Shining the Light on #HamOnt Talent

So much has been said about Hamilton’s fabulous arts culture that it’s hard to know how to do justice to the creative renaissance happening in our fair city. The best way to experience it is to take a walk down the street during an Art Crawl and you’ll realize every bit of fanfare is true. Bustling galleries, vintage shops, buskers and booths of every stripe sit perched on James North sidewalks, fanning out their talents on a table or waiting to captivate you with a tune.

The Hamilton Arts Awards is in the enviable position of cataloguing the best of all this creation. As one of the oldest municipal-led arts awards programs in Canada, its focus is simple – to celebrate Hamilton’s vibrant arts community and recognize individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to arts and culture.


Leading up to this year’s big show, organizers Stephanie Vegh and Jen Anisef brought us on to create a series of ‘nominee reels’ that highlighted each artist’s work & accomplishments through a variety of media – photos, video & audio. This is on trend, as video is being used more and more alongside the traditional presenter-at-a-podium approach, due to the power of short documentaries and vignettes. They help to emotively tell the story of nominees and captivate the audience.

In creatively scoping out the project it was important to make the filming of nominees seamless – yet we wanted the audience to get a sense of each person’s character – to feel as though they were being introduced in a casual conversational style.


To achieve this blend of form and function we decided to go with a kinetic portrait. This is a technique where the subject stands and looks in the camera just as they would for a traditional photo – but instead of standing completely still in a pose, the person stands naturally and smiles, shifts their feet, laughs, maybe even mugs – as the camera slowly rotates around them. It’s as though the lens is someone they’re having a really great conversation with.

We paired these kinetic portraits up with some voice over (I did this at Hamilton’s amazing Hive Studios) and polished it off with beautiful branded animation created by Louis Wesolowsky and Attic Digital. View one example of the results below.

150 files and one last minute run of a hard drive later – this project was a wrap! Many thanks to Jen and Steph for having us along. It was an absolute pleasure to be involved with showcasing the Hamilton arts community!