Craig Cutler’s CC52 Project: 1 shoot a week for a year

- - Photographers

Heidi: With the CC52 Project did you start out with a grocery list of photography fundamentals that you wanted to explore in unique and challenging ways? For instance: The foil triptychs seem to be a pure light and shape study.
Craig: I’ve always worked on my own, the difference now is the seven day deadline to complete a project and move to a new idea within the next seven days. Whether I like it or not, it’s mood driven.

What has been the most surprising to you about this project and what have you learned about yourself as a photographer?
I tried not to fall into a routine and allow myself to have an open mind and find inspiration from different things. The most surprising aspect has been that I thought it was going to be easier. We are in week 30 and it’s a bit harder, but the images are getting better. Plus I enjoy the freedom. When shooting editorial, the amount of freedom or lack of, can be suffocating. By time the image flows through all the channels, it can get watered down. With this project I don’t answer to anyone, I’m doing it for myself, like or it not.

I enjoyed the distillation of the everyday experiences of a melting popsicle and a burning marshmallow. How challenging was that to achieve, and make it so simple and artful?
This is where the industry is going and we need things with movement. People have a hard time taking something abstract and making something of it. How do you take a marshmallow and make it interesting?  Make things move and they become something more interesting. It also helps to have Victoria Granoff as your food stylist.

Have you always sketched out you ideas first?
When I sketch I mentally go through the photo shoot in my head. It’s here I decide to move forward or shut it down.

For CC12:Duct Tape: How long did each image take, and did you apply one piece at a time and then take a shot? How many rolls did you use, and whose car is that?
20 cases of duct tape. I had interns and lots of people to help. I spent 6 hours doing a very elaborate lighting for the car. In the very end, it was too fussy, the idea didn’t need lighting. I pulled it all off and ended up shooting it with one direct light. Two days of applying tape, 15 minutes to light it. The car took one full day. And it’s my car. No one would rent me a car like that allow it to be covered in duct tape.

In CC1:Ice Cubes Are those real ice cubes? How can you achieve that with no melt if they are?
Absolutely all of them are real ice cubes. Shooting quickly with 4×5,  I simply made a pencil mark on the set and then built the columns. I had my assistant bring out 3 industrial sized racks of cubes, we used 30-40 cubes per take and had about 30 seconds for each take. Can’t even tell you how many times it collapsed. Unless its motion everything is shot on film, and at the end of this project I am having a opening with the prints.

Do you think there will be some sense of gravity for your last segment?
I don’t know that’s a great question, it’s so far down the road!

Do you know what that last piece will be yet,  or are you inspired weekly and spontaneously?
Spontaneity is the number one important thing to me.

Tell me about this latest piece: The Vase.
Steve Meierdin, was my first assistant/ manager full time, now he freelances for me on special projects. It’s one of my favorites right now. I like it because its so simple. The  base of the idea is just a white vase and white box, everything else happens around it. High tech meets low tech here, The editing had the biggest impact on that project. We adjusted the speed of the “cycles” for the editing and the audio was a stock waterfall that we manipulated. I wanted it to be unrecognizable, but paced with the video so it’s in your head but you are not quite able to place it.

Heidi Volpe

There Are 7 Comments On This Article.

  1. Hi, Heidi. Thanks so much for featuring Craig’s project! Just to clarify, though, it’s called CC52 (not C52)—so named for Craig’s initials and the number of weeks in the project.

    Thanks again!

    Kristina

  2. Can you imagine how much more interesting magazines, design and advertising would be if the clients, designers and art directors would hire talented people and then get out of the way? Take your brief (not saying how you would do it, but just what you would like to accomplish), let the image be made (typography, photography, illustration…) and then build the layout around that.

    Just to mention CC1, those images would make a killer lemonade, refrigerator, car with air conditioning, dating relationships, global warming, editorial on US / Pakistan relations, housing market / banking meltdown, coats, African charities…