He is a model, photographer and world traveller who can often be found at the La Bottega Nicastro lunch counter, with many stories to tell.

Style Fix Spotlight Theak Chhuom BernardiBeautyBlog 2

Photo: @theakchhuom

Theak Chhuom
Model/Photographer/World Traveller

Website: Theak Chhuom | Photography

When did you start modelling?

It’s been so long but I think it was around 1999. People would ask if I was a model and at the time I honestly did not know what one was. A friend explained and I went to agencies in Ottawa to see if I could be one. I started with Barrett Palmer and from there I was represented with agencies in Montreal, Toronto and briefly in New York.

What are some of the highlights from your modelling career?

In Montreal, I did a shoot for Captain Morgan, a beverage company. A couple months later I was at a movie theater and there I was, on an advertisement, displayed on the big screen. Let’s just say it was exciting yet awkward to see oneself like that.

Here in Ottawa, I’ve been in ads for Rideau Centre where my face was displayed on bus shelters and on the side of buses. My friends would tease me about them.

Have you ever seen the movie Zoolander with Ben Stiller? Have you ever has a model walk off?

I have and no, no walk off. Probably because I still don’t know how to turn left (:

You and Marion were recently featured in Ottawa Magazine as one of Ottawa’s most stylish couples. Tells about that experience.

Our neighbour, who worked for the Ottawa Citizen, was the one who asked us to be part of the article. She always complimented on the way we dressed and would ask us about the places we’ve visited as that year we had been to 8 different countries. Marion and I rarely have photos together since I was the who was usually taking them and I’ll admit it brought back some memories to be part of the shoot. It was a lot of fun having Marion be part of something that I had done for a while. I know she had fun with it but I don’t think she was as comfortable as I was being in front of the camera.

What made you decide to try being behind the camera?

You would think it was because of modeling that I wanted to try my hands at taking photos. But it was because of Marion’s sister Pauline who got me started. She always had a camera with her and was always taking photos. I enjoyed looking at her photos and wanted to purchase a camera for myself. My first camera, the Canon T1i, was purchased before we went to South Africa and Namibia. The places we visited were stunning and I was excited to see the results of our adventure. After uploading them to my computer and doing some basic edits I was hooked.

Do you still do modelling or are you purely focused on the photography now?

It’s been some time since I have modeled. I would rather be travelling and taking photos. I find it quite relaxing and always look forward to sharing them.

Do you think your experience as a model helps you with being a photographer?

I’m more of a travel photographer. I want to capture a particular moment in time and if it happens to be of people I don’t want them to stop and pose for me.

I like all of your work – I have two prints from your travel collection hanging up in my dining room. Every time I see photographs you take of food, I instantly get hungry and want to eat or drink whatever is in the photo. What is your favorite thing to shoot? 

 Antipasto Plate from La Bottega Nicastro
© 2013 – Theak Chhuom | Photography

First of all, thank you! You are my first buyer and I will always appreciate that (: I really enjoy travel photography. Mostly for the travelling part! I tend to focus on the little things like the arches in doorways or framing of an object. I want to try and focus your attention to some detail that I noticed and hopefully you would see what I wanted to capture.

Describe who/what inspires you and why.

I love travelling. The world is huge and I want to explore much of it as possible. Each place I visit inspires me to want to share my experience and what better way then to take a photo of my adventure and to be able to share them with friends. From there, I hope they are inspired to want to travel and visit the places I’ve been to.

Do you have a favorite photograph in your collection?

I always have a photo or two from the different places I’ve visited. The one you purchased is one of them.

© 2013 – Theak Chhuom | Photography

Another would be this from Namibia.

© 2013 – Theak Chhuom | Photography

Whose work do you admire the most?

I just started to shoot weddings and I enjoy and admire this photographer’s style. Jeff Ascough. The majority of his work are black and white and I really enjoy his work. It’s about the moments and trying to capture not just the shot but a story behind that shot. I also admire the photos that my friends take. Mainly when they come back from travelling as I want to visit the places they’ve been to!

Let’s hear some of your favorites…

fashion designer: Too many but right now Z Zenga clothes fit me really well.
piece of clothing you own: 3 piece Hugo Boss suit
place to shop for clothes: Online – Mr. Porter
restaurant: La Bottega Eat-in Lunch Counter
movie: Shawshank Redemption
book: The Count of Monte Cristo
television show: I don’t have cable but now that I have Netflix – Dexter.

Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share with us?

Not projects but travelling. This year, I have already been to Madrid, Spain and Crans Montana, Switzerland. I will be travelling to San Francisco and Lima, Peru in August and look forward to sharing my photos with you!