ANACHRON – Film Strike Portrait Series by Rob Trendiak

ANACHRON is a portrait series chronicling Vancouver’s film industry cast and crew affected by the SAG-AFTRA strike. Although the film strike is in the USA, it greatly affects Canadians. Vancouver is often referred to as Holly-North because of how many Hollywood productions are filmed in Vancouver.

What Does ANACHRON Mean?

ANACHRON comes from the word anachronistic meaning old traditions conflicting with new ideas. This sums up why the screenwriters and actors in Hollywood are on strike. Hollywood studios need to update their old ways of functioning to adapt to newer technologies such as streaming services and artificial intelligence.

How ANACHRON Came To Be?

While talking with film industry peers I began to realize just how dire the situation is for Canadian film cast and crews. Work that was scheduled for the fall disappeared overnight. People instantly out of work suddenly need to find employment.

How I Shot The Photos?

I wanted to document this by capturing the full story of the strikes in Hollywood. To achieve this, I photographed the portraits through the lens of a TLR (twins Lens Reflex) (Camera: Ciro-flex)from the 1940s with my digital camera focused on the viewing glass. The old camera represents the old ideologies of Hollywood and filmmaking. The digital camera I used to capture the portraits represents the modern technologies currently used to produce films. I also used a little Ai to complete the story. Ai helped me find the name ANACHRON and I used generative Ai to help expand the borders of some of the images (not to manipulate the subjects) bringing the story full circle.

Because there were two cameras used to photograph this series, I first had to manually focus and frame the TLR camera on the subject. Then I had to focus and frame the digital camera on the viewing glass of the TLR. This process was much more tedious than my typical workflow and it forced me to slow down and make sure everything was perfect. I actually enjoyed this process and the challenging aspect of this series made me a better photographer.

For the lighting, I used two strobes. The first strobe was positioned 45° from the subject and camera right. That strobe was at full power because the old TLR camera requires a lot of light for the subject to appear don’t the viewing glass. The second strobe was placed directly behind the subject and had a bare bulb pointing towards the background. This strobe made the background white and helped show off the dust and stretches on the viewing glass of the old TLR camera. When I was creating the test images I photographed them on a grey background and all the dust and scratches were hidden.

The effect you see in the photographs was completed fully in camera and has ZERO photoshop. I did a few colour tweaks in Lightroom but the gritty and grainy effect in the photographs is the viewing glass on the old TLR camera.

My Takeaway

It’s hard to pin down one takeaway from this series. It honestly felt amazing to flex my creative muscles. My regular career in photography is corporate headshots and these photos were completely opposite from corporate headshots. They were gritty and artistic portraits. I honestly didn’t even know if anybody would be interested in participating in this series as they may think I am crazy for creating images that have a heavy aesthetic. To my surprise, every single person involved was thrilled to participate and loved the whole process and the full-circle story behind ANACHRON. I met so many new people whom I now can call friends and reconnected with past film industry colleagues whom I have not seen in over a decade. For me, this series was a wild success and I am thankful for every aspect of ANACHRON.


Michael P. Vidler

Moses Thiessen

Kaylah Zander-Nuñez

Tina Grant

Kraig Wenman

Jay Bell

Michael Coleman

Kasey Lum

Braden Oberson

Lee Tomaschefski

David Nguyen

Justin Neenan

lindy McLenaghan

Katelyn Rebecca Abbott

Beverly Joy Hoy

Liz Wallace

Michelle Godoy Priske

Nhi Do

Ryan Prasad

Siobhan Williams