Posts by: Heidi Volpe

The Daily Edit – Thursday 8.4.11

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Men’s Health

Creative Director: Robert Festino

Director of Photography: Brenda Milis

Deputy Director of Photography: Jeanne Graves

Photographer: Stephen Lewis

Prop Stylist: Elizabeth Press

Heidi: How long did it take to assemble this still life?

Stephen: This shot took about an hour or two. There was a lot of playing with different foods trying to come up with a shape that worked. Generally I like to start out loose and with this shot things got a little messy. The fish shape didn’t come until I had tried a few different ideas. It turned out that Jeanne Graves (the Photo Editor) wanted to see something like this so we continued to pursue this idea until we came up with the photograph that ran.

Were the items editorial driven? meaning how did you pick those food pieces?

The items were editorially driven. The article was on “FrankenFoods” or foods that combine ingredients with ostensible health benefits in different ways; i.e. putting anti-oxidants in sugary drinks. So the stylist, Elizabeth Press, with the direction of Jeanne Graves at Men’s Health, picked up ingredients that either made health claims or were suggestive of such claims or suggested ridiculousness in some way. We played it a little loose as we were going for a feeling more than a literal approach.

Who was your food stylist?

My food stylist wasn’t a food stylist but a prop stylist - Elizabeth Press. I usually do shoot with food stylists on food related jobs. Since this story didn’t actually involve cooking and there was (hopefully) a humorous element here, I chose Elizabeth because I knew she’d understand what we were looking to accomplish.

The Daily Edit – Tuesday 8.2.11

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Fortune Magazine

Creative Director: John Korpics

Photography Director: Mia Diehl

Photographer: Gregg Segal

Heidi: Was the subject hard to open up? What did you ask him at this very moment?

Greg: It wasn’t difficult to get him to open up because, coincidentally enough, we’re from the same small town in Ohio (Marietta, population 16,000). I googled Moynihan before photographing him and discovered this. I’d had a friend in junior high, Pat Moynihan, who I found is Brian’s younger brother. So there was plenty to talk about. At this moment, I may have been reminiscing about Mr. Peacatch, the assistant principal at Marietta Junior High, a small bald man with a Hitler mustache and a thick rural accent who’d whack you with a wooden paddle if you got out of line. I was probably telling Mr. Moynihan the anecdote about my brother, who walked into the bathroom on the first day of school and found Mr. Peacatch sitting in one of the stalls, which had no door, and couldn’t help but stare. “What’s a matter,” said Peacatch, “ain’t you never seen someone take a shit before?”

What is the biggest challenge about photographing “regular” and very busy people?

The challenge to photographing very busy people is keeping them engaged because even if you have them for 30 minutes, they’ll get antsy in half that time.

Did you set up in his offices?

We set up in a large meeting room adjacent to the trading floor at B of A’s headquarters in Manhattan and had to turn the space into a studio, hanging immense panels of black cloth all around us so as not to disturb traders.

The Daily Edit – Monday 8.1.11

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Women’s Health

Design Director: Theresa Griggs

Art Director: Lan Yin Bachelis

Photo Director: Sarah Rozen

Deputy Photo Editor: Irene La Grasta

Photographer: Levi Brown

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

The Daily Edit – 7.26.11

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Vibe

Creative Director: Tischen Franklin

Art Director: Jason Claiborne

Photo Director: Alan Ket

Photographer: Emily Shur

Heidi: Why the popsicles and how much dialogue was there with the make-up artist/Amber about color?

Emily: The photo editor came to me with the idea of an “oral fixation” type of shoot…lollipops, popsicles, candy, etc. This shoot was for their Sex Issue so he really wanted to push it in terms of the sexuality. I went shopping and bought a few different things that Amber could put in her mouth…all of them were colorful and visual. My main goal was to make the shoot interesting looking and not just sexual. I did speak with the make up artist about using bright colors to go with the brightly colored food, and we had colorful backdrops as well. I felt if we could get an overall look going it would modernize the pictures and add an element to the shoot.

I know you started your career shooting a lot of bands and music has a strong influence on your life. Your husband just supervised the soundtrack for 30 Minutes or Less do you two collaborate on projects? How much music do you shoot now?

I actually don’t shoot as much music as I used to. I still love music and love photographing musicians, but I seem to get more calls to shoot actors or other notable types (writers, politicians, chefs, etc.) lately. I’ve also been shooting more advertising work which has been great, but less geared towards music. In terms of my hubby, yes, he just music supervised 30 Minutes or Less which is very exciting! I’m very proud of him. Music supervision is a perfect fit for his music snobbery…I can’t really think of a better job for him. We do collaborate on projects. He has been instrumental in many aspects of my work, but mostly he comes up with great ideas and pushes me to complete projects and not be lazy. My series Nature Calls was his idea, and he always comes with me when I photograph for that project.

Do you use your blog like a loose portfolio? Your Alaska rough scans are a great series, but did you not work on them at all? Is it easier for you to post on your blog, meaning, its not your book, but you know people are looking. How picky are you?

I like to use my blog for lots of things – self promotion, a diary of sorts, a place to show my personal work, somewhere to write about my feelings on photography, the photo industry, and what it’s like making a living as a photographer. I do post images on my blog that I have no other real place for at that moment; pictures I’d like to show people or see together in a group, but I could never put every single picture somewhere in my book or on my website so it’s nice to have a place where the edit doesn’t have to be so tight.

My “rough scans” (Alaska included) are images that I scan at home on my crappy scanner and do a little light color correction, curves, etc. on so I can see which images are worthy of a drum scan and professional post production. It’s nice to put little groups of images together and also nice to get people’s feedback on images. I’m fairly picky about what images I scan and show on my blog. For starters, it’s time consuming to scan stuff at home and use my mediocre Photoshop skills to make images look presentable. Second, I don’t show images, both commercial and personal, that I’m not proud of or find interesting in some capacity.

The Daily Edit Friday –
7.22.11

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Harpers Bazaar

Producer: Laura Brown

CG Supervisor: J.J. Blumenkrantz

Still photography:Jeffrey Westbrook

Special thanks to Sony Pictures Animation

Creative Director: Stephan Gan

Design Director: Elizabeth Hummer

Photo and Bookings Director: Zoe Burns

Heidi: How did this collaboration work? Did you get sketches of the Smurfettes in order to shoot the products at the right angle? Were the accessories shot on a model or a form built to scale for the Smurfette?

Jeffrey: The whole thing started with an idea and some rough sketches from Harpers Bazaar and Sony Pictures. Harper’s fashion dept pulled some accessories together to create 4 different looks and the idea was to shoot the accessories on a live model in the desired poses from said sketches. Basically I would light each look for the accessories, then the designer from Sony would step in to shoot a 360 degree view of my set to recreate lighting angles in post on their Smurfette. He would then collect my raw files along with his 360 shots and toss them to his team, who would strip out the accessories and place them on their digital Smurfette. The shoot happened in Hearst’s digital studio and we all had a great time.

The Daily Edit – Wednesday
7.20.11

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Popular Mechanics

Design Director: Michael Lawton

Director of Photography: Allyson Torrisi

Photographer:  Joao Canziani

 

Heidi: Was it hard to to manage your equipment on the boat?
Joao: I had big ambitions to bring a big portable strobe like the Profoto 7B onboard, but that was not possible, and would have been impractical.

Just you and an assistant?
Due to space, not even my assistant could come. (So he had a nice day off.)
It was just me, my camera, and a Canon Speedlite on top of the camera.

Tell me something challenging about the shoot.

What I love about being a photographer is that you’re allowed to enter a world very unlike your own, for a brief period of time perhaps, or for as long as it needs to be for you to cover the story. Being out on a fishing trawler in the middle of the sea is a very calming and zen experience. Life is reduced to just the essential, and the tasks at hand. There’s not twitter or facebook there! So my photographic world was reduced to this smaller square footage with three other individuals. The challenge was finding interesting compositions with only these elements. It became about the lives of these men at that moment, and the interaction of the light at dawn, the reflections, the sea, the mechanics of all that equipment, and the fish.

The Daily Edit – Tuesday 7.19.11

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Details

Creative Director: Rockwell Harwood

Contributing Photo Editor: Ashley Horne

Photographer: Christopher Griffith

Heidi: Of course the fish was dead. Was there anything challenging about that shoot for you? How did you get the fish to model for you?

Christopher: All this stuff got shipped to my studio in NYC 2 days prior to the shoot so storage is always entertaining, not to mention the smell.

The shoot was to be “whole” fish and the and then the Escolar arrived filleted because it grows to 6ft in length and it was impossible to get a whole fish shipped.

I refused to shoot fillets because they looked really dull but the skin was like leather and was great as a full page.

The adjoining image required impaling the poor creature head to foot with 1/2 inch armature wire, to facilitate the curve. Then glycerol on the skin to retain the sheen.

The Daily Edit – Tuesday
7.12.11

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Worth

Design Director: Dean Seabring

Art Director: Valerie Seabring

Illustrator: Kevin Sprouls

Heidi: Is your reference material one single photograph, even for groups of people?

Kevin: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It will often happen that I’ll receive a group shot to which I must add a figure or two. These will usually get placed on either end, facing into the group, if possible. The tricky part here is to get the add-ons scaled correctly to fit into the grouping properly— this is accomplished by careful scrutiny.

About how long did this particular illustration take?

5 days.

How big is your original work? Do you work keeping in mind that these will be scaled down or are you working at 100%?

These typically get reproduced at 35-40% of original size. The drawing displayed here was probably 17.5″ wide in the original.

The Daily Edit – Monday
7.11.11

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ESPN

Art Director: Jason Lancaster

Director of Photography: Catriona Ni Aolain

Photographer: Aaron Fallon

Heidi: How many selects did you send in?

Aaron: From the main setup (the one pictured) I sent in about 50 images. I divided that 50 up into first and second selects. The second setup (not pictured) I had 25 total selects.

How much time did get to do the shoot?

I was told I would have Matt for 10-15 minutes.  In the end, I wound up having Matt for 25 minutes.

Was this your first shoot for ESPN? How did they find out about you? Email, promo, or word of mouth?

This was my second job for ESPN. The first was at the beginning of the year, I did a portrait for the Body Shots section of the magazine. I wish I knew how they found me. I’ve been sending promos, both print and e promos for the last year. Maybe that, maybe word of mouth…

Was it hard to photograph? meaning he was a little stiff in the beginning? Do you do any warm up shots to try and open him up or was he easy?

You’re right, the first images, often times, can be a bit stiff. But given that I was only supposed to have him for 15 minutes, the idea of a warm up shot isn’t something that consciously crossed my mind. However, on this shoot, I did a bit of warm up anyways without really thinking about it. I had asked Matt to put on his batting gloves and as he was putting the gloves on— not even in the exact area where we had positioned the lights—I grabbed the camera and began shooting. Sunlight was mixing in with my lights, the frame was a bit different than where I had tested, yet those first shots are some of my favorites from this shoot. It was almost reportage-like, with a full on lighting setup. I began giving him bits of direction and that’s how we started. He was really comfortable in front of the camera, so that made things flow pretty smoothly.

Some Logistics

I like to visualize and plan out an approach to my shoots ahead of time, whenever possible. But I’ve learned not to get too attached to those ideas in my head — as often times things don’t work out as planned, or the shoot itself creates better opportunities than what I had visualized.

On this shoot, though everything was seemingly in place beforehand (great direction from ESPN, I had spoken with Matt’s people, and had spoken with the stadium where we were shooting) — one thing that was unexpected was that the grounds crew at the stadium would not let us be on the field. I had asked Media Relations at the stadium about being on the field ahead of time and was told it would be fine, but just to respect the requests of the grounds crew. Apparently the grounds crew had a different take. They told us that we couldn’t be on the grass until we were shooting with talent (not even touching the grass with our feet or equipment), which made it about impossible to set up a shot on the field ahead of time. It didn’t make sense to spend time, effort, or risk any animosity with the grounds crew trying to override them, so instead we worked within their framework and stayed on the warning track area. And that worked out great as the main setup was at the dugout and when we got to the second setup the home team was already on the field taking batting practice.