I asked my current intern, Yael Young, to be a guest blogger this week. She is on her fifth month with me.
Working with Chris continues to be ever changing and evolving. It’s funny to look back and think that when I first visited him from Toronto I thought he was super intimidating and formal. Around the office (it should probably be noted that the staff consists of Chris, myself, and occasionally one of his two cats, Sunshine), Chris is known to play a variety of music (The New Pornographers, Feist, Fiery Furnaces, Frank Sinatra and LCD Soundsystem), and at times has a look of utter disgust on his face when I tell him I’m not familiar with a Canadian band. Humor is a constant at work, sometimes corny and awkward (cough, Chris), often sarcastic (cough, Yael). I did make a New Year’s resolution to be less sarcastic with Chris and so far I’m doing well, I hope that he notices my efforts.
Chris and I have some really great conversations (when I’m not trying to convince him that the word “healthy” is a positive description of a lunch choice), about business, life, religion, and, of course, photography. I think we’re similar in some ways but very different in others, and that makes for an engaging work environment – we don’t always agree but we’re happy to hear each other out.
Chris instructed me that I’m not to to gush over how much of a great mentor he is so I’ll just say that one thing that always impresses me (and speaks really well to his character), is that on set, no matter how big the group, he makes an effort to know everyone’s names. Sounds easy enough, but when you’re on a shoot like the TVO print ads that we recently shot and there are 20 people to be directed in one shot, it’s pretty incredible to see him refer to everyone by their first name.
As we’re both from Toronto and as I happened to be coming home for the holidays, I was able to help on the TVO shoot (TVO is an Ontario Television network). The shots were of medium to large-sized interest groups, paired with TVO programming topics (such as legalizing marijuana, assisted suicide, and the Arab Spring). One of the best parts of working with a photographer like Chris is that there are always interesting and knowledgeable people on set. I met Chris’s Canadian Rep, Jooli Kim, who connected him to this project, as well as Senior Art Producer, Leila Courey, and the Group Creative Director, Sam Cerullo, who are both from the ad agency responsible for this job, Leo Burnett Canada. Everyone was relaxed and extremely friendly, as they undoubtedly are on Chris’s shoots, and the finished ads look great.