Through The Lens

February 12, 2013, by Dan Grant

Throughout this year, Modelresource will be devoting much of its attention to the photographers we see taking a greater stake in the industry in the years to come.

We're designating 2013 the year of "The New Crew"

Patrick Lacsina



    When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?
    I've been into visual arts as far as I can remember. I was that odd, quiet kid that would rather draw than play basketball outside during recess. Then I went to a visual/performing arts high school which saved my life because all of a sudden being into the arts was a total normality and it opened up this idea that art could be a career. It gave validity to what to I felt passionate about. It's also when I started learning about photography and started taking portraits of my friends. I had a realization that photo was the answer to staying in the arts while being practical.

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    Francis (Sutherland) by Patrick Lacsina
    grooming: Amanda Blair; styling: Kate O'Reilly

    You're from the "formally trained" pack, having graduated from the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD). How did your time there change your expectations

  • of yourself?
    If I am being completely honest, I only graduated for my parents. Education was always the most important thing for them. University for me was less about education and more about discipline. If I learned anything during my time there, it was my work ethic. I worked 40 hours a week managing a Chuck E Cheese restaurant while attending school full time. I survived on $2 hot-dogs everyday so that I could graduate without a debt to anyone. It was a good practice for real life - that what you gain is in total parallel to what to give.

  • of the industry?
    I learned nothing- OCAD hates fashion! Ha! But it was my fault. It's an amazing school but their goal is more on developing practicing artists (including photographers) that show in galleries and survive on grants, which is what I originally thought I wanted. By the time I realized I wanted to get into fashion I was nearing my final year and decided to just stick it through.

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    Camille (Ford) by Patrick Lacsina
    makeup: Diana Mejia; makeup: Sean Godard

    What, primarily, do you feel self-taught photographers miss out on?
    There's the obvious answer of technical skills that we had to take classes on, but it's nothing someone can't learn on their own if they wanted to. Different classes however forced you to use different types of equipment and processes that aren't as easily accessible, so it gave one a broader idea of what is available and technically possible. The required group critiques, however annoying, were also helpful because it forced you think and explain your work beyond "because I thought it was pretty." But at the very end of the day, it comes down to talent and drive. You can't teach creativity.

    Tell me about the Boys with Flowers series
    It wasn't something I originally set out to do as a series, but as I kept shooting this idea of putting a flower on a boy kept reappearing and eventually it became a constant in my work. I always kinda liked my girls tough and my boys pretty, and this was a little bit my way of mixing masculinity and femininity. I try to incorporate them in editorial stories so they have a little bit more of a reason versus just in your face boy with a flower. It's nothing groundbreaking, I just think it's cute. Haha. I'll have a gallery show one day with the series and dedicate it to my thesis professor.

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    Nikita (Next) by Patrick Lacsina

    You're using the studio of fellow OCAD grad Mckenzie James, who is among the best in Canada at shooting guys. How, if at all, has he influenced you?
    Mckenzie and I didn't actually speak at school because I found him intimidating. We became friends post-OCAD through a mutual friend who was a model. I honestly think he's one of the best in the industry and I could only hope for half of a career he has. Perhaps the greatest influence he's had on me is the idea that good work doesn't need bells and whistles. That proper lighting and good composition trumps excessive post-editing work. It's been invaluable to have someone to talk to about experiences and the occasional technical queries without having to worry about egos. He's also given me a first-hand perspective of someone who's been in the industry for several years and the real ups and downs of being a fashion photographer in Toronto. Plus he introduced me to real Jamaican food at this sketchy neighbourhood where they just make up the menu on a daily basis (which for some reason never has the fried chicken every time I'm there) and my life will never be the same.

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    Melissa (Ford) by Patrick Lacsina
    grooming: Amanda Blair; styling: Kate O'Reilly

    Where would you like to be in five years?
    I still have that cookie-cutter dream of being a housewife and having kids. And that's probably the biggest challenge I have now - balancing work and taking on as much as I can but still finding time dedicated to my personal life and the people in it. Hopefully in five years I'll have that sorted out a little bit. I think the most I can hope for, past a solid career and a beautiful home life, is that I'll be happy (mostly because Franca Sozzani just called and asked me to shoot for her magazine!).

    Name a few of the musical artists most likely to be heard while you're shooting
    Haha, this is gonna be embarrassing but I don't care. During those 4-5 hours, you're pretty much guaranteed to hear a full Rihanna album at some point (Mckenzie loathes this fact when I'm at his place). Girl Talk is also great. And I always try my best to play the video for Marina and the Diamonds "How to be a Heartbreaker" (which sometimes worries the male models when I tell them that's their reference). I usually just play my iPod which has a lot of 90's R&B; and hip-hop mixed with all the Top 40s a typical 12 year old would listen to (we do Biggie and One Direction within one look)!

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    Britten (Spot 6) by Patrick Lacsina

    Most embarrassing moment on set?
    Maybe less embarrassing and a little more memorable:
    Guy model comes in:

    "Hey, I'm Patrick."

    "Hey! I forgot to wear underwear, is that gonna be a problem?"

    Favourite model you've worked with, and why?
    For a guy: I've shot quite a few so this took some thinking. But the one that probably left the most lasting impression was Adam Coulter, who used to be with Next. He's too busy being a fancy scientist now, but he moved really well, has an interesting face and has a great personal style. For girls, hands down Marta (Peggi Lepage). She's just cool on and off set. I wanna be her when I grow up.

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    Adam Varga (Elite) by Patrick Lacsina

    What about you would surprise people?
    I think Oprah is the closest thing we have to Jesus.

    What else would you like people to know?
    The beauty shoot with snakes from the first season of America's Next Top Model made me want to be a fashion photographer. And strawberries. If you're gonna work with me you have to like strawberries. Because I hate them but I buy them for shoots and I will force you to eat them.

    Rebecca (Elmer Olsen) by Patrick Lacsina
    hair & makeup: Diana Mejia; styling: Monika Tatalovic
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