or what do you look for?

I usually have a theme or concept in mind that I want to execute and I search for models or people based on that. I also work with modelling agencies as well.

 

What makes you finalize the last couple images that you publish, after you have done a full shoot?

Usually images that strike to me or flow with each other and best convey the story or concept I had in mind for the shoot.

michael

Untitled #3, 2016

 

Where do you see your career path going and who would you most like to work with/for?

I would eventually like to shoot commercial or advertising work and be signed to an agency.

 

What is your advice for artists who are looking to make their art practice into a business?

This is something that I’m still learning so much about and its really trial and error and what works best for YOUR art practice. Something I wish I had started much earlier was collaborating, attending more networking events and building an online presence. The more people you meet, the more your work gets out there. Its really word of mouth in this industry, aside from have an online presence on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Youtube depending on what your art practice is.

nya-2

Untitled #4, 2016

 

Are their any specific OCAD U Faculty who have influenced your work? A specific discipline or course?

BETTY!!! Most of the work I produced in my first three years at OCAD was surrounding gender, sexuality and nudity. Betty really pushed me as a fine artist to think about my art practice and why I make art.

 

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone looking to collaborate with other artists?

REACH OUT TO THEM!!! The worst answer you will get is a no, and if so, there are a million other artists out there. (80% of the time it’s a YES)

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To see more of Sheana’s work you can visit her website

and instagram: @sheanacanthan

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See Sheana’s work at the

102nd Graduate Exhibition at OCAD University, May 3rd-7th.

Friday #ArtCrush is a weekly blog series highlighting students in their final year at OCAD University.

Interview by Morgan Sears-Williams

About the writer: Morgan is a fourth year photography student and runs the Friday #ArtCrush series on the OCAD U Photography Blog. She loves speaking to other artists about social justice, how to break barriers within artist communities and nurturing the arts in alternative spaces. She is the Art Director for The RUDE Collective, a student representative on the Photography Curriculum Committee and has done workshops on intersectionality and allyship relating to LGBTQ folks. To see more, you can visit her website or her instagram.

Directed Studio presents…

blogthecollaborators

The Collaborators is a dynamic group of 4th year Photography majors enrolled in OCAD University’s Directed Photo Studio course. This exhibition is an opportunity to see the stellar work being produced by this team and an invitation to come and collaborate with us! We want to build our network and work with students and alumni from all areas of OCAD U and the community at large.

LOCATION: Ada Slaight Student Gallery, 2nd floor (North end) of 100 McCaul street. Wheelchair accessible.

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, Feb 16, 4:30-6:30 pm
EXHIBITION CONTINUES until Friday, Feb 24th

ARTISTS INCLUDE:

Jason Collette-Lockyer
Mariam El-Toukhy
Nadia Fareed
Ashley Harry
Ashley Hiltz
Brooke Holmes
Emily Howes
Jessie Kitchen
Nicol Labal
Tamara Leger
Dion Lin
Angela Lui
Hannah O’Gorman
Cory Parsons
Bryant Pimlatt
Sheana Puvicanthan
Kevin Ramos
Shivani Sharma
Anna Staier
Becky Thorpe
Tiffany Voiadzis
Natalie Wainewright

For more info, please visit our facebook page

Congratulations Sarah Azzam!

Sarah Azzam, 2015

Sarah Azzam, 2015

We are thrilled to announce that Directed Studio student Sarah Azzam is the winner of OCAD U’s Photography Program Epson Award!  Over the past year, Sarah has skillfully refined her vision and created a stunning portfolio of Food Photography!  We hope this generous gift from Epson Canada will help you as you embark on the next steps of your career!

This award was made possible because of the generous support of Epson Canada and Andrew Patrick (OCAD U’s supportive local representative).  Epson Canada has been a long-time supporter of OCAD U and we cant thank the enough for supporting our talented and deserving students!

Bio:  Sarah Azzam is freelance photographer and stylist based in Toronto. Sarah specializes in commercial food photography however, she loves to explore with her camera and is interested in many different forms of photography, both commercial and fine art. Sarah attended OCAD University and has a Bachelor of Fine Art Degree with a major in Photography

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