CONTACT Festival: Featured Artist Q & A with Jasper Savage

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Yesterday, we introduced you to one of the Vistek-sponsored artists showing at this year’s Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival. Today we’d like you to meet one more! Jasper Savage’s exhibit, Hallam Street Barbers, can currently be seen at Vistek’s Toronto location (but only for a few more days, so don’t miss it!)

With more men going to salons and fewer barbers able to charge $10 a haircut, the traditional barber is a dying career. Franco and Sam were born in small towns in Italy, started work in their local barbershops at nine and now work in the same barbershop on Hallam St. in Toronto. This series is a look inside one barbershop in Toronto that’s filled with a great amount of atmosphere, history and talent.


How long have you been shooting?

I have been taking photos since I could walk but I have been shooting for probably 8 years now; my grade 10 photography class is where I started to view photography as a means of communication and started understanding how useful it could be to educate.

Do you remember the first time you picked up a camera and what inspired you to do so?

Both of my parents always had a 35mm SLR on them, so the memory of my first interaction with a camera is probably buried deep in my brain but I do remember always wanting to use the camera every time my parents had it out. I loved the idea of framing and capturing a moment in time and the ability to keep it forever.

From where do you draw your inspiration?

Movies play a pretty influential part in my life, I think that’s why I find it so hard to shoot vertically. Long drives by myself, which I do a lot, seems to spark a lot of my ideas. A lot of experimenting; it’s the same theory that applies to writers, write everything that comes to your head and go through it at the end and edit. You will be amazed at how many beautiful images you come up with when you stop over thinking a shot.

Would you consider yourself more a documentary-style shooter? Or a portrait shooter? (or would really rather not pigeonhole yourself at all?)

I think right now I am leaning more towards documentary photography, but I document people, so there are many portraits within a series. I feel like I am still trying to figure out what I do and find my voice within my images, so it’s hard for me to label myself.


Is this your first time being involved with the CONTACT festival? What have you taken away from your involvement with this year’s event?

This is actually my second year being involved with CONTACT: my Sheridan graduating gallery was in CONTACT 2010. This is my first solo show, though, and it feels pretty great to have an entire month of my printed images hanging on the wall.

Where would you like your work to take you over the next 10 years?

In the next 10 years I would love to look at my CV and see this show at Vistek on the top of a very long list of exhibitions.