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Saturday, July 31, 2010

And Now...Featuring Remi Swimwear

The other day, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ed from Remi Swimwear because I was very impressed by his designs. Ed is a clothing designer and photographer who loves what he does. Ed produces beautiful swimsuits using high quality fabrics. He is currently based in New Jersey.

You can see his beautiful swimwear collection
HERE and on
Model Mayhem

AVIVA: What got you into designing swimwear?
It began with being a fashion/glam photographer. While doing portfolio work for models, it used to irritate me when the girls would bring in cheap looking and or poor fitting suits. Either they thought the suit may have looked cute on the rack or they had friends who would say the suit looked great on them. I'm guessing so the friends would then look better by the pool or at the beach. Either way, it was difficult to have a nice body shot of the models with an average (at best) swimsuit on. So, with the help of a designer friend (Thanks always Silvia!) who needed images photographed of her line, I drew up some designs and had Silvia make them for me to photograph. The suits looked amazing and received very positive feedback from the models. The models then wore my swimsuit designs to a few casino parties and were asked repeatedly by the other girls where to buy the suits. It was then I decided to pursue my own swimwear line.

AVIVA: How long have you been designing?
This is a project going on 3 years now. At first I had no knowledge of sewing or how to begin making suits myself. So I recruited 3 other seamstresses whom all failed for various reasons. Most notably one who bought suits online and told me that she made them but took the liberty to change my designs a bit. I also had one take nearly a a month to design one sliding triangle top.(Which is obviously a bit to long!) So, when these seamstresses failed, I took it on my own to take some lessons from another designer (Thanks Karen!) Now I design and sew the suits myself.

AVIVA: What is your favorite kind of fabric to use for your swimwear?
I use only imported 4 way stretch fabrics that are completely swim-able but are really designed to look great and to make a girls body look better!

AVIVA: What excites you the most about being a clothing designer?
I would say being able to see my work on a variety of people and body types and sizes. A big kick for me is seeing a models face when they first put one of my designs on. It's usually followed by a big smile, a little more strut in their step and a bit of flirt in the eyes.

AVIVA: Do you look to any other designers for inspiration? If so, who?
I do, but not anyone specific. I try to see where the trends are heading and adapt my style and fabrics accordingly. However, I'm a huge fan of floral prints and will always continue to utilize them.

AVIVA: Besides clothing design, what is (are) your other passion(s)/interest(s)?
As I said earlier, I am also a photographer which allows me to photograph my swimwear as needed. I'm a huge auto racing fan. From NASCAR to Australian V8 Supercars and anything in between, if it's on, I'm watching! I am also a retired tennis instructor and a big fan of billiards. However, I haven't played so much lately and would like to get my game back on.

AVIVA: If money/time was no object, where do you hope that fashion design will take you?
Around the world. This is an amazing place and I'd love to see as much as possible.... Especially the beaches!!!

AVIVA: Do you have any additional comments that you'd like to share?
Looking forward to seeing everyone at Miami Fashion week someday,

I wish Ed all the best in his career!

Thanks again for the interview, Ed.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Clothing Designer Karen Hira Talks About Her Vision and Passion

Karen Hira is an up and coming fashion designer from Victoria, BC, Canada. She began designing and sewing last year. Karen loves bright, exotic colours and finds her design inspiration comes from tribal wear all over Asia and South America.

She has an impressive collection of beautiful swimwear, lingerie and dresses that she designed and sewed. Besides having the passion for fashion, Karen loves helping children who are in poverty.

Her work can be seenHERE

I had the pleasure of asking Karen a few questions to share her artistic vision with me.

AVIVA: How did you get started with clothing design?
A year ago I had a vision for a dress that I wanted to wear for my birthday. I couldn't find it anywhere so I borrowed my aunt's sewing machine and decided I was going to try and sew it (the only other time I had sewed was in high school and I got a horrible grade lol). It worked! and I was like wow I can sew! After that I tried sketching out ideas for other dresses and I realized I could draw so I started sketching anytime I was sitting around, and it became a passion after that.

AVIVA: What is your favorite thing about designing clothing?
Well there is always something amazing about creating something that exists only in your mind. I think that's why any kind of art is so unique. There is no other person who can put together your vision with your passion. When I sketch that idea on my blank canvas, it is a piece of me and you can't find that anywhere else.

AVIVA: Can you tell me a bit about how you came up with the concept of "India"?
Most clothing lines are named after the designers themselves, well pretty much all of them. I wanted to name mine after my children (children that I don't have yet). I want to name my daughter India and my son Tye so my women's line will be 'India' and my men's 'Tye'. I am also very inspired by the palette of colors in Indian culture.

AVIVA: What is your biggest influence?
My biggest influence is simplicity. I am very inspired by tribal wear all over Asia and South America. The colors and beauty of garments made of necessity. Exquisite garments made of simple materials and bright colors. The patterns, and details on their clothing are absolutely amazing to me. These people have probably never seen a fashion magazine in their life, but I truly believe they embody real fashion.

AVIVA: On your website, you state that National Geographic is your favorite magazine. Do you have any other magazines that you like?
I don't read magazines aside from National Geographic. But because I model, I do enjoy looking at ads in magazines like Vanity Fair and Vogue.

AVIVA: If you weren't designing clothes, what else would you be doing? (other passions that you have)
My other other huge passion is for helping children. I hope my fashion career will help me to complete my passion of traveling around the world and working with organizations to help children in poverty. Once I start traveling and visiting impoverished areas around the world, I plan to write a book on what I have seen.

AVIVA: If money/time were no object, what would be your ultimate goal in the fashion industry?
My goal is to use my talents designing to help contribute some sort of positive change in the world.

AVIVA: Do you have any last comments?
I am really sick right now, my sinuses are in disarray, and I can't taste my ice cream. :( Life without ice cream is like a peanut butter cup with no peanut butter. Just saying.

Karen definitely has a unique product to offer the world of fashion. She is talented, passionate, and strives for a positive change in the world.

I wish Karen success in the industry for many years to come.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

A word from Philipe

Philipe is a photographer, make-up artist, and hairstylist from Upland, California. He has been doing make-up and hair for several years, and has shot models from some of the best modeling agencies in the world. Shooting with Philipe is like having an A+ team working with you to create amazing images.

Philipe has won several hair and make-up competitions. Additionally, he is creating his own fashion line :)

Some of his clients include Dolce & Gabana, Gucci,Canon, Prior and many others. He's shot models on America's Next Top Model and The Janice Dickinson Agency.

His work and credits can be seen on

I am thrilled to feature Philipe's word here. There is a lot that one can learn from him.

AVIVA: How long have you been doing photography?
I've been doing photography for about 5 years.

AVIVA: What got you interested in hair/make-up and photography?
I started doing hair a long time ago, then make up.
I was doing hair and make up for photographers and I just was not getting any pictures back. So I decided to pick up a camera and take pictures. At the time it was film, then I went to digital...Even during digital I was still shooting film.

AVIVA: How long after you started model/fashion photography did it take you before you started working for big names and major commercial clients?
For a long time I was just shooting agency models and I still do.
I don't know, I have not really thought about it. I'd say about three years into doing photography...

AVIVA: Do you have any advice for photographers who would like to get published?
It's tricky, I normally have clients that take care of that or I get contacted, asking to use my work. I never submitted to a magazine to see if I could get in. So for everyone, it's different.
The goal should not be "to be in a magazine". The goal should be, to always do your best, no matter who sees it.

AVIVA: What do you believe is the best way to approach potential commercial clients?
I've never approached potential clients. The way it has been done for me is that I get contacted, then I respond. As far as me responding back, it's always brief. I ask what their budget is and what they want.
I never hype myself, because it's a matter of they either like my work or they don't. So, if they contact you, it's obvious they like your work.
But I also understand that they are probably contacting other photographers too. It does not mean I'll go into a betting war. My fee stays the same. I do negotiate with the client.
But most of the time it's "This is our budget and this is what we need".
If the price is too low, I say "what you're asking for is going to take more work, I'll need a better offer".

AVIVA: What are your thoughts on TFP? Did you do it at the beginning of your career?
Yes, I did TFP in the beginning. My thoughts are, still give the model what she needs as far as pictures. Remember she is doing you a favor. She will help you get good pictures to lure paying clients.

AVIVA: What is your favorite thing about photography?
Creating, discovering something new. Seeing the end result.

AVIVA: Do you have any weird/interesting/crazy shoot experience you would like to share?
When I get a normal day in my life, maybe the craziest day will rise to the top and stand out.
My last crazy day was shooting for 17 hours, now understand that some photographers will say, I do long hours all the time. They forget, I do all the hair and make up and body painting, arrange my own light set up on all my shoots.
I'd call it a vacation if I just shot pictures.

AVIVA: If you could say a few things to aspiring models, what would they be?
Respect yourself, work hard and be honest with yourself.
Never kiss up to a photographer (he or she will think your a bitch for not kissing up, but it's just their ego).
Don't do drugs, if you drink, control yourself.
Be responsible.
Be careful of the egos of some photographers.
So many photographers think they're "bad ass", try sitting next to Steven Miesel, look at his career, then look at your yours. You still think you're bad ass? Don't even think about it. He shoots for Vogue like we tie our shoes or drink water. It's just there for him, it's normal and common for him. Like nothing to him; just another day.

AVIVA: Any last comments?
There is always someone out there better than you. It's very important to stay humble before you make yourself look like a fool. If you think that the way models and photographers act on TV is the way you should act on a real life shoot, you're wrong.
Again, I thank Philipe for his time and his answers.
I wish him continued success in this industry for many years to come.
Aviva :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Published Vancouver/Surrey Photographer Larry Niven

Larry Niven is a freelance photographer based in Surrey, British Columbia.
He specializes in fitness, swimwear and lingerie photography.
Additionally, he is a freelance photographer for Muscle Mag.
Besides shooting models, Larry also likes landscape, street, and nature photography.

The other day, I've had the pleasure of asking Larry a few questions about photography and modeling.

AVIVA: How long have you been doing photography?
I picked up a camera for the first time in the 1970s. However, I did not start doing photography seriously until I started taking photography classes in college in 1982.

AVIVA:What got you into photography?
I went to college to play ball and after one semester I had enough and decided to call it quits. I was in college with nothing to do except take boring math and accounting courses. That is when I discovered that my college had a photography program. I had been interested in photography in high school and decided to take a course in colleges. I was then hooked!

AVIVA: Do you have a favorite subject?
There is not a particular favorite subject. I love fashion, aviation, glamour, landscape, nature and fashion photography.

AVIVA:What has been your most exciting experience in photography (if any stands out to you)?
LN: Stepping into a photography studio for the first time in 1982. The studio was Focal Point and it is still around.

AVIVA:Do you have any advice for photographers who are interested in being published?
Study whatever magazine that you want to get published in. Find out what the publisher is looking for and practise to develop your skills!

AVIVA: Which print publications has your work appeared in?
My work has been in
American Curves
Inside Fitness
Muscle mag
The Vancouver Sun
Calidad Ambiental
Petit Fashion

AVIVA: If you could say a few things to aspiring models, what would you say?
Set some goals. Develop your skills and work on developing a career outside of modeling. Most models do modeling to promote a career (such as acting or writing) or to promote a business.

AVIVA: On your website, you stated that you traveled. Do you have a travel experience that you would like to share?
There have been numerous experiences that I enjoy telling. One of them was meeting Jaime Pressley at a photo shoot that I was doing for a agency in Los Angeles. During my first trip to the Olympia Expo in Las Vegas, I walked into the expo and saw Sylvester Stallone and Lou Ferrigino working side by side at two booths. Also traveling through the Grand Canyon and the Rockies were great experiences.

AVIVA: Do you have any last comments about modeling and photography?
Do it for fun. You are not going to get rich. However you will find it rewarding through the people who you meet, the events that you go to and the things that you see.

I'd like to thank Larry for answering my questions, and I hope that his success in photography continues.

To see his work, please click on the links right below.
Larry's Model Mayhem Profile


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Craigslist Talk 2.0: To Reply, Be Sly, or Fly?

There are hundreds of Craigslist ads that are currently active and running...

The most popular sections where "photographers", "models", "agents", "producers", and the like post their ads are:

*art/media/design jobs
*marketing/pr/ad jobs
*TV/film/video jobs
*creative gigs
*talent gigs
*event gigs
*and if that's your proclivity "adult gigs" aka porn/stripping/or simply "nudity"

Some things that I have noticed about Craigslist ads:

~The majority of people posting on Craigslist who are looking for models (and photographers, make-up artists, and stylists) are always hoping to get someone to work for free (under the disguise of a TFP/CD shoot, although TF should not be equated with free when done properly) on a collaborative basis in order to create "Art".

~Some people who claim to be agents and producers do not write the name of their company/agency nor give any contact info other than an anonymous Craigslist email. This is a huge warning sign. If they were real, they would have a bit more (or even some) basic info about their company, such as a NAME!

~Many of the photographers (and others) who post on Craigslist advertising their services produce substandard amateur photos and hope to get paid for their "work".

~Some people who post on Craigslist are not what they seem. A few are looking for resumes, personal information (address, phone number, name, SIN, etc), and free photos. Once they got your basic info, who knows what they can do with it. Let's see, sell it and credit card fraud are the first 2 that come to mind.

They: "Send pic and resume"
Me: "Who are you? What is this for? More info, please?"
They: "Sorry, only if you send pic/resume will we give you more info"
Me: "Wow! That secretive, aren't you? If you were real, you'd have at least used real sentences in your communications and gave more info. Bye!"

That usually did it. They didn't reply again. However, now I don't even go through that process. I just look at the original email, and ignore/delete it as soon as I see something along the lines of "k, u send pic and resume" or "hey, sup, wanna have some fun; I make you a star!".

~Looking for "nude models" ads. There is absolutely nothing wrong with nude models, and a few of my favorite photos also involve nudity of some sort. What bothers me the most about ads where the poster is "looking for nude models" is the fact that quite often the person posting them is not looking for models, but instead is looking for adult performers or sexual companions.

~When there is an ad for "bikini/lingerie models" then that is all it should be. Sadly though, the moment nudity is mentioned, then that will be all the poster wants, and the bikini/lingerie BS was just geared towards getting aspiring models to respond.

~Even though an ad states that the person posting it is "hiring" talent for paid gigs, they are hoping that someone will agree to volunteer, because this provides "exposure and valuable experience for beginners". Not all Craigslist ads are like that, but the majority of them are. The moment the person who's hiring writes a long email about how wonderful the opportunity is (ie. "This will be your big break because it provides tons of exposure"), they have lost me. For one thing, I can decide myself what will be a good opportunity for me, and I do not need to read a long sales pitch about it. If I like someone's idea/project, I will respond, collaborate and cooperate.

~Some people who post on Craiglist looking for talent don't even know what/who they are looking for, and are not serious. Therefore, if you respond to an ad, and don't hear back, there is a fairly high chance that they weren't serious or real to begin with.

So here's the scoop...

1.The following is a checklist for replying to an ad on Craigslist and being reasonably sure that you are not giving your info/photos to some hack.
~There are details about the project (time, location, concept)
~The grammar, punctuation and spelling are correct for the most part (a typo here and there is alright though)
~The person writing the ad does not promise you unbelievably big things nor to make you a star, and only states what the project entails.
~The email address is not some obscene/stupid word @hotmail/gmail/
~There is a company name in the email address, ie.
~The name of the contact is shown (ie. Please send photos/resume to John Smith)
~There is a way to contact the poster other than an anonymous Craigslist email (ie. website or phone number)
~It indicates what the compensation is (as opposed to DOE or "To be Negotiated", although some legitimate gigs do say that)
~There is an indication of the physical features they are looking for in their talent (ie. Blond, at least 5'6", size 4, etc)

In order to respond to an ad you believe is legitimate, emphasize why you are right for the job. So, if they are looking for a girl who's 19 and 5'7", then tell them that you are (IF AND ONLY IF you actually are!!!). If they want you to have previous experience, let them know that you have some. Make sure your grammar/spelling/punctuation is correct, and write the reply in a way that shows you're serious about being considered. Also, send them sample pics that are closest to what they are looking to shoot, in order to show that you are capable of producing such images. Comment on each of the points of the ad, in order to mimic it in your reply. Do not lie.

2. When to be sly in responding to an ad. In this case, the reason you have to be sly in your reply(if you choose to reply at all) is because a few of the aforementioned conditions that are symptoms of a legitimate ad are missing.
For example, the ad does not indicate the name of the company, or the name of the company cannot be found on google. Also, there may not be any details that are specific to what type of talent they are looking of.
An ad of such nature may read like this:
A new swimwear designer is looking for beautiful bikini models for a photoshoot and catalogue work. Please respond with photos, stats, and contact info

The reasons you have to be cautious on this one are:
*Where is the contact name?
*Why don't they give the name of the swimwear designer?
*Do they have a date/time frame in which they need to get the photos done?
*Is there compensation, or is it TFP?
*Why don't they indicate if there are any specific characteristics that they want the models to have (ie. height, weight, hair colour, etc)
*Wouldn't a person who is serious have more than 2 sentences worth of an ad when looking for models?

So, in this case, I would respond along the lines of this:
I am a model from Victoria, BC. I am responding to your Craigslist ad where you are looking for swimwear models. I am 5'6", 118 lbs, measurements 34 24 35, blond hair, and have experience with bikini/lingerie modeling. Please check out my website and my Model Mayhem account
I am interested in more information about the photoshoot and you can email me back or contact me via the contact form on my website.
Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you,

In the above email, I was able to show my experience, photos, comment on their ad, and ask for more information without giving out personal info, such as my address and phone number. If the person is serious, they would get back to me and let me know more information and whether or not they want to use me in their shoot.

Being sly is about responding to an ad without giving out too much info, other than what's on the Internet already (ie. on my site). The bottom line is, do not sound desperate in your reply. Good luck! (Hopefully the ads you doubt about are real)

3. When to fly. Also known as, hit the "back" button the moment you read an ad on Craiglist, and possibly even flag it.
~The ad is riddled with spelling errors
~The person posting it promises to make you a superstar
~Text talk is used. Texting is for kids/teens/friends. Serious business people do not use text talk in their ads when looking for talent!
~There is no indication at all of what the gigs entails, and usually the ad is a one-liner.
~No contact info at all, other than an anonymous Craigslist email.

A typical ad of such nature reads like this:
Wanna b models, gurls?
Send pics and phone #, and u'll be da next big thing in Hollywood w awesum partys and mansions!

OK, maybe not that bad, but you get the idea. Do not reply to something like this. It's most likely written by some hack who's looking for free photos, information, or to "meet" girls. And if you really feel like doing the online community a favour, flag any ad that reads like the above quote.

Good luck with your Craigslist endeavors! :)


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Let's Talk About Craigslist for a Few Minutes...

Whenever the name "Craigslist" is mentioned, different people have different thoughts floating in their heads...

Craiglist has been in the headlines for the scammers, and rapists, as well as even a killer. However, several other people have talked about legitimate jobs they've applied to and got off Craigslist, so to each his own.

What I will tell you about Craigslist, will leave you wondering what my true thoughts are about the site. Instead of talking about what I think of the site, I will discuss the positive and negative experiences that I've had with it.

Let's start with the positives :)
~I met a photographer that was able to provide me with photos that I could actually use in order to market myself as a model. He knows his craft, is great at dealing with people, knows how to pose models, is prompt at returning photos. Additionally, I became good friends with his wife and him. His business name is IMS FotoGrafix and his work can be seen HERE

~I landed a gig with JP Erickson shooting for, by first finding his ad on Craigslist. I traveled to Vancouver to do the shoot and made a good sum of money.

~I found Eriko, a VERY AWESOME hair stylist who introduced me to Kat of Nightshade Beauty (published Make-up artist), and Shimon Karmel (published photographer). We did a photoshoot in order for Eriko to enter the Contessa, a national hair styling competition.

~I contacted a couple of marketing companies who hired me as Promo Girl for events held in Victoria. They constantly post on Craigslist advertising for event staff in various cities. The pay for promo work is very good, at least $15/hour. Considering that the average North American makes $12/hour, working jobs that are less fun than promotional modeling, it is definitely worth a try.

~Lynn of Empress Jade Vintage and I met through Craigslist and have worked together on several occasions doing catalog shoots.

~I was able to find countless other paid modeling gigs, which by the way did NOT involve nudity.

And now...the Negatives...Dun. Dun. Dun...
~There were a few sickos that contacted me asking me to send them full nude photos. Of course, I just ignored them, and moved on.

~Guys who promised "to make me famous" contacted me on there too, and invariably fed me a bunch of bullshit. Unfortunately for them though, I responded with something along the lines of "If it's too good to be true, it probably is. No legitimate person offers a girl guaranteed Super stardom just from working with them. Bye"

~People who gave no info on the gig responded to my ad solely with "Hey U, send pic and phone number". I mean seriously? My ad stated that before I send any info/photos, I need detailed information about the project (time, date, budget, concept, location, contact name and number). If the respondent is serious, they WILL take a moment to add the "extra" but necessary info, as opposed to "Hey u, send pic and number".

~There were people who claimed to be affiliated with major magazines/agencies/corporations/businesses who sent me shoot inquiries. The only problems were that the return email was a gmail/hotmail/yahoo account, the email was ridden with grammar/spelling errors, they offered me payment up front, and the person who sent me the email asked for far too much information. ID theft? Scam? Who knows??!!

~I've browsed through countless Craigslist ads, responded to them, only to find out that:
*the lingerie shoot that was advertised is actually a cover up for a nude shoot;

*the liquor promo gig is actually a strictly commission paid nightclub promo;

*the photographer who advertised Maxim Style photos is actually a pimp

*the person with some agency is a scammer who's charging large sums of money to be listed on the "agency's" site;

*the people shooting a calendar are gathering info for a possible ID theft;

*the guy shooting for a swimwear company is a perv who wants to get free pics of women in bikinis/lingerie to "use";

*and so on.
Just be careful about sending your info/pics online!

In my next article,Craigslist Talk 2.0, I will discuss decoding ads, and ways to tell (based on my own experience) if an ad is legitimate & the benefit of the doubt (including how to respond to an ad where you question it's legitimacy).

Check out My Facebook Page for more updates and pictures :)


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tom Gore: Victoria Fine Art Photographer who Runs the Advanced Imaging Lab at UVic

The other day, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tom Gore. His photos have been published in several newspapers and magazines. In addition, he's had many gallery shows and does not plan on stopping. :) Tom's collection of Fine Art photographs is outstanding and he brings a unique and interesting style to his work.

He's shot several subjects, including, but not limited to: architecture, fine art nudes, landscapes, bodyscapes, fashion, portraiture, as well as traveled throughout Europe shooting the beautiful landmarks and experiencing a wide variety of cultures.

Tom Gore is well-educated and well traveled. He has a very creative mind and his photographs definitely show it.

Some of the places where you will see Tom Gore's work are:
Flickr account
Model Mayhem

AVIVA: How long have you been doing photography?
Since I was ten, but seriously since I first went to Europe when I was about eighteen. So for almost 45 years.

AVIVA: What is your favorite thing about photography?
The ability to make and share ideas through beautiful images.

AVIVA: Where has photography taken you (as in travel)?
Mostly Europe, especially to New York, Mexico, England, Scotland, France, Italy and Turkey. It also took me to the Arctic and the bottom of the ocean.

AVIVA: Do you have any funny/interesting/weird shoot experience that you would like to share?
Well, there was this time I was thrown out of Fort Rodd Hill for photographing nudes in a National Historic Site.

AVIVA: Do you have a favorite subject?
The landscape, the cityscape and the nude.

AVIVA: You run the Advanced Imaging Lab at UVic; could you tell me more about it?
Our Lab was the Biological Photography Laboratory, teaching scientific photography in all its aspects. As everything became digital we "modernized" the name, but our function remains the same, "making the small larger and making the invisible visible"

AVIVA: Where has some of your fine art work appeared?
: The Globe & Mail, Saturday Night, CNN, Camera Canada, Camera Mainichi, Raddle Moon and a number of photography text books.

AVIVA: Could you tell us more about your style and what you do to the images during post-processing?
I have a number of "styles". For about eight years I've worked exclusively digitally but I still do a lot of traditional black & white work, both landscape and nudes. I do a lot of somewhat journalistic travel work, mostly in Europe and increasingly I am making large colour pieces that involve collage techniques, with images built in layers in Photoshop. I can achieve exciting results that go way beyond what I could ever do in the darkroom and that is very liberating.

AVIVA: Do you have any advice for aspiring models and new photographers?
Look at as many great pictures as possible and think about what makes them great. Photography is far more about ideas and vision than it is about tools and techniques. Good techniques help realize the idea, but without the idea no amount of technique can make a great image. Models and photographers can learn so much from looking at paintings as well as photographs.

AVIVA: What is your preference: shooting commercial work or fine art?
I don't do any commercial work now, but when I did I learned a lot by having to deal with difficult locations and situations that I wouldn't have attempted otherwise. I much prefer the self expression of fine art work, though.

AVIVA: Any last comments?
I wish there were more opportunities to show work. Thanks for asking for my thoughts.

AVIVA: Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me, as your contribution is very valuable!
Stay tuned for more interviews of photographers, models, designers, make-up artists, clothing store owners, and much, much more!!!

Get inside the heads of the individuals who allowed me the privilege to tap into their thoughts a bit.

Enjoy the beautiful July weather =)


How do I stay in shape?

As a former long distance runner who used to compete at provincial level, I can offer my insight on staying in shape (although I am not a professional athlete). When it comes to being in shape, although there is no "quick fix", it does not mean that you have to spend at least 2 hours a day/7 days a week in the gym and eat next to nothing. If that were the case, then I would have given up on being in shape a long time ago ;)

Now, back when I ran competitively, I used to train 6 days a week and have one day of rest. My training routines consisted of tempo runs, plyometrics, sprints, weights, timed runs (which give you a sense of racing), and extra long runs. I followed this routine for about 4 years. I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and saw no negative effects on my body. The reason for that was because: 1. I was younger and young people naturally have faster metabolisms and 2. I trained very hard, and thus used all the calories I consumed.

However, it's been a couple of years since I last raced and/or seriously competed in athletics. I currently watch what I eat and try to get at least 3 workouts per week. MY goal is to mostly maintain, though.

As of right now, my exercise routine consists of:
*The occasional 25 minute jog
*Going on the elliptical trainer for 45 min in the gym
*Using the X-Country Skiing Machine for anywhere between 30 min-1 hour at a time
*Weights, squats, and ab work

I try to vary what I do each day to avoid getting bored of exercise. Before, when I worked out with the track team, there was no chance of getting bored because I had company/exercise buddies and the coach gave us direction. Now, I have to direct/motivate myself, but I still reap the benefits of the valuable lessons that I learned from my coach.

Some things that I learned:
*The moment an exercise routine gets boring will be the moment that exercise will be forgotten/abandoned.
*If you have an opportunity, have an exercise buddy
*Don't get discouraged when you don't see the results of your workout routine within 1 week (that's too little time, no matter how you put it)
*Once you get past the "I hate exercise because it's painful" phase, you'll reach the "I love working out and I don't want to miss it" phase.
*The more work it takes for you to get into the condition that you are happy with, the more likely you are to continue with your exercise routine, because you wouldn't want to have your previous body back.
* When doing a Body Age Assessment, don't be discouraged when your body's age turns out to be older than your actual age. It is reversible!!!!
*Start out with shorter/lighter workouts and then build up. I'm still shocked by the number of people who go too hard, too fast too soon and end up with injuries.
*There is no need for extreme calorie cuts in order to maintain (or even lose weight), especially if you are exercising regularly.

In my next fitness article, I will talk about how to separate the Fad Diets from Plans that you can actually maintain.

Until then...

Let's see what photographer Tom Gore has to say about the craft in his interview.

Stay tuned,

Victoria Photographer Jon Faulknor

Jon Faulknor is a published photographer from Victoria BC. He graduated from the Western Academy of Photography about 4 years ago. Some of his interests, other than photography are skiing, hiking, camping, biking.

On his website, which can be seen HERE, he states that he "would rather take pictures than talk about himself".

However, I had the pleasure of asking him a few questions about the craft and about himself. :)

AVIVA: How long have you been doing photography?
I have been doing photography for 15 years now. I started in Lake Louise with an old Pentax K-1000. Most of the shots were black until I read the manual and things started looking a lot better after that.

AVIVA: What is your favorite thing about photography?
There are so many things that I love about photography, but I love seeing amazing images that inspire me to get out and take more photos. There is nothing better then being out taking some shots and coming home and seeing the results up on the computer screen. Back in the days of film is was so cool to get your slides back and see them on the light table and jump up at you. I still like that as it's a completely different perspective.

AVIVA: Where do you see photography taking you 5 years from now?
Well right now I see myself living full time off photography in 5 years. The past 6 months has been amazing for me and my photography and just getting out there and meeting new clients and people. There are so many different types of photography out there that I love doing like Ski photography, nature photography it's hard to keep focused, but right now I am really focusing on Real estate/interior photography which is the complete opposite of Sports and Nature photography.
My goals are to be shooting every day in 5 years and just keep having fun with it.

AVIVA: Do you believe you have a unique style?
I think every photographer has their own unique style. I'm not sure if I have found mine yet. As I am still photographing many different types of subjects, from the sports to real estate to weddings I haven't quite found my own "style". Mind you when shooting fashion type images I like to do a darker eerie theme shoots so I suppose in the genre that is my unique style.

AVIVA: Which photographer/artist influences you (if any stand out)?
This is a hard one to answer. There are so many photographers that I admire. When I first started doing nature photography I really liked and still do like Art Wolfe. I remember the first time I saw his images I was in the REI in Seattle and saw one of his books and was just amazed at his nature photography. For Fashion photography there are a few photographers that defiantly inspire me. Lithium Picnic is probably one of the first ones I came across a few years ago. His work is just stunning.
I could go on with photographers but I could be here a while.

AVIVA: If you weren't doing photography, what would you be doing?
If I wasn't doing photography I would be back living in the mountains being a ski bum. I spent 7 years in Whistler and 2 years in Lake louise logging in over 100 days a year on the hill. I was able to spend a few days up on the mountain this year and planning on more days this coming winter.

AVIVA: Do you have a favorite subject to shoot?
: Favorite subject is hands down skiing. I love being on the mountain skiing and photography the athletes. You can't ask for much more then skiing and taking photos of skiers.Being up on the snow cover mountain feels like home so I'm really comfortable up there and I know the sport really well so it makes it easy to get the right shot.

AVIVA: Could you tell me more about the photography contests/your published work?
While I was attending Western Academy of Photography here in Victoria 4 years ago, or was it 5. Wow time flies. Back onto the answer now. I entered the Bridgestone photo contest and each student was asked to enter. I think about half the class entered the contest. I had looked at previous winners and was all worried as everyone had used photoshop on their images and at that point in time I was very new to using the program. I ended up shooting a very simple image and won. The prize was $1500 which was much needed for school supplies. You can see the photo HERE.

As well as that contest I entered photo life's emerging photographers contest this year and I had one of my images published that I submitted.

I have also been published in a few other magazines like Layers magazine, Triathlon Magazine Canada as well as a few local papers for including the Martlet and Monday magazine for some theatre work I did a few years ago.

AVIVA: Any final words/comments?
Photography is my greatest passion and it's taken me to some very cool places and being able to photograph them to keep the memories is even cooler. It's been amazing to see all the advances in photography over the past 5 years.
Photography is one of those things that I will never stop doing just for the pure joy it brings.


I congratulate Jon on his published work and contest winnings. I wish him all the best in his photographic career.


Stay tuned for more interviews/articles on photographers, designers, store owners, and much more!

Connect with me on FACEBOOK

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Creepy and Weird Photoshoot Story from 2009

Back in July of 2009, when I was just getting going and hadn't had any weird experiences yet, little did I know that one day it was all going to change...

I set up a lingerie shoot in Vancouver with an amateur photographer off of an Internet website. Since I had to travel outside of my city of residence and meet this guy ("photographer") off the net, I decided that it was a good idea to bring my best friend/assistant with me.

The moment we got there, the guy was acting super weird. First, he looked at my friend like he was a space alien. His face sunk upon the first glance at my friend, because I honestly believe he expected me to show up alone (even though in our emails I stated that I was bringing a friend with me, so it shouldn't have been a big shock to him). Then, he started having a difficult time speaking and it turns out that English is his second language, which created a barrier in our communications.

When we entered his home studio, it was apparent that he'd already downed a quite a few beers. He offered my friend a beer as well.

While we were shooting, he was slurring his words as a result of being drunk. He tried to direct me, but it was clear that he could not say exactly what he wanted to say. He'd stop mid-sentence and angrily sigh as loud as he could.

Then, he got angry at his lights for "not doing what they were supposed to do". He looked at the screen on camera, and sighed after every photo because he didn't get the lighting right, and he couldn't explain to me the poses that he wanted me to do. A couple of times, he tripped over the power cords of his lights. One time resulted in a light falling down and nearly hitting me, but luckily I moved out of the way very quickly.

Additionally, he was talking about how wonderful he was at photoshop and how much money he spent on his equipment. He also stated that photoshop is a very easy program and that he could do anything he likes in photoshop.

Then, he started telling me stories about how whenever he puts out an ad on the Internet site, he always gets junkies and hookers replying to the ad, and how happy he was that I was not one. LOL

At the end of the shoot...he picked up two open beers and said "Hey, guys, look! I got two going at once!!" That was hilarious...I mean he was WASTED by the time we finished. For all I knew, he probably wouldn't even remember shooting with me or that we were there.

I sure was excited to see what the photos turned out like...Well, curiosity killed the cat. When I saw one of the pictures...I couldn't recognize myself. Although, I have to admit, if I'd sent in that pic while I was applying to be a cast member of a horror movie, I'd get the part. :D

All's well that ends well...I guess. He paid me for the shoot. So it wasn't a waste of time. And the experience, as weird as it was, was worth it, since now I can talk about it.

Hasta Luego, amigos,

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Victoria Photographer Ian Simpson of IMS FotoGrafix

The other day, I had an opportunity to sit down with Ian and ask him a few questions about his photography business. We were sitting in his backyard by his well-manicured vegetable garden and nicely-kept greenhouse enjoying a beer in the late night summer cool breeze. While talking to Ian, a moth flew into my water, but I turned down Ian's offer of a beer, because as a model, I have to watch my caloric intake...hahaha.

He is the person whom I credit for getting me started in modeling. Ian provides me with photos that enable me to find paid work as a model because he knows how to bring out the best in people :) As a result, I have booked work with professionals and amateurs alike.

Occasionally, he hires me to assist on photoshoots, while teaching me photography and photoshop techniques. As a result of his teaching, I was able to advance as a photographer much faster than if I were learning it myself. He is very open when it comes to teaching people about photography, as long as they have a desire to learn.


AVIVA: How long have you been doing photography?
I've been interested in photography since I was 10. At 10, I went to Alberta with a Kodak X15F, where I photographed teepees, horses, people, birds, and gophers. In BC, on my way back to Victoria, we went to the Okanagan Game Farm, where I photographed lions, tigers, rattlesnakes, giraffes, a thing called a raccoon dog, and other forms of wildlife, which really got me excited about photography.

AVIVA: What is your favorite thing about photography?
:My favorite thing about photography, when it comes to models, is the dynamic between the models and I, the fun we have, and the challenge of trying to capture that perfect shot followed by emotions which vary between ecstasy and agony after viewing the images resulting from the day's shoot. You can rely on all the technical expertise you think you may have, only to find out that what you thought was a phenomenal shot is crap, and then finding out that a picture you took almost as a joke is pure gold. Another thing I love is the excitement of trying out a new technique that I had been studying is something I can now add to my toolbox because it worked out well. I also love the satisfaction when the girls go crazy over my photos and are thrilled with the results, and the fact that I didn't waste their time, effort and money.

AVIVA: Do you believe you have a unique style? Who influences you?
I try my best to bring something unique and to try to inject emotion, mood, and a technically good image, while at the same time bringing out the personality of the model in such a way that the viewer of the image can experience a range of emotions and get some idea of who the model really is. Other times, I love to create something that is pure fantasy to take the viewer away from their day-to-day concerns and allow them to explore emotions that they definitely would not have otherwise experienced, hopefully in a very positive way...[laughs] My influences are Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, David Lachapelle, Norman Rockwell, Leonardo DaVinci, Van Gogh, and the list goes on for me as I've been a huge fan of these great artists and more than I can list right now. One day I hope to have some kind of vision in my craft that would make any one of these people even slightly impressed, so I continue to study and try to bring my own creative elements to my images.

AVIVA: Do you have a favorite subject?
I don't have what you can call exactly a favorite subject, as much as I enjoy the challenge of trying to find something unusual, beautiful, and emotive in any shooting situation; be it an insect, model, bird, bear, or landscape. Basically, my favorite thing is to be in the process of creating something.

AVIVA: Where do you see photography taking you five years from now?
Within the next 5 years, based on the way things are going right now, and what appear to be my advancements in the technical end of photography, a growing ability to bring my own personal message into an image, as well as having the privilege of being able to have upgraded my camera, lenses, and lighting gear and a greater understanding of the business end of the ever changing world of digital photography, and having some success in it, I can see that by bringing more of a business ethic to what I'm doing and trying to achieve, I can see being successful as a magazine contributor, having gallery shows, and just basically creating images that people love.

AVIVA: If there was one thing you could say to a photographer who is just starting out, what would it be?
Study how to use the tools of the craft so that the results you get are not a big mystery to you as to how you got them, and then you will have a greater chance of capturing something that could be called a personal vision as opposed to an image that anyone, even a chimp, could have shot by pointing the same camera at the same subject with the camera set to automatic, because that is just what the camera recorded, regardless of any personal creativity involved. Another thing is to practice what you study so much that it becomes second nature, and after a while you will find yourself not making the same mistakes over and over again that you see in everyone's Facebook galleries, fridges, and horrifyingly enough framed and placed on walls in homes which are then treated like the Mona Lisa no matter how badly composed, out of focus, blown out, and cliched. Eventually, you will find yourself creating photographs instead of taking snapshots.

AVIVA: Do you have any advice for beginner models?
Be very choosy whom you agree to shoot with, learn the criteria that makes a good photograph, and then find a seasoned professional that can give you images that are worth the money you pay. But, if like most models, you barely have enough money to eat, much less pay a professional photographer, then see if you can convince someone who is a worthy photographer to shoot TFP; always avoid photographers whose images look like snapshots, and are crude. Also, when you communicate with them, there should be nothing vague about the theme of the shoot and be very wary of photographers who try to slowly work you into a situation where it becomes obvious they're just trying to get you naked. In the world of photography today, there is a huge amount of what are called GWC's, which stands for "Guy with a Camera"; this person's portfolio will invariably be filled with poorly shot, poorly lit images of girls who seem almost afraid and will be in unflattering poses, which they on their own would not have done. NEVER, ever shoot anything you might regret later, not for any money, particularly if you are a nurse, teacher, or plan to be some kind of public persona, because this can come back and bite you in the ass hard, such as meaning the end of that career. Another thing that every new model should not waste time with is shooting with friends who consider themselves to be photographers, who clearly have no training, whether self taught or formally trained, unless you are happy to just have those photos as Facebook pictures or other unmarketable images like that. If you do get around people who know the business and have some success, great or small, in photography, you can learn so much more in that environment as opposed to just treading water in your career shooting snapshots with amateurs. The biggest thing you have to remember is few girls who embark on a modeling career EVER make any money at it unless they are truly dedicated and hold no illusions that the mere sight of them is a professionally shot photo will skyrocket them to some fantasy world of success. BE PREPARED TO WORK. Be honest with yourself and to quote Billy Pegram, whom I've had the privilege of having dinner with and gaining some insight into the REAL world of how modeling actually works, "Stand in front of a mirror nude, look at yourself, and ask yourself 'what do I have to offer'. Find your best feature, be it hands, hair, skin, face, butt, legs, and then send photos of yourself via editor/art director or publisher and ask if they could use you." Above all, remember that it's a very very highly competitive field, and to do anything in it means you have to gain a good understanding of how it works. Without doing these things, being successful in the very weird world of modeling is akin to winning the lottery, which has happened, but in very rare cases. Do NOT count on what I said in the last sentence working for you under any circumstances.

AVIVA: Any last comments?
A lot of people will say, "Hey, as long as you're having fun with it, then that's great." Well, that's fine, but guess what, the girls who are serious understand that they are a model and live that way. Meaning: they are concerned with the way they look to such a degree that working out, eating right, taking care of their skin, hair, nails, learning about wardrobe, who's who in their desired field of modeling and bring a business ethic to that have a whole lot more "fun" and even better than that, get a great sense of accomplishment from seeing their efforts rewarded.

You can view some of Ian's work on Model Mayhem

Both images above were taken by Ian of IMS FotoGrafix

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Real Blast from the Past Part 1: Who really got me started?

I've been modeling now for about a year and a half, and I've dealt with quite a large number of photographers, models, hairstylists, MUA's, and several HIGHLY successful photographers who are well published. In this time, I've made around $3500,been on a number of websites, and I'm about to be published in two magazines. In addition, the most successful of all the people I've ever dealt with, whose images inspire me, contacted me to discuss my modeling career. The modeling industry in Victoria is very small, and the majority of modeling gigs are TFP shoots and volunteer fashion shows at the mall. Threfore, I feel blessed to be able to make as much money as I've made in my city. I only say this to show you what level I am at and by no means do I claim to be an expert, but I can share my experiences.

In the past, I've had a few questions about my modeling, especially how I started.
Quite often, I get asked if Craigslist is a good place to find photographers, or if Model Mayhem can get you noticed by serious industry professionals.

I heard about Craigslist when I first moved to Victoria. I was told that it was a site where people can place ads for free, which I thought was awesome =) With that in mind, I decided to give it a try, and see if any photographer would be interested in doing a photoshoot with me.
It all started when I posted an ad on craigslist...
The ad read something like this:
Photographer Needed
I am an 18 year old girl who is looking for a photographer to trade portfolio images with. I am 5'6" and 118 lbs. I would like to do some fitness & bikini shots. Please let me know if this is of interest to you. If so, please email me with samples of your work and your availability and I send you some photos of myself. Looking forward to hearing from you.

When I wrote this ad, simplicity and honesty were key. I knew that when I was a first year university student I could not really afford to be spending $300+ on a photoshoot so I thought that if a photographer saw potential, he/she would work with me on the basis that he/she too would be able to use the photos.

I got quite a few replies, about 20-25 in total. The majority of photographers were hobbyists, amateurs, or stated that they were "just starting out". I did not have a problem with those people, since they were honest, and hey, I was starting out too, so I couldn't be too picky and I was fully aware of it.

I replied to everyone, because I think that it's the proper way to conduct yourself when you do business. If I knew then, what I know now, I probably would not have responded to many of the amateurs or anyone "just starting out", except to say "Thank you, but I've found who I'm looking for", just to be polite & professional.

However, I also got a few perverts who knew nothing about photography, and sent me photos which they obviously did not take. For example, one guy sent me photos that were taken by Richard Simonsen, a well-known photographer.

Another guy offered me to take some nude photos, but I wasn't comfortable doing that as a first shoot. I've also had a few creepy messages from guys who were obviously not looking for models, but they were looking for sex providers. Thanks, but "no thanks". I've dealt with a lot of sleezebags through craigslist...

However, there was one AMAZING local photographer whose images were outstanding. They were properly lit, well-composed, and colour balanced. In addition, he shot the style that I was interested in. To this day, I shoot with him on a regular basis because he is professional, knows how to properly use the equipment, and is fast at getting the images finished. Additionally, he is an incredible retoucher and is very creative. He studied art, photography, and photoshop for many years. His name is Ian and he owns IMS FotoGrafix. You can see his work here
He is the person who got me a great portfolio at the very beginning of my career. As a result of his photos, I was able to apply to several modeling jobs and book some paid work.
I'll definitely do an more detailed article/interview on IMS FotoGrafix.

If you would like to book a shoot with him, please let me know (you can message me through my website) and I will get in touch with him for you or give you his contact info. His rates are very reasonable and shooting with him will save you a lot of time and trouble.

As far as Model Mayhem goes, the forums are interesting, and you can definitely meet some very good people there, as well as book some paid work. At the same time, there are several people that you wouldn't want to meet. Just like with any other tool, you have to use Model Mayhem in order to yield any results from it. So, seek out your connections and pursue them. I'll leave it at that for now.

Have a great day and good luck with everything =)


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Moment of Reflection...

As I sit here typing this, I realize how far I've advanced both as a model and as a person. I took the last couple of years as an opportunity to learn and grow, seek out my strengths and emphasize them.
I've always known that I wanted to be a model, more specifically, a sports/fitness/glamour model. I've always been in shape as a result of participating in various athletic activities, and ate well...

However, it wasn't until I moved to Victoria, BC, that I actually decided to pursue modeling and see what comes out of it.

The following images were taken when I was in grade 12. One was a grad picture of me holding a volleyball and the other was a snapshot that my friend took when he got his new camera and wanted to experiment. I posted an ad on craigslist that I needed a photographer to do some TFP (see my later blog entries about TFP). When the respondents asked for a couple of pics, I sent them the ones that are shown here.

I've had a few respondents, and picked the best of them all. His name is IMSFotoGrafix. He is a great photographer, and therefore an article on him is coming up soon.
Now, I've advanced to shooting stuff like the images that follow.

So far, I've worked with several great people, including MUA's, Hair stylists, Wardrobe Stylists, and photographers. :)

Aviva Now, Anat Khempler is History

When I first started modeling, I used Anat Khempler as my stage name because I thought that was a way to protect my identity and I liked the sound of it.

However, I soon realized that stage names are very important and many girls choose to use a stage name in order to separate their modeling career from their real life.

Benefits of a stage name:
*People in your real life don't know that you model (which could be good with all the myths about modeling that are out there)
*An internet stalker won't know your real name, so they can't track down
*It it's catchy/easy to promounce/unique enough, then it might help your career
*Allows for privacy and anonymity

My problem with Anat Khempler is that it was too difficult to pronounce, and too long.
Therefore, I thought Aviva is a better choice because it's shorter & sweeter, and it's also my middle name.
From now on, all my online profiles will be under Aviva, just like Facebook

Some Background Information about me

I was born in Russia on March 1, 1990. I moved to Canada with my family at a very young age and grew up in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

While in Grande Prairie, I spent my time doing homework and was highly involved in athletics and other extra-curricular activities. I was involved in the following: art club, badminton, basketball, cross country running, downhill skiing, track & field, volleyball, rock climbing, gymnastics, school council, as well as various volunteering and fundraising events.

When I was younger, I wanted to pursue a career in long distance running. I was introduced to a professional coach, Bill Corcoran from the Wapiti Striders Running Club as well as a nutritional expert. My commitment to long distance running allowed me to come out on top at the ASAA Zone Championships for 4 years in a row and receive MVP in Track and Field in my high school.

At 17, I decided to take on an even bigger challenge: to run the Emperor's Challenge Half marathon up Mount Roman. My coaches advised me against it because the farthest I have ever gone was 10k. However, I insisted that I wanted to commit myself to a training routine that would allow me to compete in the run. I completed the run and finished 4th/169 female participants, many of whom had much more experience.

The same year I did the run, I had to move to a small town in British Columbia.Unfortunately, that also signified the end of my career as a semi-professional athlete due to an injury. However, I continued to excell in academics and athletics earning an Athlete of the Year Award, Top Academic Award, and Governor General's medal in my last year of high school.

I am fluent in English and Russian, as well as proficient in Spanish. I also studied Hebrew and German.

I relocated to Victoria to go to university on a large scholarship. It is there that I began modeling and found my passions. I am also interested in acting, fitness, photography and make-up artistry.
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