Back in February, the Montreal Review of Books commissioned me to photograph author Dimitri Nasrallah for the cover of their latest issue. He's recently written The Bleeds (2018), his latest political thriller about the Bleed family, the corrupt autocrats ruling over the fictional country of Mahbad. His two previous novels, Niko (2011) and Blackbodying (2005), have both earned him accolades such as the McAuslan First Book Prize, and nominations in the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and CBC's Canada Reads. When he's not writing, he's teaching creative writing at Concordia University.
It’s always when shooting magazine covers that I realize the extent to which I naturally favour a landscape format in photos. I’ll come back from trips with hundreds of photos, every single one in landscape orientation. For this shoot, I had to constantly remind myself to stay in portrait orientation. The landscape photo above was actually a mistake (although a convenient one given the format of my blog).
Dimitri was great to photograph. Unfazed by the camera and following direction easily, he’s the type of subject you want for one of your first shoots in a new studio space.
So picture a hyped-up Alex.
Award-winning author coming over.
New studio space, freshly painted, cleaned up and ready to go.
The photo they ended up picking was the only shot we did outside the studio.
Sad trombone noises.
So much for feeling fancy with a studio space.
To be fair though, I do love this shot, and it was hard to compete with the beautiful light that day and the big snowflakes. It was also a total bonus shot. On some shoots, once I feel I have the shots we came for, I'll often ask "Hey can we try X?". In this case, since we were both on our way out, I asked Dimitri if we could stop a few seconds outside for me to grab a shot. Glad we did.
Thankfully, I’ll have plenty more opportunities to use my studio space.