The art of the corkscrew
When comparing photographers, talent might be king, but having the personality to go with it certainly doesn’t hurt.
Brent Mykytyshyn has both. This Calgary, Canada-based photographer has been shooting pics for magazines, newspapers and agencies across Canada for almost 20 years. Some of his favourite things about what he does? "Image manipulation, large format photography and turn of the century photographic techniques."
While we've worked with Brent for eons, we didn't know about his secret passion for collecting corkscrews — and, then, taking beautiful photos of them. Turns out there's a reason — but it has nothing to do with wine.
Q: Why did you decide to photograph corkscrews?
A: I’ve been gravitating towards chrome objects, or objects with chrome for some time now. I find them challenging to light as a studio practice. The wine opener started as a flea market item I could pick up while traveling that had qualities I like: small, fairly valued, unique, artificial, artifactual, represents luxury, and contains chrome!
Q: What is your favourite one and why? What's the story behind it?
A: I don’t particularity have a favourite one, but again, the more chrome the better! I like the stories each one conjures up for me. I like the thrill of the hunt, and how mostly I have just randomly stumbled upon them, and still do. I like that each opener represents a place, and period in time, a culture's idea of materialism or wealth. I like the way the amber plastic took the light and became translucent. ....And all the different shapes, colours, and materials used, from minimalist, utilitarian, kitsch, contemporary or ergonomic designs.
Q: You're no stranger to creating beautiful product shots, including booze, food and, of course, corkscrews. What is it about product shots that you find interesting as a photographer?
A: I’ve always been drawn to photographing still-life imagery. For nearly two decades now, I believed I would make a fantastic living out of doing so, and I still do.
I’m an optimistic, a dreamer. Maybe telling that object's story or creating a new one is appealing to me. I gravitate towards certain things for their esthetic, design or symbolism. I’m formally trained to pick up these qualities, I guess? And this inspires me to add to the object's visual beauty, by shaping it with lighting, or making an interesting composition. I like making the objects really sharp in appearance, giving each object a presence, its moment to shine. This idea carries over into my commercial work as well.
Q: What's your fave (boozy) drink of choice? Why?
A: I’m simple in my boozy pleasures. I mostly drink Big Rock’s Traditional Ale since moving to Calgary in 1998. However, I usually have a quantity of Pabst Blue Ribbon on hand as well. You know: "street beers." Also I’ve been known to have an upper hand when making the Margarita, although I’m not quite Jimmy Buffet, or Soggy Peso level famous yet.
Q: And your favourite Calgary bar/pub? Why?
A: The Ship and Anchor. You name it, I’ve celebrated it here. It’s my favourite neighborhood pub, and has been since 2000. It’s always welcoming, great staff, music, food, and patrons.
To sum it up: "Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, And they're always glad you came." - Gary Portnoy, from the TV show Cheers