Creators of Toronto | SoTeeOh

By John Yoo November 5, 2015
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I had an opportunity to sit down with SoTeeOh earlier last week and learn his journey as an entrepreneur.  We talked about his beginnings and where he’s now as a professional photographer.  Make sure you check him out on Instagram to get a slice of Toronto on your feed.

What is your background?

I always put a high value in personal learning and through personal projects is how I started to self teach myself photography.  I always had a camera that I played around with when I was growing up, and started to take it seriously about 3 years ago.  When Instagram became popular in 2012, I saw an opportunity to take off creatively.  Initially I did what everyone did, took photos of my lunch or weird things I was drawing at the time, and overtime I began to post real photos I had taken with my DSLR.  In the Fall of 2012, another photographer in the city asked me if I wanted to meet up, and from there he became a semi-mentor to me.  Creatively, I had never had that before and that was the push that I needed to pursue this outlet further.

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What is SoTeeOh?

SoTeeOh started in 2006/2007 on a t-shirt with a logo I designed, I would sell them on a website or at basketball tournaments for extra cash.  From there the first social platform I signed up for was Twitter and when it came to choosing a username SoTeeOh just stuck.  The T-Shirts are long gone, even the logo, but the name stuck around.  The idea SoTeeOh, means So Toronto or very thoroughly Toronto; I want to showcase what it means to be from this city.

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What are some projects that you’re currently working on?

One really cool project I’m working on is called Kids, Cops, and Computers partnered with HP Canada.  This Charity gives brand new laptops to grade 7 students with financial need.  I’m involved by raising awareness and running workshops with the kids in the classrooms to create social content.  Outside of that I have a lot of client and influencer work as well as shoots with local artists.

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What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?

I had my first real solo exhibition in May 2015 called “6:Street“.  It was at Project Gallery in Leslieville and was a learning experience.  Ever since I’ve started going down this creative path, doing a real exhibition at an art gallery was one of my biggest goals.  It was an incredible experience to go through the process of setting up a solo exhibition (a lot of stress), but the end result was incredibly rewarding.

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What are your top 3 apps?

1. Instagram

2. Google SnapSeed

3. Snapchat/Vine – Even though i’m not very active on either, I really think it’s brilliant how people are able to convey a message in 10-15 seconds.  I think this is going to play a huge role in how we communicate in the coming years.

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Do you have a go to camera set-up?

Canon 6D body | 24-70 2.8 lens

When I’m caught without my camera, I use my Samsung S6

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What is your favourite kind of shoot?

Wandering around and capturing spontaneity; random interactions on the street.  It’s not what pays the bills, but I enjoy this the most.  It’s also important to note that the random shoots contribute to client work as these help create moods and looks and is an integral part of the process.

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Do you ever hold workshops/group shoots?

I do an annual photo meet with 1LOVETO, it’s an opportunity to get people together and talk photography. I do a lot of similar things with youth such as a project called “Capture The Streets” with Jayu Canada.  This involves doing photography workshops and an exhibition with youth that were living in a homeless shelter.

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Where do you see this in 2 years?

As of right now, i’m unsure.  I’ve been going with the flow and have kept things pretty open ended.  I really hope that I’m still doing what I’m doing and plan on using the Winter to refocus.

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How can people contact you?

E-Mail – [email protected]

Instagram – SoTeeOh