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I’m David. I’m a photographer, filmmaker, and improviser based in Vancouver, B.C.

I was born in Bombay, I spent my early childhood in Hong Kong, and I’ve lived in B.C. since 1999. I studied at Simon Fraser University and graduated in 2013 with a B.F.A. in Film Production.

I’ve been nominated for a Leo Award, several of my films have been featured at festivals around the world, and I won a singing competition when I was seven. The prize was a year’s pass to an amusement park. What a time to be alive.

I’m obsessed with ideas about meaning and expression, and I love the process of making creative work that is directly beneficial to someone else.

What I do and Why I do it

I used to try to make my work appealing to the largest common denominator. I had a sense that my style was too dark and that I was outside of what people wanted me to be. At some point, I inevitably decided to embrace who I actually am. I’m an aesthetically dark, not-white man, who wants people to be kind, honest, and freely weird and who is hyper-focused on the creative process.

I spent many years as a jack-of-all-trades photographer. I’ve photographed weddings, events, products, influencers, performances, fashion campaigns, and editorial style portraits. I’ve also worked as a web designer, graphic designer, and commercial filmmaker.

But with some age – some – I’ve realized that in order to consistently make a meaningful contribution, I can’t be all things to all people.

I still consider myself an interdisciplinary artist. But I also know that I need a specific focus in my work.

So I stopped what I was doing to look at myself and see what I could provide for people if I were to centre my work around a very specific audience with a very specific need. After much thinking, and some guidance from the writings of the inimitable Seth Godin, it was clear to me what I should do.

My focus in photography is on creating dark, bohemian, and dramatic headshots for actors who are auditioning for Film, Cable TV, and Netflix shows. I do this uniquely through the intersection of my improvisation, directing, and portraiture skillsets.

I believe that I can provide a unique value to actors who share my belief that process effects product.

Because I know how to organically work with actors (having done so for the past thirteen years) in order to facilitate real reactions and emotions, and I also know how to pose people to make them look their best, and I also know how to keep a rolling positive vibe of flowing ideas going – I’m able to direct actors during a photoshoot in a way that helps create more honest and emotional headshots.

I promise that creating a dramatic and almost editoral-style headshot with me will help you get the attention and respect of casting directors and of the broader filmmaking community.

I admire specificity and I aspire to create valuable artistic work through a meaningful process. If you’re reading this, we’re probably somewhat alike. 

I believe that the process fundamentally influences the product.

I believe that people are specific. I know what it feels like to try to dull oneself down to the lowest common denominator. And I want to help showcase sides of who a person really is, and who they could be. 

I believe that actors who take a chance and collaborate with me on their next set of headshots will find the process of doing so both meaningful and pragmatic.

The headshots we create together will show a specific and real side of you, captured in a still image that will make directors, producers, and casting directors stop and take a closer look.

I offer headshot photography sessions for $400 and mini-session for $225.

Headshot sessions are two to three hours long, during which time we can go through five to seven different wardrobe changes and captured more than 350+ proof images. I then touch-up your five favourite images from the session to give you a variety of new looks for your next round of auditions.

Mini-sessions are an hour long and are perfect for actors who are just starting out or who are looking to add a new look or two to their roster of headshots. Mini-sessions include touch-ups on 2-images for print and web use.

I also highly recommend having a professional hair & make-up artist style you for your session and I have a roster of artists who I bring in for headshot sessions to help with this. There’s an additional cost for their time and tools but the difference that it makes to the quality of your headshots is more than worth it. 

If you’re interested in working together, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out to me at davideliotmanuel@gmail.com, or through the contact form below.

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