Meet Brian Harder & Trudie Lee


About Brian Harder

Brian has never lost a lens cap in over 30 years. That might not sound all that impressive, but it is when you consider some of the places Brian has found himself taking photographs from: hot air balloons, helicopters, uranium mines, cherry pickers, rooftops, under moving conveyor belts, oil sands shovels, window washing platforms, rig floors and pig farms, to name just a few.

Brian left the Saskatchewan prairies to follow his passion of photography at the Alberta College of Art and Design.

In his first year working as a professional photographer, Brian photographed Dave King, (former head coach of the Canadian National Hockey Team), Sophia Loren (for anyone under 40 she is a famous movie star), and the 1988 Olympic games. As a freelancer with TIME Magazine, he was one of the first Western Canadian editorial photographers to use a high-end Hasselblad digital camera. Brian has been awarded assignments around the globe, photographing stories from the heart of Siberia to the rust belt of the U.S.

In 1994, Brian and his partner, Trudie Lee, renovated an old warehouse in the Calgary Beltline district and created HarderLee, which is now one of Western Canada’s premier photographic studio spaces.

As part of HarderLee, Brain’s work has appeared in everything from magazines, ads, corporate annual reports, ROS reports, recruitment advertising, catalogues and business portraits. His speciality is industrial photography. He’s the guy that knows how things work in the field and he’s good at making the harshest environments look like paradise, which is why he’s considered one of the best industrial photographers in the business.

So whether he’s hanging from a helicopter, squeezing under industrial machinery or crawling into a uranium mine, Brian will do almost anything to get the perfect shot—that is, unless it involves wearing Nomex coveralls that are too short in the crotch. Even Brian can’t make a pretty picture out of that.

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About Trudie Lee

Trudie started her photographic career shooting dog shows and strippers. 20 years later, she photographed the Queen of England.

Trudie comes from a rock and roll background, growing up behind the scenes and backstage. Her father was a concert promoter for some of the largest bands in the world. This taught her that even the most famous put their pants on one leg at a time.

Today Trudie photographs a lot of people from dancers, musicians, actors, CEOs, executives, Olympians and the odd member of parliament. She’d never tell you this (and she’d never write this), but Trudie’s ability to see through ego, excitement, nervous posturing and camera shyness (and always tell the truth) is why she’s considered a premiere portrait photographer. In the corporate world her sessions have been referred to as “team building” and “self-esteem boosting” experiences and in the arts people have said they “fall in love” with how beautiful they look and feel.

An Alberta College of Art and SAIT alumni, Trudie got her first real job as a resident photographer for the Banff Centre. She co-founded HarderLee, which has since become one of the most sought after commercial photography studios in Calgary.

When Trudie isn’t behind her camera, she can be heard spouting Yiddish quips, talking about songs she doesn’t understand (but is forced to listen to by her twin teenage daughters), and kvetching about Brian, her colleague in the studio, co-doer at home and the guy who – in 1988 – gave her the best business advice she’s ever had when he suggested that instead of working for him, she work with him.

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