Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Streets of NYC - my first photo love.


The first time I ever got excited about photography was when my wheelchair broke on a trip to New York City.

I had brought a little point and shoot camera with me, like every tourist, and planned to visit all the major cites, but it seemed the universe had other plans for me. When I arrived to NYC, I found myself with a broken (airline damaged) wheelchair. With now no independence or way to get around, I was devastated.

I spent the majority of that first day in my hotel room, waiting for the airline to deliver a replacement wheelchair so that I could at least have some form of mobility. In defeat, I sat sulking about how my trip had gone to shit, looking out the window at the city I had hoped to be exploring.

Over the next couple days I would cycle through various hilarious wheelchairs, including an airport stroller and a granny scooter. I was far from independent but I was glad to at least get out. I wasn't able to make it to the major cites I had wanted but instead found myself spending the rest of my trip observing people, taking in the streets of new york....and taking pictures.

And that's how it started. At night in my room I would flip through the photos on the LCD of my 4megapixel camera and get excited about what I had recorded. I loved the relationship I had to the images and to the subjects in them. It felt like storytelling, and I began to realize things about my own perception. Needless to say...I was hooked. The rest is history.

Since then street photographer has always been something I go back to...and it will probably something I do forever. There is lots I want to say about it, but as a starting point I thought I would simply share some of the photos from that first trip...maybe not my best work, but cool to see where it all started.

All photos taken over the course of 3 days in May 2006.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kids Who Can

When I got the call from Andrew Stawicki about Kids Who Can last summer, I was both excited and nervous. Thrilled with having been selected to be part of the PhotoSensitive team, but nervous about doing my first photo-journalism job.

My task was to spend two days photographing Easter Seals campers for the PhotoSensitive project Kids Who Can presented by Canon.

Although I had heard about Easter Seals camp as a child, I had never attended myself. My mother always pushed me to go to camp but I was totally against it. I didn’t want to be labelled by disability, or associated with disability. Now however, the more I look at it, the more I realize that there is a story here.

Alexis Gallant after the pool. Photo by Maayan Ziv
I spent most of my time with the younger kids in the Discovery Camp program. My focus was not just to grab images but, having a disability myself, it was important to me to connect with the kids first before photographing them. I didn’t want them to feel self-conscious or that I was an outsider, because I wasn’t one. I would lower the height of my wheelchair (I can do that) so that I could spend every moment with them....at their level, seeing things the way they were. Being able to do that became an advantage in my photography, I never missed a moment....so  I could capture more, and at the kids' perspective.

"Shooting the Shooter" (on the hottest day of the year..oh man I look so sweaty) at Camp Woodeden, ON- James Burns from PhotoSensitive.

I think one reason it was so easy to connect with the kids is because I share so much with them. I know what it is like to be a kid growing up with a disability…but maybe its also because I act like a 7 year old.

Wesley Magee-Saxton, left, and Cameron Purdy, right, two of a group of eight boys that I hung out with the most.
They kept pulling their counselor's finger to see if he would fart.

When I saw how counselors interacted with the kids, I knew this was a special place. I was so impressed with them; each so incredibly dedicated and supportive. It was the first thing that I noticed.

Will. Photo by Maayan Ziv.

Alexis being helped out of her harness after daring the challenge of the camp's giant swing. Photo by Maayan Ziv

When I arrived, one of the counselors gave me a tour around the camp, it was all pretty magnificent, but when I saw the wheelchair accessible high ropes course, I thought, this is insane. This has got to be the best camp ever. That's when it really kicked in.

Photo by Maayan Ziv
Easter Seals camp is such a great place for kids with physical disabilities to learn, grow and be supported in a positive environment. When my two days were over, I didn’t want to leave.

William Antaya, left and Wesley Magee-Saxton Photo by Maayan Ziv


Kids Who Can launches in Toronto from PhotoSensitive.

The official launch of the Kids Who Can project was on March 16th at the Brookfield Place in Toronto. Over the summer of 2011, 25 photographers and videographers were sent to 12 camps across eight provinces. The result is a compelling and thought provoking show that I am so humbled and honored to have been a part of.  Here are some images from the launch.

Photo by Melissa Tait

Photo by Melissa Tait

Photo by Giordano Ciampini

The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Photo by Giordano Ciampini

Kevin Ogawa, President and CEO of Canon Canada. Photo by Giordano Ciampini

Wes and Will, two of the boys I photographed at Camp Woodeden. Photo by Giordano Ciampini

Sharing my experience shooting. Photo by Giordano Ciampini.

Andrew Stawicki, PhotoSensitive founding photographer, talks about how the project came together so magically. Photo by Giordano Ciampini

Cutting of the ribbon ceremony. From left to right: Ms. Ruth Anne Onley, The Honourable David C. Onley - Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Andrew Stawicki - Founder of PhotoSensitive, Kevin Ogawa - President and CEO Canon Canada, Brandon McAuley - Easter Seals Ontario Ambassador, myself. Photo by Giordano Ciampini

From left to right, back row: Andrew Stawicki, Cheol Joon Baek, Marni Wolf, Sean F. White, Ms. Ruth Anne Onley, the Lieutenant Governor's Aide de Camp, Kevin Ogawa, Kyle Cunjak, James Burns, Scott Munn. Front row: David Stobbe, The Honourable David C. Onley, Brandon McAuley, myself, Tanya Workman. Photo by Giordano Ciampini

The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and myself. Photo by Giordano Ciampini

Me in front of my work. Photo by my mama, Orli Ziv.

Photo by Ken Faught

Kids Who Can has been a project that has changed my life. I feel so lucky to have contributed to such an important body of work.

Click here to check out more of my work from my time at EasterSeal's Camp Woodeden on my website.

and Click here for all the official images and video of the Kids Who Can project.

Monday, November 28, 2011



While I have tremendous respect for photographers who master shooting with big banks of light, sometimes I love the simplicity of shooting with natural light. There's something about the quality of natural light that I just find so magical. Really wanted to make use of that magic before it gets too freezing to shoot outside like this! How gorgeous is Magdalena?!






Model: Magdalena @Elite Toronto
Hair/Makeup: Rhia Amio @Plutino
Photography, Styling and Retouching: Maayan Ziv

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mike and Mayoli

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I haven't really shot many engagement sessions, but when my good friend from high school asked me if I'd shoot hers, I had to do it! We shot on the Anne of Green Gables bridge (from the movie) which was actually tipping a bit and made me slightly afraid for my life...but it was soo worth it for such a magical location! Here's a taste of Mike and Mayoli's session with me. Congrats you two!

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Bit of a a fairytale huh?!
They were so cute.