The question of “why haven’t we worked together yet?” is one usually asked by photographers to photo editors. However, two months ago, to Vancouver-based portrait photographer Kamil Bialous‘ surprise, he found himself being asked this by Director of Photography Ronit Novak. Ronit works for Canadian Business, Profit, and MoneySense magazines, and had called Kamil in hopes of joining forces.
Kamil was somewhat embarrassed that he’d not been the first one to reach out, and explained that he doesn’t really partake in the whole “mass email thing.” He was, however, familiar with Ronit along with her work with other well-respected photographers. They chatted for a few minutes, with Kamil instantly becoming excited about the prospect of collaborating. Ronit’s enthusiasm for great photography was contagious, and he hoped they could soon find a project to co-produce.
As luck would have it, just one week passed before Kamil was once again on the phone with Ronit. This time, she wanted to see if he was available to photograph Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, for Canadian Business Magazine in an ultra-Canadian themed shoot. Immediately, Kamil began sketching out ideas and calling prop houses.
Kamil spent the week before the shoot desperately searching for props and lamenting Vancouver’s lack of stuffed beavers. He spent the morning of the shoot with his prop stylist Angie Martin and assistant Chris Collie putting together the elaborate Canada-themed set, which included “beer, Canadian mounties, pelts, antlers, poutine, hockey gear, skis, snowshoes, Anne Murray records, pictures of The Queen and Trudeau, flags, a toboggan, canoe, folk art, cabin furniture, Hudson’s Bay blanket, lots of plaid, and one giant comfy chair to allow Ryan to sit comfortably in Canada.”
Once Ryan arrived, wardrobe stylist, Sarah Danniels dressed Ryan for the part. Kamil shot several photos of Ryan with his phone to play out his “social media, tech-titan”/King of Canada role. The day went smoothly with lots of laughs and a few Canadian beers.
Kamil reflected on the experience, saying,
Although not what I would typically shoot (businessman portrait), I really give a ton of credit to Ronit for matching my style to the shoot. I love color and contrast, whether it’s in my travel or lifestyle images, and have a soft spot for telling stories of spending time in the Canadian wilderness. I’m not really overly high energy, and tend to put people at ease really quickly. I think that the subjects I photograph respond to that well. Ryan said that he wanted to go away on a cabin vacation immediately after the shoot.