Posts by: Heidi Volpe

The Daily Edit – Friday
11.11.11

- - The Daily Edit
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Vanity Fair

 

Design Director: David Harris
Art Director: Julie Weiss
Photography Director: Susan White
Senior Photography Producer: Kathryn MacLeod
Senior Associate Photo Editors: Sasha Erwitt, Susan Phear
Photographer: Jason Bell

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted.

 

Heidi: How many days did this take to shoot?
Jason: Just one – we met at 11am and finished about 10pm which included hair make up and doing the stills and film. I prefer to work first to stop the subject getting bored and tired.

Was Courtney involved in the creative process?
No. She was involved in styling choices but in terms of concept etc. she totally left it to me. She just said “I’m putting myself in your hands.” I was very pleased that she liked the results. She called me up afterwards to say how much she liked it all.

The video lighting is different than in the printed version, were they done simultaneously?
Yes they were done pretty simultaneously, we constantly switched from one to the other which makes things move faster.

During filming what is your role? I saw there was a cinematographer, how is that role shared?
I am the director so I say what I want and how I see it and then taking suggestions from all of the crew. I came up with the story beforehand and then discussed with the cinematographer the best way to achieve it. He operates the camera and then I view playback and change things. And I direct the subject always. It’s less confusing for them if it’s just me all day shooting the stills and blocking their moves etc.

Do you think you were selected because of your motion experience?
On this job yes, I work for Vanity Fair a lot anyway, but I heard that they really wanted a film for this one and had liked my previous films for them so were keen for me to do it.

Was that opening/closing shot difficult?
My poor cinematographer (who is great) was very game and got in the water in just his boxer shorts to get that shot. It was not a hot day…. when I discussed the concept of the shoot with him beforehand he had suggested an underwater shot so he only had himself to blame, but he did a great job. I was very keen from the start that it opened and closed the film to give a sense of entering this other world.

What advantage to you feel you have by being the only artist an agent represents (Robbie Feldman)?
It feels like more of a collaboration. We are obviously a bit more involved with each other than if I had an agent representing 10 others. So, we can work more closely together and discuss all aspects of the process. And there’s a shorthand because he always knows very precisely what is going on. I have to stay busy, but that works because I like to be busy.

O.T.M.F.C.

- - Assistants, Working

Photo by Travis Shinn

OTMFC is a collective of great photographers and assistants that come to your job with a truck load of experience and equipment to get it done right. I caught up with David Hudgins, one of the founders, to see what this is all about.

Heidi: Have to ask, how did you come up with the logo?
David:  The logo was drawn up on a bar napkin.

When you don’t want to drop the f bomb, what’s the replacement?
Over The Moon For Christ is one of our favorites, but we always prefer to drop the F Bomb!

How did this business idea come about?
We got tired of showing up to a shoot and realizing that we forgot to order that one little piece of equipment that we could not do without. We decided to build a truck and have it come standard with all of those little pieces. All you had to do was book the truck and you would have everything you needed to do a photo shoot. It made our life and everyone else’s life easier. When you focus on creating a product that works great for your client, the successful business follows.

You have 3 kitted out trucks right now, do you have plans to expand your fleet?
We are always looking at ways to improve what we are doing. When we decide to take action will depend on the needs of our clients.

How did you decide what each of the 3 trucks would be kitted with?
Through years of experience working on set and placing orders, we knew what equipment we would need for different size shoots and budgets. We tailored equipment packages around these parameters.

Can you do a la carte and or is it a flat fee?
We provide both! We have trucks that come as a package at a set price. We also have trucks and cargo vans that are a la carte and can be built out to accommodate any size shoot. You can also have equipment delivered and picked up from your set.

Have you ever been on a job where the photographer has SO MUCH to choose from they go into option paralysis or they keep changing their set up?
Once we had a whole truck load of equipment, 50,000 watts of light, motion picture lights, etc. The assistants spent hours lighting the set to perfection then the photographer turned in the opposite direction and shot talent with an on camera flash. They never even used the set! That has happened to us so many times we have lost count.

One of the biggest problems photographers seem to have is editing. Whether it is narrowing down the images from your shoot, deciding what couture gown talent will wear, or deciding which lighting setup you will use, a photographer always likes to have options so they can pick the best solution.

Does it ever happen where someone orders the biggest set up you have and then shoots available light? Would you call that your dream client?
Again, that happens all the time. We had a shoot last week where we hauled the contents of a whole truck, including generators onto the roof of a building. The assistants setup all of the lights, and the photographer used a flex fill for the first 2 shots and a flashlight for the last 2. They are not necessarily dream clients, because you still have to setup and breakdown the equipment. The dream client would be the one that gets a truck of gear then tells you to leave it all IN THE TRUCK and then lights available light.

We have a joke about “available light,” because when a photographer says they are going to shoot available light, you think it will be an easy day…then they end up setting up every light you have available and it becomes a long brutal day.

What’s the advantage of hiring you over let’s say renting individual items, cost I assume and variety? Why else?
Passion and experience.

How much new equipment do you invest in on a yearly basis?
This depends on what equipment comes out. Some years have more new toys that others.

How do handle the lighting demands of a still and video shoot on a job where they require both and need to be shot at the same time? Are you noticing a trend towards continuous lighting?
There is a lot of convergence between continuous and strobe lighting. The challenge is finding, understanding, and providing the tools to give the photographer their look with both options.

Your site has an extensive roster of available crew, how do you get on the list? Who vets them?
The people that are on our list, are people we have known and worked with. There are a lot of great assistants in LA that we have not had the pleasure of working with. We try to add people after they have worked with several other assistants on our list and have been recommended by them and our clients.

Are any of your guys aspiring photographers or are you all committed to running this business?
There are a handful of us that are dedicated to running the company. The rest are great assistants and great photographers.

The Daily Edit – Friday
11.4.11

- - The Daily Edit

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Harper’s Bazaar

Creative Director: Stephen Gan

Design Director: Elizabeth Hummer

Photography and Bookings Director: Zoe Bruns

Senior Photo and Bookings Editor: Barbara Tomassi

Photographer: Bruce Gilden

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted.

 

The Daily Edit – Thursday
11.3.11

- - The Daily Edit

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Interview

Creative Director: Karl Templer

Art Director: Karl Lindman

Photography Director: Andrew Gold

Photography Editor: Danielle Franca Swift

Photographer: Gregory Harris

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted.

 

The Daily Edit – Tuesday
11.1.11

- - The Daily Edit


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Marie Claire

Creative Director: Suzanne Skyes

Design Director: Kristin Fitzpatrick

Photo Director: Caroline Smith

Photo Editor: Lucy Fox

Photographer: Richard Pierce

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted.

The Daily Edit – Wednesday 10.26.11

- - The Daily Edit

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ESPN

Creative Director, Print and Digital Media: John Korpics

Senior Director, Design: Jason Lancaster

Art Directors: Mike Leister, Marne Mayer, John Yun

Senior Deputy Photo Editor: Nancy Weisman

Deputy Photo Editor: Jim Surber

(1-3) Photographer: Francesco Carrozzini

(3 spread) Photographer: Jeff Reidel


Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted.

The Daily Edit – Tuesday
10.18.11

- - The Daily Edit

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Esquire

Design Director: David Curcurito

Art Director: Stravinski Pierre

Photo Director: Michael Norseng

Photo Editor: Alison Unterreiner

Photographer: Brock Davis

Note: Content for The Daily Edit is found on the newsstands. Submissions are not accepted.

Heidi: How long did the photoshop work take for that image?
Brock: Not long, I only use photoshop to clean up an image and color correct. I prefer to work organically when it comes to creating visual props and pieces. No photoshop was done on the stallion. My friend Amy made the prop, we decided it would be best to use a model horse from a toy store and cut it in half. The wig was wrapped and styled around the torso of the horse.

What was the inspiration for that, a hood ornament? How much word play goes on in your mind when thinking up solutions? Do you have you a process you go through?
Hair grooming was a big focus of the article, I knew that I wanted to show a man with a bold hairstyle.

The first thing that came to mind was a pompadour which is meant to be bold and dramatic, but I wanted to take it a step further so I added the animal shape. I was thinking about animals in dramatic poses and I remembered the Lone Ranger’s horse Silver. The shape of a stallion rearing up seemed to fit the shape of a pompadour, so I decided to go with it.

Did you work with a hairstylist?
No, my friend Amy and I did the styling ourselves. Esquire had requested that the model be a red head, so I asked my friend Gabe to model. Amy found a wig that matched his coloring and we assembled the prop.

For your Rapala video: how did you get the fish to drive?
The fish was a prop made by a place in Toronto. It was made to look and move realistically. The gills and mouth were wired electronically to open and move as they would in the water. I wanted the framing to show the fish behind the wheel, but I didn’t want to show how the fish was holding onto the wheel, or sitting in the seat of the car. I didn’t think those details were necessary and could possibly be distracting. The main thing was to show the fish just being a fish, with a moving wheel in front of him. This image edited around the car actually driving down the road would work well make it seem like the fish is tearing down the road. The car was placed on a trailer, and pulled down the road. The trailer is a rig designed to hold a vehicle so that it can be filmed on the outside and around the vehicle easily, while still maintaining the motion of driving down the road. At the end of the spot, we threw a fake rubber fish out of the car to make it look like the fish dives out of the door. The final shot is a real fish swimming off in the lake.

 

What can you tell me about the development of the Harley Davidson work?
The Harley ‘Build Yours’ campaign was for the HD Parts and Accessories division. P&A is all about giving riders the chance to customize their bikes. The idea came about when I was thinking how interesting it would be to drop a motorcycle from a great height and when it hits the ground it explodes into hundreds of parts and the parts form the shape of the person who customized the bike. That was the feel were going for. We worked with a company in London called First Base imaging. They flew out to Minneapolis for the shoot. We dismantled 3 bikes all the way down to the last bolt. Each piece was photographed. It was a meticulous and tedious production. I wanted all of the pieces to be in proportion to each other when arranged on the floor. Each ad went through about 30 versions before getting to the final image. We photographed models and in photoshop placed all the appropriate pieces to create the image. It was a long project but in the end I think it turned out successful.

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.