It’s #MangoMonday and I am excited to introduce you to Lysandra! Lysandra is a total sweetheart and will do anything in her power to make you laugh at your wedding day. She is a graduate from Sheridan’s Honours Bachelor of Photography program with a focus on photojournalistic storytelling. We don’t know anyone who works harder than Lysandra – she’s a true gogetter. She is an experimental photographer who has strong interest in colour and the uncanny. Lysandra loves telling stories and spends a lot of her time experimenting with the duality of creating visual stories and using an interesting aesthetic. Her knowledge in creative storytelling and her interesting, timeless aesthetic are great skills she has transferred to her wedding photography work.
What or who got you started in photography?
When I was younger, my father worked at a camera shop and he used to collect antique cameras. Every night before bed I got to pick one camera from many displayed on his bedroom shelves and he would explain the features of the camera until I fell asleep. As a kid I had a polaroid I-zone which I would use to take photos of my friends and family. I continued photography as a hobby as early teen but experimented more with storytelling. There was something about a photo speaking 1000 words that made it easier for me to tell stories.
What photographer/artist are you most greatly influenced/inspired by in your work and why?
My visual inspirations are constantly refreshed and changing. I am always on the lookout for new inspirations – I think it is important to see what is going on right now from all aspects of photography whether it be documentary, still-life, collage work, etc.
My current visual references include Sarah Moon, her soft focus and use of colour helps create intimate moments of time. Mark Peckmezian is another great influence, who is really into the realm of experimentation by challenging the norm. I love the nostalgic feeling evoked by Harley Weir. Her work is very uncanny and she experiments with soft and hard light. Cass Bird is such an amazing story-teller and her tones are so muted and beautiful. Stephen Lewis, a commercial photographer, is another favourite photographer of mine. His work shows what texture can do to create emphasis (or take away from). The list can go on forever! Walter Pfeiffer is doing very interesting things with multimedia, Paolo Roversi will always be a lighting master, Peter Lindbergh and his group portraits, Julia Hetta and her use of shape. I gather plenty from these artist from how they are using light to interesting composition. They all have ingredients that everyone can experiment with.
What do you like about being a wedding photographer?
I absolutely love telling stories. When I started shooting weddings – it was amazing how easy it was to capture the couple’s story because it came so natural. Being a wedding photographer is such an excitement as I get to tell real, genuine stories, and I get to do it differently with every couple.
As a wedding photographer, what part of the wedding day are you most excited about?
When the couple sees each other for the first time on their wedding day! The first look is such a sparkling moment in time that I am most excited about – whether couples are having their first look before the ceremony or even saving the first look for the ceremony; both times are so precious. The couple is seeing each other for the first time and the emotions portrayed are so intimate and magical!
What is your favourite wedding day memory?
I can’t think of one particular memory – my head is playing a slideshow right now trying to choose one – I am seeing so many intimate moments and emotions! My favourite memories are always little moments – and every single wedding has these magical moments.
Do you have any pre-wedding-day rituals?
Packing more than enough batteries. Reading the Wedding Day Schedule while drinking lots of coffee.
Do you create personal work often?
Creating personal work is crucial to me. I feel you need to create personal work to be inspired. It is very important to be able to express yourself as a photographer through personal work and it is great opportunity to experiment. I learn something new with every shoot, and bring new knowledge along to my next wedding shoot!
Some might describe your style as conceptual, candid and effortless. Is that a good characterization?
Most definitely! When all of the necessary shots are completed, I go out of my way to play with creative shots. I am very focused on thinking outside of the box and capturing moments that are not generally seen by anyone else. This could be from climbing up a bunch of stairs from the original shot to get an interesting angle, to shooting through crystal glasses, to even just changing my focus to something that really highlights an emotion to create a timeless image. I think it is great to have an eye that adds to the story in an interesting way, to enhance the story’s depth more. I am also very big on candids – I am always on the search for a great candid, which adds to my photojournalistic approach.
Do you have any favourite locations in Toronto to shoot?
I love the outdoors! There is something so whimsical about outdoor weddings. I love having the natural environment to create stories with – whether it be in the city, or in a forest, there are so many opportunities for amazing captures! I love playing with light, and it is always changing outdoors, giving opportunity for variety. Golden hour is such a beautiful time for photos!
What do you recommend for couples who are shy in front of the camera?
I am so shy in front of the camera! So it is hard to say ‘pretend the camera isn’t there!’ because I understand how hard it is to forget about the camera. However, I always think about the outcome. Pushing your nerves aside knowing how beautiful the photographs are going to be at the end is a great trade. We take time to make sure the couple is comfortable and after a few clicks, you won’t even notice we are there! It is such a special day. Your time should be spending your time enjoying it! I would also recommend having your champagne toast (or three) to calm your nerves, and just be yourself! On a serious note, this is your day and you look absolutely stunning – so do not worry about a thing – we got this covered!
At the Studio, you’re working with printed art pieces and photo albums. Why is it so important to have printed photos of your wedding day?
Printed books are so in! They are so authentic and such a great memorabilia to have. I have created so many personal books the last year because there is something so much more real about having to be able to flip pages and being able to relive this day at your fingertips!
As a bride-to-be, I am so excited to have my own wedding album printed! I would put it on a wooden coffee table with dried out flowers from the wedding in a vase! How beautiful with that be? There’s something nostalgic about this and being able to bring back these memories are so much more influential when they are tangible. Wedding photos are so important and such a beautiful memory that they deserve to be printed – whether it be art pieces of an album.
What do you love in life, beyond the lens?
I love to research! I love to see what is new and upcoming in the art world (sipping a glass of wine). I love going to antique shops and spending hours looking through every aisle. I love little plants, dried out flowers. I love the magazine section at Chapters. Cheese – can’t forget cheese, cheesecake! I love watching old experimental films. I love spending time with my Fiancé (Joe) and binge watching horrible singing auditions on Youtube. I love a good DIY (I recently made a moon phase out of clay, it’s really therapeutic!). I love candles, especially the ones that have wine scents from Bath and Body Works. I love spending time with my friends and having a picnic with sangria listening to 90s rock. I love disposable cameras. I love a good ‘me’ time, watching my favourite television show, having a bubble bath, with a face mask. I love planning – I love to plan a getaway, a photo shoot, a friend’s birthday party. The list can go on and on!
What is something you can’t live without?
My friends and family. I am surrounded by such positive, inspiring people and I couldn’t live without them. I learn so much from from them and they really keep me motivated to be the best I can be! Joe, is a hardworking optimist, my mom is so amazing and has defined individuality and creativity, and my friends are so energetic and always positive. I love seeing their successes and I couldn’t live without their inspirations.
When was the last time you laughed so hard it hurt?
I cried laughing, actually. My friend and I were watching a video on ‘the correct way to cut a pomegranate.’ I know – it doesn’t sound funny at all. But the way she was going step by step and her descriptive words were just so funny! But for some reason, the littlest things get me. I am one of those people who continue to laugh five minutes after a joke is told, too.
What’s the cutest thing on planet Earth?
I am allergic to cats and therefore was never a cat person, but ironically I thought of a sphinx. They are so adorable. I can’t believe I just put a cat as my answer – but really, who can ignore a bald precious cat? Oh shoot – maybe I should have said my dog, Rocky. He’s an English bulldog and he’ll probably be mad when he reads this!
What do you love about being a part of MANGO?
Mango is my second home. I started at Mango last summer and I have to say it is filled with the most inviting, genuine team that is full of energy! I’m the youngest of the team and I feel so lucky to have such great mentors to be able to learn from. I have learned something from everyone and working with a team so positive is always uplifting. It is great to be in on Monday’s and the team is all sharing their amazing wedding stories and photographs from the weekend. It is so great to be surrounded by such interesting creatives – it’s great for inspiration! We all support each other and we all make a great team.