Category "The Daily Edit"

The Daily Edit – People Magazine: Bradley Meinz

- - The Daily Edit

People Magazine

On Set Photo Editor: Rachael Lieberman
Photography Director: 
Catriona Ni Aolain Lindbaek
Creative Director: Andrea Dunham
Photographer: Bradley Meinz
Heidi: How long did you have for this shoot?
Bradley: I was given ten minutes total for the shoot, which took place during the press junket at the Four Season’s hotel in Beverly Hills, California.  The shoot was to promote the new Samuel l. Jackson and  Ryan Reynolds film, Hit Man’s Bodyguard.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
I had a call with the magazine’s photo director in NYC prior to the shoot, she really wanted to get a reportage style image rather than a controlled portrait on seamless,  however to cover all bases I was asked to get both!

With only 10 minutes to shoot, what type of exchange did you have with the subjects and the publicist?
The publicist were mainly just a voice to keep the shoot to the ten minute limit!  I introduced myself to talent when they stepped into my set (first shoot was seamless) and I gave them only a little direction asking them to have fun with it.

What are your go to tools for managing the stress of this type of shoot?
I always try and tell myself to stay in the moment, often times these types of high profile celebrity shoots take on there own personality.  I never really want the photo to feel “about me” as the photographer but rather the energy of the subjects.

How did you overcome the obstacles of the uninspired hotel room and low ceilings?
I called the hotel prior to the shoot asking for the rooms measurements & ceiling height!  I knew it was going to be a close fit with lighting and grip.  I could of used one light on the seamless set up and called it a day, however I actually had four sources playing in that shot, it was really important to me that I had nice quality of light for these two amazing actors!  The outdoor photograph was much more loose and I had my first assistant
handhold “Hollywood” the key light.

 photograph by Kaiya Peralta

The Daily Edit – Michael Norseng: My Bold North

- - The Daily Edit

Photographs by Ackerman + Gruber/Mpls. St. Paul Magazine


Photographs by Eliesa Johnson/Mpls. St. Paul Magazine

MSP Communications

Associate Creative Director: Michael Norseng

Heidi: What advice do you have for any photo director looking to transition out of magazines?
Michael: Over time, (and this is a continual discovery), I have found that titles can often be misleading.  And especially people’s perceptions of those titles.  “Photo Editor”, outside of the NYC publishing carousel, newspapers, or rarified titles and markets, can be a bit of a limiting designation.  Two decades in, I still often get the question, “so what did you do or rather do exactly?” The reality is that for each person, the experience, responsibilities, and creative role in the process is varied.  I think it is beneficial to shift the semantics and attempt to make people understand that the term is broad and more of an umbrella to describe a lot of other sub roles.  In my case and just a few: Researcher, Producer, Project Manager, Video Producer, Art Buyer, Problem solver, conceptor, and yes, Creative Director.  I think that understanding of capabilities and embracing the ability to sell oneself can be a difficult roadblock to overcome, but in the end it is essentially about not limiting yourself to just being defined by one thing, or one title.  There is no clear path.

For me it took stepping away from NY, and having someone, Creative Director Brian Johnson, and a company, MSP Communications, realize that I could be an important asset/cog in the wheel of their creative process.  I feel lucky in that regard.

You had an impressive run at Esquire, what do you miss most about being in editorial?
I’m incredibly grateful for the time I had living in NYC, working in magazines, and especially at Esquire/Hearst.  But there was a confluence of reasons of why the experience was coming to an end, both personally and professionally.  I was extremely, (extremely is an understatement), blessed during my time in NYC that I rode this wave and crossed paths and learned from some of the best Photo Editors, Creative Directors, Designers, and Editors in the industry.  And additionally by extension, photographers, writers, illustrators, agents, subjects, on and on…and on. I believe, and I hope, I carried a lot of what I learned from those individuals on to this role I am in now.

One of the things that David Granger, former Editor and Chief of Esquire, and by extension David Curcurito, Design Director, instilled in all of us was to continue to be ambitious, curious, and varied in terms of story-telling and put out high quality work into the world no matter what the restraints.  Every day it felt like we were constantly evolving creatively.  Or at least I hope we were.  It was often a fulfilling and exciting place to work, even if not everything we tried landed in the way we hoped.

By extension too, there was a recognition that individuals had capabilities outside of their designated roles, (back to the previous question).  So yes, I worked on photography and managed that department, but also contributed a few times little bits of writing, or story ideas, or what have you.  It was the sort of environment that fostered ambition and embraced whatever people wanted to contribute and there were no set lanes in which you were forced to stay.  In fact, I think the entire reason why I was originally promoted from within there about a decade ago is because I had expressed an interest in producing video content and extending the reach of the stories (mostly in a surface visual way) online or eventually on the ipad.

So it has been exciting transitioning to MSP Communication where that work or my varied background has been valued.  I am not only involved in some editorial photo capacities with Delta Sky Magazine and Mpls/St. Paul, but also working on video projects as well.  The environment is collaborative, my colleagues are great, and I feel like I’m working in a similar role to put out public facing work which is both ambitious, but of a high quality both locally and nationally.


Photograph by Ture Lillegraven


Photograph by Caitlin Cronenberg

As a creative, what is the most important ingredient to keep you fully engaged?
I have a broad range of personal interests and knowledge, so I love diversified subject matter.  Or the ability to think of ways to poach or have cross-over applications to how something is presented in a unique way.  It is one of the reasons why I’ve always loved editorial, and especially what could be called as general interest, because the subject matter, perspective, and story-telling is always varied.  I also love the pace that it provides…that there is constant creation on all levels of size each day. If it doesn’t work once, learn from it, and move on.  The goalpost is constantly shifting and you have to work fast.

I think I’m also excited by putting out content into the world either in print or online that either engages or people consume in some regard.  If it initiates an emotional response, or the person looking at feels like it was well done, enough to capture their attention, then that is the ideal.  Personally I want the work that either myself or my colleagues put out to deliver on being high quality.

How much has your video experience influenced your career?
I think it safe to say that if I wouldn’t have experimented with video, or taken advantage of the opportunities to do it, I wouldn’t have found myself in the position I am in today.  I believe it is what separated me from the pack when individuals were being brought through the door to interview at Esquire 10 years ago.  And it has been instrumental of course to me in this next role I find myself in.

How did this video series come about?
My new(ish) colleagues at Mpls St. Paul Magazine/MSP Communications had this incredibly ambitious video series pitch, (in conjunction with Explore Minesota and The Superbowl Host Committee), already in the works before I started here in December.  So although I heard only minor mentions of it during my interview process last fall, it wasn’t necessarily a reality until I started.  I think it was my first week of work here when Brian Johnson, (Creative Director), Drew Wood (Editor), and Jayne Haugen Olson (Editorial Director), and I sat in a room and collaboratively said ok, we have this seed of an idea and an opportunity, so how do we execute upon it and what do we want this ultimately to be and look like.  Given my background, and some experience in this regard, I think they, and leadership and MSP, collectively leaned on me and my perspective and background in terms of the best way to execute, package, and present these.  So we/I hit the ground running.  And now we are leading up to week 30 of 52.  It has been exciting, to say the least, each and every week putting one of these out there.

Tell us about your creative process for these videos?
Essentially, what these are, and the elevator pitch which I often repeat, is that Superbowl 52 is coming to Minneapolis in 2018, and thus we wanted to figure out a way to capitalize on that and shine a spotlight on the state via videos with 52 notable individuals, one each week until next year, that have connection to the state. The goal each week has been to not only tell their stories through individualized love letters, but also bring in elements of things to ether do and/or see if someone was to come and visit.  All within 2:30.

Because of how we/I am executing these, with different contributors, restraints on time and access to subjects, etc., these are all a bit apples and oranges in terms of presentation.  I would like to think each one is unique as the different subjects we are covering.  The front end title sequence, (with exception of the background) and closing credits are for the most part templated, initially developed along with a former colleague and great AE designer (Tom Losinski), but I am able to alter them each week to be specific to each subject.  So I like to think the bookends or cookies to the Oreo stay relatively the same, and it is the cream/content that shifts week to week.

And that constant shifting of sands also goes for my role on the project.  For the most part you could say I’m the lead in the creative execution along with my partner and colleague Drew Wood.  But there is so much as well that happens behind the scenes with my colleagues that people will never get to see…in terms of how we get the most eyeballs on them, the design of the website, etc.   And in terms of myself week to week,  I would say my lead role is that I am hiring the individual photographers, directors, cinematographers, etc, to do these and  managing the output, the say on the final videos.  I’m also working alongside my colleagues sending requests to PR to try to wrangle talent/subjects, which has been fun and extension of some of the moderate communication I did before with PR people.  And some weeks, and this has been fun, actually trying my hand at interviewing the subjects off camera.  Har Mar Superstar, Lindsey Vonn (upcoming), and Alec Soth have been a few highlights in this regard.  Or and additionally, outside of outputting the titles each week,  I’m actually from time to time editing the actual videos or shooting some of the b-roll, or just working with the directors on the best final cuts.  It has been really fun.  Intense at times.  But I/we are pleased I think with what we are producing.

And again, back to the beginning of this interview, and I feel like this series is emblematic, there are no clear lanes of responsibility on this.  It is just all hands on deck, in a collaborative editorial environment, to put what we hope is good, high quality storytelling to the world…at an extremely quick pace. You can find a few below and the rest here:  myboldnorth.com

 

Alec Soth was shot and edited by Kevin Horn

 

Jim Brandenburg filmed by Ackerman + Gruber

The Daily Edit – Erik Asla: The Stillness of Motion

- - The Daily Edit

 

 

Erik Asla

I know you were a  Herb Ritts protégé what were key insights he offered and how difficult was it not to follow his footsteps?
I think the main value of working with Herb was to realize how important it is to always aim for perfection. He never stopped doing exactly that. It’s challenging and hard at times. Also, I saw how he was able to make people feel at ease by focusing all attention on his subjects, whether celebrities, models or ordinary people. In my eyes, that was his main gift in addition to his keen eye, communication.

Herb is not someone whose footsteps one automatically tries to follow. He was one of a kind. I did not want to become a poor replica of the master, so I took deliberate steps to go a different route.

In a sentence describe what it’s like to have a mentor?
In the best of times, it is an extremely rewarding relationship for both parties. Usually, with lots of sacrifices on the part of the protegé.

 

How did your former law schooling transcend into your photographic career, if at all? 
Did not transcend at all, but I realize I have a creative and an analytical side. Needless to say, the analytical side has been completely sidetracked for the last couple of decades.

How did you make the transition from commercial to fine art?
It was more of a necessary evolution than anything else. The desire to create something that represents my way of seeing without embellishments or the influence of other visions.

Your fine ark work, The Stillness of Motion celebrates the organic beauty with a linear eye; we don’t feel rushed nor pushed into a lane. What was your creative message?
I try to capture imagery that resonates with who I am, how I see things, how I think, dream. What my preferences in life are. All of that, really. The serenity and graphic simplicity envelop everything I am and strive for.

How many images did you shoot in order to refine it to the edit you currently have?
Multiple thousands. I guess that’s partly why it’s rewarding when I feel that I have one that stands out. Because the road to getting there is often quite long.

Describe the creative space you feel when in your commissioned work vs the fine art?
Ideally, you want to have the same freedom in commissioned work as in fine art. Though in reality, that is seldom possible. Fine art is so unconstrained, so liberating. In the end, all that matters is that you create something that resonates with yourself and your audience. And that you do it without compromises or short cuts.

The Daily Edit – Nigel Parry: Outside Magazine

- - The Daily Edit

Outside

Photo and Design Director: Hannah McCaughey
Photo Editor: Amy Silverman
Deputy Art Director: Petra Zeiler
Photographer: Nigel Parry

 

Heidi: How many set ups did you do and what type of direction did you give for this image for Cory in the snowsuit?
Nigel: We got to maybe five or did six different setups, things were going well. Then we we’re coming to the last set and I said, “This is where I want you to put your big snow suit on as if you’ve traveled, you’ve done your climb and you are finally at rest. It’s obviously in a studio, but just try and make yourself feel like the avalanche has just happened.”

“Cool, that’s good.” he said, “I just need to go over and pick up this message,” and he just sat at the dressing table for maybe 10-15 minutes.
I said, “Okay, when you’re ready,” and he then walked back over to the set and we started shooting again.

“Just try and take yourself back there and I’m going to keep shooting.” He carried on just looking at me and all of a sudden, he started crying.” There are tears in his eyes I said, “I’m going to keep shooting,”

“That’s fine,” Cory replied.

After I stopped shooting I went and gave him a big hug and assumed what just happened was he’d taken himself back into that terrible state where he had almost died and he was reliving the emotions. He said,” You know when I went over there and picked and picked up that message? I was told that my best friend just committed suicide.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said, “I’m so sorry,”

He said, “No, it was my decision to keep going on. It seemed fitting anyway, I knew I was going to be quite upset.”

Do you find that a little challenging to shoot a peer?
Cory is an adventure photographer and takes incredible photographs in situations where I wouldn’t even in my wildest dreams think to find myself. He takes very different pictures. To me, photography is so compartmentalized; we’re just in two totally different spheres.

What type of direction did you get from Hannah?
The direction I got from her was simple. She told me he’d almost died and she wanted something similar to the photos you see of people before they climbed Everest; with a nod towards early 20th century images where they’re very slow shutter speeds so everyone had to sit very still and stare at the camera. I thought this was perfect direction since he’s a mountaineer, there’s no smiling, no movement. The fact that I was shooting a lot of black and white made it easier and more powerful.

Had you met Cory before?
No, though he seemed like a sincere bloke. I don’t know what he was like before the accident, and maybe that’s changed him. But I found him a terrifically interesting in every way. You want to get to know him more. I think he’s very visually appealing and we have been doing some corresponding actually because he’s doing a bit of portrait work, and I’ve been mentoring him a little with of all of that.

Is there something creatively that you learned about yourself or did anything shift for you as a photographer after the shoot?
Every now and again you have what is an abundance of creativity and you can work with that if you want. It’s really an abundance of Limbic resonance. That’s what photographers want in their arsenal. Because that’s just, there are areas of your brain which basically feels emotions and is able to empathize with another person. If you’re able to do that, That’s your major tool, once you’ve got all your lighting source figured out. As a portrait of photographer you want to be able to get so close to the person, not necessarily as in proximity, but just be close to them emotionally and on their wave length that you and they become joined mentally, emotionally. That’s what one always strives for. I don’t know how one gets it. I just know that this is my goal in portrait photography. I’m so desperate [laughs] to people — because it makes people open up. Our shoot was great in that respect. If somebody is very receptive to that, then it makes for a wonderful connected shoot where the person who’s being photographed knows just about when I’m going to shoot the photograph, and I know what they’re going to do next. You become sort of connected.

You do have a nice connection then since you’re mentoring him.
Well, I do now, but the first time I met him was when he walked in and said, “Oh my God, I can’t believe that I’m meeting you and you’re going to photograph me.” I said, “What? What are you talking about mate?” [laughs].Yes. That’s very lovely of him to say that. He said, “You’re also my hero.” “Oh, well that’s fantastic. I’m sure by the end of this you’ll be my hero because I’ve never climbed a mountain that spared my life.” I replied.

Do you have any photographic influences?
Yes. I’ve had many. Not many of them are living right now. I’ve tried to emulate or pay homage to David Bailey. I use David Bailey as the person I would love to learn from, I was totally taken by his pictures. His directness and his cruelty in some respects. It’s a sort of cruelty you don’t get from Irving Penn who I also love. Also for the decisive moment, the good old favorite Cartier-Bresson because I started out as a reportage photographer. Cartier-Bresson was my idol and hero, alongside David Bailey as well. I find that there’s an awful lot of similarity between portraiture and Cartier-Bresson’s work. In fact, there’s an awful lot of similarity between portraiture and virtually any other kind of work. Once you’ve mastered portraiture, you can pretty much jump off to anything. The key to portraiture is to have an environment in which, be it lighting, or whatever it is in that environment that you’re photographing, the moment comes to make the magic happen.The only difference between say, portraiture, and reportage is that reportage people have to get themselves in the middle of the crowd. Whereas I have to get my studio set so that when the magic happens, I can get it. There’s very little difference in the actual execution, the principles of execution they are very, very similar.

Do you remember some of your first images when you thought, “I love photography and this is what I want to do?
Well, I remember a lot of my first images. The first image that I ever had published was a picture of some little girls walking down some steps inside the British museum in London. I realized that even though it was only sold as a postcard, that must be a great way of making some money out of something which I enjoy so much. It was the fact that I was willing to put money behind this to make a wet plate of it than print it on paper, buy the paper, buy the ink and distribute it. There must be something good about it.

What would you tell your younger self, now that you have so much experience as a photographer?
I’d tell myself not to become a photographer, be a lawyer or a doctor or do something that can’t be replaced by a phone and a bunch of algorithms–but no, I wouldn’t change a thing about my chosen career. It has been the most wonderful, the most interesting, the most challenging, the most frightening. The road with the most twisted bends, and turns and highways and freeways. I wouldn’t change a thing. It has, and hopefully will still be wonderful.

 

 

The Daily Edit – Jesse Burke: Wild&Precious

- - The Daily Edit


Jesse Burke/ Wild & Precious

Heidi: You were named by Time Magazine as one of the of top instagram photographers to follow, when did you start your Instagram practice?
Jesse: Social media in my photography practice started back with the advent of Instagram in 2010. I had initially decided that I was going to use my Instagram account as a way of sharing personal photos only with my friends and family. Very quickly, my clients got wind of it and really liked the images. We then started having conversations about what it all meant. It was exciting and new for everyone; this, of course, shifted my thinking about how I could organically use Instagram and social media in general by applying my personal aesthetic. This is something that I strive to keep true throughout my postings, whether personal or commercial.

Jesse: Just because you have an iPhone and a social media account doesn’t mean you are a photographer. How has the iPhone shaped your craft?
When I started shooting with my phone as a secondary source I realized that my voice was still there in the images, even though the intent of the picture making process was a little bit different. I think over the years this has influenced my outlook on how I perceive myself and shifted my vision in my work. I think what sets me apart from other photographers is that vision. I stay very true to who I am as a person and that guides the picture making practice. In my case this means being a husband/dad first, artist/photographer second, and nature lover/farmer guy third.

How has your phone made you a better photographer?
Since I was academically trained as an artist, all of the practices that I was implementing into my artwork were very quickly falling into my social media channels and my commercial photography. I believe the strength of my voice comes from my art making background. Initially, I made a very concerted effort, and still do, to “keep it real” as much as possible. To be myself and not swayed by outside forces. I will post pictures through social channels that I really love regardless of their content. Sometimes they may seem a little silly but they’re important to me and I simply like them. That’s the approval process. There’s a lower bar for what I think is acceptable on my social channels, which allows me to be much looser in terms of my editing and shooting practices. I think this has expanded my outlook on how my photography can be approached and has strengthened my abilities as a photographer.

Do you feel this notion of the skill needed in being a photographer is undermined by technology?
I don’t. I believe it’s actually accentuated. Skill is a complicated word. Does it refer to one’s ability to control the tools or to have a unique vision? Both? I often think in a pretty conceptual or metaphysical way about photography. I trust my gut. I’m not sure I would call that skill, although one certainly needs a lot of skills to be a photographer, no doubt. For me the technology has really helped me by allowing me to have better pictures; sharper and higher quality images, a looser approach, and in the end more balance to my work. I think the quality of the camera, whether it be an iPhone or the Canon digital I use, is so good now that every picture can be technically fantastic. So the skill part comes back to the concepts and execution of the ideas in my opinion and I’m not sure technology harms that. I’m thankful that digital technology supports me and allows me the ability to create conceptual art pieces from my iPhone that I can show in the gallery setting and place into museum collections. Back when Instagram started I would never have imagined that the photos on my feed would live in museum collections. This still blows my mind.

Let’s circle back to vision, what is yours? 
If everybody has great files then it’s the artistic vision and aesthetic that’s going to allow the cream to rise. Originality is key in a world where authenticity is paramount. I see a lot of inauthenticity, especially on social media. Trends will ebb and flow and we as connoisseurs can get swept up in that. It’s nature and it’s not terrible, but I think holding on to your version of authentic can be your best asset. My artistic vision is just my version of how I see the world. My vision is dependent on my priorities, my family, the well-being of the planet, nature, animals, and art in general. If I had to be specific I would say my vision is that of a thoughtful, but wild, environmental portraitist looking for ways to connect my subject to the landscape and light. Ideally, something real and considered yet gritty and raw.

How do you stay authentic to yourself and your work?
I stay authentic to myself and my work is just by embracing what’s around me. I know that sounds cliché but if you look through my social media channels you will see that I’m just a guy living on and appreciating the land for all it’s worth. I have a little farm with my family (3 kids, 10 chickens, 2 ducks, 1 dog, and 1 pet skunk, as well as a various assortment of rehab animals coming in and out) in Rhode Island and we do all kinds of amazing things out in the wild together. We are explorers and we are open to what’s in front of us. Being open to the magic around you is such a huge part of the journey for me. I go about my life paying close attention to and documenting these things, and that has become the makeup of who I am as a person and photographer. There’s no space for lack of authenticity when you’re working in conditions like that.

You use your work as a diary, how are you archiving this and do you have broader plans for family posterity?
I do use photography as a diary of sorts, constantly documenting the events in my life. Sometimes that’s shooting art projects in the deep woods of Maine, sometimes it’s at the dining room table at breakfast with the girls, and sometimes that’s on a set shooting fashion models or Ford cars. I think as you live with my work you start to see how it all gels together and in the end, it becomes the authentic version of who I am as a person and inevitably as a photographer. It’s all over the place and that is my favorite part. My creative partners, whether they’re art directors, photo editors, or social media experts, are sophisticated and can see how my particular version of  authenticity can play into what they need for their clients. Sometimes it’s an obvious direct hit and sometimes it takes courage and a bigger leap. As far as family posterity is concerned, part of my larger goal in life is to teach my kids how to be aware of the magic I mentioned in the previous question. The journey to appreciate and acknowledge that is what guides this ride we’re on. Hopefully my girls will grow up to aware of what’s around them and brave enough to interact with it. Photography is one of the vehicles I use to ensure this happens.

What do you feel is your particular gift as an artist and when did you realize this?
Ultimately, I think my strength is in storytelling. Any project I approach, whether personal or commissioned, I try my damnedest to tell the whole story. This originates from my time at RISD attending graduate school. I started making work that truly explored a given concept from micro to macro. I was shooting landscapes, portraits, and still lifes that all spoke a common language and told a single story. Once I finished my thesis project, Intertidal, I realized that this methodology was working for me and I kept at it. This is exactly what I do for my clients because it’s the only way my mind works and it’s the best way for them to use me. Sure, I can take a single portrait of any given subject, such as a farmer. But I would much rather shoot the farm, the farmer, the farm dog, the produce, the soil… the details. I love the minutiae. The whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts. I want my photographs to elicit a genuine response to how amazing a situation is, to tell a story and share the narrative visually. A friend recently introduced me to this amazing quote from writer John Lubbock, “The Beauties of Nature and the Wonders of the World We Live In”that really sums up how feel about my approach, “What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.” I try to be them all.

What has documenting your daughters taught you about your craft? 
I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons over the years by collaborating with my daughters. The first has to be acquiring some serious patience, something I innately lack. When I first started shooting with Clover, about 6 years ago, I realized this was uncharted territory for me. The way I had shot images up that point was slowly and carefully, working in a seemingly “adult” way. That wasn’t going to cut it with the kids. I had to get a grip on the fact that finding patience would allow me to get what I needed and wanted. Also, I realized very quickly that I wasn’t solely in charge. Once I let go of some of the control and allowed them to be themselves, and stop being a director, barking orders, the images became so much better. I now approach photography from a much more fun, almost childlike, way. I try to think of shoots from all perspectives, both still and moving, calm and chaotic, adult and childlike. The kids forced me to break out of my formal comfort zone. Obviously, becoming a father changes you at the core, but strangely it took me turning my camera on them to realize this. I want to see them smiling and crying, proud and wounded. I try to be very aware of all of these scenarios as they are happening. It’s hard to do, but many times you just have to be there. Being present is half the battle.

How did Wild & Precious come about and how have you grown professionally from that project?
Wild & Precious originated from a road trip that I took with my oldest child to explore and document the New England landscape and in the fall of 2010. Very quickly I realized that I was on to something and this might be my next personal project. Personally, I was growing as a parent and photographer while I worked on this project and naturally it spilt into my professional career. I have become this environmental portrait photographer/nature dad by way of Wild & Precious. Once I realized that was happening the road trips became a priority for us personally and it became important for me professionally to document it all. The project has allowed my work to really grow in ways that I never expected. I couldn’t be happier with where I am as a professional and I owe a lot of that to being that nature dad. Now I find myself working very specifically for clients to make work that was spawned from Wild & Precious. We recently worked on a children’s hospital commercial project that was about showing the strength and vulnerability of children. This is exactly what I am interested in my personal work so it was a dream to create those types of images for clients. 

Commercial clients are now doing more branded content with a hint to editorial, blurring the lines. What projects have you shot that fit this authentic storytelling?
This summer I worked with Fatherly.com to photograph a version of Wild & Precious for L.L. Bean. We collaborated together to create images that tell the story of “A Classroom In Nature.” This is at the core of everything I believe in both personally and professionally. It was a perfect collaboration and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Most recently I worked with Honda to travel around and document what it means to be a father in the US. I got to meet and photograph a wide variety of dads and their children. This was an incredibly eye opening project that jives perfectly with all of my personal and professional goals. It was unbelievable to get out there on the road and bond with these families and shoot pictures of them just being themselves. It was beyond rewarding and constantly forced me to assess my own views on fatherhood. I should also mention that the Wild & Precious film was my first foray into filmmaking and I am now completely addicted.

Who are you represented by and why did you choose them?
I am commercially represented by Tea & Water Pictures. It’s a relatively new signing for me, as of this past winter. I chose to go with Tea & Water for many reasons but ultimately it was because of their sustainability message that won me over. They want to do good things for the Earth and tell amazing stories. That is what my life is all about! It’s a perfect match up and we’re already doing great things together. I couldn’t be happier. It’s a real privilege to work with people who appreciate you on all levels, both artistically and personally. We’re bound for great things and I’m excited about the journey forward!

Are you your own photo editor? If so what is your approach?
I am my own photo editor. In terms of an approach, I always want to tell a meaningful story. Telling a rich story has always been the back bone of my approach to photography. I try to think about the narrative from all ends. I will include wide shots, medium shots, and tight shots in my edits. I will use portraits, landscapes, and still lifes as a way to show a whole story. I usually try to say something about strength and something about vulnerability, as I stated before. I love how opposing forces can feed off of one another. I like to think of my photographic approach to editing as a sliding scale from black to white. You need some black, some white and inevitably a lot of grey. The idea of curating a viewers experience is really exciting to me. The edit of my Wild & Precious book is one of the things I am most proud of. I suffered through that process but in the end, it came out perfect. It was so important that the images relate to one another in just the right way so that when you flip the page the connections make sense and gel. The book form is in many ways an idealized state of the work for me. It’s a curated collection of all my thoughts and dreams come to life presented in just the right way so we are on the journey together.

The Daily Edit – Cade Martin: Southwest Magazine

- - The Daily Edit

 

 

Southwest Magazine

Creative Director: Kevin de Miranda
Photographer: Cade Martin

 

Heidi: Did Derek share any reflections about his injury?  
Cade: We did not talk about the injury itself but we talked about his gravitating towards a piano after the injury. Derek dove into the shallow end of a pool at a party. After being diagnosed with a severe concussion and resting for 5 days, he woke up with an unquenchable urge to play the piano. He doesn’t even read music, but the most complex and intricate works – spanning all genres – now flow from his fingertips. In some ways, the injury itself is just a moment that marks a before and after and so much focus is on how his life has changed.

Tell us about the concept behind this shoot.
It was an honor to be trusted with this story and I was super excited when I heard about the opportunity. Kevin de Miranda, Creative Director at Pace Communications, came to me with the conceptual idea of Derek playing the piano at the bottom of a pool, it was perfect…then I just had to figure out how to pull it off. At the time, I had only photographed one underwater image before – but I loved the idea of creating something ethereal and beautiful. It was a bit of challenge logistically as well as technically but Derek was amazing throughout – as generous with his time and energy as he is with his story and his music. He was up for anything and ready for the underwater adventure.

Did Derek have any hesitation about getting into the pool since a pool where his injury happened?
Not at all, Derek was amazing from our first call and was completely game for anything and going anywhere.

Did you photograph the piano in a pool or was this done in post?
I put a piano in a pool at Matt Hyland’s 4th of July party in 11th grade and vowed that I wouldn’t do that again. Joking.We created the piano and the bench with CGI in post-production.

What were the technical challenges of this shoot?
The biggest challenge was the location honestly. We found a great outdoor pool in the Ft. Lauderdale area. We arrived and it had rained the day before so the pool water was very murky. We ultimately embraced the look and plowed ahead. I love the otherworldly effect you get with how an image captures underwater, but other than that, it is surprisingly similar to any other project as far as focusing on capturing what is needed.

Did he play the piano for you on set?
The piano was created in post-production so there was no piano there but he was always diddling with his fingers as if we was playing an air-piano.

How did this shoot inspire you as a photographer?
It would be hard not to be inspired, as a person, regardless of profession. The idea that there are gifts within even our hardest days is one that we can all learn from. As a photographer I’m inspired by characters and their stories, and by the adventure afforded to me by seeking that out. Derek’s story is utterly unique and almost unbelievable, but he is so genuine and open and accessible, I thought that was such a cool juxtaposition to capture. It’s what I enjoy most about what I do. I don’t know if I’m interested in the camera as much as the adventure, but the camera has been my trusty vehicle and we’ve developed a pretty good relationship. A story like Derek’s reminds me of the surprises and gifts I find on the other side of the lens.

 

 

The Daily Edit – Lisette Poole: ESPN

- - The Daily Edit

ESPN

Director of Photography Digital and Print: Tim Rasmussen
Director of Photography ESPN the Magazine: Karen Frank
Creative Director, Digital and Print: Ching Wang
Art Director: Eric Paul
Photographer: Lisette Poole

Heidi: How much of your work is based in Cuba vs North American/Carribean?
Lisette: I’m mostly based in Cuba but have worked all over Latin America and in the U.S. I have a lot of personal and assignment work in Cuba which I’d say makes up 60% of the work I do right now.

 Is there a large local talent pool?
 Yes, there are a large number of talented correspondents in Cuba. I feel lucky to have worked with them over the last two years. 

Tell us about this opening image. Did you shoot this particular image for the opener?
I hadn’t planned it as an opener. I discovered that scene when I went to meet the subject at his house, Dary. We missed Dary for our first meeting but it gave me a chance to scout our location which was his house. The next day I shot him prepping for training and when I knew he’d be coming up that hill, I ran ahead. I thought it gave a great sense of place for his life and current situation.

What were you trying to draw out of the subject here?
Dary was usually upbeat and funny, but I could tell deep down he was disappointed by some of the things that happened in his career. I hoped he would let his guard down for a moment. First thing in the morning (this was shot around 6-7am) he was tired, on his way to work, he had just introduced me to his newborn son. It seemed like he was more “himself” then without his guard up. On this quiet morning, I could sense that he was out of place, no longer home, and not having reached that dream.

How did you and Lerys connect during the shoot? (Lerys is the main character, the portrait shot with the green background)
We connected because I listened. I am also Cuban and have lived there for almost three years now so we had an automatic bond. It was fascinating to me to hear the players’ stories of leaving Cuba, especially Lerys. He said that he left his house, telling his grandma he was going to buy cooking oil and never returned. He was still visibly shaken from the migration experience, spending hours on a tiny boat which was ill-equipped for the trip to Haiti. He also missed Cuba and really wanted to be home. Lerys seemed to feel defeated and didn’t want to be photographed so it took time to build confidence with him. His story reminded me so much of all the Cubans I know who’ve left like my own family and the women I followed last year as they travelled to the U.S. from Cuba through 13 countries.

.

The Daily Edit – Jeremy M. Lange: Men’s Journal

- - The Daily Edit


Men’s Journal

Creative Director: David Schlow
Director of Photography:
 Jennifer Santana
Art Director: Justin Long
Associate Photo Editor: David Carr
Photographer: Jeremy Lange


Heidi: Was this your first assignment with Men’s Journal?
Jeremy: No, in late March of this year I did my first story for Men’s Journal about rock climber Kai Lightner. Just a few weeks later, I got an email from DOP Jennifer Santana saying basically this “…interested in shooting a feature profile this week? It would need to be in a studio. It is a sensitive issue as the subject is in witness protection.”

I was obviously intrigued and pretty open the week so I immediately said yes and set about getting a studio rented in the area we had discussed. Some friends of mine run Shadow Box Studios in Durham, NC and they had couple open spots that week so I sent Jennifer back the possible dates.

What type of direction and information did you get about the assignment considering it was a sensitive issue?
Once we had a shoot date confirmed she sent over some details of what the images would have to be like. Martin, not his real name obviously, must be pretty much unidentifiable in the photos, so shoot in silhouette, or with directional like that obscured most of his features. Jennifer also sent over some examples of what was permissible in this situation so I could get thinking about how to get it done.

Had you done any images like this before?
Yes, I had made some portraits years ago of sexual assault victims that could not be identified so I had a little bit of experience with the general parameters, but those were outside so this situation was a little more difficult.

From there I made a few sketches in my notebook of what I was thinking and tested one or two at my little home studio to be sure it would generally work.

How much time did you have for this portrait and did you practice your light set up to be efficient?
There was no specific time frame for the session, but I generally planned on an hour in the studio. Given the constraints we had on the job, I knew that we would not be able to try too many things and spend hours playing with lighting set ups. I also have found that many “normal” people, i.e. people that are not used to being photographed all the time, are pretty exhausted by the whole thing in an hour or so. That is obviously not a hard and fast rule, but it has been my experience several times, especially in studio situations. And if they want to go home after work.

We, my assistant Ethan and I, got to the studio a couple hours early to set things up and make sure we had at least two working lighting scenarios so when Martin arrived we were ready to go. I like to take my time so it is nice to be able to show up early and play for a bit before settling on a couple things. The extra time paid off here as I was able to add a lighting element I had not considered before after Ethan and I experimented for a little while with what I had planned.

Did the subject request to see the images?
He did ask to see what I was capturing at one point but it seems more out of curiosity than out of concern. Under the circumstances, he was incredibly trusting of us to do what we had agreed upon.  He seemed to like what he saw when I showed him and we kept on going after that for a while

Did you direct him?
He had a good natural presence, comfortable in his own skin but I did direct him a bit after a while. I typically do not direct much at the beginning so I can see the gestures and positions people give of themselves and then perhaps have them repeat those, or we refine them to suit a photograph. This feels more natural and seems to give the person being photographed a sense of collaboration that helps us make better photographs. With this somewhat restrictive lighting set up, I did have to make sure his head and body were positioned in certain ways to disguise his identity but still give us a dramatic and powerful portrait. The photograph the magazine chose was one of the last setups we did, with the lights off center and raking across his face from behind. A little less standard, I think Jennifer chose a strong one.

I had produced a project in Mexico with a local celebrity where we spent $25,000 on security (24-hour armed guard and an executive evasion driver). Did this project require special security?
That sounds crazy! Here, surprisingly, no. Martin showed up on time with just his girlfriend with him, who sat in the lobby of the studio as we photographed Martin. He was incredibly low key about the whole thing, sharing some stories and some small facts about himself. Given the circumstances under which we were photographing him, it was very normal, not much different from the usual small talk that occurs during a portrait session. Some personal stories, some basic back and forth between shots.

The Daily Edit – Spencer Lowell: The New York Times Magazine

- - The Daily Edit

The New York Times Magazine

Design Director: Gail Bichler
Art Director: Michael Willey
Deputy Art Director: Ben Grandgenett
Photographer Director: Kathy Ryan
Associate Photo Editors: Amy Kellner, Christine Walsh, Stacey Baker
Photographer: Spencer Lowell

Heidi: How difficult was it to get to the location considering how remote the seed vault was?
Spencer: The seed vault actually isn’t that remote once you get to the town of Longyearbyen, which is only a couple of connecting flights from LA. You can actually see the vault from the airport up in the mountainside. It has to be accessible because it’s opened up a few times a year for deposits to be made. The biggest difficulty was dealing with the -20 degree temperatures once I was actually at the vault.

What was your security clearance process for the vault?
After some googling, I emailed the press department at the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food and told them I was working on a project for the New York Times and wanted to photograph the vault. They wrote me back saying the vault was actually going to be open the following week for a deposit and let me know I was more than welcome to come. I booked my travel and was there the next week. I assume they looked at my website but besides that, there was no security clearance.

Did you have to wear protective gear considering how precious the subject matter was?
For the shoot at the seed bank, I was wearing an obscene amount of layers because of how cold it was so no additional protection was needed. I could bare my hands being out of my gloves for a few seconds if I needed to change my camera and light settings but all the actual shooting was with gloves on.

Regarding the frogs, the staff who handled them were wearing gloves but my assistant and I didn’t touch them ourselves so we didn’t need to wear anything protective. However, we did have to clean the bottoms of our shoes before entering the facility to make sure we didn’t drag in any contaminates.

The biggest safety concern on this project was the shoot with the orangutan, Batang and her baby, Redd. Because their DNA is so similar to ours, they’re actually susceptible to our diseases. So I had to get tested for Tuberculosis the week before the shoot, which luckily I didn’t have and the shoot would’ve been called off if I’d had even a slight cold. Ultimately I had to keep my distance and wear scrubs, a mask and gloves.    

How long were you allowed in the seed bank?
I was allowed inside the vault for a total of about an hour between two visits. I also went back for another 3 visits to shoot the exterior.

How if at all do you think differently about food security, the fragility of life and our handprint on nature after this project; how did you try to convey that in your work?
We’re in the midst of the sixth mass extinction this planet has experienced. Four out of the other five extinctions were caused by climate change. The difference with what we’re seeing now is that human impact is changing the climate and it’s happening over decades rather than over thousands of years.

We know this because the ancient atmosphere is trapped in ice, which we’re able to extract from cores and study. I’ve seen a lot of images of ice melting but I felt like images of ice being artificially frozen would carry a powerful message. So, when Amy Kellner at NYT Mag asked me if I had any ideas for climate change stories, I pitched shooting the National Ice Core Lab. She was into the idea and asked if I could find any other facilities storing other natural assets. From there we collaborated on the story along with the writer, Malia Wollan until it became what it is.

It’s easy to forget that we’re a part of nature. We may live in cities and use tools but the fact is, we’re part of the natural world and are capable of causing natural disasters. With that said, we’re also capable of preventing them. That’s the main thing I learned from doing this project- that the hard work and dedication of a few can begin to counteract the mistakes our species is making as a whole.

How much underwater photography had you done prior to the reef shots?
I actually got certified to scuba dive for this job. Once I knew the coral nursery was going to be a component of the essay, I wanted to be the one to shoot it. I’ve always had a crippling fear of the ocean but I figured there wouldn’t be a better excuse to move through it. By the time I finished the scuba classes, the fear was gone.

Because I’d never shot underwater, I asked a photographer friend who has done some work underwater if he knew a good underwater assistant and he recommended a guy by the name of Mark Nakagawa. Mark is a seasoned diver and has worked in photo and video underwater so he helped me prep for the shoot and flew with me to the Keys to assist. We did four dives in the two days we were there and I couldn’t have done it without him.

Where there any technical obstacles for this project?
This was the most technically challenging project I’ve ever worked on because of the extreme shooting conditions. Between the below freezing temperatures, working underwater out in the ocean and being in the presence of living things that are either rare or no longer exist in the natural world, there was no margin for error. I like working with limitations because I’m forced to make decisions but this shoot left absolutely no room for second guessing.

What did you learn about your self creatively on this assignment?
I believe the creative process is in a constant state of refinement. I graduated from college almost a decade ago and I still strive for the same things that I did when I first started my career, I just have more clarity in vision and execution now. Creatively, my goal is to always keep things simple which I feel I was really able to achieve on this project because I didn’t have a choice. Passion for the subject matter plays a major role in my process and I find nothing to be more important than the future habitability of our planet.

What was the direction from the Times photo staff?
The whole project was a collaboration with Amy Kellner directly and Kathy Ryan and the rest of the photo department via Amy. With the exception of the Frozen Zoo in San Diego, I had multiple days at each location. So I would send Amy images with my notes from the first day’s shoot at each location and see if there was anything specific she wanted me to focus on the following day(s). If she asked for anything specific, I would do my best to deliver and regardless I would just shoot as much as possible. The clear stream of communication back and forth from the very beginning was the biggest contributing factor to the success of this project.

The Daily Edit – Maggie B. Kennedy: Garden&Gun

- - The Daily Edit


 Garden&Gun


Design Director: Marshall McKinney
Photography Director: Maggie B. Kennedy
Associate Photo Editor: Margaret Houston

Heidi: You came from the commercial side of photography as a creative director at Williams-Sonoma, Inc. in San Francisco. What surprised you about editorial photography now that your 11 years in the game?
Maggie: I think working on both the commercial and editorial sides of the photo industry has proved beneficial. I had the opportunity to work with so many talented photographers, stylists, art directors, creatives, etc. during my decade with Williams-Sonoma years as well as be exposed to the various company departments and business overall. How a photograph of a beautiful table setting or friends cooking together sets the tone of a brand. So much is thought about before the actual photograph is taken. Many of the photographers I was fortunate enough to work with at Williams-Sonoma shot both commercial and editorial projects. I think that time marked the beginning of the advertising/commercial world starting to explore a more editorial/lifestyle approach you see in campaigns today. I think the two worlds continue to weave together to keep up with new business models, whether for a retail company, a magazine, any business now. It’s all about creating a larger brand, a lifestyle.

When you left San Francisco, what did most of your peers say about your moving to a start-up?
I continued to work with Williams-Sonoma for a few years after relocating to Charleston, SC (Garden & Gun magazine’s hometown). A lot of the photographers and creatives I worked with for so many years in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, etc. thought I had lost my mind moving back to the South!! (I’m originally from North Carolina.) I, too, questioned my decision those first months after landing in Charleston but was ready to be back on the East Coast. But the start-up didn’t enter the picture until a year or so later. I decided to take a leap of faith when I met Rebecca Darwin, Garden & Gun’s president and CEO and one of the founders. She’s an incredible businesswoman and inspiring both professionally and personally. I instantly had a gut feeling and wanted to jump on board! That was September 2006. The first issue of Garden & Gun hit the newsstands April 2007.

Garden & Gun has a dedicated audience. Tell us the story behind the name and how this lifestyle stole everyone’s heart.
The name “Garden & Gun” comes from an old Charleston nightclub, popular in the late ‘70s. The Garden & Gun Club. Rebecca thought the name really captured the personality of this new magazine. The “garden” is a metaphor for the land that is the South, the “gun” for the sporting life. Both are key components of our content as well as food and drink, culture, literature, music and art. Nothing like it existed on the newsstand when the magazine was born a decade ago. And the response and dedication from our readers from the beginning has been like nothing anyone has ever seen. Passionate is putting it lightly! We received a letter from an avid reader in the first few years – “If you ever close down Garden & Gun, we will hunt you down and shoot you.” Jokingly of course but this letter is framed in our office and speaks to the heart of the brand.

The brand has exploded in its first decade and now has a store, hosts events, has a podcast, etc. Tell us about the first few issues and the genesis of the brand.
It really has been an honour and a privilege to have played a role in getting G&G off the ground since the first issue. It’s come a long way and definitely been a wild ride! That first year it was all hands on deck, only a few people doing a little bit of everything to make G&G a reality. From the beginning, photography has played a large part in the brand visually and it’s exciting to see that continue.

How did the magazine benefit from the recession in the mid-2000s  ?
The magazine was launched in Spring 2007, right before the great recession. Not the best timing but in the end proved G&G really was a unique brand. We did everything we could to keep the doors open and our readers were so supportive. The recession made G&G stronger than ever and showed us just what this brand could become. It was a time when so many magazines were closing in New York. Even though it was a struggle, I think we benefitted from being independent and not based in NYC. Everyone involved with G&G at that point was fully vested with their heart and soul. It wasn’t just a job, we really believed in what we were creating and so did our readers.

The magazine covers lively people and places off the grid, have you had any production challenges or difficulty explaining to subjects what the shoot entails?
Absolutely! But that’s what makes the best stories after ten years. I think that is one of the reasons photographers like shooting for us. Usually, for me, it’s “how are we going to pull this off with barely any budget and within only a week!” The name of our magazine turned heads in the first few years but I’ve always loved sending a copy of the magazine to a photographer, stylist, etc. so they can experience the content. Then they get it and are intrigued to learn more. It’s definitely helped to have a few years under our belt now to secure more high-profile subjects – actors, musicians, etc.

Your magazine celebrates emerging talent, how do you find your photographers?
One of my favorite parts of the job is finding up-and-coming photographers and working with them on a first project. Since we’re a general interest title, I get the opportunity to work with all types of shooters – food, still life, portrait, travel, etc. I enjoy discovering emerging talent through a variety of sources – emails, portfolio reviews, social media, blogs, word of mouth. I’ve been lucky to see some of our younger photographers develop professionally through this first decade of G&G. (And sometimes I can still get them on a project if I’m lucky!!) The biggest compliment is to see a G&G shoot on a photographer’s website and know they were inspired by the assignment.

Every title has some obstacles to overcome, such as remote locations and weather what else are you confronted with and what are your solutions?
G&G covers very specific subjects in unique locations. Probably 95% of each issue is original photography. That definitely keeps a two person photo department on our toes! One of my favorite “in the field” stories was many years ago. Photographer Jim Herrington shot Morgan Freeman at home in Mississippi. It was a project we’d tried to make happen for a long time and once we got the green light, everything had to come together in a matter of days. I checked in with Jim to see how the shoot was going and received this photo. No words, just photo. That’s the sign of an epic shoot!

Photographer Jim Herrington on assignment at Morgan Freeman’s farm in Mississippi. I emailed Jim to check in and see how the day went and this was the reply.

We always want to think about pairing personalities together (photographer and subject) that will make the best mix. A little matchmaking I guess! Earlier this year photographer Bill Phelps travelled to Gatlinburg, TN for us. The assignment was to take portraits of survivors of the horrible fire that happened last November. A few of the subjects were, of course, apprehensive about having their portrait taken and reliving that awful night. I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen and wanted to ensure they were comfortable and earn their trust. Even the day Bill arrived in Gatlinburg we still weren’t sure if one or two of the subjects would go through with it. Visually, these portraits needed to be artful and stoic rather than documentary in nature to make it feel right for G&G. Bill’s portraits speak for themselves and he and I were both so moved by the project and getting to know these individuals.

Despite being based in Charleston, you’ve been invited to be an SPD judge and involved in the NYC industry scene. What are the benefits of being a bit further from your industry peers?  
We all feel lucky to be able to do what we do in Charleston. Anytime a photographer is in town and stops by our office, they want to figure out a way to move here! Rather than an obstacle, our location away from NYC and independence has allowed us to follow our own creative path which is part of the brand loyalty and success. We’ve a national magazine that’s won two ASME General Excellence awards and received other industry recognition in our first decade. We just happen to have a different zip code. I’ve loved being an SPD judge as well as involvement with other creative organizations based in NYC or other cities. I do wish I had opportunities for more regular interaction with industry peers. It’s always an honor to have G&G recognized.

What were some of your favorite images?
I love all the work we do, if I had to choose a cover, I’d say the Oct/Nov 2012 cover – biscuits. One of my all-time favorite covers, we were thrilled to win ASME’s Most Delicious. Photographer Johnny Autry.

 

Chef Ashley Christensen photographed by Peter Yang. Peter was trying to think of what to do with this portrait when he looked out the window of Ashley’s restaurant in Raleigh, NC and saw a man walking his pig down the street. Barbeque is very fitting for this chef but we didn’t tell the pig owner that. Only happens in the South!

 

Photographer Rush Jagoe and the 610 Stompers in New Orleans, LA. A photo shoot that was inspiring and fun enough to deliver a little video as well.

 

Photographer Erika Larsen’s portrait of author Barry Hannah. One of the last photos taken before the legendary Southern writer passed away.

 

The photo of Morgan Freeman looking in the mirror. Jim Herrington took that in Morgan’s mother’s former home on his farm in Mississippi

 

Photographer Peter Frank Edwards on assignment in rural Virginia. He has photographed for G&G since the very first issue and is such a big part of the brand visually. Hard to choose just one of his assignments through the years but this falconry project was one of the more challenging and “open to interpretation.” We ended up turning in into a photo essay.

The Daily Edit – Jolie Wernette-Horn

- - The Daily Edit

Shahrukh Khan is Bollywood royalty and also on of the top paid actors in the world. Vogue India Celebrated his 50th birthday, photographed by Mazen Abusrour.

Mumbai native and International star, Freida Pinto sat for Bharat Sikka for Vogue India’s 6th anniversary.

The chemistry onset was undeniable with Bollywood it-couple, Deepika Padrone and boyfriend Ranveer Singh, shot by Tarun Vishwa.

Deepika Padukone is one of the reigning queens of Bollywood, shot by photographer Prasad Naik.

The Ambassador car is a classic Indian design. Shot on film by Vikram Kushwah.

This gallery of Indian designers and their black pieces was shot on film by Vikram Kushwah for Vogue India’s 6th anniversary issue.

 

Supermodel Pooja Mor sat for photographer Bharat Sikka in this stunning editorial paying sartorial homage to fashion of the Indian subcontinent, styled by fashion director Anaita Shroff Adajania.

Irani cafes in Mumbai are a dying breed. Travel photographer Hashim Badani teamed up with Vogue India stylist (and fiancee) Priyanka Kapadia for one of my favorite shoots of 2016.

Manish Malhotra is one of India’s top designers, here photographed with Bollywood ingenue Alia Bhatt photographed by Vikram Kushwah

Vogue India

Editor in Chief: Priya Tanna
Fashion Director: Anaita Shroff Adajania
Creative Director: Jolie Wernette-Horn
Senior Fashion Editor: Priyanka Kapadia
Fashion Bookings Editor: Divya Jagwani

Heidi: Prior to Vogue India, you had a strong background in fashion publications here in the US, how did your role as Creative Director different if at all in India?
Jolie: I find the position of art director or creative director is basically the same. While responsibilities will, of course, change from magazine to magazine, even in New York, the main idea is to create and maintain a visual voice for the magazine.

Does Vogue India produce all original content?
We produce about 85-90 percent of our own content. The other 15 percent comes for any of the other Vogues, W, Glamour, and Allures. But, as an Indian magazine, we do aim to showcase women from the subcontinent. For example, we don’t often use blond models as it really doesn’t pertain to our audience.

I had done a redesign for Claudia, a Brazilian magazine set in Portuguese where the words are very long, this posed a design challenge for the cover and the typography selection. What cultural surprises did you have at Vogue India?
Luckily for me, Vogue India is produced entirely in English. The biggest challenge for me, and a constant learning curve, is finding out what will actually resonate with an Indian audience. For example, when I arrived in India I knew almost nothing of Bollywood, either of its current stars or its colorful history. Its hard to contribute to photo concept discussions for an upcoming celebrity shoot when you have no idea who that celebrity is or what has been done in the past! Six years laters, I can finally tell the difference between Kareena and Katrina.

What were the obstacles you had and how did you overcome them?
Compared to New York, the pool of talent is much smaller in India, as is the magazine industry itself. Because of this, unlike our American counterparts, it is very rare that we can claim exclusivity of a photographer or model. There have been months where one photographer shot covers for 5 difference magazines!

But there is new talent, and it is maturing and growing at an exponential rate, even in just the 6 years that I have been here. As a creative director, your job is always to decide what you think are the bet traits to focus on in bigger, existing talent and also to find and foster new talent. There is even more pressure to do this in India with fewer resources. We also have a lot of international talent floating around. Especially after Vogue Greece folded, there was a strange, yet fabulous, influx of Greek talent!

How has working internationally shaped you as a creative?
As an American and living in New York, it is easy to become very insular. People say that New York is the center of the world and I think I started to believe that. In moving to India, everything I thought was put into question. India has a completely autonomous fashion industry, with designers that hold the same stature here that, say, an Oscar de la Renta or Michael Kors would have in New York. Bollywood has its own superstars and a-listers that rival Hollywood for fans and influence. Personally, I  think the idea that America and New York are not the end-all-be-all of the universe has matured me. Professionally, I find this concept freeing. I think it allows me to look at design and conception challenges with new eyes.

How did your redesign/the magazine evolve over the 6 years that you were the Creative Director?
Diana Vreeland famously said, “Pink is the navy blue of India.” When I first arrived in Bombay from New York, I felt bombarded with color. Its vibrancy radiates from everything from the saris worn on the street to the billboards of Bollywood. So, in my first round of redesign for the magazine in 2011, I incorporated orange, yellow and pink into the type and graphic elements. But now, six years later, it is a decision I cringe at the thought of, in the same way one looks back at high school fashion. What was I thinking?! I think the main reason for that change of heart is my own transformation from tourist to local. Which isn’t to say that color doesn’t belong in design (Indian or otherwise). Quite the contrary. But I think after allowing myself to be saturated with the culture’s obsession with color, I’ve been able to look past the surface “exotic” and see the serious craft. In this sense, I feel the design of the magazine has matured with me. In its current incarnation, Vogue India’s design is more monochrome and simple, mainly to let the images and content speak for itself.

Are you using social media as a tool to find talent?
I am an Instagram addict and have found several photographers and illustrators using the app. I often find people keep their Instagram accounts more up to date than their own online portfolios. Its a great tool.

The Daily Edit – Peden + Munk: Bon Appetit

- - The Daily Edit

 

Bon Appetit

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 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 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 Edit – The Wrap, The Guardian: Justin Bettman

- - The Daily Edit
.

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 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 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.