Posts by: Heidi Volpe

The Daily Edit
Patagonia Journal November 2019: Austin Siadak Part 2

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Patagonia Journal
Photographer: Austin Siadak

Heidi: How has your relationship with nature informed your photography?
Austin: Hmmm, that’s an interesting one…I don’t think I’ve ever considered that question before. I have always enjoyed nature more as a participant than a viewer – climbing, skiing, trail running through a landscape rather than just sightseeing. Moving through remote and wild landscapes fills me with wild elation and awe and a heightened sense of the joy of being alive. As a result, most of my imagery captures not merely incredible landscapes, but often people interacting with those landscapes in meaningful ways. I think this helps give a sense of scale to my photos, and it also provides viewers with a more accessible portal through which to imagine them in these spaces.

Were there any difficulties capturing these images?
None of these images were particularly difficult to capture, as I took a fairly documentary approach to the trip and didn’t try to force or create any moments or events that weren’t already happening. I think that the only part that would have been difficult for most people/photographers was feeling completely comfortable in a rugged mountain environment and having the skills and fitness to move swiftly and confidently through it. I’ve spent much of the last decade of my life in alpine areas far more technical and scary than what we experienced in The Refuge, and so luckily for me I felt at home running across uneven talus or soloing ahead on snowy ridgelines.

How long did you wait in place before the animals looked at/smelled you? 
Every day of this trip we had to move 15-20 miles over rough terrain, so we never had any time to stop and really wait for the wildlife. This was a bit of a disappointment for me, as I ideally would have scouted where certain animals spent their time and set up some sort of blind to hide behind. As it was I largely just had to react as quick as possible whenever we happened to come across caribou or other animals. I captured the image of the wolf and of those caribou probably only 30 minutes apart. We had just finished descending out of the McCall Glacier Valley and were entering the Coastal Plain where the tundra flattens out and runs north for 50 miles to the Arctic Ocean. It was a cold, windy, foggy day, and we took refuge in a dry creek bed in order to get out of the wind and eat some lunch. We didn’t take note of the fact that while the depression sheltered us from the wind, it also blocked our view of the surrounding landscape. As we sipped down hot soup, Tommy’s eyes suddenly went wide and he half-shouted, “Holy shit. There is a HUGE wolf right behind you!” For a split second I thought he was joking, but I could see the seriousness in his face and quickly whipped my head around to see a large gray wolf only ten feet away. It bounded back a few paces at our movement, and then stopped and stared at us from 20ft away. Having never been so close to an apex predator, I was a little frightened and not sure what to think, but we immediately realized that its posture was calm and relaxed. It was merely curious, not aggressive. I gingerly reached for my camera, switched lenses as quick as I could, and snapped a few frames before it trotted off into the mist. My guess is that the wolf smelled us/the food we had cooked for lunch. We made sure to never lose sight of our surroundings after that.

When you shot the sweeping vista, what ran through your mind?
In moments like this, I often have two distinct trains of thought running through my mind. In the presence of such monumental natural beauty and gigantic scale, I remember thinking that I couldn’t believe how wild and wonderful the landscape was, and how lucky we were to be able to see it from such a vantage. But because I was there to document and take photos, I also spent much of that time thinking about the technical particulars of composing and making images – What to include in the frame? What to exclude? Where to ask the pilot to turn? To tilt the wings to give me a better angle? Did the wind outside the cockpit window shift the focus ring? These thoughts and questions probably occupied a much larger portion of my mind. (This naturally leads me into your next question…)

How often do you put the camera down and simply look?
I think it is nearly impossible to truly appreciate and witness an event or moment while simultaneously trying to document it to the best of your abilities. The natural conflict that thus arises, at least for me, is that if I want to really experience what is happening in front of me I need to put my camera down, turn off the technical side of my mind, and simply appreciate what’s playing out before my eyes. I’ve certainly missed shots doing this, but I have more meaningful memories as a result. One of the most difficult aspects of a trip such as this is developing an expert feel for when it’s really important to keep the camera out and keep pressing the shutter, and when it’s ok to just stop and stare. I think that only comes through hard won experience.

What is are some of the unseen efforts behind these photos that the viewer couldn’t even imagine? 
It is difficult, if not impossible, to do a great job of documenting mountain sports and culture unless you are simultaneously participating in the action at hand. Many of my favorite or “best” images come from trips and experiences where you simply could not have a staged shoot, set up a studio, or have a dozen supporting members helping with all the necessary tasks besides composing and making the images. It’s usually just me and the people in the shot, and I’m often tied in to the other end of their rope. This brings a palpable authenticity and rawness to the photos, but it requires serious motivation and drive to keep pulling out the camera even when there’s myriad other things that need to be done – coil ropes, boil water, break down camp, keep hiking, climb the next pitch, etc.

After more than 24 hours on the move, and finally in a zone safe enough from falling debris above to take off his helmet, Chris Mutzel takes a short break to soak in the first rays of dawn after bailing off of the route Exocet on Aguja Stanhardt. Argentine Patagonia.

If there’s one thing that ties a lot of my favorite images together it is that they usually capture moments where I wanted nothing more than to keep my camera in its case and deal with those other things instead. For example, in the sunrise photo where my friend Chris Mutzel stands in front of the Fitz Roy massif as wind whips the rope off the glacier between us, we had been on the move for more than 24 hours, it was bitterly cold out, and ice crystals stung my face like a sandblaster. All I wanted was to bury my chin into my hood and keep trudging along. But I could see that the dawn light was some of the most amazing I’d ever witnessed, and so I called out and asked Chris to stop for 30 seconds or so. We made the image and kept hiking.

Sam Seward gets ready to bed down for the night as the moon rises through wildfire smoke over the Tiedemann Glacier, Waddington Range, BC.

Or in the basecamp photo where my friend Sam Seward is in his tent above the Tiedemann Glacier as the moon rises behind, we had been awake since before dawn and on the move all day. We were descending off a climb on nearby Mt. Waddington, and we’d had an accident where Sam was nearly killed by rockfall. In the end all was OK, but we’d spent hours that afternoon bandaging his wounds and I felt completely depleted mentally, physically, and emotionally as darkness finally fell across the landscape. But as I headed to my tent to pass out in glorious slumber I saw the moonrise and knew that if I waited 30-60 minutes the light would be incredible. And so I dug out my camera and a tripod, set it up, composed the shot, and waited. It would have felt amazing to simply go to sleep and get the rest I desperately needed, but I am so glad I didn’t. The reality is that the hardest part is simply making sure that the camera is in your hands. After that comes all the easy stuff.

Chris Mutzel climbs the runout and rime-covered first pitch of Exocet on Aguja Stanhardt. The pitch can sometimes be fat alpine ice, but we found it in lean condition, requiring balance, precision, and a cool head to tiptoe up tiny granite edges and small ice blobs in boots and crampons. Argentine Patagonia.

The Daily Edit
Patagonia Journal November 2019: Keri Oberly Part 1

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Patagonia Journal

Creative Director: Kyle McCarthy
Designer: Annette Scheid
Photo Editor: Kyle Sparks
Photographers: Keri Oberly, Austin Siadak

Note: Arctic Refuge image (spread  one), wolf image (top right spread two); caribou image (left page spread five) photographed by Austin Siadak and will be posted in Part 2 next week Tuesday Dec 3rd.

Heidi: The Gwich’in tribe harvest the land and animals they are spiritually connected to, how did that unfold for you on this trip?
Keri: When I went to Arctic Village to document the Porcupine caribou harvest, I went in with locals Jewels Gilbert and Brennan Firth in mid-August, a time when the caribou are usually starting to migrate through. However, with climate change, the migration patterns have become unpredictable. I ended up being in the village 2 weeks before the herd started to migrate through. There was still a lot going on in the village. Lives revolve around harvesting food, medicine, fixing and building things and preparing for winter. It was peak season for blueberries. My first evening, I got invited to go pick blueberries and here I thought we would be gone for a couple of hours, we were out until 3 a.m., under the Arctic sun. That is what we did every night. We would prep dinner then go into the woods, pick blueberries, take a break for moose soup, play games with the kids, then continue until the berry harvest ended and the caribou came. The Gwich’in live off the land, this is how they sustain their culture and identity from the caribou, moose, fish, and berries.

Was the harvest difficult to witness? 
When the Porcupine caribou did start to migrate through, I wasn’t sure how I would handle the harvest, being a former vegetarian for 10 years and having only witnessed the death of an animal once. I found it to be a peaceful experience to watch someone with a deep spiritual connection harvest an animal. I did put my camera down a couple of times to simply watch. It was beautiful to witness someone with so much respect for an animal harvest and handle it. You could feel the love and happiness. They always thank the creator and animal for the food that nourishes their body, mind, and spirit. They also use every part of the caribou, the only part they leave is the stomach, which Jewels says, you have to leave something for the land and other animals – wolves, fox, ravens – they are hungry too.

Since this was the first time Jeffery and Lexine were in the city, what was their reaction?
Since so much of the work the Gwich’in do to fight for their way of life involves traveling on trips across the country and the world to educate people about the importance of protecting the Arctic Refuge, I wanted to cover that as well. Bernadette Demientieff, executive director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, is a seasoned traveler but likes to bring other Gwich’in on these trips. This trip she brought her daughter, Lexine, 11, and traditional Gwich’in hunter Jeffery John from Venetie. This was Lexine and Jeffery’s first time to a big city, their first time on long plane rides, and Jeffery’s first time out of Alaska.

Jeffery was constantly surprised by the number of people living in Washington D.C. It was something he couldn’t wrap his head around. He asked multiple times throughout the four-day trip, “So how many people live here? Wow, that many.” Mind you, he comes from a village in rural Alaska with a population of around 180.

How did they react to the lack of nature?
On trips like this to Washington D.C., they get no nature. It is a full day of travel, then straight into preparation, then back to back meetings and press conferences, then home. It’s non-stop. I think if Jeffery had been there any longer than four days he would have gone crazy. I remember being in Sierra Club’s office with him, which is on the 8th floor, and he looked at the windows and said, “How do you open the windows?” I told him you can’t, and he said shaking his head, “Well how do people get fresh air in here?”  At one point he looked at the people working in the high rise building across the street and said, “So all those people are working inside like that with no fresh air for 8 hours a day?” He seemed to be in constant surprise and would give me looks like I don’t understand why people live like this.

What was overarching narrative arc for this frontline community?
I wanted to focus on the Gwich’in people and their way of life. I think a lot of work that comes out about protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge focuses on the environmental and adventurous aspect, not about the people living on the frontlines. To the Gwich’in this is a human rights issue, their identity and food are tied to the land. Oil and gas development would destroy their sacred land and food security. I wanted to show they aren’t what many would consider activists or environmentalists, they are fighting for the right to live the way their ancestors have since time immemorial.

What struck you the most about their fight?
An important part of the story are the sacrifices the Gwich’in make for this fight. So much of the work they do is traveling across the country and the world to educate others about the importance of protecting the Arctic Refuge and the Gwich’in way of life. They make huge personal, financial, and family sacrifices to fight for their people and future generations. One that can be rewarding, but also very emotional and draining.

Let’s remember, these sacrifices aren’t just made by the Gwich’in, this is happening to all indigenous and frontline communities across the world, having to fight for their human rights in 2019.

 

The Daily Edit – One Portrait a Day, Everyday: Brian Molyneaux

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Brian Molyneaux

How long have you been doing this?
Almost 4 years – I started on January 6, 2016. I’ve posted almost 1500 portraits since then. At first, I envisioned doing it for only a few months, but a friend suggested making it a 6-months or year-long project. When I got to 6 months, I felt like there was more to do. When I got to a year, I couldn’t stop. My commitment to myself and the people I haven’t yet met was too strong to stop. Here I am now, still doing it once a day, and I have no plan to stop.

This project allows me to create content every day and allows me to feel that I’ve accomplished something special every day, which has built confidence in other areas of my life. I think the project has benefits to my overall mental health too. My mother was diagnosed with early on-set dementia/Alzheimer’s several years ago. She has digressed a lot over the past few years and one thing I’ve heard from doctors is that having a good social network of friends throughout one’s life will help stave off the effects of Alzheimer’s. There are physical and mental health benefits of walking around, genuinely connecting with someone new, and photographing them. Every day.

Heidi: How much time do you have with each subject?
Brian: The process goes pretty quickly and a lot of it is based on intuition. I’m always on the lookout for interesting people on the street. When I spot a potential subject, I introduce myself, talk to them about the project, and invite them to participate. Then I let our connection unfold organically. I have to convince them that I’m not too weird, allow them to share with me what’s happening in their life at that moment, and get a proper portrait of quality within a few minutes. Usually I allow between 2-5 minutes to do all of this and have them sign the model release on my phone.

It still surprises me how we can as humans can get so vulnerable and truly honest within minutes. Sometimes, I am so taken up by the connection, I don’t think about it as a process. Those interactions usually result in the best portraits. But as much as I love the portraits, I love the connections I’m making more than anything else. I thrive on being able to capture that moment in someone’s life and I am floored that people trust me as much as they do. I prefer not to hammer the shutter. I don’t ever worry about whether I can get the shot. Once the connection is there I know the photo will come.

How has your process and imagery refined now that you are almost 4 years in?
The first day I used my iPhone. It wasn’t planned it just sort of happened. I was leaving the grocery store and there was this guy cutting flowers in the flower department holding a knife. I approached him and asked if I could photograph him in that same position. He agreed and the project was born. I switched to photographing with my Nikon the next day on the street.

For a bit I used an AE-S Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8, but mainly I’ve used a manual Nikkor 50mm 1.4. The entire project has been photographed at 50mm. I wanted to honor how I learned to shoot with film years ago so I’ve added challenges, like getting the shot in 24 frames or less. I often come away with several selects from those 24. The constraints I have added have helped me a lot.

I’ve also developed better skills at reading people, which has translated into having a high success rate. I’ve only had 67 rejections. Recently I started using video to ask people one relatively deep question after we finish the portrait. I like expanding the experience to literally give voice to the people in the photos. All the verbal cues, changes in facial expression and intonation that video allows captures a thicker slice of their story than just the photo and the blurb I write.

Any plans for a book with images and stories?
Yes. I am talking with a couple publishing houses about creating a book or book series of this project. I’d like to take the project on the road to places that I haven’t spent much time in, like the Deep South and Cuba. I’m excited for the possibilities of meeting new people everywhere I visit.

What is the drive to continue?
Total world domination. Well, not really. To connect and tell stories through photos and words. I am fascinated about people and human behavior and the stories that connect and unite us. I want to capture that as much as I possibly can. Here we are – floating around on this ball in space – all unique but sharing bonds of commonality. I want to expose what makes us similar and connected. There’s plenty of noise out there about what divides us. I’m all about connecting people.

The Daily Edit – Bello Magazine: Stan Evans

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Bello Magazine

Photo Editor: Aleksandar Tomovic
Photographer:
Stan Evans


Heidi: What was the photo direction?
Stan: Taylor Hatala is a dancer who’s worked with some of the best in the biz. She’s toured with Janet Jackson, and been featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I wanted to get inside her head and show that motion but also the stillness of maturing.  I figured every time she gets off a plane, someone is probably asking her to move on the spot. I wondered if we could show her expression of dance through light painting? The concept would give her a break “per se” from performing and it would be a new challenge as an artist for both of us.

For Niles Fitch (This is Us), it was more of exploration of attitude and maturing. He’s got a great smile that he can knock that out of the park in frame or two so that was easy.  He’d played a darker roll in a pretty intense episode of Law and Order so I asked him to go there at times to show a range of his skills.  We discussed some older actors like Idris Elba, Denzel Washington, Shameik Moore John Boyega and I asked him how he sees himself in 5-10 years? We got into a good vibe as he projected his own future.  It was cool to see that side of him and he had so many good outtakes.

How did you interact with the subjects?
I think the biggest thing is letting subjects know you are on their team and today I am here to try and shoot the best photos I can. I’m here to represent them (and myself) well and achieve the common goal. You have Publicists, Managers and Parents all looking out for their kids’ welfare. If you get them to understand “help me help you” things get elevated. Hopefully then you can keep everyone happy and walk out with a couple images that are magic.

These subjects are transitions from kids to young adults, how did you approach the portrait to illustrate that transition?
With both subjects I asked them about how they wanted to be perceived. How do you see yourself in the future? I know, as a teenager there are a lot of people telling what to do and how to do it so talking to them from a place of mutual respect is important.  These kids have achieved a lot in a short time and keeping if fun with a bit of room for them to improvise was key.

Tell us about the background
I went to a workshop presented By Kwaku Alston and Arri at their headquarters in Burbank.  I chatted a bit with Kwaku about how he’d been using the Skypanels and some of the techs at Arri.

A bit later this editorial came up and unfortunately we didn’t have the budget to really get a bunch of skypanels. I went to Samy’s on a Sunday in LA looking for some cheap continuous light options to rent or buy just to come up with some ambient effects and found this Savage RGB LIGHT Painter for about $150.

I read the manual that evening sent my assistant Seth Mower some reference photos and I think our shoot was on Tues. I had some ideas for patterns I wanted to try and the wand was programmable so we tried to key in colors that would accentuate the fashion styling.

All the motion and color is in camera and I simply removed some of Seth’s shadows and background elements (as we were in a really tight space) It’s a lot of old school camera film tricks like second curtain sync, adjusting flash and continuous lighting ratios and having our subject Taylor stand really still. We worked really hard to have a high budget impression with some low budget tricks and I’m really happy with the results.

The Daily Edit – Frank Ockenfels: Volume 3

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Frank Ockenfels 3

Frank has been a friend of the blog for sometime now. Our first of eight posts with him was in 2009, we’re excited for Frank’s new book, Volume 3 published by teNeues.

Heidi: Why did you want to pull this body of work together?
Frank: It all started with a conversation with David and Nicholas Fahey. They asked me what was my plan for all of my personal and published work I had created over the past 34 years. I went home and put together four bodies of work I wanted to share and realized that they all  went together seamlessly. My portraits went with my David Bowie work that connected to my journals that lead me to my drawing and collage work. I felt after seeing this it was time to make a book that was reflected how I see.

How do you see your earlier work now that you’ve had distance on it?
I see the simple act of failure and growth, to not be afraid to go outside the box of what is comfortable. I can look back and say I could have done better or I will never be that person again or see that way again which is good. I accepted and kept myself from fixing or changing older work because I feel in the moment they were true to who i was at that time, I think that’s important.

Has your “eye” changed and what are the benefits of time as one looks their at life’s work?
I would say it’s part of my life’s work and because of what I have seen and done there is so much further I will go.  I am at about 75% of understanding where it is I’m going and what I’m still trying to say and create. At 59 I am still open to trying different and new things that scare me, this is very exciting and l look forward to my failures as much as my success in the years I have left.

December 5th: Fahey Klein show
December 7th: Gallery Talk
November 7th: Art Center College of Design Talk

The Daily Edit – American Way: Jose Mandojana

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American Way


Art Director:
Christos Hannides
Photographer: Jose Mandojana

Heidi: How long have you been shooting for the magazine, was this your first assignment with the publishing company?
Jose: I had worked for Hemispheres a few times ( also ‘lnk Publishing’ ) over the years, but this was my first assignment for American Way. The best part about landing this cover story, was that shortly after wrapping the shoot,  they reached out again to see if I could work on their November cover story as well. I truly enjoyed working on this style of shoot that incorporates a lot of portraiture mixed with travel/lifestyle.  I also loved working with their creative team throughout the process.

Did you send them promos?
I have kept in touch via email with Jessie Adler (PD) at Ink.  She actually referred me to her colleagues for this particular San Diego cover story.  (Thx Jessie!!!)

What was the photo direction?
The American Way cover stories follow a formula. There are always 5 locals (for the city mentioned) featured in the story,  so I needed to make environmental portraits of all 5.  The creative direction is that really any of those 5 could potentially end up on the cover.  Aside from the portraits,  there are travel elements that each of those locals mention in the text that also need photography.

How many locations did you shoot?
For this particular story I actually traveled to Encinitas first to photograph surfer Rob Machado.  I had to photograph him before the rest of the story was finalized because he was headed to Indonesia and the window to photograph him was small.  For that portion I photographed a donut shop, a fashion boutique, and then headed to Seaside beach to meet Rob.  I kept it simple with one Profoto light and just tried to keep the images authentic to who he is.  He’s a legend in the surf world, and I was thrilled to meet him because I grow up in Hawaii loving the sport.

A week after photographing Rob,  I traveled to San Diego and was joined their by Christos Hannides – AD from Ink Publishing.  He travels to all cover shoots to assure that they have a variety of cover options to work with.  We had a great time roaming the city over three days and photographing the other four locals mentioned in the text.

The Daily Edit – Vogue India: Bikramjit Bose

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Vogue India

Creative Director: Heidi Volpe
Photo Editor: Ankita Chandra
Photographer: Bikramjit Bose
Stylist: Ardhana  Baruah

Heidi: How did you direct the women of the Commonwealth Games in order to capture their power, grace and strength?  What was the conversation on set like?
I had the distinct advantage that they were all athletes of the highest standards, in peak physical form. So the power, the grace, the strength, all of it was already a given. I just had to find a way to bring it out at that given moment in time.


It helped that they were not used to being photographed, so there were no preconceived notions about how to pose or be in front of a camera.  It helped that I spoke the same local language as some of them did, so that helped ease the situation and break the ice. And then, I asked them to imagine to recreate or re enact, what they would do when they’re actually competing. That was, I suppose, the only challenge – to get them into that mindset – to get their ‘game-faces’ on, as it were. Even though I was shooting against a seamless black cloth backdrop, I wanted their faces to reflect that certain intensity and single-minded focus that only athletes are capable of.

The simplicity of the styling, the props is lovely and felt like portrait photography in its purest form. Did you also have simple production?
I photographed this series of portraits across different cities, over a period of a few weeks. So the first priority was to keep the whole setup not only simple and travel friendly, but consistent, so I could essentially set it up and recreate the same lighting situation anywhere.  Some of it was shot in a daylight studio with the backdrop placed next to a window, and sometimes the setup was done out in the open and a light tent created around it to cheat window light.

I often feel when resources are low creatively is high, does or did that that surface for you?
It is definitely true –  you’re forced to think on your feet when resources are low or limited. And sometimes, that is when you come up with the best of ideas. Having said that, I don’t think that this shoot necessarily needed a lot of resources in the first place. I always imagined it to be as pared down as it turned out.

Where were these portraits shot and how long was each session?
They were shot across different parts of the country – some in a studio, one in a hotel lawn, one by a poolside, one on a terrace
.and they all lasted anywhere between 20 mins to an hour, at the most.

 

The Daily Edit – Emmy Magazine: Ian Spanier

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Emmy Magazine

Photo Editor: Rose Cefalu
Creative Director: Rich Bleiweiss
Photographer: Ian Spanier

Heidi: Actors are notoriously busy, how many set ups did you do and in what time frame?
Ian: We shot 5 sets in a few hours, (4 looks). Tom was actually surprised we did so much so quickly! I could have pushed for more but everyone liked what we did so we wrapped it up after the last set. I do always however approach celebrity shoots anticipating I’ll have only two minutes.

How many images ran?
Tom Payne, actor and our subject, formerly of The Walking Dead and newly staring in Fox’s Prodigal Son was being featured in the “In The Mix” section of EMMY Magazine. The article is always a one-pager, but I love to give my clients options. Tom was really easy to work with, and liked the first set up, so we were able to do a few different sets. I’m a big proponent of going in with a plan, so by being able to move from one set to the next quickly I was able to maximize my time with him.

Was your direction the same for the existing portraits?
The other assignment was actually quite different. For that one I was photographing a number of students, who wrote screenplays for a TV show called Killing Eve. They would actually be composited into a final image in post. For that assignment we had two set ups for each subject to get through. Nine subjects in total, so it was a full morning. It was going to run in the same issue, so I did not want to do the same lighting. Since this was a last minute add on to that shoot, it was a good challenge.

Tell us about your “safe” portraits and has too many options ever backfired in some way with the client?
I often cover the “safe” portraits, which is something I developed over my years of shooting for magazines. I feel that I’m very good at looking at a magazine and understanding the “voice” of the magazine. Providing a set up that feels like the look of the magazine, even if it’s not exactly “my” look. I don’t mind it as I both love the challenge and always tweak a bit to make my stamp on it. That chameleon skill (as I’d call it) is both a blessing and a curse. It can confuse some potential clients. I like to think it’s an asset however, as I’m confident I can shoot the dark, moody image as well as the bright, beautiful lit image. I love to have many lighting solutions, you never know what the next request will be! In this case, we nailed the cleaner look, and Tom was open to playing around a bit. I did one final set that played more off his TV show- where Tom plays a crime-solving son of a notorious serial killer who has a unique ability to break down the crimes he solves. His character consults with his father ala Hannibal Lecter/Clarice Starling. At the time, only a trailer was available, so I had to extrapolate a lot. I love any chance on an assignment where I get the opportunity to be a little more creative and try some new things.

 

The Daily Edit – The New York Times: Jessica Pons

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The New York Times


Photographer: Jessica Pons
Editor: Crista Chapman
See the interactive piece here


Heidi: How did you decide which vendors were going to be shot?
Jessica: I didn’t have specific vendors in mind, instead, there were specific locations in LA where I knew vendors posted up. Some of the locations I wandered to were MacArthur Park, the Piñata District and Boyle Heights, where I walked around, approaching vendors more so intuitively. There were, however, a few vendors who were scouted through East LA Community Corporation, an organization that advocates for economic and social justice in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles. The writer on this story, Tim Arango, had interviewed a few of the vendors who had played a key role in legalizing street vending so for those individuals I reached out to directly.

How did this idea come about?
The idea emerged after Los Angeles finally legalized street vendors, which have long been a fixture of immigrant life in LA even as they operated illegally and were subject to periodic crackdowns. NYT editor Crista Chapman wrote me that their aim was to do a story that wraps in a few threads: the history of food vendors; immigration; food culture; and street life in a city that is dominated by the automobile.

What was the photo direction?
Visually speaking, the photos had to be shot vertically to fit the specific slideshow. My approach was to try to encapsulate  the culture of street vending the best I could; I looked for moments, details, wider landscapes and of course portraits.

How did you interact with them, where they receptive?
For the most part, vendors were happy with the news that they were no longer outlawed so they were very welcoming and open to sharing their stories with me. I think being able to communicate with them in Spanish helped build trust a little easier. There were a few who hesitated sharing their names due to the current political climate, which is completely understandable. But for the most part, vendors showed a desire to speak up about this issue as they felt justified in their stance. They know deep down they have dignified jobs, and make food with passion, some even following the foot steps of their ancestors who were street vendors back in their homelands.

The Daily Edit – Forest Woodward

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Forest Woodward

Heidi: How did that experience and film making push you forward now that we’re 4 years out?
Forest: The making of that film with my father (The Important Places) has shaped and continues to shape me in ways that I am still working to understand. When we pushed our boats off into that river, it was November of 2013. It was supposed to be a 28 day trip. Little did I know, I’d never really get off the river, and I mean that in the best way. The currents of that journey, the experience of going that deep into the canyons and into our family history with my father
well, I guess I could have guessed that I wouldn’t just be able to step off that raft and forget about it. It was an experience that has fueled a curiosity in my work relating to time, to family, to aging and to our relationships to one another and the natural world. The making of that film taught me a lot about listening, about humility, about giving things their due time. I continue to trip over my own ego and desire to be somewhere further downstream from where I am. That film reminds me, both in my work and professional life, to watch the currents, pay attention to the people and landscape around me, a reminder that when I am able to do that, there is a certain ability to flow, not to fight or flail, or grasp or desire what’s beyond reach, but rather to appreciate being right where we are. It all passes soon enough. I saw that then in the way my dad looks at the canyon walls, and at me. But it is also all enough, I learned that from him too, to appreciate it, soak it in, and care for the people around you.

What advice would you give your younger self?
Do good work. Be kind to the people around you, and to yourself. Balance your idealism with healthy doses of action. Embrace failure and continually seek opportunities to learn – in whatever form or medium they might take. Question societal definitions of success. Make your own. Surround yourself with good people. And be one, as much as you can. Watch, listen, and when the time is right, act with conviction. Be willing to adapt, to flex, to see from different angles, but don’t ever give up on the unique point of view that makes you you.

Since you wrote the film are you also being hired as a writer for stories you are shooting? 
I have kept my writing mostly personal. I’ll do some script writing on films I work on, and share some snippets here and there on instagram or my site but by and large I’ve reserved that part of my creative process for self reflection and more personal explorations. Maybe I’ll try writing something longer than an instagram caption one of these days. I have a vague notion of doing a book of short fictional stories based on people I’ve met and places I’ve visited, a project for another decade though I think.

Images from Future Stewards
Tell us how you earn trust in order to stand next to a human being?
I think trust is built over time and there’s no shortcut around that really. I look at the creation of an image as an exchange, a relationship. It can take place over years, or it can take place in a thousandth of a second. Sometimes there is an understanding and trust that is implicit in a meeting, understood in the grip of a hand or the meeting of eyes. Sometimes it is there, for whatever reason, whatever past events led me and that person to that place in time – sometimes it adds up to an implicit trust. I try not to take advantage of or to force that though, and try to steer myself towards projects where I am allowed the time to build understanding and trust between myself and my subjects.How do you deal with “the hurry”?
I try not to. I try to create and cultivate situations and scenarios where “hurry” is the furthest thing from anyone’s mind. As humans we’re very perceptive to other people’s energy, and that sense of “hurry” or “busyness” comes through in imagery I think.  I used to be a lot more frantic about “getting the shot”. Now days I see a lot of shots, and know I can’t get them all, and that chasing each shot often makes it so you don’t get any of them. I think patience is an underrated skill, and like any skill, it takes practice. If I’m feeling hurried I know my subject is probably feeling that too, so I stop, try to step back, reset.

Creative Director: Marshall McKinney | Photo Director: Maggie Bret Kennedy

What are some parallels you can draw from the allure of the west and the south as eluded to in this Garden&Gun story?

I grew up in North Carolina, in Southern Appalachia – just south of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but from age 12-17 my family lived in a very rural town (100 people, no phone lines or internet) in the North Cascades of Washington State, and during my early twenties I spent 7 formative summers in Missoula Montana. I think the tie between west and east is twofold for me – landscape and people. The people in rural Montana and Washington remind me in a lot of ways of the folks in rural Montana – they’re the first to stop and help you if you’re broken down on the side of the road, humble, quiet, knowledgeable of the landscape around them and in most cases with a deep appreciation of family and community. The thread that connects the landscapes for me is the rivers – and the wild country you can access by moving through them. A lot of folks don’t think this exists in the South – but in some ways it’s even more wild, more nuanced than the west, with incredibly diverse and rich ecosystems that are often best accessed by waterway or by taking a couple extra turns down unmarked dirt roads.

Was travel always a big part of your life?
I grew up homeschooled and learned at an early age that my family was not what the world would call “normal.” Looking back I see that as a badge of honor, but growing up I eschewed it, wanted nothing more than to be able to blend in. I became a bit of a chameleon at an early age. The way our parents raised us was with the idea of experiential education – so lots of time spent traveling, both in and out of the country – and interacting with folks of all different ages and walks of life. As a young man I continued following those same threads – majoring in sociology and Spanish in college in hopes of moving more fluidly through diverse communities and social settings. I continued to travel widely and eventually decided to swing the pendulum as far away from the town of 100 people where I lived as possible – living in New York City for 5 years.

Images from Children of the Rising Sea

 

 

The Daily Edit – Gmaro Magazine: Claudia Goetzelmann

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Front and Back covers Issue 15

Front and Back covers Issue 15

 

Front and Back covers Issue 18

Front and Back covers Issue 18


Gmaro Magazine

Photographer + Art Direction: Claudia Goetzelmann
Stylist: Zoe Joeright

Heidi: How did it come about to shoot front/back covers?
Claudia: Gmaro Magazine had contacted me awhile back about publishing some editorials with them as they feel my style aligns with the magazine. I send them a couple of editorials I had recently shot. They fell in love with the Desert Dweller Story and chose to make it front and back covers.

How often have you had the front and back covers?
I’ve published four for the magazine so far.

Where was this shot?
Joshua Tree. I love the desert and always enjoy shooting there as it makes such a great backdrop – setting and light. The location is actually the stylists home and the two vintage trailers are part of her property.

What was the photo direction from the magazine?
When Zoe (stylist) shared with me her vintage trailers I was hooked. We wanted to embrace what the location had to offer – desert vintage vibe with modern/ current looking models. The story feels very current Joshua Tree to me.

Where was the clothing sourced from?
80% of all the clothing we shot was pulled from stores in the Joshua Tree area.
We also wanted to support and feature local stores.

The Daily Edit – Climate Change Covers

- - The Daily Edit

This week is a round up of newsstand covers addressing the topic of climate change in a variety of creative, graphic and portrait driven executions.
Climate Week NYC is an annual event that takes place every year in New York City. Started in 2009 this has become a global movement with greater awareness largely driven by our youth. The summit takes place alongside the UN General Assembly and brings together international leaders from business, government and civil society to showcase global climate action (or inaction).


Cover Sand Art By Toshihiko Hosaka


Cover Photograph by Ryan Pfluger


Cover Art By Pablo Delcan

Cover Photograph by Christopher Hunt

The Daily Edit : The Red Bulletin: Alexis Berg

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The Red Bulletin

Art Director: Miles English
Photo Editor:
Susie Forman
Photographer:
Alexis Berg (running imagery)

Heidi: The race course itself isn’t easy, how did you manage to shoot the athletes?
Alexis: The Barkley is a very unique race. Special to run, special to photograph. Laz, the fascinating organizer, wants to leave a mystery on the experience awaiting competitors outside the camp. What happens out there only concerns the 40 starters. It may sound strange, in the world of images that surround us, but it’s the only sporting event where it’s not allowed to go on the course to take pictures. The exceptions are minimal, barely 1% of the course. This leaves a lot of room for the imagination, and therefore, as photographer, you have to look for a different and creative way to tell the story.

What was some of the challenges you faced with this project?
The Barkley takes place at the end of March, the week of the year when it rains the most in this part of Tennessee. The trees don’t yet have leaves and the park itself appears very austere.The light is often rather mediocre. There is a dramaturgy, but we are far from optimal conditions for taking action shots. The race lasts three days and the only way to stay in the mood is to sleep in your car, a few hours when you can. Nothing is very comfortable, but it’s part of the experience.


I know you shoot a lot ultra running, what made this project different?

The Barkley is a mysterious and unusual event. More fascinating than an ordinary race. The Barkley is a bit of a tale, and just being a spectator makes you a character of the story. Like a lot of photographer, I try to make deep pictures. Photos that are not consumed in a second. Photos that require a caption. At the 2017 Barkley, I made a photo that has been published a lot. We see a man lying on the ground, in a fetal position. His wife touches him and seems very affected. Around them, there is a little void and a dozen spectators, whose only feet and legs are visible. This is of course a photo a little aesthetic, that can be read directly. But, she hides a long story. This man’s name is Gary Robbins and he just failed the biggest challenge of his life, in the most cruel way possible, falling for 6 seconds after 60 hours of struggles. And this is just the concise version of the story. As a result of this photo, I made a 20 minute film to tell the full depth of the story.
https://www.alexisberg.com/labarkleysanspitifilm-zkh3

How much did you the course did you cover and did you have to run at all?
As I said, the Barkley remains a race that can not really be photographed. The highest point is accessible, in less than an hour’s walk. It is strictly forbidden to follow the runners. When I photograph an ultra, I run only downhill, to reach my car faster. I must say that I photograph with two big cameras and quite heavy lenses. You have to make the right choices to get to the right place at the right time. This requires a very precise study of the maps and the passage times.

What draw you to these types of events/ultra running?
I’m not a runner. I started by photographing ultra-running by accident, the chance to follow my brother on a race. It’s pretty strange to run twenty hours in the mountains. This strangeness, this distance that I maintain with this sport, I believe, feeds my photos. My relationship to images is so, they are not a mirror for myself, but rather a window to the outside. I live in Paris, but I never do a picture in Paris. But facing the otherness in front of what I don’t know, photo became my language. That’s how I started to photograph people running.

Did you always plan on doing a book out of this body of work for the magazine?
Yes. The Barkley is a unique race because almost no one can finish it. In 30 years, only 15 people managed to finish the 5 loops. Who are these 15 finishers? Some are a bit famous in the community, some are anonymous full of mysteries. All are legends. Last April, with a friend journalist, we found them all. And we met, interviewed and I photographed each of these men, who live all over the US. It was an exciting journey, because everyone is a pretty incredible person. The book will prove it.

The Daily Edit – Vogue India: Vikas Vasudev

- - The Daily Edit

Vogue India

Editor in Chief: Priya Tanna
Creative Director: Heidi Volpe
Beauty Director: Nidhi Sharma
Stylist: Priyanka Parkash
Assistant Photo Editor: Jay Modi
Photographer: Vikas Vasudev


Heidi: The assignment was to photograph this beauty project with a documentary approach, did you find that difficult?
Vikas: I agree that the documentary approach is something that lent itself naturally to this story, considering the faces we were photographing weren’t your typical fashion/beauty models. So no, it wasn’t difficult at all.

 

How did you combine your documentary work with your portraits previously? Were they lit or was it all natural light?
I think my documentary aesthetic is something that seeps into almost everything I photograph, whether its an editorial portrait, a fashion story or a commercial campaign, the hope always is to visually blur the lines between the two. When it comes to the lighting, I don’t usually follow a set technique, so some of my portraits are natural light and some artificially lit, depending on what the mood and space calls for. Although, over the years I’ve tried to simplify the technical and lighting part of it as much as possible so that I can concentrate on the person in front of me.

Was it difficult to get that feel in the studio, it’s a different energy.
Getting a documentary feel in the studio wasn’t difficult at all, as I just follow my instincts and react to the face in front of me.
Usually before a shoot I always have an elaborate plan of action, which more often than not goes out of the window once I walk onto the set and meet the model, because both the model and the space posses a certain energy that is always important to be receptive to and harness in order to create something that’s greater than the sum of its parts, but on off days when I don’t feel that energy, I always have my initial plan of action as a back up.

What did you enjoy the most about shooting this portrait project?
The most enjoyable thing about shooting this project were the models, to begin with, as each one had a unique face and was a unique character which made it extremely exciting, And also, of course, the team itself, everyone working in sync and motivated towards a collective vision, which is one of the most important things you need to create great images and to make shoots effortless.

 

The Daily Edit – Mark Hanauer: Kashmir: Witness: Huemn Stories

- - Photography Books

Mark Hanauer: Huemn Stories

Nine photojournalist were featured in the award winning book Witness/Kashmir 1986-2016.  A book that spans thirty turbulent years that have shaped Kashmir.  As many know Kashmir, also knows as “Paradise on Earth” was under a clamp down for the past 14 days. No mobile phone, no internet and many land lines are just now being restored. This book designed by Itu Chaudhuri Design was meant to reflect a casefile, a collection and evidence during those three decades.


Mark Hanauer who had spend time in Kashmir shooting Huemn stories which is an ongoing project with the brand. in 2018 also photographed several of the photojournalists that contributed to this book. Despite Kashmir being on clamp down, today we are sharing images from his trip that remind us of this paradise.


Makhdoom Sahib, a shrine at the top of a hill was extraordinary. Climbed many steps to the entrance. We met a holy man, he smiled at me, took my hand, gave me a blessing and two almonds. I was taken by his warmth and kindness. I still have the almonds, they always remind me of that moment. In the shrine only men are allowed into the inner chamber, the women pray just outside.


“I recall exiting the airport after arriving in Srinagar. The moment we stepped outside, I was hit with a very bright, blue sky, a number of heavily armed soldiers making their presence known, barbed wire and and a fighter jet flying menacingly low overhead. Driving toward Srinigar, I was surprised how different the architecture was to that of anywhere else I had been in India. Many Swiss chalet type structures in the foothills of the Himalayas, very surprising. We arrived in Sriningar and quickly met a few of the people that we were going to work with. I felt welcomed by them and everyone that I met in Srinagar. We drove to a small village to photograph a girl who at the age of 14 was peering out of her window and was shot in the face with rubber pellets by government security, rendering her blind and disfigured. When we met her, she was 16 and had just passed her 10th grade exam and was going on to Delhi Public School, a top school in Srinagar.

Parveena Ahanger, the ‘Iron Lady of Kashmir’ Her son ‘disappeared’ along with many other Kashmiri’s. A lawyer, she started the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons, to search for those who are missing. The names behind her in the photo are all missing persons. She has won numerous awards for her human rights work.


Hokasir Reserve just to the northwest of Srinagar and the longest rifle ever! For shooting birds.


Dal Lake. Urban lake in Srinagar, stunning place, 3500 or so houseboats on the lake as rentals. Tourism is normally huge here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Daily Edit – Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek: Masses, Office, Monocle

- - Photography Books

Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek

Heidi: Tell us about the first image that sparked this series?
Daniel: The first cat was Elli – the one from my parents at their home in Tirol, Austria. She was also the one who got me in touch with the following cats: Ume, Elli, Flitzie, Nevio and Fiffy.

Are you provoking the cats to jump?
I did not touch any of the cats. It all happens with trust. After many seatings we got very intimate and they started to relax and let lose. Finally they behaves like they always do when nobody is watching. They where just dancing and jumping around for fun. At this point it was super easy for me to take their picture. Im really happy and thankful to be able to share these moments with you.

Are the cats in the project all your own cats? if not, did you have to cast them?
All mutual friends

At what speed are you shooting?
1/125 of a second

What happened once you posted this project online?
It went quite viral, and now I sell prints and a calendar

How did the alpaca story for the Office come about?
I was driving through the countryside of Austria after a stressful job. Suddenly I saw a field full of Alpacas and stopped my car to catch a glimpse. This was such an intense experience and immediately made me feel relieved. I decided to try to capture that feeling and worked on a project shooting them to send all their positive energy to those who get as much joy as I did from them.  I came up with the idea to publish them as a calendar since thats a medium you can look at everyday in your kitchen and hopefully feel a bit better. Office was just the perfect match to publish that calendar with since they understand my ideas and share my love for alpacas.

It’s rare you find an archive welcoming downloading for comping and layout, can you tell me why you included this?
A few years ago everybody was super afraid that their content got stolen in the bad internet. So people started to build up websites that try to make it impossible to download their work; I think that makes no sense. The internet is a endless source of inspiration and it’s made to share and use work of others. So I decided to even go one step further and help people to steal my work and make it easy for editors and creative directors to include my pictures in their mood boards for upcoming projects. I believe in karma and think they will get back to me after they land a job with using my pictures for their pitch.

How was this shoot for Monocle a defining moment for you?
This was a quite special assignment since they had to fight for a very long time to get access to that warship in Dubai. I’m very honored they choose me to cover that story, we decided to also shoot film. I was using two different medium format film cameras (Contax 645 + Mamiya 7) and on the second day I noticed a bit strange sound from my shutter. After I shot a full roll I checked my camera only to find out the shutter was completely broken almost giving me a got a heart attack! I was lucky to have a second backup camera with me (Mamiya 7) After this experience I decided to never ever again work with film on a assignment.

How difficult was it to shoot the Koi farm for Masses?
When I was working in Tokyo for a few assignments for Baron, The Travel Almanac and Monocle, Masses hit me up and asked me to find a Koi farm to shoot for them. This was not as easy as you might think. Shooting on location in Japan was very bureaucratic and not very open for photography. Luckily I had a great producer and she was able to convince a Koi farm to let photograph their farm. I was only allowed to shoot a specific range of Kois. I was not allowed to photograph those fish which were sold since they could not ask all their owners for their permission. I loved how respectful they were to the owners.

 

 

The Daily Edit – Scott Pommier: 6th and Pedro

- - The Daily Edit

I

6th and San Pedro

Film by Scott Pommier


Heidi: How long did it take for you to find this subject, befriend him and get the story?
Scott: There were a couple of starts and stops on this one. I had initially approached a group of runners called The Skid Row Running Club. I described the kind of project I was looking to make and was invited to film. I went out and shot two or three times. I learned that there was a documentary team that was working on a feature length project that followed some of the runners who were training for a marathon. Since I was proposing something much shorter with a very different feel, it was deemed by the group not to be a conflict. The two filmmakers felt otherwise, and after receiving a hostile phone call I backed away.

What happened next?
With some help, I ended up finding another group with a very similar mission. It was a program called “Back On My Feet.” Mark (the subject of 6th and San Pedro) was a member of that group. I filmed with the whole group a couple of times, but once Mark split away, I decided to focus in on him. So I shot maybe six days worth of footage that I didn’t end up using.

So once you started over, how many days did you shoot?
Maybe six days of shooting spaced out over three trips to LA. I interviewed Mark on the tail end of one trip. I cut the audio together back in Portland. A job brought me back to LA and I managed to find an hour or two to shoot with Mark.Once I put those clips on a timeline with VO, and it that gave me the sense of how much more footage I might need. This meant getting back in the van one more time to drive down and finish it off.Meeting up with Mark wasn’t always easy, he had a lot going on in his life at this time, but we managed to get just enough footage for what I had in mind. What’s in the film is more or less every setup we shot, there’s not too much on the cutting room floor. I would say those six days are sort of equivalent to 2 with a crew.

How many people worked on the film?
Ghost Digital is a production company that a friend of mine runs. They have a van equipped with a stabilized head (Shotover F1.) It’s a 3 axis gimbal, inside a 3 axis gimbal. It’s amazing, you can drive down a pothole-filled road and footage is glass smooth, even with a 300mm lens. The telephoto tracking shots of Mark running were all captured with that setup. So on that day, I had a driver and an operator who controls the head remotely. He’s aiming it, zooming and focusing all at once, which is pretty crazy. I was seated behind the operator, with a monitor, and I had a walkie to communicate with Mark, but I think we ended up just yelling out the window for the most part. On the rest of the days it was me and a friend who I’d roped into helping me.  I needed someone to help make sure the gear didn’t walk away, and for a few shots I was being pulled in a wagon. On those days I had nothing more than some still lenses, a camera and a tripod and a slider.

That’s it?
To the extent that it was produced, I was the producer, also the director, the director of photography, the sound recordist, the editor, the mixer and I did the color grade and the titles. My very talented friend Arjan Miranda composed an original score. Anyone who finishes a personal project will tell you how grateful they are for every name in the credits.

Did you collaborate with a writer or you wrote this?
There was no writer on this project, the voiceover is edited down from
an hour-long interview I did with Mark. I worked with a fellow photographer/director Andrew Norton on a few projects a couple of years back, Andrew has a background in radio production, and watching him conduct interviews taught me a lot about the process: What kinds of questions set up answers that you can use, how to listen for tenses and context, how to interview for the edit in the same way that a good DP or director is shooting for the edit. On the post side I learned how to shape an interview into a story arc, and how finesse the details. Adding or subtracting pauses, leaving in some of the quirks that we all have when we speak, but loosing anything extraneous. That said, Mark was very engaging and very emotive in how he told his story. We did the interview in my garage under a little tent made of moving blankets and C-stands. When we finished we were both a little misty.

Why black and white?
I suppose metaphorically it’s a story of darkness and light, it just seemed to fit. That’s the joy of a personal project; you don’t have to make the case for anything. You have an instinct, and that’s enough.

Why did you feel it was important to tell this story?
Obviously homelessness is a huge issue in this country, but I didn’t set out with any particular agenda. I was really just following my nose. The idea of a homeless running club was unexpected, that got me started. When I met Mark I was interested in hearing what the path was that lead him to where he was at. When I learned about his academic pursuits and career ambitions that added another layer too. I think there’s merit in challenging people’s expectations.

 

 

 

The Daily Edit – Golf Magazine: John Huet

- - The Daily Edit


Golf Magazine


Creative Director
: David Curcurito
Art Director: Jessica Musumeci
Consulting Photo Editor: Nancy Jo Iacoi
Photo Editor: Jesse Reiter
Photographer: John Huet

Heidi: What type of direction did you give the photographer?
Jesse: The story was about how to be a Happier, Healthier golfer, with Tiger as our main example. We need Tiger looking just that: Happy.

Did you have access to Tiger during the shoot? I know John Huet has shot him before, so there was a familiarity.
No, we didn’t but because we didn’t have access to him, we needed to capture that out on the course during a tournament. Nancy Jo Iacoi, who has been working on Golf Magazine as a Consulting Photo Editor, suggested we bring in John for this job because of his already strong relationship with Tiger from photographing him for so many years.

What was the biggest challenge with this shoot?
Now photographing a specific expression or mood of a golfer during a tournament is no easy feat. It takes a sharp mind, quite a bit of planning, a good amount of hustle and luck. The direction we gave John was simple: we need a cover worthy image of Tiger smiling and looking happy. Obviously a lot of variables need to align for it to be a successful cover, and John had the same press access as everyone else at the tournament. So it was going to be a challenge to get himself in the correct position and be ready to make the picture IF Tiger smiled.

Tiger is so heavily photographed, how did you want to make this project/cover different?
Most of the time if you see Tiger on the cover of a magazine, he has the standard “tough guy” look. But because of how the feature was being presented and designed, we wanted the opposite of a tough guy. At Golf Magazine, we want people to love and enjoy this game, because at the end of the day it should make you happy. And having John out there to capture that turned out to be the right decision. He crushed it and delivered beautiful images of a happy Tiger that we were not expecting.