Monday, June 28, 2010


Many Americans probably wouldn't expect a Toronto-based freelance photographer to have their pictures published in the likes of Playboy Magazine and Esquire Magazine (Turkish Edition). But, as far as Phil Brideaux is concerned, that brave assumption won't become a reality. Maybe this wouldn't be true, if Phil didn't attend graduate school for Theology and Comparitive Religion at McGill University and didn't get expelled after his first year, for "cutting (his) seminars to print in the darkroom of the university's photo club." Because like the film rolls of a camera, that's when his visions for photography really started to develop.

And his project - Eikona - took centre stage, inside his head and on to laminated paper, thanks to a summer in Ottawa and a BFA in Photography at Ryerson University. Eikona - a name inspired by his school knowledge in ancient Koine Greek language and early Christianity - became his long-term mission to producing a collage of "beautiful women." "While living in Ottawa for a summer," Phil explains, "I photographed a friend as a favour to her. Most guys don't mind photographing beautiful women, so I was pretty much hooked then."

About 5 years later - after shooting gorgeous female co-eds at Ryerson and a crucial medical situation - Phil took the plunge and founded "Eikona Photography" in 2005. "When I was able to pick up a camera again, everything had become digital, and I knew then exactly what I wanted to do."

And with that chosen career path came pros and cons. You could say accomodating Eikona with the industry's standard of what they see as a "beautiful woman" could be hard to balance, not to mention along with what Phil thinks is the psychological view of how the opposite sex grows up seeing as a "beautiful woman." "I think I'm trying to communicate something almost impossibly abstract that I always experienced as a young, hopelessly naive teen about the way women would 'seem,' when they moved, spoke softly, or dressed sensually." While one could argue whether boys are taught to view a woman's body as a voluptuous hourglass Mona Lisa or a thin, airbrushed model Phil would typically photograph in one of his published fitness or glamour magazine issues of, say, American Curves or MMA Sports Magazine, Phil claims it's all relative, where these figures - curvy or skinny - are photoshopped anyway. "There's no stopping the sorts of increasingly amazing manipulations that software can do with images," Phil says. "People have manipulated images, since photography was invented." But, while Phil understands the reality of photoshop, he doesn't necessarily condone extremely distorted, deceptive images - especially ones that destroy the message of the art intended. It depends on the goal of your photo, Phil emphasizes, but in his case, with glamour photography, it's "largely about creating fantasy, (hence) alot of retouching and body shaping."


Despite the timely cliche "the rest is history," Phil admits he's still improving upon his already-exquisite quality imagery and shooting, wide network, up-to-date tech - and, now, consistent submissions to Toro Magazine. Taking into consideration his beautiful women in Eikona, his advice to other beautiful aspiring models is this: "Don't make an identity for yourself from modeling. It can be incredibly damaging to one’s self-esteem, especially if there’s not enough self-esteem to begin with. It's not a healthy remedy for feeling unrecognized or unloved." And as for aspiring photographers, look around, and you might just get mused, like Eikona did.

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