The Hamilton 24 2012

It has been a crazy few weeks since my last post, and between moving in to our new place and shooting, Katie and I have had our hands full! The best thing to do is probably work back from the more recent events, starting with The Hamilton 24 that happened this past weekend.

The Hamilton 24 started out as a 24 hour film festival, but quickly evolved into an entire arts festival…too quickly in fact! Originally, the purpose of the event was to give filmmakers several criteria for a film, and then give them 24 hours to conceive, write, shoot, edit and submit a 5-minute film. Over the years they added more elements to the festival and the screening turned into a week-long display of film, fashion, food, music, dance and many other forms of expression that had to be designed or conceived within a 24 hour period.

In 2011, the festival was so massive, that the organizers realized they needed to scale things back and gear up to be properly prepared for 2013. Luckily for us, the one element they decided to keep for the festival in 2012 was the film challenge!

The film you’re about to watch was literally conceived from nothing, then written, shot, edited and submitted in less than 24 hours. I can’t thank my amazing team enough for all of the effort that went into pulling this off. A big thank you goes out to Create Media for co-producing this and hosting our workspace for those insane 24 hours.

Please enjoy The Stone:

The Stone – 2nd Place – Hamilton 24 from Christoph Benfey on Vimeo.

For this submission, we received second place at the screening. The first place film was about a family who didn’t want their son anymore so they told him he was a wizard and had to go to wizard school forever. We’re really looking forward to next year’s festival!

In other news, another All Day Apparel – Skate Sessions video dropped a couple weeks ago, this time featuring Mike Crook. If you haven’t watched it yet, be sure to check it out!

All Day Apparel – Skate Sessions w/ Mike Crook from Christoph Benfey on Vimeo.

In the coming weeks, check back for updates with some exciting projects I’m working on right now, including a shoot with a Scion FR-S, A Music Video for a hip-hop artist from Toronto (who must remain nameless until launch!), a really cool commercial for Hamilton’s Urbanicity magazine, to name a few!

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All Day Apparel – Skate Sessions w/ Z Roy

I’m currently working on 6 video installments for All Day Apparel featuring skateboarders. The first one to drop went live on today and it features Z Roy skating and talking a little bit about what fashion means to him. You can also watch it on my vimeo page. Stay tuned for the next one featuring Mike Crook!

In keeping with the Fashion Theme, another video I worked on with Chris Wardle dropped today for Shop Girls in Queen West. This was the third installment in a series of videos we did to promote the uniqueness of the in-store experience at their shop. It’s a super rad little place with awesome clothing for women, if you’re shopping for summer in Toronto you have to pop in and let the girls take you on a shopping experience like no other! Check the video out below.

I’ve been swamped lately so I’m sorry for the lack of updates lately, but I’ve got lots of exciting stuff coming up over the course of the next few weeks so stay tuned and I’ll try my best to keep the content flowing in!

Ambush Apparel BTS Video – SS12 Collection

I’m always anxious to see the final edit when I work on a project with Chris Wardle and this shoot for the SS12 Collection for Ambush Apparel was no exception. Check the video out below, and click here to check out Ambush Apparel.

People Who Make Music

Black’s Photo had a ridiculous sale today on 8×10 prints for $1 each, so I was scrambling to dig up photos that I wanted blown up! I found a few old gems, a lot of which haven’t seen the light of day yet, so I figured I’d throw them up here! Today I’ll focus on people that I’ve taken pictures of, who make music which I enjoy.

On stage with Redman & Saukrates at Rockpile last fall.

Next to surfing with Woody Harrelson in Costa Rica, and waiting in line behind Steve the Pirate in LA, probably the next most internationally famous person I’ve really rubbed shoulders with (and have photos to prove it) is Redman. When I was 12 years old, a guy gave me a bunch of hip hop and rap tapes. Among those tapes was Muddy Waters, and Whut, Thee Album. None of my friends were listening to rap or hip hop, except maybe a little bit of Biggie or Tupac. But I became obsessed with it. I found out that Mindbender was one of the opening acts at Redman’s show last fall at Rockpile in Etobicoke, and couldn’t miss it. I managed to sneak up on stage just before his entourage arrived, and for some reason when his security came in they told me specifically to stay on stage! Redman and Saukrates subsequently walked past me and put on a hell of a show. The whole time they were performing, there was a dude beside me rolling giant blunts, which they would toke a couple times, and then pass to the audience!

Mindbender & Rich Kidd

Mindbender & Rich Kidd were found backstage at the Redman show. You know.

Toronto Rapper Solitair

In keeping with the classic hip hop theme, I also had a chance to take a few photos with Toronto rapper, Solitair, last summer in the Distillery District. You might not recognize his name, but you’ll definitely know this song when you hear it! This was shot in the emergency stairwell of that cafe right by the parking lot (can’t remember what it’s called)…but as soon as one of the employees saw us taking photos she politely asked us to leave.

Johnny Major

If you’ve seen my work in the past, you know who these guys are..I did this shoot for the Johnny Major boys 2 summers ago, when their website was getting a major facelift. Decked out in GSUS clothing they showed up to my place in Hamilton about 8 minutes before the sun disappeared, so we ran up to the rooftop, snapped about a dozen or so photos in those fleeting minutes, and somehow got the shot we wanted for the site! This was not that photo, but was probably my favourite from that rushed shoot! As of right now, the photo on their site is still the one from this evening.

Hands & Teeth

Probably one of the coolest apartments I’ve ever shot in was Jeff Pinto’s place, from the band Hands & Teeth. It was in an old converted building just off Yonge in Toronto, actually right next to Shred Central Skate Park (if that helps), and it’s since been demolished. I had done some photos with Natasha for a solo project that she was working on and she asked if I’d want to come to Jeff’s place to do photos with the band as well. As a big fan of their music, and especially their live show, I accepted. These guys are doing really awesome stuff right now and just got back from SXSW, check them out and if they’re playing in your neighborhood be sure to go see their fantastically creative live show!

Johnny Major...Again.

OK I know I already have a photo from these guys, but this one is another one of my favourites, and frankly, I’ve done more work with them than any other artist! This was just a test shot for their album cover. The album was to be called “This is the Sound” and J. Kessler is a big fan of space suits and things like that…so I came up with this idea where they’d be wearing funky-ass headphones which would be attached to each other, and shoot it at Lansdowne Subway Station, because the lighting had a futuristic feel to it (with a little bit of colour correction). D Major was optimistic, but J needed to be convinced. So we hopped in a car and met there, and shot this test shot between bursts of crowds of people. Then, in photoshop, I edited out the existing cords, edited in the one cord which connected them together, and played around with the colouring a bit. In the end, they both loved the idea, so we went back with the right wardrobe (i.e. the gold GSUS jacket) and did a little more extensive shooting. The album is SICK and is available on iTunes.

The Dirty Tees

The Dirty Tees came to me through a mutual friend, Zlad, whom I just did an editorial shoot with a few days ago…These guys were also looking for promo shots for the upcoming launch of their website. This shoot was a lot of fun and we ended up getting quite a few good shots. As for their music, what they basically do is remix popular songs to make them actually sound good. Check out their sound cloud page to hear some of the stuff they’ve been doing. They’re doing such a good job of it, that when they did a cover of a Natasha Bedingfield song, she caught wind of it, and then flew them out to California to live and work with her on some songs! Since then, they’ve had tons of success including getting recognition for a Beyonce track they remixed, and releasing an EP of their own!


I’m not sure how far outside of the GTA JRDN’s music has gotten, but if you don’t recognize his face, you’ll probably recognize his voice. I got the opportunity to do a one-on-one photo shoot with him as a promo for our mutual friends at N4E1 Clothing at Capsule in Yorkville. Really down-to-earth guy, super easy-going and easy to work with, and genuinely passionate about making music. You’ll likely be hearing from him for a while!

Stay tuned for more photos from the Vault, as well as a few exciting shoots from last week!

CBMK with Phil & Z Roy

It was through skateboarding that I first got into still photography, so I was stoked when I got a call from Phil asking if I wanted to go shoot with him at CBMK last week. Z Roy came along as well and we pretty much had the whole park to ourselves for the night. I haven’t been to this park in about 4 years, but not much has changed, and it’s still one of my favourite winter spots in the GTA.

Phil McKnight with a large Ollie to Fakie

Z Roy with an Ollie from the Upper Flat into the Mini-Half

Z Roy with...I guess a Nosegrind up, 5-0 down?

Phil with a lofty switch kickflip

B-Roll Weapon of Choice...$5 from an antique store and it has a hot shoe!

Z Roy again, with the 50mm instead of the 15mm

My favourite photo from the night, cropped square so it's Instagram-ready 😉

I also decided to warm up the motor drive and try out a couple sequences. Z Roy’s finished up a bit sketchy, as every other attempt I’d had to duck under his board flying out of the mini-half…so I was a little uneasy…but I assure you it was a land.

You already know.

Sometimes 1 frame just isn't enough.

...or one angle...

It felt really good to get back to my roots and shoot some quality skateboarding with old friends, I’m really looking forward to skating street in the coming months!

Ghetto Fabulous

So stoked to be sharing this with the world! We just released Johnny Major‘s first Music Video for Ghetto Fabulous, off their debut album “This Is The Sound”. I had the pleasure of Directing this video, and could not have done it without the extremely talented camera operator and editor, Chris Wardle. Anna Cyzon is also featured in this song and video which was shot in entirety in Hamilton, Ontario. Take a look and spread the love!

Cooking with Chef Bradley Yip

I was hanging out with Chef Bradley Yip over the weekend. Bradley is the Managing Chef at Seven, which is the fine restaurant inside the McMichael Gallery. I shooting some new menu items for them and I had my 7D with me so we decided on a whim to shoot a quick little segment for one of the salad’s Bradley had been playing around with.

I didn’t have any sound gear or video equipment with me other than the 7D itself, but the video ended up getting picked up for Litro Magazine over in the UK! Here’s the result, and let me tell you, it tastes better than it looks! Enjoy!