Job Title: International Commercial and Editorial Photographer
Why He’s Top 40: He donates time and resources to his community and aspires to prove that Edmonton is a major market for people in his profession.
Guilty Pleasure: “I go to the movies, alone, midday. I go because I go to watch a movie. I don’t want to talk. People ask me to go with them all the time, and I’m like ‘nah. I want to be alone with a movie and a tub of popcorn and butter.”‘
Five years ago, Curtis Comeau’s mother, “Mama Comeau,” sat her son down and asked: “When will you get a real job? You can’t do this forever.” She then pulled out a copy of Reader’s Digest to illustrate her point.
“She told me my work wasn’t very good because I had ‘cut off the legs’ of a person in the shot,” says Comeau. “That’s the way she is. She isn’t impressed with accolades and awards, so she’s good at keeping me humble.”
Comeau has photographed the likes of Hugh Hefner, shot international ad campaigns for Sher-Wood Hockey and worked for publications such as Avenue (including work for this issue), Reader’s Digest, Canadian Geographic, Seventeen and Popular Science, to name a few. But his proudest professional achievement was a four-year project photographing members of the Edmonton Fire Rescue Services through all aspects of their jobs.
When the project was finished in 2012, he hosted a large-scale exhibit at Edmonton City Hall to honour the first responders of the city, and some of the newer fire halls still feature some of the 40 images from the exhibit.
Comeau’s donated professional photographic services and resources to charitable organizations such as the Stollery Children’s Hospital and Alberta Women’s Entrepreneurs, but he hopes that his mentoring will make the greatest impact. He would like young professional photographers to view his work – that of the only Edmonton-based photographer represented on the Getty Images’ International Roster – and realize that Edmonton is a place where talent is given a chance to flourish.
Comeau’s belief is that anyone with talent and a strong work ethic can succeed in Edmonton – it’s just a matter of attitude.
“I try to remember I’m not special as a photographer,” says Comeau. “I’m privileged to do this for a living. The moment I start to think I’m a rock star is the moment clients hire someone else. Because there are plenty of others out there.” It’s humbling advice; no surprise coming from the son of “Mama Comeau.”