Birthday Giveaway!!

To celebrate my birthday I’m doing an awesome giveaway. YOU can win an 8 x 10 print of any of the FORD images or if you are in Montreal YOU can choose one private 1-hour crash course on Photography with me.

 

How to participate

 

On Facebook:

1.- Like this post and (if you haven’t) my page and you  are in.

2.- Sharing this post counts double.

3.- Use one of my images as your profile image or cover (it gives your 4 chances to win)

 

Twitter:

1.- Be sure to follow me. Tweet one of my images and tag me, and you are in!

2.- Use one of my images as your profile image and you’ll have 4 chances.

 

Every action increases your chances to win. Everyone, everywhere can participate. Contest ends on the 31st of May. Winner will be announced on June 1st.

Be sure to visit the site for my latest project www.9artistes.ca

Artículo en Inglés

Let’s celebrate what brings us together!

The  ”International Day Against Homophobia And Transphobia” or IDAHO is a day that commemorates “the horrific consequences of homophobia and transphobia on gender and sexual minorities” according to the Huffpost’s gay voices.

I can see that the intention is good, and that as a society WE should take a moment to grief. Sorrow is sometimes healthy. Nonetheless I can help but wonder (in my C. Bradshaw voice) if the people from IDAHO got it all wrong as we shift our sight only on fighting those who hate (us), those who bestow violence upon other fellow beings for their differences.

I think we would have a greater positive impact by celebrating what brings us together while respecting our differences. As someone that is interested in gender diversity I am passionated about the little things that make each individual special, either straight, gay, trans, nonetheless what I find is that this labels don’t really matter that much because as humans WE have a life an identity beyond or sexual orientation.

Gay people, trans people have families, have jobs, have friends, hobbies, and all of these is no different from what straight people have and hope for. It’s not only about who you love, trans people are not defined by who they love and neither gay people for that matter. WE as any straight person are defined by our actions and the ideas that shape them. Please, don’t reduce gay and trans people to that other person they love but love them for who they are!

I would like to think that I’m am not defined only by the fact that I have a partner of the same gender, but because I love and I am love by many people.

If you want to celebrate this day I dare YOU to think differently. I dare you to find the common ground between people of all sexual orientations and cultures. Love them and befriend them because en when their ideas and actions are worthy of your love as you would do with any other friend!

ARTSIDA 2013

Is not only about giving is about caring!

 

ARTSIDA exhibit at Galerie Dentaire (1239 Ahmerst), from April 20th to May 3rd.

 

Auction at the Musée d’Art Contemporain on the 4th of May at 17:30.

 

I am a little too young to have lived trough the core of the first days of it would turn out to be the biggest pandemic of present and last generations. It was the and still is the cause of many deaths, but also of a cultural upheaval towards the lack of response of the conservative governments of Reagan and Thatcher.

HIV and AIDS caused struggles mainly in the gay community and with the pandemic came a wave of stigmatization and shame. AIDS came to be considered by some as a just punishment for immoral and irresponsible behavior.

The actions of activist groups, mainly ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) helped immensely on the development of treatments and the approval of the FDA. Their sometimes-aggressive activism also raised the AIDS pandemic to a topic of political relevance.  For the man and women infected in the 80′s and 90′s silence equated death.

Even though in the first world AIDS has become more a chronic illness rather than a death sentence, SILENCE still equates countless and unnecessary infections. Not to mention that in impoverished and highly religious societies it is still the cause of human devastation.  Ignorance is a main component of the trouble stopping AIDS. In Montreal there are approximately 500 new cases per year.

Five years ago the ACCM (AIDS Community Care Montreal) together with Galerie Dentaire started this amazing initiative for the cause trough Art called ARTSIDA. Emergent and established artist are called to contribute with one piece to the event. An exhibition at the gallery and an auction at the Museum of Contemporary Art are the end result.

This year I am proud to be a part of the select group of artist, and I have to say that the quality of the work is very high and diverse in style. I was specially amazed by the work of Daniel Barkley and Adéle Blais, but there are many more great pieces of art to see and of course to buy.

ARTSIDA is an amazing way to contribute to the cause because you can both get involved in an issue of social justice and appreciate art. ARTSIDA is not about just giving a little money but about learning how to care.  For me, it has been a great way to renew my commitment to this cause that is so dear to me.

I hope o see you either tonight on the opening or on the following days visiting the exhibition.

OPENING APRIL 20TH AT GALERIE DENTAIRE (1239 AHMERST, MONTREAL)

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Artículo en Inglés

Dante’s Limbo. A collaboration with Beautiful Mag.

(FR: Pour mes amis francophones je ferais la traduction de ce post la semaine prochaine. Merci de votre patience).

A few years ago while I was living and studying inParis I got the chance to work with the gay publication Beautiful Magazine for a big editorial that was inspired mostly with classical myths. It had sort of a gender reversal conceptual base in which female characters where transformed into men. Not in an effort to erase women from the tales but in an effort to point out that the history of same-sex attraction and its representation has been often covered up and disguised as something else by historians such as prominent art historian Johann Winckelmann. Same-sex relationships were either romanticized as platonic love or made completely invisible.

This project was the Chronicles of desire. (Disclaimer: Beautiful mag has some adult content and nudity). The Chronicles was a major project with 13 different models and a big amazing team behind me. It was a great accomplishment.

After a few years, Rob Evers, the editor of the magazine approached me to do another series for the magazine. I though I would revisit classical art in some way. I also wanted to have the opportunity to include creative make-up and the amazing skills of multi-talented artist and costume creator Yvan Castonguay. His attention to detail and creativity makes him a great asset to any visual creation. For this project he was in charge of creating the accessories worn by the models.

For some reason I had the Divine Comedy in my head. I started to ponder on what it would look like to have 3 warriors going trough Limbo and Hell, not knowing if what they had done in life. The images would be in a non-place with very little reference to space to reflect, of course Dante’s limbo, but also their states of mind.

For this editorial I had 3 amazing circus artists posing for me. The 3 of them are very different in their physical features and their style of moving, which makes the editorial a lot more interesting. Kevin Beverley has been one of my favourite performers for a while, he has a great contemporary dance sensibility. Francis Perrault shows amazing strength and passion in his movement which create the same static-dynamic tension of marble sculptures.  Renaldo Williams has a powerful presence, with perfect angular movement; his body and face exude calmness even in the most dynamic and gravity defying poses.

You can discover this editorial at Beautiful Mag. I hope you enjoy!

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VOKURO

Vokuro by Bjork

My farm

my farm and yours
sleeps happily at peace
falls snow
silent at dusk on earth
my grass
my grass and yours
keeps the earth til spring

Nesting spring
hid at the hill’s root
awake as are we
faith in life
quiet cold spring
eye of the depths
into the firmament
staring still in the night

Far away
wakes the great world
mad with grim enchantment
disquieted
fearful of night and day
your eyes
fearless and serene
smile bright at me

My hope
your blest smile
rouses verse from sleep
the earths rests
silent in arms of snow
lily white
closes her blue eyes
my little girl

The Big Creative Portrait Contest

 

I’m happy to announce that I’m joining forces with 3 amazing artists to give away 3 individual portraits to my fans.  Painter Daniel Barkley, craftswoman and doll maker Cara Carmina and costume maker Yvan Castonguay.

 

I’ve chosen them for their amazing talent, but also for their distinctive taste and style in their work. In the first part of this project they will pose for me so I can make a portrait of them integrating elements of their style.  I will publish some of this work as soon as I have it so you can take a peek of what your portrait will look like if you are the winner.

These artists and theses experiences will help me shape the portraits of the winners. I will do one portrait using elements of the style of each of these artists with the winners of the contest. That is, I will do one portrait using Cara’s style, or Daniel’s.  The big challenge will be to adapt their style to make portraits of the 3 lucky fans. Cara, Daniel and Yvan will also help me determine the winners.

What will you get if you win: Of course an awesome portrait! But to be more precise, you will get a great photo shooting with me, that includes the make-up and the styling. It will be a simple image, intimate, creative and for sure beautiful (You will be in it so for sure will be beautiful). At the end you will get a small print of your image and a digital file that you can share with your friends and loved ones.

 

The contest is very simple. To be eligible you have to:

 

1.- You have to live or be able to be or come to Montreal between February and March. I’m still not able to take pictures by telekinesis and taking pictures of you trough skype doesn’t seem like a good idea.

 

2.- Please LIKE my page (if you haven’t) and SHARE this contest on your wall and with your friend (You have to do both).

3.- In a brief message tell me who is your favorite character from a work of art (it can be a play, a film, a book, a painting, etc. TV characters are excluded.  You can either make it as a comment on my wall or send me an inbox message, your choice!

Remember its brief, you don’t have to write a novel here, just one or two paragraphs.

The deadline to submit is the 12 of February 2013. Winners will be announced the 15 of February.

Be sure to check the work of my invited artist:

 

www.danielbarkley.com

www.caracarmina.com

www.facebook.com/ygcastonguay

ARE YOU WOMAN ENOUGH TO COMPETE?

The controversy about female athletes being feminine enough to compete with other women strikes again. This year with the resolution of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) to test for testosterone levels.
The measure has resulted in female athletes undergoing hormone therapy or even surgery in extreme cases.

Opposition to this measure proclaims that testosterone levels are not enough to decide if woman has an unfair advantage for being to manly.
I would add that as long as there is no exterior enhancing substances the levels of testosterone shouldn’t be a problem, as the IAAF doesn’t plan to ban women from competing for being too tall or having large feet.

I think there’s also the tacit assumption that women cannot be better than man when it comes to sport (and of course we are speaking amongst elite athletes). Once a woman passes the threshold of being better than a man, stronger or faster than she should be disqualified for not being feminine enough.
I wonder if the contrary could happen… would men that are too feminine would be ban from competing at… lets say… gymnastics… does he have an advantage for being to graceful… Will the IAAF test male athletes for levels of estrogen?

You can read more about the subject on Stephanie Findlay’s comprehensive article.

http://www.thestar.com/sports/london2012/article/1205025–olympics-struggle-with-policing-femininity

I would love to read your opinion on the subject.

A seeker of true Beauty: an interview with editorial retoucher Helga Vandersluys

 

 When I saw Montreal based, Helga Vandersluys’ flawless retouching I was truly inspired and when I heard her story I was even more since she had the courage to change her life and follow her passion. I felt that there was a lot to learn from this remarkable professional from the editorial and beauty industry.
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Photos: Mike Ruiz
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DS: What drew you into postproduction?
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HV: My interest in photography as a hobby was my first introduction to using photoshop.  I enjoyed playing around with the software, took classes and read everything I could absorb in order to improve my skills and learn more.  Once I touched upon skin and beauty retouching I very quickly got hooked on this process.  When I was young, I loved to colour and when I’m working an image it brings about that same feeling of doing something I loved as a child. It may sound cliché but it was truly a situation where I found something I loved to do and was motivated enough to try and turn that passion into a career for myself.
*
DS: What are the optimal conditions to receive an image file from a photographer?
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HV: A clean, sharp, well composed RAW image, in the highest possible resolution with impeccable lighting for starters.  Beyond that, beautiful styling, amazing make up and hair would be high on my wish list. Most importantly though, you want to see the photographer’s skill, unique creative style and vision shining through loud and clear even before putting a pen to a pixel, so to speak.  I believe this is what ultimately sets the tone for a successful end product.
*
DS: What kind of information do  you need from photographers to understand how you will approach their images?
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HV: I feel it’s imperative that the photographer impart on the retoucher a clear idea of what they envision for the final image.  How they convey that vision to me can vary but it’s always helpful to have references even if it’s a general idea of the level of colour, lighting and detail that I should aim for.  Much as on a movie set the photographer is the director of a team of people which includes the retoucher.  Even though I am not necessarily present on set I do need to be given guidelines.
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DS: Can you describe briefly your process?
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HV: I’ll start by saying that no two images are ever retouched in the exact same way, even in a series shot in the same conditions. There will be differences in the approach I take depending on the desired end result.  However, there are certain steps done in a particular order that are consistent for the most part. Initial adjustments to the RAW file can include exposure, white balance revisions and subtle colour changes. Once imported into photoshop I usually start with any background fixes and removal and/or changes to elements that are obvious distractions.  Then it’s on to finer adjustments, clean ups to skin, hair and clothes. I work with colour, shading and lighting using many different methods and groups of adjustments layers.  Over time I’ve worked out recipes that work for me as far as getting the result I’m looking for. I do a lot of masking and painting to apply techniques selectively.  It’s crucial to keep each part of the process on separate layers and adjustable for edits later on.  Once I feel it’s complete I try to take a small break away from the image and go back to it with fresh eyes to do a final close up check for details and adjustments before sending off for comments.
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DS: How did you start working with celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz?
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HV: Mike is from Montreal, and a close friend since childhood.  He moved to the US when we were younger but we still kept in touch and I was thrilled for him when he achieved such success as a photographer.  When I first expressed an interest in retouching he was very helpful, giving me advice and letting me practice on some of his fabulous images early on. Over time, we developed a working relationship that has led to this point.  His motivation and support have been invaluable to me and being able to doing something I love, with Mike, whose images are obviously an inspiration and with whom I have a personal connection has been incredibly rewarding, not to mention fun!
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DS: Do you think you have a style of retouching or do you adapt completely to your clients?
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HV: Working so closely with Mike, my style has certainly developed in correlation with the type of images he is most known for which are very high impact and surreal.  That being said, it’s important for any professional to be able to vary their workflow in accordance with a client’s needs and I do strive towards being able to adjust for what’s required. In addition, I am constantly reviewing my techniques, finding different ways to do things and of course scouring ads and magazines to keep up to date and current.
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DS: What are your thoughs on enhancing the bodies of models and its social impact on self confidence?
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HV: Postproduction work on images has been around for a very long time, and I realize that retouching today is a topic that is subject to much debate.  It’s fair to say that I am part of a huge industry that perpetuates unrealistic images of the human body, but it’s very much a question of supply and demand.  You have to question whether retouchers are simply conveyors of existing social expectations of beauty or indirectly, shapers of them.  As a professional I do what is requested by my client. Personally, I feel it’s very important to educate young people to be as objective as possible.  I have a pre-teenage daughter, and I’ve done workshops at her school to talk about what I do.  They need to understand that absolutely all images in the media, whether of people, food or other products are to varying degrees, fake and meant to sell them something.  What they see should not be considered a realistic projection of what they should look like, in the same way that they would never expect the burger at a fast food restaurant to look like it does in the ads.  As real humans, there is beauty in our flaws and for young girls I think a little self acceptance goes a long way towards building a stronger self esteem.
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DS: Any basic rules/ advice for beauty retouching?
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HV: For beauty retouching, the usual mandate is “flawless but real”.  In reality, this is rather contradictory, because few images or people are really flawless.  In a sentence, I’d say beauty retouching for a polished result involves a very detailed effort in order to create a fine balance between achieving smooth, even tones while honouring the existing texture as well as staying true to the highlights, mid-tones and shadows to create a final product with that cover look.

RECAUDACIÓN DE FONDOS PARA EL PROYECTO DANCE, DANCE OR WE ARE LOST

Dance, Dance, or we are lost

Que inspiró el proyecto

 (Apoye nuestro proyecto aquí)

Hace algunos años descubrí que tenía fibromialgia, lo cual significa que el 90% del tiempo me siento como si tuviera gripa. Algunos días me siento como si un camión me hubiera pasado por encima. Otros días es más ligero y me siento como el día antes de recuperarse. Hubo un momento de mi vida en el que podía realizar solamente el 20 de las actividades de cuando estaba sano. Ahora estoy en camino a realizar un 70 %. ¿Qué es lo que me salvo? La perseverancia, el amor, pero aún más fue la pasión por el arte lo que me inspiró a luchar por estar mejor.

 

“Dance, Dance, or we are lost” es una metáfora para decir no te des por vencido! concéntrate sobre las cosas que te apasiona hacer para superar la enfermedad y los obstáculos en tu camino. Éste es el regalo que mi equipo y yo queremos dar al mundo: inspiración para aquellos que pasan por la misma situación, pero además sensibilizar a la gente con respecto a esta enfermedad crónica que se sospecha afecta entre el 2 y el 5 % de la población mundial.

 

“Dance, Dance, or we are lost” será un video de nueve minutos que a través de la danza representará las diferentes etapas necesarias para superar o para estar en paz con la enfermedad, incluyendo: los primeros síntomas, la batalla y la frustración y finalmente encontrar el equilibrio y a si mismo.

 

Tres bailarinas excepcionales interpretaran a través de la danza contemporánea personajes relacionados con la enfermedad: el personaje principal es el paciente. Los otros dos son síntomas de la fibromialgia. Queremos explorar la compleja relación que se forma entre los tres durante las diferentes etapas. El video tendrá una estética tenebrista iluminando los personajes en claroscuro.

 

Conozca al equipo

 

Los artistas implicados tienen largas carreras exitosas. Por mi parte puedo decir que durante los últimos años he ganado algunas becas y concursos como el Premio del Público Scotia Bank- Art Souterrain 2010 en Montreal. He expuesto en galerías y museos de México, España, Paris, Nueva York (Fundación Gabarrón), Washington D.C. (Museo de Arte de las Américas) y en Canadá. También he realizado las últimas dos campañas del Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal y he trabajado con coreógrafos reconocidos internacionalmente como Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui y Margie Gillis.

 

Para este proyecto estoy colaborando con un grupo de artistas con mucho talento: las bailarinas, Roxanne Duchesne-Roy, Merryn Krytzinger y Susan Paulson, que trabajan actualmente a la compañía Cas Public y hacen proyectos independientes a través de su colectivo de arte “The Broke Lab”. Las tres bailarinas son increíblemente talentosas, con una técnica refinada y una personalidad generosa.

 

También colaboro con el talentoso videasta  Jeff Blanchett y el diseñador de vestuario Yvan Castonguay, que trabaja actualmente con el aclamado Circo del Sol.

 

Tenemos el Talento, nos hace falta los medios

Para “Dance, Dance” queremos concentrarnos sobre los elementos esenciales, el talento de los artistas, como herramienta principal para hacer un proyecto artístico exitoso. Como quiera hay otros elementos básicos sin los que no podríamos realizar la producción.

 

Su contribución nos dará la oportunidad de pagar el material técnico necesario para realizar la filmación como la cámara y la iluminación. Nos ayudará igualmente a pagar los materiales y la confección de los vestuarios. Dado que la mayoría de los artistas estamos colaborando de manera gratuita, hemos decidido de invertir nuestro presupuesto en los mejores  materiales que podamos conseguir.

 

En el caso de los fondos recolectados sobrepasen nuestro  presupuesto inicial estos seran repartidos proporcionalmente entre los artistas organizadores para apoyar otros de sus proyectos. Usted no solamente financia un proyecto artístico, sino que da trabajo a varios artistas.

 

Si lo contrario sucede y no alcanzamos a reunir el presupuesto, sólo tendremos que reajustar nuestras expectativas, pero seguiremos adelante con el proyecto. Estamos comprometidos al 100 % y apasionados con el arte y con el proyecto. Esperamos que ustedes se entusiasmen tanto como nosotros.

 

Lo que su apoyo realmente hará!

 

Sus contribuciones a “Dance, dance” hará una gran diferencia sobre la estética del video y sobre el resultado final. La mayoría de los colaboradores donan su tiempo porque creen en el proyecto, sin embargo aún tenemos que pagar el material, el espacio para filmar, los materiales, etc. Al final lo que estás haciendo es ayudarnos a sembrar la esperanza y a sensibilisar al público.

 

Mahatma Gandhi dijo: “Se el cambio que quieres ver en el mundo”. He aquí tu oportunidad de hacer algo concreto que tendrá de resultados casi inmediatos y beneficios de larga duración!

 (Apoye nuestro proyecto aquí)

Otras maneras de ayudar

Si en este momento te es imposible dar una aportación económica no es el fin del mundo; siempre hay una manera de ayudar. Simplemente compartir esta petición es una gran ayuda, tal vez uno de sus amigos deciden invertir en nuestro proyecto.  Una manera fácil es utilizar las herramientas para compartir de INDIEGOGO o compartiendo el lazo: www.indiegogo.com/dancedancefilm. Estaremos muy agradecidos con ustedes.