Earlier this month, I was featured by Adobe as one of their Creative Voices. They had reached out to me after a chance meeting in a bar at WPPI last year, asking if I would be interested in being featured. As a long standing supporter of the Adobe creative suite, I of course jumped at the honour. As usual, I made my own BTS video of the entire project this time courtesy of Neil Austen from Fly Home Freedom.

The project was simple – to feature me doing what I do best: shooting, travelling and editing and to share my story on how I came to be who I am. They wanted to feature me at work so I invited them to attend a shoot that I was doing to help launch Wendy Ng’s new post-apocalyptic clothing line: Dystropolis.

How it all came together

The Clothing

I met Wendy a couple years ago while hunting for alternative and edgy designers in the Toronto area. She was just a hobbyist at the time but was considering the possibility of starting up her own online store. Fast forward to present day: She had finally decided to make that leap and wanted to create some new edgy imagery to help push her brand. I seized the opportunity and asked if she would be fine with having Adobe tagging along to document the shoot. “Of course!!” she replied.

Wendy ng dystropolis Vonwong

The Animals

As always, I’m never quite satisfied with keeping things simple and I thought that the perfect addition to Wendy’s designs would be to find some wild animals to accompany them. Live ones would cost to much so I immediately started hunting for potential taxidermists that would be interested in participating in the project. One of my fans recommended that I reach out to Toronto based company Advanced Taxidermy with the concept. After a little bit of back and forth, some slight negotiations and getting all of the insurance paperwork up and running (those things are worth an astronomically large amount of money!!), I managed to lock in an eagle and a jaguar for my photoshoot.

Advanced taxidermy vonwong

The Location

Toronto is not the most exciting of places – especially not if someone wants to do something in the fantasy genre. It is a metropolitan city, filled with tall skyscrapers and hardly an ounce of history in it. Yet even in a boring modern metropolitan city lie little wonders to shoot at. I reached out to my VonWongling group in Toronto asking for location ideas and got two breathtaking recommendations: The Scarborough Bluffs and the Chetlenham Badlands.

With only a week before the shoot remaining, I headed out with my assistant Sam Tsang to scout the two locations, locking down the position of the sun throughout the day so that we could figure out how to schedule both shoots within the same day.

Bluff badlands


From there, it was time to confirm who my models were going to be. I had met Jay Zuccato, fitness model extraordinaire, during a visit to the Plutino Group a couple months back. My first impression of him was “a man with the body of a greek god” and it was only a matter of time before the right project came up for him. Plutino Group is a multi-talent agency group and it was no problem to lock down a creative makeup artist to jump on board Bree Powell.

Bree zuccato


The last part of the puzzle was to figure out gear. As always, I had Vistek graciously sponsor me my lights: a set of Elinchrom Ranger Quadras complete with S heads in the event that I needed to hypersync. Three flashes, three packs, three heads with a Beauty Dish, Deep Octa and Softbox were going to be the weapons of choice as I wanted to stay light and portable.

On the camera end of things – the Nikon D800E and the standard trinity: 14-24, 24-70, 70-200. With finally my trusty gadgets, a CamRanger to wirelessly tether to a lightroom, a Three Legged Thing tripod and last but not least a Cotton Carrier Carry-Lite
Cotton Carrier belt system so that I could have my camera bouncing on my hip next to my ipad hooked onto a TabStrap by TetherTools.

In Conclusion

And then… we were ready to go. All that was left was to cross our fingers and hope for some good weather so that we could pull off the shoot.

Next week: The shoot & lighting

Vonwong adobe leopard


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