Posts by: Heidi Volpe

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.

The Daily Edit – Wednesday
10.5.11

- - The Daily Edit

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Bike

Photo Editor: David Reddick

Art Director: Shaun N. Bernadou

Photographer: Jordan Manley

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

Heidi: Did you propose this photo essay to the magazine or did they come to you as you are a regular contributor with them?
The images in the essay were actually part of a 3 day photo competition called ” Saint Deep Summer Photo Challenge” that is put on by Saint (Shimano) and the Whistler Bike Park. It is a competition modeled off of Whistler Blackcomb’s “Deep Winter” photo challenge that has been running for the last 5 years – I’ve participated in that winter event 3 times. The idea (for both events) is that 6 invited photographers go out and capture imagery over the period of the same 3 days, with one or more athletes. Then, the teams have to put together a slide show of the images for a crowd of about 700-1000 people in Whistler. A winner is judged by a panel of 5 judges.

Anyways, I’ve participated in a bunch of these kinds of events over the last several years, and always feel that the way to create a strong slideshow is to tell a story, and build a theme with the images – not simply stack together 3-5 minutes of action imagery. Prior to the competition I was thinking about themes that celebrated both the Whistler Bike Park (one of the necessary pieces of criteria) but told a story about people who work there. It occurred to me that the Bike Park trail crew seemed are a group of unsung heroes. Thousands of people rattle down the trails every day from May to October, and the creativity and hard work that the trail crew do to keep smiles on people’s faces largely goes uncelebrated.

Did you spend a full day with the crew?
I spent really only an early morning with the crew, starting at 7am at 711 where they grab their coffee and then drove up through the Bike Park with them and hung around while they did different work on different parts of the mountain. I was there until I think 10am when the park opens for the day.

How much did you shoot and was the edit hard?
I shot quite a bit, but the most time consuming images didn’t end up running in the Bike story. Those were point-of-view ones, where I mounted my camera to the hand tools, and did some digging myself to capture some blurred tools moving through the dirt – those were some of my favourites. Also I strapped a camera on some of the heavy equipment while it articulated. The edit was not too difficult.

I like the hand shot, did that direction come from the magazine? Did they ask you for details and scale shift in the images?
The hand shot if I remember correctly might have been spurred by what one of the guys said to me about his co-worker’s hands. I always try to donate a good chunk of time on any given shoot to the details. I think details can really aid in illuminating something about the larger story that I’m attempting to tell.

So, in short, there was no direction from the magazine. I have done 5-7 assignments for David Reddick who is the photo editor at both Bike Magazine and Powder, and I am a Senior Photographer at both. Most of the time I am assigned stories that I haven’t had part in pitching, though I pitched this essay after the fact to him. I thought the images were relavent since the Whistler Mountain Bike Park is the most famous of it’s kind in the world – it has quickly become a mecca of mechanized mountain biking, and the trail system there is a big part of that success.

What is your riding to shooting ratio?
I think I do a lot more mountain biking than I do shooting mountain biking. Ski photography occupies much more of my time through the year, and my ratio of shooting to skiing is tipped more towards shooting – but saying that, shooting both biking and skiing almost always involve being on the bike or skis to shoot.

The Daily Edit – Monday
10.3.11

- - The Daily Edit

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Out

Creative Director: Nick Vogelson

Photography Director: Annie Chia

Photographer: David Needleman

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

Heidi:  Shooting groups of people is always hard because there has to be a common energy. Was that hard to create with these three?

David: Well, actually – that part was very exciting for me. I photographed Alexander in
New York, and Ryan and Dustin in Los Angeles, so maintaining that sense of
continuity of dynamic throughout both photo shoots, and knowing they’d
ultimately have to come together effortlessly and seamlessly, made the process a
very inspiring challenge with regards to recreating that common sense of energy
from one session to the next within each picture.

What were you asking Alexander or what has happening at that moment you took
his portrait. I love that image, you captured a beautiful person.
Firstly, thank you. I’m not sure if it was something I said. It’s hard to articulate,
but it was almost like a perfect moment between Alexander and myself. Perhaps, a
result of him letting his guard down and trusting me during that experience.

Did they accept you right away? Or was there a warming up period.
I feel there’s always a warming up period when photographing someone you don’t
really know and have never met before, but I think they did accept me right away.
Must say, on a rather fundamental and relatable level, I definitely felt very
comfortable with them from the start.

Did you know them already? How did you get this job?
I initially met the great team at OUT about 4 years ago, but it wasn’t until recently
once I connected with my new amazing agent, did all the pieces come together for
this assignment.

This is very non-conceptual shoot, did you have any concepts that didn’t fly? What
exactly was the assignment?
The concept was to photograph portraits of three powerfully influential
tastemakers of our time. It was important to maintain their integrity,
individualism, and presence within the imagery. I think I did it.

Your set is minimal. Describe the energy, was there music?
Yes, there was music, always. Before anything else, I want to make my subjects
feel really comfortable. I know it’s not easy for everyone to have their portrait
taken, but I believe it’s a matter of gaining their trust, and creating a mutual sense
of understanding and respect for each other. Once I accomplish that, the rest
inevitably comes together well.

Were they hard to direct?
No, not at all. All three guys were such a pleasure, I loved working with them!
Did you shoot all of this and color and then convert to B/W?
Yes, I did. But, with the full prior intent of doing so.

Did you specifically choose that color palette for the clothes so the cover lines would read?
We wanted to keep the wardrobe pretty closely connected to their actual personal
style, but like everything else involved, it was a collaboration in all aspects of the
project. So yes, the color palette was certainly taken into consideration.

Who was the stylist? Was there any?
Yes, we worked with Brent Coover in New York, and Neil Rodgers in LA. Both
were fantastic to work with.

What was your perspective and/or feelings on being presented with this particular
assignment in the first place?
I’ve always had the utmost respect for Out, and have wanted to work with them
ever since I can remember. Though, this particular assignment was probably one
of the most identifiable and meaningful projects I’ve ever been commissioned.
Being 33 years old, a New Yorker, and gay, I think it’s a really exciting time to be
alive with the propulsion of gay equality in our society. That being said, from
every element involved, and on every possible level, this project felt incredibly
relevant. For that reason, I couldn’t be happier.

The Daily Edit – Wednesday 9.28.11

- - The Daily Edit

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Harvard Business Review

Creative Director: James de Vries

Art Director: Karen Player

Photographer:Andrew Kist

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


Heidi: It looks like he is on a ledge, was he reluctant to hop up on top of it?

Andrew: He was not even remotely reluctant.  He’s pretty athletic and I think he had been photographed so many times that he enjoyed the prospect of doing something a little different.

How much time did you have with him?
He was very accommodating and gave us 3 or 4 hours but I didn’t need all of that time.  I think he realizes that if you give yourself to the process instead of fighting it, things just come out better for everyone involved, and it takes less time.

Did he have a variety of expressions? He looks rather serious
HBR chose this particular frame, but he was really lively and friendly.  IT was actually difficult to get a frame where he didn’t look friendly and affable.

Typically business men are hard to shoot, what was the most interesting aspect about the subject? Did the conversation flow?
I’ve been shooting portraits for magazines since 1998, a good number of them, portraits of business men and I can safely say I’ve never had a more conversational and really fascinating subject.  I had to keep putting the camera down to talk because the conversation was more interesting than the pictures. He has written a number of books and is kind of like the Malcom Gladwell of business and efficiency, not typically very interesting subjects, but he is interested in everything and was fascinating to talk to.