Teaser: Sportsnet - the Beauty of Sport

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After what seemed an enjoyable eon of toil and moil, Sportsnet Magazine's first annual Beauty of Sport issue, shot exclusively by Matt, is very nearly ready to launch. Toasting Canadian athletes who are as successful as they are seductive, this special edition features twenty-eight jocks & jockettes, and will be available on newsstands from July 18th. 

To celebrate the release of this ravishing and prodigious publication, a little teaser has been prepared - one which features Lauren Sesselmann, Kaylyn Kyle & Emily Zurrer, who all, quite fittingly, play the beautiful game, and the equally impressive (Toronto’s very own) hundred metre Olympian, Justyn WarnerThe entire Beauty of Sport experience, including Matt’s lively jaunt to Las Vegas, will air July 15th on Sportsnet at 7pm, but in the meantime the video on Sportsnet’s teaser page, as well as the images that sandwich this text, will surely suffice.

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Lexi Belle & T. Mills

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As Matt was expressing his affection for the west coast (he was in California for a bit of work ‘n play), he made the delightful decision to pair two personalities whom he thought would get along famously (or at least infamously): rapper T. Mills and porn starlet Lexi Belle. This pairing may not instantly strike as two who would (or should) be photographed together, but both fall into the canon of characters whose aesthetic Matt appreciates - a fact that more than warrants this photographic coupling. My first thought was of the juxtaposition between the two sets of fans, though when I really broke it down, what differs in both age and gender (old male fans for Lexi, younger females for T. Mills) is made up for in shared levels of reverent passion. Even further, both share a sort of guttural soundtrack to their lives, underlined by a proclivity toward exploits of a wanton nature - his lyrics are chock full of references to acts that she is celebrated for being adept at. Conclusively, both share an open affinity for the consumption of marijuana, in all of its forms; an affinity realized to a delirious degree while both were on set. View the intoxicating experience in full, post-jump…

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Perez Hilton

True to our word about sharing Matt’s recent exploits in California, we visit the Hollywood home of polarizing pop culture pundit/celebrity cognoscente Perez Hilton, who was more than willing to play both ham and handsome for this candid series. The media maven, a charming & gracious host, certainly didn’t hold back, showing off his (relatively) new found fitness in a magnificent manner. Styling was handled by Marc Andrew Smith, while the ever-present assistant Papi was also on hand - he may even blown the inflatable ‘gator, erm, up…

An abundance of Perez can be found beyond the jump!

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Coiffeur Madness

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Last week Matt embarked upon an excursion to California (the photographic goods of which will be served up in the weeks to come), and, as a man who takes a great interest in the aesthetic pleasures in life, he made a point to return to the haven that is Hawleywoods Barbershop, in Costa Mesa (purveyors of Layrite pomade). Not content with merely an exceptional trim and taper, Matt made it his business to photograph the shop’s eponymous owner, Donnie Hawleywood, who looks as cool as his name would suggest…proof is in the pudding below. 

Matt makes it a point to seek out a boss barbershop whilst travelling (like Rody’s ‘the Barber Shop' of Helsinki which appears post-jump), though he doesn't have to travel far to find his favourite; Toronto's Crows Nest. Matt has been photographing the Crows for several years now, and has even had the pleasure of having them on set, as was the case with barber Jimmy on Matt’s Outsiders shoot. A revamped Crows Nest website was recently launched, featuring several new snaps of the crew and their tools - the fruits of which can be found past the jump, alongside a bloodied razor blade still-life shot which Matt took while he was still working as an assistant.  

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Wiser’s Small Batch

We’re happy to report that Matt’s recent “Handcrafted In Small Batches” cheeky collaboration with john st. advertising agency for Wiser’s whisky, landed them a Bronze at last evening’s Marketing Awards, in the ‘Magazine Single’ category. A full list of those to be credited for the win can be found below - well done all!

Advertising Agency: john st.
Creative Directors: Angus Tucker, Stephen Jurisic
Copywriter: Dhaval Bhatt
Art Directors: David Glen, Malin Holmquist
Agency Producer: Alisa Pellizzari
Photographer: Matt Barnes
Account Team Lead: Ian Brooks
Account Supervisor: Mark Graham
Account Executive: Andrew Godfrey

Danny Fernandes

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Brand spankin’ new photographs of the abundantly-inked pop performer/R&B vocalist Danny Fernandes adorn the blog today, though he’s not the first Fernandes to grace these pages - brother Shawn just beat him to the punch. Only the two shots of the strapping MuchMusic Video Award winner for now, but speaking of the MMVAs, it’s a pleasure to announce that Matt’s music video for the Sheepdogs’ tune ‘Feeling Good' has been nominated for both Post-Production of the Year & Rock/Alternative Video of the Year - so when you're done ogling the beefcake admiring the portraiture, have a revisit of the action-packed stop-motion animation!

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Rural Relations

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Matt’s latest creative is a rustic rendezvous; a Nabokov narrative for the sylvan-set, with a backwoods Bukowski in lieu of Humbert Humbert, set against the sort of low-bred locale where acts of an impure ilk are far from immoral. Focused on a pot-belled bumpkin and his cornfed coquette, Matt’s story is best viewed upon after several swills of moonshine, but, should none be readily available, a forty of Schlitz will suffice. 

The precocious Sarah Jane and the provincially patrimonial Joe Ring were styled by Matt himself, while hair & makeup were seen to by Natalia Zurawska for Tresemme Haircare. The rest of this revelry can be seen after the jump… 

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Ronald McDonald House

Matt recently had the honour of working for Ronald McDonald House, out of Hamilton, in conjunction with Kevin from Cossette, for a campaign that understandably touched on the heartstrings. Be sure to follow the jump for more of this wonderfully moving series.


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All Killer, A Little Filter

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From the fledgling foodie’s gluttonous compositions to the callow coquette showing off in self-portraits for her mirror, it would seem that, thanks to the likes of apps like Instagram, everyone fancies themselves as a photographer - a fact not disputed by actual photographer Matt Barnes. Rather than take a haughty tone on the subject, Matt whole-heartedly approves of the current state of affairs, claiming influence (especially in terms of styling) from these would be shooters; gastronome and teenybopper alike. One would assume that while the playing field may be a little more level, those with both the ideas and the ability to execute them will continue to stand out, but as the subject is often brought up with Matt, we decided to have a little chat about it, all the while showing off a few of his favourite Instagram shots. 

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The Passing Shot: What are your thoughts on Instagram and the role it plays in the life of a modern photographer?

Matt Barnes: I really enjoy Instagram - in fact, I think it has taken the place of Facebook as my favourite form of social media. As a photographer I often feel insecure about the photos that I take and crave the attention of people “liking” what I do, so if anything it plays the role of an ego boost. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m addicted to it, but I usually post at least one shot a day, and I spend a fair amount of time browsing other peoples photographs as well.

TPS: What, if anything, has it changed about your own work?

MB: I don’t know if it has had an influence on my work, but it has certainly rekindled my love for the snapshot, which being a commercial photographer kind of killed. I used to, especially on road trips, drive around looking for something cool to photograph, but when I stopped carrying a camera around with me all of the time I lost that ability and would just drive on. Now I always have a phone with me, which means I always have a camera, so I can pull over, explore and shoot to my heart’s content - more often than not I immediately upload my discoveries to Instagram. It’s nice to get back into something that I used to enjoy so much when I was simply photographing neat things for a laugh, not just for my career.  

TPS: Do you think the instant gratification and the emphasis on quantity has had an impact on storytelling?

MB: Of course, but I don’t feel that most people over-analyze, or perhaps even analyze at all, what they post. Take last week for example; I was in Vegas and I posted a ton of shit - random snaps of our crew having a time - but I didn’t spare a thought for what I was shooting. It wasn’t as if I was putting together a scrapbook or a photo album of the trip, but I did end up telling a great deal of a story to the people who viewed it, never really stopping to think that a few thousand people were watching. When we look back I think Instagram will be remembered as a really powerful visual history book, documenting a time from a few years back, up until it’s simply not cool anymore. I liken it to the Polaroid - in twenty years or so people will look at the images shot on the iPhone 4s and 5s and they will look soft, noisy and generally shitty, but there will be a certain type attracted to that aesthetic and who will try to emulate that kind of look.

TPS: How do you decide what you show on Instragram? Would you ever release a creative exclusively on it?

MB: I guess I show a bit of everything. I feel like there are no rules on Instagram and, even as a professional, I won’t be judged quite as harshly for what I post on there. I tend to simply shoot what’s around me - old cars, cool buildings, nifty things I spot when biking, on-set snaps of jobs I’m working on - but as I went through to gather some images for this post I did start to see a theme developing. Regardless of if I’d do a real creative for Instagram or not, which is something I’m not quite sure about, I do seem to be accumulating a subconscious collection, or a sort of series on it. 

TPS: Is it absolutely necessary for a photographer in 2013 to use social media?

MB: I work at a studio full of all sorts of photographers, of all ages, and some do the social media thing and some don’t. It doesn’t seem to bother them and they are as busy as everyone else - besides, when they do partake in it all it doesn’t really suit them. Personally, social media has been a big part of what I do for as long as it’s been around and a fair few of my early breaks came about from my participation in it - I shot Deadmau5 after connecting with him on MySpace, of all places. I am a terrible real-life networker - I’m a fairly shy guy, I hate crowds and I rarely go out, so sharing and schmoozing on the computer is comparatively easy.

Ride the jump for more Insta-Matt, and follow along with his addiction shenanigans right hereimageimage

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Twisting The Wick

A rev-worthy showing from Canadian motor-mama Alyshia Ashlee, of Playboy & FHM Fame, who, while being gravely underdressed, should make a motorcycle maniac out of even the most enthusiastic Vespa votarist. Thanks to Jason Parker Race Cars for the gracious use of their shop!