• 2.27.15   Amy Taylor Gives a Peek for Nylon

    This far into the winter, sometimes you just want to break out, throw open the windows and let in some air! In the latest issue of Nylon, the story “Peep Show” opens a window in fashion that gives a unique look. Prop Stylist and Set Designer Amy Taylor brought in the themes of what can be seen through the apparel’s windows into the shoot’s sets. By using rolls of cut paper as 3D graphic backgrounds, Amy’s sets reflect what happening in the clothes. She created a fully immersive environment that allows the models to play in a tailor made space, bringing a surreal spin, and making the bold looks feel right at home. Whether the model is popping through a large hole, with her windowed Louis Vuitton bag and top, or stepping through a small window like an avant garde curtain, we see the dynamism these layers add to the looks they surround. We get a glimpse at the hidden, highlighting a reveal, and enticing an invitation to something a little more personal, a little more intimate. Check out the full story photographed by Aaron Richter.
  • 3.3.15   Chrissie Macdonald and Lydia Whitmore Created a Monster

    The Internet is a volatile place. When anonymity is the standard and shaming is the go-to response to the unsavory, lives and careers can see destruction in a matter of days if not hours. The list of casualties from the mob rules of the Internet is long and growing, with any number of causes. Whether it’s the result of a single ill conceived tweet (like in the case of Justin Sacco), or a private photo made public (like Lindsey Stone), the calls of an anonymous public deafen reason and careers, relationships, and in the most drastic cases, lives can be lost. Covering last weekend’s The Guardian was a story by Jon Ronson about the danger of the internet mobs, detailing his own troubles, and examining other, better known cases. To illustrate the idea, and communicate the emotional issues behind it, The Guardian tasked Chrissie Macdonald for the cover and a spread. She partnered with B&A still life photographer Lydia Whitmore to help her bring it all together. And they didn’t have much time. The concept, shepherded by Guardian Weekend Art Director Maggie Murphy, was using emojis to illustrate the emotions behind the dangers of the anonymous masses. “It was quite a quick turnaround, but I quite like the idea of trying to create emotion in everything in as little mark making as possible,” explains Chrissie. “It was about keeping it bold and graphic and playing around with the different expressions to see how it worked.” After spending a few days playing with a number of materials and applications, Chrissie created a literal monster. Since she was using a paper cut technique on balls, she found she could alter the projected emotions of each character with a slight movement, doctoring each face to ensure it told the story precisely. Once Chrissie had made her figures, she brought Lydia in to get the composition just right. For Lydia, communicating the power of Chrissie’s creation was about angles. Shooting the monster was about placing the camera to look up at it, giving it the illusion of scale and strength. For the cover, it was the opposite. “Since we’re looking down at the guy getting squashed he’s kind of more pathetic,” explains Lydia. We find ourselves feeling sorry for a little squished yellow ball. Both Chrissie and Lydia are very sensitive to the mysterious whims of the internet masses: both have largely shirked social media. “I avoid all of that stuff,” says Lydia. Once you put something out into the world on social media, you cannot be sure how it’s going to be interpreted. Lydia explains her hesitance: “I don’t like that you have no control over the audience.” For Chrissie, once those interpretations are solidified, things can get out of hand. “It’s kind of easy to gang up on someone en masse on social media in a way that maybe you wouldn’t in the real world,” says Chrissie. As Jon Ronson explains it, there's a fine line we all have to walk, less we squashed.
  • 2.27.15   Bigshot Toyworks' Icons Confront Serious Issues

    Subversion is an art form. Taking popular images and finding something new to say about them requires a delicate balance between respecting the original message and finding the kernel of new truth. This is a balance that Bigshot Toyworks understands completely. They’re masters at the form of reinterpretation, having worked on some of the most recognizable characters in pop culture. “It’s always fun to play with those characters, whether it’s for the actual company to reimagine what the character looks like with a bit of a twist, like we’ve done with the Quik Rabbit, My Little Pony, My Pet Monster, developing them for an updated look,” says Klim Kozinevich from Bigshot Toyworks. “It’s always fun to play with that and we always try to have a sense of humor about it and not be gross and disrespectful to the brand.” At the end of the day, they want to maintain the integrity of these characters, borrowing them to make a statement, without changing their souls. For the latest cover of Bloomberg Business magazine, Bigshot Toyworks got to try their hand at Tony the Tiger. Kellogg’s Cereals has seen a dip in sales lately, and Bloomberg’s reporting found a trend between that dip in sales and consumer confidence in the brand. When buyers are more sensitive to particular ingredients (like GMO corn, high added sugars, and dietary preferences) they’ll avoid the products that haven’t adapted to the lifestyle changes they’re making. It’s time for Kellogg’s to catch up to consumer demands. The image Bigshot worked on went through a series of revisions to strike the right tone. They started with more aggressive imagery, finally arriving at an image of Tony the Tiger regarding a bowl of cereal: radioactive in its unappealing existence. It walks the line of framing a major issue without striking a death knell. It’s a gut check, but not a final blow. Tony sees the problem, now it’s time to adjust. Bloomberg was kind enough to show how this revision process proceeded, and we’ve included their visual representation of the development. For the cover of AdWeek, Bigshot got to subvert a whole other set of characters. Like Kellogg’s need to bridge their consumer gap, Hasbro’s My Little Pony empire is in the process of recalibrating to market pressures. Where Kellogg’s is dealing with content, Hasbro has to change delivery. Their current readjustments follow the passions and interests of their fans, which are constantly changing in the evolving market. As kids move away from the television and towards more mobile media, Hasbro’s more conventional media investments are not finding the success they need. So it’s time to change. Klim explains the illustration of these issues in their composition saying, “It’s a My Little Pony character absorbed in all different devices while not paying attention to the TV behind her.” Hasbro’s television network is facing the most serious trouble, and they have to follow their own successes to ensure their brand’s future.
  • 3.2.15   Jason Madara Brings Grace to the Unrefined

    A Civil War fortress may not be the first imagined location for a rug campaign, but when ABC Carpet & Home needed a setting for their latest project, that’s exactly what they chose. Fort Totten in Queens, New York still maintains a U.S. Army Reserve presence, and one of the most dynamic physical settings in the five boroughs. Jason Madara continues his collaboration with the interior giant, highlighting their new Sunclipse Collection, a series of rugs that draws inspiration from the relationship between the sun and the horizon. For the images it was all about harmony. On the outset, there were two very different elements that Jason had to bring together into seamless compositions. “We have these beautiful, warm, colorful delicate rugs, and then this hard, stone, green/grey weathered fort. How do you make those two things harmonious together?” asks Jason, rhetorically. “It’s a delicate balance of light and shadow and manipulating light. And making them basically about texture.” That texture is what leaps out of the images. Whether it’s the fine nap of the broad rugs, or the deep, rough façade of Fort Totten, the images are supremely touchable and communicate what is unique about these elements. Each element reflects the internal relationship inherent in each rug: the hard, unmovable horizon and the elegant arc of the sun. That confluence creates an otherworldly impression. “In reality these carpets would never be in this sort of environment, but in the end they look as if they belong there,” says Jason. “It’s as if this fort, this concrete structure, was made for these rugs." In these compositions, Jason has effectively suspended reality. Bringing together these two alien elements requires no small amount of wrestling. Many different sources and forms of light had to be carefully balanced to create that harmony. Fort Totten is from a bygone era, the sun playing on its stone windows and doorways like a jungle gym. Each opening was a new source of light that couldn’t be controlled, only managed. As the sun arced across the sky during the shoot, Jason had to constantly adjust and shift the compositions. “This was like race for time on some of these shots,” explains Jason. “So I have to override the sun, which was tough, I had to block it where I could and I had to use it where I could. So it was a constant manipulation of strobe versus sun.” The continual recalibration maintained the harmony he needed. The success in the creative direction of this campaign is thanks in large part to Angela Gruszka, ABC Carpet & Home’s Director of Marketing. Her conception and direction of the project guided Jason’s creative path, each of them working towards collaborative creative achievement.
  • 2.25.15   Leonello Calvetti's Crude Math

    Almost every major conflict from the last half century can be attributed to struggles over energy. Oil’s value has gone from monetary to cultural, representing all the baggage that’s been attached to the market and political engagements. Contemporary oil companies are the most profitable corporate endeavors in human history, and they're tied to a market swayed by the volume of natural resources, untethered from human desire. Because of new methods of extraction, the prices of oil have fallen by more than 50% in six months. It’s changing the way the industry, and the world, are doing their calculations on the future of energy. Fortune Magazine dove into how the economics surrounding oil have changed, and put the story on their cover for the International edition. “Oil’s New Math: How oil’s dramatic plunge has changed the energy equation” explains to the rest of us how the terrain has changed, what we should expect, and what remains in question. On thing is for certain: a lot of economic researchers are looking for answers in between graphs and calculators. It’s a lot of math.  To illustrate the ideas within the story, the magazine tapped Leonello Calvetti to create a compelling image speaking to the issues. Leonello was given a wide berth to experiment, using the theme of math and playing off of mathematical symbols. No stranger to using liquids, he gave Fortune a range of options and together they narrowed it down to using the multiplication symbol. “I suggested we use the multiplication symbol because I thought it was the most beautiful and interesting sign,” says Leonello. “And they liked it so we went ahead with it.” As an Italian illustrator, Leonello has illustrated oil before, but crude oil is a game all its own. He experimented with different techniques before arriving at the final composition. “I did some research and went online to see how crude oil looks more closely. It has some transparency only when it becomes very thin,” explains Leonello, which explains that color gradient you see in his illustration. Substances like crude oil are especially challenging to get exactly right. We’ve included some of Leonello’s sketches on the way to the final cover image so you can seehow texture and color changed as he and Fortune worked together.
  • 2.26.15   Jonas Fredwall Karlsson Breaks Spain's Biggest Scandal

    In a fourteen-page exclusive with Vanity Fair España, Diego Torres tells the whole story of his place in the Spanish Nóos Institute scandal that is rocking the European country. Facing more than 16 years in prison for embezzlement, fraud, money laundering, and other charges for mishandling €6m in public funds, Torres isn’t willing to take it lying down. The results of the six hour interview are more than simple confession; Diego is letting it all hang out, implicating everyone involved, including the royal family. From payoffs, to cover ups, to major miscarriages of justice, Torres refuses to be the patsy in a scandal that is much bigger than his own part. So he took his story to Vanity Fair and it is the whole story. Breathing life into Torres’ account, populating all 14 pages, are portraits taken by photographer Jonas Fredwall Karlsson. Like any high stakes tell all, there was hesitance and a couple false starts. Jonas travelled to Barcelona twice before they were able to execute the shoot. In the time leading up to the project, Jonas and Vanity Fair planned out the shots as well as they could, expecting some understandable constraints. “This is a business guy. And there were ideas that I had in advance that the magazine wasn’t sure he’d be willing to do. Like taking off his jacket, unbuttoning his sleeves,” says Jonas. He even had the idea of shooting Torres reclining in the bathtub, but their expectation was: “He would never go down in the bathtub, absolutely not!” It turned out, all Jonas had to do was ask. In their preshoot meeting, Torres was understandably nervous. “This was a big deal for him,” explains Jonas. But when the time came to shoot, Torres arrived as a collaborator. “With digital you can take a picture and show the subject and clear it with them,” says Jonas. “Most of the time you can say, ‘Can we try to do a picture of you in the bathtub?’ And then they agree to do that and they never ask to see the picture.” That's precisely what Jonas offered Torres, but it turned out it wasn't necessary. Torres nestled into the tub and they got the shot. No stress, no muss. After all was said and done, Jonas was clear to say that this is his kind of project. “It’s the kind of story I really enjoy doing, because it’s a real story with a real interest and it’s something that’s important,” says Jonas. “It’s great to do it for a magazine like Vanity Fair because they let me have the luxury of spending time.” The long time relationship Jonas has with Vanity Fair means there’s mutual trust, a crucial element for such an impactful story.
  • 2.24.15   The Rhoads Capture Father John Misty for Rolling Stone

    Sarah and Chris Rhoads, of We Are The Rhoads, are huge music buffs as it is, so when Rolling Stone got in contact with them to shoot Josh Tillman of Father John Misty, they were excited to take on the project. A handful of his latest albums are in their vinyl rotation, and his unique sound is what has spoken to them. “His music has a folky, unique, psychedelic vibe, which we tend to gravitate to,” explains Sarah Rhoads. “It’s its own thing, which is really cool. His music has this sort of introspective intellectualism about it that's intriguing, and when you meet him he’s kind of exactly like that.” The Rhoads invited Josh up to their house to hang out and drink some coffee, shooting around their property and nearby Griffith Park. One of the most striking elements of their shoot with Josh is the solemn depth of the energy behind the images. That stillness is inherent to Josh, and his sensibilities. But that doesn’t mean that he and The Rhoads didn’t have any fun in their time together. Shooting in Los Angeles means that they attracted a little bit of attention, and Josh’s handling of the rubberneckers gave everyone a chuckle. “His personality type is the kind to go with it. So he would wave and introduce himself as Christian Bale,” says Chris laughing. “I think as much as he can be goofy, at the end of the day he’s actually quite intellectual, and a serious person.” By showing all aspects of himself to The Rhoads, they were able to reflect the full personality of the musician, pulling from all sides. That dichotomy is reflected most elegantly in the photo where Josh is leaning his forehead against a tree. “I asked him to hug the tree… and that’s what he did. So it’s perfect, I feel like,” says Sarah. It’s a moment that started off with a silly request that opened a window into a part of Josh you may not see otherwise. “For us, the most successful photoshoots are the ones where we can really get a strong portrait where we capture the heart and essence of who somebody is, and they’re vulnerable enough. I really feel like you can see into who he is.” A part of fame is remaining a half step away from vulnerability, keeping a distance between the self and the image. But it’s the photographer’s job to close that distance, which is what Chris and Sarah are always working towards. “I feel like the performer is kind of a mask that he sometimes wears, which I guess we all kind of do,” says Chris. “So building enough trust and comfort where he can relax and actually be himself. I think that’s what you see there.”
B&A Instafeed. Images From Our Artists & Community
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  • #createByMoonlight signed screenprints 11 x 14 inches $80usd...at the #JeremyvilleCornerStore 👉 www.jeremyville.com #communityserviceannouncements ✨🌜✏️✨
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  • Do you want to take a Dip with Toby? Toby was looking forward to swimming at the pool at Humble House in Taipei. 
#humblehouse #taipei #taiwan #taipei101 #toby #tobylovesyou #tobystravels #garybaseman #baseman
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    likes 172 // comments 5
  • Here is Melissa as Liz Taylor from my "Marilyn" series (2012). I have been documenting Melissa, a character impersonator that works on Hollywood Blvd, for over 8 years. #tamartakesover #gsinstatakeover @tamarlevine
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  • Reebok PUMP... @lizzyjagger got da island style. #Thefacinator #pumped #fashion #reebok
    likes 104 // comments 3
  • @chrissie.macdonald took on the terror of anonymous internet mobs for The @Guardian Weekend with Lydia Whitmore.
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  • We finished early today, it was before sunset
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  • #testingconditions part V. Winter
    likes 26 // comments 1
  • Interview with Jonathan Levine - Part I. Many thanks to @allcitycanvas. Watch the full interview at www.youtube.com/allcitycanvastv
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  • Latergram street art #Amsterdam I did it my Wei Wei
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  • Latergram #CarllCneut signing and drawing in my copy of his new book, at a bar in #Gent #Ghent #belgium
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  • Regramming @valentineedelmann my little Timon is growing up fast! Last time I saw him he was a baby! I have an honor of being treated well by him because I
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  • Fun fact: the Dutch don
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