If you've ever wanted to know about the people behind the pictures, this is the series for you. We'll be talking to some of our independent photographers from all over the world about their images, their work and what inspires them.
Next we speak with Michael Alberstat, an award-winning commercial photographer from Toronto, Canada. You'll see his images featured throughout the interview below, but we've also hand-selected some our favorite images from his stock portfolio to whet your appetite.
How did you get started in Photography?
It was introduced to me by my Father when I was about 10 years old. Back in the film days. There was something magical about shooting, developing and printing your own images. Every image meant something to me.
What inspires your work?
I am inspired by everything, from the way the frost looks on my window on a cold day to just watching water come from a tap. Everyday life is full of moments that are visually inspiring. I love to people watch. I find the action of day-to-day life and simple human interaction can also tell little stories that can be inspiring.
Describe your style. What do you try to capture in your images?
My work is classic, crisp and lively. I try to create and capture moments in life that are authentic.
What camera gear do you use?
I have a lot of cameras. My main workhorse in the studio is the Phase One 645DF+ and IQ260 back. I also have the Phase One P65+. I shoot a lot with the Canon 5D mk3 and I love to travel with my Fuji X100s. I also have a Lumix GF-1. I use them all for different applications.
What personal projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on a motion piece about water and our lack of understanding about the fragility of the ecosystem and our reliance on something so simple yet life giving.
What is the most bizarre job you have ever done?
I shoot a lot of “romance” book covers for a publishing company—some of those scenarios have been bizarre. One in particular stands out: A woman in love with a man in a coma, so I had to shoot a scene with a man and woman in love, almost kissing, but he was a “ghost” and they couldn’t touch. That was pretty bizarre, but the lighting was amazing!!
Do you work alone or with a team?
I always work with a team; from producer to 1st assistant, digital tech, wardrobe, hair, make-up and food stylists, to models, animal and baby wranglers and art directors. It’s really a team effort these days. However, it’s usually my vision with the camera that is the end result.
What is the longest amount of time it has taken to get the perfect studio shot?
Probably shooting hero shots of beer bottles in the pre-digital days. We had to get all the reflections, translucency of the glass and the perfect “sweat” on the bottle all in one frame! It could take 6-8 hours for one shot.
What props should every photographer have?
For food and beverage photographers: fake ice (good fake ice, not the bad, square, plastic ones). Vintage cameras always photograph nicely. Maybe some classic chairs.
What was your first job in photography?
Snowboarder magazine when I was 15 years old.
What talent do you wish you possessed?
- Real talent: able to sing or play the guitar
- Superpower: to speak every language in the world
Do you have a website you'd like to share?
Anything else you would like us to know about you?
I was once on the US-verison of the TV show “The Bachelor”. The group date was a photo shoot and contest to win a 3 book cover contract with a major publishing company. I was the guy with the camera.
Michael’s favorite things:
- Website : aPhotoEditor
- Movie: Pecker (John Waters)
- Book: Pulp (Charles Bukowski)
- T.V. Show: Downton Abbey - most amazing sets I’ve ever seen.
- App: Uber