54 : Edmonton Artist Northlift Belts
I transition from busy rush hour traffic to the energy of the gym to the calmness of Artem's studio in the span of about two minutes. It's my favourite challenge of photographing subjects in their home or studio: they have the advantage of being perfectly at ease while I have to adjust to these destabilizing moments of arriving in a a new environment. Seeing so many different spaces is a highlight of being an environmental portrait photographer. I get to explore new surroundings, each with its distinct ambiance and vibe.
Before I came to his studio, Artem made it sound like he worked out of a shoebox, as if I would step into the room and trip over the sewing machine while a box of leather-making materials would fall onto my head. Instead, directly in front of the door is a large table where Artem lays out and cuts his materials. To the left of the table is a beautiful old-timey sewing machine that Artem uses to assemble his pieces. Beside the sewing machine is a storage cabinet filled with various materials and supplies. An impressive sized window fills the room with natural light. Artem's studio is the perfect size as he continues to expand his leather making craft.
As I continue to photograph artists working in their studios, I am consistently struck by the calmness with which each artist approaches their work. Normally rocking the 80s vibe, full of energy, and constantly cracking jokes, Artem displays an incredible calm and focus while he works. With care, he methodically goes through his client list to plan his upcoming work schedule. With patience, he prepares each step before the sewing machine starts to hum. With attention, he meticulously measures each piece of leather before he cuts into it for a new item.
This Life by Selena Photography blog post about environmental portraiture was produced by Montreal photographer Selena Phillips-Boyle. Here you can see more environmental portraits with Ottawa artist City Witch and Montreal woodworker Houtwerk. Here you can see more portraits and headshots by Montreal photographer Selena Phillips-Boyle.