You’ve already seen the images that Michael Mueller shot of Ryan Reynolds dressed up as the fan favorite Marvel superhero Deadpool. With the release of Deadpool 2, the sequel to the massively successful initial offering, the posters are not only in every city on practically every surface, but the marketing extended far beyond traditional advertising. Michael photographed the cast of the film for what has turned into one of the broadest media blitzes in recent memory. Everything from classic blockbuster movie posters, to parody work that plays off classic imagery, all the way to co-branded material with Trolli, all of it has Michael’s touch on it. You cannot escape America’s favorite antihero superhero and with images like this, why would you want to?
The original Deadpool film ended up as the highest grossing rated-R movie in history, with materials shot by Michael as well, so it was a no brainer that the studio would come back for round two and invite Michael to be a part of it again. One week in and the sequel is on track to take over the popularity and the numbers as the original.
For the Deadpool 2 shoot, Michael met up with the actors Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, and Zazie Beetz in what started as a traditional image capture session but turned into a creative and collaborative session, playing off of Reynolds’ creative riffs. Michael guesses they shot “45-50 completely different shots/concepts in a day.” Reynolds and the Deadpool team were able to take those shots and turn them into a series of inventive images that lampoon other concepts like World War Z, moments from Flashdance, and even the Sistine Chapel.
Chris Buzelli Gets Real with Fake News
Information warfare has never been as acute as it is today, with every faction creating narratives to best support their goals, spreading stories that are less about fact and more about affect. The efforts are commonly known as “Fake News,” forcing every consumer in this age of information to determine for themselves what is real and what is not. Not only is it a challenging time, it’s an interesting time while we all recalibrate how we take in this information. Simmons College Magazine and Seven Elm asked Chris Buzelli to help them illustrate this topic into a single image and Chris reached back to some of our earliest and most omnipresent moments od fake news to bring it to life.
Chris’ painting for the magazine called “The Fake News Age” features Bigfoot on a Central Park bench reading The World News that features an of Bigfoot, with the headline “Bigfoot Seen in Central Park.” Also in the paper: the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, and others. Bigfoot sits, half way through reading the paper, with a mouth agape at what he’s reading. And who would blame him? When it doesn’t matter what’s real and what’s not, the stories we read can go beyond the believable into the ridiculous. Never mind the common wisdom that the existence of Bigfoot is not worth entertaining because it’s far too insane, never mind the implication that the park behind him may be a painted set piece, never mind that the rest of the newspaper is filled with ever mounting unbelievable stories: Bigfoot himself finds contemporary news cycles to be unbelievable. It’s not even a comment on the veracity of these stories, but that it’s an uphill battle to distinguish between the real and fake when the goal is no longer truth.
Miranda Kerr and The Selby Get Creative with Vogue
Miranda Kerr suddenly has a whole lot more to do – and that’s saying a lot. She just gave birth to her second child, a son named Hart, and that's on top of being a business owner, an international model, and a familiar face on TV. She hasn’t slowed down a step. Right before giving birth to her newborn son, she teamed up with Todd Selby on a fashion film for Vogue that explores Kerr’s pregnant life in ways that might even seem silly. “We had a lot of fun with it and made it her made it a bit of a character,” says Todd. “She is secretly eating hamburgers out of a drawer and has a miniature wooly mammoth that she had genetically engineered to be her pet. And she has insane sailboat races in her pool. So, it’s kind of like trying to make it fun and do something fun with it.”
The film was created alongside still assets, and Todd even turned some of the moments into moving GIFs. Much of Kerr’s life is spent in front of the camera, so she was an engaged collaborator. But she’s also an image maker. So Todd, Vogue, Kerr, and the whole team planned out as much as they could to make sure everything looked perfect. And once all the pieces were in place: they cut loose. “Normally I’m more of like a real-life kind of guy, but this one was a more constructed thing,” Todd says. “But then also see some of it is also impromptu because she’s really fun. She started dropping rhymes on the mic with her Plexiglas piano and doing all the dance moves with her yoga and so, it’s some freestyle.” Since they all knew they’d get exactly what they needed out of the day, they were able to have a lot of fun with the game of it.
Throughout the shoot, you’ll find a backyard grill covered in fruit and the moments that Todd teased like hidden hamburgers and yoga-inspired dance moves - many featuring cameos by Todd's watercolor illustrations. It’s all cheeky and chill. But don’t let it fool you: even as she approached her due date, Kerr is as busy as ever. “She’s running her own company, busting a move, having conference calls, she’s got her own products and she’s still appearing in all these magazines and doing all these editorials,” Todd explains. “We had fun with it, made it the opposite of really what’s kind of going on… It’s really cool that she was down for all this stuff. I’ve got to give her credit, she was down for all my whacky ideas.” On the eve of motherhood, Kerr took the time to create with Todd and Vogue, always making the world just a little more beautiful. Please help us in congratulating Miranda and her family for their new addition.
Rod Hunt Goes Viral
This is a sensitive topic so we’ll try to be ginger about it.
Have you ever caught something? Maybe from someone you met on a night out and left that interaction with more than just a new friend? Have you ever had to go to the doctor after an evening someone new? You’re not alone. It happens every day, and we all come in contact with more than we know. The French AIDS non-profit AIDES and TBWA\Paris launched a viral activation last month about sharing the love but protecting yourself. They commissioned a massive, and risqué, illustration by Rod Hunt that was then shared in pieces on Twitter. As the images were shared, larger pieces of the illustration were released through an account named “Henry Ian Vernon,” but it wasn’t until the whole illustration was made public that it was obvious Vernon’s alias was for the initialism HIV. The activation proved that sometimes we share things without total knowledge and it can be personally damaging.
It’s a powerful message with a fun piece of work by Rod. And Rod had a lot of fun drawing it. “The brief was showing sex without showing sex,” he explains. “It was everything had to be hidden so no junk, no boobs, no nipples, it had to be sent out and shared on Twitter.” Rod’s illustration is a massive playground of sex with hundreds of couple (and more) engaged in #NSFW behavior. But Rod made sure every element was inexplicit while remaining illustrative.
A lot is going on in the illustration, not just in terms of sexual activity, but also all the environments Rod created for his denizens. Everything from a nightclub to a theme park to a rocket launch to a private island. They’re all covered by bodies having a good time. And staying as safe as possible. Except for maybe the couple on the ride-on mower: that may not be totally safe. “The main center of it was this nightclub in the center of it was a real starting point and focal point of the whole thing,” Rod explains. “But then there’s also the little things in there like little jokes like the couple doing it on a ride-on mower mowing the grass, or while jet skiing. There’s a little hip-hop video shoot on the island. A lot of little jokes to look out for.”
The illustration itself gets pretty racy the closer you look, but seems pretty tame from far out. And that’s part of the message too: if we want to stay safe we have to look closer and take the details a little more seriously. Once that’s all wrapped up: have fun with it.
SpikedSeltzer Makes Its Debut with David Doran
This season's outdoor parties are just around the corner and what better way to get them going than with some SpikedSeltzer? The brand of naturally flavored alcoholic beverages was ready to spread their message throughout the world for the first time and David Doran was on hand to help them do it. The campaign, created with Bullish Inc., imagines the brand's original logo in each of the locations that inspired each of the flavors. “The main aim of the brief was to bring the logo to life and add character and add personality to each of the sirens,” explains David. “And I think having them each have an individual element and aspect to their personality came about quite naturally.” David started with the flavors, but let the new characters be inspired by the people who drink the drinks.
“There are these 1920s old cocktail posters which we had as reference and we did a lot of research and referring back to what has come before, and what inspired the drinks and the aesthetic that we were trying to aim for,” David explains. Whether it’s a sandy Cape Cod beach in the shadow of a lighthouse for cranberry, or a feathered headdress topped siren for West Indies lime, the locations and characters draw a direct line between flavor and personality.
Since this was the first campaign from SpikedSeltzer David found a lot of support from everyone involved, and it made for a great creative experience. “Everyone was really invested and we had a lot of time to go back and forth over sketches and really find what angle works best,” David explains. The exploration and experimentation was holistic: consider the varying shapes of the sirens tails, how each of their hair flows, the costume choices, the color palates. Each element was carefully balanced to create the perfect representation to introduce SpikedSeltzer to the world in the best way possible.
Robert De Niro Gives Two Thumbs Up to Michael Muller's Cannes Bound "Into The Now"
You haven’t had a real swimming with sharks VR experience. Not yet at least. Maybe someone created a gorgeous digital approximation or you’ve seen some cool 360 videos from underwater, but there hasn’t been anything on the market that makes it feel like you’re actually there with the sharks. Until now. Michael Muller just debuted his underwater VR experience ‘Into the Now’ at the TriBeCa Film Festival that builds off his expertise of photographing sharks underwater. The experience is on its way to the Cannes Film Festival now, but before they left New York, Robert De Niro took it for a spin and gave a very worthy two thumbs up.
'Into the Now' is traveling all over the world because it offers much more than a traditional VR experience. “The same way Jacques Cousteau inspired me and planted that seed to go out and explore and swim in the oceans, I hope that a little young girl or boy watches ‘Into the Now’ and it plants a seed,” says Michael. “I want to really educate and inspire this next generation to fall in love with our oceans, to learn that we still have such amazing oceans and there are so many amazing things still there.”
The journey to ‘Into the Now’ is decades long and the results are hauntingly inevitable. The first photograph Michael ever took was of a shark. Well, kind of. It was a photograph of a photograph of a shark he found in an issue of National Geographic. He snapped the photo on his first camera, got the film developed, and told everyone he took it, and then he spent the rest of his career turning it into a reality. He began photographing animals underwater after establishing himself as a celebrity shooter, including the posters for the very first Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. After photographing high profile subjects with impeccable lighting and controlled sets for so long, Michael found himself unimpressed by underwater photography equipment. “I wanted to light a Great White like I do Iron Man,” he says. So instead of operating with the status quo, he created a whole new lighting system for underwater photography, working with an engineer from JPL and ending up with four patents.
This set him up perfectly for the VR project years later because he ended up having to create a new image capture system almost entirely from scratch.
Before even experiencing VR for himself, he knew it was the movement of the future and wanted to get in on the ground floor. So before he got on a plane to shoot a campaign in Antigua where he'd be off the grid for a few weeks, he sent out a flurry of emails looking for partners on what would eventually become ‘Into the Now.’ Three weeks later he got back home to an email inbox showing interest from everyone he reached out to. At the same time, some very high-level neurologists showed interest. “Two days later I got a call from Andy Huberman at Stanford University and he said, ‘We’re really interested in your shark work.’” Huberman was studying PTSD responses and was thrilled by Michael’s story of starting deathly afraid of sharks to swimming with Great Whites outside the cage. He saw an opportunity to use Michael’s work as a blueprint to help those affected by the disorder.
One by one the pieces came together for the project to turn into something massive.
Michael quickly secured the funding he needed to create the picture. He developed the technology he needed to capture the picture. And he worked with Huberman to get the data that they needed to extend the picture beyond a one time experience. The results are a fully immersive experience that confronts the viewer with the reality of being with the intimidating creatures, allowing the audience to live through those moments as truly as possible without getting wet. It’s available to anyone who can get to it, and Michael and his team have even created an educational portal so kids can study the ocean biology under the waves, plus it’s being used with military veterans and at Children’s Hospitals to let them explore the ocean. But in the end, it was the experience that was most important to Michael and you’ve got to experience it if you want to understand the full story. “I don’t really want to go into that too much because it will give away the film, and I want the film to be a bit of a surprise for people,” he said on the eve of ‘Into the Now’s premiere.
‘Into the Now’ is set to show at the Cannes Film Festival that opens on May 8.
Amanda Marsalis Gets Real with Rédélé
Amanda Marsalis is busy. Between directing episodes of Queen Sugar and Ozark she was able to squeeze in a shoot for Rédélé, the Italian eyewear brand, that ended up being surprisingly Californian (more on that later). “The designers are my dear friends from Venice that I met through mutual friends years and years ago,” Amanda explains. Those very designers ended up publishing two books of Amanda’s, Reproduction and A Catalogue of Constant Motion, before they even started working together this way. But it was through that relationship that they decided Amanda was the perfect choice for this project.
Over the last few years, working extensively in Film and Television, Amanda has taken her craft to the next level, allowing the time in the director’s chair to inform her still photography work. For this project with Rédélé she knew she wanted to work with models who could offer her a lot more than mere photogenics. Now she swears by live casting where she gets to meet her subjects before taking them on. “You want to know somebody’s vibe because the more that I direct the more that I think of my talent as actors,” Amanda explains. “I have to know that they can be in the space that I need them to be in.” It's not about posing right, or knowing the angles - it's about creating a holistic image and experience.
Behind the camera, Amanda has found the amount of detail that goes into directing to be liberating for her still shoots. The preparation is exhaustive but builds the foundation for beautiful surprises. “You can create situations in photography where you’re so prepared that you leave room for spontaneity,” Amanda says. “The designers gave me really clear mood boards ahead of time for what they were going for so it’s almost like I was given a good script to work with. That’s really helpful.” As the project came together, Amanda decided the best way to make it work would be to make it personal, so it’s shot almost entirely in and around her own home.
As a native Californian, few understand the California lifestyle like Amanda. That affords her a unique perspective to tell the story of California in an honest way. For Rédélé that point of view was exactly what they wanted to show off to their customers. “What we’re doing is really selling California to Italians,” Amanda says with a laugh. “So it’s like a heightened version of what we all think of as stereotypically California, but instead of doing beachy it was about doing it a little more real.” That’s why she brought it to her house, and that’s why she created it with her friends. Because it’s all about being real.
Tom Corbett Warms Up the Icy Queens of Broadway's 'Frozen'
Disney’s ‘Frozen’ is obviously one of the most successful children’s movies of the last few decades, with kids (and parents) all over the world singing their favorite songs from the animated musical. Unsatisfied by merely dominating the animated genre, Disney turned the film into a stage musical that just opened up on Broadway. The New York Post’s fashion imprint ‘Alexa’ got the two leads of the show, Caissie Levy and Patti Murin, for a feature article with Tom Corbett on hand to photograph the actresses on location.
For Tom, photographing the story at the theater is a unique thrill. “I had the opportunity to shoot the main cast from Broadway’s ‘Frozen’ and they wanted to shoot in a theater setting which I always love,” says Tom. “I love the dramatic elements you get with the lighting, playing off the negative space and using light from behind. Theaters have so much negative space you can work with so I just love working there. We had a lot of fun playing around, painting with light, and trying to get some drama.” Tom took full advantage of the space, bringing the actresses from the stage to the house (and backstage, too) filling the negative space with beams of colored light and plumes of smoke. When the house lights are on, a theater can read as a big empty room filled with seats, but when it’s handled by someone like Tom it turns into an epic space for powerful moments.
Frozen is a new icon in the pantheon of fairytales, but Tom and Alexa didn’t want to lock this shoot down to the single production. The story was about more than just the performances and processes that these two professionals went through. So, they went out of their way to make the story timeless and removed from what will ultimately be a fulfilling but temporary part of each of these women’s careers. “We saw some serious actresses and wanted to treat them as such,” Tom explains. Instead, the shoot reveals two women at the top of their game, dominating this particular challenge, who will eventually take on another and another and another like the queens that they are.
You can catch both Levy and Murin in ‘Frozen: The Broadway Musical’ now.
We Are The Rhoads Show You Malibu Through the Eyes of the Locals for Esquire
Everyone’s flocking to Malibu.
The city, just west of Los Angeles, is known for its incredible beaches and hills, and with the new faces comes a growing community of creatives. Photography duo We Are The Rhoads, a.k.a. Chris and Sarah Rhoads, who live in LA, have experienced the growth personally as it represents a part of their own creative community. “It’s the new destination on the West Coast for artists and non-artists,” Sarah says. “There’s so much happening there, creatively and in the food scene; hoteliers are opening up these really cool little spots along the coast. So, Esquire reached out to capture this movement that’s happening.” The story they shot for Esquire's Big Black Book (out now), all about the people in and around Malibu is a beautiful distillation of the life and culture in the area. Plus, they got to do it with some friends.
It’s not just the land and ocean that dominate the images The Rhoads composed, but also their friends and creative compatriots like Elderstatesman owner and Creative Director, Greg Chait, hatmaker Nick Fouquet and Outerknown Creative Director John Moore. “It’s just always cool to work with people that we are friends with but also that we respect creatively,” Chris says. “That’s always a great collaboration when you are not only capturing and documenting and collaborating with people that you find visually interesting, but you also really respect the work that they are doing. That always offers really cool end results.” They’ve known some of the subjects for years, and over that time all of their work and relationships have developed. The Rhoads found it incredibly satisfying to share that with Esquire’s audience.
The energy in an around Malibu is specific to the place and the people, and even as more and more artists are attracted to the area and bringing their own point of view, the pull of the place has its own personality. That cannot be faked. When The Rhoads and Esquire compiled their list of subjects, they stuck with folk who live there and that made all the difference. “It worked really organically because we were putting them in their natural environment, habitat if you will. It wasn’t like we were flying in New Yorkers and putting them in places they don’t hang out in LA,” explains Sarah. “It was very much a California story with California people. We would try to really dig into where do they like to go, where do they like to hang out so it felt very true, honest, because that’s really what we were after at the end of the day. It was telling a story that felt true.” The Rhoads’ responsibility is to the audience, to show off what Malibu is really like, and no one knows that better than the locals.
The New Face of New York Politics: Cynthia Nixon Photographed by Marco Grob for New York Magazine
All eyes are on Cynthia Nixon. The New York native was a professional actress before even leaving school, shooting to fame in the New York-based series Sex and the City, but it’s the search for her next role that has the whole state talking. Just last month she announced her bid for Governor and already she’s changed the entire conversation. As the state turns their eyes towards Nixon’s run, New York Magazine featured her story for the cover and asked Marco Grob to photograph her.
Marco’s image is simple and singular: it’s an extreme close up of her face, filling the entire page offering itself as a proxy to the woman who is making the current governor, Andrew Cuomo, surprisingly fearful. We’re confronted with her human nature, her stillness, her presence. It’s a face we know from the stage and screen, but the state hasn’t known her to play the role of a politician before and she’s surprisingly effective.
In this short campaign, she’s already forced the governor left on issues like Marijuana Legalization, the embattled MTA, and New York’s unique faction of “Independent” Democrats who vote with the Republican caucus. The look on Nixon’s face in Marco’s image is one of confidence and serenity, a look that has put the fear of the future in Cuomo’s political career as his lead narrows despite a massive war chest and political apparatus.
There’s no telling how this election will end up. When Nixon threw her hat in the ring she was written off as a hapless celebrity, but as her poll numbers rise and her impact is already felt in Albany, NYC, and all over the state, this is turning out to be a much different kind of race than most of us expected. But from Marco’s cover of New York Magazine, it looks like Nixon knew this was coming the whole time.
Take a Ride Through History with Emiliano Ponzi's Newest Book
It’s hard to get lost in NYC: the city is set up on a grid. Just follow the numbers! The subway system, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. A jumble of tubes skate all over the five boroughs, changing direction and trajectory as they go along. It takes a real expert to navigate the subway by memory. But if you’re not an expert, you’re in luck: Massimo Vignelli oversaw an amazing map of the subway system between 1970 and 1972. Emiliano Ponzi was so charmed by the artist and the story that he created a book that examines the process of creating the map. The book is called ‘The Great New York Subway Map’ and it’s filled with illustrations by Emiliano that take cues from Vignelli’s work. “He has a very clear idea of what was good and what wasn’t good, aesthetically speaking. And he wrote this book that I really love called ‘The Vignelli Canon,’ where he stated all his guidelines he gave himself regarding his graphic designer aesthetic,” Emiliano explains. “So what I like about working on this project is I was able to apply the same principals as Massimo told in his book.”
Emiliano’s aesthetic is obviously his own, but when telling the story of Vignelli’s work, he went the extra distance to emulate Vignelli’s style. It wasn’t just the work of aesthetics, but ultimately became about process and seeing differently. “What I tried to do was to design every image at least five or six times so every time I redesigned one illustration I was about to rationally think about if I needed the details, maybe I could take a detail out,” Emiliano says. “So that was like the biggest challenge and also a very hard one… This is a little more minimalist than my usual style.” Vignelli’s subway map took an incredible complex transportation apparatus and turned it into an easy to read map that could fit in your pocket. The only way to do that is distill, distill, distill and Emiliano brought that to each page of his book.
MoMA invited Emiliano to help them host an Art Making get together at the Design Store for kids to get creative. For Emiliano, this partnership with MoMA is something of a dream come true. He used to walk the galleries in wonder and now counts the museum as a collaborator. “Looking at the museum three years ago when I used to work on 53rd street, and now I have another feeling because now I have a deeper connection,” he describes. “I’m very excited, I’m also excited because I also feel responsibility to pass a good message to children.”
His best message to pass onto the children? It’s okay to be confused, especially when creating art. “Being confused is normal because we can find order out of chaos. So being in a chaotic situation is also sometimes useful to come up with a good idea or a good project.”
‘The Great New York Subway Map’ is available for purchase now.
Vault49 Creates Pepsi's Entire Identity for the UEFA Champions League Final
“For the fans, football isn’t a matter of life and death; it’s much more than that,” Vault49 explains, showing why they were the perfect creative partner for Pepsi’s UEFA Champions League Final campaign. More than just ads or cans, Vault49 created everything from the ground up and the process was fully comprehensive.
“Vault49 was proud to be invited to develop the sponsorship identity for Pepsi and leverage it across packaging and key visuals to celebrate moments of football passion,” says Vault49. “We sought to turn the focus from the game to the fans themselves and the multitude of moments that stir our passions throughout a game of football. From the tension and banter of the pre-match build-up, through the rollercoaster of the match itself, to the eruption or heartbreak at the final whistle. Our campaign illustrates how these moments of passion are as relevant to a local kick about in a park among friends as they are to the glorious stadiums around the world.”
Vault49 didn’t just write the copy for the campaign, they also created the hand-painted typography that appeared on cans, bottles, and posters, ideated and executed the photoshoot for the advertising, and completed the story with gift sets that included t-shirts, tote bags, and posters.
All told, it was an amazing opportunity for Vault49 to create such a comprehensive identity for Pepsi, and one that they fully enjoyed. “For Vault49 and our team of football fans, projects don’t come much more exciting than this, and the creative synergy between Vault49 and the Pepsi team made this project a pleasure from start to finish.”
Craig Ward's Nike World Cup Kit for England Started with a Surprise
The World Cup, the biggest quad-annual football event (second in all sports only to the Olympics), is right around the corner with all eyes poised to turn towards Russia to watch the games. It’s the pinnacle of play for many of the athletes involved, but even as a few dozen players will be called to play for each team, many fewer designers have ever put their market on the kits. For this World Cup, Nike invited Craig Ward to create a bespoke typeface for the England uniforms, an honor rarely offered. “It’s a pretty wild thing because I’m only like the third designer in history to touch the England kit. It was me, Neville Brody, and before him, it was Peter Saville,” says Craig. “Traditionally whoever is doing the kit just chooses a regular font for it. So, it was no small beans on a personal level.”
The request came from an unexpected place: a message on LinkedIn that Craig caught just an hour before the pitch meeting. But the request also came very early: Craig’s been working on his final design for years. “I started it literally spring 2016, and it was like 19 rounds of work over the next 18 months,” Craig says. “Sometimes it would go weeks and weeks between feedback coming in so it felt a little long just because of the nature of the process but it was pretty wild to see it go out a couple weeks ago in the Friendlies.” Putting a typeface on the backs of England’s players is no small feat. Not only do the designs have to look good, but they also have to meet the legibility standards of a handful of unions, ensuring that the jerseys provide the information needed by coaches, players, referees, and many more.
But Craig is known for his inventive typography, so there was a balance to be struck. “The brief was what you’d expect – Dynamic, Contemporary, Sporty, and British. They really wanted it to feel very English,” explains Craig. “I started by doing a little research on the classic British fonts like Gill Sans, Johnston, Flaxman which is the New Scotland Yard typeface. They’re all geometric and clean.” Not only that, but Nike also asked that Craig somehow incorporate the St. George’s Cross, the contemporary flag of England and the central red cross in the flag of Great Britain.
Craig used the cross as the base for a lot of two-dimensional designs but then started looking at the problem from another angle. He brought the exploration into a new dimension. “We hit on this idea of using the cross as a sweep around a curve and modeling it in 3D,” Craig explains. That’s where the intruding lines come from: they show the movement and shape of that cross moving its way through space.
England has played two games in The International Friendlies with the new kits so far, and you won’t be surprised to hear that they’re playing well. “Undefeated! One win and one draw so far,” says Craig. And obviously, we know what to credit the success of the team to: Craig’s amazing typeface. “It’s all about those dynamic, geometric typefaces, of course it is,” he says with a laugh. “First thing they see when they get into the changing room is their names, their numeral – and that kerning is sick.”
Revealing the Real Jon Hamm with Marc Hom for Esquire
Before Mad Men, Jon Hamm had been kicking around Hollywood for the better part of a decade but it wasn’t until he landed the lead role in the AMC runaway hit that he became a critical darling. Mad Men ran for seven seasons over eight years, launching Hamm into the spotlight. It was amazing for Hamm’s career, but any time an actor becomes well known off one character it can often turn into a liability. Now that the show is over, it’s time to leave that character behind and that’s exactly what Marc Hom was tasked with for the cover of Esquires Big Black Book with Hamm. “My biggest challenge for the cover was to take him out of the Mad Men 50s era,” Marc explains. “And just trying to make him look a little bit more rugged, a little bit more real. We created the whole setting in this garage in Canada and just brought in the different kind of elements to create almost like an artists’ studio with some elements of steel and making him a little bit more hardcore and not so refined.”
Removing that familiar context meant getting closer to who Hamm is which is exciting for Hamm. His upcoming projects are deep and rich: his current film ‘Beirut’ looks at the Lebanese city in the 80s, he’s taking a turn as the Archangel Gabriel in an upcoming TV series, and his voice acting for animated comedies seems to be endless. He’s doing a lot that has nothing to do with his previous characters, and it couldn’t be better. “He seems to be very excited about getting out of this shadow of his past,” says Marc. “I think he just felt good and was a really an organic shoot. He was just into it. The styling isn’t overly fashion oriented, so it’s more as you would think he would be in real life.” Instead of that tired trope of Hamm as Mad Men’s Don Draper, we’re seeing Hamm as Hamm.
To see more of Marc Hom’s work, check out his portfolio.
Marco Grob's 22 Character Posters for Marvel's Latest
You know it’s coming. It’s been teased and previewed for years. The culmination of dozens of Marvel movies finally hits a crescendo this summer with the release of Marvel’s Infinity War. The massive story that began with Iron Man in 2008 will see a kind of climax with Infinity War, the first part of a two-part story that will be an end for many of the beloved characters we’ve met over the last 10 years. To call the movie Highly Anticipated is an understatement as Marvel fans across the world are looking forward to seeing how their favorite characters get past the world’s biggest threat and Marvel invited Marco Grob to help usher in this next biggest chapter. Like he did with Black Panther earlier this year, Marco teamed up with the comics juggernaut to create character posters for all the major players. 22 posters stretch the entire history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far with Iron Man, T’Challa, Captain America, and everyone in between.
When Marco created character posters for Black Panther, now the 10th highest grossing movie of all time, they were designed to give a taste of who each character was. He brought a stillness to those images, a regality. But for Infinity War, the immediacy of the moment is right there in the title and each poster shows the characters engaged in combat. Each image is full of energy and the stakes are high. There’s always an incredible amount of secrecy around every MCU release but this film’s veil has been unprecedented. And fans have never been more ravenous.
Check out some of the 22 different posters Marco photographed for the latest installment in the MCU, and get excited for the next chapter of this incredible series.
The Future of Art Book Publishing: Elisa Nadel
“The future of publishing is up for grabs. Including art publishing,” Alexander Galan, Director of Books and Exhibitions at Great Bowery, said launching the beginning of a discussion of The Future of Art Book Publishing, presented by B&A, hosted by NeueHouse. What followed was an examination of the history, present, and potential future for the Art Book publishing industry. Galan was joined by Elisa Nadel (Artbook/Distributed Art Publishers), Lisa Naftolin (Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation), and Paul Chan (artist, Badlands Unlimited) who each offered their distinct points of view on this moving issue. In this piece, we’ll hear from Elisa Nadel whose unique perspective at Distributed Art Publishers has afforded her the perfect point of view to witness how the Art Book Publishing landscape has changed over the last few decades and what that means for the future.
DAP was founded in 1990, and for the first five years represented publishers like Walter Keller, Parkett, and Walther König, selling books and journals everywhere: bookstores, museum shops, retails gift stores, and even libraries. This went on for about five years until everything changed. “In 1995 Amazon launched its website and essentially everything changed after that,” Nadel explains. The growth of massive book retailers like Borders and Barnes & Nobel weakened independent stores, and the birth of Amazon even further. While independents were shuttering, a few were taken on by the large retailers, running the stores with the original names and specializations. But as Amazon ate more and more of the market, even those shops began to shutter. “What happened essentially was this reversal taking place because Amazon took a stronghold in the marketplace and Borders bookstore, which was a mega massive chain store, declared bankruptcy in 2011. Then by the time 2016 came, Barnes & Nobel was closing hundreds of stores and we lost some very strong, centralized art bookstores.” But parallel to the old industry starving, a new way of accessing these books emerged. And it began with Art Basel.
“It wasn’t until 2002 when the Art Basel Miami Beach fair came about that made the art fair turn into a cultural phenomenon, a cultural event, where everybody really started to attend art fairs,” Nadel explains. “DAP had been invited from the very start to be a bookstore there along with Taschen Books and the nonprofit bookstore, Printed Matter.” Together, they were able to create a presence of Art Books at this Art Fair, and it was groundbreaking in its own way. As masses of creative art loves descended upon each city they DAP, Taschen, and Printed Matter gave the attendees the opportunity to take pieces of the art world home with them and implied the collectability of these publications. It set the scene for something more and inspired the launch of Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair a couple years later.
The NY Art Book Fair, that has since expanded to include LA in its 13 years, is now a destination of its own drawing out the wide-ranging community around Art Books from publishers to zine creators. It’s reinspired a new generation of Art Books outside of the traditional industry that took the hit a decade ago and represents a reconstruction of how the community approaches the product. “All of the sudden with the NY Art Book Fair you had artist bookmakers from all over the world that were being brought together to share their passion for the printed book form,” Nadel says. One day at the NY Art Book Fair forces the attendees together to recognize the creativity and expression in the community, beyond just the printed page. The Fair takes the conversation out of the bookstore and out into a museum pavilion with meals of jerk chicken and a veritable rainbow of hair dye. It’s a representation of the human elements that turn the pages of these books that have found a new hungry audience.
In a way, Nadel says, art book fairs shouldn’t be as successful as they are. The past few years, the NY Art Book Fair posted at MoMA’s PS1 has drawn upwards of 30,000 attendees. This massive number is a repudiation of the idea that social media has created a generation that’s only interested in consuming through digital portals. Books are the antithesis of digital media, and art book fairs continue to attract growing audiences. “It really was this pushback from what was this digital age that was getting deeper and deeper,” Nadel says. “Everything was so much about the online media, but everybody that was participating in the art book fairs: they were all about printed matter… It inspired so many art book fairs, just like the art fairs were growing the art book fairs were growing. You had so many iterations of the art book fairs from Japan to London and Paris and Los Angeles and San Francisco, it was exploding.
What had shrunk under the shadow of Amazon and the dearth of independent booksellers has found new life in the fairs. Online sales took away the opportunity for shoppers to come in contact with the art books that the smaller publishers were selling, but the fairs have brought that back, reinventing the way the industry interacts with their customer. And the big money has noticed. “There are artists and curators and galleries, the art world coming back and seeing these independent art book publishers who focus on publishing really hard to find books or hard to find books and new writing on art. The galleries were so inspired that they started joining the Art Book Fairs and feeding money,” Nadel says. “Then you even have galleries like David Zwirner books who traditionally were publishing art book catalogs to market their artists and they just launched a series called ‘ekphrasis’ which is all about art book writing by artists and on artists, so you have this passion that was creating this frenzy for the printed material.”
At a time when the artbook industry was poised for collapse, publishers and artists came together to find their audience. The audience never went away, but they had to be rediscovered. It was the same audience as it ever was, but the books had to find their way into those familiar hands in new ways and art book fairs have allowed them to do that.
Stay tuned for more about the Future of Art Book Publishing with Alexander Galan, Lisa Naftolin, and Paul Chan.
B&A Dives In with Steven Lippman
Steven Lippman's west coast lifestyle flows through all his work, bringing a clear-headed lightness and energy to every shot and delivering it to each of his clients. His command of light is immediately recognizable in every image, whether he’s shaping compositions with added light in nightscapes like his iconic and sharp imagery for Showtime’s Ray Donovan, playing with softness and subtlety like his latest inspirational campaign with MGP, or shaping the way sun hits his subjects in the open air or under water.
When he first picked up his camera he brought his early surfing mentality with him to the art form. Taking his camera in hand, he went out and photographed everything he could. “There were no rules, nothing that came before that you could follow,” he says. “So at a young age, you were forced to go out and create. You just made whatever street corner, parking lot, or empty swimming pool come to life.” It taught him to make art wherever he went, forming exceptional creations with whatever was placed in front of him. (He’s carried that early love of the ocean on into his role as President of A Walk on Water, which is a non-profit that provides surf therapy for those with special needs.) It taught him to be agile and expressive, qualities his clients rely upon today. Samsung, Sony, Harley Davidson, Vera Bradley, and many others have counted on him to bright a bright, broad, and open atmosphere to their campaigns.
Please join us in welcoming Steven Lippman to the roster at Bernstein & Andriulli.
Marc Hom Gets on Jessica Jones' Level for Marvel and Netflix
The world’s favorite superpowered PI is back in the second season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix. Jones, played by Kristyn Ritter, most recently appeared in the limited series The Defenders, also on Netflix, wherein all the Netflix Marvel properties came together into a crossover season to save New York from the shadowy international cabal, The Hand. In the newest season, Jones deals with the aftermath of the events of The Defenders and continues to investigate her own past as those whose lives she touches continue around her. Netflix invited Marc Hom to help them create the advertising properties for the show and they’re pitch perfect for the character we’ve come to know and love – despite all Jones’ best efforts to be off-putting.
Jones is a little bit of an alcoholic, a little bit emo, and unnaturally strong, bringing all the angst and edge that come with those unique aspects. Marc captured Ritter as Jones with that potent mix in her bare office that’s meant to be a little bit uninspiring. We’re brought to her level, both on the floor or while sitting on her desk, in her busted jeans, old leather jacket and coat, and fingerless gloves to protect her knuckles from the damage of throwing punches. In an additional wide ad Marc shows her in a dingy bathroom cleaning up after beating up an antagonist, while her adoptive sister, Trish Walker, waits in the stalls for it all to be over.
Jones is an introvert who just wants to do her job and have everyone else mind their own business – a challenging blend of characterizations that Marc Hom brings to each ad for this wildly popular show.
Shabdiece Esfahani and the Vince Camuto Lifestyle
The word “Lifestyle” is thrown around too often for brand advertising, diluting what it means when we talk about campaigns like Vince Camuto’s latest which is pure lifestyle. With styling by Shabdiece Esfahani, the Spring Summer 2018 campaign is expansive beyond what we have normally come to expect from fashion brands. An almost unbelievable amount of locations, set ups, and looks proves that the brand’s latest season offers styling that can go wherever you want to go, and Shabdiece’s work makes it as accessible as ever.
Photographed by Jason Geering on Longboat Key in Florida with Georgia Fowler in front of the lens, Shabdiece was able to assemble a dizzying array of looks perfect for every situation, elevating each in turn. Using the textures, patterns, and colors in Vince Camuto’s collection, Shabdiece plays of every environment to create contrast and confluence. A windswept fence at the farm, a quiet resort breezeway, an ocean swept promenade wall. Each are lent extra grace in how Shabdiece wields these looks, offering a new way of understanding what it means to explore a new “lifestyle.”
Platon Proves that Speech Moves
Power is derived from communication. A well-constructed sentiment or phrase can be all that’s needed to win or lose an election, inspire or deflate a movement, encourage a child or depress a life. There’s power to speech. It moves people, and when brandished by the hands of a skilled orator can move the audience wherever speaker wants them to go. That’s powerful and should be wielded with respect, with responsibility. Few are as understanding of this than Platon, a photographer and a communicator who is not only on the roster at B&A but also with the Washington Speakers Bureau, and leader in the movement #SpeechMoves. To celebrate the launch of this movement, Platon, Great Bowery Films, and WSB worked together to create a video featuring James Comey, Madeline Albright, Caitlyn Jenner, and like Sugar Ray Leonard and Tony Blair.
“I believe in the power of humanity. I believe in the power of speech,” Platon says, kicking off the video that explores the forms that power can come in. Empowerment, inspiration, validation. But more than a launch, it is an invitation. Social Media has granted a platform to everyone with an internet connection, but part of the anonymity of social media is that words lose their integrity when tossed into the world without a face behind them. #SpeechMoves invites participants to share what moves them, with their face and name. It’s the beginning of a meaningful conversation about the power of speech, and each submission is rich with humanity.