Photographing people in and out of their normal work environments is something that really interests me. I have a curious mind and really like learning about what other people do, how they do it, and why they do it. A couple of weeks ago I shared an image I made of Chef Michael Radford for the Shepherds of Good Hope fundraising calendar. Today, I will share the second image I made for the calendar, which was of chef John Morris of the then Le Café at the National Arts Centre NAC) here in Ottawa, and now of 360 Restaurant at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto.
I was excited to meet John after learning how great everyone said he was, and after realizing we had a similar taste in music. I'm probably wrong, but I feel like music can say a lot about someone's personality.
I went into the shoot without having a clear idea of the image I hoped to capture, so we walked through the NAC discussing a few possible locations. And then we found ourselves standing at side stage of the NAC main stage and I knew I had to photograph him on the iconic stage. The problem was, we weren't allowed on stage because of rules and liability issues, and because the orchestra were beginning their evening practice on the stage. We decided to risk it and ran out on stage for a few quick shots. The resulting image for the calendar is the one you see above.
I often like to light my portrait subjects, but due to the risk of security dragging us off stage I decided to use the room's available light and push my camera settings to their limits. The only strobist work I did in this image was to bounce the desk lamp off the top of the piano to help create a bit of rim light along John's right side.
Here's an out-take that I really like. Though the orchestra was practising behind me, it captures a quiet moment John taking a few seconds from his busy day to admire and appreciate where he worked.
If you haven't already, please check out the Shepherds of Good Hope calendar and buy one. The money raised from the sale of these calendars goes to an incredible local charity that serves thousands of meals each year to Ottawa's homeless community. The calendar also showcases the amazingly creative portraits made by Justin van Leeuwen, Jessica Deeks, Valerie Keeler, Lindsey Gibeau, Christian Lee and Chris Schlesak. If you like photography and you like food, you'll love this calendar.