Creative Spotlight: Menna Riley of Parlour Room Events

By tangentpath in halifax interviews menna riley parlour room events

"The uniquely inspired ideas we come up for each client are a direct result of all our experience combined with bold ambition and an ability to tap into a constant stream of creativity whenever and wherever we choose.  That and boat-load of confidence.  Oh, and unicorns." - Menna Riley, Parlour Room Events

Hey Peeps,
This creative edition is with Menna Riley, founder of Parlour Room Events in Halifax, NS.
After working with Menna, I have to say that the words ambitious, driven and fun describe her well.  I appreciate her taking the time to answer some of my questions - in record time no less - another attribute of hers;  she gets things done. 
Thanks again Menna.

1. Parlour Room Events has been in business for a number of years now. Can you tell me how the event industry has changed since your beginnings?

Starting out (way back in the 1900s), Event Planning wasn’t even a recognized industry. Now, with the proven results events have delivered over the years as the number one way to engage your clients and deliver your company’s brand as an experience – the entire industry has flourished. 

2. Does your business have a specialty when it comes to particular events?

Parlour Room Events specializes in running high-end promotional/launch events for companies promoting a new product or service, or celebrating a milestone such as an anniversary, award, or new digs. We cater specifically to the corporate market delivering strategic event solutions for employee recognition, industry awards, golf tournaments, and even create one-of-a-kind signature events to help our clients and the charities they care about achieve their goals.

Our mission is to raise the bar, and therefore our client’s and their guests’ expectations of what an event is and can be by exploring creative ways to tackle strategic challenges.  With our dynamic mix of PR, marketing and event management prowess, we aim to elevate all events to their highest possible potential.

3. What does Parlour Room Events do that makes it a favorite and memorable go-to for clients?

Our tagline – The Science of Unforgettable - says it all. We examine our client’s needs, we shop around for the best suppliers, we strategize and then plan and execute on strategy – we do all the things our competitors do – but then we add our own special combination of intrigue, inspired and unique ideas, and wonder.

4. Being a highly social business, I assume that you work with and promote non-profits and charities. Can you tell me a little bit about your involvement?

Throughout the years we are proud to be able to have been involved with so many charities on a local, national, and international level. While our firm doesn’t offer discounts on services, we do sponsor one charity per year with event services. We select this charity based on contacts we receive throughout the year and the timing of the charity event in question.

5. What would you say your method is for giving each event its own uniqueness and originality?

This is one of those “I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you” questions…  Basically, it’s simple: We were born to do this. The uniquely inspired ideas we come up for each client are a direct result of all our experience combined with bold ambition and an ability to tap into a constant stream of creativity whenever and wherever we choose.  That and boat-load of confidence.  Oh, and unicorns.

6. What was the most memorable event for you in 2012?

That would have to be a tie between the Night for Progress fundraising event at The Halifax Club and the Masqueraid at the Museum event at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.  A Night for Progress raised the roof and much-needed funds for the Progress Centre for Early Intervention, and the Masqueraid at the Museum raised funds for Bust A Move, a Breast Health fundraiser.  The only thing I’d change about these events is the dates: they occurred within a week of each other (can you say busy)?

7. What current/future plans does Parlour Room Events have that have you excited?

Being named one of the ten CYBF's High Fliers has meant dedicated time devoted to improving and working on my business.  What has us excited?  EVERYTHING!  Excited to grow, excited to hone some and expand on other business service offerings, to see what the next year has in store – 2013, bring it on!

8. In five years, where will we see Menna Riley and Parlour Room Events?

Untouchable. And maybe, just maybe, on vacation.

Thank you again Menna for those great answers and a look into your business and industry.  Have a great holiday and a prosperous 2013!!

Michael Carty

Michael Carty Website

Creative Spotlight: Liam Hennessey of Applehead Studio

By tangentpath in applehead studios interviews liam hennessey photography

"I want my work to evoke some kind of emotion in people, good or bad." - Liam Hennessey, Applehead Studio

Hey Peeps,

This photograview is with friend and photographer Liam Hennessey, founder of Applehead Studios, who creates a beautiful and emotive variety of portrait, wedding, family and boudoir to name a few.  Thanks for taking the time to chat with me Liam.

1. Your studio Applehead has a wide variety of Wedding/Portrait categories to choose from, I'm assuming that it would be an understatement to simply call the drive behind your work "creative"? Do you come up with these ideas yourself or with a team of people?
Applehead Studio is myself and my bad-ass assistant, Steph Camp.
A lot of these ideas come from day-to-day things that happen in my life, music that I listen to or just things that happen around me. It usually just starts as a small idea and after some collaborating with Steph and clients...manifests itself into a photograph of some sort.
A lot of photographers are now using the term 'creative portraits' and it kind of makes me laugh because I think all photography should be rooted in creativity.
There are too many people pushing the shutter button without reason or purpose behind it.

2. Your shooting style seems to dance between humorous and emotional, blending human and candid images with color and motion - telling memorable stories. What is your process or method when approaching a shoot and how do you keep it fresh and different from work with other clients?
I think it just stems from my desire to separate myself from the popular stuff.
Every time I think I find a group or organization to belong to...everything starts to look the same and then I don't want to be a part of it anymore.
The clients really dictate the feeling of the shoot. It's a lot like painting...if a client says 'here's a red marker and canvas, go nuts' then that's what we use. Another client might give us a can of spray paint and a sheet of aluminum...and so we go with that. Does this make sense?
The toughest thing has been trying to define my's just what I do and you can call it whatever you like.

3. How would you say your work and style have evolved by being both a husband and father?
Oh man, it's crazy...being a Dad has opened up a whole new world for me.
It's rare if I'm not fighting back tears at a wedding when the father of the bride gives a speech.
I pull a lot of inspiration from the fun that we have as a family. The relationship and love that I have for my wife trickles into my work. We laugh a lot and compete a lot and fight a all finds a way into my work and translates into something humorous or intense or emotional.

4. You seem to do several location weddings, what makes your business a go-to for this type of job?
I'd like to think we offer something that appeals to clients that makes them want to have us shoot for them.
It might be our work or the way we interact with them...destination weddings are usually pretty intimate and involve a small group of close friends. It's different from the 150 people type wedding locally.
It's also pretty inspiring for us to shoot in different places. We've been everywhere from New Zealand to Cape Breton, and the best part of all of those weddings is the relationships we have with the clients that we got to spend several days with.

5. Applehead Studio has won several awards, voted by public opinion and demand. What is it like to get so prestigious in only 5 years? How have these awards promoted your business?
Ugh, I had a huge argument with Steph about this just last night. While its nice to be recognized, I am not a fan of awards. The only people I want to please are my clients and myself. I don't tend to look back at the work I've done...I just want to do better the next time.
I want my work to evoke some kind of emotion in people, good or bad.
All this fluffy bullshit on Facebook doesn't do anyone any good. I have a small group of friends who's opinions I really care about and I rely on them to grow. I have officially walked away from submitting images for awards and now leave those things up to Steph.
There are some incredible photographers in this city that don't have any awards and I don't think that takes away from the quality of what they offer. In the words of Eddie Vedder in his Grammy speech, "I don't know what this means. I don't think it means anything at all."

6. To get a little personal, my own mother survived colon cancer years ago and I know you can relate from a similar situation. Can you tell me what the CCS means to you and how Applehead Studios takes an active part in the fight against cancer?
Just reading this question sent chills up my spine.
I photographed by Mom's last chemo treatment because I was having a hard time with verbally communicating anything about it with anyone. It was a trip and a truly cathartic experience. Any time I can help out the CCS, I do.

7. Are there any recent/current/future projects on the go that have you excited?
Hell yes. The wedding season is a pretty methodical time. Lots of repetition. Weekend shooting and mid week editing. There's not much time for doing personal work but it seems like as soon as November rolls around my brain explodes and the 'off season' fills up.
I'm really interested in the overall improvement of the local photography industry and teaching. I also love the freedom to shoot whatever we want, whenever we want. I like the freedom to call up friends or clients and just say, "Hey I've got a crazy idea, wanna shoot with me?"
We've got a few tricks up our sleeve this winter for some value added things for our wedding clients for 2013 and I'm really excited to show it...but nothing is ready yet.

8. In five years, where will we find Liam Hennessey and Applehead Studio?
The greatest thing about this job is that it's a lot like walking in the woods with my girls...I have a general idea of where we're headed, but I usually let them take me wherever they want to go and enjoy the trip.
I'd like to see Steph eventually branch out and do some of her own shooting. I'd like to do more teaching, more travel weddings and with luck I'll be sitting at a computer answering more of your questions Michael!  You're good for the community and I always enjoy doing these things with you. Thanks pal!

Thank you Liam for some great candid perspective into your work and I wish you the best in 2013!

Michael Carty

Michael Carty Website

Creative Spotlight: Billie Chiasson

By tangentpath in billie chiasson interviews photography toronto

"It just takes time and a lot of patience. I love every minute of it." - Billie Chiasson

Hey Peeps,

My first photograview is with Billie Chiasson, a most talented photographer, based in Toronto, ON, who brings a timelessness to her work.
I've known Billie for a number of years and she is as wonderful a soul as she is creative.
My thanks to you Billie for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions and letting me display some of your work here on my post.

1. You moved from Halifax to Toronto last year, what major changes has this move created, and how has that effected your work/opportunities for you?
This question requires me to take a step back and observe my surroundings, as I spend so much of my time shooting & have become accustomed to a busy lifestyle that I really haven't taken a look at what I have accomplished since moving to Toronto.
I guess in terms of my own career everything has changed since moving to Toronto. I'm fortunate to work with incredibly talented people in the industry here; makeup artists, models, hairstylists, stylists, assistants, editors & agencies. Moving to Toronto was one of the best decisions of my life and I feel as though I am moving towards my goals & increasing my skill level by working with such talented people.
I have several images on, have had editorials published & I also have a cover & spread coming out shortly. All of which I have accomplished since moving to Toronto. I still do a lot of collaborative as I feel as though I am in the process of building a name for myself & improving my own skill & art. At one point I made more money in Halifax then I do now in Toronto - however the resources for Fashion & Editorial are far more vast in the big city.
It just takes time and a lot of patience. I love every minute of it.

2. Your style has a simplistic beauty and your subjects seem to exude emotion and drama, would you consider yourself primarily fashion? Fine art? Emotive? Portrait?
I consider myself an artist & I don't feel as though my style fits into what would be considered "fashion", as I'm primarily focused on the emotion in my images instead of the actual clothing. That being said, I have shot editorials for clothing before & enjoy it. I also shoot A LOT of lingerie & testing for agencies here in Toronto. So maybe my style is a little bit of everything for the moment. I still feel as though I'm growing and developing as an artist.

3. What types of clients have you found attracted to your work?
Mostly agencies, models & the odd editor.

4. Do you primarily use ambient/available light with your subjects?
I do primarily use ambient or available light.

5. When working with a "green" model, how do you get the level of emotion that you accomplish with your other work?
I generally don't work with models that would be considered "green". I am very selective of the individuals that I do work with for collaborative because of how and what I shoot. Confidence and the ability to show emotions are a must! Also, my clients are generally agencies, so the models are more experienced and comfortable in front of the camera.
If I do have a paying client who is not as comfortable in front of the camera, I'm very good with direction as I know exactly how I want the images to be reflected for the client and for myself. I feel as though open communication during a shoot is a must - especially when your working with larger teams.
If you are confident in your skill and know what you want, you will be able to pull emotion out of a person no matter how shy they may be; it just takes a split second for them to let go & for you to capture it.

6. What is your process or method when creating a body of work?
There are so many different things that go into it & whenever your shooting you have no other choice but to think of these things all at once. It's the best adrenaline rush to know that something is perfectly exposed, that your capturing just the right essence and emotion while maintaining the integrity of the other artists working with you (Hair, Makeup, Clothing (If I'm shooting an editorial) ), all while taking into consideration the post-processing & knowing what you will do with the image afterwords. (Ok, I'm done drooling now).
All of these different things combined with the small details (ie.- the way you light something, how you move, your position in relation to the model, the time of day, your own feelings, how the model is feeling, how you thrive off the emotions and environment around you, etc.) plays so much into the signature of your work it's ridiculous. You do all this in 1/125 of a second or faster ;) Of course post-processing plays a part in your signature after you capture the image, however I'm a firm believer in "doing it right the first time", especially when it comes to lighting & knowing exactly how you want the image to be relayed.

7. You have been published several times, what is your approach when dealing with publications and what is it like working with their teams?
In comparison to my fellow photographers in Toronto, I really have not been published that much - however that will change ;) I will make sure of it.
I'm refining my own skills and coming up with concepts/ideas and approaching fantastically talented people to take part. (Super excited).
In terms of getting published and submitting for publishing, sometimes it is a hit or miss & it's always good to review a magazine and/or online publishing beforehand to see if your style is suitable to what they are looking for. (I made this mistake a couple of times) In terms of working with "their" teams, I have been incredibly fortunate that even if I do get published, regardless whether or not it's for print or online, that I get to select the team I work with and/or am provided options of individuals to choose from.
When it comes down to the success of the images for all parties involved there needs to be a good flow of energy. In the future, if I do shoot for larger clients I may not have this luxury, however it really is a matter of perspective & I don't think I would ever take on a client where I did not think I could work and/or do their publication justice. It just wouldn't be right to me, regardless of the money.

8. Are there any recent/current/future projects on the go that have you excited?
Of course there is! & I'm always excited. My excitement does not end!

9. In five years, where will we find Billie Chiasson?
It's hard to tell where I will be in 5 years as life can throw you a curve ball when you least expect it.
For Example: 4 years ago, I was not even a Photographer. ;)
I like to think that if you put out beautiful things into the world that people will take notice & hopefully be inspired by the beauty of it. In 5 years, I hope to continue to create something that would be considered "beautiful." If I happen to be working with larger clients and have taken on photography full time, then so be it.
I'm incredibly excited for my own life and very much look forward to what the next 5 years will bring me.

Thank you again Billie for letting me delve a little into your work and life. Have a great holiday and a Happy 2013!!
My next photograview will be with Liam Hennessey of Applehead Studios.
Michael Carty

Michael Carty Website

End of 2012 Treat: Creative Spotlights

By tangentpath in industry interviews photography

Hey Peeps,

I wanted to do something similar - yet different from last years creative interviews.

If you don't remember, last year I sent questions to some of the most talented photographers in the industry in all different genres and posted them for New Year's.
This year is a little different.
I wanted a more in-depth look at the creatives that I approached, so after doing some research of each, I have sent them specific questions designed personally for the creative and their work.
Each post will be from a different and talented artist/creative/entrepreneur/etc in the industry and I hope will help you, the reader, to gain insight and direction in the field that inspires you.
The first creative is Toronto-based photographer, and good friend,Billie Chiasson.


Michael Carty

Michael Carty Website

Who Wants A Moustache Ride? (I'm going to regret that title...)

By tangentpath in moustache movember personal

Hey Peeps,

I can bet you know at least one dude, be it your friend, brother, father, son or some other label that connects their life to yours.

I can also bet that at least one of those guys has suffered from a fight with prostate cancer or some form of mental health like depression and/or anxiety.

If not, well you do now.  Me.

For an explanation of the moustache, keep reading.

I haven't had prostate cancer - thank goodness, and it may not look like it from the image above, but I have suffered from large struggles with anxiety and depression.  Bottomless pits that left me in a world that was flat and colorless, without substance or meaning of any sort.  

But I fought.  

I still fight today.

And this month, I'm hoping you will join me in that fight by joining/donating Movember & Sons.  They are a great organization in these struggles and I am proud to be part of a team of men who support it.

Our team, the League of Extraordinary Moustaches, is made up of over a dozen guys in my local area, led by our Team Captain and fellow photographer, Adam Graham.

We have raised several hundred dollars in just these few days and are continuing to collect more with your help.

You can see my progress on my Fanpage every two days as I update my moustaches growth.

Check it out so far.
Day 1
Day 3

Day 5

Okay, okay, not much growth right?  Well it's only been 5 days - cut me some slack, it will get better.

One of the many fun things with Movember are the free, customizable cards you can order, here's a shot of ours that I just received today and I also hope to grow by the end of the month.

Man, that makes me look old...

Also, I wanted to generate more fundraising by using my photography, so I am donating 10% of every shoot I take in Movember towards this cause.

How my Holiday Special helps Movember

I challenge all of you, whether an artist or whatever it is you do to do something similar in support of Movember.

So please listen, care, grow and give.

Oh, before I go, a quick "Good voting" to my American readers, I hope you all the best in your leadership choosing and sincerely enjoy the democracy that so many in this world don't get to.

And I hope Obama wins.  BAM!!  ;) 

Michael Carty

Michael Carty Website
Michael Carty Email