A Conversation with Brian & Walter: A Still Life Vol. I

I may happen to be a little bit biased on this project, as Walter & Savannah are good friends of mine, but I am not aware of a shop like theirs within North America doing a better job than they do with Old Faithful Shop. They bring together a selection of quality goods for home and life, in a beautiful space that they've built, with a product mix you might expect to see in a general store. Pair that with another one of my talented friends, Brooklyn based photographer Brian Ferry, and you've got the makings of the perfect bi-coastal creative project.

It's no surprise that these two parties worked together on this project, as both were fans of what the other was doing for quite a while. What I love about the act of interviewing, is getting to see and highlight glimpses of the subjects personality behind the talent– whatever that talent may be, through simple conversation and response. Walter is a humble and genuine guy who is hard working and motivated. He comes from a family of General Store owners from Eastern Canada, so he knows a thing or two about the translation between old and new. Brian Ferry has worked with a plethora of international clients, from Starbucks to Berlin based publication Freunde von Freunden, he also shoots and writes for Portland Oregon's Kinfolk Magazine. He released his first book last fall entitled, Quality of Life, with the first edition of 500 copies selling out quite quickly. When you're finished here, make sure you head over to Old Faithful Shop's new site to check out the full installation of images.

"I was really feeling the colors, textures and shapes in the forest and surrounding the falls and the river. The river current looked really intense that day - the result of melting snow in the mountains and spring rain, I assume. The color of the water echoed the deep greens in the forest."

Interview by Darian Hocking
Photography by Brian Ferry

To Brian Ferry, Walter, Savannah, Jean-Pierre & the team at Old Faithful Shop

A Still Life Vol I: Vancouver Souvenir
Brian Ferry

How did this project, Vancouver Souvenir, come into existence and how long have you folks known each other for?

Brian: I had been following Walter's blog, Old Chum, for a while - always enjoying the images he finds and enjoying his aesthetic sense and perspective. We met in person for the first time in February when Walter was visiting NYC. We spent the day hanging around Brooklyn and exploring a bit. At that time, Walter had briefly mentioned working together on a shoot via email - but I was living in London then and I wasn't sure how it would happen. In February, once I was living back in the US, we started to work out a plan. I was on the west coast for an exhibition in LA in April, so we decided to make it happen after my show in LA. I flew up to Vancouver for a couple of days to explore a bit, shoot photos and hang out with some good people.

Walter: I've always wanted to shoot a catalog style collection of our products in a natural environment. We see these products all day long - either at home or at the shop so sometimes it's tough to see them in a different perspective. When I first dreamed it up, Brian was the first photographer that came to mind. I love his work and felt that he would capture Vancouver and our products in an interesting way.

So this first volume came about in an organic way, wanting to showcase some of the good quality goods in real life from Old Faithful Shop.

Brian: Yes, I think that's right - we wanted it to feel natural and not staged. At the same time, I wanted to tell a story about Vancouver. Old Faithful Shop is really rooted in place - its location in Gastown, and in the larger city of Vancouver and I really felt this when I was in the shop. So I wanted to convey that sense of place in the photos - even though many of the products are not made locally in Vancouver, I thought the story of their use should be based there.

Walter: There was no real plan, just a general outline. I feel a forced photograph usually comes across that way. We set up a few things in the house- I built a new table for the shoot (with the plan of keeping it afterwards) but otherwise everything was shot in natural light in a pretty simple way.

Where were some of the settings for this project?

Brian: We used Walter and Savannah's apartment for some of the interior shots and then the outdoor shots were taken around Vancouver and in Lynn Canyon on a very rainy morning hike.

How many Volumes will there be?

Walter: I'm already planning the next one. It's not something we'll pump out every week, but I do want the series to continue with a different photographer for each shoot. Hopefully we'll have another series ready to go this upcoming fall.

Brian, where was your favorite place to shoot for this installation and what made it so special?

Brian: I think shooting in Lynn Canyon was my favorite place. The weather was pretty horrible that morning, it was raining hard and since I had just spent 10 days in Los Angeles, I didn't have rain gear with me. But despite that, I was really blown away by the short hike- what an incredible setting. I was really feeling the colors, textures and shapes in the forest and surrounding the falls and the river. The river current looked really intense that day, the result of melting snow in the mountains and spring rain, I assume. The color of the water echoed the deep greens in the forest. It was really moody and intense and I loved shooting there. After I got my film back from the lab, I realized that it matched the earthy, simple products from Old Faithful Shop quite nicely.

And Walter, what was your favorite shot to set up?

Walter: I really enjoyed the Coffee Shoot. It didn't feel like a shoot really... It was myself and Saager from Neighbour just drinking coffee and shooting the breeze while Brian did his thing.