Who am I?

As a photographer people always ask me what I love to shoot. Some days this is easy to answer other days not so much.

My mother has been a journalist for well over 30 years, spending most of her career working with the Toronto Star. I spent countless hours in the newsroom, at the presses, in her office when she was bureau chief. With all this exposure, I was always interested in journalism. The constant change of daily life really peaked my interest. The fact that you didn’t have to sit at a desk all day performing repetitive tasks of entering numbers was amazing. A reporter was able to go out and meet new and interesting people day in and day out.

Back in the summer of 2005, I started working with Snap Newspaper in Bloor-West Village in Toronto – my first paid photojournalistic gig. At 15 years old I didn’t really see this as something I would turn into a career, but I was wrong.

The following summer I had the opportunity to travel through northern Ontario with my mom and a photographer visiting camps for the Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund. This charity, which was started in 1901, helps send 25,000 kids to camp every year. My mom’s roll was to visit camps in the city as well as in cottage country and write about life at camp. This is where I met Aaron Lynett. His dedication to the profession really got me interested in becoming a news photographer. He taught me many lessons about what it takes to be a photographer at a major daily newspaper and helped steer me in the right direction of what to do to become a great photographer.

With this exposure and my history with the Fresh Air Fund, I pitched a story of my experiences at a handful of camps that I had visited that ran three quarters of a page with multiple photos in the Toronto Star.

Fast-forward about 4 years. I had just finished my first year at Carleton University where I had spent more time in the newsroom of the school paper than studying for my classes. I was hooked. No one could take my camera gear away from me. At this point I realized that Loyalist College Photojournalism was the only place for me to get my foot in the door.

As first semester started I unfortunately had spent more time doing my own photo work than being in class yet again and dropped out. I got offered a job shooting the final New York Fashion Week held at Bryant Park, and quickly took the opportunity. After spending some time there shooting fashion I decided it wasn’t for me and came back to Toronto where I worked odd jobs to pay the bills.

I have finally returned to the place I like to call home at Loyalist College. My dedication and focus for the profession is extremely evident. I have spent the past summer working with the Toronto Argonauts, Metroland Halton, multiple Ukrainian organizations, shooting weddings, and exploring the wonderful world of multimedia and documentary.

I can’t tell you exactly who I am or who I will be in fives years, but I know that with my dedication and skills that I will be working hard to make a living at this beautiful thing we do.

 Photo by Thomas Surian

Photo by Thomas Surian