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VAULT post - Cuba WEB-3

In the late 80’s and early 90’s, I used agendas to keep track of all the model calls and shoots. I would schedule the dates and paste polaroids from each shoot into the book. I recently stumbled across this agenda from 1989. When I began flipping through it, I came across a page that was dedicated to images of Melissa Casino. I had spent a week in Cuba photographing her for a fashion campaign as well as some shots for Pino Carina shoes.
The vault-melissa cuba-
    Our crew set out in the early morning and arrived at the home once owned by the Dupont family. The house and grounds were frozen in time like most of what we saw in Cuba.  The images were shot in black and white as well as colour and we made use of all the available light and beauty that the Cuban surroundings had to offer.
    We all had a great time and to be able to utilize this amazing location was such a treat.
    Hair and Make-Up by Rena Smith and Wardrobe Styling by John Sobierajski.


1989Melissa Cuba#1 WEB


Mandaza #1 WORKING

“I am a vehicle of the spirits and no more than that. Whatever I do, is done through me by the Ancestors” -Mandaza Kandemwa.

Born in Zimbabwe, Mandaza now travels the world as an internationally known Svikiro (traditional healer) and medicine man. Truth, love, justice and peace are his life and are prominent in his teachings.

Franco Manella with Mandaza Kandemwa.

I used one of my favorite cameras the Hasselblad X-Pan with Tri-X film and printed the images on Ilford warm tone fiber paper creating a small limited edition series.

Mandaza and Rino

I would like to thank Franco Manella for inviting me and allowing me to be part of this soul enriching experience. Also, I thank Michael O’Brien for taking this great image of Mandaza and myself.

Lei-Milla Jovovich

I recently came across the 1987 issue of Italian Lei magazine featuring a then 11 year old Milla Jovovich. The title of the article “Lolita’ is very fitting for these great images captured by Herb Ritz. Milla would then be photographed by Richard Avedon for his “Most unforgettable women in the world” campaign for Revlon.

By coincidence, last week Milla took part in a performance piece entitled FUTURE/PERFECT, created by Tara Subkoff which opened the 55th annual Venice Biennale.


Milla, portraying the protagonist, inhabited a glass house for 6 hours. While in the house Jovovich only contacted the outside world through electronic devices, ordering vast amounts of merchandise, art, and other objects. The objects and packages were then delivered to the house, filling it to the brim.

Tara Subkoff along with Milla may be moving into the world of performance art with the greats such as Yoko Ono and Marina Abramović.

When I started in photography digital wasn’t an option. I fell in love with capturing images, and it is how I began my career. There is something very organic and soothing about shooting film especially larger formats. You have to really slowdown and think. Is that really such a bad thing?

I recently I came across a very interesting article by Ken Rockwell about his views on film:

I was looking through some boxes and found these rolls of film from the 70’s that I have been holding on to. Kodak stopped producing these beautifully crafted aluminum canisters somewhere in the early 70‘s.

Last night the ROM hosted guest speaker Sebastiao Salgado. He discussed Genesis, his photographic essay eight years in the making. I really enjoyed the event and have admired Salgado’s work quite some time. He spoke of his transition from several decades of documenting global atrocities and conflict to his more recent work which speak of innocents and purity. The prints are truly breathtaking and indeed monumental.

North of Ob River. Inside the Arctic Circle. Yamal Peninsula. Siberia. Russia. 2011. © Sebastião Salgado Courtesy of Amazonas images

Genesis is about our planet earth, nature and its beauty, and what remains of it today despite the manifold destruction caused by human activity. It is an attempt to portray the beauty and the majesty of regions that are still in a pristine condition, areas where landscapes and wildlife are still unspoiled, places where human communities continue to live according to their ancient culture and traditions.” Sebastiao Salgado

Genesis is showing at the ROM until September 2013.


Gio is constantly reinventing and even renaming his restaurants. You could say that he has caught the “7 year itch”. Featuring a Marilyn Monroe inspired wardrobe, and accompanied by Kendo, Mr. Rana (though slightly apprehensive at first) put on a brave face and allowed us to capture this very eye catching image.

Toronto news stands are about to be hit with a creative and beautiful new food magazine. LEO Magazine (Let’s Eat Out) is the brainchild of Peter Mazzotta. Peter and I have been colaborating for a many many years…

“LEO Magazine is Toronto’s exclusive restaurant lifestyle magazine as seen through the eyes, words and taste buds of the Restaurateurs here in Toronto and the GTA. Each and every month we have owners, managers and chefs talking about where they like to eat and other things that make them tick.”


For the feature spread we were welcomed with open arms to Gio’s Really Really Nice Restaurant (The name fits!). The entire staff are much like Gio himself – kind, generous, and great to work with.

We are looking forward to creating content with Peter for the future issues of LEO Magazine. Cheers and Congratulations Mr. Mazzotta for realizing your dream.



074642405523In 1999, I received a phone call from Sony Music. They were in need of CD art for Dan Hill’s “love of my life” best of and they felt my work would compliment the music he was about to release.

Dan Hill is an Award winning singer/songwriter and author. Born in Toronto, Dan is one of the most respected and successful artists to come out of Canada. Some of his most popular singles include “Sometimes When We Touch” and “Can’t We Try”.

THE VAULT - Dan Hill Double Polaroid

He has written songs for many many artists including Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Michael Bolton, and Reba McEntire.

The shoot took place in studio and on location over the course of 2 days. We shot a lot of different things and had a great time. We built three different sized cubes in order to give each item or person similar presence in the shots.

The images were shot in black and white as well as colour. The colour images were not released, this is the first time I am showing them.

I was going through some prints this week and I just so happened to come across another image I had shot of Dan.It was taken at the Juno Awards sometime around 1978, many years before I knew I would photograph him for Sony. He had just won Male Vocalist of the Year – Burton Cummings and Gordon Lightfoot had also been nominated.

 The Vault-Dan Hill Juno

       This months The Vault post takes no prisoners.

Rino Noto Vault 03-13 Elina Hose

Rino Noto Vault 03-13 Elina Chair   THE VAULT 03/13

Inspiration for these images, taken in 2002, came from the capricious heirs to modern fortunes that were frequenting the media at the time. Exposure to a lavish lifestyle from a young age can have an interesting outcome. The more you have, the better – or so it seems. Occasionally when someone is presented with everything they desire without having to earn it,  they can develop an attitude that isn’t always pleasant.

Jockey - Female Web

Jockey - Male Web


In our February post for “The Vault”, we decided to go even further into the archives and dig up a couple of really strong images.  This campaign was truly about beauty and simplicity. Calvin Klein was big on the sexy look so Paul and I took it toward a dreamy, floating on air approach with lots of sensuality. The casting went on for a whole day and once these beautiful people walked thru the door we knew we had who we were looking for.

These images were shot for Jockey Underwear in 1988 and was Art Directed by Paul Hains.

Over the years we have photographed many well acclaimed authors, such as Farley Mowat, Leonard Cohen, Umberto Eco, and Carol Shields. Recently, we were able to continue the tradition by photographing Andrew Pyper for Quill and Quire magazine.

Rino Noto PH32


Much like Umberto Eco, Andrew draws on the topic of paranormal subject matter to lure his audience into his novels. He is a great Canadian author and has been compared to Dan Brown, Author of “The Da Vinci Code”. His most recent work, “The Demonologist”, a novel about a Columbian professor on a quest to save his daughter from the Underworld. The concept for this shoot was to photograph Andrew in a very dark and mystical way. The lighting that was chosen gives the images an otherworldly feel.

For more information on “The Demonologist”:


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