Tom Corbett Tells Kipling's Story
Brand identity is crucial. It’s not enough to create awesome product, brands must communicate to their customers what it looks like to bring the brand into their lives. Fantastic goods are enriching, but the brand has to prove it. When Kipling was faced with the challenge of showing their new line of accessories to the masses, choosing Tom Corbett to help them do it was an easy decision. This season they created a huge line of bags and other products, so Tom had his work cut out for him. But he wouldn’t have it any other way. “It was shot over two days and we worked hard,” says Tom with a laugh. “I don’t remember sitting down, to be honest with you. But, it was a lot of fun. I enjoy the challenge of it.”
Combining accessory product photography with models can be a little tricky. Getting a really great photo of a model that also shows off the product beautifully is an extra challenge, but Tom explains that it’s worth it. If they really want to communicate to the customer what the brand stands for, they have to show what it’s like to interact with the bags. Tom shows what the bags add to the lives of those who use them. “We’re trying to tell the story of the brand, aren’t we?,” says Tom. “They wanted it to be fun. They wanted it to have that energy that I get in studio. Fun and flirty and playful. That adds life to the product. It’s a way of telling the story of the brand with the model.” The interaction is crucial to communicating what Kipling is all about, and although it adds a whole new challenge, the results are worth it.
Bringing those energies together on set is exactly what Tom is best at, especially when combined with appropriately colored sets by Jesse Nemeth and soft goods styled by Alex Silva, with Titilayo Bankole's manicures setting it all off. That balance is exactly why Kipling turned to Tom for this project. “They came to me because of what I can get out of the model,” explains Tom. “They wanted that attitude, the joie de vive, the carefree attitude, spur of the moment kind of thing. That’s really important to me in the studio, to elicit some emotion, energy from the model.” Not every photographer can take a collection of bags, one model, and tell an entire story with some color blocking. But Tom’s ability to bring out an entire brand’s identity with those few components made him the perfect choice to help Kipling tell their story.
Jesse Nemeth's Beautiful Chaos for Amazon
To celebrate ‘Mozart in the Jungle’s’ recent win of Two Golden Globes, Amazon teamed up with prop and set designer Jesse Nemeth on a shoot that brought together the major themes of the show into a visual metaphor that would tell the story in a single composition. In the show, a new composer with big ideas comes into an established symphony and changes the way the musicians work together. Sometimes a new guy has to come in and complicate the ideas of the establishment (kind of how Amazon is disrupting traditional television models). The story teaches us the beauty of a fine mess, and how being agile can shift our world view, making everything more beautiful for what we learn on the other side of discomfort. Jesse dug into these themes for his little bit of chaos.
The design features the show’s star, Gael Garcia Bernal, in repose against a collection of wooden chairs that are traditionally used for orchestral musicians to use during performances. They’re arranged as a pile on top of sheet music that has been spread all over the floor, as if thrown there in the combustion of a frenzied genius. Above it all is an antique loveseat relaxing itself onto the pile and showing its age. These objects are normally tidily arranged in an idea of respect for tradition, but with Jesse’s arrangement we see a new beauty in them, where angles and a disruption of expectation give us more than we anticipated. Jesse proves that if we allow ourselves to see things from another angle we might find more in them than what we were looking for.
Jesse Nemeth Teases Fox's Fall Lineup
How do you distill an entire story into one image? Wrap the potential and excitement of the future and compose it into one shot? Every fall, artists come together to consolidate the ideas of TV’s next season into advertisements to get fans excited and tease the stories without giving too much away. For the wildly popular shows The Last Man on Earth and Gotham on Fox, the potential of the coming seasons has to be distilled into single images and Jesse Nemeth lent his styling to help these creative teams pack as much punch into the posters as possible. Character and relationships are balanced in composition with a carefully chosen collection of objects to best tell their stories.
The Last Man on Earth follows Phil Miller as he tries to find his way in a barren world after a mysterious apocalypse brings the human population down to almost zero. Phil casts a collection of sports balls as his friends and the second season finds him setting off to explore the empty United States with his friend and ex-wife Carol. But in the poster we see him still holding onto his friends – the audience of inflatable faces that he monologues to in private moments. Jesse Nemeth’s careful placement teases a coming season rife with the tension between the face Phil shows Carol and the petty humanness that is his private foil.
On the other side of the spectrum, the huge set piece that is Gotham explores an imagined history that leads up to Batman’s reign over Gotham City. The cast of characters is wide and deep, weaving a tapestry rich enough to live up to the Dark Knight’s legacy. The stark expanses of The Last Man on Earth are nearly the opposite of the rich characterizations of Gotham’s world. We have Oswald Cobblepot who will become the Penguin with his signature umbrella dominating their composition. Edward Nigma, the future Riddler, adjusts his glasses referencing the cerebral nature of this criminal mastermind. Tabitha Galavan is introduced as Tigress, with a bullwhip lifted into action. The judiciously chosen items are brought together by Jesse’s touch to tell each and every story in a concise way, priming us for a rollercoaster in this season’s “Rise of the Villains,” and richly balancing a compelling image.
A second promo for Gotham features a first look at Theo Galivan, a mysterious new villian who promises to help bolster the rise of these villains. Jesse's set speaks to the noir aesthetic of the show while remaining unobtrusive to focus the viewer on what this new threat could be.
Watch for both shows to return to Fox this Fall.
Jesse Nemeth Gives Us Our American Dream
Nicki Minaj is a busy woman. Between accepting awards, recording music, and touring she just doesn’t have time to do what most of us spend our days doing. Not only is she too busy with all that, she’s too busy to even worry about it. Instead, when she’s not filming movies, designing fragrances, or drinking Moscato, she spends her time encouraging the youth of America to stay in school, smarten up, and make the best choices to enrich our communities. And she does it all with a devilish smile and a whip sharp tongue. What could be more American than that?
With the Fourth of July approaching, Nicki’s values are the perfect representation of American values, and exactly what Cosmopolitan wanted for their July cover. Placing her in front of an American flag, chosen and hung by Jesse Nemeth, Cosmo declares her our Commander in Love. She salutes from the flag, dressed in her own wearable version of it, bringing patriotism into 2015. She’s the American Woman with curves reminiscent of World War II pinups and all the sass of today.
Her declarations are bold (“I love women who don’t conform,” she says from inside an ethereal bathtub), and her postures poised. She’s independent and strong. And she is our own American Dream.
Hollywood and Washington Converge with Jonas Fredwall Karlsson
Every year in the spring, Washington and Hollywood converge on the White House Correspondents Dinner. This is when the most powerful people in the country break bread with the most popular, and it's an exciting time for all. It is hosted by a comedian who treats the event like a roast, this year SNL’s Cecily Strong, who checks Washington's power to their faces, and the President joins ranks cracking jokes at everyone's expense. The White House Correspondents Dinner has earned a colloquial nickname, "The Nerd Prom," because it's one of the only times Washington, and the reporters who cover D.C., dress up in such a public way for no other reason than to have fun (and give out a few, lesser reported scholarships). But what's a prom without prom pictures? This year Vanity Fair set up a tent to photograph the attendees of the Nerd Prom and conscripted Jonas Fredwall Karlsson to shoot it.
This particular gig is tricky in how quickly one has to move. Jonas has shot projects like this before, most frequently at the MTV Video Music Awards, but Vanity Fair offered him something a little more formal. They were shooting while the party was raging in the next room and Jonas had people, like Vanity Fair Photo Producer Ron Beinner, help pull out the attendees to get their photos taken. “We had great help getting people from the party and come into the studio,” says Jonas. “So we had a little more time. Two minutes instead of five seconds,” he says with a laugh. The crucial element was time since Jonas had to photograph dozens of attendees in an incredible amount of time. “I had to come up with a way of shooting between 30 and 60 people within 3 hours and we had a very limited amount of space.”
In order to maximize their use of space, Jonas and Vanity Fair shot in a tent outside the event, and employed a set created by Jesse Nemeth. ”I wanted something dynamic and agile that could be fundamentally changed in the very short periods of time between portraits in order to photograph as many people as possible." Using a series of tonal set pieces and a few bold features, each image offers a unique take on very limited space because of the changeable set.
The party doesn’t get into full swing until after all the speeches and the dinner, so it was late into the night before Jonas was even able to start working. “It was really, really intense,” says Jonas. “We started to shoot around midnight, and the last images were done around 3:30a.m. Then we continued working until they turned off the electricity.” Despite all the craziness, speed, and energy, at the end of the day Jonas stayed true to the heart of project: capturing beautiful portraits of famous faces. “The most important thing in portraiture is to connect with the person,” says Jonas. “You go on instinct.”
Jesse Nemeth Gilds Pharrell's Golden Chaos
There’s no fresher face than that of Pharrell. The musician hasn’t aged a day in the last 15 years, and it’s not on account of taking some down time. In GQ’s most recent profile of the prolific musician / designer / creative dude, they spent 13 hours tailing him and detailing every minute. The result is a hectic schedule with the stillness of Pharrell at the heart of it all, acting as the calm eye of his own storm.
To show off the craziness of Pharrell’s life, they set up a shoot with the figure and photographer Pari Dukovic, with Jesse Nemeth on hand sourcing prop detailing. We see Pharrell in different states of undress, blinged out mid shave, and surrounded by the detritus of his life’s work. As everything moves around him in a residual chaos, Pharrell finds the time to grab a cup of tea. Even keeping his boyish face as smooth as ever is an enjoyable exercise.
Jesse’s props and Pharrell's energy work off one another in an echo chamber of stylistic divinity. As GQ explains, “[Pharrell’s] accessories are exhausting to catalog.” Part of the allure of the creative machine is the whirlwind of design he gilds himself with at every possible moment. Jesse’s props act as a sort of environmental accessory, basking in the cool vibrating off Pharrell, and reflecting it right back.
Jesse Nemeth Goes Bespoke with Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner is no stranger to B&A. Her prolific image pops up in tabloids and gossip blogs as much as in fashion magazines. Her face and identity have been captured more times than some superstars twice her age and there's no evidence that it will be slowing down any time soon. So how does one ensure their photograph of the young influencer will be unique?
Jesse Nemeth joined the group of artists to compose a cover of Cosmo featuring Kylie, and Jesse was able to construct a bespoke environment that would be used only for this image. The ephemeral nature of the set guaranteed that these photographs of Kylie can never be reproduced, thanks largely to Jesse's set. “I created a “studio back lot” feel on the roof of Siren Studios,” Jesse says. “Photo Director Alix Cambell and I have worked together for years, and I always appreciate the creative freedom and trust she lends to each project.” Freedom is always important in a creative atmosphere, but when working with a star like Kylie it’s critical to guarantee a unique look. Luckily for Kylie and Cosmo, Jesse was able to deliver.
Jesse Nemeth's 'Normal Heart' Set for EW
Jesse Nemeth designed the sets for Entertainment Weekly's recent photo shoot featuring the cast of HBO's "The Normal Heart."
Because the film is an adaptation of a 1980s play, the concept "was a 'behind-the-scenes' look that utilized backstage elements, like lights, grip stands, and ladders," he explained. His first step was sketching the footprints of the sets. "I then sourced all of the lighting and grip equipment needed – practical and prop. The backdrops were either rented or custom-painted."
To create the sort of backstage-theater atmosphere, "I had a stage floor fabricated and also pulled some brick-wall flats from my own stock." He booked a crew and coordinated the installation at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena. "I actually enjoy the production side of my projects as much as the creative," Nemeth noted.
He's worked with the magazine on many occasions, and "Cliff Watts is the latest photographer I have had the pleasure to partner with through EW," Nemeth mentioned. "He always has a clear vision of what he wants, yet he leaves the execution open to interpretation, and that fosters an attitude of collaboration among all of the stylists. It allows us to put out the best imagery possible."
Jesse Nemeth and Urban Outfitters 'Get Fresh'
Urban Outfitters had Jesse Nemeth set the scene for its "Get Fresh" look book, which features the retailer's spring offerings. "The mood boards reflected a very young and playful bohemian vibe, focusing on swimming and water elements, colorful flowers, teals, blue, and greens," Nemeth said. "I dissected the boards into different categories – purchases, rentals, and fabrication – and then took different ideas and tried to make them my own."
One idea, inspired by images of tree swings, was to suspend a bed from tree branches. "I weighed the option of bringing in and hanging a wrought-iron bed versus something I would fabricate," Nemeth explained. "Not knowing specifically where we would hang it, I went ahead and constructed a small platform bed from repurposed wood (sourced from a local reclaimed-lumber yard). It had a beautiful texture, and the design was simple, yet functional." He lashed the bed to an old olive tree using one-inch, marine-quality manila rope and fringed the ends to create tassels.
He also secured a truckload of greenery for the three-day project. "A perk of shooting in Southern California is the weather is almost always perfect; however, everything is dry and brown from lack of rain," Nemeth noted. "We had tons of potted plants, ferns, succulents, tree blossoms, oversized branches, and green grass (both fake and real). We needed everything to look lush and vibrant … one day, I'm in the comforts of my office drafting a set for a production and the next day, I'm digging holes in the dirt, planting ferns under the hot sun."
The set designer counts Urban Outfitters among his favorite clients to work with. "There's a sense of creative license that lets me bring whatever I want to the table as long as it's within the construct of the story – very rarely have they said no to an idea," Nemeth remarked. "The transformation to the UO world feels real because the atmosphere we create is real, and [photographer] Devyn Galindo captured it perfectly here."
Jesse Nemeth Teams Up With Time Warner Cable
Time Warner Cable Studios, an interactive experience that filled Manhattan's Highline Stages ahead of the Super Bowl, showcased set design and prop styling by Jesse Nemeth.
"I was initially contracted for the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) lounge – I suggested wall treatments and furniture," explained Nemeth. "The client and creative team were extremely pleased with my direction and gave me the go-ahead ... but with two weeks left, I received a bunch of fabrication requests," including 51 custom football helmets, three for each of the seventeen networks highlighted for the event. One was for display purposes, another presented to TimeWarner execs, and the last given away by raffle.
Nemeth received sketches and basic instruction for the headpieces that represented stations from Showtime to The History Channel. "I revised the designs as needed and discussed in detail with my team the best way to execute each concept, maximizing production value while maintaining realistic expectations of what could be achieved in time for the deadline," he said. "For the 'Black Sails,' 'Vikings,' and 'TVGN' helmets, we added decorative elements and moved at a faster pace; when the foundation itself needed to be modified, it required much more attention. Some involved LEDs and 3D elements – those were the most complicated."
His favorite was a last-minute addition: a gift to Highline Stages for hosting the Time Warner Cable Studios event. "We delivered a pitted-concrete helmet with three-inch-raised, laser-cut logos in a weathered wash and some subtle, warm rust tones. The face mask was painted the color blue from the venue's logo," he noted. "The overall effect was gritty, yet understated."
Jesse Nemeth Sets the Stage for Sandra Bullock
Entertainment Weekly restaged Howell Conant's iconic portrait of Grace Kelly – this time, leading lady Sandra Bullock pulls apart the drapery – with the help of set designer Jesse Nemeth. "We were looking for something that communicated both old Hollywood glamour and also had a celebratory, almost backstage feel to it," explained Aeriel Brown, EW's senior associate photo editor. "I happened upon the photo of Kelly and .. . we loved the white curtains and thought they were a classy way to create that behind-the-scenes, entertainer feel."
Nemeth provided an ornate chaise and other furnishings for the shoot that resulted in a minimalist and relaxed aesthetic. "It was a real challenge to find something that felt special – the Entertainer of the Year is an honor – but that could also make for a situation where Sandra could lounge," Brown said. She added that the team discussed at length how the various fabrics would appear on camera: "We needed something that had a slight sheen to it and we knew that there were a lot of reds and whites with the wardrobe, so we had a lot of conversations about colors."
Photographer: Cliff Watts
Stylist: Elizabeth Stewart at the Wall Group
Hair: David Babaii at Tracey Mattingly
Makeup: Sabrina Bedrani at Tracey Mattingly
Entertainment Weekly's 'Wicked' B&A Trio
Entertainment Weekly brought together three B&A talents for its Reunions Issue featuring "Wicked" costars Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. "You can see the chemistry between them in the black-and-white portrait," explained photographer Robert Maxwell. "And the other thing that struck me was the amount of people in the studio – it was the biggest crowd I've ever seen on set."
"It was all part of the thrill of Broadway," remarked John Moore, stylist. "Also, it's similar to the anticipation surrounding a high school or college reunion ... where attendees want to dress their best." EW's art director asked for a simple and classic aesthetic, so Moore paired rag & bone and ripped Seven denim with a Marc Jacobs cutout-sleeves-sweater and a Three Dots tank top. "It's uncomplicated, but still current and cool," he noted. "It was also about getting pieces to fit them – Kristin is so tiny. She and I had a fitting the night before, which was great because I could find out what worked and what she liked, and I've styled Idina in the past."
Prop stylist Jesse Nemeth rounded out the trio, pulling stumps, stools, and brooms to add an element of Wickedness to the images. "It was a great time," Moore said. "Robert is one of the finest portrait photographers ... amid those people worried about the details, he knows exactly how the photograph will turn out." Maxwell remarked that teaming up with his B&A brethren is always a pleasure.
Jesse Nemeth's Vintage Vespas for Lucky
Lucky mag tapped prop stylist Jesse Nemeth for its September editorial on moto jackets. Titled "Easy Rider," the photos feature Nashville star Sam Palladio and up-and-coming model Bree Smith – the latter sporting different takes on the trend.
"Prop stylists play a crucial role in photo shoots here at Lucky," said photo diector James Morris. "They help set the tone for the story we are trying to get across in a very organic way that our reader can relate to. Their eye is very important in setting the scene."
Nemeth brought in options for vintage scooters and helmets to be used on set. "It was pretty easy to find what I needed in L.A.," the bi-coastal artist explained. "L.A. is made for production, whereas in New York, you need to be resourceful and have connections. I made a few phone calls and located a place in Santa Monica that specializes in vintage mopeds, with everything available for rent and production, and the employees drove over the scooters in a pickup truck, dropped them off, and we had them at our disposal."
For each shot, Nemeth stood by as stylist Lawren Howell chose the outfits and photographer Pamela Hanson planned the frame. "I changed the molded panels with the wheel wells and the front guards on the Vespa to match the clothing, and we moved around items to make the scenes more compositionally interesting," he said. "Sometimes, it's extremely subtle – there's a shot of [Smith] sitting in front of the window and I put the nicest scooter inside so you can see a little bit of it in the background."
Smith and Palladio didn't actually fire up the mopeds; however, Nemeth did. "I have a motorcycle license, so [the rental company] felt comfortable with me driving it from location to location – we didn't need to get a handler," he noted. "It was my first time riding a vintage Vespa, and the body posture and shifting is completely different from when you're on a motorcycle ... it was awkwardly fun, but I don't think I'll be purchasing one anytime soon!"
Photographer: Pamela Hanson
Stylist: Lawren Howell
Jesse Nemeth Does Double-Duty for Time
Time enlisted a team of B&A artists to collaborate on images for this week's cover story, "The Childfree Life."
"Although we had all of the prop elements available, communicating the concept visually presented a challenge, despite its simplicity," recalled prop stylist Jesse Nemeth. "Using a borrowed beach cart, I carefully rigged all of our props and inflatables with wire, creating a colorful beach sculpture on wheels, within twenty minutes." But his work didn't stop there; Nemeth did double-duty, posing as the Sysiphean dad, "which was easy as a father of two-year-old twins."
Stacey Jones, the wardrobe stylist, noted that the photographer envisioned a Norman Rockwell sensibility with a modern twist. "Using this as a starting point, I tried to bring a vintage style and color palette to the wardrobe," she said. "The location, which was also a throwback to that era, was a perfect backdrop to capture the overall feeling."
Makeup artists Gregg Hubbard and Sophie Haig used the afternoon before the shoot for experimentation. "My only concerns were sun protection for the models and making sure their glowing skin did not come across as sweaty," Hubbard noted. On the morning of, "We arrived before the sun was up completely and we were finished by 11:30. Awesome day."
Photographer: Randal Ford
Prop Stylist: Jesse Nemeth
Wardrobe: Stacey Jones
Makeup: Gregg Hubbard, assisted by Sophie Haig