"To me, a model is just something that I use to advance a story," he says.
VanderPloeg talks about models as only one part of the equation. To him, a model is just one piece of his art, rather than an idolized figure. I ask him about the secret world of photo retouching, and explain how the highly edited images of models can make any average Jane, or say Amanda feel inadequate.
VanderPloeg comments, "I want my photos to look the best they can. I'm not trying to say this is what a woman should look like, or this is what beauty is." He clarifies that he will never change a distinctive feature on a model like a large nose or wide hips. The goal is to produce clean images rather than drastically change the way a person looks.
For inspiration he reads about 10 magazines a day and watches a lot of films. With a background in film (he attended film school at Sheridan College) he's had the opportunity to work on the lighting of major motion pictures such as The Incredible Hulk and Get Rich or Die Tryin'.
Yet, VanderPloeg wanted to channel himself into something more creative and hands-on. He sought out the photography genius of Steve Carty to inquire about an assistant job. With ambition and dedication, he's managed to assist and work with Carty and his talented team for 5 months now. "You can do anything when it comes to fashion. There are no limits, no rules. You take your camera and shoot," he says.
It is easy to be fooled by VanderPloeg's laid back appearance. Under his comfy hoodie, wool hat and no fuss jeans is an eagerness to discuss matters like world economics, sustainable living and music. It is rare to find someone who not only looks at life through a critical lens, (no pun intended) but who hasn't lost that sense of idealism that the world can be a better place.
"Our generation needs more thinkers," he says.
VanderPloeg's fantasy portrait goes way beyond long legs and lusty lips. He cites Martin Luther King Jr. and Bob Marley as his dream subjects. "Anyone who has made a difference in the world," he says.
Lastly, I ask him to give an inspiring quotation. On the spot, he quotes Henry Ford: "Whether you think that you can or think that you can't you're usually right."
Still curious about Cory? Check out some of his work below and visit his awesome website which features his full portfolio, a blog (includes Toronto Fashion Week) and some short films.