Oz John Tekson is a Toronto based portrait, fashion, and advertising photographer. He studied graphic design at the university and worked in advertising as an art director for 14 years in companies such as Publicis and The Coca-Cola Company. He is also an academic with a degree. He teaches in, as well. For three years, he officially runs his company on top of all things.
Were you educate in photography, or are yourself taught?
As opposed the popular trend, I am proudly not a self-taught photographer. At the university, I took photography for three years, including darkroom techniques and studio lighting. I even worked with large format view cameras back in the days. Even after I switched over the digital I took courses and attended a workshop to ensure the knowledge and the process of the digital.
My graphic design background helps me a lot in the visual aspect of the photography. And, while art directing photo shoots I worked with high-end photographers and also learned a lot from them.
What camera do you use most of the time?
I own 34 cameras. Many of them are film cameras that I still own. Only 9 of them are digital. For work, I go with Nikon. I occasionally use medium format. Now, I am migrating over the medium format in my professional workflow.
Which photo are you currently most proud of?
Difficult to answer… I will not answer “the picture I haven’t shot yet”: )) Not a single one… maybe, I love the ones that have some subtle creative idea in them. Or the ones that come from improvisation.
Comparing where you are now with where you are when you first started, what could you has done differently to get to where you are sooner?
I wish I had interned to a good photographer to learn more not just about technical skills, but also the business aspect of the profession. Since I have started as a mature apple I couldn’t get the chance to experience and enjoy that phase of the profession.
You’ve clearly worked with a wide range of models, what tips can you recommend to people looking to expand their portfolio?
We see lots of Instagram famous pseudo-models with a million followers showing off themselves and popularized by suggestive selfies. And, there are lots of beautiful girls and attractive boys out there. They look nice in pictures, but they don’t deliver much after a certain point and add to your work.
Working with agency models makes a big difference. They are mentally and professionally into what they do. They know what a professional workflow is. A professional model is an actor. They can act and create a mood you need for your images. They can be different personalities in turn.
Describe a typical shoot.
I am not sure what this question is. The word “typical” might be used if you shoot weddings or head shots, maybe. In fashion and advertising, each assignment is different.
Again, it depends… especially, if we talk shooting. But, I can say that I spend roughly between 15 mins to 2 hours for editing an image. Editing takes more time than shooting. Favorite accessory? I would say, gaffer tape. It’s a life saver, blessed by McGyver.
Who would you like to work with most?
I wish I shot with Helena Christensen.
Favorite photography book?
Dancers Among Us by Jordan Matter, and Dior Couture by Patrick Demarchelier.
To know more about him please visit: Oz John