When I lived in Toronto, I was fortunate to work with some amazing photographers. My all time favourite photographer was Adrian Jendrasik. Adrian loves capturing real moments. Moments that aren’t faked or created or imagined.
A photo-shoot with Adrian is never just a photo-shoot. It is an adventure. The adventure goes something like this:
Adrian, Julie (jet-set make-up artist extraordinaire) and I, all hop into his brown, 4-door Sedan and drive off into the hot and muggy summer day to destinations unknown. We chat about life, love, and beauty. Julie talks about her many travels, as she is also an Air Canada flight attendant. And Adrian tells us tall tales of the fashion industry, while he drives and drives and drives.
Suddenly, something catches his eye. The light, the place, the angles, the obscurity, we will never know. But it is the right place. Today, the “right place” happens to be a large field of tall grass, sandwiched in between a major highway and some old railroad tracks.
Without a single word, or a single signal to the car behind him, he abruptly pulls-over into a dirt patch by the side of the highway. He excitedly jumps out of the car, camera in hand, and marches off into the horizon along the railroad tracks.
“Let’s go!” He waves to us and keeps on truckin’. “Put on the white dress,” He yells from up ahead.
I make eye contact with Julie. She looks slightly confused or annoyed or amused or a little bit of all three. I have no time to change elegantly in the car, or behind a carefully held towel, so I just grab the sundress and hurriedly pull it over my jeans while running to catch up with him. Julie chases both of us carrying her heavy metal make-up kit in one hand and a tube of lip gloss in the other.
About ten minutes of trekking through said tall grass and I’ve stepped on one too many crickets in my bare feet (because I’ve lost my flip-flops in the grasslands somewhere). I’m hot and sticky and I’m pretty sure Julie silent internal “fuming” is about to manifest itself externally.
And then we see it: Adrian’s perfect spot. And it is perfect. The grass. The light. The colours. The angles. The obscurity. All perfect and it’s *magic hour.* It is a nice moment of understanding.
Then Julie reminds Adrian that she still needs to do my make-up. “There’s a spot over there,” He says pointing to a 2 ft by 2 ft dirt patch. “Julie might lose it,” I think. But she calmly opens her bag, takes out a beach towel and places it on the ground. “Calm.” I can actually hear her thinking this word in bold face.
* * *
Together, we traveled to some unique and unexpected places. I found myself scaling up a concrete wall under an overpass, sipping from a drinking fountain at an old, abandoned boathouse, and hitchhiking on the side of a road.
Adrian is colourful and eccentric and wonderfully European. He is also the only photographer that allowed me to be me. With him, I felt free to explore the different facets of me. For this reason, I have always felt that he was the only photographer to actually capture the real me, instead of the character I usually play.
Here are some behind-the-scenes “real moments” shots of me getting my hair and makeup done by Julie from the contact sheets of my Adrian Jendrasik photo-shoots.