The Photographer

He’s one of Canada’s most renowned portrait photographers: Toronto native, Christopher Wahl. His images have been featured in the most prestigious magazines: Vanity Fair, Time, Maclean’s, and The New Yorker – just to name a few.

“You look at somebody like Chris’ photographs and you know it’s a Chris Wahl photograph,” says Andrew Tolson, photo director of Maclean’s magazine.

Throughout the course of his 20 year career, Wahl has captured images of everyone from the Pope, to the Queen.

“Good pictures are really hard to make,” he says. “It’s so difficult. My standard of good is really high. I lose sleep over quality work.”

Daniel Neuhaus, photo editor at Toronto Life Magazine, says of the hundreds of photos typically taken at a shoot, Wahl often submits only one.

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“He’ll send one photo and say this is the shot,” says Neuhaus. “But he’s earned that.”

Next month three of Wahl’s photographs will be featured in an exhibit of portrait photography at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

“He’s honed his abilities for creating really captivating portraits,” says Sophie Hacket, the photo curator at the AGO.

“He stands out. His energy, his friendliness, he’s a very curious person. The sense of his lighting in each portrait is very particular, it’s very kind of bright and luscious and clean, like there’s a real crispness to the images.”

According to Hacket what makes Wahl stand out is his ability to catch in-between moments.

“He likes to capture images that other people won’t,” she says. “I think that any photographer is only as good as their editing – as the pictures they select.”

Wahl calls his style ‘awkward decisive moments of people doing nothing’.

“As a photographer you work a career to create images that look like your images and that’s one of the most important things.”

For the full story watch 16×9 this Saturday, April 20th at 7PM.

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