• 12.16.14   Craig Ward Gets Smart with Android

    Technology is as integrated into our lives as we ever could have imagined. Most days are spent bouncing from screen to screen. Some on the wall regaling us with stories, the screens on our desks provide an outlet for our objectives, and the screens in our pockets connect us with everyone else. The big question is, now that we interact with technology almost as much as possible, is there a way to make our relationships with these pieces more seamless? Wearable tech is the next step in bringing these elements together, and the biggest, most consumable step in wearable technology in 2014 was the introduction of the smartwatch. Android Wear just launched a whole new platform for their tech, and they invited Craig Ward to design one of the inaugural looks for the watch. As a part of the handful of designers and creators, Craig looked at this as an opportunity to challenge himself. “A lot of what I do is process driven. I’m sort of searching for a way to reconcile that physicality and that sort of giving over your work to the process,” he says. “I’ve always been looking for the digital equivalent. This project feels like there’s an idea behind it, there’s a process, and it’s never going to look the same twice, basically.” Craig’s watch face is exactly that: an interplay of the digital and the real. The custom numerals that Craig designed sit on the face in a 3D rendering. Taking into account the time of day, the time of year, the sunrises and sunsets, light is cast across the digits, throwing shadows appropriate for the time of day. Using a lot of fancy coding, Google and Craig were able to find the perfect soft edges and shadow opacity of natural light. They initially played with other options as well. “Some of our early stuff was very vectory, sort of ray traced, hard edged shadows which was cool, but it sort of wasn’t what I had in mind. I wanted it to be something subtle and tonal,” Craig explains. “It’s doing 3D things in a 2D space.” This perfectly aligns with the work that Craig normally does, constructing compositions using real 3D materials and letting them reside in 2D. But the digital arena provides a dynamic space, offering movement and interaction. Craig felt that his skill set as a typographer couldn’t go ignored, so he provided the custom type. “I wanted it to be very geometric so that the numerals were based around perfect circles and everything else was perfect straight lines. Art Deco with a sort of futuristic feel,” he explains. He heard someone refer to it as “Space Deco,” and thinks he’ll adopt that title. It was important for Craig to bring this unique level to the project since Google was so creatively respectful to Craig during the whole process. “They were entirely trusting on this project which was nice. They were like ‘Yeah, that’s cool. Do it.’”  To download Craig Ward's Shadow Clock Watch Face from Google Play, click here.
  • 12.18.14   Sawdust Explores for IBM

    Communication requires context. Any designer will tell you that no element of a composition can be wasted. Color, form, layout, every piece comes together to tell a part of the story, to exemplify or strengthen the message. For typography, there are yet deeper levels, as they interact not just within the composition, but also with the meaning of the words they illustrate. For any company, especially one as large as IBM, choosing typefaces can be an enormous challenge. So why choose? IBM asked Sawdust to provide them with three different engaging typefaces, and Sawdust ran with the order. Off the bat, IBM put very little constraint on the design studio, asking only that they worked progressively and engaged experimentation. IBM was interested in seeing how technology and innovation could come together in the word “Solutions,” as this was for IBM’s Solutions Magazine. Other than that basic creative architecture, Sawdust was free to explore. “This is both a blessing and a curse because you can literally do anything you like, so how do you settle on something?,” muses Rob Gonzalez who runs Sawdust with his partner Jonathan Quainton. “We tend to internally set parameters for ourselves, for instance, thinking about the word ‘Solutions’ and how you can communicate that through visually engaging aesthetics.” Those parameters gave them the structure to illustrate IBM’s goals while still exploring. Sawdust, Rob explains, wanted to start in a conceptual space. “In our minds it was all about creating aesthetics that somehow felt controlled or resolved,” he says. This concept of containment and completion found itself through each of the three executions. The first, made from lines created by dots, expresses the energy through the word. “The design slowly becomes more energized towards the end of the word, shedding its outer conformities, and instead reverberates wildly,” says Rob. For this design, the chaos enters the word, exploding out from the boundaries of the implied lettering. In the 3D preparation, the impossible comes from chaos. The spatial execution should be impossible but Sawdust revolves the impossible by presenting a solution. The solution is their presentation of the word, which both asks the question and answers it. Rob explains the design saying, “Something that seems impossible becomes natural and fluid, forming the letterforms. It’s like the impossible has been resolved.” Finally, they drew inspiration from IBM’s own logo for a series of horizontal lines distorted by the lettering. “Again, it’s about ordering chaos,” Rob reminds us. The word “solutions” literally contains all the chaos. Talk about a solution. The freedom IBM gave Sawdust allowed them to explore solutions as artists, rather than be bound by a limiting brief. Concept was king and they found their way through the challenge they posed themselves. Even if every viewer doesn’t understand the story behind each utilization, the story is still there lurking in the background. And they all look pretty cool, too.
  • 12.17.14   We Are The Rhoads For French Glamour

    New York City is massive. Five boroughs come together into one of the largest metropolises in the world, and the largest in the United States. 8 million residents vie for seats on the subway and in restaurants, elbows meet shoulders on the sidewalk, and rest is stolen only in the brief silences that seem as rare as a friendly rat. For many, it is a home populated by strangers, thousands of faces that will never be regarded again. It is a feature of New York: always finding something new, whether it’s an ice cream shop or a subway wench. But for those who stick around for a while, and let the strangeness flow through them, familiarity starts to creep in. Sarah and Chris Rhoads of We Are The Rhoads met up with Camille Rowe who has her own little spot of New York City. The photographer and director duo met Camille in her neighborhood of the Lower East Side to shoot a profile of her for French Glamour. “It’s awesome over there,” says Sarah of the downtown neighborhood. “We’re not locals to New York by any means, but it was cool to go around with her as a local in her neighborhood. It’s cool because it made New York feel small for a second.” They started at one of Camille’s favorite restaurants, Dudleys, and then bounced from spot to spot, always meeting an old friend of Camille’s or the Rhoads. Recognizable faces were on each street corner, and it left an impact on the two who reside in Los Angeles. “New York felt so familiar. Each place we went running into people either we knew or she knew. It made it feel like an old ‘Cheers’ episode where everyone knew our name,” Chris says with a laugh. This familiarity lent an extra level of laissez-faire to the shoot, which was already pretty loose to begin with. They wandered around Camille’s neighborhood following the energy of the day and each other. “It was very freeform, I would say. In the sense that we were  able to walk around and if we saw something that we liked or wanted to shoot we just did it,” Sarah explains. Chris chimes in to add, “it had a very European feel.” There were no tech scouts, no location bookings. It was all in the moment. For The Rhoads, this way of working is standard, even if it’s not always prescribed. We already know that The Rhoads are constantly working off their subjects to create authentic moments together, and work hard to engender a culture on set that allows for that kind of freedom. But a shoot with as few people as this one for French Glamour offered the agility that brought it to the next level. “Usually we take the opportunities to play regardless,” Sarah explains. “But for some reason, Europeans tend to give us a little more creative expanse and freedom to play.” And play they did. You can catch the whole story in the pages of French Glamour, but we’ve included some extra shots here for the curious and hungry.
  • 12.15.14   Michael Schnabel Uses All the Tricks for Infiniti

    Cars are not people. They cannot be manipulated into emotional moments, a laugh or a pensive look. They cannot smile. Photographers who work with vehicles have a much more technical challenge than the artist who photographs people. The story that’s being told about the car has to be done in line, color, and atmosphere. Every tiny part of the composition must be considered, and nothing can be taken for granted. On top of that, cars are heavy, fast, and huge. They can be driven, but their power requires an incredible amount of precaution to keep everyone safe. There are so many obstacles to getting it right. Michael Schnabel has solved all of them. In the small 10-day shoot, Michael and his team were producing 40 images along with four videos. “We had a big amount of work to do,” Michael says. “We had a great crew.” At times, that crew swelled to 30 people, including Director Matthias Berndt and DOP Willy Dettmeyer. After the marathon shoot was over, Michael says, “I was super thrilled by the results because I knew we got a lot of great work.” And then he adds with a laugh, “And I was super exhausted.” This massive team effort helped to solve the first question: How does one capture the whole moving car while still keeping the look crisp and clean? When Michael shot the 2015 Infiniti Q70L, he captured images with a fantastic amount of movement while still remaining true to the luxury brand’s reputation of focus and clarity. His solution is a metal rig attached to the car on one end and the camera on the other. Michael explains: “The car is connected to the camera so once it moves forward, the camera moves along with the it, so the car is going to be sharp. But the background is blurred.” Once they have that variable locked in, the next thing to consider is how the car will fit into the environment. Depending on the story that Michael wants to tell with the brand, they consider background and movement. For Infiniti they wanted the illusion of speed in a big city. Since the camera and car were one item, Michael could use some tricks to get the exact look he was going for without barreling down the streets of a densely populated city. So, he had the car pulled. “I need to capture a driving distance of about six feet,” he says. “That six feet is going to give me the impression of the car moving fast.” Depending on how fast the shutter speed is, the car doesn’t even need to be going particularly fast. It’s all about the composition. To get the cityscape they wanted, there were an incredible amount of factors. From alignment of the street, to time of day, to geographical placement within the city, it’s all predetermined. “In this case we were in Miami because we had a lot of ocean vistas for this whole body of work,” Michael explains. But he also had to share the car and the locations.
  • 12.12.14   Emily Nathan Keeps It Real

    When Emily Nathan tasked her magazine, Tiny Atlas Quarterly, with presenting an interview with fashion designer Cynthia Rowley, she already had a structure for the interview to fit into. TAQ is in the middle of a four part series with each subsequent issue inspired by another element. The latest issue is “Water,” so most of the conversation with Cynthia is centered around water, and Lake Tahoe acts as the backdrop for the entire shoot. Tiny Atlas Quarterly is first and foremost a “lifestyle approach to travel.” That’s what sets them apart. The shoots Emily does aren’t the run of the mill planned shot lists and set-ups deal. Instead, it all happens authentically and organically. Every moment is really happening in front of the camera. “The way that I approach production is a series of activities that people can actually experience,” explains Emily. As they were going through the day on Lake Tahoe, setting up the situations that played out in real time, Emily learned that the model doesn’t really swim or go out on water when left to her own devices. So they put the model behind the steering wheel of a beautiful, vintage Italian boat, pulled the throttle to the max and let her drive. “She was driving this Italian vintage speedboat as fast as it could possibly go in lake Tahoe and you see that on her face,” says Emily. “You know? It’s a real moment because she was stoked! She had never been on a boat!” If Emily were to set this shot up, with a bunch of lighting rigs and an actress, she still would not have been able to get an image like the one she captured, no matter how hard she planned. Since Emily does it for real, she’ll get that shot every time. In addition to spending the day on Lake Tahoe for Cynthia Rowley, Emily also went to Big Sur with conservationist Charles Post to shadow him and discover his work for the first time. They went to his research station up on the top of Big Sur, hidden away behind miles of switchback roads and dense forestry. “We were waking up at sunrise and Charles has his binoculars out and is telling us all the birds the we’re seeing,” Emily describes the beginning of their day together. “And then we’re hiking down to the creek and looking under the stones and seeing the different larvae that are supposed to be there and looking for birds, and hiking up and down the creek.” Charles knows this land, he loves this land, and he’s trying to help this land stay alive. Human activity and habitat expansion threatens specials and environments all over the world. Big Sur is no different, and Emily is able to offer us a look at how the people on the front lines do their important work. Emily is based out of California, and ironically the “Water” issue released at the height of California’s drought. But almost that same day, it started raining. When asked if she thinks the magazine broke the drought, she said “I wouldn’t say I did that…” with a laugh. To read, and experience, the rest of Tiny Atlas Quarterly's "Water" issue, click here.  
  • 12.11.14   Serial Cut Gets Messy for Sonos

    Music can change everything. The right song at the right time can alter an entire day, fill a whole room with joy or sadness. It speaks a language all its own, communicating past color and form. It is direct language into the emotional life of people. So how do you turn that into an image? Serial Cut, the CGI and design studio, was tasked with this very question when Sonos came to them to help spread the word on their newest line of wireless speakers. It was a tall order. “Sonos wanted us to showcase that the product changes the environment of the room, of your home,” says Sergio del Puerto, founder of Serial Cut. “That’s the main goal.” Through a six round process of CGI compositing, Serial Cut finally settled on four different looks to express all the ways music can affect a space. “Each visual needed to be super different, but at the same time part of the same family,” Sergio says. In the final product, they ended up using relatively little CGI, achieving the looks using a lot of creative photography and digital composition. Two of the final images don’t use any CGI at all. Both the “Gold,” and “Paint” images are all from live photography that they stitched together on the computer. Serial Cut opted to go with a pure photographic look for those images in particular to achieve what Sonos was hoping for. “They wanted something with a lot of detail,” says Sergio, explaining that this approach will give them that. “We like to get second looks. When you look at first there’s the “Wow Effect” like “Wow, what is that?” And then looking again at all the details.” Liquid splashes in a hundred different directions to capture the feeling of movement and energy. And they earned every splatter. To achieve these looks, as you can see in the Behind The Scenes video, they worked with a lot of liquid. For the gold, they made a pool of gold paint and using a combination of dropping the actual product into the paint, and jets to fire it, they achieved the movement. For the Paint, they filled up balloons like water balloons, and threw them at the wall (with pins in it to ensure proper popping). Hundreds of photographs all came together to capture the smooth movement in an otherworldly type of way. And they got a little messy along the way. For both “Plants” and “Blocks” they started with constructed environments, and then used CGI to seamlessly meld the look into a manipulated reality. For the blocks, the pieces closest to the speakers are real, and as are most of the plants. It was just the details that they finished up in the computer, adding an extra level of alternate reality, inviting the viewer into the world that’s been changed through sound. Sergio explains that they had a lot to do, and like most projects they had to complete it fairly quickly. Deadlines are deadlines, but, as Sergio says, “it was really fun.”
  • 12.16.14   Trevor Bowden Proves Everyone Can Be Classy

    As Harrods Magazine points out, made-to-measure garments might be thought of as a remnant from a bygone era, but they’re coming back with a vengeance. The fashion institution has included a collection of made-to-measure menswear to their famous Knightsbridge store, and drew from the original tradition to introduce their new program. Pairing with photographer David Eustace, with Trevor Bowden on hand for grooming, they pointed to conventions of days past when drawing inspiration for their aesthetic. The well-trod deep and shadowed British library acts as the perfect environment for heavily layered formal looks with modern energy from classic styling. Trevor’s grooming economically ran the gamut with just the four models used for the shoot. Showing off a range of virility and style, Trevor proves that class is not limited by age. From the boyish and fresh faced, to the mature gentleman, the looks that Trevor assembled for Harrods remind us that no one should discount themselves when it comes to dialing their style up a notch. Class is accessible to everyone.
B&A Instafeed. Images From Our Artists & Community
  • First order of business after 19 hours of flying?... STREET FOOD at 2:30am!!! #thailand #bangkok #streetfood #anthonybourdain
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  • @harrods luxury designer departments #HARRODS
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  • Major throwback with Uffie in the best Xmas sweater by @itsjeremyscott #thecobrasnake 2007
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  • Looking at pictures they took
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  • Life at the microscopic scale can be beautiful, strange, intriguing, frightening and gross. The winning photos and videos from this year’s Olympus BioScapes competition span the whole range. Here
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  • Swing #Trinidad
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  • Beach rainbow. It was an omen for an interesting day.
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  • Sand bank in the middle of the ocean. Well...Kinda middle...#tobago
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  • Have you ever been to ABBEY ROAD? One of my Favorite Albums of All Time!
#Beatles #thebeatles #abbeyroad #cometogether #iwantyou #because #something #hereconesthesun #theend #andintheendtheloveyoutakeisequaltotheloveyoumake #toby #tobylovesyou #tobystravels #garybaseman #baseman
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  • My quick little addition to the big wall organized by @greenvillain . @_theyok to the left, @roachi to the right. Thanks to #theyok for inviting me. #buffmonster #spraypaint #nyc #les
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  • @sawduststudio used the freedom @ibm gave them to challenge themselves. The results speak for themselves.
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  • Let
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  • The typographic solutions @sawduststudio employed for @ibm
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  • @sawduststudio used every creative tool in their arsenal to find solutions for @ibm
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  • Re listening to Joseph Campbell
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  • Head to Harrods designer womenswear to see my army of hand painted fashion illustrations for the 2015 collections. @harrods #HARRODS #HARRODSSALEPREVIEW #2015
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  • Spinning compact discs at the Big Chill bar 8-1 tonight party peeps
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  • #DanWitz on the cover of @juxtapozmag for the January Issue! make sure you get a copy to read the great interview made by Evan Pricco #JonathanLevineGallery #JuxtapozMagazine @danwitzstreetart
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  • #Repost @vikkila 
Getting weird w the xmas toys #boysofsno #studionumberone
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  • New #designer story #Kosmo @bryanbantryinc #Gate @newyorkmodels #Dominicana @ceniany #fashion #hair #makeup #fashionshoot #nyc #perryhagopian
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  • Not bad Cali
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  • #relentless @davidfloresart
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