in conversation with one of Mississauga’s most talented photographers, Stephen Uhraney.
How long have you been a photographer?
I have been a professional editorial & documentary photographer for 38 years.
What initially attracted you to photography?
I knew from the age of 9 what I wanted to be. My grandfather gave me a camera as a gift. The first shots I took were of my buddies playing street hockey. Not action shots, but rather documentary type pics. Shots through the mesh of the goalie net, close ups of the ragged tennis ball and the hockey sticks at a face off on the cracked pavement etc.
I didn't know it at the time, but that was documentary photography.
You've got a few photography inspired tattoos - why did you get those specific ones?
A roll of film because I still shoot and process my own. My favorite f-stop, f32 from my big Mamiya C330 camera. A giant leaf shutter on my back, and the words Black & White because that's my favorite medium.
What makes a perfect photograph?
Aaaaahhhhhh...when I take one I'll let you know!
You were Hazel's photographer? Tell us about how you got that gig and some of the highlights.
I started working for her as the photographer for the Streetsville Booster, then one thing lead to another. Just being in her orbit was a highlight, seeing how people reacted to her. She never let me drive though, no matter how much I asked.
You're one of the few photographers that still shoots on film - what's the allure to film in today's world for you?
It's tactile, you can hold it, develop it, smell it. It has more life that digital. The only way I can make you understand because you're also a musician is, it's records over CD's.
You've been in the industry for nearly 40 years - what are one of your highlights?
Covering the first anniversary of 911 in New York City. That was very very emotional. The city was mortally wounded and they were still trying to recover.
Are you team Canon or team Nikon and why?
Digital I'm Nikon, Film I'm Leica, Hassleblad, Why? I don't want other photographers to laugh at me.
You've photographed a plethora of high profile people, from Bonnie Crombie to Jay Leno and plenty in between. Who have been your six favourite celebrity photographs you've taken
Well, having been the Stills Photographer on the Mike Bullard Show I have photographed quite a few celebrities, so six in no particular order over my career so far, not including the ones you mentioned
1) Eugene Levy and Joe Flaherty together - I'm still laughing
2) Burton Cummings Mike Bullard Show. American Woman got a standing ovation That clip is on youtube now
3) James Corden cornered him in his dressing room. Was great until security showed up
4) Harry Connick Jr - that guy can play the hell out of a piano!!!
5) Princess Anne one of the Royal Tours (true story, had to pay my parking tickets or wasn't allowed the Royal Media Pass)
6) Jean Chretien at 24 Sussex Dr. His people video taped the whole session
What advice do you having for aspiring photographers?
Shoot Shoot Shoot, even if it's only just for yourself. Train your eye to see and compose.
You've covered nearly every major event in Mississauga - is there one that stands out to you and why?
Wow, we're going back to the early '80s, there have been hundreds and hundreds. I would have to go through my archive to figure that one out, I'm sure I would miss something.
What do you look for in other's photographs that impress you?
Do you teach photography to others?
I lecture at Humber College once in a while and teach local workshops occasionally.
What's been the most rewarding aspect of your career?
That I'm still doing it after 38 years, as a self employed contract photographer
What advice do you have for seasoned photographers?
Lend a helping hand to someone starting out.
What four things are always in your camera bag?
2) six inch lock blade
3) day timer
4) note book & 20 pens approximately… don't ask me for one, haha!
What four things can you not live without?
1) A daily call from my daughter
2) Cold beer after a long day
3) A nice cuban cigar
What does 2020 look like?
It's been a little rough this year. Getting more clients, working on some self assigned projects and developing and working my fine art photography.
Fill in the blank: I will retire when _______
I get planted in the ground.
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