Gaetano Fasciana - photographer and friend

Many years ago, before I ever dreamed of being a photographer, I loved looking at images… in magazines, editorials, advertisements, and I always remember this one photographer’s work that stood out to me.  There was just something about his work that was incredibly beautiful…. simple, strong, stunning images that were distinctly unique and unlike anything else I had seen.  I remember looking into who he was with the silly thought of contacting him to say how much I loved his work and how much it spoke to me.  Of course, I never did. Fast forward twenty years later, I am now a photographer and my teenage daughter has expressed an interest in modeling.  One day her agent calls to say she has a job for her, shooting for Blanche McDonald Centre.  When I ask her who the photographer is, I am floored when she tells me… Gaetano Fasciana.  Who would have thought?  Years earlier, the photographer whose work I had admired from afar was now going to photograph my daughter… I went along on the shoot, not only to chaperone but excited to finally meet him.  At first, I was nervous and a bit surprised by how quiet and unassuming he was.  When I had the opportunity, I introduced myself and told him how I had admired his work for many years… he seemed flattered, but also a little surprised.  I spent most of the day hanging in the background, fascinated, watching him work and smiling to myself at how life can work sometimes.

At the end of the day, Gaetano invited us for coffee and a friendship began.  Maddi was fortunate to have the opportunity to shoot with him several more times and I would tag along and carry the reflector and watch him work… always amazed at how he could take a model into an alleyway with very little to work with and create magic… literally, in a matter of minutes.  He really was a genius... his eye for light and shadow and composition was incredible and instinctual and all the while... he made it seem completely effortless.

Outside of work, we would meet for coffee or go for Pho at his favourite Vietnamese place on Denman and talk about life and art and photography.  The man behind the camera turned out to be far more complicated than one would think.  His genius behind the lens was matched by a fierce intelligence and a kind heart… although I soon learned that conversations with Gaetano were rarely about the weather.  He did not suffer fools and had little patience for small talk.  He lived his life on a level of consciousness unlike anyone I knew and the time we spent together was equally fascinating and exhausting.  One of many things I loved about him, aside from his very dry sense of humour, was how he encouraged me to look at life in a much deeper way.  Being friends with Gaetano was interesting and he always made you think…. which is a rare gift in a human being.

The stunning images he took of Maddi, the memories of our friendship and the time we spent together mean the world to me.  Gaetano was a unique and beautiful individual and I am proud to have called him a friend.  Wherever he is now, I can only hope he has found peace.  I know he will be missed.