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Today's Guest: David Haskell of in Toronto, Canada
Today's Host: John Bentley
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ANNOUNCER: This VTalk Radio Photography Spotlight is brought to you by morephotos.com helping professional photographers with all their internet needs. Welcome to the VTalk Radio Photographer Spotlight with your host, John Bentley.
JOHN: Today on VTalk Radio's Photography Spotlight we have Toronto, Canada, photographer, David Haskell, of Haskell Photography at Mill Pond Studios on the program. Welcome to today's program, David.
DAVE: Thanks for having me on.
JOHN: Certainly a pleasure to speak with you. I have been checking out your website and seeing what you are doing as a photographer, and you've got some really nice stuff going on there. Tell me a little bit about your photography business, David.
DAVE: Our business is combined with 2 generations; my father, Christian Haskell, who has been a master photographer in Canada and running a business up here for 40 years, and myself I was practicing my craft mostly in the states for the last 17 years, and combining the two businesses here Mill Pond Studios. We have encompassed everything from wedding, family portraits to album covers, architectural, and fashion editorial all basically under one roof and we've built a facility here that's on 17 acres. It holds Canada's largest daylight studio of it's kind. So it would be a mini-Hollywood of sorts for still pictures.
JOHN: Great. Now how long have you been in business?
DAVE: Myself, I've been shooting for 22 years, and boy, you know, I get that question and I think back to when I started. I hold my images from, you know, my very first jobs, I look back at them and boy I wonder how I got hired the second time around, but over that course of time I sure have learned a lot. And, of course, things have changed so much in our industry, but I'm enjoying it and I seem to be still holding strong and keeping current with the changes it faces.
JOHN: Now you got your start, if I'm correct at Revlon when you were 19 years old?
DAVE: Yeah, I, you know, hard work, dedication and a little bit of luck sure goes a long way. In the beginning, I ended up doing a cable TV show, a Wayne's World type thing, if you will and on that show happened to be the same day I was taping it was an editor from In Style magazine, and we got talking afterwards, and he invited me their offices in Toronto and asked if I would cover an editorial thing that was basically sponsored by Revlon and from there I got a call probably within 2 weeks of that coming out from Revlon Canada and started shooting with them in Toronto and then ended up going to New York.
JOHN: Now I understand that you have had your work published in over 70 countries. Is that true?
DAVE: Yeah, actually who knows where it is at now. I know that's what it says in the bio still. I'm sure it's grown from there as things get, you know, syndicated and published whether it's fine art work or whatever. It's advertising running through magazines, you know, work goes into a magazine like News Week or National Geographic, obviously, it's been around the globe pretty far.
JOHN: Well, obviously, David, you're not just the run of the mill photographer, are you?
DAVE: I try to think not. I've been fortunate and I've got to meet a lot of people, and I think that's one thing I learned early in my career outside of taking pictures was taking care of the people you're taking pictures of, and that's really I would say driven the word of mouth for me and my business and our family business here for years. If one person is happy and the word spreads it can really do wonders for your career and that's I would say 80% what I've got over the course of my career thus far has been the word of mouth business.
JOHN: Yeah sure. Well let's talk a little bit about the kind of photography that you're involved in. Obviously, you're doing stuff that's a little more artsy. Fill us in a little bit on that.
DAVE: Well I like to think of myself as being on the artistic edge of photography. Now, again as we were speaking earlier, we do family portraits, weddings, but I shoot of lot of editorial stuff. I do a lot of artwork for myself. When I do that...every time there's an opening, an art show, if it's a book or a smaller project that's being published, I make sure that that kind of work is seen by my clients and it goes a long way, you know, if they get a real good feeling from the artistic side of things photographically that I do, and they are able to sort of process that, and I think what happens is they look at a certain shot that I may have taken for whatever reason for myself, and look at it from a standpoint...hey what if we incorporate this type of look into our commercial field...whatever that may be. So if I'm shooting a picture for a nutritional supplement and they see a great body shot, they might say, hey you know what, we want to do a bunch of physique stuff, this is the guy we should have shooting it, and so the cross over is nice, and I guess the only difference being that when I'm shooting the art work for myself, I get to do whatever I want, and when the client comes along and says hey, we like that, but we want it done for our product, you're basically taking some direction from them or their ad director or creative director, what have you. But it really gives you a sense of, you know, your clients are coming at you looking for what you do best, and it floats well in the end for both the client and the photographer.
JOHN: Now we are in the studio with Toronto, Canada, photographer, David Haskell, of Haskell Photography at Mill Pond Studios, and you're listening to VTalk Radio's Photography Spotlight. We're going to step aside for these important messages and we'll be right back with David.
ANNOUNCER: This VTalk Radio Spotlight is sponsored by morephotos.com, the online photo sales solution to professional photographers worldwide.
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ANNOUNCER: We now return you to the VTalk Radio's Photography Spotlight with your host, John Bentley.
JOHN: We are back in the studio with Toronto, Canada, photographer, David Haskell, of Haskell Photography at Mill Pond Studios, and you're listening to VTalk Radio's Photography Spotlight. Welcome back to the program, David.
JOHN: Now, we've been talking about your business up there in Toronto. Let's talk a little bit about the community around Toronto that your photography business covers.
DAVE: Well we are situated...we're actually a little ways out of Toronto. We're in the Niagra Region and it is the Golden Horseshoe is basically the largest community in the area in the country of Canada, but within the Niagra Region we have a booming wine industry, and our wine industry gives us...it sort of helps our market as far as especially when it comes to weddings. It is a destination for weddings. People come into the Niagra Region specifically to get married by the vineyards, Niagra Falls. When people come to us, they come directly for Mill Pond Studios, because of our 17 acres of sets and props and things, and we have the ability to take people, you know, by horse and buggy from photo studio through the vineyards, right to wineries. And so for as far as destination type packages for the weddings, we've really set our selves up nice on the Niagra...what's called the Niagra Wine Route, and we are right in the heart of it. So in between Niagra Lake which was the capital of Canada way back in the day and Toronto and we're situated just on Lake Ontario. We've got everything from rolling hills, amazing water falls, vineyards, beaches. There's obviously golf courses everywhere up here. I think that if Canadians couldn't play hockey, we'd be dominating at golf. The area is pretty spectacular, and we get a lot of colors. So we've got a full four seasons here, but they're strong seasons and they make for good pictures throughout the year.
JOHN: Yeah sure. Now that's not the only place you have a studio. You have a studio out in Colorado. True?
DAVE: Yeah. We work in Denver, Colorado, and Denver has been a fantastic place...a home away from home. I've spent 17 full time years there, and to the Rocky Mountains and the same thing out there. You've got the mountains on the western slope. You have the desert to shoot in. A lot of these images can be seen on the website as well, and between the two, they're two completely different places, but the people from Toronto to Denver really have the same sort of feeling about them.
JOHN: Now speaking of people, let's talk about maybe, obviously, you've photographed a lot of famous people, a lot of different artists, different models. Who would you consider to be your favorite subject?
DAVE: That's a question that gets asked a lot, and it's always a difficult one to answer because you go through a list of celebrities which is sort of what people are asking about when that question comes up, and although the models have been great up here in Toronto in the last year, we've shot everyone from Carmen Electra to Lil John, Mick Jagger to Jay Z kind of thing. And that I have to say that down in Colorado, I got to photograph Buzz Aldrin and for some reason he always sticks out in my mind as being a key figure to photograph. Mainly because, you know, taking a picture of this guy, he's got incredible amount of character to him, and as you're photographing him, you're realizing that hey this guy walked on the moon. It's always stuck with me that as fun as it is to meet celebrities or sports people or politicians or whoever you're photographing, this guy left our planet, went somewhere else and came back and has stories upon stories to tell about it, and it just has always captured my imagination along with taking his picture. We photographed him for Rolex watches and it was a lot of fun to meet him.
JOHN: Well let's talk about other kinds of photography that you do out of your studio.
DAVE: Our studio is...basically you walk in our front doors here, you can walk to the right and you can take a right into that door and you're going to walk into a very large room...nearly 3000 sq. ft. of nothing but portraits and weddings, family portraits mostly done here on the property. Like I had said earlier it's the largest daylight studio in the country of its kind. So it makes it very nice no matter what weather conditions we can shoot with natural light. We have waterfalls on the property. We've built barns. We've even built an old stone church. The studio, you know, 17 acres of sets and we've built docks down below in the water. We have bridges, water falls, block walls. We've done a lot of work, agriculturally, on the grounds to set the area up specifically for family pictures and weddings. I know there's a lot of times people will say, hey I know there's this beautiful garden. We'd like to get our pictures done there for our wedding. Well of course you get there and all the flowers are on the ground and plants are on the ground and it's a great place to take pictures if you're taking pictures of feet. But when you're going in and shooting people, we've actually built sets up so that people can be in them and surrounded by wonderful things and still focus really on the people themselves, and the daylight studio is just a fantastic feature to have. Outside of the fact that we have all the studio lighting, if you have weather that' bad that day, you know, it's rainy. Up here it could be snowy, you're still in a very beautiful daylight setting, you know, 40 ft. ceilings, any light at all that's outside is going to come in and just makes for fantastic natural light photographs. And a lot of our indoor sets look like they're outside.
JOHN: Now, David, we need to wind this up here. I wanted to ask you before I let you go a couple things. One is, first of all, you have a book that is coming out called The Erotic Journey of Unconscious Kate. Tell us briefly a little bit about that and where somebody can purchase that.
DAVE: The book is...well it's about to be distributed...it should be in most major bookstores within the next...well by the fall of 08 anyways, but it's a coffee table book based on an actual character. A model that we knew in Colorado and it's very...it's been shot throughout the states, southern Ontario, Canada; Montreal, Canada; and it's just a story of one person's journey through their unconsciousness. Basically, a segment of dreams that they have and they're willingness and desire to travel to great places, but never having the ability to actually do it so this person in the book has a chance to travel throughout her dreams. It's shot with a model, not with the actual person that the book was based on, but it's fantastic and there's a series of prints that are available from that and the prints are sold in different galleries. The books are available right now for sale online on our website, but right now we've got someone taking care of our distribution for us. So hopefully we'll see those out by fall of 08.
JOHN: Great now speaking of your website you kindly give your website and contact information for our listening audience.
DAVE: It's www.haskellphotos.com.
JOHN: And what about a phone number?
DAVE: The studio number is (905) 684-6314 and for anybody listening especially other professionals who might be traveling up to our area always looking to come in and take a look at the studio and the property it's a work in progress, but photographers do enjoy it. In fact, a lot of the photo schools in the area especially in the province of Ontario will bus down a class load of kids just to walk the property and take pictures and practice their own craft a little bit on our property.
JOHN: Well, David, I want to thank you for joining us on VTalk Radio's Photography Spotlight today.
DAVE: I appreciate it very much and anything else, please give me a call.
JOHN: Ok, great. We have been in the studio Toronto, Canada, and Denver, Colorado, photographer, David Haskell, of Haskell Photography at Mill Pond Studios and you've been listening to VTalk Radio's Photography Spotlight. I'm your host, John Bentley, thanks for tuning in. Have a great afternoon.
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