Through The Lens

Shayne Laverdière

October 18th, 2010, by Dan Grant

Shayne Laverdière is one of the most impressive among the newer generation of photographers in Montréal's fashion scene.

Despite his relative youth, his portfolio already boasts an expansive range (seriously, check out the travel section), made all the more impressive by its consistently excellent quality.

What it doesn't show is his sense of humour, which is a shame because as you'll read below, he's also a very fun guy.



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Delphie (Folio) by Shayne Laverdière
makeup and hair: Nicolas Blanchet (Folio)

I'm always curious why people choose to become a photographer in the first place. What's your story?
I'm one of the lucky ones...

I was given a Minolta SR-T when I was about ten years old, the first photo I took was of a church. Now I photograph women and beautiful places around the globe, (enter smile here). There never really was a reason why I started; the camera was just always there, around my neck. It chose me more than I chose it.

If you hadn't gone the photographer route, what would you likely have done?
I would probably rob banks, or become a hand model.

You have a strong bond with Richard Bernardin. How has working with him shaped what you do?
Rich is the second photographer I ever assisted, the connection and affinities were heartfelt and immediate between us. Richard is without a doubt my greatest friend and mentor in this business and working closely with him has definitely honed my shooting skills. Most importantly though, as anyone knows in this business, taking the photo is a relatively small part of the equation. It's all the rest I have learned from Rich over coffee or a Mish-Mash, not over a camera, that have been the most important parts of my learning curve.

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Mackenzie (Folio) by Shayne Laverdière
styling: Denis Lemieux; makeup and hair: Geneveiève Lenneville (Folio)

A couple years ago you skipped off to Paris for a while. What was your motivation for that, and how does it change the way you see things?
Let's just say I'm very weary of dating models now ;-)

I hope that my career leads me back to Europe sooner than later. I truly love the imagery coming out of France, the U.K. and Spain, to name a few places but I actually think it's my motorcycle journey through India and the Himalayas that really changed the way I see things. I ended up staying in India as long as I was in Paris and I might be going back to shoot a campaign for a Canadian designer in India in January.

The "Personal" section of your website features lot of models. Which models have influenced you through your career?
Most of the personal imagery on my site is quite old. Generally speaking the models were newbie's so I think It's safe to say I got something from every model at that time, I still do! No one in particular really "influenced" my work.

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Delphie (Folio) by Shayne Laverdière for Tavan+Mitto

Your website's "Travel" section is breathtaking. Any plans to do more work outside of fashion?
Yes actually, I do want to start focusing my energies on getting more travel clients as well as fashion clients. Everybody tells me I have to concentrate on one or the other but I'm going to try and prove this wrong. It's is absolutely necessary for me to go capture "real world" images. It's also a great way to travel for free.

What was you first story published in print, and how did it feel to see it there?
My first published work was for the Chronicle Telegraph in Quebec city, it was about my high school senior basketball team loosing a game, I was 14 and on top of the world.

Where do you see yourself in a year from now?
I would like to be sharing my time between Montreal, Toronto and Europe. I was recently published in Standard Magazine in France and the interest for my work seems to be pointing in that direction. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

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Rebecca (Folio) by Shayne Laverdière
styling: Natasha Thomas; makeup and hair: Nicolas Blanchet (Folio)

What do people not generally know about you, that would surprise them?
It's a wig.

Tell our readers about co-Directing Folio's new faces videos.
Alexandre de Bellefeuille and I worked on 22 short clips for Folio's "New Face" section. It was meant to showcase the new talents débuting this year with the agency. We developed a concept where everybody had the same tool (a black jacket) to work their magic, In the end it was a genuine success. Since then Alex and I have partnered up again to work on a Video for Barila clothing and 12 short clips for Marcelle Cosmetics. D.O.P. work brings a whole other aspect into the technical and creative process as you can't use Photoshop as a crutch to embellish poorly lit images or to remove light stands or unwanted objects from the shot. The mental process is much more demanding but equally rewarding when well executed. It separates the men from the boys...

Shooting men vs. shooting women. Do you have to get yourself in a different head space?
I think every model, man or woman, are individuals and I always try to come on set with a clean slate. The headspace generally settles in after a shot or two when you build an energy with the model on set.

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Danny (Next) and Mackenzie (Folio) by Shayne Laverdière for Z!NK Canada
styling: YSO (Folio); makeup: Nicolas Blanchet (Folio); hair: Tal Fisher

I know some photographers that are always shooting something, and others that can go weeks without touching their cameras. How is it for you?
I'm more in the second category. Between the age of 10-20 I shot TONS of images. Now if I'm shooting something I always try and make it special, if I don't feel like I'm going to get an amazing result the camera stays away. I also get my fill about once a year when I take time to go on a trip. I'm leaving on the 17th of October on a road trip with a Hasselblad, a tabacco pipe, and a convertible truck to Utah and Nevada. I'm going to follow the tumbleweed and see where that leads me, hopefully to a defunct mining town or two where I can get a few good stories and some nice portraits.

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Marie-Eve Bergeron (Next) by Shayne Laverdière for Z!NK Canada
styling: Cloé Legault (Satellite); makeup and hair: Nicolas Blanchet (Folio)

Favourite band that's not from Mile-End?
You don't leave me very much choice with this geographical delineation...

Ace of Base?

Anything else you want to share?
My girlfriend's cat just had three kittens. They're really, really cute.


Blogs We Follow

Cailin Hill (The Model Burnbook)

Models x Models (Models x Models)

Liis Windischmann's (14+ LouLou blog)

Laura Kell (A Model Life)

Madison Schill (Chic Greek Geek)

Kathleen Burbridge (Kathleen in Wonderland)

Ania Boniecka (A n i a . B)

Shawn Dezan (motivated//ambition)