Last September, you may have seen our ''See yourself as an IRIS model'' contest on social media. The purpose of this contest was to find people from the general public that would be willing to model for one of our campaigns. We are used to working with professional models and our ambassadors during our photo shoots, but we thought it would be interesting to take pictures of "real people,” people who look like our patients!
We were surprised to receive so many applicants: we received hundreds of photos from all across Canada! We received pictures of people of all ages and ethnicities living in every province where IRIS stores are located. We could not have been happier! Initially, the goal was to pick two winners, but it was too difficult to narrow it down to two, so we finally selected 5 winners to model in our two-day photo shoot.
Colleen - 22, Ottawa
Colleen is a full-time literature student and part-time cosplayer. She decided to enter our contest because one of her friends suggested she send us her photos. We were fascinated by her artistic side and her colourful hair. In the past, Colleen would only wear rectangular glasses, but now she likes to play with shapes: she loves to try round and cat-eyed frames. As a student, seeing properly is important to her. Colleen spends long hours reading literature textbooks and critics, both on digital screens and on paper. When it comes to cosplay, she explains that ''The devil is in the details: being able to see well to make my costumes perfect replicas is very important!''
Keven - 30, Québec
Keven is a graphic designer and illustrator. He’s been wearing contact lenses since he was 16 years old. If you are curious to see his illustrations, we invite you to take a look at his Instagram account, his work is absolutely beautiful! You may notice that in some of the pictures he has a prosthesis on his right forearm. Keven was born missing his forearm and says that his disability has no impact on his daily life or on his work. He even says that when people ask him what happened to his arm, he sometimes jokes that a shark attacked him while he was surfing! When asked how wearing his contact lenses is important to have good vision, he says, "It's very important, otherwise I would have my face glued to the screen or 2 inches from my sketch book! My contact lenses save me from headaches and they enable my eyes to be more comfortable.
Magalie - 22, Cowansville
Magalie is a full-time student studying to become a dental hygienist and she works part-time in a factory that prints and sews leather labels for clothing. When talking about her work, Magalie told us: "Yes, a girl in a factory, but to my surprise, we are many women that work there. I like this job. There is a very interesting dynamic between us plus, it is very different and entertaining job. I work with leather and I print labels that will be sewn on jeans, coats, backpacks and hoodies. We work with big machines!’’ Magalie has been wearing glasses for 3 years now and told us that she had trouble adjusting to wearing her glasses in the beginning: "I once looked everywhere in my house for my glasses only to realize that they were already of my face!'' Magalie loves wearing her glasses as a fashion accessory but also as a tool that allows her to see well in her everyday life and that will also be essential in her future career: ‘’Great vision will be essential in my future since the work of a dental hygienist is precise. The health of my patients will depend on it!’’
Yannick - 37, Saint-Prime
Yannick came straight from Lac Saint-Jean for our two-day photo shoot! He is a paper machine operator at Résolu, a local pulp and paper plant. He has been wearing glasses since high school and for him, vision is very important in his life as a dad. He proudly told us that his two older children have eye exams every year before they go back to school. His children and his wife also accompanied him on his journey to Montréal. Yannick tells us: ''All of my little family enjoyed the trip. It was nice to be able to get out of our everyday routine, even with our newborn that was only 3 weeks old! The older ones (10 and 11) were very curious to discover Montreal. We're glad we had the chance to live this experience, but when we left, everyone agreed, "We love to live in Saint-Prime!"
Raphaelle - 31, Joliette
Raphaelle works as a marketing coordinator at Vétoquinol, and our photo shoot was not her first modelling gig. At the age of 14, she was spotted by a modelling agency with which she was able to get two big contracts, but she resigned herself to leave modelling to focus on her education. She has been wearing glasses since she was 12, but admits that she wears her glasses more often ever since she became a mother: "Obviously, being a mom is a wonderful thing, but it's even more wonderful when you get to see your child clearly! I had never paid attention to it before, but I have to admit that I wear my glasses a lot more at home since I became a mom.’’
Our first shooting day was near the Habitat 67 building. This emblematic Montreal building is a housing complex located in the Cité du Havre, along the Saint Lawrence River, just south of the Old Port. Built in the 1960s as part of Expo 67, the building has brought global acclaims to its creator, Moshe Safdie.
We were lucky because it was sunny, but what you cannot see in the photos is that there were very strong winds. After a half-day of shooting, our winners as well as the whole team were very tired of being exposed to the strong winds, so we decided to give everyone the afternoon off so that they could enjoy the city. A few of the models had travelled quite a distance and we wanted them to enjoy a little sightseeing and have them rest for our next day's photo shoot.
On the second day, we invited our winners to Pizzeria 900 in Old Montreal to take some shots in a cafe/restaurant setting. This half day was very pleasant! Our winners enjoyed being able to take photos indoors and enjoyed lattes between shots. When we finished taking pictures, we invited them to eat delicious pizzas provided by the 900.
We want to sincerely thank all those who took time to send in their photos! A very special thanks to our winners who came down to Montreal and who were such amazing models for us. Thanks for accepting to become the new faces of IRIS!