Let us just say right from the start that working with NBA star Tristan Thompson and his family – mother Andrea and youngest brother Amari – was a complete pleasure. Recently Tristan launched the Amari Thompson fund in partnership with Epilepsy Toronto to provide support to those in our community who aren’t fortunate enough to have the advantages that Tristan’s family does in terms of financial support and the access to medication and services that they might find they need to not only live, but to live their fullest life while managing epilepsy. You can learn more about Tristan’s initiative here and watch his video here:
We came away from the shoot that we did with the Thompsons with a very real admiration for not only Tristan – who immediately upon finding himself able to give back, did just that – but for his mother Andrea, who is clearly very much responsible for the huge heart and the strong character rooted in Tristan.
Amari has been through a lot in his young life. He is one of the 1 in 100 in our community who live with Epilepsy every day. With the generosity of those who have already contributed to the fund in its first week – and those of you considering making a donation soon – it is a very real possibility that all the OTHER ‘1 in 100’s in our community will have the opportunity to access services they need regardless of their circumstances. That’s a pretty awesome possibility.
As you may know, each year we cover the ScotiaBank BuskerFest in Support of Epilepsy Toronto. This year the festival moved to the Downtown Yonge neighbourhood and spanned the area from Queen St. to College/Carlton. Above you will find scenes from the festival and some of the talented performers who provided Toronto with four days of world class street performance.
In its new home on Yonge Street the festival drew enough people (over 2 million) be be officially recognized as the world’s biggest busker street festival. That’s no small accomplishment, and all of the dedicated and talented people that we’ve had the pleasure of working with on and off the pitch over the past 10 years (this is the festival’s 14th year) have all had a part in making it the biggest, and – we think – the best street festival in the world. Congratulations BuskerFest!
To those performers (and readers of this blog) who asked us about the staged portraits we usually do, we apologize but weren’t able to do them this year… we hadn’t realized that they were quite so popular, so maybe we will arrange something different next year. Who knows…?
For now, enjoy reliving the fun of the festival’s best moments – above.
One of the most popular performance duos at ScotiaBank BuskerFest this year was 2 on 1, made up of Peter Rabbit an established drummer and all around entertainer (who we last shot in 2005) and Snap Boogie (aka Cjaiilon Andrade) a blindingly talented dancer who some might have recognized as a semi-finalist from Season 6 of America’s Got Talent. As 2 on 1, Peter drums on buckets demonstrating his incredible skill in percussion while Snap Boogie displays his talent and passion for dance in a routine that ends with him front flipping over a line of audience members – inevitably to wild applause.
While this duo puts on an energetic and masterful show for the audience, a part of their obvious fan appeal is in the way that they approach everyone who has come to see them perform. Peter Rabbit and Snap Boogie are two very open, friendly, and accommodating professionals and we can tell you first hand they are a real pleasure – and a lot of fun – to work with.
We grabbed each of them individually for a series of portraits in an alley on the grounds of BuskerFest – as you can see we also grabbed a few helpful chefs who came during a break from a nearby restaurant to see what we were up to and ended up standing in for some lighting tests. Both Peter and Snap collaborated fully with us bringing their own ideas, and though their schedules were busy and they had been performing all day they gave us as much time as we needed to bring the ideas to life.
Above a portrait of each.
After seeing the proofs Snap mentioned that he’d like to work with us again because we made him look ‘ripped’ and ‘sexy’… but that’s no trick. The talent, charisma, the positive attitude through adversity that he shares with Peter, and of course – the 8 pack abs – are very real, and combine to assure us that this young performer has a serious future.
And we would never turn down the opportunity to play a part in promoting it.
Above, the final set of portraits from the greenroom of the ScotiaBank BuskerFest in Support of Epilepsy Toronto. We would once again like to thank everyone who stood in front of our camera, allowing to create a collective picture of all those who are so important in making this festival the success that it is.
Next week we will post some of the portraits that we took outside of the greenroom as well as some photos from a private shoot that we did with the festival’s People’s Choice Award winners, Dream State Circus earlier this week.
For the 8th year in a row we acted as official photographers for The ScotiaBank Toronto BuskerFest in Support of Epilepsy Toronto. Once again the streets of Toronto – Front and Wellington from Yonge Street to Jarvis – were transformed, with the help of a dedicated team of technical crew and countless volunteers, into the grounds of the largest BuskerFestival in North America.
ScotiaBank Toronto BuskerFest is one of our favourite events, not only because the entertainment is world class (and available to everyone equally) but because the whole driving force of the festival is to raise money for Epilepsy Toronto and that goal is accomplished in spectacular form.
As part of this four day festival the world’s top street performers gather and give their collective best at two benefit shows – the thrilling Friday night fire show and the collaborative Sunday night finale – and at the conclusion of the shows the total of all crowd donations is matched by title sponsor ScotiaBank and sent to Epilepsy Toronto, an organization that provides help and support to the 1 in 100 people in the GTA who live with epilepsy. It is an event during which everyone works together in support of Epilepsy Toronto, and we are proud to be a part of it year after year.
A festival of this magnitude can only come together with the cooperation and time investment of a great many people with a wide range of skills and resources to offer. In recognition of everyone who gives generously of themselves in order to make the festival what it is, we like to set up a rough studio in the greenroom each year to capture a portrait of every person who has had a part in bringing the festival together. We feel EVERYONE – centre stage or back – deserves this recognition. One day we hope to have created archives documenting everyone who has been involved as the festival evolves. We’re working on it…
So to every performer, crew member, volunteer and of course title sponsor ScotiaBank – who gave and then gave again – we salute you and congratulate you. Together you raised the money needed to ensure ongoing support for 1 in 100 people – you did so by creating an unforgettable festival for over a million more.
This past weekend we shot a yogathon in Toronto’s Steam Whistle Brewery. The yogathon was held in support of the Schizoprenia Society of Ontario and the brewery’s roundhouse was a fantastic setting for participants from all over to come together for a series of classes led by some of Toronto’s best yogis.
As you can see, we were able to convince both David Good of goodyoga.ca and Michael DeCorte of jockyoga.com to demonstrate their fine form for the camera.
As photographers, we are always striving to create images that are captivating. Images that tell a story, change a mind, or introduce others to ideas and worlds outside of their own.
The untimely passing of Canadian photographer Andrew MacNaughtan, and a reflection upon his work, reminds us that as photographers – as artists – while we strive to create work that is captivating, we should also strive to do work that is IMPORTANT.
Over the course of his career as one of Canada’s foremost music photographers Andrew not only took a great number of stunning images, but he also created Art Gives Hope, a charity initiative in support of World Vision Canada. In March of 2006 the art exhibit fundraiser featuring over sixty of his most striking images raised $55,000 for families in Africa living with HIV and AIDS.
To have the potential to reach people half a world away and change their lives with what we do is an honour. It is something that we – as artists – should take every opportunity to realize.
Here’s hoping that even without Andrew, Art continues to Give Hope.
We shot our last concert of the summer on Labour Day weekend. The Concert for Japan featured two days of entertainment and live music and even offered concert-goers the opportunity to ride a zip-line across the main concert area or have a drink at a bar suspended from a large crane. That’s something we’ve never seen before!
We met up with Darrin Pfeiffer, at the concert – some of you may know Darrin from his days on 102.1 The Edge. We’ve missed hearing him over the airwaves and hope that he will be back on the air soon. Right now Darrin is spending his time drumming for both ska punk band Goldfinger, and Canadian rock band, The Salads. He also manages and produces punk bands under his own record label, High 4 Records. Darrin was a lot of fun to hang with (and to shoot) and we think that we could do some awesome work with Darrin (hint Darrin – hint, hint) on the promotional material for the bands on his label.
Most importantly we hope that the concert was successful for the promoters and that the money raised will benefit the people of Japan, where relief efforts will most certainly continue for a long time to come.