Closely cropping his images to avoid distractions from the background of other parts of the body, Earl Havlin’s portrait series “Faces”, explores how focusing primarily on the eyes of his subjects can influence the mood of the image and capture the viewer’s attention.

We talked to Earl to find out a little more about the photographer behind the lens.

Vistek: How did you get your start in photography?

EH: “I started when my sister gave me a camera when I was 12 years old.”

Vistek: What was your first camera?

EH: “I think it was a 127 point and shoot, then a 110 pocket, then a Nikon FM”

Vistek: How would you describe your style? How has it evolved during your career?

EH: “I would say I’m a realist. Trying to photograph in a way that optimizes the technical capability of the photographic equipment used.”


Select images from Earl Havlin’s “Faces” Portrait series

Earl Havlin - Faces - Pierre
© Earl Havlin
Earl Havlin - Faces - Molly
© Earl Havlin
Earl Havlin - Faces - Abbie
© Earl Havlin
Earl Havlin - Faces - Student
© Earl Havlin

Vistek: What was your first big break and what did it lead to?

EH: “Being hired by CBC news world to photograph The BBC Antiques Roadshow in Ottawa. This lead to more jobs photographing events.”

Vistek: Who are some of your favourite artists and how do they influence your work?

EH: “Paul Strand, Frederick Evans, Imogene Cunningham and Henri Cartier-Bresson. I was influenced by their dedication to their craft and their attention to details”

Vistek: Have you ever experienced a creative rut? If so, how did you overcome it?

EH: “Yes. I changed my habits , even the smallest things, like the route I took to work to help mix things up.”

Vistek: Can you explain your creative process?

EH: “I try to work in a consistent way, always researching each step so as to rest on a solid foundation.”

Vistek: Any advice for photographers starting out?

EH: “Know you basics F-stops, depth of field, strobes etc.”

Vistek: Where do you find your inspiration?

EH: “Walking around the world, with the emphasis on walking.”

Vistek: What has been your favourite project to work on?

EH: “Photographing Bill Gate’s speech for the Ottawa Chamber of commerce.”

And finally…

Vistek: What is the biggest mistake you’ve made on a photoshoot and how did you overcome it?

EH: “I once dropped and smashed a strobe in front of a client. I had a back up strobe in my kit. So as I set up the other strobe I jokingly told the client ” I didn’t need that other strobe anyway! ” “


Earl Havlin’s photo series “Faces” is available for public viewing during regular business hours at Vistek Ottawa until the end of August.


About Earl Havlin

Earl Havlin was born in Port Credit, (Mississauga) Ontario and obtained his BAA in Photographic Arts with a minor in Motion Pictures Studies from Ryerson University in Toronto.

His freelance work for clients such as CBC News World, Zoom Airlines and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce has taken him to Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa.

Some of the many events and individuals that Earl has photographed include: The BBC Antiques Roadshow in Ottawa and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

If you want to see more of Earl’s images visit his website: http://www.earlhavlin.ca/

or if you prefer to view it non-virtually at the

Loretta Studios and Gallery
131 Loretta Ave North
Ottawa Ontario K1Y 2J7



Also published on Medium.

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About Author

Woodrow Walden is a Toronto-based photographer and the Social Media Community Specialist for Vistek.