• 3.25.15   Serial Cut Shows Us Cisco's New World

    The future doesn’t come at us in leaps and bounds, instead it’s built slowly, invisible piece by invisible piece until we turn around and notice it’s suddenly here. Almost like it appeared while we slept. Multinational Technology company Cisco Systems is building that future, innovation by innovation, tackling each tiny tech problem we face and building into a future we may not recognize. The company’s motto is “Tomorrow starts here,” and their latest campaign with creative studio Serial Cut shows how they’re updating our world to be what we need our future to look like. A series of three ads explore three different sectors Cisco is working on using Serial Cut’s CGI artistry. The three photo-realistic pieces use familiar images with unique elements combining into captivating compositions that catch the eye. “I love it when people spend time looking at an image, having fun within it and with its details,” says Sergio del Puerto of Serial Cut. “And also I like when they can't figure out how it was done, whether it's real or digital.” Usually it’s a combination. Usually Serial Cut will use both photography and CGI illustration to build a final image. But not this time. Each of the images are completely computer generated compositions, painted pixel by pixel into the final creation. Focusing on child safety, online shopping, and the flow of traffic, Cisco and Serial Cut are bringing attention to moments in our lives that are so common and every-day that we barely have the brain space to notice they could get better. These events are such seamlessly inherent parts of our lives that it’s almost unbelievable they could change. Cisco proposes that the ways we handle these issues now are already outdated, and it’s time to shift the way we see them. Serial Cut’s demonstration of this proposition is to make us see familiar objects with completely new composite parts. The car they’ve created to avoid traffic is created entirely from circuit boards. A teddy bear is wired in a way to communicate information through ports and connections, like if it’s been recalled or needs a design shift. A shopping bag is reimagined as a server, dynamically reshaping itself to keep customers happy and streamline the systems. When asked why they chose to illustrate these images and ideas in this way, Sergio’s response may be surprising. “I never felt like an illustrator but an image-maker,” says Sergio. It’s more than just creating a picture, but telling the story.  
  • 3.27.15   Serge Seidlitz and Andrew Rae Show the World Through a Child's Eyes

    Imagine if we all saw the world as children do. Endless potential and opportunity, each path ahead of us an avenue of imagination. The shapes of clouds turning into medieval battles, and the whispers of rivers our favorite new songs. Each moment is unlockable, revealing a new game, a new way to play, and a new way to see our world. The voices of children, no matter how loud while at play, are piteously silent when considered by very important adults with very important adult lives with very important adult decisions. London's Museum of Childhood asks its attendees to explore the value of a child’s eyes, offering the challenge to shrug off our man made apparatuses that mercilessly eat up our days. Inside the museum are exhibits, events, and activities that remind attendees of their own childhoods, and teach about the childhoods of people worlds a way. But the lesson doesn’t need to stay within those four London walls. As a part of an environmental campaign, the museum teamed up with more than a dozen artists to create art out of the natural and pedestrian landmarks around London. Each artist created original work that played off native points of interest: a door's natural wear turns into an interested ostrich with the addition of an illustrated face. A crosswalk becomes the gaping mouth of a curious bird. For those of us that aren't around London right now, photographer Lydia Whitmore plays as our eyes. Hunting each native piece through the streets of London, Lydia fits each and everyone into her viewfinder so that we may see London in some different way. You can experience Lydia’s journey through London using the “See the World” micro site that includes Lydia’s photographs and the locations of each piece. Andrew Rae and Serge Seidlitz were a part of the creative roster to eke out the imagination of London's populace. Each environmental piece of art featured the Museum of Childhood’s bold encouragement to “See the world through a child’s eyes.” Serge Seidlitz’s “Ostrich” face, tail, and long legs are carefully arranged around the shipped paint of a fire exit on Brady Street. Splashes of paint on the wall of a self-storage facility on Sidney Street become the torrents from a thunder cloud, Serge’s creation “Cloud.” In Andrew Rae’s “Bird” two markings that had been painted on a crosswalk at Shipton Street and Columbia Road were repurposed as the beak of a large blue, aggressive bird.  Following Lydia's path through the map provided to us by the museum, we're able to use Serge and Andrew's imagination to see London with all the imaginative details that a child would bring to their vision, and that new sight changes the way we see the city. Now the question remains: how does it change your own vision?
  • 3.26.15   Douglas Friedman's Welcome Challenge

    When the call came in from Harper's Bazaar for Douglas Friedman to shoot Julie Macklowe again, he knew exactly what to expect. He and Julie's family have been working together for about seven years; Douglas has shoot Julie no fewer than three times for Harper's Bazaar. Even though they clicked immediately the first time, each progressive shoot develops their relationship resulting in deeper and more expressive photographs. "She gets better and better," Douglas says. "I think what makes our working relationship, our creative relationship, so special is that she is very willing to trust me and trust my ideas." Those ideas result in Julie climbing into the windows of her apartment, playing telephone with her daughter, and lounging on a bed surrounded by inflated frogs. Douglas' particular talent is being able to frame expressive portraits in beautiful interiors. When asked how he does it, he says there's no trick. He's really shooting two photographs every time he hits the shutter. He explains the demands of what he has to shoot: "Beautiful interior shots that could exist on their own, with or without Julie. And then you’ve got to take a beautiful portrait that could also exist with or without the interior. Kind of marrying those two together." What results are environmental portraits on another level. They’re expressive and contextual, telling us a story that each element couldn’t tell independently. “It’s always a challenging process,” Douglas says. “A welcome challenge.” When asked about the more experimental aspects of the images, like a population of frog balloons with Julie’s daughter jumping on her bed, Douglas responds with a knowing humor. “We like to be a little playful at Harper’s Bazaar. Amp up or elevate the reality a little,” he says. That elevation crystalizes the story a little more so Julie’s personality and temperament leaps off the page. Since Douglas has gotten to know Julie so well, we get to meet the woman he knows – and she’s a lot of fun.
  • 3.23.15   Mac Premo’s Bucket Board Does The Green Thing

    The responsibility of any generation is to pass on what they've learned to the next, and to do so with minimal destruction. This year, the World Wildlife Fund asked 15 artists to take materials that already exist and recreate them to give them new life. The project, Do The Green Thing, aims to use creativity and art to fight climate change acting as "a gentle nudge towards a more thoughtful and more sustainable way of living." For Mac Premo, who was tapped for the project by Pentagram London, the challenge was very familiar. “That’s pretty much what I do for everything,” he explains. “So I rephrased the challenge in my brain – I thought, what do I give a shit about, and can that be made out of trash?” Reaching back into his memory from when he bought his daughter her first skateboard, one that was made by hand out of artfully constructed wood, he got in contact with Don Sanford, of Sanford Shapes, the company that made the board, to ask, “Can we make skateboards out of trash?” As a venerable "Stuff Maker," a project like this is a natural fit and just a matter of finding the right materials. And they did find them. In excess. Buckets. Lots of buckets. In the refuse of construction sites, namely the dozens of buckets that are used and discarded with nearly every construction project, Mac found a practically renewable resource for his own project. “There are thousands of them thrown away on every job site and it goes in the earth and it stays there,” says Mac. The robustness of the buckets make for a skating surface that is durable while the flexibility ensures a gracefully made board. Pretty quickly they started producing the boards and it was something of a paradigm shift for both Mac and Don. “The concept of taking stuff out of the landfill and giving it a second life is just fascinating,” says Don. “There’s no material cost in these things, they’re free. All we have to do is build them.” The cost may be free, but the value is far higher. For Mac, it's all about passing the love of skateboarding on to the next generation. “When I got on a skateboard as a kid I didn’t just learn how to roll, I learned how to express myself,” he says. “For a while in my life a curb was just a curb. But then it was an opportunity. And that changed the way I saw the world.” By creating these boards from what is essentially nothing, he and Don are able to pass these lessons and that empowerment on to those who need it. They’ve almost literally created something out of nothing in such a way to change how people interact with their worlds for the better. For more information on The Bucket Board check out Mac and Don’s website.  
  • 3.20.15   Sophie Haig Brings May Flowers

    April Showers bring May flowers, so the saying goes. But sometimes those rainstorms can be a drag, especially if the water dampens up a fresh spring look. It doesn’t have to be that way, though! As Refinery29 teaches us, sometimes we can be those May flowers that thrive in the rain. Hair and Makeup Artist Sophie Haig was tapped for Refinery’s story showing off how to still look amazing despite the wet weather. To show off these looks, Sophie and crew headed over to Aqua Studio in downtown NYC, and got wet from head to toe. To keep it looking natural while the model sashayed through the water in her waterproof looks, Sophie employed the use of natural tones on the face accentuating the natural rose her face. A slightly smokey eye adds a touch of drama, while nude lip-gloss keeps the model looking fresh and weightless. Her hair was kept light and effortlessly sophisticated with the dewy look. Sophie’s sophisticated artistry was also seen in the most recent issue of Footwear News, in a story highlighting how couples can use different styles for classic pairings. Once again her light hand showed off the natural beauty of the models who fit into the larger context of the compositions, emphasizing subtle elegance.
  • 3.20.15   Brian Doben Builds a Familiarity on Set

    When Magdalena Cebula, Associate Creative Director at SENSIS, was looking for a photographer for an upcoming UCLA campaign she stumbled upon Brian Doben’s At Work series. Although she thought Brian would be a good fit for the project she had in mind, that’s not why she reached out to him immediately. It was more personal than that. “I just wanted to tell him that I really, really liked it,” says Magdalena. But when it came time to choose a photographer for the campaign, she didn’t think of anyone else when she picked up the phone. As she says, “he was the first person I contacted to actually shoot the thing.” Soon enough they were working on a series of advertisements for UCLA Extension, a continuing education off shoot of UCLA whose professors bring their real life experience into the classroom to offer a greater context to their students. Much like his At Work series, Brian captured each of his subjects in the process of doing work. At least it looks like that. “These images were shot on a TV commercial set,” says Brian. But he was very carful to compose every image to be truthful while still communicating the message as clearly as possible. “I was very clear that all the props in all the scenes, meaning books, pictures, are all actual parts of their space. Those are all Kirk’s miscellaneous accessories down to the pen.” By cultivating an environment as familiar as possible, Brian is able to bring an extra level of comfort into the images. Each personal item that populates the images and sets makes for a personal connection not only to the space, but also to the event of capturing the photograph. “When you’re trying to capture an honest image it’s very important that you keep the environment as true as it is,” says Brian. “I wanted all the accoutrements to be real and tangible and conversation worthy because that will bring the subject to a very honest, simple playing field.” As that affinity is built between photographer, subject, and space the moments that Brian is able to capture become more subtle, freer, and ultimately more captivating. In one circumstance they went above and beyond to communicate that personal space. Fernando Demoraes, an architect, brought a huge amount of personal effects to fill the space. “Everything in that environment is actually from his office,” says Brian. “Everything there is something that he uses. When you hold something that’s not yours it becomes an unfamiliar moment and you don’t have any emotional connection to it,” he explains. By including his subjects in the process Brian was able to build a comfortable ease on set. With Kirk Sanduski, the Film and TV Producer Brian made sure the journal and the pen were his own. “Handing him his journal gave him the ability to go back into his world,” says Brian. And that’s the world we want to see.
  • 3.24.15   Jonas Fredwall Karlsson Composes Risk for Vanity Fair

    Perched high above the ground in Yosemite Valley, Jonas Fredwall Karlsson hugged the granite rocks that form the El Capitan formation. Free climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson just recently completed the first climb of the 3000ft Dawn Wall, a sheer route on one of the most difficult climbs on earth. Jonas iis there with a team, including producer Ron Beinner, for Vanity Fair for their Spotlight on these two climbers who risk it all to get a little closer to the sky. Jonas climbed up, standing on the those stone of Yosemite but it was a little different from the rock face the two climbers had scaled where ledges of two inches are considered rest stops. Still, with wind whipping and a vast expanse of sky behind the climbers, it was the bare peak of a mountain. The image of Caldwell and Jorgeson are part of a larger series by Vanity Fair of Rock Climbers and Adventurers shot by Jonas. This series of 23 images includes bungee jumpers, hot air balloonists, and dogsled drivers. Jonas has noticed a through line shooting people at this level of adventuring. “They’re all obsessed in a way,” he says. “And I think you have to be that at this level of anything you do.” Obsession is a condition that begs risk and offers reward. For those willing to focus and take the steps, only the world is in front of them. Or maybe even more. The next great adventure is a continuing one with unlimited potential: the adventure into space. Virgin's Galactic program saw the fatal failure of their most recent test flight forcing many to question the intelligence and responsibility of private space travel. Fans are quick to remind skeptics that because of NASA's quickly expiring funding, private space travel may be humanity's best hope to get closer to the stars, and democratizing space travel may be the boon it needs to revive public interest. In their highlight of the ongoing progress of Virgin Galactica, Vanity Fair used a previously unseen image that Jonas had taken of CEO Sir Richard Branson in 2010. Jonas met him on the runway where he took responsibility for Virgin Galactic's future using his own image (and promises to board the first commercial flight with his children). While Branson is wearing a space suit, the whole conceit around Virgin Galactic is an accessible trip into space; all passengers will wear their own clothes. No space suit required. As William Langewische explains in Vanity Fair’s piece, there's still some distance to travel before Virgin Galactic is ready to carry passengers. But Branson is as eager as ever to offer his customers a piece of the sky.
B&A Instafeed. Images From Our Artists & Community
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Daniel says, "I tried to capture the photographer
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