Luis Pacheco, hair colourist, photographed by Natalie Castellino for Citizens, her photo show, opening in Toronto tonight.
Edward Burtynsky, photographer.
Philip Sparks, fashion designer.
Roberta Bondar, first female Canadian astronaut in space. The list of people
Natalie Castellino photographed for
Citizens—20 portraits of Torontonians on view at
Red Bull 381 Projects—reads like a dream dinner guest list. "It all stemmed from wanting to capture Toronto," Castellino explains. "It started as a loose thing, and then grew into something I hadn’t anticipated and took on a life of its own."
Who was the first person that you photographed, and when was that?
Susur Lee. That was how the whole thing started—at the Red Light on a Friday night. My friend that I was with recognized him first, and we introduced ourselves. We talked into the morning, I asked him if I could take his portrait sometime, he called me the next day. That was a little over a year ago now. I knew walking into to Susur’s restaurant that his portrait would be the first of many. The kind of gut feeling I get when I get a good shot. You just know.
How did you choose who to feature? I wanted a wide range of personalities and fields. I started by compiling lists. Lists of people, disciplines, fields that I wanted to include. Others came serendipitously. With
Ahdri Zhina Mandiela, I met her by chance. A friend invited me to a theatre discussion at B Current, a theatre company that focuses on cultural, social, and political experiences of the Canadian and international Black Diaspora. I became inspired by Ahdri and all that she had and will create. Captivated. After attending other events and getting to know B Current, I knew I wanted her to be involved.
What was the most challenging portrait to take, and why? It wasn’t so much the most challenging, but the most inspiring. Taking
Roberta Bondar’s portrait resonated with me. Her accomplishments and her wide range of knowledge is so admirable. She really makes me want to push myself.
Can you share any behind the scenes anecdotes or favourite memories from any of
the shoots? I shared some really amazing moments with the people I photographed. But lunch with
Gail McInnes at the Caledonian definitley stands out. Gail insisted I try haggis. I’m always up to try new food at least once. It’s a kind of savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck—the heart, liver and lungs with spices, and, in this case, it was fried. So I tried it… along with a couple of pints. I don’t think I’ll have haggis again, but it was a fun shoot.
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