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Volume 50 - Issue 12

November 30, 2016

Since 1967


The Eyeopener




It is that wonderful season when
we gather with family and friends,
share happy moments and memories
and look ahead to the promise of a
new year.
This is a special time for me to reflect
on having the privilege of leading this
great university. I want to thank every
member of the Ryerson community
for your incredible support and
well wishes as we embark together
on building a university for the
21st century. You are my inspiration.
Wishing you all the best for a
wonderful holiday season, and health
and happiness for 2017. I look forward
to seeing you in the new year!

The image above depicts ‘Flow’ – an award-winning and
interactive warming hut by architecture students Calvin Fung
and Victor Huynh.
Photo: Calvin Fung

Mohamed Lachemi



stay weird, ryerson
By Annie Arnone
The first time I looked through the
viewfinder of my first camera, a tiny
Canon T5, everything I saw became
a photograph.
Since then, every interaction I
have with another person I frame in
my head as a portrait. Every walk to

Studies at

the grocery store is my own personal
five minute interlude of landscape
shot opportunities—a man dropping
a penny on Dalhousie Street, a little
girl kicking around a cigarette butt
on the ground. And then there’s editing. People’s moods correlate with
either extreme on my colour balance
bar, which is when my style becomes
visible. These decisions—the way I
choose to see the world—have been
criticized. Once, someone told me
my work was “unmarketable.”
I was eating mashed potatoes at
the dinner table when the topic of
my photography came up. “Over
saturated” and “burnt” were the
words used to describe my work.
And I loved it.
I smiled in response to those remarks because they were exactly the
kind of comments I wanted to hear.
The minute a woman smiles into my
lens, I see beams of colour radiating
off of her—so I gravitate towards
my saturation bar and I make her
cheeks as rosy as I see them, her
eyes as bright as I see them. When
my subject is sad, my lens goes grey.
The colour in their face fades, but
the redness in their teary eyes is the
only thing I see. My saturation bar
acts accordingly.
My relationship with my sub-

jects, or the out-of-place object on
the ground, are the most important
things in the world to me. What I see
in my subject is mine and theirs. No
one else’s.
For so long people have been critical of my work, but it truly makes
me want to produce more. I want
to continue to be different—more
“burnt,” more “overexposed.”
Every photographer has their
own connection with a person or
a photo, and their eyes see things
differently. I’m sure you’ve heard
of the experiment where several
people shoot the same object. Every
time, no photo is the same.
In the next several pages, you’ll
see work from several Ryerson
photographers whose styles vary—
one photographer shoots ethnographic portraits in Ghana, while
another covers her subject’s faces
with pillowcases. You’ll read about
why they shoot this way, and about
what motivates them to create.
My motivation to create will
always be that conversation at the
dinner table. Look back at your
work and be proud of it, and be different.
So, without further ado, The
Eyeopener presents the photography

O ve r 1 0 0
courses in
G ra p h i c D e s i g n


We b D e s i g n
I n t e ra c t i ve M e d i a
Film and Video
P h o t o g ra p h y
Industrial Design
3D Modelling
We a ra b l e M e d i a

Managing Editor

F i b r e a n d Fa s h i o n

Annie Arnone

D ra w i n g a n d P a i n t i n g


M a r ke t i n g

Nicole Schmidt

Theory in Art and Design
C r e a t i ve Wo r k s h o p s
P r o g ra m s f o r Yo u t h

E x p l o r e Yo u r C r e a t i v e P o t e n t i a l

Devin Jones
Chris Blanchette
Izabella Balcerzak


A r t . D e s i g n . N ew M e d i a
E ve n i n g s . We e ke n d s . O n l i n e


Carl Solis
Thomas Skrlj


C o u r s e i n f o a n d r e g i s t r a t i o n : o c a d u . c a /c o n t i n u i n g s t u d i e s

Ryerson_Sept2016_QuarterPage.indd 1


Skyler Ash



Sarah Krichel
Chris Blanchette
Karoun Chahinian
Stefanie Phillips
Jacob Dubé
Olivia Bednar
Brenda MolinaNavidad

Copy Editing
Sierra Bein
Igor Magun
Farnia Fekri

2016-08-18 1:00 PM


This Rye grad travels around the world to connect
with strangers. Sarah Krichel writes about
Sierra Nallo’s experiences in Ghana


ierra Nallo steps into a neighborhood in Accra, Ghana with her camera strapped
around her neck. She’s alone, but she prefers it that way. Nearby, Nallo sees a stranger,
and a story (as she does with most of her subjects). She smiles and instinctively grips
her camera, hoping they’ll allow her to take a step into their life. Holding the camera to her
face with her finger on the shutter, Nallo takes the photo and adds it to her repertoire of
Ghana photography.
The former Ryerson student only lasted one day in the graphic communication program.
She switched into sociology, but the program didn’t fully satisfy her interest in studying
human nature.
Nallo was born in Victoria, B.C. and attended Ryerson from 2008 to 2010. Following university, she left Canada for Sierra Leone to be more in touch with her heritage. Nallo found
herself teaching English to children—the same children that ended up being the subjects of
her favourite photo. In the midst of the group is a young girl looking directly into the lens.
It was this sepia-toned shot that would make Nallo realize that photography can have its
own language.
“There’s just something about the look in her eyes that’s way more mature, beyond her
time,” Nallo said.
Children provide the “reality” that Nallo tries to convey in her photography—organic
facial expressions that are uncommon when shooting adults of the West who, according to
Nallo, are usually too concerned about camera angles and poses.
When Nallo photographs, she doesn’t strive for perfection. She takes the time to connect
with her subjects on a human level. “The camera just acts as a secondary element to our dialogue,” she said. Capturing a photo becomes a personal experience for both of them. It’s real.
“I don’t use a lot of Photoshop on my images. Whatever it looked like photographed is
very similar to what [I’ve] seen,” she said.
Nallo is no stranger to photographing celebrities, either. She has shot famous faces ranging
from Winnie Harlow, a model with vitiligo (a skin condition where white patches appear on
different parts of the body), to R&B artist Frank Ocean and American director Spike Lee.
But she sometimes faces the decision of putting her subject in front of her career.
A friend of Nallo’s was working on Ocean’s album “Blonde” this year and Nallo got an
invitation to a studio in California to take some photos of the artist. Her intimate portraits
seemed too intrusive to his private and reserved disposition, so she decided to keep them to
herself. “I felt like he was a very quiet and mysterious person—by posting those images it
would be kind of disrespectful to him and his image.”
Nallo often sits in the living room of her host’s apartment in Ghana, flipping through some
of her favourite photography publications, including National Geographic, Magnum Photos
and LIFE magazine. She remembers that, despite her freelance commercial photography, she
loves shooting the community in Ghana. Someday, she wants to focus on ethnography and
photographing Indigenous people.
Ethnography is the telling of a story through the eyes of another culture. But Nallo believes to do this, she must step out of her portrait-oriented comfort zone by separating herself
from the human face a little more than she’s used to.
“You kind of have to look at the different pockets of an image—notice that there’s a car
driving by, and there’s a family having an argument on the other side,” Nallo said.
Over the next 10 years, she wants to give back to her African heritage by facilitating a
change for those who need it.
“I feel like I’m indebted to do something,” she said.
Nallo’s itch to not stay in one place for more than five or six years keeps her moving forward. After growing restless in Toronto, she went back to Ghana and felt like she was ready
to make a greater impact.
Her love for solitude is something she tries not to over-embrace, because she doesn’t
want to miss the opportunity of networking. But she is still looking forward to finding those
“snapshots of real life” in Ghana while she can.
“I haven’t been alone very much here, so I am looking forward to just getting out there and
doing my normal thing, where it’s just me, my camera and the city that I’m in.”



Karoun Chahinian talks to a young Toronto
rooftopper who used to be afraid of heights


he first time Justin Abernethy stepped foot on a rooftop was in April 2016. Accompanied by a group of fellow Instagram photographers, he climbed the stairs of the building
near Yonge and Wellesley streets. He was afraid of heights, so he stayed away from the
edge—he couldn’t even get himself to look down.
Since then, he has snuck onto nearly 20 rooftops, often in the middle of the night.
“The height thing isn’t so much of a fear anymore,” the fourth-year Ryerson photography
student said. “Now, I can sit on the edge and it’s not the scariest thing for me because I’m comfortable … How many people in the city of Toronto can be driving around and be able to say,
‘I’ve been on that building before?’”
Abernethy, 21, fell in love with taking photos of Toronto while working for the private
garbage removal company, 1-800-Got-Junk?.
Whether he was picking up an old couch in Brampton or driving across the city to get a
piano in the Beaches, Abernethy slowly got to know every neighbourhood in Toronto. One day
in June, surrounded by rain and fog near the city dump at Polson Pier, he stood focused on the
city skyline, ignoring the lingering smell of garbage and the high-pitched squeals of rats around
him. He stopped to take a photo on his iPhone. From there, he transformed his personal Instagram into a street photography account—which has since gained over 4,000 followers.
Abernethy slowly began to appreciate the architecture and the lines that certain city
buildings created. “There’s no other atmosphere, nothing that compares to it,” he said.
“Toronto is an amazing place, I couldn’t have asked for anywhere better to start my street

How many people in Toronto can drive around and
be able to say ‘I’ve been on that building before?’

Rooftopping is a simple process. Abernethy and his friends usually wait outside their targeted building and swiftly follow a resident with a key fob to get inside. To stay under the
radar, they leave their cameras in their backpacks and take the elevator to highest floor.
Then they find a stairwell to the roof, where they’re met with a door. Sometimes it’s unlocked,
sometimes they need to pick it open. Throughout his photography career, Abernethy—like many
other Toronto rooftoppers—has learned how to pick different types of locks.
“Try [to] be in and out within 10 to 15 minutes because if someone sees you from another
roof, security will get called,” he said. “Get your pictures quickly.”
Despite his quick skills, Abernethy and his friends have been caught before. Once, they were
ordered to delete all of their photos immediately and were banned from the building they were
on. He says he plays stupid whenever he gets confronted by a security guard—claiming that the
door was open, or that everyone had access to the roof.
ne of the bigger obstacles for rooftop photographers, according to Abernethy, are
the other rooftoppers who break locks on doors and tag buildings with spray paint.
“Some people will go on roofs by breaking the lock and will spend two or three
hours up there. That makes everyone else look bad,” he said, adding that above all else, staying
safe is important.
Through Instagram, Abernethy has collaborated with dozens of photographers—many of
whom are part of his usual shooting group—and has received several job inquiries from small
Abernethy finds the volume of rooftoppers and their success on social media to be inspiring,
rather than intimidating.
“The Toronto community is so good to each other. Everyone just feeds off each other’s energy and vibes and works together to get where they need to be,” he said.
While Abernethy is known for his street photography on Instagram, his goal is to become a
fashion photographer for a large-scale magazine, or to work on company campaigns.
“I feel like you’ll always progress as a photographer more with a following,” he said. “I’m
sort of marketing myself as [a street] photographer because that’s where I feel I need to go to
get my name up there. But fashion is definitely where my heart is at the end of the day.”
For financial support, he’s taken on many part-time jobs, including assisting professional photographers, as well as paid shoots.
The thing that provoked his interest in fashion was his time spent as a model for the Elmer
Olsen modeling agency. After one particular shoot, he was observing the photographer edit one of
his photos and saw how artistically unique and “high-fashion” the shot was. He was intrigued by
the drama and artistry behind fashion photography, and thought that he could do the same thing.
Abernethy became interested in rooftopping only recently, but his interest in photography dates
back to Grade 10, where he took photos of his friends during their lunch breaks at Etobicoke Collegiate Institute. His first ever camera purchase was a Nikon D60.
He went on to take photography elective courses in highschool, where he had access to
the school’s dark room. When his father gifted him his Pentax film camera from the 1980s,
he started developing his own photos. He became enamored with the craft entirely and one
day, while browsing through his personal collection of printed film shots, decided to pursue
it at Ryerson.
“Out of any other form of art, photography was the one that stood out. What really
impressed me was that one picture could tell a story and you wouldn’t really need context,”
he said.
“If I didn’t have photography in my life, I don’t know where I’d be,” he said. “Every photo
you take has your own sort of perspective on it. There’s something about it that’s you.”





Olivia Bednar talks to the photographer who covers
her subjects’ faces with masks and pillow cases

Seiji De LucaWhiteman

he grunge band on stage screams lyrics as devoted fans thrash around in the mosh
pit. Yet, it’s the eerie artwork at the concert venue that captivates Seiji De LucaWhiteman. She pulls out her phone to document the dark, grotesque images hanging
behind the band and suddenly, the 17-year-old curates her own idea of beautiful photography—obscurity.
De Luca-Whiteman, also known as Lokishots on Instagram, is a first-year photography
student who is best known for her ominous smoke work and obscure portraits.
She comes from the small town of Port Perry, Ont. and has always been interested in
rebelling against “the normalcy of things.” Growing up, she listened to artists like Slipknot
and Marilyn Manson, which heavily influenced her work. The graphic artwork displayed at
these types of concerts inspired her unconventional portrait technique of placing blankets
over her subjects’ heads.
“You don’t really see a person walking down the street with a bag over their head everyday,” De Luca-Whiteman laughed. “When people see it, they’re intrigued because it’s
something new and different.”
In grade 12, her final project involved covering the face of her subject as a representation
of self-identity.

You don’t really see a person walking down the
street with a bag over their head

creative vision. “I haven’t warmed up to shooting in the city just yet,” she said.
A favourite prop of De Luca-Whiteman’s is an old telephone. It can be spotted various
times on her Instagram. In one photo, a subject pretends to make a phone call with it. In
another, a woman has the cord wrapped around her neck.
Like most struggling artists, De Luca-Whiteman went through a slump with her work
and almost dropped out of her program. It was only when she was editing one of her smoke
bomb portraits and got some positive affirmation from a professor that she gained her confidence back. He asked if she had used any composites or Photoshop (which she hadn’t)
because it looked so good.
“It was a big self-discovery moment,” she said. “It was like I hit enough buttons on the
computer and found the right one.”
De Luca-Whiteman’s career is just beginning and she has a lot planned for the future.
Right now, she wants to get more involved in mixed media and contemporary photography.
Eventually, she would like to go into editorial work and fashion.
“I want to be able to bring that creative idea to fashion because it’s such an industry where
to be weird and to be interesting is really good,” she said.

“It brought less focus to the face and more to what [the body] was doing,” De LucaWhiteman said. “I thought, ‘what can I do to make a photo not about someone’s face, or
whether it’s a ‘pretty’ person or not?’”
She has also covered her subjects’ heads with pillowcases and masks.
De Luca-Whiteman’s other trademark is colourful, handheld smoke bombs. This style
surfaced after she played around with them for a similar project in her senior year of high
school. The eerie smoke shots pair darkly contrasted subjects with pops of rich purples, reds
and yellows.
Despite going to school in the heart of the city and being surrounded by urban street photography, De Luca-Whiteman is still drawn to natural settings for her shoots.
Forests are her favourite location. The cool, quiet mood is the perfect backdrop for her



André Varty pushes his way through any crowd to find the perfect shot. Stefanie Phillips
has the angle


tanding on stage at the Opera House with his camera in hand, André Varty’s lens flickers
open and shut as he captures his friends performing in front of a sold out audience. In the
midst of a crowded mosh pit, the 21-year-old elbows his way through the people, clicking
away as the footman screams into his mic while beads of sweat roll down his forehead.
Varty was 17 when he started taking photos. He used his first camera, a Canon T3i, to shoot
all-ages shows where the bands were people he knew or other high school students from the
Toronto area.
At one particular show an older, more professional photographer was taking photos, too.
Varty noticed him getting close to the band and really capturing the energy of the artists.
“I loved the stuff that he did and that really influenced me a lot and how I do my photography now. I have my flash and I have my camera and I just get in there,” he said.
Growing up in Toronto’s east end, Varty always appreciated music. He stayed involved in
the scene through friends and his own piano classes. But as he got older, laziness took over and
he lost motivation to keep playing. Even though he wasn’t playing music he still wanted to be
a part of the niche, so he picked up photography as a way to stay connected to the industry.
“I couldn’t be in the band but I could still be a part of the band by taking photos,” he said.
Now, Varty is at Ryerson finishing his fourth year in the journalism program. He still takes
photos of the artists he used to shoot at the Opera House, as well as new people he’s met along
the way—like rappers Kirk Knight and K. Forest.
Even with his experience, Varty still thinks his style is somewhat undefined.
“As a photographer, I want to be as creative as possible,” he said. “My style is different
every time I shoot.”

I have my flash and I have my camera and I just get
in there

For Varty, that means always shooting with the goal of getting a unique photo that’s different
from what anyone else is shooting. Whether he’s experimenting with a harsh flash or playing
around with stage lighting, he’s always trying to show the artist in their most energetic moment
to capture them as “who they really are.”
His desire to be different from other photographers developed after he became fed-up with
trying to please an array of opinionated people on Instagram. He realized that putting hashtags
under his photos to get likes from strangers wasn’t as rewarding as garnering a following of
people who would stick around and truly pay attention to his work.
“I just focus on the people who really like my stuff and it’s great … That’s way more rewarding,” he said.
Varty’s Instagram page is a reflection of his, “I shoot what I want” attitude. Photos of different compositions are dispersed throughout his profile, making it different from the aestheticbased pages that look more like mood boards than photo galleries.
“If I really think my photo is good and I post it but it doesn’t get a lot of likes, whatever,”
he said. “I don’t care because that’s a photo that I really like. That’s my artistry.”
Even though he has garnered attention from bands, he still doesn’t consider himself a professional photographer. His primary focus is to take photos of people and capture moments they
can be proud of when they look back on them.
“This isn’t my career, I’m not handing out business cards that say I’m a professional photographer, pay me. I’m a photographer. If you want me to take photos of you I’ll do it because
I like doing it.”
Being able to take gigs on a whim and continue shooting bands means he can keep doing
what he loves. The success, according to Varty, will come later with more experience and experimentation.



Jacob Dubé tells us about a self-taught
photographer who gravitates towards
texture photography, as well as portraits


ared Brookes had a plan. Throughout high school, he was on the path to becoming an
engineer. He filled his course load with physics and advanced mathematics.
Then, right before the beginning of Grade 12, he got mono. He missed a third of his
first semester and his studies grinded to a halt. During his second semester he had his tonsils
removed, which stretched his academic gap even further. But it allowed him to really take a
look and figure out what he wanted to spend his life doing. He chose photography.
Brookes, 20, got his first camera in high school when his parents surprised him with it at
Christmas (with a trip to Europe thrown in for good measure). It was just a little handheld
device—it didn’t even have a viewfinder. Still, he took hundreds of photos. But when he looked
back at them, they didn’t feel the way he wanted them to.
“They looked more like travel photos,” Brookes said.
Now, with the help of his Canon T6i, Brookes takes texture-focused nature shots, whether
it’s a bright tractor or a small wave made to look huge.
“I find a spot that feels really good to me and then I’ll look for things around that area that
are maybe not seen, or that are small,” he said. “It’s the little things that you take for granted
in a space like that and I really want to focus in on those.”
After deciding on photography as a career, he shadowed a woman in the advertising industry for a day. She recommended he enroll in Ryerson’s graphic communications management
(GCM) program, as she and several of her colleagues had.



I’m not going to be the biggest, but I definitely want
to stand out in a sea of beauty

“I put all my eggs in one basket. GCM was my first choice,” he said.
The other two programs Brookes applied to were also at Ryerson, but in the event that he
didn’t get into GCM, his plan was to transfer down the road.
Now in his second year, Brookes describes himself as more of a self-taught photographer. He
prefers to let his photos speak for themselves, and to allow them to convey a specific feeling
when they’re looked at.
His website,, is filled with photos ranging from vibrant and colourful to
dark and serene. What stands out, however, are his portraits of people. Brookes said that the
hardest photos he has to shoot are of the people he cares about, because you need to balance
the ideas of taking a good picture and taking a photo that they’ll like.
One night around 11 p.m., Brookes was sitting at a train station with his girlfriend on his
way home from school. He took a photo of her for the explicit reason that she wasn’t smiling.
She wasn’t a fan, but he was.“[Her] expression of tiredness and almost sadness really makes
this photo,” Brookes said.
Taking photos of strangers is simpler—Brookes just tries to be sneaky about it.
He also has a section of the site dedicated to showcasing other photographers that he likes,
because sticking together and promoting each other’s work is a necessity in the business, he
said. He views a career in photography as less of a competition and more of a shared collective of shots.
When he started thinking about creating a website to promote his material—because physical portfolios are goddamn expensive—he needed a name.
Then, his girlfriend sent him a photo of a dried collection of roses. Almost all of them were
all red, but there was a small blue one in the centre. And then he figured it out. He wanted
his work to be like the rose: different, unique and capable of distinguishing itself within other
pieces of work.
He titled his site Lil’ Blue Solutions, with the tag line “proudly being different.”
“I’m not going to be the biggest, but I definitely want to stand out in this sea of beauty,”
Brookes said. “Because that’s the other thing, too—with the roses: [they’re] all beautiful, but
how can we stand out in this really beautiful world?”

Chris Blanchette talks to the photographer who combines the
technicalities of engineering with photography


Adam Voll

Nutrition & Food

Nicole DiDomenico (aka Mom)
Early Childhood Studies


WED. NOV. 30
WOMEN’S 6:00 PM / MEN’S 8:00 PM

WOMEN’S 4:00 PM / MEN’S 6:00 PM


elf-proclaimed nerd Ali
Saremi composes his
photos with mechatronics (the combination of
electronics and mechanical
engineering)—balancing artistry and technical composition in one shot.
The third-year engineering
student said his passion for photography began when he turned his lens
towards the towering skyscrapers and sprawling cityscape that Toronto
has to offer.
“From there my photos started getting a lot of attention and likes, lots
of comments. Some of my friends asked me to photograph them and I did
it,” said Saremi.
Though the skyline’s smooth glass buildings and famed CN Tower allowed him to capture stunning photos, people did not seem interested in
purchasing them online.
It can be difficult
for a photographer’s
work to stand out, especially in the digital
age, when Instagram
has become oversaturated with photos of a
similar style, according
to Saremi. So the next
logical step was to expand his repertoire by
jumping into portrait
photography—a style
he said is far more personal.
“When I shoot with
people, I treat them as though they’re my best friend,” he said. The benefit
to this, Saremi explained, is that the subject is usually more inclined to act
naturally, rather than tense up when posing for a stranger.
He said it’s all about making new friends and having experiences with
new people.
“I’ll say, ‘Hey, walk around a little bit so I can see how you walk, see
how you talk.’ And it clearly works.”
Saremi’s website contains photos of Toronto landmarks, like the Toronto islands, where he uses the cityscape as a backdrop. This is the kind of
composition that originally captured his eye when he began photography:
cityscapes with a human element.
His photos use bright colours and highly contrasted tones that all draw
attention to the model’s best features. Saremi makes good use of a low
depth of field, which blurs out the background of photos and brings his
subjects to the forefront.
“When you go and shoot cityscape or landscape you’re mostly alone or
you’re with one other person, but when you work with people it becomes
fun,” said Saremi.
It is the joy of photographing and the fun of collaboration that makes it
worth it for Saremi, though creating profit off of art is never a bad thing,

Swipe & Win! Your Ryerson OneCard is Your Ticket into the Game!





Vote for your favourite photographer from this issue
(including the extra online profiles!) by hitting us up
at The winning photographers will
receive gift cards valued at $500, $250 and $100!

Check out extra
photos online. Visit
to see more cool
people doing more
cool things with



Oakham House Choir Presents:
Ringing and Singing Gloria
Featuring Vivaldi’s Gloria
Works by Mendelssohn, Handel, etc.
Choir, orchestra, bell choir
Dec. 3rd, 2016 (7:30pm, doors at 7pm)
Calvin Presbyterian Church
(26 Delisle Avenue, 1 block north of Yonge and St. Clair)
Kelsey Taylor, Soprano
Eugenia Dermentzis, Mezzo-Soprano
Oakham House Choir
Toronto Sinfonietta
Bells of St. Matthew’s
$30 at the door $25 in advance $15 for students Free 12 & under
Ticket Info:




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