Christopher IRELAND
Director. Mentor.
for CANON’S ‘The Lab’
Introducing DECOY

A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what’s in front of it. To prove this hypothesis Canon invited six photographers to a portrait session with a difference. ‘Decoy’ is one of six experiments from Canon’s new series of workshops called ‘The Lab’, designed to shift creative thinking behind the lens.

For an experiment like this to work, you need the right elements. Christopher Ireland’s duality as an artist – being both a photographer and a director – allowed him to not only provide the necessary insights and guidance to the participants, but to also capture this creative process in a way that would not interfere with the experiment itself. With over 6 million hits and counting, its clear to see that ‘Decoy’ has resonated with an audience not only restricted to photographers.


Ex-Inmate by Kate Disher-Quill

Commercial Fisherman by Jin Lim

Special thanks to Canon and the creative team at Leo Burnett for allowing us to be involved in this special project. Furthermore to the amazing photographers: Lyndal Irons, Kate Disher-Quill, Jin Lim, Frankie Tsang, Chris Meridith and Tristan Stefan Edouard for bringing the workshop to life.

“The most satisfying outcome was seeing the success of the workshop and knowing we were able to share the insight that – it’s what’s behind the camera that shapes what we see – with such a wide audience.” – Director, Christopher Ireland

Millionaire by Tristan Stefan Edouard

Life Guard by Frankie Tsang

Typically a director’s vision involves leaving recognisable marks throughout a production, yet Christopher’s style of stepping back and allowing the work to unfold before him was an important factor in the success of this experiment. 

“I’ve always tried to have my work breathe. It’s a philosophy focused around amplifying unique and natural qualities that my real talent have. It’s become my style of storytelling. 

We went one step further in this production collaborating with Leo Burnett Sydney. In this case the lasting impression is the interplay between unsuspecting Photographer’s and their subject. Rather than have the sitter, Michael, drive too much of the outcome of each portrait exchange (and preempt a preconceived director’s vision) I asked him to respond naturally to the exchange, using the cues each photographer gave as a spring board for the way he responded. If the photographer was confident, he would likely respond confidently back; if the photographer was contemplative, he would allow time for quiet exchanges and be more mindful of physical presence. 

If they were nervous they certainly didn’t let it prevent them from taking exceptional portraits. It goes to show just what photographers are faced with, and more importantly capable of.” – Director, Christopher Ireland.

Recovering Alchoholic By Chris Meridith

Psychic By Lyndal Irons

Canon Australia: Client
Leo Burnett Sydney: Agency

Vince Lagana: ECD
Grant MacAloon: ECD
Kieran Ots: Creative Director
Dave Varney: Senior Art Director
Stuart Tobin: Art Director
Bjoern Ingenleuf: Copywriter
Jonny Bucknall: Group Business Director
Laura Dowling: Senior Business Director
Laura Cervin: Business Manager
Adrian Jung: Producer

Jason McLean: Director – Canon Consumer Imaging at Canon Australia
Chris Macleod: Manager – Professional Marketing
Kate Guaran: Senior Manager – Consumer Marketing

Pool credits

Christopher Ireland: Director / Mentor
Cameron Gray: Executive Producer
Emma de Teliga: Producer
Petrea Lambert: Production Manager
Melissa Scurry: Post Producer
Tim Small: DOP
Jeremy Ireland: Lead Sound Recordist

Heckler: Post Production
Edward Copestick: Editor
Ali Kennedy: Producer
Dave Kelly: Producer

Lyndal Irons: Photographer
Kate Disher-Quill: Photographer
Jin Lim: Photographer
Frankie Tsang: Photographer
Chris Meridith: Photographer
Tristan Stefan Edouard: Photographer