Rough Draft of My Composite Masterpiece

The very small handful of composites I’ve done to-date have all been after-thoughts and I’ve never put more than a half hour into them. I’ve taken a photo of a background and tried to mix and match it with a subject, or vice versa. This time I’ve intentionally shot the subject for placement in a specific background. Now, it just so happens that I didn’t shoot this particular background; I asked my friend Chris Collacott if I could use one of his epic scenes of Vancouver:

  1. his are way better than mine.
  2. it saved me a heck of a lot of time trying to go shoot that perfect scenic background!

Joel Grimes has been a HUGE inspiration to me ever since I discovered him 3 months ago – he’s the undisputed world champion of composite work – he’s truly amazing, you NEED to check him out:

So this is a very rough draft of what I hope will be my best composite ever. It needs a lot of encouragement and time. In fact, I’m thinking that I will actually need to shoot another model for this, simply becasue the lighting, hair blowing and expressions aren’t all perfect in a same image from the series (right and left separation lights are necessary i think). It’s really too bad, because this subject is the ONLY one I wanted to feature in this project, but she’s moving away very soon =(   Either way, I’m kinda happy with the general idea of what’s transpiring here and so I thought I’d share with you all…


AHAHAHA I emailed Joel Grimes with this composite and he replied saying

“Very nice Pete,
As I always say, now just repeat the process over an over. 
Now I have to get my butt in gear to keep up to you.

– kinda silly, but that just made my whole year!

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of


I worked with this girl about a year ago when I first started; couldn’t provide any direction, didn’t know know to light my subjects, had a crappy camera with a kit lens and totally sucked at editing. Today, I redeemed myself! =)

I’m really focusing on posing my models… I’ve got the technical stuff down, great. Now I know how to light, compose and edit my subjects, but what’s been missing in my work (and a major obstacle during my sessions) is providing the model with direction. I’m still learning/playing/progressing, but at least it’s now visible in my work to some degree.

Providing your subject with direction has got to be one of the most important aspects of a session that photographers overlook and I just want to encourage all you aspiring photogs to really pay attention to this process. Don’t just shoot a girl, rely solely on her experience and then judge her as a good or bad model based on whether or not you lucked out and caught her in a good stance with a good expression… make a deliberate attempt to bring it to life for yourself =)

More International Talent from Numa Models

I worked with a few new faces for Numa Models yesterday and was particularly impressed with the results. This model’s name is Emily, she’s going to be an international model for sure!  The agency can’t wait for her to finish school so she can head over seas for contracts! Now I can say, “I shot with her way back when…”. Check out a few of my quick edits from yesterday…

International Talent from Numa Models

I worked with a few new faces for Numa Models yesterday and was particularly impressed with the results. This model’s name is Hermela, she’s of Ethiopian heritage and has an absolutely amazing look – this girl’s going to be an international model for sure! Now I can say, “I shot with her way back when…”. Check out a few of my quick edits from yesterday…

East Van Cross

My Photo-walk this morning…

by REMY SCALZA in TOWN on January 27, 2011

Chances are if you live in Vancouver you’ve driven by the iconic cross erected at the corner of Great Northern Way and Clark Drive. Written vertically in massive letters is the word East. Intersecting that horizontally is the word Van.

I’ve always thought that the cross was an especially powerful monument to East Vancouver, in many ways embodying the suffering and hopes of the neighborhood. According to a recent article in the Vancouver Sun by John Mackie, the East Van cross is indeed a potent symbol with historical roots in the area.

The iconic cross figure dates all the way back to the 1950s. Ken Lum, the artist who designed the monument pictured above, believes that it may have originally reflected the large Catholic population in East Van at the time.

But by the 1960s, the symbol had been appropriated by rebellious teens and “greasers” from the wrong side of the tracks. They would draw the East Van cross on denim jackets and scrawl it onto walls and sidewalks as a form of graffiti.

My roots in Vancouver don’t go back that far, but I can imagine what a statement that must have been back in the day: a celebration of being part of blue collar, rough-and-tumble East Van, at a time when the city itself was slowly becoming more sophisticated.

Nowadays, the cross has become an important symbol of East Van’s renaissance. According to at least one writer for the Vancouver Sun, the cultural heart of the city has officially shifted from west of Cambie Street to east of Cambie Street. Though problems with crime, drugs and poverty persist, East Van and its environs are home to some of the city’s most exciting new districts.

There’s Chinatown, reinvigorated with edgy new restaurants and bars. Main Street has been a locus for hip boutiques and eateries for years now. Commercial Drive is an alternative mecca brimming with authenticity. Strathcona is becoming a haven for artists and creative types. Even Fraser Street has witnessed a rebirth.

Does anyone remember seeing the East Van cross back in the ’50s and ’60s? What do you think of the way the cross has become a symbol for the East Van of today?