Top Photographer - Issue 07

Top Photographer is a ranking based on the average score of a person’s best five photos in a given issue. The winner will be awarded this section of the magazine to do with as they please. Last issue’s winner was Aaron Von Hagen. 


Aaron Von Hagen

@avhphoto / @avhportraits


Who are you and what do you do when you aren’t taking pictures?

I’m a Northerner at heart, born and raised in Yellowknife. I have been calling Vancouver home for over 12 years now. When I’m not taking pictures, I’m probably thinking about taking pictures, editing pictures, or working on furthering my photography business. I also work in the film industry, which can keep me pretty busy as well. I’m always planning a trip or adventure of some sort. This is all assuming I’ve had my daily caffeine intake, of course!


What kind of camera do you use? Can you give us a tip on how to take a great photo?

I’m a Canon guy, and shoot with a 5D Mark III. I was given a Rebel XTi when I graduated film school, and started buying lenses for it, so at that point, I wasn’t really going to be making a switch to a different system. That being said, why would I want to?! ;)

One tip I can give fellow photographers is to stop taking pictures. So many times people roll up to a scene and the cameras are out with eyes in the viewfinder before they even know what they’re looking at. Stop doing that. Take a minute. Look around. Whatever you think you’re seeing pales in comparison to what’s waiting for you if you just take the time to look around. When you’ve got the shot, put the camera away and exist in the space you’re in. Life isn’t lived through a viewfinder.

Who is your favourite local photographer and why?

My favourite local photographer is a guy named Bun Lee. I love his night sky work. I actually “met” him a couple years back up at Lake O’Hara, but didn’t clue in until I saw his photos taken during the same time frame that it was the same person! D’oh!

The use of colour in your photography is distinct (I’ve noticed a lot of purple night skies lately). How do you think about colour when taking a photo? 

I’ve always been a fan of colour. There is something about colour that speaks to me, and I think that it is a reflection of my personality. When I look at images I’ve taken, sometimes I will exaggerate the colours in certain edits. However, I usually try to keep them natural, as that is how I can be taken back to a moment and still feel it.

What do you love about Vancouver?

It’s a good hub for getting out and exploring, whether by land, sea, or air. The coffee and food situation isn’t too shabby, either.

What do you hate about Vancouver?

How long it can take to leave Vancouver.

If you could change one thing about
Archive, what would it be? 

I think the captions need some serious work. I’m sorry, but 97% of the time, they aren’t remotely funny or clever. Most are rude and obnoxious for the sake of being so. Images of women are sexualized, giving more insight to the commenter’s thoughts when they’re alone than the image being presented. Beautiful landscapes are ruined with tales of sexual bravado that no one cares about save the commenter wanting to assure readers that they MAY have gotten laid before. This magazine doesn’t need to be crude. It has far more potential than that.


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