• 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.
  • 12.19.14   Joe Pugliese Finds a Creative Partner in Angelia Jolie

    Angelia Jolie is one of the most photographed faces in the world. Her career, and the world’s fascination with her, has extended beyond presidents and pop sensations. For decades, the lenses of photographers have been focused squarely on her every move. We know her every angle, her every mood, and have played witness to nearly every phase she’s gone through professionally and personally. When Joe Pugliese was assigned to shoot her for The Hollywood Reporter, he knew he was casting his lot into a deep pool. “We always want to go into it really fresh without too much reference to all the imagery we’ve seen,” Joe explains. Not to mention that this was for a cover of THR’s “Rule Breakers” issue. He had to go in a different direction. Part of what makes Jolie appropriate for this issue of THR is not just that she’s rid herself of almost her entire professional team, but she’s now shaking off her image as an actress for her upcoming film, Unbroken, that she directed. “I immediately could see the qualities that make her a director,” Joe says about his subject. “She’s extremely focused, she’s totally professional. She wanted to know the game plan, she wanted to know what we were doing. I just ran the things I wanted to do by her.” After Joe laid out his vision, Jolie gave her feedback, and they worked off each other for the rest of the shoot. Gossip about Jolie is rampant and uncontrollable, so she’s understandably protective of her image. But Joe’s artistic vision had a space in that room with Jolie. “Every picture that you want to take will have been done before, it will feel like that,” Joe explains. “We’re in the studio so there’s no sense of place, there’s no sense of environment. It’s really about her, so I wanted to key in on expression, intensity, grace. The qualities that make her that icon.” For the cover, they stuck with Jolie’s unadorned, unimpeded strength and grace. But between the two artists, it was an easy get for them. So, Joe went a little more experimental. Playing with mirrors, and different kinds of broken and textured glass, they were able to work together with the concepts to find some extra depth. That sense of play and collaboration requires creative agility that can be hard to come by for professionals who have had as long and powerful a career as Jolie’s. But Joe found that they were able to meet each other on even ground. “She was game, but she was also very confident in what worked and what didn’t,” Joe explains. “She came with her own direction, but played off my direction as well.” Together, they were able to arrive at a vision that showed off not just where Jolie has been, but where she’s going.
  • 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.
  • 12.15.14   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.
  • 12.18.14   Tom Corbett is Irreplaceable

    Giselle Blondet is one of the most recognizable faces in the world. A native of Puerto Rico, Giselle has worked from being a local celebrity actress to entering the national stage as a TV Host for Univision’s ¡Despierta América! After much success, Giselle left her Univision show to spend more time with her children, including her daughter Gabriella Trucco. What better way to spend time with family than in front of Tom Corbett’s camera? The mother/daughter pair brought their energy to Siempre Mujer, the Latin magazine that keeps bringing Tom back shoot after shoot. Like the other projects Tom has done for the magazine, it’s infused with light, bright energy. Both Giselle and Gabrielle bring a spunk and vigor that Tom is known for accessing his models. In addition to the softly intimate cover, the real star is the dancing composition that Tom created with the two wonderful ladies. Together they are caught in a handful of freeze frames, splashed across a double page spread, opening a side that we rarely get to see of any famous family. Tom reminds us that they love to move and get down as much as we do. And they just happen to stay beautiful every step of the way.
  • 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.
  • 12.16.14   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.
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