Meet the Photographers Who Are Putting Toronto's Streetwear Scene on the Map

Photographers Visionelie, Jayscale and Appalledq Risk Life and Limb to Get the right Shot in Toronto

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Toronto is but a playground for photographers and friends Visionelie, Jayscale, and Appalledq. Heavy with streetwear-centric subjects, their work takes cues from a pool of prominent Instagram-based visual artists including 13th Witness and trashhand, yet these Canadian shooters present a refreshingly individualistic take on street photography. You'll often catch them dangling a pair of Flyknits dangerously close to an urban precipice—a move that has turned into a signature tell for the trio of explorers. If you're still not convinced that the 416 has a vibrant streetwear culture with a pack of young bucks leading the charge ahead, then follow Visionelie, Jayscale, and Appalledq on Instagram to realize how wrong you are.

We spoke with visionelie, aka Elie Jonathan, about his transition from iPhone photography to DSLR, the streetwear culture of his hometown, and what the trio has planned down the line.

What are the odds the three of you would have found one another without Instagram? 
I'll say 85 percent just because we had so many mutual friends and commonalities such as our interest in photography. But if it wasn't for Instagram we probably wouldn't chill as much together as we do.

Did you all transition to DSLRs after starting with iPhones? How does this affect your approach?
It's amazing because we got to learn all these new techniques shooting with DSLR. But shooting with a mobile device is way more convenient and easier way to capture the moment. I use a Canon 6D and a 7D for sport photography. I'm still new to it and I'm still learning a lot more about the different aspects of photography.

Talk about the feet hanging off the edge motif. Isn’t that sketchy? 
It's always scary to me at first but I guess we all get comfortable after a while. 

Why do you choose to include so many streetwear references in your work?
It's a reflection of our personality and the things that we enjoy. It's also a big part of our culture and our generation so it's only right to showcase it. 

After developing a notable Instagram following, what is the next step for yourself, and for the group?
We just want to grow keep learning about different fields of art and experimenting how we can showcase that to the world. We’re trying to become a collective at some point in the future and going beyond photography. Because we're still young, we want to keep growing and learning about different fields of art while experimenting with how we can show that to the world.  

For photographers, are gallery exhibitions still a relevant forum to showcase your work? 
Definitely they are to me 'cause I find it it  great to see whatever you capture through social media. But to see it in real life and to see how people react from your work in person—it's another feeling. 

What is #teamcozy?
Team cozy is a movement originally created by Ta-Ku who is a great emotional Australian producer, and Silas Lee, a genius behind the lens. They showcase creative individuals interpreting their ideas of coziness through streetwear. Recently we started working with these guys to promote this aesthetic and showcase pure coziness around the world. 

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