Studio updates.

strip club alley

The "Reality Creeping In" project was all about composites. This image is one from the set of 18.

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The entire project was an amazing experience. With costume creation and creative direction by Janet Loyst, we created storyboards, sets, selected models and locations, and shot for almost 6 months. Almost 13,000 images later, we had a sufficient selection to create composite images to tell a story. Each of the 18 compositions took approximately 2 weeks of post-production work to complete.

The story is about a faerie in search of a little girl who asked for her help. In an attempt to understand "why" the little girl is in need, the faerie decides to examine the human landscape. What she finds is not pretty. In the above shot, the faerie happens to come upon an alley-way where other faeries have been lured... and they've dangerously adopted the vices and habits of mankind...

The alley was difficult to find, but downtown Toronto delivered! The characters were all shot in the studio with all key aspects of the final shot simulated. A green backdrop was used to facilitate the removal of the studio background and each character was overlaid into position. Shadows, blending, sizing, and depth-of-field were all created in Photoshop.

By the way, the multiple instances of the young girl (prostitute) were purposely created to highlight or stress the perception that all in such a calling look or are the same...

nico gareri
cherry beach fairies

This image was captured at approximately 6am.

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It was a rather chilly morning and just about 100 feet from the water; and it was my second weekend shooting for the Bud Babes Calendar.

I had been invited to shoot the weekend before and I had so much fun that I was glad to be invited back for more. Most of the people involved had not slept as they transitioned directly from an all-night party to the shoot location - Cherry Beach in Toronto. The entire Calendar concept was developed by a team of very enthusiastic and devoted artists/designers but I had no input. I was a late comer and a generally passive shooter.

This particular shot presented significant lighting challenges because it was captured in relative dark surroundings. The only light used was that emitted by the candles on the blanket. We lit as many as possible in order to get the light levels high enough to be able to focus our cameras. The sparklers were a welcomed addition and luckily I had some reflectors to bounce back whatever little light was destined to escape. The rest was up to the photographers. We opened up the lenses and extended the exposure time as much as possible.

I took over a hundred shots and this one was my choice from the lot... and it made the calendar! Twice surprised - once for getting such clarity and depth in the image, the other for having it selected for the calendar.

Shot at f/2.8 for 1/4 second with a Canon f/1.8 15mm wide angle lens on a Canon 20D.

Hope you like it.

nico gareri

The "Hands" project remains one of my most challenging and most satisfying ever.


The project included 15 different hand gestures that people use to describe situations or to communicate. The subject hands were greased up with Vaseline to allow some areas to reflect light and the model (my spouse) was asked to remain perfectly still for the individual 15-second studio exposures. I used a 4" x 5" large format camera to capture all of the images on film.

All of the images were wet processed onto 11" x 14" paper and then I selected 6 and enlarged them to 16" x 20". It painstakingly took me an entire Summer session at Ryerson U to print the 6 images (also wet processed) which today are proudly displayed in my dining room. They are excellent conversation pieces.

As a set, the 15 images represent an eerie collection of human behaviour in black & white. For me, the 6 enlargements are priceless.

nico gareri

These are the steps to the upper room and rooftop of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.


The image was taken in 2003 with an inexpensive point and shoot camera, using natural light. The ghostly appearance of moving hands is cool and was possible because of the slow shutter speed needed to allow sufficient light to create the image.

nico gareri