If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook you'll recognize the shot above. It's one of our favourite shots from our lookbooks and a favourite on our Instagram account as well, based on the feedback we saw. It's thanks to Toronto based photographer Chris Robinson that we have these incredible visuals. We chatted with the man behind the lens this week to get to know him better.
HWBP: Tell us about yourself.
Chris Robinson: I was born and raised in a mellow, slow paced town in Northern Ontario where most people play hockey and drink beer. As much as I love lacing ‘em up, an angry hockey coach turned me off the game leaving me to explore less stressful things. These days I live in Toronto and work as a commercial, editorial and fine art photographer. I play recreational hockey for fun and sure, I’ll meet up for a beer.
HWBP: Tell us about your photography and how you came to do this full time.
CR: For the most part my photography has a lighthearted humorous undertone to it. Some concepts are dead obvious, some a wee bit more subtle. My brother and I watched a lot of Kids in the Hall and Three Stooges growing up. A lot of my personal work is definitely influenced from those shows whether intentional or not.
In high school I would hang out in the art classes. I always had fun messing around in the darkroom and experimenting with the digital process so I decided to dive in a bit deeper. After high school I went to college for a few years to study photography. It didn’t take long before I realized that college was kind of a poop pile so I started to seek out assisting jobs with commercial shooters. Assisting other photographers when I was starting out was really where I learned everything technically speaking that I know today. I assisted for a few years before I made the jump to committing to the photographer title.
HWBP: What was your favourite part of the HWBP photoshoot?
CR: Asides from hanging out with a bunch of friendly, easy going people and a funny nearsighted dog named Higgins, I had the chance to work and grow with a seemingly small grass roots, local business. It also gave me the chance to get out of the studio and my comfort zone to try my hand at some run and gun spontaneous stuff.
HWBP: Apart from the HWBP shoot (of course), what would you say has been your most successful shoot?
CR: A while back I was asked to shoot a campaign that had all of the ingredients in it that I usually like to mix into my creative work. In a nutshell the campaign was four fun shots of regular modern day people interacting with old technology. The client loved the final shots and I had some RAD commercial work to add to my portfolio that seamlessly mixed into my creative work. As silly as it may sound that job in particular really helps potential clients see how the approach to my personal creative work in my book can be easily applied into commercial work…SUCCESS. :)
HWBP: What is the hardest part about being a photographer?
CR: The work that you have to put in that has nothing to do with taking photos. I’m a relatively quiet guy so knocking on doors, making phone calls and telling people how great I am while bashing them over the head with my portfolio can be pretty tough.
HWBP: Do you think Toronto is a good place to be a photographer?
CR: Toronto is a great place to work. Whatever you’re into shooting, chances are there’s a client base/subject for you.
HWBP: How do you come up with ideas for your shoots?
CR: Usually I have very little to do with the initial creative direction. The agency folks spend a lot of time and energy on concepts for their clients. For my personal work, I have a book of random ideas and doodles that I have put together over the years that I usually pull from. If my partner Mary laughs at the idea I know it's worth shooting.
HWBP: What are you working on now/what's next?
CR: Currently I have a few short motion projects in the works. Some jokes just can’t be translated with a still image…
HWBP: Any tips for aspiring photographers?
CR: If you’re just starting out and want to learn more, consider reaching out to photographers that you admire to assist them. I learned a lot more in one day of assisting then I did in school. Maybe take the assisting route rather then taking out a loan or spending your life savings on school…Maybe. Take lots of photos. They don’t all have to see the light of day but the more you shoot the more you will develop your own style and ultimately figure out what you like to shoot. Have fun with it.
Are you curious about other facets of HWBP? Write to us in the comments below or email us about what you want to see at firstname.lastname@example.org.