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HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone and welcome to the next exciting episode in our new Fashion category with the incredible…

(annoying whirly-whizzing racket)

.Oh no– Still not feeling so hot after last night’s festivities? Poor dears– I can tell by your pasty, lifeless expression and the way your hair’s sticking up.

What better way to lose that nasty New Year’s Day “virus” than to plop your slightly green, sweat-suited self in front of your computer and read about someone who shoots super models? Wipe off that grin—he shoots them with cameras.

Please give a warm HDYGT welcome to the Canadian born, Paris based, Haute Couture Fashion Photographer and Fashion Blogger Extraordinaire…

(blast from slightly crunched, plastic party horn)

BENJAMIN KANAREK!!!    Woo-Hoo!!

(Head still hurts? Sorry – I’ll keep it down.)

His work has featured in: L’Officiel Paris, Vogue Italy, Vogue Paris, Vogue Brasil, Vogue South America, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Glamour (France), Harper’s Bazaar, and many more.

Oh – and stop combing your hair, Ben likes it puffy. See mine? My husband says I look like a red-headed Amy Winehouse, but what does he know?

HDYGT:  Welcome, Benjamin Kanarek— where would you like me to stand?

Benjamin Kanarek:            Stand?

HDYGT:  For my shoot.

Benjamin Kanarek:            Your shoot? I thought you were interviewing me?

HDYGT: Oh, THAT, of course! Please tell us what you do for a living?

Benjamin Kanarek:            I do a few things— I capture images for Fashion Magazines.  I conceptualize.  I have done some consulting Creative Direction for DIM, Club Med and Lancome for Publicis Ad Agency in Paris.  I also compose music and have a catalogue of over 50 Pop/Rock tunes.

HDYGT: (applying blood red lipstick) Fantastic!! Brilliant interview, thanks so much. Now, should I lean against the wall, or lay alluringly across this chaise lounge?

Benjamin Kanarek: (wincing at pose) I don’t remember agreeing to a photo session and that is NOT a casting couch!

HDYGT: (shifty-eyed) You don’t? That’s odd. How long have you been in this field?

Benjamin Kanarek: I’ve been in the creative soup all my life.

HDYGT: Well that explains it– you creative types never read the fine print.

Benjamin Kanarek: It was a phone conversation.

HDYGT: Oh. Right. OK, let’s see. (strikes pose on chaise while opening notebook) What do you like most about your work?

Benjamin Kanarek: (sits at far side of studio, drums fingers on glass table) The creative process and the final outcome. To be more specific, I find the process of coming up with specific themes for my projects as exciting as actually doing them. One of the great challenges is actually making those images look as exciting as what I imagined.  If I could just project that image residing in my head on to a screen, perhaps I would be satisfied. But until that time comes, I will have to accept the limitations of the tools available.

HDYGT: (leans forward for pouty-lipped pose) Wha chawactewistics—

Benjamin Kanarek: What’s that?

HDYGT: I said, What characteristics do you think have helped you stay on top?

Benjamin Kanarek: Whoever said I like being on top? I’m not that conventional…uh…Oh…Sorry. I get your meaning. I guess, being able to think on my feet. Improvisation. Breaking down the walls of predictability. Not being afraid of taking on the status quo, and that status quo might also be your self. Being honest with your self is one of the great challenges of being an artist.

HDYGT: Improvisation? Challenges? Now you’re talking my language! (dramatic hair toss, hair clip flies across room, hits half full glass of red wine, wine glass crashes onto white rug) Sorry.

Benjamin Kanarek: (glares out window– unfortunately not long enough to miss HDYGT’s Cat-crawling pose) Did you loose something? WTF are you doing?  Geeeezzzzz- get back in to your chair!

HDYGT: Commanding presence! Did these skills develop through experience?

Benjamin Kanarek: They have always been innate. Say– you do have a certain je ne sais quoi… (he snickers)

HDYGT: I do?

Benjamin Kanarek: Yes… In fact, I’d LOVE to shoot you. Here’s my daily rate. (scribbles number on paper, shows HDYGT)

HDYGT: (falls off chaise) I’m sorry, Ben, but I’m here for an interview!  Now – where did you work before your current position?

Benjamin Kanarek: I haven’t worked for anyone else for a very long time.  Whether composing songs, images, designs or what ever works for me, I have always been a free agent.  The last time I actually worked for someone was again as a free agent consulting Creative Director.  If you mean a 9 to 5 job, I guess it would be when I worked for Webb, Zerafa, Menkes and Housden Architects, in Toronto. That was quite a while ago, to say the least…

HDYGT: You compose songs, as well, on top of everything else?

Benjamin Kanarek:            Yes, I was a drummer in a couple of punk rock groups in Toronto. The Poles had a semi successful hit called “CN Tower” and the Existers with singer George Higton with the hit song “Telex Love”. I still compose pop-rock music for several artists in France.

HDYGT: Really? I sing a little myself… (sings Barry Manilow tune in operatic voice)

Benjamin Kanarek: Inspiring… (imagines Chucky’s in Love Photo, eyes glaze over momentarily, shakes head and comes out of trance.)

HDYGT: (can’t wait to tell husband Benjamin Kanarek called her ‘Inspiring’) So you went from music to photography?

Benjamin Kanarek: First I studied architecture in college, then worked as an architect for a few years, when I literally fell into photography. A serious accident– I fell from a mezzanine 5 meters high–but landed on the toe of a photographer.

HDYGT: That had to hurt– the poor photographer!

Benjamin Kanarek: I fell into a lot of things – my second shoot ever was an advertising campaign in Toronto. I was the first Canadian photographer to shoot Kim Alexis for the cover of Chatelaine.  She was literally on the cover of VOGUE every two months. She was a mega star at the time with the likes of Brook Shields, Janice Dickenson etc…

HDYGT:             You fell on Kim Alexis, too?

Benjamin Kanarek: Uh…no, nice thought, though.

HDYGT: Most models are too boney to break your fall, anyway. If you’re gonna keep falling on people I’d suggest a Sumo Wrestler—

Benjamin Kanarek:  I’ll keep that in mind…Might be the next BIG Thing.

HDYGT: You’ve fallen into an extremely successful blog, too.

Benjamin Kanarek: Yes, it’s attracting attention from newspapers.

HDYGT:  I can see why. Your stunning photography, amazing inside information on everything from your own expert lighting and camera tips to what’s happening in the big fashion houses, by Frédérique Renaut, your Fashion and Beauty Editor.

Benjamin Kanarek: Frédérique and I have wanted to develop a Blog for a while. She’s a fast learner, and jumped in head first.

(Readers: stay tuned for Frédérique Renaut’s exciting interview– a unique perspective of the Fashion world!!)

HDYGT:  Would you share with us some of your most memorable moments from your thrilling career (s)?

Benjamin Kanarek: Playing drums before a huge audience was a very memorable experience. Getting my first major Fashion Magazine Cover, with Kim Alexis.  Being asked to be the Consulting Creative Director for Lancôme, and doing this interview, of course!

HDYGT: Well thank you!And lastly, any life lessons you’d like to share? Other than finding soft people to fall on—that one’s on me.

Benjamin Kanarek: Every experience has added to my vocabulary.  It enriches my life and gives me a greater sense of understanding.  It also allows me to be more discerning. The greater your vocabulary, the richer your life.

HDYGT:  Thank you so much, Benjamin Kanarek, for enriching our lives with yours!! And as always – Thank You for Playing!!

(Originally posted Jan. 1, 2010)

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