Posts by: Heidi Volpe

The Daily Edit – Peden + Munk

- - The Daily Edit

 

Visuals Editor: Elizabeth Jaime
Creative director: Alex Grossman
Art director: Kristin Eddington
Visuals Director: Alex Pollack
Photo Assistant: Laura Murray (staff)
Photographers:  Peden+Munk 


Heidi: How did the interaction with the subject change with a phone in hand rather than a camera with a lens?
Peden+Munk: You can maintain eye contact with a model and really play off that deeper connection that just can’t be done with an SLR in front of your face. Especially when photographing real ppl.  The iPhone is not intimidating.  It allows people to open up and show their personalities.  It is familiar.  Everyone has one, from your grandmother to your nephew.  Composing an image by looking at a live view is different than looking through a viewfinder. I (Taylor)  found that I was more conscious of the composition.

Did the shoot feel less formal?
Yes, it did. We had a small crew and were able to walk the streets, visit markets, buy a lot of street food and keep it moving. It was important to us to keep it spontaneous.  It’s travel, we know the best experiences happen when you relax and go with the flow  (and follow the good light). We wanted to make room for magic moments you can’t predict.

What type of different circumstances did you face using the iPhone instead of a camera?
There was a different workflow We were able to edit in coffee shops, out for drinks, in the subway.  It was a fantastic and liberating to be able to work on the fly and not always be on the computer.

We had to think more about the quality of light since we couldn’t use strobes. The iPhone works best in bright natural light. We wanted to embrace the sun and the harsh shadows. Thankfully our subjects were gorgeous and took the light really well.

Since this is the first time the magazine showcased a iPhone image on the cover it underscores their trust in you. How did this impact you, if at all?
We have a great relationship with the CD Alex Grossman.  We are true collaborators and over the years he has come to trust us.  We are constantly pushing each other and I think that is where really healthy creative progress is made.

We worked with Alex from the conception of the idea and contribute to its growth. In our first trip to Oaxaca, we took a bunch of test photos on the iPhone of everything from colored walls, people, places and markets. We then made an edit of those images went to Alex’s office and presented him with our vision of the cover. These images helped guide us when we went back to do the cover.

Travel and food are such a natural extension of  iPhone images, what other message do you feel like this assignment projects about photography?
It really challenges the “no-make up/ make-up look”.  Most photographers realize it is so much more difficult creating an effortless look. In the magazine world, there are meetings and teams of creatives and so much research that goes into making beautiful imagery and stories.  This project highlights the concept that Ansel Adams so keenly spoke to  “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”

This assignment has more to do with good concept, casting, styling and directing talent than the camera that takes the picture. Soon technology will be so good you won’t need a big DSLR, but good ideas never go out of fashion. As my dad who is also a photographer says, “its what’s in front of the lens that’s important”.

Do you feel like this project empowers everyone to be a photographer and in turn undercut the skill involved to take skillful photos?
We think it inspires people to shoot better.  It’s so easy to test and experiment that it pushes average photographers beyond what they think they are capable of.

The iPhone has really closed the gap between amateur and professional photographers. And now there is really no gap between the conception of a shot to the realization of one. For us, the iPhone is just another tool in our toolbox.

InfoTrends’ most recent worldwide image capture forecast takes a conservative route estimating consumers will take 1.2 trillion photos in 2017, do you ever feel threatened by the notion?
No.  So much more goes into being a successful photographer than taking good pictures.  A typical consumer would have a steep learning curve when it comes to client relations, business and the creative process.  That being said,  I (Jen) continually say that anything that ups the game is welcome.

The Daily Promo – Christopher Stolz

- - The Daily Promo

 

Christopher Stolz

Who printed it?
Newspaper Club printed it, they did an excellent job and even reached out to me before they printed to double check print quality. I really like the ease of use they provide.

Who designed it?
I got input from my graphic designer friend but this is my first paper so I designed it myself. I used one of the basic templates provided by Newspaper Club to keep it simple. I wanted the promo to feel like an old paper you’d pick up from a paperboy.

Originally, I tried to do small postcards, but my designer friend told me, “you’re a big man, you need a big paper,” so I listened to that advice.

Who edited the images?
I wanted to show the work that I’d want to look at in a newspaper, so I edited the images myself. These are very personal images to me. I really enjoyed making them and they’re kind of raw, imperfect. They have a feel to them that I want in all my images.

How many did you make?
I made 100 prints, they went a lot quicker than I thought they would. I’m going to shoot for 300 next time I make a promo this size.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
I plan on sending out bi-annual promos this year and eventually quarterly next year. I like the idea of issues.

The Daily Edit – Fortune Magazine: Tony Luong

- - The Daily Edit

 

Fortune Magazine

Art Director: Peter Herbert
Photo Editor: Armin Harris
Associate Art Directors: Josue Evila, Michael Solita
Senior Designer: Julia Bohan
Photographer: Tony Luong

Heidi: I know this shoot presented you with some obstacles, what did you learn about yourself from this?
Tony: I often get hung up on which setups to do first, last, etc and then slowly turn into a time bomb of sorts. I learned that I can actually trust my instincts at times and allow that initial reaction to make it’s way to the surface without being hindered by apprehension and doubt. This process  allowed me to learn what pictures I like to make.

Great assistants are an asset on every single shoot, what skills did both Anthony Tulliani and Jake Belcher bring to the table?  How long have you worked with them?
I have worked with Jake quite a bit but it was my first time working with Anthony. They both bring a lot to the table in terms of knowledge, patience and having great communication skills, they are also talented photographers themselves. It helps when everyone involved is invested in the project rather than think their role is to just schlep gear around. It’s also nice being able to hang out outside of shooting time rather than feeling like you’re on a bad date.

Tell us about the time management crisis you had and how you overcame it all.
The first shoot day, we were on the 36th floor of State Street where we scouted and setup around 11am. It was my understanding that we would be shooting the CEO of State Street from 1-2pm and then another associate of the company from 3-4pm and we would have access to both the 35th and 36th floors for the entirety of the shoot (the 36th floor had more opportunities).

At about 12:30, we were told that the 36th floor closes at 3pm and that we would have be out and off that floor by then.  This last minute surprise with a half hour remaining before the first shoot began, I went over with Anthony that we would have to break down all the gear immediately upon finishing and even during this 1-2pm shoot in order to have enough time to re-setup for the second shoot on the 35th floor before 3pm. Fortunately, I keep things somewhat simple and minimal gear-wise so we were able to transport everything fairly quickly. Fortunately, we still managed to get 4 setups in with each subject.

The second day involved a group shot of 8 women at the firm, I was given permission to be a fly on the wall during the meeting and then was told I would have 15 minutes after the meeting for a more formal portrait. I was shown the room that we would be shooting in Friday afternoon after both shoots had wrapped and had scouted a spot. The morning of the shoot day, we arrived an hour and a half in advance to setup only to be told as we began unpacking that the room we were in wasn’t actually approved. We were then told that we could go back to the 35th floor conference room where we shot on the first day to do the group pictures. We packed up, went to the 35th floor conference room and luckily were able to apply the same concepts and ideas for light and positioning of subjects.

How many images did you turn in despite the hiccups?
I turned in probably 350 images for a lo res edit and then there were 7 or 8 high res in the end for both print and web.

A few outtakes below

What kind of direction did you get from the magazine?
Since this was my first assignment for Fortune, Armin sent over some previous examples of how the stories get laid out; then we had a call and discussed l shot list. We both realized we had similar ideas about assignment work like this. Instead of conforming to what the office presents, we asked how can we turn the space into something for ourselves. Be by the use of a harsher light or showing the seamless, we disrupted the fact that we are shooting in an office space. Armin put complete trust in me and that’s was great.

What was the Fearless Girl statue publicity stunt and how did that key into this assignment?
The Fearless Girl state was part of a marketing push by State Street Global Advisors as an attempt to take on gender diversity in the finance world. This laid the groundwork and was a good jumping off point for the conversation that was had during the shoot about how important female mentorship and leadership in a predominately male industry is.

Tell us about the opening image.
The opening image is of the Fearless Girl statue from over the shoulder and the view you would see if you were in Wall Street at the installation. Originally there was intentions of using an image from the shoot to be the opener but in the end, Fortune decided to go with what you see here to further push a more cohesive look throughout the issue and round out the package of other stories revolving around investment guides. I’m still happy with how the turn pages came out.

The Daily Promo – Brian Lowe

- - The Daily Promo

Brian Lowe


Who printed it?

I printed the images on Hahnemuhle Fine Art Rag paper in my studio. I really love the feel of this paper and use it in my printed portfolio. I also printed my contact info on the back. I didn’t  want my name to interrupt the print. 

Who designed it?
I did. After a lot of research, and also scanning multiple formats on @aphotoeditor’s insta. I ultimately decided I wanted this  piece to feel more personal in hopes that you would want to keep a print or two. 

Who edited the images?
I did.  Selected prints were sent to editors, creatives and art producers of work that I want to get hired more to do. Portraits & active work. 

How many did you make?
100 boxes. 8 prints each. 

How many times a year do you send out promos?
1 big printed piece a year, that goes out to everybody for the past 3 years + selected prints to existing and potential clients every quarter. About 8 to 12.  

Who made the box for you?  
Design Aglow  a company out of  Canada made the box and Template cast with my font & name.  

The Daily Edit – Agei.st / David Harry Stewart

- - The Daily Edit

Agei.st

Founding Partner: David Harry Stewart
Founding Partner: Matt Hirst
Digital Media Specialist: Ed Delfs
Women’s Content Director: Tara Shannon

We have a fantastic newsletter you can get by signing up here.

Heidi: Here’s a Google search that gives us a snapshot of what  50, 60 and 70 years of age looks like.

How do you see AGEI.ST changing the current visual landscape on this?
David: Do you know anyone who looks like that Google image search you did? They seem like slow, medicalized, out to pasture diminished people in need of some sort of help. True, there are those people, but I am not one of them, and neither are the people I know. We are at the very height of our powers, and to present us in a medicalized way is just not real, or effective communication.

The first big issue we talk about with people over 50 is the visual vocabulary used. The major issue is not a capacity or capability question, it’s a visual issue, and that vocabulary was entirely bankrupt. When I photograph people for AGEIST, it is about self-empowerment, because it is the contrary is what is shown in the media: disempowerment. Our people are shown to be strong because they are strong, stronger than many of them realize. If we can move the needle on two points, strong and modern, we have made an enormous impact.

You’ve spent your career photographing vibrant, youthful beautiful people, defining the lifestyle category. What drove you to explore this seasoned group of people, which in turn throws a new lens on this generation?
Thank you for that, it’s true I sort of defined that category, but there is more to life than the 18-28 age group, and I wanted to get with what my own reality is. I’m 58, and I have been doing advertising and editorial work for 35 years, and all the while, the people I am photographing seem to stay the same age: 18-28. If you look at the spending power of people over 50 it’s $5 trillion/year in the US alone. If you look at millennials it’s several decimal points from that. This was the commercial driver of doing AGEIST, but from a personal standpoint, photographers are always strongest when they are doing what they know best. I can work with 20-year-olds very well, and I really enjoy it. But what is my unique contribution? Maybe it is more with people like myself.

Why is this project important to you and how did this develop?
It started with wondering why media is so millennial obsessed, and there are real reasons for it, but almost none of them are based in fact. Why are we spending such a giant amount of resources communicating with people who don’t have the spending power to buy the product? At this point, we realized we needed to question pretty much everything and to rewrite the playbook. The first thing was the visuals, what does it mean to be an AGEIST person and how do they look compared with other imagery out there? That took a while to understand. Our first iteration was a newsletter, which is still hugely popular.

When people go to our site, the first thing that people notice is how we look.  We have a unique and powerful POV. I would like to take all the credit for that, but it is really a team effort.

Your piece about tackling life after 50 is close to 100,000 hits on LinkedIn. Since most of your reach is digital are you considering print?
That article is actually over 135k now and climbing. In terms of exposure, and in terms of incoming comments and emails, it’s vast. If I do a cover for The New York Times Magazine, of which I have done several, maybe I will get 1 email. With AGEIST, we get flooded with them daily. It’s incredible. The button that we hit is so powerful and there is so much pent-up feeling out there; it humbles me every day.

I love print. To me print is a luxury product, it is premium as compared to the disposability and poverty of real estate that one gets on digital. But starting a print magazine, is a big commitment. We will do it at some point, but right now we don’t have the bandwidth to do it to the high level we would want to.

Who is on your team and what are their roles?
I do the photographs, the interviews and the creative direction. Our director of publishing takes the interviews and makes them sound great. He also oversees the social channels, the newsletter and all our content output.  Matt Hirst does strategy, research and finance. Ed Delfs is our digital media expert and big brand outreach. All of us work together on a daily basis along with the other team members.  It’s an A-level team, everyone plays at a very high level. We also have a rather esteemed group who advise us, including the CEO of HAVAS North America, and the head of BMW strategy. We have attracted the attention of some extremely influential people. I am regularly amazed by the people who are reaching out to us for our thoughts on things or wanting to be included in the AGEIST site.

How are you using quantitative data?
I have always been curious about brand values, brand messaging, and how to best serve that.

With our AGEIST clients, I want to make sure we are getting them the best possible results. We start with qualitative insights gathered from deep in-person interviews. We then boil those down to find specific behavioral drivers. These insights help us to ideate with the client and the social team about what those could look like and what channels we think would work best. Then we test in market, rinse and repeat until we really have it dialed in. Only then do we produce and shoot the high quality work that gets the big media push.

Tell us how you gather your information?
The main strategic model we have created for AGEIST relies on qualitative analysis.  We use our proprietary information, gathered from hundreds of interviews, to inform and educate our clients about what’s up with this remarkable new emerging group of adults. Never before has a 50-year-old had every reason to believe they are only 1/2 way through their lives. That has enormous ramifications on people’s value systems, their purchasing habits and most essentially, how they see themselves in the future. What we do is identify people we think are in this leading edge group living in a new way. I want to know their story, but I also want to know what are they doing now, what are they into, what do they want to learn, how do they feel about different brands, products, media.  We take all this information, fully timecoded, and unpack it, combine it with the hundreds of other interviews, and then pull out and correlate platforms and drivers of behaviours. With this, we can make a predictive model that helps us look forward into how they will feel about certain services, products or communications.

Does every photographer secretly want to be an interviewer? Is this simply the same process of taking a portrait but with words instead?
Personally, I’m a very curious person, and when I photograph someone for a magazine or an ad, it’s a privileged position. Generally, this person is of some interest or accomplishment, or I wouldn’t have been sent in. So I use that time to banter, make jokes, but also to chat with them about what’s they are into.

The process of making a photograph, if I can simplify something that is not so simple, is that we observe, we interpret and we record, which is very much like interviewing. With a great model, it’s like tennis, she hits the ball one way, then I hit it back, on and on. With portraits, it’s still always a partnership. People may not know what’s happening as I chatter away with them, but we are collaborating towards an image that I am focusing on getting. Of course, my vision is only half of that partnership. What the other person is bringing often makes for something wonderful and better than anything I could have pre-visualized.

Would you agree that you’re getting data from people but in a much more transparent and direct way? Whereas let’s say most practices are more subversive?
I would agree with that. We talk. If you don’t want to tell me something, you don’t. It’s not an interrogation, it’s a very pleasant 2-way conversation where I am just really curious about this other person.

What have you learned about yourself as a photographer in this process?
That I love photography. We do interviews, we make videos, we give presentations, we create campaigns, all of which is awesome. But my first love, the one I will never abandon, is photography. It is the driving organisational principle of my life. The still image as a reflective piece of art is a magical object. I have been looking at snapshots, contact sheets, prints and digital images for 50 years, and it holds me like nothing else.

Are you approaching your photography in a new way with this project?
Yes, I am. As someone once told me “if you want to get into the chair across the room, you need to get out of the chair you are in”. I edited my personal site, removing much of the younger lifestyle work. It was scary to do that, as that work was decades in the making.

But you have to choose your lane, and if I was going to do AGEIST, it just didn’t make sense to have the happy snap young people in there. It was a totally different expression. The work now comes from a very different place. It’s not so much “how will clients relate to this”, as “how do I like it and how will my gang in AGEIST like it”. How can I make the most powerful image possible at this moment?

Despite my fears, I am now contacted by advertising and editorial clients to work with them because of this new work.

Your interview with Tara Shannon is a terrific example a woman that has deep roots in the high fashion industry modelling for Irving Penn and Richard Avedon amid many others. Her voice is an excellent discussion about models at 61 and what that wisdom brings to a shoot.
Thanks, that was a great conversation I had with her. She is a fantastic model and someone who has given considerable thought to the idea of invisibility/value as it intersects with age. People can read that here.



Age is a truly a gift. What do you think gets lost in this younger generation?
It’s a bit unfair to ask a 30-year-old to understand a 55-year-old. But it’s the same for me. I really don’t know what it’s like to be 80, I can guess, but I won’t really know until I am there. One of the shocking things about AGEIST is that about 1/3 of our audience is under 30. That is utterly surprising to me and completely unintentional. What they tell us is that we show being older as being filled with possibility, being cool, being people who they aspire to be. So for younger people, we are a north star.

I really dislike the whole idea of age brackets. The only reason we put people’s ages on AGEIST is it’s an interesting data point. But we don’t talk about age, it’s better to just say this person is rad, and they happen to be whatever age. It’s a bit insulting to say to anyone of any age “wow that’s great for someone your age”. That’s not helpful to say to an 8-year-old or an 80-year-old. When someone is cool, it doesn’t matter what age they are, they are just cool.

Why do you think her story is striking a chord with people?
Well, she is, for one thing, an incredible model. She is also a very smart articulate woman of 61 who knows what’s up. Not everyone at 61 can look like Tara, but so many people relate to what she is saying about invisibility and worth in society. Once you tell a group of people who are used to being ignored and are essentially invisible, that now we see them, and we understand them, well that is a massively powerful thing to do.

 

 

 

 

 

The Daily Promo – Gabriela Herman

- - The Daily Promo

Gabriela Herman

Who printed it?
This was printed by Smart Press. I’ve used them previously for other promos and have been pleased. 

Who designed it?
My patient and thoughtful husband worked on the piece with me- t
he perks of being married to a designer! My last big promo was an elaborate fold out poster (which he also designed) so I thought for this one that I wanted to do something else and went with a booklet. I let the images speak for themselves and included very little text, my name doesn’t even appear til page 6.

Who edited the images?
I did with input from various photographer friends (shout out to Steph Goralnick and Mark Wickens). Since I hadn’t sent out a piece in a while, I knew this was going to be more of an overview rather than focusing on just one story. I also wanted to make something that I could send to both editorial and advertising clients. And since this would be going out at the beginning of spring, I knew I wanted colorful, floral and outdoorsy images.

How many did you make?
I had 300 printed. I tend to have a targeted list and send mostly to people who I have worked with or been in touch previously. I’d say only about 20% went out to clients who I had never been in touch with prior. I also included a separate postcard inside with a hand-written note.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Ideally? I’d send something like this out once a year in addition to a smaller item such as a post card a couple times. In reality- it’s been over two years since I last sent out a physical piece! Work got really busy and then I had a baby, so it is what it is. I, of course, also send out newsletters and individual emails, along with the thousands of other things we do as photographers to get work! 

The Daily Edit – The Wrap, The Guardian: Justin Bettman

- - The Daily Edit
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The Wrap

Creative Director: Ada Guerin
Assistant Photo & Art Director: Laura Geiser
Photographer: Justin Bettman

 


The Guardian

Deputy Creative Director: Chris Clarke
Art Director: Bruno Haward
Picture Editor: Nick Pritchard
Photographer: Justin Bettman


Was your preparation for this shoot different due to him being such a combination of talent?
This was my first time working with Aziz and I always try and do my homework on celebrities before I shoot them to show that I’m prepared. Fortunately, I had read Aziz’s book and watched Master of None season 1 prior to this shoot, so I had some talking points. But as is often the case with celebrities, there isn’t too much time for small talk since they are so busy and don’t have too much time to shoot. In this case, I ended up having around 15 minutes total to shoot.

Did you direct him at all?
I tried pitching a couple of conceptual ideas but his PR team wanted to do straightforward portraiture. Like most celebrities, he had a few expressions that he would consistently do and I felt like it was my job to try and take him out of those go-to poses and capture something unexpected.

Did you assume he’d be animated?
I’d seen Aziz do stand up before and he was super upbeat and energetic on stage so I did expect he’d be jovial. He was very polite and professional throughout the whole shoot but since he was exhausted from writing for the past few weeks (or months), he as a little more reserved than I expected.

Since you had under 30 min, how many set ups did you shoot?
I ended up doing 3 set ups. A studio shoot on a textured painted backdrop with strobes, a set up outside in the shade against white, and then environmental portraits just walking around outside.

Which of the sets up did you end up liking the best and why?

I ended up liking the shots on the white seamless outside since I got the most unexpected shots there. Since there weren’t flashes constantly going off, he let a different side of him come through in those photographs.

Tell us about this moment that ended up as the cover for The Guardian.

I initially shot these photos for The Wrap, an LA-based film industry magazine. The Guardian reached out to me as Master of None Season 2 was coming out and asked if I’d be interested in licensing them a photograph from my previous shoot with Aziz Ansari. When I saw the final cover in layout I was super stoked since this is my first cover I’ve shot.

Since he wrote and directed Master of None, was his on-screen character close to his real character?

In Master of None, you can see Dev is a sincere and caring guy. These characteristics on screen definitely translated to who he was during our shoot. As I touched on before, he wasn’t quite as energetic as I was expecting, but I think with comedians it’s hard to be “on” and cracking jokes all of the time. Overall it was a really pleasant shoot working with Aziz.

The Daily Promo: Maria del Rio

- - The Daily Promo

Maria del Rio


Who printed it?
Anthony over at AW Litho. He was great.  He worked directly with George, the designer on layout, and then mailed me color proofs. From there we tweaked things and got the colors just how I liked them.

Who designed it?
I worked with art director and designer George McCalman. We’ve worked together on shoots in the past and have lots of mutual friends. I had been wanting to work with him for a long time, I really respected his design skills, and equally important to me, his social values and voice.

Who edited the images?
George did, mostly. We met up before he began the design process and discussed what I was looking for.  This was my first mailer promo, the ones I had done before were smaller and used as leave-behinds. He walked me through the process and gave me lots of great advice. He suggested we use this one as more of an introduction to my work, rather than just new work because for most of the people receiving it, it would be their first time seeing my photography. He asked me to send him around 100 of my favorite images and then he narrowed it down to his tops. There was a little back and forth about what images I wanted to shine more than others and several layouts and cover variations we discussed but mostly I trusted his eye.

How many did you make?
1,000. Before that, I had never done more than 300 so I felt like I was swimming in promos. It’s been a good challenge for me to broaden my net of contacts. I’m packaging them and mailing them out by hand, so it’s a slow process and I’m still sending them out. I know a lot of photographers and agents do way more; and I have a new found respect.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
Never. I was a little intimidated by the process because of the expense and time so this is my first official mailer. Previously I would just make promos as a leave-behind after portfolio reviews or meetings and update it one to two times a year. My agent Katie, from Lola Creative, has done some small batch promos as well. I think one a year.

Tell us about how you overcame a few obstacles.
Ya, it still stresses me out but it’s definitely been a learning lesson. This is more than triple the amount of promos I’ve ever printed, and obviously, the expense of printing promos is rough. I finally convinced myself the importance of doing it properly and accepted it as an investment. George and I went back and forth so many times over the design, I triple checked the spelling of my name and contact. I showed people in my network, other designers, people from my agency, and friends for feedback. I’m Mexican, so everything is a communal process. I had several rounds of parties where I bribed my friend’s with alcohol and food to help me package up the promos. I’d have my assistants helping package promos on mellow set days. I recruited everyone’s help.

After several rounds of this, my little sister came over to help one night (she is a science and math person, the complete opposite of me). She took one look at the promo cover and said, “Did you mean to spell Photography wrong?” PHOTOGRAPHY was spelled wrong! It was missing the second “h”, but because of the layout, your mind sort of just puts the word together. But still, photography was spelled wrong; on the cover; on 1,000 promos. And at least 20 people had looked at it before I sent it out and no one noticed! Not me. Not George. Not my agent. I panicked. I couldn’t afford to reprint them all. I had already been sending out a ton. George and I talked it out, debating my options. George and Anthony, the printer, discussed it and we came up with a great solution. Rather than reprinting a handful, which would be really expensive to print and ship, Anthony created a sticker, matte paper sticker, that would go over the cover with the correction. I couldn’t swing it on all of them, and like I mentioned some had already gone out. But for the ones with the sticker, I’m super happy with how it looks.  As far as the ones that have the misspelling, I have to just let it go. Most people won’t notice. Some people will. Like a social experiment of the artist brain vs the science brain. Maybe I’ll be remembered as the Photographer who couldn’t spell Photography. Hey, if it makes my name stand out to even one art director, I’ll take it.

The Daily Edit – Ted Cavanaugh

- - The Daily Edit

Men’s Health

Creative Director: Mike Schnaidt
Deputy Director of Photography: Sally Berman
Deputy Art Director: Raymond Ho
Food Editor: Paul Kita
Food Stylist: Eugene Jho
Prop Stylist: Kaitlyn DuRoss Walker
Photographer: Ted Cavanaugh

Why did you choose that particular chile for the shot?

Our wonderful food stylist Eugene Jho found some pretty amazing dried peppers from all over Manhattan, but in the end, the reason we loved that chili pepper was that it had an insane fiery orange color at the top, and graduated to a more traditional dark amber color at the bottom. I thought this would be perfect on black because it would make the colors that much more vivid.

Did you wear gloves to handle them?
I didn’t, but Eugene certainly did!

Tell us about the water background and liveliness of that shot?
For this image, our concept was showing peppers in liquid, almost as if they were being pickled in a jar. We initially layered the peppers in a large plexiglass tray in water and a white background. It was immediately clear that the water didn’t read as well as we were hoping. In fact, the water was almost invisible.  After a few frames, I realized the white background and the stagnation of the water weren’t working. So, we switched the background to a beautiful blue and made the water as active as possible. To me, the most exciting thing about water is the textures and shapes it can easily create with the right amount of agitation. Part of what I love about working through concepts on set is the spontaneity of it. There can be long discussions beforehand about what the intended outcome is, but in the end, it’s more about the physical limitations of how the subject reacts with the light and the camera’s sensor….you know, physics and stuff.

Did you submit that spread or did the magazine put those two images together?
The wonderful designers at Men’s Health put that spread together.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
When I got the call from Sally, she had some images in which she was drawing inspiration from, but she gave me the go ahead to make really cool pictures. The main focus was absolutely all about hot sauce, so we needed to get a really solid composed photo of all the hot sauces. But after that, we just went wild and got as many different variations of graphic chili peppers in different scenarios as time allowed.

 Refinery 29

Senior Photo Editor: Deb Wenof House
Photo Assistant: Megan Madden
Senior Food Editor: Zoe Bain
Food Stylist: Victoria Granof
Prop Stylist: Megumi Emoto
Photographer: Ted Cavanaugh

What type of creative direction did you get to in order to develop these?
I got an email from the wonderful Deb Wenof House in February regarding a shoot in which they wanted to illustrate the convenience of prepping a meal, freezing it, and having it ready for you when you get home late and are famished. One thing I really love about the ladies at Refinery 29 is that they know their brand very well, and come prepared with a storyboard of how they envision a concept. Deb’s associate, Megan Madden, came up with this dazzling sketch. I enjoy collaboration, so if a client has an idea they would like me to make come to life, I’m all for it. One of my favorite parts of being a still life photographer is being able to turn a vision into an image.
It’s a refreshing take on food prep, what was your creative process, do you sketch?
Luckily that day, I was lucky enough to work with Victoria Granof, she’s a food stylist that is always creative and always creating.  She puts her twist on food and it’s a pleasure to be a part of that. In my creative process, I make sure to stop and observe something that we might have otherwise taken for granted.  I remember a few years ago, in an airport, I noticed how beautiful the lighting was and took note of why. It’s just little things like lighting or textures that I find most inspiring. Part of my DNA is always wondering, always asking weird questions. I think a lot of my daily life is inspired by starting a phrase with, “I wonder if…” or, “I wonder why…” Generally speaking, it’s hard for me to turn creativity on and off. It’s more of me being a quirky, inquisitive person who happens to take pictures as well. A lot of my personal work is actually trying to answer those questions. Lots of caffeine never hurt either. My wife, Chelsea Cavanaugh, who is also a still life photographer, inspires me as well. We work together on every shoot, and she has an amazing vision for composition and styling. Lately, if I’ve been feeling anxious or need to change things up, I do some simple calligraphy on a post it note. Something about the process of calligraphy to me is so relaxing. I’m terrible at it, but it’s relaxing none the less.
How many frames are in the time lapse?
It averaged out to be 70 frames per animation.

For the edit from raw ingredients to fully prepared, did you vacuum seal those and add steam to indicate “process”?
Yes! Our prop stylist Megumi Emoto took a straw and sucked out all of the air in each bag for the animation. The steam was created with a handy little thing called smoke sticks, which I, unfortunately, can only find at a local store in NYC.

The Daily Edit – Bonobo: Neil Krug

- - The Daily Edit

Photographer: Neil Krug
Artist: Bonobo
Record Label: Ninja Tune

Heidi: What inspired you to create this type of imagery for the album package?
Neil: I had one conversation with Simon (Bonobo) over coffee last summer in Los Angeles, and from that meeting the overall narrative of the package began to form.  I’ve been a fan of Bonobo for a long time and wanted the campaign to stand out amongst the rest, so it was a process of chasing a specific type of landscape imagery tied to the mood of his album, whilst complimenting my own sensibilities of the type of artwork I think will work best across all platforms.

I think the mantra we both took away from our meeting was “beautifully sinister”.  Once I honed in on those words and placed myself in the mojave desert at 4am, the imagery began to spill out. I wanted the work to feel primal and alive, building in momentum into the earth cracked open.  That feeling was materialized into the image that became the cover.

How many hours of drone flight did you accumulate to get the clips you were looking for?
If I remember correctly, only 45 minutes of drone material was shot.  I chased the edit I had in mind so everything was done in one or two takes, plus the sun was going down.

How did the unnatural surprises get incorporated into the images ( fire, blue light, smoke)
The elemental fire, smoke, and light are the characters the landscape shots required in order for the viewer to get involved, otherwise the imagery felt too safe as far as i’m concerned.  The elements invite you in and give the work a reason to exist.

Did you promote yourself to them or did they seek you out?
Ninja Tune (the record label) made the request.  I live by the code of do right by the work, and the work will do right by you.

I know photography wasn’t your first choice and your film experience was self-taught. Looking back, how did this influence you now and set you apart?

It’s hard to say, as it’s something I don’t reflect on often.  If anything, the self-taught method allowed time from me  to grow a thick skin, and more importantly to trust the work. I’m not certain I would be here now if I didn’t pay attention to these things early on.

How long have you been with FORM and has your work evolved or changed since you’ve been on board?
I’ve began working with FORM during the fall of last year and it’s been a rewarding working relationship ever since. Having a great team to work with on a day-to-day basis is an important part of the process, so it’s a blessing to be in the company of people who share your vision.

The Daily Promo: David Studarus

- - The Daily Promo

David Studarus


Who printed it?

Printing was handled by Anthony Wright, awlitho.com – he was a total pleasure to deal with, and does great work!

Who designed it?
Jennifer Rider was my designer.  When we first met, I was intrigued because she has worked on a lot of fine art and gallery publications.  She’s also currently working with me on a few other pieces that are for leave behinds, a new biz card, and an email promo.  We’re really focusing on having everything work together to support the brand.

Who edited the images?
Both Jennifer and myself.  I started off with maybe 8 images I told her had to be included, then she selected the rest from within a larger body of work I gave her.  She put a lot of effort into the pacing and flow of this piece!  This is the first time I’ve ceded that much control, but I’m really happy with the outcome.  This particular piece lent itself to that process; for the next piece I’m doing, I’ll provide a tight edit and then let her work out how to best use the images together.

How many did you make?
1500

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This year I am planning for 2 larger, significant, pieces (this being the first).  I also have some ideas for a few very small run targeted pieces.

The Daily Edit – New York Times Sunday Magazine: Damon Casarez

- - The Daily Edit

The New York Times Sunday Magazine

Photo Director: Kathy Ryan
Photo Editor: Stacey Baker
Photographer: Damon Casarez
read about the story here

Heidi: Did you bring this story to the magazine or did you conceptualize the idea and bring to them?
Damon: The photo editor Stacey Baker brought this story to me. I believe I was assigned this project based on the success of my previous assignment work with them on boomerang kids across the country as well as an assignment on LGBTQ canvassers. Boomerang kids was a series of moody, mostly interior portraits and the canvasser story was shot in a South L.A. neighborhood in front of homes the volunteers were canvassing.

How long did the assignment take and what type of direction did you get?
The project was about a week of shooting in Boston and the surrounding cities with 1-2 shoots per day depending on the schedules. The direction was pretty simple from their end; create a strong, natural interior portrait of each family/subject and also create an exterior portrait that’s a bit more formal outside of their homes. After reading the article and taking some notes, Stacey and I talked about having consistency with the exterior portraits and being a bit looser with the interiors. Working with the Times mag is always an amazing experience because they will give some simple directions and trust you to do the rest.

What were the determining factors for interior and exterior images?
The challenge of the interior part was walking into a space I’ve never been in and meeting families I don’t have much info about and creating a dynamic family portrait in a way that is comfortable for them while still being visually interesting and revealing. But, that’s also the challenge of almost every portrait assignment. When meeting each family, I would take some time to talk with them so that we were both comfortable with each other and then we would start to figure out what would be a natural space for them to be photographed. One goal for the exterior shots was to have an option where they would all be executed in the same manner for possible layout options. They were of course open to me doing other options for the exterior but their direction worked out best visually.

How did you handle the dynamic of kids, multi-subject shoots and families? Did you take more frames, direct a bit more?
This was my first assignment with families and multiple kids in a confined portrait setting. My assistant and I would try and make things easy as possible by having lighting tested and ready for the family. The struggle with photographing kids is trying to get their attention to us at the same time and having them be still. One of the kids would be playing and making faces at me while the younger one would be running out of the frame! Sometimes you have no control and let them do what they’re going to do and it works out better and becomes a more natural photo. What helped was taking some breaks to release some energy and showing the kids my camera and having them take a couple of frames. We also had to negotiate with some of the kids. If we were struggling to get the shot, I would tell them that we would only need 5 more frames and they could go play and it would work. Once we had the kids in a good place, we shot a burst of frames to try and nail the shot. It was a super fun learning experience.

The Daily Promo – Norman Maslov Agent Internationale

- - The Daily Promo


Norman Maslov Agent Internationale


Who printed it?
The Agency promo catalog was printed in Asia in coordination with The Workbook.

Who designed it?
Designed by Anita Atencio at the Workbook and our upcoming promo-catalogue has been revised by the Workbook’s new designer, Andy Carey. The booklet is an expanded extension of our Workbook directory advertising.  

Who edited the images?
My photographers submit images to me and we discuss what we want to showcase each year. I edit the order. 

How many did you make?
2500 copies each year. Mailed to creatives nationally and given out at portfolio shows. 

How many times a year do you send out promos?
This is the one full agency group mailing we do once a year. The only one that includes all of our talent. Other mailings throughout the year are separate pieces from the individual artists. 

Where did you get the buttons made?
Buttons made by the Busy Beaver Button Company in Chicago. Designed by Scott Miller

What photo is on that button and why?
The photo is an image that has been a primary part of our identity for over twenty years. We have modified its use over time depending on the application. Hats are an ongoing part of the Agency’s image identity. The round button version was adapted by designer Scott Miller. 

Tell us about the Hat theme.
We’ve been doing the Hat Cover theme on our promotional catalogs for about 12 years. Each year I select one of my photographers to create the wrap around cover/back image. I send them a selection of my hats and they can concept and shoot anything they want with any of the hats as long as it fits the booklets design and front and back cover needs.

The Daily Edit – Shea Evans: Technicolor

- - The Daily Edit



Shea Evans

Heidi: How has this style evolved into your editorial and commercial work?
Shea: After building up a small amount of these images, I began to wonder if they might have some commercial applications for product shots.  Once I had five or six images to show, I reached out to a creative director I had worked with previously.  This was really casual, just over text (her preferred mode of communication), “Hey, I’ve been working with this style recently, I haven’t seen it around before, if you think you might have a client that it would be a good fit for, I’d love to work with you again”.  Just so happened that she was looking for a new style to match an imminent project.  We ended up working together to craft four images for her client in this color shadow style.  The end client was thrilled with the unique look and used the images as large storefront window posters.

What type of feedback are you getting from the personal body of work?
I’d say the feedback has been positive.  Certainly, with this type of work, the reaction has usually been “whoa!”, but part of that is because it’s such a departure from my previous work, which has a very natural, real and organic feel to it.  This has none of that.  I had a previous personal project, Deconstructed Flavor, that always seemed to excite people.  It leads to a lot more interviews than it did actual work (though I sold some prints and did do a commissioned cover).  But interviews can be great marketing, so I think if nothing else personal work can help in that way.  I don’t think you can really do personal work with an eye to turn it into jobs, it’s just not going to be genuine that way.

How did this style develop?
I started this particular project not as personal work, but more an exploration of technique.  I had had an issue on a shoot with mixing color temperatures from ambient and strobe light sources and so I began experimenting with using gels on my lights to try to match up temps, and really just see what my options were.  I had only used a warming gel here and there in the past but didn’t have much knowledge beyond that.

Pretty quickly into experimenting though, I started to notice the shadow effects I was getting out of combining gels.  And I started to play with multiple gels and subjects.  I got completely distracted from my original purpose.

Just on a creative level, it felt good to completely go away from my style of “real, natural, organic”.  In this way, my personal work has served as a kind of release valve for built up pressure by being boxed in by my own commissioned work.

What are the brain twisting gear elements you are referring to in your comment?
The shadows themselves are related to lights and gels you choose to use.  That’s pretty obvious.  What isn’t obvious though, is that the color of the shadow is related to the gel of the opposing light, not the one casting the shadow.  Also, depending on what combination of gels you use, that affects the color combination of shadows, change one gel out and the one that remains will also be affected and won’t be the same shade in the new image.  In addition to this, power in your light source has a great effect on the color, from a deeper color to a more pastel depending.  On top of this, some gels are denser, requiring more or less power from a light, so any change involves this total recalibration of your lighting setup to achieve a balance.  Then there’s the middle shadow to consider.  If you have an image where the shadows overlap, that creates a third color/shade or shape element.  How do you want that to look?  Then there’s the shape of the shadows themselves, long or short?  How can you turn the subject to get a more interesting shadow or a less interesting one?  Is that shadow too distracting?  Is it too small?  This work has a much more fine line between “Cool!” and “Crap!” than I’m used to working with on my more “normal” tabletop food work.  On the other hand, it makes it that much harder for someone else can replicate.  Lately, it feels like everyone can offer a “window-lit looking food/product beauty” so it feels good to have a difficult shot like this in my offering to clients.

How do you see this work influencing your current brand and style?
I don’t know if it represents a departure point as much as a branch.  I’m not evolving into a new style so much as adding something to my toolbox.  Any photography is partially about light and how you use it.  I love playing with big soft light and also really hard light and everything in between.  I think this is just another option and an expansion of that knowledge of how to use light.

Are you concerned about having too wide of a range with your style and becoming fractured?
A little?  Certainly, it is a little hard working this into the rhythm of my larger portfolio book since it looks is so different.  On the other hand, I’m running a business.  I’m a photographer but what I sell is products.  Before this shoot, my products were, “editorial food beauty”, “food lifestyle”, “portraits of people in the food industry”, “environments in the food industry”, “product in the food industry in a natural setting”.  This simply adds “product in the food industry in a DYNAMIC UN-natural setting” to that list.  It’s still under the umbrella of food/product and I think if I keep it like that, I’ll still be “niched” while really being able to keep my options open for client’s needs.

How do you decide what style to use?
I think that simply comes down to client preferences.  What look do they want for their product?  This could simply be another look I could give them, but of course, I’d be happy to continue with the “natural look” as well.  I’m not in this to force my artistic vision on the world.

The Daily Promo: Elizabeth Cecil

Elizabeth Cecil


Who printed it?

 Hemlock Printing

Who designed it?
Claire Lindsey 

Who edited the images?
Melissa McGill  

How many did you make?
 100. Each booklet is 22 pages. The inside pages are recycled paper and the cover has a matte, soft-touch finish.

How many times a year do you send out promos?
 2-3 times a year

Are you booklets seasonal?
When we decided to create this small booklet for a promo, we went into the project planning to do a small series. We have done three booklets, Fall, Summer, Winter/Spring. It was fun to think about the booklets in a series and to tailor the work to somewhat represent the season. We did a small run with the intention of really targeting our audience with this special piece. We had great feedback, one being that people have kept the books. We hoped that they would stay with people and create a little visual library of the work. 

The Daily Edit – The Hollywood Reporter: Christopher Patey

- - The Daily Edit

The Hollywood Reporter

Creative Director: Shanti Marlar
Photography&Video Director: Jennifer Laski
Deputy Photo Editor: Carrie Smith
Photo Editor: Kate Pappa
Photographer: Christopher  Patey

Heidi: What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
Chris: This shoot came in last minute (as they often do) so there wasn’t a ton of direction from the magazine in this case. Kate Pappa was the assigning editor. I received an email and a text from her on Thursday morning at 10:30 to see if I was available to photograph Carmine Caridi on Friday afternoon. Kate then gave me a quick rundown of Carmine’s story so I could get a good grasp on the tone that they were looking for in the photography. However, due to the time constraints, Kate had to work fast to find an affordable location that was easy for our subject to get to. Our first option fell through and we ended up at a restaurant/lounge at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. With no time to scout, we basically had to get to the location 2 hours before the shoot and figure it out.

What tools do you use when you are covering a subject that’s been in a difficult situation? How do you get the shoot started?
A handful of small things get tweaked for instances like this. Having a bit of a quieter set with a smaller crew definitely, helps keep the environment feeling intimate. Our photo crew was just me, Kate, a photo assistant, and a groomer. The writer was also there to interview Carmine after the shoot. We also keep the music and our conversation toned down. In situations where I’m shooting somebody related to a sensitive or emotional story, I try to speak with them for a little bit before we shoot to establish a bit of a rapport with them and also get a feel for how they would be comfortable being photographed. However, a subject like Carmine has been around the entertainment business for a long time so I know he just wants to come in, have his picture taken, and be finished as quickly as possible. Once he gets on set it’s all business. I quickly introduce myself and explain my plan and the different setups I’d like to shoot. If he and his publicist are on board then we get right to work. I showed him where and how I would like him to sit and we’re off. I can’t remember for sure but I think he forwent being groomed too.

You caught some unguarded moments in these images, was your conversation about his departure from the film academy?
There wasn’t much conversation between him and I during the shoot. Mostly just direction. I gave him different eye lines and tweaked small things with posing and posture. He knew exactly why he had come there that day and the gravity of the story was definitely on his mind which showed on his face. The writer, Scott Feinberg was also on hand and was stepping in at small windows of time to get his conversation with Carmine going between my setups. That helped keep him in that frame of mind throughout the session.

Outtakes from the shoot

How did you set the tone for the shoot? 
I did not speak with him directly about the story because I didn’t want to insert myself into the writer’s interviewing process. If I start asking him about details of the story right before his interview it could make him feel like he’s repeating himself when Scott started his line of questioning. In that situation, I felt like it wasn’t my place and I didn’t need that interaction to make the picture I wanted to make.

 I simply made sure to have my setups dialed in with solid test frames of my assistant to give Carmine a good idea about how the photo was going to look. The combination of the moody light and the standard dead-gaze of a seasoned photo assistant were perfect to portray the vibe I was going for. It was also necessary to be as ready as possible when he arrived so we could get everything we wanted in the short amount of time we had. There wasn’t a moment to waste on moving lights once we got going.

Was the reflection from the desk a hint at self-reflection or a happy accident?
The reflection on the table was something I found during our pre-light. I originally just wanted a shot with a bit of a longer focal length with some tables in the foreground to give the picture some depth. After a few tests at different angles, I found the reflection and I felt like it added something important to the fairly dark picture so we ran with it. I would love to say the idea of self-reflection was in my head when we were setting it up but honestly, that hadn’t crossed my mind before deciding to do it.

The Daily Promo: Kate Mathis

Kate Mathis


Who printed it?
GHP Media

Who designed it?
Jaspal Riyait, Design Director for Martha Stewart Living, who designed the book that this image was created for. She came up with all of the great graphics ideas, how they would work with the folds and appear inside the clear envelope.

Who edited the images?
This was self-edited, with some feedback from creatives in the industry. I had been wanting for a long time to do a promo in some kind of fold-out poster format and thought that images from this project would be perfect. Ultimately I went with a single image, with the reverse side being text and graphics only.

How many did you make?
2000

How many times a year do you send out promos?
At least twice

Was this image part of a bigger series?
This image is from a book project I did with Livia Cetti who is an amazing botanical stylist and crafter of paper flowers. Titled “The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers”, it was just released this month. Each chapter features beauty shots of a different flower along with complete instructions for making. The image I ended up using for the promo was one of many that we shot in a gorgeous, abandoned building in Hudson, NY that is in a beautifully distressed condition… peeling paint, cracked plaster and rich color everywhere!

  

The Daily Edit – Portland Monthly: Michael Novak

- - The Daily Edit

 

Portland Monthly

Art Director: Michael Novak
Photographer: Andy Batt

Heidi: Did you time this piece with the filibuster?
Michael: We didn’t time it with the filibuster. The fact that we went to press right as all that was going down was a fortuitous coincidence which required some scrambling to get the piece online earlier than usual. But we timed the feature more generally to Merkley’s rise as an anti-Trump resister in the Senate. We started reporting it right around the time of the Jeff Sessions confirmation in February, of which Merkley was a leading opponent. Additionally, there was an old-school “stop the presses” moment on Tuesday during the filibuster. Though the magazine had already gone to press, we really wanted to change the story to more accurately reflect what was happening in the news, so we contacted our printers and made a last-minute alteration to the story before it was plated. Not something that happens often in magazine land!

Did you suspect this would have so much social media impact?
We knew the piece would be timely, but the timing couldn’t have been better. Merkley was already in the news when we posted the story and it snowballed from there. Since we posted it’s been our top story on Facebook, and our second for overall web traffic.

What type of direction did you give Andy?
The starting point was me simply asking for a portrait that would make Jeff Merkley appear heroic, since the story was about his rise from quiet sideliner to more vocal leader. During pre-shoot conversations the work of many photographers was referenced, from Penn to Schoeller to Platon. Andy asked me a lot of very specific questions about whether the shot should be B&W or color, what Merkley’s pose should be, shirt sleeves rolled up or down, background colors, suited or casually dressed, etc. A fairly thorough examination of possible image directions. And when I showed up for the shoot he’d built two different sets, one with a black background for a seated pose and one white background for full body. We ended up using the full body shot for the turn page.

Are most are your photographers regional or do you fly people to shoot for you?
We really only use local photographers—it’s just not budget-feasible for us to fly someone in most of the time. And since Portland has developed into a photographer-rich environment, it’s rare that I need to bring someone in from out-of-town.

How much time did you get with Merkley? He’s a busy man.
As often happens with celebrities and other people in the public sphere, we had very little time with our subject, less than 45 minutes total; but Andy and his team did amazing work in a short time. Especially considering that Merkley was super sick when the photo was taken. His people requested that we try to make him look “alive”, so with the magic of hair and makeup and good lighting we kept him looking good!