• 9.2.14   Liam Dunn Doubles Up at British Vogue

    For Liam Dunn, Make-Up is enhancement. He uses his brushes to apply lines and shades that highlight the person he’s working with, rather than hiding them away. For the latest issue of British Vogue, Liam worked with two very different women to highlight their personal styles. Liam brought forth what both Francesca Amfitheatrof (Design Director at Tiffany) and Caroline Belhumeur (Women’s Designs at Club Monaco) is most ironically them, their personalities. When Liam does work like this, he takes everything into account, the whole context, so that his work coalesces with the whole image. “I have to be cognizant of their individual style. I want to go in and do something that is them, because it’s a story about who they are as people,” he says. “I researched both women, just to get an idea of their individual styles. I find that’s really important so when I go into the shoot, I’m not going in cold.” All of this background work means that he can use the time he has on set effectively, so that his part of the job is done seamlessly. Intimate projects set in the subjects’ homes can be tricky. The women are usually quite busy, and in the hustle and bustle, he has to make sure that the women remain comfortable. "Having 25 years of experience, when you go into a portrait sitting oftentimes you’re working with people who are in a hurry. So you have to be very conscious of their time,” Liam explains. “The mood of the shoot, the clothing, the direction, what the shoot is trying to convey.” Once all those pieces come together for him, he sets to work. If he were to ignore those pieces, what he does would stick out inelegantly. Instead, he helps to create a richer image that projects the style of the subject. This issue of British Vogue highlighted all sorts of women in style, each with their own particular tastes. Liam was excited to be a part of this particular issue because of how he sees fashion work in the current day. “Fashion is about the individual style of the person. It’s not about following a whole trend blindly,” he explains. This incredible cast of powerfully stylish women creates a literal fashion roster than viewers can pick and choose from. It turns from idolatry to inspiration. And Liam helped create some of that inspiration. "I was really excited to work with British Vogue, I was really thrilled. It's a huge honor to work for a magazine of that caliber," he says. "So that was wonderful."
  • 9.2.14   We Are The Rhoads Go Rogue

    As much as commercialism is about presenting the ideal, and showing the benefit of perfection, there’s a lot to be gained by exploring the other side. For Kinfolk’s latest issue they seek to delve into the mysteries of imperfection, and for We Are The Rhoads, that meant getting lost. The Rhoads present a photo essay entitled “Going Rogue” that follows two young women in their charming habit of losing direction, moving off the beaten path, and finding their own way. It’s not always on purpose of course, but they must handle the scenarios they find themselves in. “It’s about two girls getting lost in different scenarios,” Sarah Rhoads explains. “And what they would do.” It turns out that what they would do is carve “SOS” into the stony beach they find themselves on, languish in the shade of a monumental tree, or simply absorb the mountains that huge them from every side. The Rhoads wanted the shoot to follow these ladies wherever they went, a sort of locationless location. “We shot it in Los Angeles but we wanted to sort of minimize the ‘LA feeling,’” says Chris. Between the beaches and fields, roads and mountains, The Rhoads help the viewer get lost outside of California, outside of their own perception of place. It tips the viewer off balance and provides the same experience they’re watching the ladies live through. In order to achieve this end, they ventured out on the edge of a national park, where they had full run of the place. On editorials like for Kinfolk, The Rhoads produce the whole shoot themselves, which means everything is very hands on. When it came time to prepare the smoke bombs they used to simulate the car’s engine failure, they did their due diligence. They called people in the area to check to see if it would be okay. Everything checked out, until they set off a few of the smoke bombs. “The area we were in ended up having an intense, intense burn ban that we weren’t aware of,” Chris explains, laughing. “Five fire trucks pulled up in full Five Alarm style, freaking out. Apparently they had dispatched two helicopters as well.” Everything turned out just fine. They ended up taking photos with the firemen. Chris confided that it probably didn't hurt that it was just him and a bunch of beautiful women. But that was off the record... The Rhoads have been putting together these kinds of productions for Kinfolk for a long time. “Because we produce and finish these shoots ourselves they have a lot of the elements that we are interested in pushing our work toward at the time, with this story in particular it was working in the conceptual headspace a bit more especially with the car shot and the SOS shot which had to be pre-visualized and imagined beforehand so we could execute quickly," explains Sarah. “We’ve been shooting with Kinfolk since their third issue and this is their thirteenth issue. They really give us a lot of creative freedom and trust us. It’s great to have a client that allows you that creative exploration.” Even if you get a little lost along the way.
  • 8.27.14   Mike Piscitelli Visualizes Personal Flavor

    There is a drink for every Starbucks customer. Tea or Coffee? Iced or Hot? Venti or Tall? The combinations are almost infinite. Every drink reflects the person ordering, their tastes and personalities distilled into a drink. But the customization doesn’t only come from in front of the counter. Behind the counter, each Starbucks employee engages with the orders they fulfill in their own personal way. For the launch of Starbucks’ newest drinks, Teavana Shaken Iced Teas, photographer Mike Piscitelli shot real life Starbucks baristas who make these drinks every day. He got them in the process of shaking the same tea that they serve to their customers. The clearly visible excitement wasn’t hammed up for the photographs, though. Working with actual employees is a little different from using actors and models. Usually, “real life” people need to be coaxed out a little bit through performance. Not so with the Starbucks baristas. “They were really into being Starbucks employees,” Mike explains. It didn’t hurt that Mike had built a fun and retro playlist for everyone to listen and jam out to. (He called it “90s Summertime School Girls” and it featured singers like Jewel and Natalie Imbruglia.)  Not only did he get them in action, but he also got their signature shakes. In the ads, behind each of these drink makers is a light drawing of the way they handle their own shakers, bringing the same customization to the images as customers add to their drinks. “That’s them building it,” Mike explains the real time light paintings. “None of them were posed, that’s all movement.” They achieved the look by attaching LED lights to the shakers and the hands of each barista, and shooting the shaking process in the pitch black. They tried a few different methods, but once they figured out the technical aspect, it was all about getting the authentic movements on camera.  It was a lot of fun, but there was also a lot of anticipation. “It’s a two and a half second exposure and it takes eight seconds for the camera and computer to process it,” Mike explains. “So you shoot it and then wait. In the dark.” Everyone huddled around those screens. Mike, his crew, 72andSunny (the agency that coordinated the project), and Starbucks, all waiting in that blacked out sound stage. Seconds ticked by in the dark and in the quiet, until the shot appeared on screen. “The patterns turned out insane.”  Mike says the shoot was one of the easiest he’s had to date. Not because the process was simple (it took two sound stages, multiple set ups, and an incredible amount of planning), but because everyone was so genuinely excited and happy to be there. That makes all the difference in the world.
  • 8.25.14   The Natural Beauty of Fitness

    For Fitness’ latest piece on how to fit an effortless beauty regimen into a busy lifestyle, Tom Corbett and the magazine chose to shoot a model highlighting her unblemished, unobstructed skin. Lingerie shoots require a little more subtlety from the photographer to keep everyone comfortable. “A key part of shoots like this is creating a fun, informal, and friendly atmosphere,” Tom explains. “I find out the models favorite playlist and blast it from the speakers and we just generally try and have a laugh.” And it works. What we see is a disarmed model permitting a vulnerability that is absent in a lot of fashion photography. Soliciting a model’s performance is only half Tom’s job. He also has to make sure the audience feels what he wants them to feel. For this shoot they wanted something soft, something that was natural. They wanted to show that beauty is natural and easy, it doesn’t require a ton of work. So Tom reached into his photographer’s bag of tricks to achieve that look. “On the technical side we used a technique involving flaring the lens on these shots,” Tom says, explaining the morning light look of the shoot. “I loved the colors and mood that resulted.” That morning mood communicates to the viewer that they can do this too. The comfort that Tom worked so hard to create reaches directly through the images and empowers the reader. Part of keeping everyone comfortable and happy on set was allowing ideas to flow freely. By giving power over to the model to dictate her own movements and poses, not only was she more comfortable, Tom was able to capture images he wouldn’t have found otherwise. “Experimenting with this was probably the most rewarding side of this shoot as it gave the client something unexpected.” Tom’s desire and willingness to collaborate is what brings his shoots over the top, and “Natural Beauty” for Fitness Magazine is no exception.
  • 8.29.14   Ars Thanea Brings the Doom and Gloom

    If you’re one of any of the millions of fans of the show Game of Thrones on HBO, you might be trying to find a (safe) way to get closer to the show. Truthfully, Westeros (the fictional setting of the series) is a brutal and unsafe place, so maybe you don’t actually want to be there. But if you want to pretend, CGI masters Ars Thanea have something just for you. Despite what some news broadcasters will tell you, the weather is not always the most exciting thing the world, but it’s necessary information. Why not spice it up a little? Ars Thanea did just that by adding Game of Thrones styling and text to a basic weather app to bring that little bit of brutality to an otherwise banal task. For the app, Ars Thanea designed a series of weather “icons” to match what’s happening in the sky. Everything is represented from the sun, to storms, to wind. For the style, they took from the iconic steel in The Seven Kingdoms (another name for Westeros). All the icons are carved or shaped out of steel. But like Game of Thrones, they’re a little lived in. Patches of rust speckle the otherwise flawless metals. Like a knight with a bloody sword, their icons show a worn elegance signature to the world of Game of Thrones. In addition to the ominous icons, there’s the option to include quotes spoken by characters from the show. These all relate to what’s happening with the weather as well. Phrases like “Dark clouds, gloomy news” and “Fear cuts deeper than swords,” add just the right amount of anxiety that you can’t get from your typical weather app. Ars Thanea produced this app in conjunction with HBO to celebrate the release of the fourth Game of Thrones season. As each season goes on, the characters’ futures get more and more bleak. Like a rainy day reflected in rusty steel. "It's always too cold or too hot without hope for a happy ending of the season," Ars Thanea says to explain the bleak look of their visuals. It is an apt statement. The show has become famous for losing scores of their most beloved characters, one right after the other. It's no wonder a fan would look to a stormy sky and find reason in the bleary forecast. The app is available for purchase now! Unfortunately, unless you speak Polish, the app may not be for you, since it’s currently only available in Poland.
  • 8.28.14   Todd Selby Paints Love Notes

    The average US Consumer is never more than three feet from their phone. Our phones are a part of us. They go everywhere with us because we bring them along. And depending on cellular service, sometimes we have to follow them. As newer models come out, we reshape our lives around different sizes, new cords, new placement of microphones and speakers. Isn’t it time a phone were created around our lives, and not the other way around? Samsung’s Galaxy Note is striving to shape itself around the lives of its users, and they had Todd Selby prove it in their “Love Notes” Campaign. Todd met with a handful of creative, exciting people to show off how they interact with their Samsung phones and how the devices enable their lives. “The way I work with people is it’s about them telling their stories,” says Todd. “It’s collaborative. It’s a dialogue about their life and how we can best show off their life, their interests, and what they do.” In less than 90 seconds we’re let into the private spaces of these energetic people (including Mark Hunter, proud B&A artist!). He makes this happen letting them be themselves in front of the camera. “I’m always very conscientious of how it can be really uncomfortable to have a whole camera crew in your face,” Todd says. “I’m very conscientious about relating to people in a way that they understand that project I’m working on is to tell their story to the world. And people really like that.” Once the subjects realize that everyone is on the same side, they open up and relax. And then Todd is able to catch those personal moments that are signature to his work. Todd helps bring life to these stories not just through his intimate and playful direction of the pieces, but also by adding his signature illustrations to the videos. Todd highlights key moments and items by adding authentic watercolors to bring more of a lively and mischievous energy. Mark Hunter’s Cobrasnake sides up from behind for a group selfie. Day Day Wannaslip’s electric clippers scoot across the room, ready to shape and style. Diva Dompe’s energy transmitting crystals float across the frame, spreading love and peace with them. By adding these illustrative elements, Todd is able to bring an extra level of communication to the videos that would otherwise be overlooked with just standard motion. They bring extra attention to moments that cannot be missed. “I document colorful, creative, interesting people in their own spaces and tell their stories through my films, photography, and illustration,” explains Todd. “That’s what I do.” It’s impossible to distill an entire person in only one mode, so Todd engages in all of them to get as full a picture as possible. “You really need all the pieces of the puzzle to tell the story to the viewer.”
  • 8.26.14   FunJob Goes Ape

    The term “Guerilla Marketing” has nothing to do with gorillas. But don’t tell Pizza.de, because they’re having too much fun with people in ape costumes. The German website that facilitates ordering food online presents themselves to the same crowd that goes to music festivals. They were looking to bring unique experiences with them out into the wild. Pizza.de wanted to step up their game a little bit. Instead of just getting participants involved by passing out bananas and interacting with costumed actors, they wanted to offer an immersive experience. So they got FunJob to help them create it. The result was Monkey Island, a gigantic, interactive experience that came from a much smaller seed. “Specifically, they wanted a bounce-house,” explains Steve Saiz of FunJob. “But we reached out and gave them a bunch more things.” That’s an understatement. FunJob ended up conceptualizing and creating an entire bounce world. From inflatable banana jousting, to ball pit jacuzzis, to sumo wrestling. “We just tried to keep expanding on what they started with.” That’s how things go over at FunJob. For them, it’s all about creative growth. “We very much like to listen to what their needs are and always expand on it. Make it the most exciting, and keep building and building on it.” The way FunJob stays expansive with their work is by destroying intellectual boundaries and taking nothing for granted. Their brainstorming process is free and easy. “It runs pretty organically. Our ideas can come from anywhere,” Steve says. “We try to put our ideas in the hat and see what comes out. We’re always trying to find the best solution.” That sort of creative dexterity ensures that they always get the best activations possible. That’s how they got Monkey Island to be what it is: an actual bounce island oasis in the insanity of the festival. Participants take off their shoes, step onto the island, and get to run free and wild. There are places to sit down and chat, the bounce-house is located in the mouth of the huge gorilla in the back, and costumed actors interact with the participants to show them how to maximize their experience. Unfortunately for them, no one from FunJob has been able to experience Monkey Island for themselves yet. The bounce-house experience has been too busy moving around Europe, delighting festival goers as it travels. “Maybe one day,” says Steve. “I’m dying to experience it. It’s so fun.”
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  • Olivier Zahm - Founder and Owner of Purple Magazine at Home and Office in Paris @ozpurple @purplefashionmagazine #theselby
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  • Big moment for Tako! Thanks to @reasonsto had a super time!
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  • Last time in NYC, we had a crazy PILLOW FIGHT! What surprises will happen this time?
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  • Got this very useful tool in the mail today. More then ready for the @CrossFit Endurance certification. Two days of training, methodology, lecture and application. #CrossfitEndurance #Endurance #Running #Fitness #CantStopWontStop
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