Instagrammers, whether you like it or not, are some of the most influential photographers of our age. We wanted to get to know the personalities behind the cameras, so we reached out to a few phone photographers who have been capturing their own unique beauty. These individuals have been hard at work shooting some of Montreal’s best sights, from dawn until dusk, across our city’s diverse landscapes.
Sylvie Li, @Sylvieli, is a HEC Montreal graduate currently studying in Commercial Photography at Dawson College. She specializes in food and lifestyle photography and she loves going to restaurants, vegetarian cooking, photography, traveling, reading and trying new spots in the city.
Q: What are some of your favourite Montreal spots?
A: I’ve been living in the Mile End for two years and it’s hands down my favourite neighbourhood in the city. Some of my favourite spots to hang out are Voro, Café Falco, Pagaille!, Cardinal Tea Room and Arts Café. For a nice dinner, I go to Hôtel Herman or Van Horne and if I crave some sweets or carbs (which happens frequently), I love Boulangerie Guillaume, Hof Kelsten, Fous Desserts and Pâtisserie Rhubarbe. In the summer, strolling through Laurier Park and its surroundings is always a must.
Q: When did you start taking photos and how has that affected your life?
A: I love shooting still life subjects. Be it flowers, interiors or food, I always keep an eye on good lighting, beauty in objects, and small details that enhance life.
Q: What is your favourite thing to photograph?
A: I started taking photos as a teenager while I was traveling across Europe and Asia, but only as a hobby. Travel is my main source of inspiration and I love capturing the people on camera when I’m abroad. But it wasn’t until my trip to Scandinavia and Germany last May that I considered making photography a living. I was really inspired by the people, the design they make, and their lifestyle. This changed the way I take photos by giving me new perspectives on composition and finding interesting subjects to shoot that I would never thought of before. Although I studied marketing and international business, I switched from a business administration career to something I have a real passion for—food and lifestyle photography.
Q: What is your process for taking the perfect (Instagram) photo?
A: Usually I’ll have a setting, a scene in my head that I want to create according to what I have at hand. It could be as simple as a bouquet of flowers, food I just cooked, or curated objects. Other times, it’s completely spontaneous. I’ll find a good subject or lighting in a café or restaurant and take a shot in a second. Composition and light are the key factors of a good photograph.
Q: Where is a dream destination you would like to visit and photograph?
A: I would love to go back to Japan, Denmark and Sweden. Otherwise, I really want to visit el Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, fjords in Norway, the Highlands in Scotland and the stunning scenery of Iceland. I’m really drawn towards nature and jaw-dropping landscapes.
Q: Who are some of your favourite instagrammers?
A: That’s a tricky one… There are so many great accounts out there. But among others, I love @idalaerke, @alice_gao, @nana_ha, @cannellevanille, @mrpaddingtonbear, @marte_marie_forsberg, @bythebrush, @francisduval, @_julienlacroix, @hirozzzz, @drewkelly, @samalive and @alexandre_champagne.