My first photograview is with Billie Chiasson, a most talented photographer, based in Toronto, ON, who brings a timelessness to her work.
I’ve known Billie for a number of years and she is as wonderful a soul as she is creative.
My thanks to you Billie for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions and letting me display some of your work here on my post.
1. You moved from Halifax to Toronto last year, what major changes has this move created, and how has that effected your work/opportunities for you?
This question requires me to take a step back and observe my surroundings, as I spend so much of my time shooting & have become accustomed to a busy lifestyle that I really haven’t taken a look at what I have accomplished since moving to Toronto.
I guess in terms of my own career everything has changed since moving to Toronto. I’m fortunate to work with incredibly talented people in the industry here; makeup artists, models, hairstylists, stylists, assistants, editors & agencies. Moving to Toronto was one of the best decisions of my life and I feel as though I am moving towards my goals & increasing my skill level by working with such talented people.
I have several images on Vogue.it, have had editorials published & I also have a cover & spread coming out shortly. All of which I have accomplished since moving to Toronto. I still do a lot of collaborative as I feel as though I am in the process of building a name for myself & improving my own skill & art. At one point I made more money in Halifax then I do now in Toronto – however the resources for Fashion & Editorial are far more vast in the big city.
It just takes time and a lot of patience. I love every minute of it.
2. Your style has a simplistic beauty and your subjects seem to exude emotion and drama, would you consider yourself primarily fashion? Fine art? Emotive? Portrait?
I consider myself an artist & I don’t feel as though my style fits into what would be considered “fashion”, as I’m primarily focused on the emotion in my images instead of the actual clothing. That being said, I have shot editorials for clothing before & enjoy it. I also shoot A LOT of lingerie & testing for agencies here in Toronto. So maybe my style is a little bit of everything for the moment. I still feel as though I’m growing and developing as an artist.
3. What types of clients have you found attracted to your work?
Mostly agencies, models & the odd editor.
4. Do you primarily use ambient/available light with your subjects?
I do primarily use ambient or available light.
5. When working with a “green” model, how do you get the level of emotion that you accomplish with your other work?
I generally don’t work with models that would be considered “green”. I am very selective of the individuals that I do work with for collaborative because of how and what I shoot. Confidence and the ability to show emotions are a must! Also, my clients are generally agencies, so the models are more experienced and comfortable in front of the camera.
If I do have a paying client who is not as comfortable in front of the camera, I’m very good with direction as I know exactly how I want the images to be reflected for the client and for myself. I feel as though open communication during a shoot is a must – especially when your working with larger teams.
If you are confident in your skill and know what you want, you will be able to pull emotion out of a person no matter how shy they may be; it just takes a split second for them to let go & for you to capture it.
6. What is your process or method when creating a body of work?
There are so many different things that go into it & whenever your shooting you have no other choice but to think of these things all at once. It’s the best adrenaline rush to know that something is perfectly exposed, that your capturing just the right essence and emotion while maintaining the integrity of the other artists working with you (Hair, Makeup, Clothing (If I’m shooting an editorial) ), all while taking into consideration the post-processing & knowing what you will do with the image afterwords. (Ok, I’m done drooling now).
All of these different things combined with the small details (ie.- the way you light something, how you move, your position in relation to the model, the time of day, your own feelings, how the model is feeling, how you thrive off the emotions and environment around you, etc.) plays so much into the signature of your work it’s ridiculous. You do all this in 1/125 of a second or faster 😉 Of course post-processing plays a part in your signature after you capture the image, however I’m a firm believer in “doing it right the first time”, especially when it comes to lighting & knowing exactly how you want the image to be relayed.
7. You have been published several times, what is your approach when dealing with publications and what is it like working with their teams?
In comparison to my fellow photographers in Toronto, I really have not been published that much – however that will change 😉 I will make sure of it.
I’m refining my own skills and coming up with concepts/ideas and approaching fantastically talented people to take part. (Super excited).
In terms of getting published and submitting for publishing, sometimes it is a hit or miss & it’s always good to review a magazine and/or online publishing beforehand to see if your style is suitable to what they are looking for. (I made this mistake a couple of times) In terms of working with “their” teams, I have been incredibly fortunate that even if I do get published, regardless whether or not it’s for print or online, that I get to select the team I work with and/or am provided options of individuals to choose from.
When it comes down to the success of the images for all parties involved there needs to be a good flow of energy. In the future, if I do shoot for larger clients I may not have this luxury, however it really is a matter of perspective & I don’t think I would ever take on a client where I did not think I could work and/or do their publication justice. It just wouldn’t be right to me, regardless of the money.
8. Are there any recent/current/future projects on the go that have you excited?
Of course there is! & I’m always excited. My excitement does not end!
9. In five years, where will we find Billie Chiasson?
It’s hard to tell where I will be in 5 years as life can throw you a curve ball when you least expect it.
For Example: 4 years ago, I was not even a Photographer. 😉
I like to think that if you put out beautiful things into the world that people will take notice & hopefully be inspired by the beauty of it. In 5 years, I hope to continue to create something that would be considered “beautiful.” If I happen to be working with larger clients and have taken on photography full time, then so be it.
I’m incredibly excited for my own life and very much look forward to what the next 5 years will bring me.
Thank you again Billie for letting me delve a little into your work and life. Have a great holiday and a Happy 2013!!
My next photograview will be with Liam Hennessey of Applehead Studios.
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