In Pursuit of the Perfect Shot: Justin Abernethy’s Meteoric Rise in the World of Photography & Film

Screenshot 2023 05 31 at 7.22.10 PM

For many people, transforming a hobby into a successful career is wishful thinking.  Yet Toronto-based Director and Photographer, Justin Abernethy, not only accomplished this feat but did it in lightning-fast time. Abernethy’s meteoric ascent is a story of audacity and passion. Born with an innate fascination for art and visual storytelling, Abernethy’s journey is an inspiration for anyone seeking to turn a dream into reality.

Abernethy’s artistic inclinations can be traced back to his early years. His youthful fascination with comic books evolved into a deep appreciation for the narratives encapsulated in a single, still image. His first steps into photography began with a Nikon D5100, a birthday gift from his parents that accompanied him on a family trip to New York. The city’s dynamic palette of people, places, and textures inspired Abernethy to translate these vivid impressions into still images, which soon found a home on Flickr, garnering him his initial recognition.

High school years found Abernethy fervently documenting his daily life, his camera a constant companion. While his peers pursued conventional career paths, Abernethy boldly chose to pursue his dreams, immersing himself in art and photography at Ryerson University. His university years also saw him delve into the world of film.

After graduating from Ryerson, Abernethy embarked on a tumultuous journey as a photographer and director in Toronto. Despite financial hardships, he stayed true to his vision, consistently investing in his projects. His dedication soon started to pay off, as his distinctive style and creative direction began to make waves in the industry.

Screenshot 2023 05 31 at 7.22.05 PM

Yet, Abernethy’s story isn’t just about artistic triumph. It’s about battling self-doubt and learning patience in an industry that often invites comparisons. Abernethy highlights these struggles as the most significant challenges in his journey, advocating for the importance of appreciating one’s progress and steering clear from comparisons, often referred to as “the thief of joy.”

Among the myriad lessons learned along the way, Abernethy emphasizes the importance of embracing failure. To him, every project, successful or not, brings invaluable lessons, a stepping stone toward becoming a better artist. Simultaneously, he stresses the need to celebrate victories, no matter how small, urging aspiring artists to take a moment to appreciate their achievements.

Today, Abernethy’s vision for his future remains unswerving. He sees himself continuing on a fast-paced career trajectory, creating art alongside those he cherishes, his aspirations never falling short of the pinnacle. A firm believer in the transformative power of art, Abernethy hopes to inspire others to pursue their artistic dreams.

His career highlights are a testament to his success. Abernethy’s work has been showcased in international campaigns, with his stills gracing Times Square, NYC, and Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto. His music videos have amassed over 175 million views on YouTube, and he’s collaborated with international brands like Footlocker, Roots, Samsung and Adidas, as well as artists like Wondagurl, Kehlani, Ali Gatie, Anders, Lilyisthatyou, 12 am, and Baka Not Nice.

In a short span of five years, Abernethy has established himself as one of Toronto’s top directors and photographers. His meteoric rise is a tribute to his relentless pursuit of the perfect shot, embodying the power of passion and persistence. His story serves as an inspiration, underlining the magic that happens when one dares to chase their dreams.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.