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!

Shooting at Night in Hamilton

Hamilton has some fantastic architecture, and lately I’ve been scrambling to capture some of the finer buildings in the area before the cold weather really hits.

The Herkimer at Bay building is a fine example of a building which was headed down a path of dilapidation until the right developer came along and saw a diamond in the rough. After almost 100 years of use as rental apartments in Hamilton’s Durand Village, the building had seen its fair share of mediocre repairs and unmitigated neglect. In a time when most developers are knocking over historical buildings to make way for skyscrapers, Core Urban Inc‘s Steve Kulakowsky decided this building deserved to be preserved in time and updated tastefully, while maintaining the deliberate intention of integrity and character of the original architect, William Palmer Witton.

Herkimer at Bay Luxury Condominiums

I’ve had a few people in the building ask me for prints of this one, so if anyone else is interested in getting in on the order before Monday hit me up at Or, if you would like your own house/building photographed, send me an email with the details.

Now if only it would stop raining every night!

This Is The Sound

I almost can’t believe that I am finally announcing the release of the long-awaited first full-length album from Johnny Major! I’m sitting in my living room right now listening to This Is The Sound for the first time since it got back from The Mastering Palace in NYC. The guys have come a long way over the past few years and watching their sound evolve has been incredible! They have invented their own genre, “Post-Pop”, which takes cues from many of their legendary influences, from Al Green to T.I., The Beatles to Weezer…thrown it all into the mix and pumped out something extraordinarily unique, yet strangely familiar. They truly represent the sound of the future, that hasn’t forgotten the past!

I was truly humbled when they asked me to design and shoot their album cover for This Is The Sound. The idea, which we ultimately decided to shoot, came to me when I was shopping at Urban Outfitters in Toronto and stumbled across these retro-looking Koss headphones.

Johnny Major - This Is The Sound // Photo by Christoph Benfey

To celebrate the launch they’re throwing a huge party at El Mocambo this Friday (11/11/11) in Toronto. All the details can be found HERE.

These guys are so passionate about music, and I’m excited to see what directions this album takes them. Be sure to follow them on Twitter (@johnny_major), I have a feeling over the next few months some big things are going to come into fruition for them!

Oh and speaking of parties! Don’t forget about the upcoming Launch Party for Low Key Studio in Hamilton! November 26th, 48 Ferguson Ave. South!