Nick Wooster

image

It was Matt’s pleasure, mid-weekend jaunt to New York City, to once again meet up with astute aesthete Nick Wooster, after coming together, quite off the cuff, for several portraits in late-autumn of 2011. This succeeding rendezvous saw the two collude in studio, the results of which make for contrasting, more personal, viewing.

The Passing Shot: We’re pleased you were able to reconnect with Matt after meeting for a quickie a few years back. Is there a distinct difference between the Nick Wooster of 2011 and he of 2014?

Nick Wooster: I guess I am just older. I am never really conscious of “what I am wearing” or “what I am going to look like”. I just acquire stuff that I think is cool or that I really like…and figure it out as I have to get dressed.

TPS: Your personal approach to style looks to be as acute as ever (the collar pin is a lovely touch). What were you wearing that day? Was there any particular process behind it or was it simply what you happened to have on at the time?

NW: I was wearing a Thom Browne coat with a fur collar. It had just turned chilly, after a welcome day of moderate temperature. Underneath was a Neil Barrett black and white houndstooth jacket and a Club Monaco houndstooth vest. The white oxford shirt was Thom Browne, as were the pants. The shoes were Trickers. I had actually been shooting all day for a Korean client, and wanted to wear something different from what I had on all day. The only process what that I had 5 minutes to get dressed and out the door.

TPS: Does “trend” or movement in fashion dictate the evolution of your own style or is it not something you pay much attention to? Do men pay little or less heed to this sort of thing in general?

NW: It is well documented that I HATE the word trend or anything that smacks of “trends” or trendy. Have I ever gotten caught up in a “trend”? Absolutely - but I would never set out to take these so called “trends” and build a wardrobe around them. I believe in occasion. In that regard, I feel it is absolutely appropriate to break away from a uniform when the moment is right.

TPS: Seeing as we’re speaking in the midst of a rather robustly chilly winter, what are you looking forward to wearing when the weather starts to turn? You seem quite comfortable in an almost uniform combo of tailored short and blazer - is this once more to be on the docket for summer?

NW: I love the summer, but hate summer “clothes”. It’s way harder to feel polished in humidity. I wear shorts with a jacket because:
a. I feel “dressed” with a jacket
b. Shorts are a ventilation tool.

That’s it - nothing more special than that.

TPS: You shot with Matt in studio this time, the result of which feels more intimate than on the street. Have you a preference to location versus studio photography, when it comes to being photographed? You’re certainly often photographed but do you enjoy sitting for a portrait?

NW: I truly hate having my picture taken. I know that sounds ridiculous, but when I am caught on the street with sunglasses, there isn’t much I have to do. Sitting in front of a camera is way more intimidating. It brings every shred of negative self image straight into my consciousness like a bazooka, but Matt made it way less scary for me - for that I am super grateful.

imageimageimageimage

TALWST

image

We’re proud to reveal our regard for such an adroit Torontonian today, quite fittingly, on his birthday.

TALWST, né Curtis Santiago, is something of a fine-art factotum. Equally skilled are his talents in music, mixed media and performance, it’s impossible to deign to label him with any one title. Drifting purposefully between Toronto & New York (though reared on Canada’s west coast with roots in Trinidad), TALWST’s musical manifestation, an almost mythical creation with monumental stature that has worked with grammy-nominated Illangelo, dwarfs his current fixation, literally, which provides interesting juxtaposition. Infinity, a project consuming his most recent past, is a series of miniature dioramas of landscapes inhabited by reconstructed fantastical Preiser figures; pocket-sized microcosms that are housed in reclaimed ring boxes. This work’s thematic base encompasses both the vastness and atomity of how TALWST views our world, using the miniatures’ minuteness to exhibit immense ideas - to put his own statement in rather broad terms…

TALWST’s Toronto-transport saw him propelled into the city’s art, music & nightlife scene; one in which he, someone as natty as gnostic, was naturally thrust to the fore. It was here that he and Matt developed a working relationship, as subject & photographer, that has led to both a mutual respect and, eventually, a friendship.

imageimageimage

Academy of Lions

image

Savvy, strapping Torontonians in-the-know have been taking advantage of the Academy of Lions since it’s inception (as downtown T.O.’s first CrossFit affiliated gym) in 2008, though it’s taken Johnny-come-lately fitness buff Matt until the end of last year to discover it. While the sinewy skills of solemn Russian owner Dhani Oks (who, remarkably, can do a Turkish Getup hoisting a person, rather than standard kettle bell) drew Matt to the equal parts community & CrossFit driven sweat-shoppe, it’s perhaps a third ‘C’, the Academy’s buttered Bullet Proof Coffee, that keeps him coming back. 

Setting out to capture the gymnasium’s complete dynamic, and not merely the Academy’s top dog cat, Matt went about photographing all of those involved, from trainer to nutritionist; even managing to sneak in to document the family behind the weightlifting team practise - the Varbanovs, a robust full-bodied Bulgarian trio, consisting of father Alex (a world-record holder), his wife Irina & son Niki, who, despite his tender age, is already looking like a chip off the ol’ block. 

Work up a sweat with more from Dhani & his Pride, past the jump…

imageimageimageimageimageimage

Read More

Moose Knuckles

image

Having set off from Toronto to northern Ontario in a custom matte black ‘81 Ford Holiday RV dubbed the Beaver Mobile (both for an adoration of the castor canadensis and a creature of an altogether different, though equally furry, variety), the following experience was a ribald stretch of uniquely Canadian good cheer…

Collaborating with founder Will Poho, Matt took to Crystal Lake to shoot Moose Knuckles' Fall/Winter '14 lookbook, an encounter comprised of boisterously long days and bawdy nights in the company of a battery of beautiful people. Pre, post & mid-shoot tomfoolery may have been a result of mainlined-maple syrup; side-effects of which included a devilish spot of hot-tubbing and a little northern exposure in the form of a polar bear dip. Blessedly, the sub-zero weather was easily dealt with, a fact owed to hookups from Ian Moodie at Newcastle Brown Ale and Sarah Brown-Duncan from Jäger, though shooting half-buck naked in a duck-down jacket is just the sort of sport that Canadian winters are made for.

Brave the frost-bitten jump for much more from Matt & Moose Knuckles, as well as a rundown of all of those who were involved.

imageimage

Read More

Brave New Girls

image

Commissioned by E!, Matt set out to tackle the task of photographing daunting beauty Jenna Talackova, the transgender model who shot to fame after being disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada competition and, with assistance from civil rights attorney Gloria Allred (who must have had one hell of a chinwag with disputatious pageant owner Donald Trump), was reinstated - a groundbreaking gig that saw Jenna go on to finish in the top twelve of the competition. Having ignited from the heat of the spotlight, post-Trump triumph, the long-legged looker’s éclat was rewarded with a Docu-series entitled Brave New Girls, which follows the Vancouver native as she trades in her west coast lifestyle for the metropolitan moil of Toronto; a city where she aspires to attain a modelling career that matches her ambition, with support from cousin Angela & best friend Dajana.

Catch Brave New Girls Sundays at 10e/7p on E!, but not until you get a load of Matt in the video below, dishin’ out tips on how to take better photographs. His secret is out!

image

image

image

DWW: Party For Your Life

image

Following up Tuesday’s solicitation to a studio-based sausage fest, today your Passing Shot invitation allows access to a low down dirty clam-bake circa late last summer; shared for the first time, in all it’s calidity. Brought about for the benefit of the Toronto-based Down With Webster, comrades of Matt’s for a good number of years now, the shoot is and was exactly what it appears to be - a soirée of a scurrilous magnitude in celebration of the band’s latest album. The horde annexed a house in the sticks (after a tequila led ride in a school bus prone to breast baring hijinks) accompanied by a pirate’s bounty of booze & booty, for a party bursting with the same sort of frenetic energy found in DWW’s music. Treat your peepers to a peek at the slick BTS video before soaking up the rest of this rather colossal series - one which is only a nipple or two away from being occupationally hazardous, or, more colloquially, NSFW, and features Passing Shot darlings Kristie Taylor, Kay de Courval and Maycee Lara-Jade amongst a bevy of equally libidinous babes…

imageimageimageimageimage

Read More

Willam Belli

image

Actor, singer, television personality & drag performer Willam, notable for appearances as Cherry Peck on Nip/Tuck & as a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race (in the series’ fourth season), stopped by the studio for something of a sausage party, with Matt and a whole wad of wiener on hand to welcome him: the results are an oily mélange of hirsute bratwurst…

Ride the jump for a mouthful more of William & his wooly band of kielbasa bullies, including a saucy BTS - plus play “spot the Matt Barnes regulars” amongst the extras!

Read More

Michael Bradley

Last week, Toronto FC signed American midfielder Michael Bradley and while it may not have received the same level of hype that the signing of potent poacher Jermain Defoe did, it’s an equally bloody big deal. Matt was on hand to snap the first official shots of the former Borussia Mönchengladbach, Chievo & Aston Villa man, who joined Toronto from Italian club A.S. Roma - a bit of shock when one considers the U.S. international left a club currently in second place in Italy’s top league for one which has sputtered since its ‘06 inception. Thankfully, a slew of new signings, including the aforementioned Defoe, Gilberto and possibly Bradley Orr, has TFC management and it’s supporters buoyant; a fact that bodes well for the forthcoming season. Could a spot in the elusive playoffs or even a sneaky bit of silverware beckon?

Detroit Bikes

image

Some short while ago, Matt took a spell down south to the soul-stimulating nitty gritty that is the Motor City, and though Detroit is a mere 232 miles, and is more south-west than is anything else, hell, it’s still a trip south. Who wouldn’t pass up a trip to the one-time automotive capital of the world and even if she’s not the prized pig she once was…perhaps therein lies her charm?

Sent by Canadian Business magazine, Matt met up with a man who saw the glow in Detroit’s gloom and decided to set up shop. Zak Pashak, proprietor of Detroit Bikes, a company that maintains a mandate priding simplicity and minimalism while not eschewing quality or comfort, pays homage to the city’s historic manufacturing deftness in the character of their craft - all coming from a Canadian, originally of Calgary, believe it or not. Producing purely the A-Type Commuter Bicycle, a handsome three-speed with a classic riveted saddle and matte black finish, Detroit Bikes' creations are as accessible as they are attractive, retailing just shy of seven hundred dollars, and are available in Toronto at Bikes On Wheels - a periodic patron and pal of our Matt.

Not content with just one stop - though, you’ll see various stages of assembly were captured in the Detroit Bikes factory which make it feel like much more - Matt made time to check out the handiwork of the Heidelberg Project, an undertaking which sprinkles whimsy, often bordering on the bizarre, upon the decay in part of Detroit’s east side by means of “color, symbolism, and intrigue,” and have been doing so for twenty-seven years. Stop by the Heidelberg site for more about them - after you’ve perused all of what Matt’s trip to Detroit had to offer, post-jump…

imageimageimageimageimage

Read More

John Tavares

image

It’s been a tip-top couple days for Mississauga native John Tavares; Monday saw him score a hat trick for the NY Islanders, Tuesday selected for the Canadian Olympic hockey team and today, well what do you know, a spot on the Passing Shot. While the latter may not collect interest in the centre’s memory bank, photographing him at the Islanders training facility in Long Island, NY, for Gillette, was a uniquely memorable experience for Matt, art director Rob Trickey and the always on-point cinematographer Mike Rybinski, who teamed with Matt on the video, below.

Best wishes to John & the rest of our athletes in Sochi, Russia!

imageimage