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Toronto photographers you can trust

Posted by Guest Contributor / January 30, 2013

Toronto PhotographersToronto is full of photographers. Those trying to make a living with a DSLR in their hands have only themselves to rely on. This past Saturday I spoke with several Toronto photographers doing exactly that, at the release of the collaborative photo book, Don't Trust Anyone Over 30.

The book features the work of nine photographers, all under 30 years old, from Vancouver, New York and Toronto. Sonia D'Argenzio and Dimitri Karakostas are a Toronto duo that often finds themselves outside of the country, and continent, for their work.

"Toronto is a finicky beast to master, and I'm fine with not mastering it for the time being," said Karakostas. "I like just doing the periodic one-offs like this as opposed to trying to do it frequently."

Toronto PhotographersD'Argenzio told me about the difficulties of being a photographer when anyone and everyone is calling themselves one.

"Everyone's a photographer now," said D'Argenzio. "Everyone has Instagram, everyone has their iPhone, everyone has a Tumblr account and a Flickr account. It's standing out amongst a crowd of millions."

Toronto-based Brent Goldsmith also told me about the hassle of getting work in the city.

"Commercial wise, there's only so many jobs, so it's really tough as a young photographer," said Goldsmith. "But there's always galleries. There's tons of networking. This kind of thing happens all the time."

Still, Goldsmith is on his way out, moving to Montreal within the next week.

"Duty calls," said Goldsmith "so I'm going elsewhere."

Toronto PhotographersFor the young (and older) photographers in Toronto trying to find their way, Karakostas has a bit of advice.

"You don't need an agent. You don't need money. You just do it. You don't need much, you just need a bit of gusto and drive."

Toronto PhotographersToronto PhotographersToronto PhotographersToronto PhotographersDon't Trust Anyone Over 30 will be available for purchase through Blood of the Young Zine.

Writing by Victoria Quiroz. Photos by Dylan Leeder (you should hire him)



click / January 30, 2013 at 09:08 am
If D'Argenzio thinks that using instagram, flickr or tumblr has anything to do with getting work as a photographer then I would suggest that he doesn't have much of a clue about the business of photography. "everyone is a photographer" is completely irrelevant.

"You don't need an agent. You don't need money. You just do it. You don't need much, you just need a bit of gusto and drive."

Uh, yeah, you do need representation. But hey - if all you want to do is have lots of tumblr likes, have all your friends say you're a wicked photographer, and you don't want to make any money, then yes, absolutely, follow this path.

Breaking into commercial photography certainly has gotten more competitive in the past decade, but bottom line is, it comes down to the quality of your shots and your ability to develop relationships with ad agency art directors and writers.

You need to pick a specialization, master it, and market yourself to get representation to get your foot in the door and begin shooting things for money.

If any of the guys in the book (or BlogTO) will kindly provide links to their websites (that ironically, are probably on tumblr) I would love to see their work.

alan / January 30, 2013 at 09:28 am
i'd love to be able to call myself a photographer, and i do at times but it depends on who i talk to or trying to impress maybe...

i do have a flickr account, an out of date web site or two...

i love to take photos of mannequuins and write stories...fantasy stories as if they are me they can be real...

i've also compiled 2 books about these "friends" of mine...

mostly i do all of this for myself and for no one else...but if anyone says they like my stuff, all the better...but it's me who i have to please first...
alan / January 30, 2013 at 09:29 am
and i am over trust me...
Joe / January 30, 2013 at 09:36 am
Completely agree with click, of course if you look up their work you will understand - it strongly favours creativity over technically sound photography. It is not my cup of tea, nor is it commercially popular.

If that is how one chooses to express themself, I am all for that (still dont care for it but as art it has merit) - but the real skill in photography is being able to record technically sound images that are creative. I also concur with click about specializing, you need to be known for something IF commercial success is your goal. Check out a young photographer like Ciril Jazbec and compare and you will see what I mean.

If you want to be tops in the BlogTO Flickr pool though don't worry about it.
Brian replying to a comment from click / January 30, 2013 at 09:37 am
Hey click, I'll take the free advice if you are handing it out. Don't be shy.

beefcurten / January 30, 2013 at 09:47 am
i'm over 30 and trust me... this is a bunch of hipster bull$h!t.
gorgonzola / January 30, 2013 at 10:01 am
LOL @ moving to montreal to find work. Good luck with that buddy, hope you speak french...
ff / January 30, 2013 at 11:15 am
@click I think you are totally missing the point. Photography has changed so much in the last ten years.. commercial success is being redifined. I don't think most people are even aiming for this anymore. It's not the goal. Certainly not if you are publicizing yourself through zines. I don't think many people wanting to show in a gallery are looking for this. The levelling of artistic ability through technology is opening up opportunities for everyone to be an artist. Maybe not a good one, but that's a change that is worth thinking about.

"Technically sound" photography is kind of a joke... anyone with a good dslr can take technically sound photographs. Technology is making this irrelevant. It's no wonder "Capital P" Photographers are feeling threatened.
EricM / January 30, 2013 at 01:27 pm
Don't trust anyone over thirty... maybe they should have taken a slogan that wasn't created forty years ago, by people now in their sixties... anyway.
Trip / January 30, 2013 at 01:47 pm
@ff the various ways of taking and sharing photography has been redefined, but have the types of money paying jobs and their subjects? People still pay for professional photographers for weddings, headshots, and events. The price that people are willing to pay has gone down, but so has the costs to photographers.
CaligulaJones / January 30, 2013 at 02:19 pm
""Technically sound" photography is kind of a joke... anyone with a good dslr can take technically sound photographs. Technology is making this irrelevant. It's no wonder "Capital P" Photographers are feeling threatened. "

Sure, if you think that people only pay for technically sound photographs...

Actually, this para pretty much proves the post-modernist point that everyone is an expert. Luckily for most of us, we don't live in a post-modernist world.
T replying to a comment from click / January 30, 2013 at 02:37 pm
lol / January 30, 2013 at 02:42 pm
im sorry but taking "edgy" pictures and expecting ppl to pay out the ass for them just cuz u get mad love on tumblr aint gonna get u anywhere in the real photography world where people actually make money with professional shots..... I learned how to pretty much master SLR photography from taking out a book at the library and watching digital rev on youtube..... These snobs need to check themselves
hahah / January 30, 2013 at 02:45 pm
Dudes tumblr tho -->

so dude is gonna come at amateurs when his "lifestyle photoblog" looks like my sisters instagram...
SubArt / January 30, 2013 at 07:09 pm

Dimitri Karakostas's work:
Joe / January 30, 2013 at 07:38 pm
To say anyone with a DSLR can take a technically sound photo reveals how little you know about photography. Most pros who have shot for decades still admit flaws in technique. You seem to be equating 'technically sound' with 'in focus' and 'properly exposed'.

Without proper technique the image is to photography what random color splotches are to painting - an attempt to express yourself in a medium that you really have no skill in.

Oh and the point of selling photos is to make money, or you would give them away - so saying the goal for someone selling is not commercial success is equally puzzling.
Mom / January 30, 2013 at 07:55 pm
Way to go Brent - so happy for you and I know you'll do well.
Congratulations on your new career and learn that FRENCH.
Kuba / January 30, 2013 at 08:08 pm
Just as she said. Availability of high quality DSLRs made it tough for photographers. You have to adapt constantly - it changes fast.


hahhaha / January 30, 2013 at 08:55 pm
My instagram is all I need! Just ask the BlogTO editors!
you mom / January 30, 2013 at 10:55 pm
good thing most of this work was taken with a 35mm film camera...I'm sure all of you with so much to say have experienced analog photography, and if not, try it out. Maybe you will learn a thing or two. As for the rest of you, why not support local artists and photographers. If you are a photographer, you should be happy that these people got together and created their own show and made their own zine. Don't be jealous.

The world is full of people kicking the arts down, don't you think it's a little cynical for you to be kicking them down as well?
MrsPotato / January 30, 2013 at 11:24 pm
Dear BlogTO,

Can you do a follow with these guys in 1 year exactly?

Gina replying to a comment from beefcurten / January 31, 2013 at 09:03 pm
Carty / February 1, 2013 at 01:40 am
old guys like me [42] helped paved the way for young guys like ya'll. not trying to generalize, but "don't trust anyone over 30" is generalizing so i figure it appropriate.

here's my rebuttal.
Stra / February 1, 2013 at 08:38 am
oh no - tattoo culture's picking up a camera.
Hater's gonna hate. / February 7, 2013 at 11:46 am
Well I happen to know Brent quite well, it's so nice of everyone to wish well on other people... He's moved to Montreal for a full time commercial job, not just randomly moving there hoping to find something.

Brent went to school for this and has worked his butt off to actually make a living in the photography field.
And for people making fun of his tumblr...those are mainly personal photos, mostly not photos he has shot for paying jobs.
Why does everyone have to hate on young photographers?
Maybe instead of taking the time to put people down who are trying to make a living at something they are passionate about, you should go do the same for yourself :)
alias / February 11, 2013 at 04:21 pm
I can't take someone seriously if they put up shots of their nutsack hanging loose...
Child art / May 8, 2013 at 07:57 am
You guys suck. Another Trend you Toronto kids are trying to hop on. Eat a dick
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