Posts by: Heidi Volpe

The Daily Edit – Flaunt: Mario Kroes

- - The Daily Edit

Flaunt

Creative Director: Jim Turner
Associate Art Director:
Isaac von Hallberg
Photographer: Mario Kroes

Heidi: Was this a personal project you expanded on for the magazine?
Mario: Flaunt had contacted me about a week and a half before their due date, asking if I was interested in shooting a story around furniture. I was apprehensive at first, because of the time constraints as well as having to shoot people and furniture together. I love a good challenge though, so I agreed to tag along.
How did this concept come about?
The original concept came from Flaunt. The collaboration came about when we started narrowing down the subjects and furniture pieces to use in the shoot. I like to come very prepared, so I spent a good amount of time trying to find references and inspirational images. I couldn’t find a lot though, so I just had a few loose concepts and decided to figure it out day of when the models and furniture showed up in the studio.
The project merges your love of shape/form and fashion. Did the objects drive the direction, or the human form?
Definitely both sort of collided the day of. It’s hard to bend the furniture into a certain position, so I tried to find angles and positions that lent itself well to the overall composition.
Did you always see this in black and white?
I try to get away with as much black and white as I can. I think for a story like this though, it’s so much better. The simplicity of black and white let the composition and shapes speak a lot more clearly. It would have been too busy in color, I think.

The Daily Edit – Smithsonian Magazine: Erin Patrice O’Brien

- - The Daily Edit

Smithsonian Magazine

Art Director: Maria Keehan
Photo Editor: Jeff Campagna
Photographer: Erin Patrice O’brien

Heidi: What is your association with designer Stella Nolasco? 
Erin: The day before Hurricane Maria , my college friend Stella Nolasco called me crying. “Its going to be really bad”.  Stella was in Rome to try a treatment for her younger daughter who has asthma.  Her Italian husband Sandro and her older daughter Daniella were at home in Puerto Rico. In the months after the hurricane Maria struck. We watched in horror as there was no electricity telecommunications for months. Everyone’s home was flooded, many of Stella’s staff lost everything.

How did the fashion show come about?
Stella was able to keep some of her employees working to sew her collection with a generator when she was offered to show at New York Fashion Week to promote Puerto Rico.
The fashion show began with a video by the Foundation for Puerto Rico, featuring islanders rebuilding and inviting mainlanders to come back. The models walked on the runway with a protest sign that said Can’t Say American without the Rican and We Are US Citizens. Without congressional representatives, it was apparent to me that the only way to keep Puerto Rico in the news and the Trump administration accountable was through famous Puerto Ricans posting on their instagram.

Tell me about the message on the T-shirt
When photo editor Jeff Campagna called me to photograph John Leguizamo for the Smithsonian Ingenuity awards, I was so excited. Leguizamo has a one man show which is currently streaming on Netflix called Latin History for Morons. Leguizamo has been an incredible advocate for Puerto Rico and I wanted the photo to speak to his support. I called Stella right away and asked her to design a shirt based on her runway protest sign for him. Leguizamo appreciated the shirt and recently has been using the image for his Instagram and Twitter profile. When we were design students at Drexel University back in the day, I don’t think we would have ever dreamed this up.

You have a deep interest in social issues with your work, how did this develop for you? 
I enjoy photographing people who are helping others with their art or their service. It is inspiring to be around creative people who are making art to educate the public and make a statement. I do a lot of pro-bono work for different artists and organizations; sometimes it leads to paid work.

Erin’s Pro-Bono work includes: 

The Women’s March
I photographed Pratt professor and artist Gina Gregorio’s wood stenciled head pieces for the Women’s March in 2016. The profits from selling them went to Brooklyn Community Services.

Planned Parents
I worked with Michaela Angela Davis and Michelle Willems to do a social media campaign to show PP support for an important and often overlooked issue: accessible healthcare for women of color. The campaign dubbed #LiberatedWoman aims to draw attention to the lack of visibility and care given to minority women’s reproductive health, especially in disadvantaged communities.

Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Foundation
I spent a few days at making a photo library to show the clinical work their musical therapists do with their clients. Their therapists work with a broad range of people, including children with autism and other special needs and individuals under psychiatric care.

Resistance Revival Chorus
This is a collective of more than 60 women who come together to sing protest songs in the spirit of collective resistance. As soon as I saw them I approached them to photograph them. There is such joy in their group of powerful women.

 

The Daily Edit – California Sunday Magazine

- - The Daily Edit

Cover photograph by Ricardo Nagaoka

Roscoe Mitchell, Oakland, CA: David Black

Hope Jimmerson & Najave Jimmerson, Denver, CO: Widline Cadet

Derrick Washington & Kurt Gramm, Los Angeles, CA: Erica Deeman

Debbie Austin, Portland, OR: Lauren Angalis Field

Elisabeth Gambrell, Gerlach, NV: Katy Grannan

Dennis Yang, San Francisco, CA: Talia Herman

Teira Church, Los Angeles, CA: Texas Isaiah

Zyrria Rosales, Oakland, CA: Taylor Kay Johnson

Jasson Kyser, Longview, WA: Andrew Miksys

Terina Taulogo, St. George, UT: Ricardo Nagaoka

Mary Dambacher, Taos, NM: Ahndraya Parlato & Gregory Halpern

Liz Otwell, Point Roberts, WA: Irina Rozovsky

Susan Pullman, Cardwell, MT: Marshall Scheuttle

California Sunday Magazine : The Way Home

Creative Director: Leo Jung
Photography Director: Jacqueline Bates
Art Directors: Annie Jen and Supriya Kalidas
Photography Editor: Paloma Shutes
Production Manager: Thomas Bollier

Heidi: What can you tell us about the audio footnotes?
Jacqueline: Our photography issue features very minimal text. We believe photographs tell their own stories, but we also wanted to give readers a multilayered storytelling experience. Every story is accompanied by audio footnotes so that readers can listen to the subjects in the photos and hear from them directly (you can check it out at californiasunday.com). Similarly, at our exhibition At Home: In the American West, on view from 12/6-1/4 at Aperture Foundation in New York City, people can choose to walk through the gallery as is or they can also listen along to the footnotes on their phone, which we think makes for an interesting experience.

 

Sound clips embedded here for “What they Carried: Eight Objects That Survived a Lifetime of Moves
Photographs by Carlos Chavarría

How did the photographers come to choose their subjects? 
We commissioned 30+ photographers for this special issue, including Katy Grannan, Jim Goldberg, Erica Deeman, Texas Isaiah, Star Montana, Mark Steinmetz and Irina Rozovsky, just to name a few.

For our cover story, At Home, associate editor, Joy Shan, researched each state west of the Rocky Mountains and we looked into interesting, often overlooked, stories and events that were happening there—and how they related to our theme of “home.” We assigned photographers to one of the regions Joy researched, and from there, we gave them lots of breathing room and freedom to seek out stories of “home.” It was exciting to see the stories that came out of these journeys: In the mountains of Utah, we found a mother of four who designed her dream mansion with some help from Pinterest. In Oregon, we visited a woman who lost her house to foreclosure in 2013; convinced she would get the house back, she moved to an apartment four blocks down the street. We caught up with a screenwriter as he drifts between Los Angeles Airbnbs, and, in Seattle, we met a formerly homeless woman who has found stability and privacy in a tiny house of her own. And much, much more.

What made you focus on this particular theme?
With contentious immigration issues, wildfires, and housing prices dominating news cycles, the question of how people define “home” felt more important than ever. We wanted to dive into this subject and explore its complexities and richness.

How many images did each photographer turn in?
It was a range: For the photographers who shot on 4×5 film, their edits were tight (one or two options for each subject). But for others, who shot for weeks and were photographing many people, edits were much wider.

LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHERS

Ash Adams
Holly Andres
David Black
Erin Brethauer
Widline Cadet
Alejandro Cegarra
Carlos Chavarría
Natasha Dangond
Erica Deeman
Lauren Angalis Field
Brian L. Frank
Jim Goldberg
Katy Grannan
Michelle Groskopf
Gregory Halpern
Talia Herman
Tim Hussin
Texas Isaiah
Taylor Kay Johnson
Daniel Leivick
Pixy Liao
Justin Maxon
Sanaz Mazinani
Arlene Mejorado
Andrew Miksys
Star Montana
Ricardo Nagaoka
Ahndraya Parlato
Kristine Potter
Karen Miranda Rivadeneira
Irina Rozovsky
Marshall Scheuttle
Mark Steinmetz
Daniele Volpe

 

 

The Daily Edit – Outside Magazine: Hannah McCaughey

- - The Daily Edit

Outside Magazine

Design + Photography Director: Hannah McCaughey
Deputy Art Director: Petra Zeiler
Photographer: Sebastian Kim

Heidi: Who shot that image for you? 
Hannah: Sebastian Kim shot it originally for Interview Magazine. I have loved this image/shoot for a long time; it’s lingered on my mind. Generally we prefer to shoot original art for covers especially when it’s a big star like Alex who is a legend for our readers. The shoot we had scheduled we had to kill sadly as it was going to break our current photo budgets due to travel logistics and all the while we had this big strong image in our minds as the one to beat.
 
Why that image of him for the cover, what spoke to you?
His happy eyes which could be corny were it not balanced by the contrasty grainy tone of it all, plus I am a sucker for a big face (especially such a good one!)

Do you see syndication as a mandatory way forward for most magazines? I see this as a strong trend especially for global publishing companies.
Yes- if we are going to meet our current art budgets we have to do a certain % of covers as stock to save up for the shoots. I’d say somewhere between 3-4 this year are going to be stock as budgets shrink that ratio will shift.

What are you thoughts on giving a shoot a second life?
BIG FAN- I wish I could go back through all the shoots we’ve ever done and pull out a the hidden gems in there that never saw the light of day.

The Daily Edit – Under the Radar: Ray Lego

- - The Daily Edit

 

Under the Radar

Publisher/Creative Director: Mark Redfern+ Wendy Lynch Redfern
Senior Editor/ Music Editor: Mark Redfern
Creative Director: Wendy Redfern
Photographer: Ray Lego

Heidi: You’ve shot so many musicians in your life, what kind of photographic responsibility comes along with working with such a change agent in the music scene?
Ray: I am the change agent! My goal usually is to take pictures that have a clear vision, not to take pictures that have been done before by other photographers .
Be persistent and lead by building trust with my subjects and clients. Some times you have to fail to move forward, “there’s more than one way to do things”.
Who, What, Where, When, Why and how is where i start…the uncertainty of change make it challenging! “Adapt or die!”

What type of direction did the magazine give you?
I’ve been working with UTR for years and  know what they want and what to expect. Knowing its a cover I need to keep it simple with negative space, leave room for text. Kasami was
so intense looking I wanted nothing to distract from that, the sun was blazing and it was one of the hottest days of the year. I wanted the sun to open up every detail in his
afro and beard. The shot looks like it was edited but really it was the electrifying sun playing with the cameras sensor. The magazine picked and mocked up a bunch of cover ideas
and I thought anyone of them would be great.

Since UTR is noted as the only real indie music magazine still around, what did you two discuss between takes?
We talked about music Art Blakey+John Coltrane and Eric Dalton. Snoopdog and how he use to play with him, Fist of Fury video game that he played and named a song after. and of course his GOLD superstar Adidas kicks

How difficult was it to shoot on a crowded Canal Street?
The Canal street images I shot over my shoulder and never looked though the camera, this makes people walk normal and not stop or duck not wanting to get in the shot etc.
It was over 100 degrees and super humid, that’s why some people have umbrellas and why i think it looks bare. The closer we got to the crossings the more people we attracted,
in the middle of the block was  more quite and we only did one pass and done. He was so big the people on the sidewalk would clear out and leave plenty of room, it didn’t hurt that he was carrying a solid wood staff about 4 feet and 2 inches round.

Did you two discuss wardrobe prior to shoot?
I read an article where he talks about being a big fan of african culture and the clothes, not being ashamed of being black or connected to Africa.
I told his PR people he should wear what ever he wanted. I thought be looked super cool showing up in a colorful tunic! Super Throwback! He also
had a cane/staff and trying to remember what he said about it, might have to ask PR person. He also had his sax case and the sickest pair of gold Adidas Superstars.

Tell us about the trance shot.
While flashing on set up and the only set up I used a flash ,I noticed that I was putting him in a trance. Every time the flash went off his eyes would roll back and he would be dazed for bit. I stopped using the flash. Not sure if he was doing this as part of an act” and it was never scary just bizarre.

Was that sun flare in the portrait?
Prism Spread: at one point I was shooting through a small prism and the flare and refracting light suited his vibe, it was very uncontrollable and focusing racking all over the place.

Tell us about the inspiration for the ring shot/last spread of the magazine story
Close up of Hand with Rings: His rings on his hand remind of an image made over 20 years ago of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with all of his championship rings that barely fit
one on each finger.

The Daily Edit – ESPN: Randall Slavin

- - Working

 

ESPN

Creative Director: Chin Wang
Director of Photography, Print + Digital: Tim Rasmussen
Director of Photography, ESPN The Magazine: Karen Frank
Deputy Photo Editors: Kristen Geisler, Jim Surber
Senior Photo Editors: Nick Galac
Photo Editor: Kaitlin Marron
Associate Art Director: Linda Pouder
Photographer: Randall Slavin

Heidi:  Did you shoot this specifically as a cover or was it an outtake from the feature?
Randall: I was asked to shoot portraits at the 2018 ESPYS of 100+ victims of sexual assault who were receiving the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. So I had a portrait studio set up in the green room to shoot the former gymnasts.  It was extremely taxing emotionally and creatively as we only had 2 hours to do all of them and i try to make some personal connection to everyone I shoot, even more so with portraits like this.

As I was set up the people from ESPN said “as long as you are set up feel free to try to shoot anyone you can get into the studio.” So before and after my shoot with the gymnasts I was able to pull some people into the studio for quick portraits including NFL hall of famer Jim Kelly, The Villanova Wildcats , and a few other people, and I had seen Odell Beckham Jr. around the green room and with his bleached hair and his black and white Gucci shorts outfit I was aching to shoot him.

I’m not a big NFL fan but I’m a fan of interesting characters. I had told someone who was working the event to try to wrangle Odell into the studio. The night wound down and nothing, the broadcast had ended and the green room was emptying out.  I told my crew to pack it up as it had been an extremely long day. We were taking down strobe and packing up lenses when my friend poked her head in and said
“Odell is on his way.”

I  hurriedly told my boys set everything back up just as OBJ walked in w a drink in one hand; after quick introductions he stepped on the paper.  At first it was pretty normal; then I told him to reach out to me to infuse some energy into the shot. (that was the cover shot) I asked him what his newest tattoo was so he lifted up his shorts to show me the jungle scene on his leg.

He had a new diamond inserted in his incisor so he loved snarling his lip to show me the sparkling cross. When I’m shooting these portraits I get really close to the subject as I’m usually shooting these at 24mm. It feels very intimate and personal. He was leaping and jumping. We only shot about 30 frames but I knew we had something special. and then he asked me for camera, “my turn” he said so we switched places and he took my picture. Odell shooting me leaping and goofing around. Its not usually my vibe but it had been such a difficult day, I was a bit punchy knew Odell and I had just shot something special, so sort of in a way to thank him and not ruin the good energy that we had going I did it. 10 later minutes later it was over and he grabbed my phone put his number in it
“text me these pictures,” and he was gone.

I turned to Alison Overholt and Tim Rasmussen the EIC and photo editor for ESPN THE MAGAZINE with a  big smile on my face.
“You know,you just shot our NFL preview cover,” Allison said.
“I did?”
“We have been trying to get Odell to do a cover for us but we weren’t able to make it happen.”

Did you always see this in B/W?
I always intended this to be black and white, I’ve never even looked at it in color!

The Daily Edit – Bloomberg Businessweek: Victor Prado

- - The Daily Edit

Bloomberg Businessweek

Creative Director: Chris Nosenzo
Art Director: Alexander Shoukas
Deputy Photo Editor: Aeriel Brown

Photographer:
Victor Prado

Heidi: How did this idea come about?
Victor: We originally shot the story months ago where images of a specific motherboard were potentially going to be on the cover. Bloomberg was able to get ahold of a few chips months after, and we did another shoot after based on an idea with the chip.

Did you cast a hand model?
We worked with two employees at Bloomberg who had been casted prior to the shoot day to be the hand/finger models.

Why did you feel it was important for a male finger?
I think it was finding someone with a short trimmed nail who was available at the time, so that the emphasis of the cover would be on the chip itself. We tried some cover idea options without fingers like a penny and pencil next to the chip and two different fingers.

Were you looking for any finger print in particular?
For the fingerprints, we first weren’t sure of how close the crop would be, and happened after that the crop was to be so up close that the fingerprint is really detailed.

Was it difficult to place the chip?
It was a bit difficult to position, and worked with tweezers because the chip was so small, like a speck of dust.

The Daily Edit – Rick McGinnis

- - The Daily Edit

 

Rick McGinnis/ Some old pictures

 


Heidi: Can you share some of the highlights and surprises of your 30 year career?
Rick: The highlights that come to mind most easily are shoots with people I admired – Patti Smith, Tom Wolfe, John Waters, Fela Kuti, George Clinton, etc. If your specialty is editorial portraiture – it was called celebrity portraiture for most of my career – then you obviously have to have an interest in the work and personas of some famous people. As I said in the introduction to my photozine Stars, everybody’s idea of celebrity is subjective; these people were a big deal to me. Apart from that, there’s those moments of inspiration, when something you’ve had in your mind suddenly comes out through the camera. There were some photos I took during a stormy day on the lakefront here in Toronto that had been in my mind for years – longer than I’d had a camera. It was as if I had a photo in my head that was trying to get out. That opened up the floodgates for a whole world of non-portrait work that I had no intention of pursuing, really.

 

What made you revisit these old photos?
Frustration, really. I had been applying for newsroom jobs for a few years after I’d been laid off from the paper I was working, and my wife finally said that this wasn’t going to work out for me, and that I should probably find something else to do with my days – a project. She pointed to all my old negatives just sitting in binders on the shelves in my office and said I should see if any of them were worth sharing. That I should set up a cheap, simple blog and post things that looked interesting.

What did you see in them now that you didn’t see then?
I always second-guessed myself when choosing work – I had a hard time finding the best shot, or I’d go for the most obvious, flattering one as opposed to the interesting one buried further down. With years of distance it became easier to find the interesting frames. Also, my skill with Photoshop far exceeds my skill in the darkroom, so I was finally able to produce finished images much closer to what I had in mind when I shot them twenty years ago, like my portraits of Bjork and Patti Smith. Then there are the shoots that I dismissed as flops, or ones from periods of my life that I didn’t recall fondly. I really undersold my portrait work at Metro in the 2000s; it turned out to be much better than I remembered.

The blog got me shooting again; I was doing travel work but I made an effort to shoot portraits. I set up with a really basic lighting kit at a skinhead night at a local club that a friend was promoting and did a sort of photo booth – anyone who wanted to get their picture taken just had to sign a release. It was very DIY, very punk rock. A while after that the Texas outlaw country singer Kinky Friedman came to town – I’m a fan and I talked him into doing a portrait session. Then I talked another friend who had an entertainment and movie website into having me shoot portraits again at the film festival in 2016 – it had been eight years since I’d shot at the film festival, which was once a big deal for me. I had stripped down to the basics trying to find a way back to the portrait style I had in the ’90s, and the shoot I did with British actress Rebecca Hall was the moment I felt like I had my stride again.

What would you tell your younger self?
Don’t shoot weddings. I’m half serious about that. I’d probably have told him not to be so cheap, and to go out and shoot more often – do work that isn’t assigned, that doesn’t have a paycheque attached to it. Some of the most popular work I posted on the blog – my Fela Kuti portraits, a portrait of writer Jay McInerney that ended up in the New Yorker a couple of years ago – were done on spec, and never published until the blog.

What advice do you have for new photographers?
Shoot, shoot, shoot. Also, are you doing this because you want to be “a photographer” or because you want to create images? Because it’s harder than ever to make a living doing this, while it’s easier than ever to take photos, to make them look the way you want, and to get them in front of an audience. You just might not get paid for a long time, if at all. Photography now is a lot like punk rock, which was my first big cultural moment and inspiration – everyone can form a band or make a record now, but you have to worry more about what you want to do and not the audience you want to have, or how big they are, or if the mainstream industry will accept you.

In a few works, describe how the industry has changed and how you changed with it?
Editorial portraiture, which was my bread and butter, seems to have very nearly disappeared. I’m not sure what’s replaced it, if anything has. It’s so much easier to distribute images and find an audience than it was when I started. Back then, you had to have an assignment for a newspaper or a magazine, or publish a book, or show in a gallery to get people to see your photos. Now it’s literally as easy as a couple of taps on a phone. That’s revolutionary, though I’m not sure if there’s a revenue model to match it yet. Maybe there might never be one. I don’t know. I do know that my photos have longer life out there in a digital ecosystem than they ever did on fading newsprint, or sitting in my negative binders or hard drives.

See more of Rick’s work at his Personal Blog

 

The Daily Edit – Christopher Anderson: TIME

- - The Daily Edit

TIME

Editor: Andrew Katz
Photographer: Christopher Anderson

Heidi: Athlete shoots can be notoriously short, how much time did you get with the talent?
Christopher: Not always short. Depends. In this case we were supposed to have an hour to set up and an hour with him. We probably could have gotten that but PSG PR was completely disorganized and seemed  not to have even briefed him properly nor prepared on their end. I was quite shocked, frankly. Hence no set up time which is the most ridiculous part of it was we were kept in a holding room, no chance to scout the area or set up until moments before he arrived. I am used to shooting fast but having no chance to set up or understand the space where the shoot will happen is crucial. My advice to photo editors and producers would be negotiating the set up time for the photographer is even more important than the amount of time you negotiate with the subject.

Since he’s a rising star, how did you direct him?
I quickly showed him a photograph I had made of Ronaldo and explained that I wanted to shoot him as a human being, not an object and that it needed to be a collaboration between us. I talked to him like a thinking person and said that, yes, I hope that he looks good in the image but if the image didn’t feel real, no one will care about it or remember it.

What was his reaction?
His face changed and he got into it.

Do you remember the first time you had a shoot where the timing suddenly got cut down to minutes? If so, what was your reaction then, and what is your reaction now?
It happens all the time. Too many times to describe them all here. The main thing I have learned is to always trust yourself and what you do. Know what you want from an image going in. That doesn’t mean to be so planned out that you can’t react. I am talking about knowing what you want an image to be about. For me it’s about authenticity. I stay focused on making a real image and I don’t get distracted or rattled by the time or the “tricks”. Never panic

The Daily Edit – Polaroids of Women: Dewey Nicks

- - The Daily Edit

Bijou Phillips & Emily Cadenhead, Bill Burgess House, Palm Springs

Cindy Crawford, Big Sur.

Isaac Mizrahi & Shalom Harlow, Pier 59 Studios,

Jasmine Guinness, Zuma Beach

Patricia Arquette, Morgan House, Hollywood

Natalie Portman, Upper East Side, New York

Patricia Arquette, Morgan House, Hollywood

Polaroids of Women

Book Designer: Tom Adler
Writer: Brad Dunning
Photographer: Dewey Nicks

Heidi: What made you want to keep all your Polaroids? how where they stored, organized?
Dewey: First and foremost we kept Polaroids for practical reasons: the Polaroids were a tool to help organize and identify film rolls. We made grease pencils notes on the Polaroids for the lab techs as color and exposure references for processing rolls of 120 and 35 mm which was considered the “real film”.

Because the Polaroids weren’t considered “important” they were looser.  I would have to reframe a bit when we changed to the Polaroid camera with its fixed lens. That change helped create a new momentum. The honesty of the Polaroid color reproduction creates an undeniable intimacy with the color and light quality of the original subject.   I always thought that Polaroids were worth saving because the image you see is a unique 1 of 1 photo with a surface that actually saw the light reflected through the lens, never to happen again.

Did you know you’d be doing a book someday?
I was working on 2 or 3 long-term projects that I imagined would be presented as books. Those projects were shot on negative or transparency film with the intention of making high quality images. The boxes of Polaroids were almost like scrapbooks of the moments we loved from shoots, testaments to favorite memories and once I rediscovered them, they rose to the top of the list.

How many did you have in total?
There were several thousand Polaroids.  Black and white Polapan, Polacolor, SX70, Fujicolor instant film were all thrown into a box and forgotten.

How long did the editing process take and what elements did a Polaroid have to have in order to make the edit?
I shared the box of Polaroids with my friend, designer Tom Adler, who creative directed many of the shoots included in the stack of Polaroids. Tom took the images and came back in a couple of days with layouts of an edit focused on portraits of Women. Some well-known women, some young faces, some friends and collaborators. All beautiful. I loved what Tom showed us and his first layout is basically what ended as the final book.

What do you miss about Polaroid?  Your work is often described as fun, energetic and your Polaroids have a type of freedom and unguarded moments, how do you satisfy that now?
Like pretty much everyone else I reach for my iPhone when I see something that I want to record quickly. As convenient as it is to have that technology in hand, nothing takes the place of viewing through the rangefinder of the camera knowing you get one quick chance to decide focus, exposure, and composition to make the picture, and you won’t be able to see the outcome for a couple minutes. It’s a risky process, but uniquely rewarding.

How did you and Brad collaborate for the forward? Did you have long chats, give him the box of images to sift through?
I was incredibly lucky to work with Brad on many photo shoots when he production designed and edited print stories. He had a lot of influence on many of the images in the book.  As a matter of fact, a few of the Polaroids used were from Brad’s personal collection from our shoots.  We spoke briefly about some of the specific Polaroids but Brad, who always references the most interesting details, wrote the foreward from his firsthand experience.

 

The Daily Edit – Medmen: J.R. Mankoff

- - The Daily Edit

MedMen

Photographer: J.R. Mankoff

Heidi: How did this campaign come about?
JR: Medmen reached out to me with a simple concept for their latest campaign. Let’s shoot individual images based on the locations of each of their stores (West hollywood, Beverly Hills, DTLA, Venice, San Diego, Orange County, etc…) and focus on simple clean imagery where the identity if the individual is not as important as their expression of individuality. I was familiar with Medmens previous campaigns in which they have been identifying the stigma that all people consume cannabis. They executed this by showing portraits of a wide range of individuals. I know this to be true, but consuming cannabis is still very much “under the table”, though legal here in California, and Medmen has done a great job making it approachable to everyone.

Tell us about the creative process
It truly was a complete collaboration and Medmen was very open to my suggestions. I scouted locations for three days with them to figure out what would be the best locations and the best times of day to shoot each image. Some initially concepts worked out well, but once we scouted the location, new ideas formed that shifted to what you see today. I believe that a location often dictates the image and its best not to force an image upon it. Medmen was very understanding of the way I liked to work and create and this allowed these images to truly reflect both our visions. Which is why I believe they are so strong.

Were the images shot full length than cropped later as a concept?
Cropping out the heads was always part of the concept, but needed to be shot. Every image was shot on a single frame, knowing that the crop would take away half the image. The actually finished images where much wider then the ones seen on the billboards. It was fun to shoot for a crop that wide. Everything was shot in camera. There were no green screens.

This is a 4 million dollar ad campaign, tell us about its reach.
There are 36 billboards around LA, Wildpostings everywhere, T-shirts and all their delivery trucks (where I believe there are hundreds) all have my images on them. Not to mention ads in local magazines and newspapers. They recently just put up a 7 story tall hand painted mural of my image in DTLA. It’s so cool to see! It really is a big push by them and I think it’s an important campaign to help educate or direct people to start educating themselves on cannabis consumption.

 

Here’s a clip on NRP about this ad campaign

You can see J.R.’s full campaign here

The Daily Edit – Wired: Anna Alexander

- - The Daily Edit

Wired

Photographer Director: Anna Alexander
Design Director: Ivylise Simones
Senior Photo Editor: Amy Silverman
Senior Photo Editor: Samantha Cooper
Associate Photo Editor: Lauren Joseph
Photo Editor: Sara Urbaez
Photo Researcher: Phuc Pham
Visuals Manager: Beth Holzer
Managing Art Director: Alyssa Walker
Photo Fellow: Halie Chavez
Photographer: Michellle Groskopf

WIRED celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. The magazine selected 25 icons of the digital revolution who have had the biggest impact on the worlds of technology, science, and business over the past quarter-century and hired LA street photographer Michelle Groskopf to take portraits of everyone in the issue. We caught up with photo director Anna Alexander about the making of this issue.

Heidi: Why did you feel it was important for one person to shoot the issue?
Anna: Since this was a very special issue celebrating Wired’s 25th anniversary, I felt that it needed a consistent aesthetic throughout. At the time, way back in March- when we were planning the issue- we didn’t have a design goal since we weren’t quite sure what stories would be the meat of it or what previous Wired signature “furniture” items we would resurrect, so we weren’t sure of the look. We knew we wanted it to be colorful and celebratory. We also knew that we were going to have fifty subjects contribute in some way, so – naturally- I HAD to photograph them all. I get possessive like that. We had been saving up for months, like you would for a vacation- a little out of each pay check (or issue in this case).

What were some of the obstacles, and some of the victories?
The main obstacle for this issue was time. Even though we started MONTHS before the issue closed, it still wasn’t enough time to send Michelle to shoot everyone AND edit AND sleep. There were around four subjects in Europe and Asia, but it would take a huge chunk of the precious time we had to send her there. She did not like hearing that, but I had to make the decision. For once, we actually had the funds to send her everywhere since we had saved for a very long time, but we could get double the portraits done in the US in the amount of time it would take her to go across the Atlantic to shoot only four.
Another huge obstacle was SUMMER VACATIONS. These well-known subjects actually DO go on vacation, just like us! Naturally, we invaded a couple of them on their family holidays. We also only had two cancellations, which were legitimate excuses and we were able to reshoot them. The only thing is that when there is a cancellation, we lost a full day of shooting (she shot around two subjects a day, based on geographic convenience to one another).

What type of direction did you give her?
I grabbed a selection of images from her site, both black and white and color. These were the images that I presented to the editors, so these were what I sent to her. “Like these.” I was honestly very open with art direction for her. I asked for black and white and color, vertical and horizontal, up close and full length and then for her to just go for it. “Do the thing you do that makes you feel it.” I don’t know what I said, but she got it. That is a large combination of frames if you match all of those options up with each other, especially in the short amount of time we had with each subject. I had NO idea how she worked with subjects since she’s a street photographer. They don’t necessarily interact with their subjects. They just compose each frame immediately and grab a shot without getting caught. I have to say, this technique worked really well with this project.

Was this a difficult issue to edit?
YES. Oh, very much YES. She sent so many, which I am very, very grateful for, actually. She also sent them all in high resolution final files, so if we had an emergency, which we did- of course, we were ready to fulfill. The edits that she sent to me had safe headshot shots, wonderful can-we-really-publish-this- shots, feet shots and hand shots. Lots of detail images too, just like what her signature style is.
I had to edit for the print features, then the print photo grid in the beginning of the issue, then for the online edition, then for marketing and promoting of the October anniversary event that all these subjects  are participating in.

 

Read about Michelle’s experience here.  
More information is available at WIRED.com/25.

The Daily Edit – The Sunday Times Magazine (London) : Joe Pugliese

- - The Daily Edit

The Sunday Times Magazine (London)

Picture Editor: Russ O’Connell
Photographer: Joe Pugliese

Heidi: Do you shoot and talk more often than not?
As I get further into my career my process has become more relaxed and personal. I like to connect with the subject through conversation before we start shooting, regardless of time constraints. I also like to read the mood and make sure I’m not pushing for something that the subject might not be feeling. It’s incremental, I start with safe and low impact setups and move into the looks that require more participation from the subject once I feel like we’re in a groove.

What did you talk about on set?
Since I knew that the piece was going to focus on his residency in LA as a jazz pianist, I asked him about what kind of music he likes to listen to (in general and during photo shoots) – of course he had a great suggestion and it was played on repeat, at his request. Then he and I had an amusing conversation about my name in which he proceeded to pronounce it with varying intonations as I photographed him. It was funny but not goofy, and he offered a lot of different gestures and expressions as he did that. I felt it was a way into him feeling comfortable enough to be slightly but not overly performative.

What was it about your name that amused him?
I think he enjoyed riffing on the idea of it being pronounced so many different ways. He slipped into that suave persona of his and almost sang the name over and over. I didn’t direct him much as he did this, I could tell it may have been a method for him to loosen up and get into giving me such expressive moments (especially with his hands)

I would imagine each session teaches you something different, what did you learn or take note of on this one.
I learn something about myself each time, each shoot is like a sign post marking a moment of my career- so I pay attention to things like how anxious or relaxed I am going into the shoot, how my expectations match the client’s, as well as the subjects’ expectations, and how I manage to satisfy all of those demands with the imagery. For some reason I was extremely comfortable with this shoot, despite it being a new client and a subject I had never met. I trusted that the magazine wanted me to have creative freedom and I thought that Jeff would play along, which he did. My takeaway was that despite my comfort level being perhaps higher than normal, I still had to approach the shoot with empathy and respect for the subject- because I just didn’t know if he would be willing to participate on the day. The plan is always to read the subject’s mood and react accordingly. It’s the only way to truly record what the sitter is giving the photographer.

When you say you read a person what is your shortlist of lets say three to five cues.
First and foremost, a willingness to be present and collaborative. This can be read as, are they rushed? Do they not feel the need to introduce themselves or be introduced? Are they not interested in conversation? If so, it’s not really a problem, it’s my job to react to that in a positive way and lean into being a director, making it easy for the person to understand what it is I’m looking to achieve. I first really learned this when I photographed Steve Jobs. I tried to have a very brief conversation and he just looked right in my eyes and said, “What would you like me to do?” I showed him the three looks I had set up and walked him from position to position. He did everything I asked and was on his way in a few minutes, and I was able to record his intensity in the images because of how he presented himself to me.

When I do get the feeling that someone is nervous, excited, or both, I try to describe to them what I’d like to accomplish on the shoot so they don’t feel like I’m surprising or tricking them. Trust is everything and there are some quick ways to show a subject that you can be trusted that really help the dynamic.

How did you prepare for this assignment?
For this shoot, being that Mr. Goldblum has enjoyed a long and storied career, I specifically did not do any image research on him. I generally don’t do any research on subjects that I already have an idea how they look, mostly to avoid being trapped in a visual reference created by someone else. Since my background is in photojournalism, I want to bring that reactive and responsive approach to portraiture. It helps me to be more open to understanding the personality of the subject if I haven’t seen too much imagery of them already.

Are you switching cameras and /shooting film and digital?
I shoot with medium format digital cameras for the studio looks, which are slower and more deliberate than my 35mm cameras. If the pace of the shoot outmatches the medium format, I always have a 35mm camera ready to go for some of the reportage-style images I like to get. The smaller format is also a nice way to change up the energy if things are feeling static. It’s nice to burn through a bunch of frames with 35mm and then go back to the more thoughtful pace of the big portrait camera.

The Daily Edit – Mother Jones: Zach Gross

- - The Daily Edit

Mother Jones

Creative Director: Carolyn Perot
Art Director: Adam Vieyra
Photo Editor: Mark Murrmann
Photographer:
Zach Gross

Did the magazine ask you for this treatment or did you put it forward as an idea?
I’ve been wanting to shoot more double exposures editorially and Mark suggested that could be a good way to go for these and he was supportive of me exploring that direction.

Is the overlay directly related to each person in the portrait?
Yes I used bills and paperwork as well as a photograph that the last subject took of the boarder wall between Mexico and the USA, she represented unocompanied minors in immigration cases in her previous job. Also she had napkin art she saved with beautiful messages from kids and families thanking her for helping them…I asked her to read them and she translated from Spanish, the messages were so beautiful and heart warming, there are hints of a message from one of the letters between the slats in the wall.

Where did that overlay content come from?
I talked to each subject on the phone before the shoots so I could hear their stories and experiences to get a clearer impression of how I would photographing them and to find out what the overlays might be. I asked them to send me some paper work and bills and I printed them out on plastic transparencies. I also asked them to set aside any other objects they have that was connected to their experiences.

How did you direct the subjects during the portrait sessions?
My approach really depends on the subject. I definitely have preconceived ideas and directions for the types of images that I’m looking for…but the subjects individuality play heavily on the final images. The way I shoot is a collaboration. I want to get to a place where they feel comfortable…and I want them to participate.

The Daily Edit – Santa Barbara Magazine: Peter Amend

- - The Daily Edit

Santa Barbara Magazine

Creative Consultant: James Timmins
Photographer:
Peter Amend

Heidi: How many days was your road trip?  
Peter:We spent about three days together on the road – which gave us time to enjoy the trip and not feel rushed or stressed out when the weather or light wasn’t right. Also – because we had plenty of time, it felt more like a ‘trip’ than a ‘shoot’, which always translates to a more authentic story and experience. Eryns boyfriend Michael accompanied too – bringing some good vibes to the mix as well.

Did you have a shot list or was the shoot more organic? 
I try to avoid having a shot list, whenever possible. We certainly had a moodboard of themes and styles we were hoping for – but there were few ‘shots’ that had been pre produced. I like to think that my production style involves 50% preparation, and 50% magic. I don’t like to be so pigeonholed into a location or ‘shot list’, that you lose the ability to float on the freedom of inspiration.

Did you also drive in a vintage rig?
Firstly, the vans from Dustie Wagens are sweet – you can have your own Volkswagen experience by renting them locally in SB, without having to own and maintain one.  But my ‘home base’ on the road consists of a 2011 Toyota Tacoma, with a camper shell & rooftop tent. Because most of my work revolves around remote locations, it’s really important to me to have a reliable rig for transportation, gear storage, and sleeping quarters. I’ll always have a soft spot for vintage vans – my first two vehicles were VW’s – but as any owner knows, you’re gonna need a tow truck company on speed dial. And that’s not an idea I can comfortably rely on – especially when a job is on the line.  Thankfully, we had it available to yank the van once it stalled out and starter died on a three-point turn on a windy road.

How many hours per day did you spend with Eryn? 
Aside from sleeping, we were together the entire trip! It’s really important for me to work with subjects that are not only talented and photogenic – but also genuinely enjoyable humans. Much of what I love to photograph revolves around human interactions with nature – and it’s important for me to have a relational connection based on trust and friendship.

Did you and she discuss the plans for the day and they figure out the key shots? 
We had a rough idea of what the day looked like as far as locations, and potential shots – although some of my favorite images were when we pulled over on a side road after seeing a poppy-covered hillside, perfectly matching the color of the VW. These kind of things can’t be planned – so that flexibility is important.

Did you have shots figured out in your mind before you started? 
One of my favorites was Eryn carving on her skateboard in front of the VW van that turned out just like we had hoped. There were a few images I had in mind that didn’t make the spread – a portrait of Eryn on her longboard in front of a gloomy gray Santa Barbara fog bank, and another of Michael throwing up a ‘shaka’ from underwater. Sometimes you imagine a photo and it turns out just like you saw it in your imagination – those moments are what gives you a lot of satisfaction as a photographer – aligning the technical ability with the imaginative forecast and creative preparation.

Did you have an assistant or was it just you?
I find that having an assistant is a huge distraction – so nope, it was just me. As much as I’d love to have assistance with lighting scenarios, gear loadouts, or even someone to drive when I’m exhausted – I feel like having a small footprint translates well to the experience I try to provide the client.

The Daily Edit: Interview with Frank Ockenfels Part Two

- - The Daily Edit

Heidi: Have you ever been hired for strictly illustration?
Frank: No. I’ve been hired to journal and collage, but I’ve never been hired to draw or  illustrate something.

If you were offered an illustration project would you take it?
I don’t know. That’s a good question. I think I’d become Beckett at that point. I’d be Beckett and go like, “Eh, no, that’s not me.” Which is what he says.

Since I’m not a skilled illustrator, I’d probably overthink it. But at the same point I might actually embrace it and dive into it and see what’s there. My ability to shoot faces and form is pretty much “this is what it is.” I follow a lot of illustrators that I think are amazing, and I’m a huge Ralph Steadman fan.

Do you find collage or design easier?
Years ago, Drew Hodges, who used to have a company that did all of the Broadway advertising  hired me for the Diary of Anne Frank. He wanted the advertising to be a visual diary using pictures of Natalie Portman as Anne Frank. I laughed because at the time I was a 40-year-old man and he wanted me to design a page like a young teenage girl. My handwriting isn’t the same. There’s nothing even close, though I can put the pictures together.

We agreed on doing two rounds and at the end of two rounds if they didn’t get it then that’s the time for me to walk away. We went through two rounds and sure enough they kept on… the powers that be were all freaked out, didn’t know what to do with it. They ended up using it just in a different context.

I’d done a couple of journal pieces for magazines but I started putting a disclaimer saying, “If you ask me to do this and you want to use the piece you have to use it as a whole, you can’t crop it. You can’t cherry pick out of what I’ve done because, to me, when I do every single edge of the page it’s connected by what’s happening on the page. If you don’t have the whole thing it doesn’t make any sense

How did you establish your own voice while assisting?
I look at the people that I worked for, and consciously didn’t work for portrait photographers for that very reason. I worked for interior photographers.

When Beckett talks to you, do you feel like he’s asking you questions as his dad or he’s asking a photographer?
That’s a good question. I don’t know. He so rarely wants to talk about photography.

How do you answer them? That’s probably the better question. Do you answer like a dad or do you answer like a photographer?
I answer as a photographer. I’ve taught enough that when people ask me questions and I realize what they’re asking me I make sure that I’m answering them honestly.

And how much of yourself do you see in him as far as being an artist?
Well, I think it’s funny, at 18, which is where he is right now, he is definitely very similar who I was at 18

Who were you at 18?
I knew I could take pictures, I liked taking pictures, I wasn’t committed to it, I didn’t do it 24 hours a day.

I grew up in a household where we’d do summerstock every summer with my mom because it was all about theatre and I’d take pictures. That made sense to me. It was my one thing but didn’t ever see it as an actual thing I could do professionally. I didn’t understand that. So Beckett is surrounded by a mother being a painter and father being a photographer. He’s surrounded by that. He see’s it can be a profession, it’s a lifestyle one can have. They have a nice home. They’re able to feed us. We live a good life, considering. I see him being kind of a  bit irreverent to the process and not really a 100% committed, and a little scattered.

When did it become more focused for you?
I would say it happened when I was in my– I think in my end of my second year in college when we started taking studio classes. I started going in to make sure I could do the studio stuff.

The work on your site now is varied, is that a good approach?
My website is an example of both a good and a bad thing.

I often get notes from industry people and enthusiasts, “I just spent hours looking at your website. It was just so enjoyable.” It’s so all over the place that if someone in advertising is going to hire me, it’s a tremendously hard sell because somebody’s who is not creative and who’s not visual, looks at a site like this and says, “I don’t know what they do. They’re all over the place. What is their style? What are we going to get if we hire this person?”

Isn’t the work Carol curates for you on EyeForward much more of a narrowed edit?
Probably so but not because people like everything. If you look at my website, I give people options of what they want to look at and I try to gear that towards let’s dumb this down. But at the same point, I think it’s interesting to see who you have to go talk to about getting a job nowadays and I think it even goes to the point of photography.

Tell us how things have changed.
You look at photography now, and most photographers, which I kind of make a joke about. Jeff Dunas does this photographers breakfast once a year and it’s  about 25 of us. We get together and sit around this table having breakfast at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club and discuss life. We discuss what happened in the last year and we’ll tell stories to each other.  Everyone from Douglas Kirkland to Gerhard Ludwig attends, it’s a wide variety of photographers, Claxton and Marshall and Herman Leonard.

We sit around and talk as if we are all on the same page and one of the younger guys was talking about something and an older photographers looked at him and said, “Have you ever shot chrome?” and the kid looked at him, ” I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He goes, “Like chrome. Like fly zone.” He goes, “Oh, well no. I haven’t.” He says, “Try it. Go do that one time. Go see what it’s like “THAT will teach you how to be a photographer.”

Shooting chrome film makes you really have to focus while digital has made it so much easier to fix mistakes so quickly. You see immediately that you don’t have the right exposure. You see what’s working and what’s not working. Where when I was a kid I had to shoot chrome. We’d shoot a polaroid and if something changed in the middle of it all, well it is what it is, and you had to be within a half stop of a decent exposure or the whole thing would go south and you’d be overexposed, or the color temperature was wrong, or the light was going off too much, or a good blend of shadow wasn’t there. It’s very similar in the sense of the people you might work for nowadays. Their education might not be in the creative industry. There’s more of a business aspect of it.

Switching gears a bit, did you know that David Bowie wasn’t well?
No. No, I didn’t.

I worked with him kind of on and off over the years. We did 16 shoots with David over a nine-year period. And toward the end that time he said, “We must have done enough for a book.” I laughed and I said, “Well, I don’t know.” that’s when I put stuff together to show him.

He and I sat and looked at it once and then I didn’t see him for a bit. Later he had that episode which happened in Europe where he was sick — then from there, it got quiet. He said to me when I saw him last he wanted to do, we needed to do one more shoot.

I was going back and forth from New York and I really wanted David to sit down with me and discuss each shoot because that, to me, would be an interesting book. Why’d you pick this kid, me, to go to? To constantly call and say, “Hey, I need pictures for this and pictures for that.” He could’ve asked anybody. But he asked me and it’s always been so baffling. I never was able to ask him that question “What did you see? You’re David Bowie. You could’ve asked anybody in to basically take your money and take pictures.” In my understanding of our collaborations, I think he asked me because I never wasted his time. I always tried to do something different each time and he appreciated that.

I’m sure he probably just didn’t want anybody to see him that way. When you found out that he had passed away, how did you feel?
Well, it was weird because it was in the middle of the night in Los Angeles when they announced it. And my phone started beeping which was in the other room and it wouldn’t just stop beeping. What’s going on?” It was all these people calling me, asking me, “Did you know David died?” Then people asking for pictures of David, obviously. And I was just kind of stunned and I kind of got back into bed. And I kind of woke up Diane and I said, “David’s dead.” David died.

I laid there very quietly thinking about it. And I’m not being surprised. I don’t know why I wasn’t surprised and then oddly enough, two weeks later, I’m in London and there was 10 times more news than in the United States. It was all over the press. It was on every magazine cover magazine, every newspaper every day was– the conversation about David all over the television.

There’s an amazing exhibition, ‘David Bowie Is’, that’s been roaming around,  prior to his death even. It’ll be interesting to see how I feel walking through it now, you know?

The Daily Edit – Interview with Frank Ockenfels Part One

- - The Daily Edit

Photographs  by Beckett Ockenfels

 

Frank Ockenfels

We talk with Frank Ockenfels about fatherhood, photography, and raising boys one of whom is a budding photographer.

Heidi: Why do you think your older son Beckett is a good photographer?
Frank: Composition and light. He figured it out quickly which is kind of bizarre and he knew what good light was which is kind of funny because I would say that’s the biggest problem with a lot of younger photographers. He sees light really quickly and understands this is a good piece of light, or that over there is an interesting piece of light, even if it’s the most basic. I built the daylight studio upstairs and he immediately saw how beautiful the light was and how simple it was. Almost so much that he wouldn’t take a light out and try to light something differently.

So he just looks for the available light and well, he sees it. Now, will he use it is another question! But when he goes to take pictures for himself he’s always trying something. He’s done simple and when he does simple, he doesn’t think much of it.

A friend of his asked him to do a couple of lookbooks for friends who are young fashion designers. And he dismisses the pictures, but the light is beautiful and simple and exactly what is needed as people want to see the clothes and the fabric. But then on the same hand he’ll turn around and use a LED panel that we have here. It can be set to constantly change colors so he shot images with the it rotating like a party light, moving and flowing through things. Then he was doing slow-motion pictures of his friends blurred and the colors were moving through it. When I was 17 THAT was not my brain.

Has Beckett taken any formal photography classes?
Diane found a photo class for high school kids at SVA. He ended up taking a class from a photographer Clay Patrick McBride I met when I was just a kid.

Clay told me “Go be a photographer, man. Your work is great.” And so, oddly enough, without us knowing it, he ends up in Clay’s studio lighting class.

Anybody who was around me started laughing, “But, he stands around you all the time. Why would he go take a class like this?”  and I thought he should take the class and forget he know’s anything and listen. Listen and do it the way the instructor is telling you and then take it and learn that process. It’s not like telling you do it the for the rest of your life like that.

You’re learning and feeling how they see. But first, execute what they’re asking you to do. He and Clay totally butted heads because Beckett is very straightforward. If he likes something he likes it, if he doesn’t he doesn’t. If he doesn’t like to do a certain style he doesn’t want to do the assignment.

What do you say to encourage him?
My response:  “Well, welcome to the world of photography. You’re always going to get assignments you don’t want to do. But you have to go above and beyond what that is. I think the hardest jobs to do are the ones that everyone thinks you’re amazing at. And the ones that are the easiest sometimes, which people don’t really get praised for, are the ones where you are given something to push.

If the directive is “Shoot this can on this white seamless” I think that’s easy because you know you can do it, but the fun part is how much more are you able to push it?  It’s funny to watch your kid at 17 have just such an incredible eye and not really 100% embrace it.

Nowadays his generation of people do multiple things. You become a photographer, get connections, then become a fashion designer, you can be both. You can be an actor and a fashion designer. Actor, musician. Musician, actor. Everything is overlapped in using the opportunities to get you where you want to go. And using your education along the way to do so.

How much does Beckett talk about you influencing him?
Not at all.
When he wants to do something he’ll say, “Just tell me how you did this.”
And I’ll say, “Okay, and I still need to show you?”
“No. Just tell me.”

And then, he’ll go and try it himself and he’ll find his own answer to whatever that is, which is great. Clay told him, “Don’t be your dad. You’ve got to be yourself.”  Which at 17 or 18 years old can be tough, he’s going to be influenced by me. He’s standing around me, he works for me, he sees how I shoot. Like any assistant would be influenced by the photographer they work for when they go to do those things for themselves. They’re definitely going to have in their brain, “Oh, this is how I just saw it done.” The key is what you do with that knowledge, and where you push yourself to take it.

 

Paintings by Diane Ockenfels

How did you raise two boys?
I didn’t raise the kids, Diane did. She really was always here for them, when they were younger, they would always rely on her more. If something went wrong, they would immediately go to her, not to me, which was tough when I realized it.

At what point did you start worrying about your boys?
I think with the boys, it’s interesting to see them grow up and all of a sudden being worried.

Every parent worries about what the kid’s going to become. You want them to succeed at what they do. With Cooper, my younger one, he started out being the kid who needed more hands-on because he was not very focused. And all of a sudden he hit high school, we don’t worry about him at all. He goes to school at 6 o’clock in the morning and comes home at 9 o’clock every night. And he’s just tremendously active and proactive in the sense he’s A, B student plus he’s involved in the theatre program. He wanted to play bass about a year and a half ago and just started learning online. Essentially he taught himself how to play. Now he’s in the school jazz band and they’re teaching him how to read music.

Where Beckett is the complete polar opposite. He’s a tremendously talented photographer but doesn’t push forward at all — doesn’t have that thing to every single day stand up and go take a picture.

Did you take photos everyday as a teenager?
I probably didn’t have that till I got to New York and probably my third year of college is when I finally hit it where I was like, Oh! This is something you do every day. Every single day, you wake up and you have to take pictures and to basically answer that question that’s in your head. That is the reason why you would become a photographer. Why is it that one person figures it out while another person doesn’t figure it out? There is no rhyme or reason even though there’s a passion in photography on both ends equally. At my workshops people are looking for me to for the answer, I wish I had the golden ticket. “Look at my book and tell me why I can’t get a job.” I tell them,

“Don’t look at me. I can tell you what I think and what I see in your work and what I don’t see in your work and how you’re presenting it to me, but I’m not the one hiring.”

 

to be continued next week…

 

 

The Daily Edit – The Atlantic: Maciek Jasik

- - The Daily Edit

 

The Atlantic


Creative Director:
David Sommerville
Art Director: Paul Spella
Photographer: Maciek Jasik


Heidi: What type of direction did you get from the magazine?

Maciek: The Atlantic wanted an abstract artistic way to show gender dysphoria in youth. So the soft, colorful approach of my ‘A Thousand Souls’ project appealed to them, as well as my ‘Bypassing the Rational’ series of nudes, which I shoot in a way that’s very obscured and indistinct. They also inquired about a double exposure element that could show both genders in the frame, which I was able to do in-camera with two trans youth.

How did you decide casting or are those people mentioned in the story?
I took care of casting by contacting several trans organizations in NYC and other cities. Word got out to the trans community and several people got in touch. I actually shot many people for the shoot, but only a few made it into the final story. I would receive photos, forward them to the magazine, confirm mutual interest and invite them to the studio. None of them were mentioned in the actual story.
Was this done in camera or post?
All the effects you see were performed in-camera. They’re all very lo-fi techniques that I’ve developed over time. I don’t like to get too involved in that conversation, but I will say it involves placing different elements in front of the camera to alter the focus or add color to the image.
Why did you choose those particular colors?
I tend to combine warm and cool colors in all my images to maintain a balance visually. I never plan on any specific colors until I am there, shooting with the person. So it’s generally an intuitive process informed by many years of combining colors and generally knowing what works and what doesn’t.
What direction did you give the subjects during the shoot?
If I don’t need to say anything, I won’t, as it’s often better to just see what the subject will do without having to interfere. For the full-body shot, the magazine had suggested the subject looking down or away and I thought that was a good idea, to make the image less deliberate. Two pairs of people came together, so that made shooting easier, as they were comfortable with each other and we would all chat during the shoot.