Category "The Daily Edit"

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
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The Wrap

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

 


The Guardian

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Daily 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.

The Daily Edit – Shea Evans: Technicolor

- - The Daily Edit



Shea Evans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Daily Edit – The Hollywood Reporter: Christopher Patey

- - The Daily Edit

The Hollywood Reporter

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

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

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

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

Outtakes from the shoot

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

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

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

The Daily Edit – Portland Monthly: Michael Novak

- - The Daily Edit

 

Portland Monthly

Art Director: Michael Novak
Photographer: Andy Batt

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

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

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

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

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

The Daily Edit – Parents Magazine: Priscilla Gragg

- - The Daily Edit

Parents

Creative Director: Agnethe Glatved
Photo Director: Lily Francesca Alt
Photo Editor: Joanna Muenz
Baby Wrangler: Melania Sawyer
Wardrobe Stylist: Annie Caruso
Hair and Make up: Thora Vikar
Photographer: Priscilla Gragg

 

How long have you been shooting for Parents and do you usually photograph babies for them? ?
As a parent myself I have been a reader of the magazine for a number of years. As a reader, I have always loved their editorial images, so getting a chance to collaborate with Parents has been wonderful opportunity. I’ve been shooting for them for about three years now. Mostly the magazine focuses on toddlers so when I got the call for The Baby Contest Cover, I was so excited, I actually jumped up and down. I absolutely LOVE being around and photographing babies! Babies are my comfort zone.

Did you see the casting photos of the messy babies faces prior to the shoot?
The magazine shared all of the photos with me but I wasn’t part of the selection process, thankfully because they are all so cute! You can still see them online. The sponsor for the contest was Dreft and they created a hashtag on Instagram #MessiestBabyContest. There are some really funny ones!

How do you get the babies to respond to the camera and become engaged?
Each baby is different and each responds to different things. For example, some babies love an audience, and the photo set is full of people – assistants, art directors, wardrobe stylist, hair and make up, etc – and this is perfectly fine. Some prefer a quiet environment. In that case, I ask everyone to leave the set, then it’s just me, baby and mom. There are peculiarities that you have to be sensitive too as well. For example, some babies will respond to high pitched voices. Sometimes the baby is ok, but the mom is nervous and she can pass that on to the baby. In this instance, you have to work with mom and make her feel more comfortable and reassure her. When photographing babies, you have to trust your intuition. After spending a few minutes with a child, I’m able to decide which direction to go. Then, if needed, I communicate that with my baby wrangler. Usually we know where to go just by looking at each other. We work very closely. I mean that both figuratively and literally. Sometimes they are on top of me using all sorts of props! Ha!”

The inside cover has a wonderful variety of expressions. Did you submit that edit to the magazine?
I edited the photos right after the shoot, while still at the studio. I probably sent about 5-10 images per baby. I usually color tag my favorite for each. The cover was selected from my top two so I was very pleased with the choice. When editing babies, I look for funny, cute or happy expressions that feel real to me.

Has your bag of tricks to get a babies attention grown with the times? (do you wave a cell phone/ iPad or a toy that lights up?)
Yes, absolutely. I’ve learned so much with all of the baby wranglers I’ve worked with over the years, though we never really use cell phones or light up toys. Last year I worked with an incredible team of baby wranglers while shooting a campaign in Japan. They had this cat toy which had a stick and a furry ball on top of it. They would gently touch the baby’s cheeks with the toy and so many of the babies would give us a gentle smile. They gifted me with the prop and since then, I always carry it in my camera case. In general, with babies there are lots of squeaky toys around, so I also carry around ear plugs!

I know some of the parents and children had never been to New York before. What were some of the sweeter moments on set with the thrill of it all: the city, being a part cover
I heard that there was a baby with 4 other siblings and we were all “wowed” by the mom’s energy and effort to enter her baby into a contest and for traveling all that way for a shoot. I mean as a first time mama I would probably have considered it. As a second time mama I would be like, “nah, no time for that” and there she was with her 5th baby! She is a SUPER mom!

It was fun to see the mother’s excitement about being on a set for the first time. They were taking as many behind the scenes photos as they could. However, we did need their attention while we were photographing the little ones so our photo editor was sweet enough to offer to take behind the scenes pics with their phones

The Daily Edit – The Red Bulletin: Jim Krantz

- - The Daily Edit

The Red Bulletin

Creative Director: Erik Turek
Art Directors: Kasimir Reimann, Miles English
Photo Director: Fritz Schuster
Photo Editors:  Photo Editors Rudi Übelhör (Deputy Photo Director) Marion Batty, Susie Forman, Ellen Haas, Eva Kerschbaum, Tahira Mirza
Writer: Andreas Rottenschlager
Photographer: Jim Krantz


Heidi: How did this assignment come about?

Jim: I was shooting a project in Austin Texas in 2015 and happened to stop in at the Hand Built Motorcycle show, and appearing there was The American Motordrome Company performing, I was captivated by the show and spectacle of the event. I presented the idea for the project to Red Bull and they loved the novelty of the idea and awarded the project to me to shoot.

I was shooting a project in Austin Texas in 2015 and happened to stop in at the Hand Built Motorcycle show, and appearing there was The American Motordrome Company performing, I was captivated by the show and spectacle of the event. I presented the idea for the project to Red Bull and they loved the novelty of the idea and awarded the project to me to shoot.

Having produced this project for you I know Charlie was injured but rose to the occasion.  How did you overcome that and what did you learn or what was reinforced about the creative process?
  As in any show regardless of injury or any misfortune “the show must go on” is Charlie’s mantra. On crutches and hobbling to his 1923 Indian motorcycle Charlie would mount up and without a grimace enter the Wall of Death and simply go for it. From my perspective, this unfortunate injury simply added an element that photographically defined his passion and dedication to his work. I embraced this aspect of Charlie’s current state of his health and photographed him making his way through the show. I think his example of pushing through and not letting this hamper his performance is also a characteristic I embrace when on a job, regardless of the situation, the show must go on.

Do you have difference creative processes for your still and video work?
Both still and motion take thorough preplanning and specific shot lists developed. I always make my shoot plan and have a backup plan “B” for the times situations change and a backup plan must be considered, this goes for still and motion work.

You have a gift for connecting with people, where does this stem from? Is this an innate trait or something you’ve practiced and built over the years?
Since I was a child I was alway curious and interested in people. I never felt uncomfortable around people I do not know, there were never “strangers” in my life. I think it’s also important to be open to inviting conversation and simply say “hi” to people, that’s where it all starts, it’s simple.

I know you have a love for the west and for motorcycles, how do your passions translate into your work?
The west, cowboys, and motorcycles are simply an expression of freedom. I think what I do best is photograph situations that give strength and empower my subjects.

Tell us about the collaboration with Supreme.
For me, the invitation to have my images expressed on clothing is a direction that I love. I appreciate that photographs do not have to be limited to 2-dimensional surfaces only, I have also been applying my work to furniture design as well as yet another example as to how images can integrate into a 3 D application and become something unexpected and fresh. Supreme is a magnificent brand and I was thrilled to collaborate with them to create clothing that was compelling and relevant. I have some unexpected and novel projects in the works at
For me, the invitation to have my images expressed on clothing is a direction that I love. I appreciate that photographs do not have to be limited to 2-dimensional surfaces only, I have also been applying my work to furniture design as well as yet another example as to how images can integrate into a 3 D application and become something unexpected and fresh. Supreme is a magnificent brand and I was thrilled to collaborate with them to create clothing that was compelling and relevant. I have some unexpected and novel projects in the works at  jimkrantzprojects.com that will expand the application and expression of my photography with other incredible artists to create collaborative works that redefine photographic applications.

You are a seasoned pro and have seen the industry evolve. What is some advice you can share for photographers getting into the game and those who need to stay relevant? Relevance is vital, as a career move on I feel it’s vital to continue to explore and remain curious. Without curiosity, there is nothing new to see or express. It sounds trite to say reinvent yourself but actually its never stop being curious and allow yourself to walk into situations that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable, that is where new work can be discovered. It’s not about technique, it’s about what you see, how you look at it and what you say about it that keeps you fresh and engaged. I think the distraction level in our lives is very high, so much information bombarding everyone, every second. For me, the key is to turn it off and simply look. Everything is right there.


The Daily Edit – Popular Science: The Voorhes

- - The Daily Edit

Popular Science


Group Design Director:
Sean Johnston
Deputy Design Director: Mike Schnaidt
Photo Director: Thomas Payne
Associate Art Director: Russ Smith
Photographer: The Voorhes

Heidi: When coming up with concepts, what is your process?
The Voorhes: It’s a collaboration the whole way. The magazine sends initial info (like what’s the theme of the issue, what are the features about, any loose initial thoughts. We then sit together (Adam and Robin) and brainstorm/sketch. We bounce ideas off each other, starting with obvious things or maybe not fully formed thoughts, tell them to each other and see how the idea grows. Then we take everything and refine sketches to around a dozen ideas. The magazine then usually take an idea and tweak it to fit the issue better. They send us back a cover mock-up using our sketches and we land on a final direction. Once we have a concept ironed out we fine tune things like color palette, prop direction, light direction, style and overall mood.

Do you journal, draw?
We don’t really think of it as journaling as much as concepting. But there is a LOT of drawing. We usually dedicate an afternoon a week to reading articles and brainstorming (Sunday afternoons on a patio during happy-hour is ideal!). Adam draws thumbnails as we brainstorm rather than taking notes. Robin too but her scribbles are not as legible so notes are required. Some ideas are half formed and some are really solid. We go round and round until we have a handful of solid ideas for each image a magazine needs. Then, later, at home at the kitchen table or at the studio over a cup of coffee we make refined sketches to send in to the magazine. Sometimes our sketches are nice, and sometimes they are pretty rough. Our goal is to simple get as many strong ideas out as we can.

 
How did this idea develop?
Avoidance I think. The whole issue is about water, the future of water, and in great part water scarcity. So the obvious is to do a play off of a glass of water, right? But we were given specific direction to NOT photograph any play on a of a glass of water. Adam couldn’t help but to doodle a glass of sand. The simplicity of it and the quick read was a draw. We also had sketched a faucet with fatter willing the bottom part of the page, and type was starting to break loose and float. We presented a bunch of ideas to the magazine, some well formed and some loose bits of ideas. They came back with the thought of sand replacing water in the faucet sketch. It was a totally collaboration. A mash up of brains and ideas.

What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
No glasses of water! ;-) Also there were ideas of water interacting with type in various ways. Our main direction was to create a simple graphic image that can be bold on the cover and work well with design. Beyond that it is a general nod to all of the features in the article. Something the wraps it all up into one general idea.During the shoot lighting direction came into play. Adam tends to light things in his head, then sets up exactly what he imagined. This, although a very convenient skill, can result in a lack of exploration. So, once things are lit and dialed in, Robin will ask Adam to light the scene a different way. Then after that she asks him if we can look at it any other ways. Often times the third variation is something new. It is one way we try to elevate out work.So this time we made options of pooling light from above, then we made a graphic option with crisp shadows. Same image, totally different vibe. We shared the light directions with Thomas at Pop Sci. He was digging the symmetry and cleanliness of the pooling light, so off we went!

How many ideas did you have before arriving at this one?
Oh man, maybe 30 on our end? Not that they were all GOOD ideas. And the magazine had a bunch to. It’s a journey sometimes.

How did you decide what was the right amount of sand to make things proportional?
The amount was decided on set with what looked right. The sand had to be completely dry to not clump together. We spread out and dried a couple big bags of sand from the hardware store then sifted it till we had around 40 pounds of really fine sifted sand. As we started putting together the set we realized we had WAY more sand than we needed. The sand was overpowering the faucet, so we came in closer, reduced the sand surface, and ended up maybe using 10 lbs of sand total. Then we had to take design and type into account, so there were some tweaks. For example the distance from the faucet to the sand surface was increased to accommodate type.

Were there any obstacles to getting the water shot? ( what’s in your water )
We shot this in January after a freeze. There was no alga floating on the lakes. Our assistant figured out how to make something that looked like alga using egg whites and matcha tea. It looked good for about an hour then started to get gross and dark. Other than that scale was an issue. Finding the right items that related to each other size wise and could all be styled into a vessel together so we would not have to make a Photoshop composite was tricky. Thank god for mini salt shakers and aquarium decor skulls.

What was the biggest challenge with this cover and feature assignment?
The details. Nothing was an overly complicated prop fabrication. But the details of each object mattered. Getting the right flash duration on the sand to have just enough drag to feel in motion but not blurred. Having light that is beautiful and just a touch dramatic. Pulling focus in a macro scene with moving subjects. It’s just attention to detail and a constant effort to make better work.

Where did you get the faucet?
We bought a variety of new faucets from the hardware store and tried various aging methods on them. While they looked fine, they were not quiet right. We needed something with character to be worthy of a cover. One of our assistant, who we keep asking to go get a tetanus shot, went to a metal recycling yard and spend an afternoon digging through rust piles till she found 5 different vintage faucets with PLENTY of character. The final faucet was with the knob from one and the spout from another. She still has yet to get the tetanus shot despite us telling her to go.

The Daily Edit – Design Director/Photo Director/Photographer: Hannah McCaughey

- - The Daily Edit

 



 

 

Outside Magazine

Design Director+Photo Director: Hannah McCaughey
Photography Editor: Amy Silverman
Deputy Art Director: Petra Zeiler
Assistant Photography Editor: Madeline Kelty
Junior Designer: Erica Clifford
Photographer: Hannah McCaughey

Heidi: I loved seeing your images in the latest issue, such a talent. Was this exciting for you?
Hannah: Yes, mainly because it’s a lot of fun, and by shooting a few things in house every month, we stay out of trouble with our accounting department. It allows us to save resources for the more ambitious projects in the magazine.

It’s similar to the way I feel about my design work. I don’t wow myself very often, but I find the process of it thoroughly enjoyable. I’m guessing that it’s this never fully satisfied, quasi-dissatisfaction that propels me forward. With every picture I (very spastically) make, the minute I see it in print, I see only what could have been better about it. It’s not that I’m aiming for perfection. It’s more like a running list of missed opportunities. This kind of thinking is well suited to the “work in progress” nature not just of life, but also of the cyclical nature of magazines. The repetition affords infinite possibilities to learn and grow, and it provides a kind of forgiveness for what went wrong. Much like in real life (although this example never happens), every day that I yell and scream at my kids to get dressed, eat breakfast, put on their shoes, file into the car to get to school on time, I can think about tomorrow and how we’ll be skipping and singing the whole way.

You’ve held the position at Outside as design director and photo director for some time; racking up several design and photography awards. Tell us about your evolution as a photographer.
Part of me was working at staying creatively engaged and satisfied. Sixteen years working on the same title has its wonderful moments and challenges. And I must have had enough bad art-directing moments in a row to where I thought to myself, “Why don’t I just shoot it myself?” And that thought alone was like ding! “Hey. Why. Don’t. I?”

Disclaimer: I’m not sure I’m ready to call what I’m doing photography exactly. I have so much help on both the front end (with assistance setting up all the lights and the camera) and on the back end (with pretty generous retouching). Because I’m so inexperienced, I’m forced to keep things incredibly simple. The idea itself is mainly what these images have going for them. Often, if these weren’t accompanying a specific story, I’m not sure they’d make any sense, and they’re not particularly beautiful or artful. I sometimes wish there was another word for it.

I started super low tech with my iPhone, some Xerox paper (for backdrop and bounce), my desk, and the New Mexico sunlight that comes into my office like a klieg light every afternoon. When I thought I had something that looked even remotely “profesh,” I got up the nerve to ask one of our photo assistants at the time, Michael Karsh, to help me work the camera and set up lights in the studio to shoot it for real. Since he moved back to San Francisco, I have been shooting and learning a lot from Dustin Sammann, who is the most patient and generous teacher on the planet. We created a new kind of freelance position for him: über assistant (when he’s not the photographer himself). Which is basically assisting someone who is super “special”—a.k.a. me.

With your understanding of great photography and composition from your design background, did you feel like, “I can do that”? Clearly, those skills come into play.
Now that I’ve dipped my toes in, I am—more than ever-—blown away by the giant talent and creative genius of the people who contribute to magazines (ours and others). My eyes have been exposed to so much amazing art, dating back to my early days at Rolling Stone in the nineties, and I hope some of it has rubbed off. Some parts of it, like finding a good balance in composition and seeing negative space, come more easily now. But part of the appeal is how much more there is out there for me to learn.

The magazine industry has certainly changed—budgets are lower, multitasking is essential. How does your creative control behind the camera influence your design? Most photographers don’t have a keen understanding of the book as a whole: layout, the volume of text.
Working as the art director gives me a huge, almost unfair leg up on shooting for this magazine. I go into it knowing what the headline is, how much space we have for art, what hasn’t worked in the past, why the story is running in that particular month—or what role it plays in the mix of stories planned for that issue—because I was there in the meeting when it was discussed as a pitch. I know what pitfalls the editors are worried about avoiding, the narrative arc; sometimes I know the writer personally. Add to that, I sit and design pages about 50 steps from where we shoot the art. I can literally ping-pong back and forth between the set and my desk with the layout on my screen (and text on the page) to see whether or not a shot is working. If it doesn’t work, we try something else. And if at day’s end it’s still not working, we try again the next day.

The upshot is that those two halves of my brain—photographer and designer—don’t always agree. Sometimes I’ll have a picture that I would love to see printed and another one that’s better suited to the story. The two halves have to fight it out. In my case, the art director always wins, because she is older (and crabbier). And now I know how that feels for contributors who say, “But why didn’t you print this one? It’s clearly the better photograph.” To which I have to say, “I totally agree, but this one works better for the story.” Not the easiest thing to have to hear or say.

Recently, I had a shoot where I was asking our cover photographer to try it this way and cover it that way “so we could have loads of options.” That’s something I think art directors say because we feel like that’s what’s expected of us by our bosses.  To which he said, “Why? Why do you need options? We have something we both like. We should be done.” It was a record-skipping moment for me, the photographer part of me could totally relate: Why do we feel like we have to “cover it” this way and that way and every way possible? Why can’t we just say that’s amazing! and that’s a wrap? Is this something that happened when we started ordering half caff extra hot no foam 2% lattes at Starbucks? Or, it is because we aren’t shooting film so we feel like why not shoot it every which way? I don’t know the answer to this one.

What made you choose to start doing still-life? Was this partially a response to the expense of sending gear out to get shot?
We have two amazing and talented photographers who shoot the mountains of gear that come through our offices for Outside and the two annual Buyer’s Guides, Inga Hendrickson and Dustin Sammann. That’s not something the magazine would ever need me to venture into. My happy place right now is conceptual still-life, which historically had been very difficult for us to assign. Sometimes it involves using a model to get a certain concept across (the Simplify package, for instance), but more often it means using basic objects from everyday life as symbols for something conceptual or hard to shoot, such as flexibility, traumatic brain injury, mental training, etc. And I like to shoot our one-page style and grooming pages just because there is a lot of freedom as far as what we can do. Young photographers always say to me, “I like to shoot people!” and I think, “Not me!” I much prefer to be alone in a dark room, just me and some random objects.

I know at Outside you transformed your gym into a photo studio—smart move. Did you propose this to the company? How hard was it to set up?
Rob Haggart came up with this idea. He was the one who got Larry Burke, the owner of the magazine, excited and on board to make the investment. He consulted various photographers on ordering the cameras and the lights and equipment and the design of the space itself—all of it, and years later it’s still a fantastic studio and a savvy business decision.

Describe how it feels to have done the entire layout from shooting, design and photo editing? Is it hard to be your own critic?
I think I’m getting better at being my own critic. It’s probably the most awkward for Amy Silverman, our photo editor, to pipe up when she doesn’t like something I’ve shot. I deliberately don’t mention it to the editors that I made the photographs when I first show them a layout, so they don’t get put in an awkward position. Because I’m such a beginner, I never care when they say, “Can we find something else for that?” And, it’s probably good to get thick-skinned about it.

Since now you do the job of three, what would you say are the challenges and benefits?
I feel like I made my bed on this one. I have a lot of designing and art directing left in me to do, and I enjoy it so much, that if I gave it up I would really miss it. By adding shooting to my list, I’ve made my life a lot busier but also more interesting and rewarding.

Do you remember you first assignment for the magazine, what it was like to see your image in print?
Yes! It was a very cool, somewhat scary moment. It was a broken melon duct-taped back together for a story about recovering from traumatic brain injury. I remember trying really hard not to be too precious about the retouching and the layout and the printing of it. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t giving it more attention than the other images in the issue as if the other photographs would tell on me.

Which thrills you the most of all the things you are currently doing?
At the moment, I’m doing a little DIY lighting seminar by moving objects around on my desk in the afternoon sun, mainly during long conference calls.

Do all art directors just want to shoot?
Yes! We do! Thank you, it feels so good to admit it. No, I’m kidding. In all my years of going on shoots for features and covers, I never wanted to be the photographer. How they manage the Herculean feat of juggling the big crowded set, managing all the assistants, dealing with the clients, the stylists and the groomers, the talent, the talents’ people, and, most importantly, pulling genius artwork out of all that chaos? I could no more fly to the moon.

It wasn’t until I found this quieter, calmer side of photography that I could even imagine myself shooting. What I could not have known is how incredibly gratifying it is for the cheerleader to jump in the game. I had no idea how much fun everyone was having. My hope is that the photographer in me is helping the art director and designer find better ways of communicating with our contributing photographers, now that I have a better understanding of the entire process. But on the flip side, I’ve noticed that if a photographer starts making excuses why they can’t or won’t do something for a story or a cover, I’m like “C’mon, quit yer whining!”

Tell us about being a woman in a lead position.
In my experience, being a woman in charge can be an incredibly tricky thing to maneuver. I’ve been going to various locations for feature and cover shoots all these years thinking that surely as I gain more experience, that would equal more respect. It’s true that I get to reap the benefits of being the more in-touch, capable, intelligent, compassionate, hard-working, better-at-multitasking, relatable, sensitive, and emotionally sensitive gender. The bad news is—and studies have proven this—that women don’t get heard as well as men because they’re not as well regarded. For my job, this has meant that in order to get what we need for the magazine, I sometimes have to come out louder, pushier, and more demanding than I’m sure my male counterparts have to be. Depressingly, being the “B—tch” seems like a way too easy booby trap for women in charge to fall into. And maybe part of me is tired of that. Which explains why shooting pictures (versus art-directing them) is so satisfying to me. It means being fully heard and seen, and not prejudged or discounted, and that feels really good.