Ryan Antooa
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Thoughts

Thoughts, concepts, and ideas from Ryan Antooa: a photographer + designer trying to navigate his way through the world, just like you.

Portrait Story – Shaun McComb

Actor, lecturer at the University of Guelph, and business owner Shaun McComb enlisted my services as a photographer to capture his portrait and according branded content for his portfolio. As far as the images go, it was a fairly standard shoot – but the story behind it is far more interesting.


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It was a standard request from a client: Shaun needed some portrait work done to be used in his portfolio, PR, and for his digital presence as an actor, teacher, and business owner.

We shot at a few locations: The Common, Bookshelf Cinemas, and Woolwich Studios here in Guelph, Ontario.

But before any of that began – I met with Shaun to talk over more about his story as an actor, a teacher, and above all: a human being.

Which for me is the most gratifying part of doing photography in the first place: Understanding the stories of other human beings – some of whom come from wildly different circumstances, places, and experiences than I.

In all honesty, this felt like one of the most fluid shoots I’ve done for a client in a long time; while mulling over the reasoning in my brain, it came down to the fact that I built a genuine connection with the subject beforehand – during the “discovery” phase as well as over the two shoots we did.

Each shoot began with hearing about how each other’s day was: what our goals were in life and as creative individuals: how we thought about certain parts of the acting industry: our experiences with drug and alcohol use: our struggles and triumphs for the week: and virtually anything else on our minds.

It’s a note I’ve taken from one of my heroes, Platon, but also an innate interest of mine: developing a relationship with the client before the shutter clicks.

The images which came about from our sessions are a reflection of the trust built through genuine conversation. If you are a photographer, I highly recommend you take time to learn more about your subject’s ideas, insecurities, vocation, passions, dog-preferences – everything you can.

Trust me, it’ll make all the difference in the images you take.

Ryan Antooa