I love the challenges of photographing art installations, and ‘Pollinating Proxies’ by artist Colin Rosati was no exception. With laser beams and orchids in full bloom, Rosati’s works “address the desire for and consumption of energy, paralleling the hummingbird’s need for nectar with humankind’s hunger for electricity” (InterAccess). His exhibit turned out to be quite the subject. I’m always grateful to be included in the documentation of young up-and-coming artists’ work. Rosati just won the 2018 InterAccess Media Arts Prize for his work as an Integrated Media student at OCAD University whose work exhibits excellence and innovation in new media practice. The show is up until February 16th! xo
These 6oz 3-in-1 massage candles function as a scented candle, an organic moisturizer, and a relaxing massage oil. Simply light the candle and massage the warm oil directly into skin. Each candle is infused with CBD oil, which works as a muscle relaxant when applied topically, and a carefully selected blend of essential oils that smells divine. I became so obsessed with the delight and pleasure this product was giving me that I decided to make a big batch and offer them up to all of you. It is a sensual and healing Valentine’s Day gift to yourself or a loved one. You can purchase them @ https://jennifertoole.com/Shop-2 . Take a peek at the instructional video and photos below to learn more. xo
Director: Jennifer Toole // Model: Alison Keery // Sound: DJ Fathom
Not to be totally cliche here, but looking back on 2018 has me feeling so much gratitude that I get to do what I love and make money doing it. I am so grateful to be free and able to express myself creatively. It is not lost on me what a privilege this is. That being said, here is a little bit of what I got up to professionally this past year. My top ten highlights of 2018:
A book! The entire Goddess Array on your coffee table! It’s a dream come true. I have spent the past four years shooting these contemporary incantations of ancient Greek goddesses in the nude with their totems of power in spectacular locations all over the world. Now that the series is complete it will be commemorated in print on coated silk paper tucked into an embossed linen hardcover of the highest quality. I have penned a sonnet detailing the frequency and history of each goddess to be displayed beside each photo. It’s an art book of the highest quality, visually scintillating, well-researched, and curious to read. Each goddess is an archetype that puts a face onto one of the innumerable moods a woman can embody every day. The book will run a limited edition of 100 signed copies. They are available at a discounted rate for preorder now on jennifertoole.com. Preorder yours now to ensure you get one! Here are a few shots taken behind the scenes on location for The Goddess Array in 2018:
The ‘Pachanga’ video is a socially conscious acid trip that leaves you feeling turned on and grossed out at the same time. The artists, based in Mexico City, pushed me over the limits of my editing skills and into a zone I had never been in before, which is always at the same time scary and thrilling. It was an evolutionary learning experience to direct the talent and create visuals that gave life to this epic song. I am forever grateful to my amazing team who came out to support me on this crazy music video adventure and to the artists for trusting me with their music.
DIRECTOR: Jennifer Toole // MUA: Elena Pacienza // HAIR: Amber Fairlie @ The Manor Salon // STYLING: Megan Ann Wilson // CHOREO: Jenny-Anne McCowan // TALENT: Ximena, Nohemie Renaud, Meredith Jay, Sarah Toole
3) In Full Bloom: A Dance Film
This film came to life in the most organic creative process with my dear friend, constant muse, and expert modern dance choreographer, Jenny-Anne McCowan. Last winter, on a whim, Jenny-Anne offered to choreograph and teach me a solo dance piece. We began to train in the ice cold studio, warming up our muscles with ballet movements and efforts at completing the splits before we would tackle the choreography. I’ve included a very embarrassing but amazing video of one of our sessions below. I suggested we turn the choreography into a video and “In Full Bloom” is the result. Every time I work with Jenny-Anne we make something of beauty and heal a bit in the process. xo
…& the process…
SOUNDTRACK: DIE ANTWOORD – FOK JULLE NAAIERS (GOD’S WICKED JUNGLE REMIX) (Instrumental)
4) Group Shows
I was asked to show works in four group shows this year, which was an honor. “Hey Y’All” at Only One Gallery, “Portraits Exhibition” at Blank Wall Gallery in Athens, Greece, “Hear Here: intersections,” and “The Soulfood Toronto” respectively.
We’ve carved out an art nook in Bloordale Village. A little slice of storefront on Bloor West just east of Ossington is now up and running as the tiniest art gallery in Toronto curated by myself and my partner, David Mussio. The space is currently home to an eclectic group show of works by our nearest and dearest artist friends. Follow me @jentoole on Instagram to get updates and receive calls for submissions. xo
6) Sheridan Camera Course
In my first foray back to school in many years, and my first formal education in anything camera-related ever, I completed Sheridan’s two-week long-format camera assistant course and it was worth every penny. We got to play with the best equipment in the industry, had a day trip to the set of Suits, got lessons from Hollywood veterans (including one of our teachers who pulled focus on Legend of the Fall), and gained the knowledge needed to be an excellent member of any camera team making a feature film or TV series. I’m taking the steps to be upgraded into the International Cinematographers Union and this course was a great addition to my application. Wish me luck!
Last January I met up with Demi and she told me about her dream to create a safe space online where mothers could share their stories with one another free from any artifice or filters. A new mum herself, Demi found her experience to be worsened by the pressures social media put on her to be a “perfect mother.” We got together and did a little photoshoot and video shoot and The Motherland Collective was born. A year later the movement has grown into a real community providing safe spaces for parents/mothers in the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ community including birth services, workshops and advocacy. Demi is a doula herself and obviously a goddess of the highest order. Check out www.motherlandcollective.com for more of her goodness.
8) Commercial Work
My bread and butter! It was another busy year in the commercial world in Toronto thankfully and I cut my chops further in the production and camera departments on set. TIFF was especially exciting this year with a couple of star-studded shoots for Vanity Fair featuring Samira Wiley (Handmaid’s Tale, Orange is the New Black) and Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give), both incredible women to meet. We shot an iPhone commercial starring Kevin Bacon and Simon Bird, which was also a blast. And the list goes on. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to enter into the at times elusive world of film and I’m so excited to move into long format this year! Much thanks yet again and always to Miss Lisa Ericsson, my P.M. angel. Here’s to a busy 2019!
I am embarking upon my fourth year working with Jessica Viola of Viola Gardens, an ecological landscape design firm in L.A., running their socials and website. The brand is a dream for me to step into twice weekly. It’s a world of growth, permaculture, sustainability, design, health, and inspirations. Follow us on Instagram @violagardens to see the journey. We have big things planned for 2019!
10) Event Photography
I love shooting events. Everyone is dressed to impress and usually receptive to me and my pesky camera asking for a photo. The collection of photos the end of the night tells the whole story from start to finish and memories are made. It’s the best. I shot mostly private events this year and am sadly not allowed to share the photos, but here are a few from The Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Toronto exhibit, which is always a special time.
2018 was awesome. Here’s to a thrilling year ahead! Thanks for reading. xo
The annual Hear Here creative fundraiser for Sketch charity for artistic youth is always full of stellar talent across genres and this year was no exception. It was an evening to be remembered! The spoken word performance by Toronto’s Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke and the energetic acid gypsy set by Moskitto Bar band were my personal highlights. It’s always an honour to have my work hanging at such a wonderful event. Look out for next year’s event at http://hear-here.org/. xo
I’m so grateful to have been asked to include two of my goddesses from The Goddess Array series in this group show hosted by Montreal-based photographer/curator Kathleen Finlay for her new project entitled The Soulfood. The show is this weekend and all the details are above. The caliber of work in this show is of the highest order. Make it out if you are in Toronto and eager to feast your eyes on some incredible art. xo
Bombshell Canadian coloratura soprano Ambur Braid, one of the great talents in her field, is about to begin her first season as an ensemble member of the Frankfurt Opera as Queen of the Night. We captured her portrait, published in Oper Frankfurt, in a window-lined east-end Toronto studio donated by the generous Jenny Burton, and ran the gamut of emotions from silly to stunning to sensational. You can see more of our shoot and read about Ambur’s many accolades on http://amburbraid.com/home/. xo
Starring: Jenny-Anne McCowan // Directed by: Jennifer Toole // Music: Made by God