• 9.2.15   Iman Mohamed's Timeless Tips by Titilayo Bankole

    Almost unbelievably, international supermodel Iman Mohamed just turned 60 last month. We’re not one to make a story of a woman’s age, except that Iman isn’t letting anything hold her back. In an industry that rarely has room for women who’ve reached their thirties, Iman continues to give her younger peers a run for their money. She’s been in this business for decades, and there’s good reason: she knows how to bring it. For her latest cover of Vanity Fair Italia, Titilayo Bankole was on hand to bring an extra level of spice to Iman’s fingertips. The manicurist applied rich colors for each of Iman’s theatrical looks, playing with contrast and depth of color achieving an incredible level of drama. The Gramercy Park Hotel played set to the glamorous shoot, creating the perfect atmosphere for resulting images that Titilayo herself said, “are extremely current and timeless!” Check out the full editorial below.
  • 9.2.15   Shotopop Heralds the Return of Usain Bolt with Puma

    Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world and, by many accounts, the fastest man ever. At the towering height of 6’5” he has used his long stride to capture world records all over the world, all while capturing the hopes of millions. But Usain is, first and foremost, a Jamaican, living on the island where he was born. International success can draw stars to more glamorous lifestyles, but Bolt has kept his roots at home, focusing on his sport and bringing him around the world to defend his titles. Bolt’s latest races took place at the 2015 World Championships just a few weeks ago in Bejing. Bolt held on to his 100m and 200m titles, and then immediately after winning his record 10th gold, was struck by a runaway Segway. Bolt was unharmed, but it caused a few good laughs on social media and Bolt responded with good humor. To build hype and excitement in the time leading up to the race, Bolt’s sponsor, Puma, teamed up with Shotopop to create imagery celebrating Usain’s success and historic career. The creation was set to be used on social media and features the runner breaking through finish line tape extending from Chinese characters that dominate the composition. The piece proclaims, “Beijing, Bolt is back,” which may instill fear on some athletes. The last time Bolt was in Beijing to compete were in the 2008 Olympics. Those were the summer games where he broke his own world record and shattered the previous Olympic record (that had stood since 1996) in the 100-meter sprint. Oh, he also broke the 200m and the 4x100m relay. He dominated every event that he touched, causing him to burst into the scene and catch attention that he had been denied to that point. That was the moment that the world took notice, crediting him for being the historical star we all know he is today. Puma used the image on Twitter as their banner, and an edited version for sharing in tweets. Whether or not it instilled fear in the hearts of his rivals is an academic point. He won his events handily proving that he was, in fact, back. 
  • 8.31.15   Platon Seeks to Answer "Who Is Stephen Colbert?"

    As we know it, Late Show started in 1993 with David Letterman at the helm and has known no other host in its entire history, but Colbert is no stranger to adapting a tried and true approach to match his own voice. After a hugely popular supporting run on The Daily Show, Colbert got his own show of the same ilk and made himself one of the most influential voices in American politics, even when it was meant largely as a joke. But Colbert takes his jokes very seriously, aware of the eyes on him and the impact he is able to shape. His incredible success with The Colbert Report lead to his gig at The Late Show, and the audience sits in the darkened, waiting for the show to begin. Not only are expectations high but they're buffeted by authentic curiosity: Colbert is not going to play a character on The Late Show. After years of satirizing his own version of a staunch conservative political pundit (who just happened to share his same name), Stephen will remove the mask for his largest audience. That audience isn't quite sure what to expect and Time Magazine's acute awareness lead them to invite Platon to the newly revamped Ed Sullivan Theatre while Colbert and his team reach the final stages of preparing for the big debut. For Platon to truly understand how to capture Colbert and his new version of late night, they met multiple times over three days. They started at Platon's studio to take another one of Platon's iconic photographs including one that would become the cover image (that Colbert would use as a punch line on Twitter for almost a full week). Colbert's last job steeped him deeply in the political world to an extent that he found toxic. He told Time Magazine, "to model behavior, you have to consume that behavior on a regular basis. It became very hard to watch punditry of any kind, of whatever political stripe." As a result of this incredible attention he became familiar with Platon's work, a study that came to a head during a change of set when Colbert caught sight of Platon's Esquire cover of President Bill Clinton. Colbert ecstatically exclaimed, "That was you! It looks like he’s the Lincoln Memorial ready to party!" It was a highlight for many on set, one that had been still for so long. Platon's style is to dig beyond artifice, tuning into the person behind the mask - exactly what Colbert is attempting to calibrate in this transition period before the show starts on September 8. They spent the next two days with Colbert and his writing team as they prepared to take over the airways. He took the time for a detailed tour with Platon and his team to show off every change they’ve made to the theater and why they made each and every choice. At one point, Colbert showed off the freight elevator that was previously used only by Letterman to bring him from his dressing room down to the stage every night before going on the air. Colbert will now helm this machine, and he brought in Platon for a trip. Colbert drove and it took a few tries to land it right, a few inches too early or too late the first couple times. Colbert has only just taken the reigns over from David Letterman, who taught him how to operate the elevator during a quite 90 minute mentorship, but it will take some time before his command of this space is as expert as his time on the Report. We'll certainly go along for the ride.
  • 8.31.15   Craig Ward Subverts Typography with NASA Technology

    Ferrofluids were invented in 1963 as a new technology for NASA to solve the problem of fuel fluid dynamics in zero gravity. The fluids have magnetic properties that would have allowed them to flow against typical fluid dynamics, but like so many technological advances, it didn’t end up being suited very well for its intended purposes. The properties that make it so unique are also what make it so enticing. The molecules stack into impossible shapes when unleashed against magnets that are as compelling as they are viscerally revolting, and ripe for creative exploration. Illustrator and renowned typographer Craig Ward came together with Linden Gledhill, a biochemist and experimental photographer friend, to play with the behavior of ferrofluid and translate its functions into a series of glyphs. The project, that they’re calling “Fe2O3 Glyphs,” stimulated ferrofluid to eke out its unique properties and then turn the resulting shapes into forms that are treated like letters. There is a collection of them, like a series of letterforms, but these are communicating something else entirely. The typography that we’re used to seeing from Craig has always experimenting with form, but these glyphs that comes from the behavior of Ferrofluid is different for one significant reason: they don’t make sense compared to our traditional 26 character alphabet. This is by design because of their unique meaning that is, as Craig explains it: “Essentially nothing, which is kind of the joy of it. In terms of what it’s actually communicating, really nothing. It’s a very conceptual, abstract piece.” Instead, the audience is invited to react to the resulting collection of shapes and regard them for what they are: abstractions. Reading anything more would sort of miss the point. “The whole project is a complete inversion of typography overall,” says Craig. “We didn’t fuss over it, we didn’t have a grid, we didn’t go through very long protracted design processes for each of the glyphs to try to make this coherent alphabet. It was this kind of chaotic thing that was born out of a process.” Although they didn’t create the typography using the traditional grid of lettering builds, they have ended up with a series of grids: the resulting prints of the project are a generated series of square grids composed of the glyphs. The creation process completes itself when the glyphs are printed onto paper using ferrofluid as the ink.  Ferrofluid was not necessary to ink the resulting pieces, but: “It brought the project full circle and again was a further inversion of the process,” explains Craig. “With traditional letter press printing the shape of the ink is dictated by the form of the letter. In this case the shape of the ink is also dictated by the shape of the ink itself. The medium creates the shape and then becomes the printing medium later on.” Like the ferrofluid, each of these shapes were made and printed in the process of self creation. In many ways, Craig and Linden merely stood back and allowed this NASA creation to dictate its own creation and we're merely watching it paint itself into existence. Prints are being made available through a Kickstarter campaign that has already his 70% of its goal in just a few days. You can get your prints here.
  • 8.26.15   Adding a Human Touch with Jason Madara and Glidden

    When Jason Madara got the call from DDB to shoot a campaign for Glidden Paint, the edict was simple: photograph beautiful, lived in rooms painted in Glidden color. Jason’s experience shooting with clients like ABC Carpet & Home has made him a master of setting a scene so that it’s compelling, injecting life into what could otherwise be expanses of emptiness. Whether it’s gigantic carpets, or in this case, large walls, what might look like negative space to another photographer becomes a canvas of potential in Jason’s hands. “The first thing we needed to do was add dimension and shape. It needed to be three dimensional,” explains Jason. His initial step was to do as much research and collect as much reference material as possible so that he and Creative Director Niko Coutroulis were placing the aesthetic dialogue in context and speaking the same language. Then, working closely with set designer Shawn Anderson, they created a series of compositions that celebrated the future life of the spaces these paints would frame. Jason, Niko, and Shawn used their own tastes as the benchmark, creating environments that they wanted to inhabit. They investigated how to add humanity to seemingly blank walls. “Humanity was a huge reference,” Jason explains.  The stark nature of each image meant that every tiny element was painstakingly chosen to ensure it was a perfect fit. From the texture of a couch to the exact placement of a set of keys, each added prop and angle of crown molding was intrinsically valuable to the final composition and deserved unwavering attention and consideration - at least in its placement. But, every element needed to enhance the images and not distract from the emphasis of the advertisement: showing off the paint. “The art really is the paint. We kept pulling back to ensure the paint was the hero while adding humanity and a feeling that someone really lives in these spaces.” The focus was that balance, tested constantly by Jason and his team. “I wanted to walk into any of these rooms and feel like it’s a very peaceful, serene, beautiful environment and I could live there,” he says. By taking interest in each piece of the full collaboration, Jason was able to make sure that every piece sang from inception through the final images, and the intense focus paid off: “Glidden loved everything,” Jason says. Every element's perfect place made for just the right tone in a very human execution.
  • 8.28.15   Todd Selby Breaks the Fourth Wall with Donald Robertson for Vanity Fair

    When Todd Selby got the call to photograph famed artist and Instagrammer Donald Robertson for Vanity Fair, he was already super familiar with the man. In fact, they’ve been following each other on social media for a while, engaging the same creative spaces with different flairs. “I follow him on Instagram and he’s got a really nice illustration style,” Todd says. “I always look for them every day and see their adventures pop up in my Instagram feed. So when Vanity Fair called and asked me to do portraits of them in their house in Los Angeles I was psyched.” Todd found his way to the Instagram ready home and found an environment that was exactly how it seemed online. Todd’s ability to meld into the lives of the people he photographs pairs perfectly with how Robertson uses social media to express his point of view. The mixture of art, candid family imagery, and behind the scenes process photography that Robertson brings to his Instagram feeds is similar to the way Todd likes to dig into the work that his subjects do. This presentation gives a rounded out picture of a life and artist that makes them immediately understandable and uniquely accessible. “I like that it’s a mixture of his illustration work and his life and everything kind of runs together,” Todd explains. “And everything’s kind of impromptu and feels improvised and unplanned. In many ways he feels like an Andy Warhol character. He’s just kind of making art with a real lack of pretension to everything, which I think is really refreshing and fun.” The highlight for Todd was hanging out with Robertson’s two young sons, Runty and Henry. The two boys feature prominently on Robertson’s Instagram but it’s a totally different experience interacting with the kids in real life. “They’re just so cute and it was fun because I got to hang out, I did some babysitting duty there,” says Todd. “I was just kind of on my own with them and they were like, ‘Who is this guy?’ But then I think we’re cool now, me and the twins. Which is great.” With Runty and Henry becoming so famous on their father’s Instagram, it’s only a matter of time before they find their own success, something that Todd is acutely aware of. “Maybe they’ll be interns one day,” he muses. “Or maybe I’ll be their intern one day!”
  • 8.27.15   Vault49 and Uniqlo Heat Up

    Despite the fact that it's August, now is the time to look into the next season and prepare for what we should be expecting. If the trend of "autumn for a week," from the past few years holds up it's going to be cold before we know it. Earlier this year, Vault49 teamed up with Uniqlo to visualize their latest technological fabrics that brought cooling properties into the weave of their textiles, working at an almost molecular level. Through a process of 3D rendering and creative problem solving, Vault49 was able to create a visual language that explained these technologies in visceral ways. But even as we strive to stay cool in the summer, warmth is the treasure of the winter and Vault49 has been hard at work at visualizing Uniqlo’s new technologies. Uniqlo's latest collection features apparel that activates warming and heat trapping techniques, causing the fibers of these pieces to interact with heat in a new way. This kind of fiber level activation ensures the wearer is more comfortable through winter, all without layering to a veritable puffball. "The main challenge is figuring out how these products actually work," explains Luke Choice at Vault49, who took lead on the project. There was an educational process between Vault49 and Uniqlo where Luke and his colleague Nik Ainley had to reach the deepest understanding possible of these technologies in order to most honestly convey their properties. Once they were able to get there, it was about communicating that information to the audience. For Luke, the most exciting of the series was one that drew on the Japanese provenance of the company. Luke and Nik turned to traditional Japanese ink paintings, and the brush strokes that have defined that aesthetic, to explore how the fabric interacts with itself. In a marked break from Japanese calligraphy, they explored using this historic style using new techniques. "It was nice because we tackled doing it in 3D," says Luke. "We were trying to make it look like it was floating in space but still had that traditional Japanese calligraphy style." The 3D space allowed Luke and Nik the flexibility to look at the shapes from every angle to ensure the composition was exactly what they wanted. Once in that 3D space, the trick is to bring a sense of reality to the touchability of the fabrics. “The challenge is making sure that the fabric is realistic and not too plastic and trying to give it that tactile feel without seeming too digital,” says Luke. After all, the imagery is all about Uniqlo’s apparel and helping to bring consumers into contact with them. The information that Vault49 helps Uniqlo communicate with these images is crucial to understanding these technologies and educating the consumer. But none of it matters if the clothes aren’t impeccably put together and a pleasure to touch. And Uniqlo has never had a problem with that.
B&A Instafeed
  • Wondering what our #WhaleCrushWednesday is? This wonderous white whale whistfully winding in the wake of his wader. Illustrated by @chrisbuzelli
    likes 75 // comments 1
  • Who is the real Stephen Colbert? @platon sought to answer that question on the latest cover of @time. #transformationtuesday
    likes 62 // comments
  • @mrcraigward got typographic with ferrofluid. Details on our blog.
    likes 74 // comments
  • Hoo is really making this campaign season exciting? 😏 Illusion CGI reimagined this major magnate as a feathery fowl. #Trump #donaldtrump #cgi
    likes 70 // comments 5
  • Friends for life. Photo by @theselby. #NationalDogDay
    likes 57 // comments
  • This little pup is celebrating #NationalDogDay thanks to Sam Hadley, originator of @slumberbean.
    likes 37 // comments 1
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! This precious husky was shot by @platon.
    likes 41 // comments
  • Transform your Tuesday, give us a smile. Illustration by @jimmmicrayon. #transformationtuesday
    likes 52 // comments 1
  • #coffee #infographic by B&A newcomer Jing Zhang ☕️ @jingzh #illustration #instagood
    likes 67 // comments 2
  • Isometric sneaker illustration by @vault49 #tbt #illustration #isometric #sneakers
    likes 76 // comments 1
  • Jelly Grenade from @kylejbean’s series, "Soft Guerrilla." #weapons #food #instagood
    likes 109 // comments 6
  • CGI motion work by @studioroof for @hbo_asia #CGI #Motion #hbo
    likes 105 // comments 1
  • Hold your breath. @nike Kobe Bryant typeface by @sawduststudio #nike #nikebasketball #kobebryant #typeface #madebysawdust
    likes 60 // comments 4
  • Did you catch the story of @jonathanmannion
    likes 37 // comments 1
  • We
    likes 45 // comments 4
  • The world is how you see it. Illustration by @mriowgnr.
    likes 81 // comments 2
  • Check out this fun and cheeky beauty video by our new addition, @myersrobertson. And don
    likes 42 // comments 2
  • Our #ManCrushMonday on this #NationalSmoresDay is @jimmyfallon as shot by @joepug for @mensjournal.
    likes 68 // comments 1
  • Rolling into Thursday night like @vasavastudio for @rollocb.
    likes 58 // comments
  • Show us what you
    likes 80 // comments 4
  • When #NationalWatermelonDay lands on a #Monday... Character by @arsthanea #🍉
    likes 162 // comments 5
  • An end of the week peaceful moment by @ernathan for @ritzcarlton.
    likes 52 // comments 1
  • Do you know the anatomy of @Nike
    likes 77 // comments 3
  • Have you been watching "A Year in Space" on @time
    likes 81 // comments 2

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