Creative Director: Brandon Kavulla
Design Director: Leo Jung
Director of Photography: Zana Woods
Deputy Photo Editor: Anna Goldwater Alexander
Photographer: Art Streiber
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Heidi: How do you direct a Muppet?
Art: The Muppets come with “Handlers” who set the Muppets to our specifications. The Wired Creative Director, Brandon Kavulla and Photography Editor, Anna Alexander, and I, asked for a specific pose and one of the three handlers would set the Muppet…but only after some debate as to whether or not what we were asking was appropriate for the Muppet to do.
Did you approach this just like a portrait or more like a still life, or both?
These were portraits and still lifes. It’s amazing how the feeling of the Muppet changes as you move its eye line slightly and how they come to life once that eyeline is where you want it. I found myself thinking about, lighting and talking to the Muppets as if they were alive but was problem solving each shot as a still life.
Why do you think they selected you for this project?
Last year I did a group shot of 22 Muppets, so I’ve had some Muppet experience. And the shoot involved Jason Segal, who wrote and starred in the movie, and I’ve photographed Jason before, so I think the magazine figured that those combined experiences made me the right guy.
What was the most interesting aspect about this shoot for you? Did you discover anything new?
My crew and I had a blast! Other crews from other stages at the studio were coming into our stage to see the Muppets. They’re iconic and are rarely seen in public. As far as discovering something new…yes, we did. The portrait of Fozzie in the space helmet is a combination of strobe, the flashlight on a blackberry and a reflection of a picture of the earth from an iPad…all captured IN CAMERA in one frame. THAT was impressive. I also learned that photographing Muppets in silhouette makes them even move iconic!