Posts by: Heidi Volpe

The Daily Edit – Angela Cappetta: Built on Toil Promo Piece

- - The Daily Edit

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Built on Toil

Designer: Liron Kormas, Kormas Studio

Dancers: Joffrey Ballet School

Photographer: Angela Cappetta

What inspired you to develop this body of work, is ballet in your background?
I trained until I was about 20 but was never professionally serious about it.  Since I live nearby, I’d see the dancers everyday.  At the deli, coffee shop, drug store.  I wanted to photograph them in their environment, but that was all I knew. So one day I sat down and wrote a letter to the director of the Joffrey.

Included was a project statement for pictures which didn’t exist yet. It was called: Built on Toil, which likened the trainees to soldiers doing a job under command of a general. I saw it clearly: TriX and a 6×9 punched up with the bare bulb of a Lumedyne. All I needed was for him to say yes. Later that day he wrote back (I almost fell off my chair.)

He explained that as he is bombarded with requests from photographers he customarily says no. However, he was so struck by the clarity of the proposal, he offered complete access for as long as I wanted. The next day I started, and continued for two years.

Is your intent an art book or self published piece?
At first, I just wanted to photograph, but now that its been a few years, I’ve roughed up the prints in my darkroom and have a better idea of how the pictures should look.

The current promotional piece, designed by Liron Kormas of Kormas Studio, for now, is the bridge between this and a future book, which I’ll work on next.  This iteration of the project was entirely Liron’s idea.  She asked me if she could design it and I jumped at the chance.  She’s brilliant.

How do you think your images express discipline before maturity, as that is normal practice in ballet to start at such a young age?
Discipline is something that has to be cultivated very early in order to shape any athlete.  In that regard, it’s a very adult series of decisions to be physically and mentally challenged so seriously.  Then, the dancers grow into the discipline, and they decide what their aspirations are.  Some continue training, others start auditioning.  One of the trainees from the Joffrey got a job in the touring cast of Cats right out of conservatory, another dances with a company full time.  They aren’t all that lucky but I don’t think that matters to them.

Were the dancers self conscious around you?
I’ll admit there was a lot of me trying not to get kicked in the head. But these are consummate professionals.  That’s part of their training.  An elephant could drop in the center of that studio and they wouldn’t break focus. On the floor in the middle of their routines with my gear in their faces, they’d glide around me.

What tools did you use to break into their inner circle?
The dancers were incredibly gracious.  They welcomed me.  I’m still in touch with them.  I even cast one as a model for an upcoming editorial.

How long has this this body of work taken you to shoot?
It was a two year shooting project and another year of printing. But it percolated years before that.

What did you learn about drive and determination from these dancers?
I’m interested in photographing the fundamental basis of life as it is meaningful to that particular journey.  The takeaway from every project is different.  This one was a parallel to my own daily discipline to live an artist’s life.  You’re in it or you aren’t.  If you’re not completely, totally 100% there, then you shouldn’t even bother.

Seeing the dancers working together reminded me that having a community of respectable colleagues is important at any stage of development.  Some of them would show up at night, go into an empty studio, push play, and hit their routines hard, just to do it.  It was beautiful to watch.

When I was in my darkroom. I’d see that determination in the tray and something would amp up inside of me and I’d readdress how the print looked or what I wanted from it. It was infectious.  I’d look at my feet, which were in fifth position.

The Daily Edit- Backstage Magazine: Stephanie Diani

- - The Daily Edit

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Backstage

Creative Director: Robert Wilson
Art Director: William Scalia
Photographer: Stephanie Diani

Heidi: How often do you work with Backstage?
Stephanie: The creative director of Backstage, Rob Wilson, and I have worked together on a number of shoots in the last few months and he emailed me with several possible opportunities for cover projects in early January. Gillian’s cover was set for my first free day so we confirmed the shoot date a week or two before talking about concepts.
Rob is awesome in that he encourages me to do my thing, but gives me enough direction that I have a starting point or a vibe for the story. I will generally browse through my file of “I want to shoot this” images and send him a half dozen ideas and we’ll narrow it down from there.
I was pleased that of the three images I liked most, two were selected for print. Here’s the outtake:
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What sort of art direction did you get?
The first direction he suggested was bright and poppy so, after researching Gillian a bit and getting an idea of how she might photograph best, I sent him some high key portraits samples with bright wardrobe and soft light; a few were shot against vintage-y colorful patterned wallpaper. In all of the lookbook images, however, wardrobe played a vital role and, as there wasn’t budget for a stylist, he suggested we change direction and go for a simple George Hurrell/old Hollywood style that would be more dependent upon lighting and hair and makeup.
I’m a fan of noir films, and I’d been wanting to shoot something moody with one or two lights and a fresnel spot, so it was an easy yes for me. We traded photographs of Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich and he ironed out the when and where (the Backstage magazine studio, aka conference room) with Ms. Jacob’s agent and publicist.

 

Did you know you were only going to have 10 minutes?
The week of the shoot Rob asked how long I’d need and if I could get some variations in twenty to thirty minutes. [ it was ten minutes for the cover, ten minutes for a second option.] I said sure no problem, but asked if I could arrive two hours ahead to set up in order to be totally ready for her. 
 
What sort of prep did you do and what did you learn from this job?
The night before the photoshoot I picked up a Profoto fresnel head and a roller stand at Samy’s and set it all up in the living room of our apartment to run some tests. 
 
Lesson #1: It’s difficult to focus a fresnel spotlight on yourself while also shooting the tests because it’s such a precise light source. 
Lesson #2: It’s not just the fresnel that creates narrow shafts of light, it’s also a matter of flagging the hell out of a set. Even at its most focused, with the attached barn doors shut pretty tight, the spread of light was greater than what I wanted.
The test session, though I was wetly glowing from running back and forth between the camera, the fresnel and the subject’s chair, was invaluable and my assistant and I had everything set up in under an hour the next day. Rob and I had discussed using the images in black and white, but I decided to bring the mocha seamless because if they decided to use the shot in color it would provide a neutral but warm-toned palette for her fair skin.
How did you approach the subject, I’d imagine it was a greet and then right down to business with little time to settle in with talent.
She arrived right on time with her publicist, and hair and make up artists, pretty much camera-ready. We decided on bare arms and shoulders because the wardrobe she was wearing was a tad perkier than the look of the shot. She was prepared and focused and immediately channeled old Hollywood.
I was shooting tethered so Rob and Gillian’s people could get a sense of what we were getting, and my assistant tweaked the spot and held a reflector as needed. Halfway through I asked her to lounge back onto a chaise to give Rob a similar but slightly different second option. He asked to see everything afterwards, and ended up using three shots in the article, one in black and white. He also designed the graphics for the cover and the article.
Please enjoy the story here

The Weekly Edit – Zach Gross: The New Yorker

- - The Daily Edit

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The New Yorker

Photo Director: Whitney Johnson
Photo Editor: Jessie Wender
Photographer: Zach Gross

When did you start shooting and what process and direction did it take?
I started photography when I was 15. I was very into abstractions of all kinds and experimenting with alternative photographic processes without using the camera, I would make my own negatives out of plastic and other transparent materials using ink and paint. I also shot landscapes and some portraits.

What sort of cues surfaced alerting you to your gifted eye / talent for taking photos at such a young age?
I simply wasn’t into the regular school format, I didn’t understand a lot of it. I felt a huge relief with the white sheets of photo paper I could fill them with anything and explore things in a very open way, it felt hopeful. Teachers started wanting to buy prints, so that got me thinking.

I see you have a love for B&W, what and who were you influences?
I would say Man Ray was a big influence, his work and ideas really clicked with me early on. I love B & W there is simplicity and timelessness to it.

I understand the New Yorker gives you quite a bit of freedom, what sort of process do you develop with them to earn that? Congratulations.
I met with the photo editors a few times over a couple years before receiving assignments, They wanted me to answer key questions about my direction and what types of people I wanted to photograph. They helped me understand my work better. They have a really wonderful understanding of photography. They were/are influential to me.

Clearly you are connecting with your subjects. How are you developing that connection and typically how much time do you spend with them?
I think people are interesting. I like to understand and know them… and I want to make them look good. The average time is 2 hours… really depends on the dynamic. Could be longer could be shorter, its always different.

Do you study your subjects before hand?
Depending on the project, but I usually research what they do, what they’ve done and what they look like.

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You had this image selected as one of the 12 standout portraits for the New Yorker in 2012. What resonated with you in making this image? How did it all come together for you?
The picture of El-P was from my first assignment for the New Yorker, I felt like I had to rise to the occasion and everything just came tougher really smoothly. I think it was a turning point in my photography for more reasons than one. This picture brought together a few sub threads going on within my work. It helped me understand my work in a more mature way.

What can you share about this recent New Yorker project?
Some shoots are smoother than others.

 

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What can you tell me about the Carbonscapes?
The Carbonscapes are photograms, no camera involved. I’ve been making them ever since I started out in the darkroom 10 years ago, they evolved from Rayograms. It took me a long time to understand what they were actually about, and the explanation is still forming but, I’m interested in the very large and the very small more specifically outer space and the microscopic. I’m drawn to ideas that embrace the natural connections between those perceived separate worlds. The work is about exploring imagination and science.

The Weekly Edit – Cover Trends

- - The Daily Edit

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Cosmopolitan

Creative Director: Stuart Selner
Art Director: Victoria Horn
Temporary Art Director: Angela Lamb
Picture Editor: Joan McCrea
Assistant Picture Editor: Gemma Roberts
Photographer: Peter Pedonomou

 

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V Magazine

No Masthead available
Photographer: Mario Testino

 

-3Allure

Creative Director: Paul Cavaco
Design Director: Deanna Filippo
Photography: Nadine McCarthy
Photography Editor: Holly Watson
Photographer: Mario Testino

 

I thought I’d take a look at what the body language may be saying in these three covers.  It’s sorta looks like evaluation, interest and a little bit of flirt.

According to Psychology Today the parts of your face that reflect how you feel are called “display rules.”  The tiniest movements around your eyes, face and mouth are referred to as “micro expressions.” Along with expressions and rules, body language or kinesics reveal one’s emotional state.

Kinesics is the study and interpretation of non-verbal behavior related to the movement of the body and face. These movements convey many specific meanings that can be linked to personal, situational and or cultural norms.

So, what do all these hands near the face mean? and what messages do they send to potential viewers?
Here’s what I turned up:

1. Miley Cryus wants you to know she’s sexy.
When a woman caresses her lips, neck, or collarbones, she’s sending  a signal of interest.  This is commonly a subconscious way of drawing your attention to these areas, reminding the onlooker she’s sexy.

2. Is Winona Ryder evaluating her success?
Chin resting on thumb, index finger pointing up against face translates into evaluation. This is a more reliable signal of evaluation than the full hand support, the middle finger commonly rests horizontally between the chin and lower lip.

3. Is Penelope is genuinely interested?
Interested gesture is shown by a closed hand resting on the cheek, often with the index finger pointing upwards. Should the person begin to lose interest but wish to appear interested, for courtesy’s sake, the position will alter slightly so that the heel of the palm supports the head.

ESPN Technique: John Huet and David Nadeau

- - The Daily Edit

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Freestyle Mogul Skier – Heather McPhie – Moguls run
See ESPN animations here and the technique fully explained in this animation

JohnHuet_SkiJump-1Ski Jump – Sarah Hendrickson – Ski Jump takeoff
See ESPN animations here and the technique fully explained in this animation

ESPN

Creative Director, Print and Digital Media: John Korpics
Senior Director, Photography: Karen Frank
Senior Art Director: Chin Wang
 Associate Art Director of Digital Media: Heather Donahue
Senior Deputy Photo Editor: Nancy Weisman
Photo Editor: Nick Galac
Photographer: John Huet
Retouching: David Nadeau

How did this project for ESPN come about and how did you make it your own?
JOHN: The first Technique assignment was with figure skaters for their December issue. While I thought the magazine was doing a great job, I wanted to add an extra layer to the final image and make it a little easier to understand the athletics going on. The skaters were throwing a quad, and this team is the only one to do so in competition. Impressive. Since the athletes are spinning in the air 4 times, I wanted to avoid the 16 image sequence looking cluttered, and make a more interesting image.  I added a ghosting effect in post, to delineate complete rotations full color images were added in the sequences.

Are the lights an issue for the athletes? How fast is the camera capturing images?
The motor drive shoots 14 frames a second, however, when I do some of the shots at night, it slows down quite a bit.  The final composite is usually a collection of maybe 3 or 4 takes.

For the ski jumping shot how many remote cameras did you set up?
We have about 15 set up and we got two 4-6 second takes each shot, errors and do over’s aren’t really an option.

How do you know where to set up your remotes? Did you know how far she’d jump?
We were testing our equipment on the previous jumpers, and I assumed they’d all be about the same distance.
Then along comes this young 18 year old, unassuming girl. Takes her first run and goes twice as long, and twice as fast!

What was the most challenging of these assignments so far?
I’d say the bobsled event. I couldn’t use any flashes, only hot lights, it was at night, the athletes were all in black, in a black bobsled going over 90 miles an hour.
The low light slows everything down so I had to be certain everything was in the same position in order to get the sharpest and most accurate shot I could. Each of these events has specific needs, and I love all the problem solving that comes with it.
You can’t show up and set things up. You have to study the environment, and make choices from there.

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Figure Skating Pair – Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir – Quad Throw
See ESPN animations here  and the technique fully explained in this animation

Retouching: David Nadeau / Rhymes with Pixel

About how many images do you have to review before selecting the right move?
DAVID: For the skaters, John narrowed it down to about 70 shots that had the cleanest look at the quad throw, that’s not including the stage shots of the empty rink. The freestyle ski shot had 166 (I know he had a big remote set-up for that one). For the bobsled, we had about the same number. He relied heavily on multiple cameras for that one too, since the bobsledders were only able to do a few runs for him.

Do you study the sport prior to piecing these together?
I did. I believed it was important to understand exactly what happens in each event to effectively distill the action into one composed image. I did take liberty with some parts just for artistic sake. For the most part though, I did everything I could to be true to the action.
I also studied the previous technique features that ESPN had done. John and I talked a lot about really making the shots beautiful both in the action as well as the background. We wanted to make a visually interesting stage for the action that didn’t detract from what was happening. We also believed we could come up with a really interesting technique for ghosting the shots. I’m very proud of what we made up.
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2-man Bobsled – Steve Holcomb and Steve Langton – Bobsled Start
The technique is fully explained in this animation.

 

 


Which posed the biggest challenge for you?

The biggest challenge was definitely the bobsledders. Beyond the technical aspect of it being a high-speed shot of a black sled with two guys wearing all black shot at night, getting all of the shots laid out together was especially difficult. I tried for a while to get the track and sledders to be aligned in kind of an S-curve across the page. That blew up in my face. Eventually, after playing around, I came up with a bit of a fish-eye lens look. That format was able to capture all of the action while highlighting the crucial moment when the sledders enter the bobsled.

For the skater’s throwing the quad, how many images do you like to include to show a complete rotation? How did you determine what is the right amount?
I played with the sequence of the shots to see what looked right. We were very lucky that John was able to capture her facing almost exactly front, left, right and back in a couple of the throws. That allowed me to have an order to the images of her in the spin instead of a bunch of random, confusing shots. Each spin shows her facing each cardinal direction. I think that’s one of the big reasons that this shot succeeded so well. If I had just slapped a bunch of shots her together, you wouldn’t be able to follow the action. This way you have touch-points and order throughout the move. We also wanted to give a brighter highlight to one direction of her facing in each of the four spins. We believed it would give the guys at ESPN good reference points to call out parts of the action.

Figure Skating Olympic Athletes: Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir   ( see them skate here )

I understand that you two are the only team to throw a quad in competition. 
Were there any different focus tools you used to perform the move for the photo shoot that were different from competition?
Athletes: Because of the difficulty of executing throw jumps, I need to keep my focus directly on the element and not on my surroundings. Even in the competitive program, where everything is timed so carefully to the music, I need to shut out everything and zero in on my technique.

Did you find any of the lights or the equipment distracting?
Yes, there was a very specific area we had to do throw in, the rest of the rink was pretty dark, that made it hard to find my landings. When we were doing the throw there was a series of flashes and made me disorientated at times.

What are you thinking about, lets say 4 seconds or so before the move, to prepare for the jump?
Focusing on my key points for my throw, such as stay low, follow through, and over the right.

It’s not uncommon to have a photographer ask you to repeat the action, how many times did you throw the quad?
I would estimate that we did about 20 throws. But, I cannot be sure because it was so cold, I think my brain froze after 15.

What was the most challenging part of doing the shoot for you?
I would say staying warm. The rink was freezing and in between each throw I would run over and put my jacket on.

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For more of Johns work visit: official Olympics Instagram @olympics and visit his personal site here

The Weekly Edit – Milk : Delphine Chanet

- - The Daily Edit

 

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Milk

Art Director: Karel Balas
Graphic Design: Alice Lagarde, Melanie Gueret

Photographer: Delphine Chanet
Stylist: Shino Itoi

Do you do your own casting?
Absolutely, I’m obsessed with casting, what ever I’m doing I always keep an eye out, I don’t want to miss a child, I cast in the streets, my friend’s kids, everywhere….I always search for news faces.

The children are so composed, almost like paintings, how did you create that environment?
I draw my pictures before the shoot, so I know exactly what I want, what type of attitude, composition, frame, light but I also like to be surprised by the situations, the kids, and hoping for happy accidents.

What was the creative direction for this project?
My project was to create images “à la manière” of a dutch painting, searching for a certain intensity and trying too find the deepness of my models. As in dutch painting I’ve used one directional light, similar to a natural cold morning light coming from a window. With one difference to this genre: I wanted to play, to pair the picture with a bit of artificial. I did this by using rays of color block light and having  very artificial colors for the fashion styling (done by the stylist Shino Itoi).

The soft light demands very long and static poses, otherwise it would have been blurred or out of focus. Thanks to those situations I had time to encounter my models.

My main goal and focus was to find a way for Instantaneousness, spontaneity and honesty in this very restrictive shooting condition.

Can you share something about the shoot with us? Something memorable?
Nothing memorable in fact, everything was so organized. Everybody was quiet easy to shoot even the two pets. Don’t we say that the hardest subjects to shoot are kids and animals?

There’s a unique quality to your striking portraits of the children, as viewers we forget we are looking at images of children, and feel like we are looking into the eyes of an experienced adult. 
My major goal, whatever the story, is to capture the beauty of the kids natural essence, it means being as honest as possible by respecting their true personality and sometimes it can difficult oh yes! I’m really searching for a natural look. I don’t like them to play the adult, to pose like the stereotype adult, and I avoid frameworks that put them in situation of trying to be like adult.

I really let them do what they want, not directing so much. I follow them, I respect what they want to give me during the shoot.

Maybe this is why we can feel them as human beings but not specifically as children.

You are a maverick in children’s fashion photography, what inspires you?
I’m always searching for grace and spontaneity. Also I want to have fun and be free to create my world.  Too much commercial approach to children’s fashion photography can be very boring. My daughter – Thais – inspires me so much, and she makes me reconnect with the childhood world, so creative and intense. A big part of my inspiration comes from her.

How often do you photograph your children?
Well all day to be honest, its so much fun!

The Weekly Edit – Who Shot it better?

- - The Daily Edit

 

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Men’s Fitness

Consulting Design Director: Joseph Heroun
Creative Director: Andy Turnbull
Photo Director: Jane Seymour
Associate Photo Editor: Henry Watson
Photographer: Peter Yang

 

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Men’s Health ( US )

Creative Director: Robert Festino
Director of Photography: Jeanne Graves
Art Director: Thomas O’Quinn
Deputy Director of Photography: Don Kinsella
Photo Editor: Mark Haddad
Photographer: Sam Jones

 

 

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Men’s Health ( UK )

Creative Director: Declan Fahy
Photo Director: Cat Costelloe
Art Director: Jamie Sage
Deputy Art Director: Marianne Waller
Picture Editor: Alexandra Kelly
Photographer: Patrik Giardino

 

Weekly Edit – Architectural Digest China: Ben Miller

- - The Daily Edit
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Architectural Digest China

Talent (Indigo Communication): Michelle Liu
Visual Director: Leon Sun
Photographer: Ben Miller

Heidi How did you end up working in China on this particular project? Are you sending promos internationally?
Ben: I used to live in Shanghai, so am familiar with the culture and speak the language.  My wife’s parents still live there, so in an effort to see her family more often, I decided to start exploring the market there last year.  I went on a couple of trips and called a lot of agencies, knocked on a lot of doors, and made some good contacts.  I have not done any mailers yet, but the meetings alone were able to get bids on a number of large projects, plus a few editorial assignments.  I also have some informal collaborations with some of the larger production houses there, who are putting my name in the hat for larger projects.
How much are you working here in the US?
I am still working more in the US, I am signed by FRESH Artist Management in NYC, which is part of Greenhouse.  They have been great and helped me out on a ton of large projects and bids last year.  The reception in the China market has been very encouraging as well, so I intend to pursue work on both sides for the foreseeable future.  Some of my bigger clients in 2013 included Dr. Pepper, Adidas, GAP, Ted Baker, Lucky Brand, HUE, Indah, and editorial in Rolling Stone Russia, Ladies Home Journal, Leveled Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler.  I am mainly doing Ad and fashion jobs, but would love to do more editorial.
I assume you speak Chinese, is that right?  
Yes i am fluent in Chinese, which helps a lot.  Most people in Shanghai speak good or decent English, but it does show a level of respect to make the effort to learn their language.  The work of foreign photographers is very popular over there, but most foreigners cannot speak, so it loses them a lot of jobs.
Were there any obstacles to this shoot?
In China, budget is always an issue.  The rates are not the same as in the West, unless you are already a super famous photographer.  So, this means being more creative and figuring out ways to deliver value.  Also, I had to have a Chinese bank account to accept payment for the job, which was fairly easy to do, but an extra step.
What, if any are the differences in how the work flow, production works compared to a US equivalent magazine?
Since it is owned by Conde Nast, it is pretty much like working with any NYC Based magazine.  Similar job roles, people to deal with, editing process, etc…
How did the creative process unfold for this project? Do you get much direction?
I worked with Leon Sun, the Visual Director at AD China, who is a super nice guy with a ton of vision.  He already had a very established concept as far as styling and talent goes.  This freed me up to focus on lighting, composition, color, etc…  We shot everything in a day at a beautiful retail space called Design Republic in Shanghai.  This included a key portrait, and a number of food and table shots.
How does the equipment rental/gear sort out?
I flew my laptop, camera, and one case of lights from the US with me. I have a set of stands, modifiers, and other grip that remain at my parents in laws’ house for all my China shoots.  For larger productions, there are great resources such as Central Studios or Amanacliq, who can rent you any of the standard gear at western prices.
Do you have a stable of assistants you work with over there?
I have a couple of good guys I know, and a number of rental houses I can call on when needed.  The quality of assistants is generally not as high as in the US, so more oversight and tutelage is usually required.

 

 

The Weekly Edit: Who Shot it Better?

- - The Daily Edit, Working

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Bon Appetit

Creative Director: Michael Axe
Deputy Art Director: Mike Ley
Photo Director: Alex Pollack
Photo Editor: Susan Getzendanner

Photographer: Michael Graydon
Food Stylist: Nikole-Kerriott

 

 

 

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Martha Stewart Living

Creative Director: Matthew Axe
Deputy Design Director: Jen McManus
Photo Director: Jennifer Miller
Deputy Photo Editor: Linda Denahan
Photographer: Anna Williams
Food Styling: Jennifer Aaronson

 

 

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Food Network Magazine

Creative Director: Deirdre Koribanick
Art Director: Ian Doherty
Deputy Art Director: Marc Davila
Photo Director: Alice Albert
Deputy Photo Editor: Kathleen E. Bednerek
Photographer: Johnny Miller
Food Styling: Christine Albano

 

 

 

WSJ Magazine: Lawrence Beck

- - The Daily Edit

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Wall Street Journal Magazine

Creative Director:  Magnus Berger
Design Director: Pierre Tardif
Photography Director: Jennifer Pastore
Photo Editor: Damian Prado
Art Director: Tanya Moskowitz
Assistant Photo Editor: Hope Brimelow
Photographer: Lawrence Beck

 


Heidi: This is your first editorial commission, congratulations and what a treat for WSJ. What was it about this project that made you accept?

Lawrence: The Diego Della Valle/Coliseum shoot seemed the perfect subject for my first editorial commission, in addition to the fact it was for the WSJ magazine, which is beautifully printed and of very high quality and content, the subject matter was right in line with what I’ve been working on for 4 or so years in Italy, and more specifically in Rome.

You have the wonderful gift of creating portraits of the most spectacular pockets of nature, be in gardens or thickets. What is it about landscape/nature that captivates you?

The most captivating element of photographing nature and the union of human-made and the natural, has been the core subject matter of my photographic oeuvre for more than 15 years.  I was extremely lucky growing up in a beautiful setting such as the Italian Alps in summers, and being able to look at great artworks in Italy, fresco cycles being amongst my favorites.  The “Thickets” series represents a kind of “all over” photography, relating to Pollack’s drip paintings and abstract-expressionism as a whole, and the notion of “all over painting”.  The “Italian Gardens” were inspired more from early Renaissance painting were perspective was just being figured out and has a similar look and feel to the inherent flatness of a photograph, specifically in artists such as Masaccio, Piero della Francesca and even from Giotto, who painted a century earlier.

How did Italy’s crumbling Colosseum and the Italian billionaire (Diego Della Valle) who’s funding its restoration project come about? What intrigued you about this?

The commission from the WSJ came about through the gallery that represents my work, The Sonnabend Gallery in New York.  There was interest shown in my photography because of my concentration in photographing gardens, villas and ruins in Rome over these last years.  The idea of photographing the Coliseum made me happy and stirred up excitement within me, though the prospect of making a portrait of Diego Della Valle was intriguing mostly because the vast majority of the portraiture that I have done over the years is of my family, my wife and my young daughter.  The whole thing became a challenge, shooting digitally, which is not what I normally do, and having time constraints which is something that I’m not used to.   With my own work, I still shoot film and use a view camera, which allows me to utilize the inherent camera movements that come in very handy in certain cases of fine focus and depth of field.  It would have been much more difficult to shoot a portrait with a 4 x5”, so I shot with a DSLR and a medium format digital camera.

What are you considerations when executing this type of work?  Did you propose this project to the magazine or did they reach out to you?

Diego was extremely friendly and generous with his time.  We basically started down in the Coliseum, in the cavernous ground level maze of tunnels and passages used to keep animals and the other players who performed on the stage of the Coliseum just above us.  We moved to the top level of the edifice and that is where I ended up getting the best shot of Diego, used in the magazine.  The project was not something that I had considered bringing to the WSJ personally, not really knowing that this is something to consider, though in hindsight, it worked out beautifully and opened a door to editorial photography.  I fully enjoyed the experience, and have a greater understanding of the technical challenges inherent in this type of project, along with the logistical problematic such as the trip from New York to Rome.

ABronxSnow Untitled Phone Pic V

Untitled Phone Pic IV Untitled Phone Pic III Untitled Phone Pic II

Your work is so dramatic and refined, how do you feel about the quickness of imagery floating about today. Can you share some of your more personal work from your iphone and your thoughts on the brevity of images these days.
Do you enjoy instagram?

For many years, I shied away from digital capture, believing that it was not true photography,  but was forced to learn it when ektachrome was discontinued and reproducing artwork  (painting and sculpture) had to be done digitally.  What has really intrigued me is phone photography, the immediacy and quality of the image and the ability under the proper circumstances to make a decent 8 x 10” photo.  I have come to fully embrace the digital medium, learning Photoshop in the process and being able to use this brilliant new tool, which I believe is one of the greatest inventions in photography.

You can see the complete WSJ story here

The Weekly Edit – Vanity Fair: Peter Crawley

- - The Daily Edit

VanityFair-Stich
Vanity Fair
Design Director : Chris Dixon
Photography Director:  Susan White
Art Directors: Julie Weiss, Chris Mueller

Illustrator: Peter Crawley

Are your editorial projects mostly headlines that have to do with style/fashion?

Headlines and typographic treatments work well for editorial pieces. But I have also worked on logos / idents for titles such as Wallpaper* and Wired.

What made you choose that particular color palette for the headline, Best Dressed?

I worked closely with the Vanity Fair Contributing Art Director, Hilary Fitzgibbons to decide on the type and palette. We wanted something bright and engaging on the page, but a palette that felt fashion led.

How long did that headline take you create? In total, it was probably around 5 days – including initial sketching, experiments, computer work and crafting the final piece.

Do you send out promo’s to magazines? How did they discover you?

A few years ago I sent out quite a lot of promo material to magazines and potential clients, which lead to some nice projects. I also seem to get a lot of work through various blogs and previous projects. The great thing about the internet is that your work can take on a life of it’s own, cross international boundaries and reach people you could never have imagined.

Heidi: Are those different widths of string or are they doubled?

Peter: It’s actually a bit of both, to add interest to the piece I decided to add as much texture and change of density as possible.

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What was it about a road trip across America that inspired you to do this work?

When we were driving across America, we had a paper road map. Each night we marked our progress on the overview map of the country, It was great seeing our route develop in front of us in a very analogue, permanent manner. Between the five of us, we must have taken around 5000 images, narrowing these down to just a couple of images to print and frame for the wall proved impossible. So I set about capturing the trip in an analogue hand crafted manner. The materials referenced naval / military maps and traditional book binding techniques.

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Do you mind sharing you process? Are you using a paper piercer and then straight edge?

Each piece varies slightly depending on the subject matter, but the general process is the same. I collect source material for research and sketch out ideas. These ideas are digitised in order to create templates and guides. The guides arranged, and using a standard dressmakers pin, I pierce the paper. The paper is then stitched by hand.

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For the architecture pieces are you tracing photographs/blue prints. Tell me how you executed the empire state building.

I tend to use a combination of photography, tracing and sketching. The Empire State Building image was taken in person on the upper viewing deck of the building. The image was simplified via a process of sketching and tracing, and a vector outline was created which was used as a guide for the final hand stitched piece.

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Do you think you’ll ever create portraits, landscape? ( meaning drift out of type and architecture )

I have created a couple of abstract landscapes previously – Sau Paolo and Los Angeles. Portraiture has always interested me, so I think I will experiment with this at some point.

Do you shoot your pieces or send the originals?

The images on my website are shot by me, but the client tends to shoot the originals for the final print version. A lot of my clients are global, so it’s easier to send them the piece and allow them to experiment with lighting, angles and crops, ensuring the get images they are happy with in a short period of time.

The Weekly Edit: Marie Claire Jonathon Kambouris

- - The Daily Edit

Maire Claire

Artistic Director: Alex Gonzalez
Creative Director: Nina Garcia
Design Director: Byron Christian Regej
Photography Director: Caroline Smith
Associate Art Director: Wanyi Jiang
Senior Photo Editor: Ashley Macknica Barhamand
Photographer: Jonathon Kambouris
Heidi: How difficult was it to shoot the crystal embroidered objects?

Jonathon: Photographing accessories can always be tricky but the challenge to make a still object look beautiful and interesting is something that I really thrive on. For this story my goal was to capture a mood and make the items glow. To bring out the crystals and jewels it was really about creating texture. My lighting process used soft light to create an edge on the items which separated them from the black background and then I mixed that with a harder light to create texture. The combination of this lighting was key to making these items sparkle.

What made you decide on black for the background?

The creative direction and inspiration for this assignment was to have a bunch of flares exploding off of the jewels. I figured the best way to capture this would be to photograph them on black. This complemented the accessories well and set a moody background to create beautiful and sexy lighting.

I assume all the star burst flare added in post. Did you have a special technique for that? How do you know when to stop adding more?

There is a crazy amount post work that can be done now a days, but I always approach every assignment trying to capture as much in camera as I possibly can. There were a few techniques I used with lighting and lens filters but in the end the intensity I desired for the flares could not be captured in camera. On-set my retoucher and I played around with different techniques in photoshop to create these intense light flares. It was a lot of trial and error. We would see how one flare would look and then I would go back to my set and light the accessory in a way that would naturally complement the flare that was going to be added. It was really about experimenting with adding and subtracting the flares and lighting until it felt perfectly balanced. Post work is so important, especially with still life photography so I have had to learn and really understand what I need to do in camera to create a seamless and natural transition from capture to final retouched image. As a photographer you really need to not only think about what you are shooting but also plan before you shoot and after during the post production processes. It is really important to be very detailed oriented through out each one of these phases. My retoucher and I have been working together for a good amount years now. We have really learned a lot from each other and it has been an excellent collaboration.

Are those items you shot purple, red and green respectively?  or did you add that light detail?

These items were actually black with clear and black beaded jewels. I originally shot the items as they were designed with no color and they looked very beautiful, but the editor in chief really wanted to see color in these shots. Adding color brought out an other dimension and in the end it was very fitting for this story.

What was the biggest challenge if any for this shoot.

I always feel like the biggest challenge in photography is visualizing an idea in your head and trying to translate that into a successful photograph. It is really about problem solving. For this specific assignment the flares needed to be added in post, which created a huge challenge; on-set there was no real reference point to start with while I was shooting. The hardest part was visualizing the right lighting for the accessories that would look natural and balanced with the flares that were going to be added. The key to making this story successful was having a deep understanding and connection between what I capture in camera with lighting and what needed to be accomplished in post.

 

Do you shoot for Marie Claire often?

Over the past year I have shot numerous accessory stories for Marie Claire and it has been an incredible collaboration. Their creative team is so talented and comes to me with fantastic inspiration and they really push every story to the creative max. It is obvious that we want to create thought provoking imagery of accessories and I think we have managed to accomplish this ambition successfully. It is an absolute wonderful creative process and I am really proud of the work we have accomplished together.

The Weekly Edit – Who Shot it Better?

- - The Daily Edit

 

Cooks Illustrated/ Holiday Entertaining

Design Director: Amy Klee
Photo Editor: Steve Klise
Photography: Keller + Keller
Styling: Catrine Kelty

 

Better Homes & Gardens / Holiday Recipes

Art Director: Gene Rauch
Photographer: Andy Lyons
Food Stylist: Jill Lust

 

Martha Stewart Living

Creative Director: Matthew Axe
Photo Director: Jennifer Miller
Photographer: Marcus Nilsson

Savuer

Art Director: David Weaver
Photography Director: Chelesa Pomales
Photographer: Michael Kraus
Food Styling: Penny De Los Santos

The Weekly Edit: Adam Voorhes – Details

- - The Daily Edit

Details

Creative Director: Rockwell Harwood
Senior Photo Editor: Ashley Horne
Contributing Photo Editor: Stacey DeLorenzo
Photographer: Adam Voorhes 

Prop Stylist: Robin Finlay

Is Robin Finlay whom you always work with for props?
Robin is my wife and creative partner. We collaborate on everything from the conception of ideas through the final delivery of a photograph. We have an intimate understanding of each other’s process, and are both passionate about our work. We’ve very much evolved into a team over the past few years.

How did the concept evolve?
Details is wonderful to work with on conceptual images because they tend to avoid literal visuals. They open the door to abstract ideas that we generally aren’t able to pursue. We can brainstorm and sketch outside of the box. Although we concept many of the images we execute for them, this wasn’t one of them, and the egg wasn’t the original idea. We were asked to create a wall with a hole in the shape of a fleeing figure, as though someone had run screaming and crashed through the wall. Robin built the wall out of sheetrock, cut the figure, styled broken 2x4s and crumbles of shattered wall. But on the morning of the shoot we received new direction. The new concept was a shattered egg that is being held together by tape, glue, stitches, any possible means.

Is that a real egg? if not what materials did you use?
Real. Since we were down to the wire on time Robin ran to the store, bought a few dozen eggs, and started breaking them, then gluing them back together with super glue while I pre-lit.

How much of this is post?
Everything but some of the glue is added in post. But it was pretty seamless. While I photographed a few of the eggs Robin made stiches in paper. We gobbed some hot glue on paper, and crumpled tape on paper. Then I chose the egg I preferred and started photographing the elements to match the lighting and angles on various parts of the egg. Then it was just a matter of dragging and dropping the elements onto the egg. Easy stuff.

What is the actual size / scale of the egg?
Egg sized.

Here IS one we concepted. The story was about working out so hard that you damage your body. Apparently you can stress to your cardiovascular system and build up plaque by pushing yourself to extremes. We drew a handful of sketches based on anatomical hearts, the vascular system, and I always like to set things on fire so why not a flaming shoe? This image was selected and we went to town. The execution was straightforward. Burning plastic is pretty foul so we dawned our respirators, turned on the vent fan and started to torch the thing. Burn. Shoot. Burn. Shoot. Repeat until done.

The Weekly Edit: Trends- Headline and Image

- - The Daily Edit

Runners World

Design Director: Benjamen Purvis
Photo Director: Michele Ervin

 

 

Psychology Today

Creative Director: Edward Levine
Photo Director: Claudia Stefezius

 

Esquire

Design Director: David Curcurito
Photo Director: Michael Norseng

I’ve noticed on the newsstand this week the interplay between type and image on opening spreads.

When it comes to space, the church and state of headline and image have seemingly come together in a happy union, sharing the same space, rather than the type getting designed into negative space or pockets of openness here and there.

Perhaps this is a reaction, creating a feeling of depth and layering that we don’t really get so much from a printed page, or it’s a space issue with the word count, or just creative expression and a sign of the times.

Apps seem to be inviting images and text as well, you can check them out here.


Pinterest even has a page dedicated to headline design.

 

Here’s a small scene from a favorite author, Annie Proulx, in the film “The Shipping News” and is often used when describing how to write a great headline:
Publisher: It’s finding the center of your story, the beating heart of it, that’s what makes a reporter. You have to start by making up some headlines. You know: short, punchy, dramatic headlines. Now, have a look, [pointing at dark clouds gathering in the sky over the ocean] what do you see? Tell me the headline.
Protagonist: HORIZON FILLS WITH DARK CLOUDS?
Publisher: IMMINENT STORM THREATENS VILLAGE.
Protagonist: But what if no storm comes?
Publisher: VILLAGE SPARED FROM DEADLY STORM.

 

 

The Weekly Edit
Brenda Milis: Bloomberg Pursuits

- - The Daily Edit

 

 

 

Bloomberg Pursuits

Creative Director: Anton Ioukhnovets
Photo Director: Brenda Milis

Is this publication available on the newsstand? My guess would be no from the discreet use of cover type. Is the magazine both digital and print?
Bloomberg Pursuits is a global luxury and lifestyle magazine published quarterly and sent to Bloomberg subscribers all around the world. It is not sold on newsstands.
Bloomberg does have a Pursuits section on their website which features some of the articles in the magazine as well as providing a link to view the entire magazine digitally and a link to download the issue for free on the iPad.

Tell me about the editorial planning process, and how big is the staff?
Ted Moncreiff is the Editor of Pursuits, Anton Ioukhnovets is the Creative Director, and I am the Director of Photography. Our planning and production process is the opposite of having too many cooks in the kitchen: Ted comes up with ideas for the articles, reaching out to writers and editors he knows to help him gather as many leads as he can find. The three of us brainstorm on which stories have the most appeal to our readers both in terms of content and visuals. Similarly, we collaborate on how we want to treat and approach each article visually and the other photo editors, Lauren Winfield and Manuela Oprea, pitch photographer ideas according to the approach we have discussed for the articles they are working on.  It is wonderful to be part of such a small team that works so closely in building a brand.

What are the differences coming from national titles to custom quarterly titles aside from schedule? (Pro’s Con’s.)
I am also the DOP of Bloomberg Markets and work with Lauren and Manuela on that monthly as well so we do end up being busy! Markets and Pursuits are such different creatures so we never tire of any particular photography genre.

As far as the difference working for a national title and a custom quarterly, because I am working on both Markets and Pursuits, my day to day experience remains pretty similar to what I had experienced working at other newsstand magazines. Markets has a much larger editorial staff, so I am still going to as many meetings and dealing with as many editors as I did at other newsstand monthlies I had worked on previously.

How much synergy to you have with Bloomberg News both creatively and editorially?
Ted does have some Bloomberg writers and reporters pitch ideas for Pursuits articles that end up running in the magazine, but he also hires many outside freelance writers. As far as photographers, so far I have always hired outside freelance photographers to shoot for Pursuits.

You are hiring the cream of the crop, what is the running thread in all the images you commission? Describe the magazine’s aesthetic.
There is no ironclad aesthetic for the publication. We actually want to have a variety of photographic styles because of the variety of topics addressed.
Bloomberg subscribers are mainly men so there is a tendency for us to work in that vein, but overall we are a general interest magazine for Bloomberg subscribers, noting that Pursuits addresses the readers’ life outside of work, their time off. Since Anton and I both have backgrounds in men’s magazines, we are very much aligned in what we do like coming from that background and where we would like to break the mold and not follow traditional visual approaches to magazines created for mainly male readers.

Anton’s design sense is, in my opinion, stunning, and it is his design of the magazine that keeps the overall aesthetic consistent. We are both passionate about photography so ultimately I think we are always trying to come up with the best photographer and photographic style for each individual article –the nature and content of each story-and it is his design that pulls it all together so well. We are trying to make beautiful images that sometimes may have an element of surprise to keep things fresh and exciting.

Beginning production of a new publication definitely had its challenges in the beginning because we did not have a product to show or a brand’s reputation to rely on (we are just finishing our fourth issue next week).  We therefore relied on the relationships we already had with photographers and their agencies for the first issue and with each issue it gets easier, of course, to bring on the caliber of photographers we want, as we now have something to show and the response has been great.

Beyond the relationships we already had established with photographers before beginning production on our first issue of Pursuits together is the fact that Ted comes up with such amazing editorial ideas and content that photographers are excited to shoot for us.  Just three issues in we have been fortunate to be able to attract and assign some really fantastic photographers such as Richard Burbridge, Simon Norfolk, Ralph Mecke, Dan Winters, Horacio Salinas, Kenji Aoki, Tom Schierlitz, and Jamie Chung.

The Gander airport shoot was stunning, how hard was it to produce a shoot in a defunct airport?
It was Anton’s idea to shoot at Gander Airport. He had seen some images of the airport and realized what a fantastic location it would make for a shoot. This Newfoundland airport was an essential refueling stop for transatlantic prop planes from the time it was built in the late 1930’s until the 1960’s. But with the advent of jets in ’60’s, transatlantic refueling fell from favor and thus so did Gander.  After that the airport has mostly become the province of cargo planes so it’s 1959 interior has remained absolutely pristine, frozen in time.

While I immediately agreed that it was a wonderful location for our Fall fashion shoot, I knew just as quickly how challenging it would be to get everyone and the wardrobe itself up to Gander. Flying people from both Europe and the U.S. was tricky because there are so few flights going into Newfoundland, let alone Gander, none of them direct. Beyond that, however, is that the planes flying into Newfoundland are so small that they have very tight luggage limits so we had to make sure that the clothes and accessories were being checked in by as many people involved in the shoot as possible. Lastly, we didn’t book our models until the week of the shoot and I wasn’t sure there would be any room left on the few flights that could get them to the shoot in time. A bit of a nail biter but it turned out beautifully thanks to Anton, Azim Haidaryan, the photographer, Markus Ebner, our contributing Fashion Director and a wonderful, flexible crew!