Some highlights from the projects of 2016
There is nothing better than getting people to smile and enjoy the moment.
Photographing in a foreign country is a challenge. Most of my work is in the documentary/reportage style. Basically photographing in the moment. These days though my projects are in that style but with models, wardrobe, picked locations. So it's not so much photographing in the moment anymore, but "planned in the moment" images, it is certainly more involved than just showing up with a camera, and making do with what is there. Not to mention to keep it feeling serendipitous while controlling everything. That is the challenge.
I went to Rio with a long shot list, and a mandate. Show modern Brazil and its people, living a healthy lifestyle. We found models in Rio (yes, its true it seems like almost everyone is beautiful there), locations, and had to plan shoots while on the run. It was tough, but with Rio and it's people as an inspiration, not to mention some great help on the ground, it was a pleasure.
It's not just clicking the shutter, it's the journey to get to that moment to take the photo is what defines a photographer.
I am going to use up a few more minutes of my 15 minutes of fame that I have left, and would like you to join me at the Apple store Soho, NYC. Me and fellow APA board member Keith Barraclough will be presenting, and sharing our deepest photo secrets. After the lecture we will all be going out for drinks so don't wander off. Looking forward to seeing you. Did I mention that it's free?
Here are the deets.
Day and time: Wednesday, October 13, 6:30-8 p.m.
Place: SoHo Apple Theater, 103 Prince St (between Mercer and Greene).
Admission: Free (seating is limited)
*No advance registration is required
Those are the words that I have been hearing a lot from clients these days. My answer is of course we can! The advantages of shooting both is that they work together as companion pieces. Although In my experience its always been a challenge trying to do still, and video together in the same shoot without compromising one or the other. I think I found the magic sauce; with the right crew, and clients who trust you anything is possible. I can go on and on about the process, but thats perhaps a future blog post.
Many thanks to Jason Rogers my camera man on this project, and Charley Parden my assistant who somehow always finds parking among his many other skills. They made the process go smoothly, efficiently, and more importantly successful.
Here are some photos from the location part of the shoot. Like my DJ headphones? It was loud at the location so I needed to borrow some headphones. They were a bit over the top.Seoul, Korea is 6885 miles (11080 km in Euro miles ;-), and 13 hours ahead. That is where my clients were while art directing a recent shoot I was working on for Samsung in NYC. It is amazing how technology has evolved where this is possible. For this to work, you need the right technology, most importantly a decent internet connection, which sometimes can be hard to come by, and a good working relationship with your clients. The step up is not perfect yet, but gets the job done. Although I have some ideas on making the process even more awesome the next time.
5 photos in 1 day, 4 in the studio, 1 on location, 1 employee photo, 1 male model, 1 child model, 1 teddy bear, a black turtleneck (you would be suprised on how hard it is find one in the summer) 1 makeup artist, 2 assistants, 1 intern, a ton of equipment, and one long day particulary in Korea where they pulled an all nighter to work with us. Thanks to everyone for pulling this one off with few hitches especially with the monsoon rains we have been having in NYC.
I did the big murals for the huge restaurant at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas; which were a big hit. My client then asks me to do some more photographs for the billboard advertising of the establishment. This being Las Vegas of course the concept was pushing hard against political correctness. We also had to shoot in Vegas because the models were there. It was a fun shoot.
Here is the final billboard...I think it turned out pretty well. This was not the original concept. The original concept was deemed too racy, and not used. Unfortunatly I am not going to post those. Sorry! Hopefully next time I am out there I will see the billboard in person and take a photo of it. Its my first billboard after all.
I really have no excuse for not posting it sooner. I have been dying to show it off. Many thanks to Jessica Silverman from Wilhelmina models. She was professional, energetic, and simply perfect! Also gotta mention my retoucher Mark Beckelman of Beckelman imaging for the usual great job, also the assistants, and stylists who played a big part. All sets were built in the studio by moi, with some help of course.
As a followup to my previous post on the production of this story. I finally got the final magazine from the "What is Beauty?" shoot with the man on the street. Also there are a couple of fun portraits, and a stillife no less. There is even a photo of me on the first spread. On the left side in the middle holding the camera looking like I am going to be run over by a truck. Many thanks to everyone on the crew who made it happen, and to my client for the great layout.
What do you do when you need to photograph someone in their environment, except that's not possible? Not to mention very limited time to actually photograph them? You create the environment and bring it to them that's what you do. We built a wall, put up shelves and furnished the area we needed. The plus side to this is that we can customize it. After we were done it looked like we were never there.
On a chilly day in December, we did a man on the street shoot for Samsung. One of the fears was will people stop to have their photo taken and answer a few questions. Most people think that New Yorkers are cynical and won't want to cooperate. So I hired Sari Goodfriend, and she proved that theory wrong! Her charm was able to convince almost anyone she spoke to, to have their photo taken. Way to go! Not to mention she interviewed them for the piece. Listen to the statements on beauty as the slide show plays.
The success of the shoot just reinforces the need to have the right people to make a project not just get done, but be spectacular. Not to mention a good time was had by all. Many thanks to Sari Goodfriend (first time people wrangler and a great photographer herself), Michael Robinson (who played the producers role, and organized the shoot also a good photographer), Charley Parden (great assistant and a future photographer), and of course my clients who let me do this stuff.
Shot a mini campaign for Samsung to be used in the African market. Magazine, newspaper, bill boards, bus stops, the works. It was lots of fun, with lots of high energy jumping and cheering mostly by me to get the models motivated. I can't take credit for the retouching though the agency Agendanyc managed that. Nice job!
Kids are tough to photograph....They don't listen, they get tired, get cranky, and at times they just don't care. Sometimes though you connect with them, and they can be fearless. Like the photo below..... Just did a fun project for an international client....no its not for Nike®, although that would be nice too! The ball just happened to show the logo. This is one of the images I did for myself after the shoot. So much studio work these days. It's a nice change of pace from pure location work.
The last shot for the big project I was working on last week. I had to go to Times Square and photograph some of the lit billboards. I was working by myself so I took my Sigma DP-1 a very awesome point and shoot that takes RAW files. So the quality was there and didn't have to worry about putting my more expensive camera equipment at risk. It may not be the bad 1980's Times Square from my youth anymore (which I kinda miss), but its still Times Square all the same.
The studio is operating close to maximum capacity with client, crew, props, and wardrobe. We have had to rearrange all sorts of stuff and get more space. Its been a good way to get rid of those props that we haven't touched for 5 years.
This is just a small portion of the wardrobe that Jessica Zindren the wardrobe/prop stylist extrodinare for the shoot picked up. Its a bit messy at the moment, its all my fault though, I had everyone digging through stuff looking for something that I thought I saw. I realized that it got returned. Oops! sorry Jessica. Great to have choices, lots, and lots of choices.
The top image is the final image that will be printed for the Borgata project in Atlantic City, N.J. It is an extreme crop from the original file you see below it. This shot was unplanned in the sense that we didn't know where it was going to go, and what feeling we were trying to give. So I had originally wanted to use an image where you can see the nape of the neck. The nape of the neck is considered to be very sensual. Also traditionally Geisha's don't show too much skin. I took a few liberties with that in my photos. Anyway in order to enhance the sensuality there is an area on the neck left bare with no makeup. I just couldn't find a shot that had all the elements in it when I did such a vertical crop. I do feel great about the one that was finally chosen, its going to look awesome. It will be 4 wide x 12 feet high and printed on a translucent material that will be applied to a glass wall in the wine room. Its a good thing I used a Leaf 75s back with a Hassalblad H2 camera so the quality is there. I must say this project has taken quite a bit of time. Besides all the research on Geisha costumes and makeup. I have had to manage all facets of the project from conceptual, production, retouching, printing, and will go to Atlantic City to supervise the installation. I want to make sure it doesn't get ruined in the end. Its refreshing as well as apprehensive to be able to have total control over the whole process. Thats what makes the work exciting! This is the reason I became a photographer to be able to do what I love. By the way any one looking for medium sized Katsura? Katsura is Japanese for the wig I bought for the shoot and would love to not have anymore.
I recently did two advertorials for Samsung for the European market. One that talks about Samsung's mp3 players with Ken Pohlman who is an absolute guru on digital sound. That one we shot in Atlanta, Georgia at Big Studio last summer when its 100 plus degrees outside. Thank God we were in a studio! The other advertorial was shot in NYC and it was about Samsung's Series 6 HDTV's. That advertorial featured Karim Rashid who is a master of product design. It was really great working with these two masters in their fields. It is always great to talk to people who are at the top of their professions. It gives a better insight on what is behind the ideas that they come up with.
This is the first advertorial with Ken Pohlman. Check out the Samsung DNSe site and hear what Ken has to say about the technology.
Here's a little production info on that shoot. First we had to find a gallery space in NYC that was just right in size and configuration. That was much harder than you would think. Richard Hobbs the location scout did some exhaustive research and pounded the pavement to find the perfect one in record time. Even though it was perfect there is never enough space to fit everyone so it was pretty crowded with crew, equipment, and clients.
Lighting and photographing Karim was much easier than getting the TV just right. We had to shoot the TV in studio in order to get the perfect lighting on it. Although a blend of the studio version, and the gallery version were used in the final ad
Overall the final shot is probably composed of 5 different shots to get it just right. I had a great crew, and great clients who really worked hard to make it a good project and fun experience for everyone. Next time though we have to all go Salsa dancing.... Client: Samsung Agency: Agenda Creative Director: Dan Koh Art Director: David Rodriguez Account Exec: Rich Lim Photo Assistants: Este Aladroo, Andrea Patton, Gabriela Herman Fashion Stylist: Allyson Vieira Hair/makeup: Kim Do