Go Modern with Tom Corbett and Harper's BAZAAR Greece
Common wisdom tells us that our civilization was cradled in Greece, the apparatus of how we interact as a human culture was created in those years and the impact has reverberated ever since. It’s literally the Classical Era, defining what it means to be a classic. In today’s world we have many modern classics, whether it’s a black dress or a clean pair of heels, but there is nothing more classic than a Chanel suit. “It’s very classic,” Tom reminds us. Chanel’s latest Cruise collection features a smattering of Grecian inspired looks that Tom Corbett dialed up to 100 for his story in Harper’s BAZAAR Greece.
Styled by Sandy Armeni, the whole shoot is a study in shape, angles, and attitude. By bringing the project into a studio, Tom was able to focus on bringing those shapes and angles to life with the energy necessary to highlight the volume and movement of the clothes. Model Taja Feistner worked with Tom to balance body language and grace to show off all the details. Whether it’s a ballooning pair of pants, an expertly woven skirt suit, or brilliantly appliqued crewneck, each piece needed a unique presentation and they found it together. Bradley Irion lent his mastery of hair to balance each look, while Brian Duprey makeup stayed in line with the classic inspirations. The details are underscored with accessories, completing each look, making each look as modern as it is classic, stitching together two eras in a single editorial.
Tom Corbett Gets Festive with Somerset Collection
It’s that time of year again. It’s time to get glitzed up, button up your best formal wear, and get ready to celebrate the season. It’s the holidays and we’re ready, are you? Somerset Collection is ready with their bevy of brands and retailers that have the best offerings in the world. They invited Tom Corbett back again for his seventh year, and this year it’s better than ever. “I’ve done several seasons with them. We work together very closely,” explains Tom. “We try to push it every year to a new height, to a new place. And obviously, it gets harder and harder as you go on. It was really about trying to make it even better than the last one.” They did three different stories in five different locations, but the blockbuster was the story they stuck on the cover, inspired by the Met Gala.
Imagining this night out as “Fashion’s Starring Moment,” Tom and his team found amazing locations all over New York City to act as the backdrop for a truly luxurious and elegant evening. “We shot in three locations on three different days: the Gramercy Park Hotel, the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn which was amazing,” says Tom. “And also the streets of New York around TriBeCa which was pretty cool as well.” It’s New York City, so each location had its limitations but Tom figured out how to work within each of those confines to create a series of imagery that feels effortless.
Three different locations and a host of different brands means that there’s a ton of diversity throughout the breadth of the whole story. Tom had to include everything. So to make it all work he looked back to another era of fashion photography. “We took inspiration from the old stories from the 90s where they took pictures that you normally would think weren’t necessary together, but in terms of lighting, in terms of situation, they work together because they were the same kind of mood,” says Tom. “So I took that idea and brought it forward.” By keeping a keen on tone and mood, Tom was able to thread a connecting line through all the images and tell a complete story.
Tom Corbett Gets Moving with Harper's BAZAAR Greece
Fashion is all about reinvention, and few looks are more ripe for innovation than the toga, a stereotypical Ancient Greek garment that has inspired fashion for millennia. This season Chanel has tapped into that Greek heritage for their line that is rife with references to the ancient past but with a fresh flavor. Harper’s BAZAAR Greece asked Tom Corbett to shoot an editorial that brings extra life to the clothes, and the story just dropped. “We wanted to take these clothes and give them some energy,” explains Tom. “I like to have a lot of movement in my work, so it was a movement story, using our fabulous hairdresser to help with the movement of the hair.”
The key to making a shoot like this work, blending the old with the new, is to keep a very contemporary eye on the imagery and make sure that the references don’t overpower the contemporary artistry. So that’s exactly what Tom did. “The fact that we were shooting in a really modern way allowed us to get away with some of this. I think that helped,” says Tom. “We shot with a very Greek emphasis on it. Being a Greek magazine I wanted to do a modern take on it and I think that’s why it worked.” The influences are alive, but the focus is making sure the clothes, and the model, look amazing.
Tom Corbett Gets Heroic with Marvel's Elodie Yung
There’s good reason that so many Marvel superheroes work in New York – it’s a city with history that captures the imaginations of fans the world over. Plus there’s been plenty of crime. At least six of Marvel’s best-known superheroes operate out of the Big Apple, and they’ve brought the quartet of Defenders to television with the synonymous Netflix series. But Elektra is not a superhero. The mercenary assassin and exlover of Matt Murdock (Daredevil) played on TV by the undeniable Elodie Yung is enticing, terrifying, and extraordinarily powerful. She’s also stunningly beautiful. When Alexa Magazine, the fashion imprint of The New York Post, featured Yung on the cover of their latest issue they invited Tom Corbett to photograph the story. “We wanted to do these heroic pictures on the streets of New York and she was really warm to it and it was a great day,” says Tom.
Yung, Tom, and his team headed down to The Lower East Side of New York City in order to capture that unique area of the city to give their imagery the perfect atmosphere. “We wanted a grittier side of New York, an older side of New York and that was really an area which we really loved,” says Tom. “The Lower East Side hasn’t changed too much, and we wanted to shoot there and give it some of the local flavor down there.” While other areas of New York are constantly welcoming glassy new buildings, The Lower East Side has maintained an incredible number of original storefronts making some areas feel like they’re in a different time. Tom took advantage of that to create imagery that’s outside of time, untethered to trends and development and focused on style.
As a fashion photographer, Tom mostly works with models but Yung is an accomplished actor, which is a totally different job. On the whole, Tom approaches actors and models in the same way, with one tiny little difference. “She was very in tune, she took direction very well, she understood exactly what we wanted,” Tom says. “You have to direct actors slightly differently so I tend to give my actors that I work with a little bit more of a background, a little bit more of a storyline, to try to make it fit into their world a little bit more. Models don’t necessarily always need that, but I do like working that way.” By giving her a little bit more of a story, Tom is able to work on her level and together they create images that are as beautiful as they are captivating. Plus the fashion looks awesome.
Tom Corbett and a Tradition of Elegance with The Knot
Whether jubilant or solemn, every wedding has at least a measure of pageantry in it. The ceremonies are steeped in tradition – maybe the words echo through generations, or actions are dictated by a culture, or the fashion is designed by the trends of a community. Each element comes together to create a ritual that’s deeply personal to those getting married and their witnesses entering the public covenant with them. Because those moments and expressions are so specific and personal, when Tom Corbett shoots wedding dresses, like in this month’s issue of the Knot, he makes them less about the wedding and more about the clothes. “When I shoot bridal I never think of it as bridal,” says Tom. “If you think about it like that you’re going to get bridal pictures, and nobody wants to see that. So when I shoot bridal I think of it as a fashion shoot and they just happen to be white dresses.”
For this latest story with The Knot, Tom and the magazine went to Saratoga Race Course, a horse-racing track with its own storied history. Not exactly the first location you’d think of when considering a spot for a bridal shoot. But for Tom it was about the shared traditions and pageantry. Maybe a racetrack isn’t used to hosting a gaggle of brides in big white dresses, but the racetrack has always been a crucible of elegant fashion. “Back in the day people would really dress up to go to these places,” says Tom. “The buildings and the grounds have an old movie quality to them. It still exists, that feeling, and we tapped into that.” Tom and his team let the images draw on that environmental essence with a blend of energy and stillness, framing the images as an extension of that emotional heritage.
Part of what makes the images so successful is how the light hits the models and the dresses. The diffused and filtered light allows for all the details on the dresses to be clear – because, after all, it’s about the dresses. This was possible because the day of the shoot was cloudy, and that’s exactly what Tom hoped for. “It did rain very heavily for some of the shoot, but what I said was the biggest thing that could go wrong for us is we get a really sunny day,” explains Tom. “The fact that it was overcast, we suddenly got this big, beautiful light. We could shoot all day long.” So they did. They only had to alter the light for one shoot, but the rest of the day Tom and his team were able to use what was available to the greatest effect and create a beautiful story.
Discovering Grey Gardens Again with Tom Corbett and Alexa
When the world was introduced to the two Edies in 1975’s documentary ‘Grey Gardens,’ we fell in love. The two women used style as a weapon against their struggle, facing mounting social and lifestyle pressures with grace. They inspired a generation of style that continues to live on today. Their home, Grey Gardens, was a mess when the documentary was filmed, but it has since been brought back into repair – and Alexa Magazine picked it as the perfect location for their latest cover story. They invited Tom Corbett to photograph a high fashion interpretation of the original documentary at the original location, and it looks spot on. “It worked out for us that day because it was a very misty overcast day and that vibe really, added to the tone. It was ethereal and a kind of spooky Grey Gardens moment – what you have in your head from watching the documentary. We got lucky with that,” says Tom. “It was an amazing location, it really was kind of cool exploring that and going into different rooms.”
Tom got lucky with the natural light of the day, but he wanted to make sure that the tone was maintained throughout the shoot. As they set up every shot he ensured the feeling of the light stayed consistent, sometimes using a little bit of flash to fill in when needed. And then the magazine wanted to make sure the clothes looked amazing so Tom balanced everything to keep it looking great. “The client was pretty aware of trying to keep the colors consistent with the clothes so it was really about balancing that out and also getting an interesting picture,” explains Tom. “It was finding that middle ground.” Once all the specific needs were taken care of Tom got to play a little.
Throughout the shoot, Tom sprinkled little details and surprises. One of the biggest secrets is in an image of the model wearing a gorgeous fur coat in the driveway. “If you look closely there’s the ghost of Edie in the window. We put the stylist assistant in the window of the house and if you look closely you can see her head staring out,” says Tom. There’s another image with the model in a stairway with a shadow on the wall behind her that Tom placed there on purpose. It adds a sense of foreboding and presence without bringing in another figure. “I like doing things like that. In fashion it’s nice to have a bit of fun with it and put little things in it that you may or may not see,” Tom says. One of the key lessons we learned from the original 1975 documentary is that it’s all in the details, and Tom made sure that there was beauty in every detail.
Tom Corbett's Organized Chaos for The Gloss
Fashion is about more than what blouse or pant you’re wearing, more than textures and colors. There’s so much more to consider: what bag, what jewelry, what hair will bring a look together and totally punch it up? The latest issue of The Irish Times’ The Gloss is all about the extras, and features a cover shoot by Tom Corbett who answers that flurry of questions with every frame.
How does he do it?
“Organized chaos is really what you’re after,” Tom explains. “Yes, you want to make sure the bag doesn’t turn the wrong way, but I love to shoot quickly, I like to embrace chaos and have people that can work around me and bring that energy together.” As Tom shoots, the energy compounds frame after frame, and he doesn’t let it drop. He doesn’t worry about the tiny details that can be worked out later because for him it’s about keeping the shoot alive, letting it flow, and allowing the natural rhythm to reveal the best moments. “We can just really work to that energy and not worry about certain things too much because then they tend to kill the moment. Then afterwards we go back to see if we got it.”
For a lot of photographers, choosing to shoot in the studio on a white background with white lights could present a massive challenge (especially considering Tom’s goals with this shoot). But Tom has mastered the spare set, working not only with the fashion and accessories and model to create images that are full of life, but also using his tools as a photographer to make it work. “It really was about cramming things into the frame,” says Tom. “That’s why she’s bending down, for a little bit more of a fashion moment, making a shape within the frame so you can see the clothing. Keeping the crop really tight also helps with the energy, to have it explode out of the tightness of the frame.” By going in really close or finding an angle that we’re not use to seeing, Tom’s images tell us that there’s more than what we’re seeing. The energy starts in the frame but extends beyond it, onto the next page, into the next images, and past that through our imagination.
“I just love the energy of it,” says Tom. “I always love working like this, it gives you a frame that is sometimes unexpected. It’s second nature to me now, finding interesting angles to try to make these a little different and a little bit more fun, a little bit more caught.” Every image seems like we’re catching the girl at a moment she didn’t expect, a glimpse of elegant effortlessness, made possible through the work of Tom and his team.
Tom Corbett Flies High with Weatherproof
Weatherproof Garment Co. doesn’t mess around. They blend style and function, offering fashion that looks as good as it feels. To hit this aesthetic they reach back through history for looks that are outside of time, blending the contemporary with vintage influences. This season they wanted to do something big for their latest campaign and knew that Tom Corbett would be the perfect partner to bring the influences into frame with their unique style. So Tom packed up his small team and headed to the American Airpower Museum on Long Island. “I was a like a kid in a candy shop,” he says. “This place is dripping in history. It was really quite amazing to look at these 50, 60-year-old machines that people flew in and just try to feel how they felt. It was cool.” The clothes are inspired by the era when these planes flew, so it was a natural fit.
The museum is chock full of air history, which made for a lot of set options but also meant Tom and his crew had to make some adjustments. “We had to move them around into new areas to make it look less like a museum and more like an actual airfield. It was pretty intensive,” says Tom. “Everyone was helping out. It was nice, it was a small production. We were all helping out and pushing in the same direction.” There’s something exciting about deciding where airplanes go, even if it’s all on the ground and none of the planes are going to make it into the sky. But the whole team was on board to create something special - which makes it a much more fulfilling experience.
Once everything was set up and ready to go, it was a flurry of a day. Tom shot this veritable library of images in a single day, showing off a number of looks and a dizzying amount of set ups. One way he made it possible was by using all natural light, so he could move with every frame, maximizing time and space, creating a bevy of images in a short amount of time. Plus it doesn’t hurt that Tom loves a good airport – even if it’s a small one. “I love shooting airports, they’re amazing. All that open space,” Tom explains. “It was a lot of fun.”
Tom Corbett Is Ravishing with Rose
It’s Valentine’s Day, making it the perfect time to celebrate pink. We always match this holiday with pink, but this year it goes beyond sending chocolates and hearts cut out of construction paper. The February cover story for The Gloss, The Irish Time’s fashion imprint, puts pink front and center as the color to watch for this spring. It’s a vibrant, courageous color with a lot of inherent energy, a complex balance that Tom Corbett is perfectly suited to help The Gloss present.
The cover features an explosion in rose, with multiple layers and shades of pink skating across the clothing and the rest of the editorial. Throughout Tom’s story there’s no obvious method of matching shades or shapes but that adds to the effect, but The Gloss' Fashion Director Luis Rodriguez proves that pink is welcome in all forms and they all work together. Some pinks are loud and vibrant like a nearly neon suede bag, while others are softer, gentler, like a satin blouse. Pink has long been associated with femininity and what Tom’s editorial reminds us is that femininity can mean whatever we want it to mean. Femininity is soft when it wants to be, and strong when it needs to be.
Pink taking over the trend for spring is as much sartorial as it is social, like all trends. But Tom’s energetic images show sexiness, sophistication, power and tenderness, a blend of characteristics that has become incredibly pertinent to the current cultural climate. Women’s Movements have gained impact in recent months thanks to political moments and social forces. While millions of women march hand in hand, all at once, all over the world, anyone who would underestimates the power of pink does so at their own peril. One thing is for sure: Tom Corbett has never underestimated the women on the other side of his lens, and it shows this month on the cover of The Gloss.
Tom Corbett Gets Rockin' With Somerset
Most of the work that Tom Corbett has been creating with Somerset Collection has been an amazing journey across the globe, exploring different cities and aesthetics. But for a recent issue that examines the energy of the Rock ‘n’ Roll movement, Tom and the publication decided to take it into the studio and examine the energy in a white space. Rock ‘n’ Roll isn’t clean, it isn’t tidy or orderly, but Tom and Somerset wanted to see what they could find given such an unconventional set up. “We didn’t want it to look contrived or too lit and we wanted to do something really free and really Rock ‘n’ Roll. So we lit it as if we were outside,” Tom explains. “The whole premise was just to shoot, just to be absolutely free with it, not to think too much about it, and just go where it takes us.” Even though a clean white aesthetic might run counter to the way we think about Rock ‘n’ Roll, the way that Tom and Somerset set it up it actually did more to show that spirit than they could have achieved in a different way.
It’s all about energy. By creating a space that is “no where,” the models were free to spin their energy wherever they wanted, expressing themselves fully in front of the lens. “The whole idea so they could really run across the whole space and be totally free and not have to worry about where their marks are,” explains Tom. “It was a big lighting set-up, it was something I hadn’t done before and something I really enjoyed it.” By liberating the models from tight poses and tiny places to work, they were able to channel Rock ‘n’ Roll, dancing from one edge of the frame to the other, showing the movement of their clothes and injecting personality in every gesture. And sometimes that movement reached beyond the frame.
Many of the photos in the story feature models that are cropped by the edge of the image, as if they’re entering or leaving the photographs on their way from one place to another. Tom didn’t exactly plan it that way, but is thrilled with that result. “I wanted it to feel totally caught, but I didn’t want it to feel contrived or thought out too much. It’s this totally free moment, they have the whole frame to play through and they were moving constantly and if I caught a half of them or a third of them or it was the whole thing then it was all good,” says Tom. “Part of the strength of the images come from the framing. They’re exploding out of the frame, the tight crops, the extreme angles. It bends those traditional rules. We’re trying to push the envelope a little bit.”
Tom Corbett Rocks Detroit with The Somerset Collection
At the very beginning of this year, Tom Corbett traveled to Detroit, Michigan with The Somersett Collection, bringing along their high-end flavor to the city that is seeing a new Renaissance. It turns out that they ended up witnessing a part of that revival as much as contributing to it. Now they're back: closing out the year with another visit to Motor City, proving that the current creative class is high class.
The most recent story, named Detroit Vinyl, examines the musical history of Detroit while displaying the current collection at Somerset. Tom plays in recording studios, piano bars, record shops, and the cobbled streets showing grace and flair – with a little bit of spunk. After all, this is the city that built Rock ‘N’ Roll…
Somerset’s motto is “You Belong Here,” an invitation to go along on their magnanimous trips, seeing the world from conventional angles – like those in Paris – to the unexpected, like Detroit. Tom’s most recent work, the projects infused with the energy on display in Detroit Vinyl, prioritizes agility above complication to deliver us imagery that is immediate, affecting, and the perfect window into what being in these places is really like – or can be like in our most creative dreams. All while showing off the Gucci and Tiffany & Co. for the beautiful pieces they are.
So take a step back in time with Tom, to another age of music history that’s still as alive today as ever before.
Tom Corbett Goes Timeless for The Gloss
Fresh off his recent book with The Gloss, Tom Corbett is back with another collaboration with the magazine this time looking at women’s workwear. When thinking about a workwear story Tom might not be the first photographer that comes to mind because of the energy that he brings to all his work. But rather than making Tom quiet down for a typically more tight laced story, he brought his signature to challenge expectations. “Workwear stories are by definition conservative, but with this, we wanted to give it just something a little bit different so it didn’t fall into a super conservative place,” says Tom.
Since it’s a Tom Corbett story there’s movement, energy, and attitude in it. He chose a model who has an edge to her and made sure to punch up the boldness. You can see that in every image. It’s more than just a waifish blond lounging on file cabinets - this is a powerful woman who looks fantastic and owns her space. “It just goes back to what kind of picture you want,” Tom explains. “I like the women I photograph, the models I photograph, to look strong. I like them to look like they know what they’re doing. I really don’t like shooting the whimsical, or the airy-fairy. I like it when my women look fierce.”
All of the fashion has an interesting edge to it, too. There are references to current trends and decades gone by. There’s a timelessness to the clothes, and Tom wanted to maintain that by ensuring the photos didn’t date them or even put them in a specific place. “There was a little bit of a retro twist to it, but we didn’t want to get too caught up in that. We also wanted to keep it quite modern but it definitely had that nod to the 60s,” says Tom. “We didn’t want to make it look too New York. We wanted it to look like it could be just any European city in a way.” They avoided the landmarks of SoHo, where they shot the editorial so that everyone could relate to every image. Through these strategies Tom was able to take a kind of story that’s usually a little sleepy and pump it up to something beautiful, full of movement, and even offers a splash of inspiration.
Tom Corbett Makes the Somerset Collection Timeless
It’s not every day your company turns 20, and this year on their 20th anniversary, the Somerset Collection wanted to mark the event with a beautiful coffee table book. Creating a book is a much different challenge from putting a magazine together. It requires more consistency, richer storytelling, and an eye for the future. Books have a shelf life much longer than magazines and therefore have to hold a kind of timelessness. To help Somerset achieve this they invited Tom Corbett to create all the photography inside the book. “It was a real privilege to be able to do it, though I have worked with them for a long time I still think that they don’t take that loyalty for granted,” says Tom. “Every time they come back for a project I’m super excited. And it really was a great privilege to work with them.”
Tom’s done a bunch of shoots with Somerset in the past, but for the book they wanted to do something a little different. Styles change, and fashion changes from season to season. So Tom wanted to create something that would last for years sitting on anyone’s coffee table. “It’s street fashion, very laid back. We used a lot of available light, tried to make it very found, less posed, and less about the clothes and more about amazing imagery,” explains Tom. “That’s what we tried to do.” The efforts came together into a series of images that transcend the disposability of trends and instead focused on a message of style and class that has real staying power.
To breathe extra life into the images, Tom worked with British-born, NYC-based model Alexina Graham. Graham brought with her all the style, grace, and pizzazz needed to help sell a vision like Tom’s. “We’re really lucky we got her. She was a revelation,” gushes Tom. “She understood what we were trying to do very quickly. She was able to understand the mood and give me more than I expected and just go with it and really work it. And it’s so good when people can do that. She took it to another level.” Together they were able to make a statement on the pages of this publication. A company and a brand known for bringing us the latest in high-level looks now offers a memento that tells a story not just about where we’ve been, but also where we’re going.
Tom Corbett Injects Life with The Gloss
Fashion is about shape as much as it’s about color and texture. The most milquetoast materials can make something exquisite when coaxed into the right form. The Irish Time’s monthly fashion magazine The Gloss wanted to bring attention to new shapes, and asked Tom Corbett to help them do it. They brought together a collection of oversized apparel, focusing on outerwear, but they needed a way to bring life to these big clothes. “We thought that would look great with movement and energy, and it would make it really modern and really strong,” says Tom.
To bring the pieces to life, Tom worked with his model and kept her moving. They used a clean grey background to keep the focus on the clothes, but that meant all the story telling had to happen between the model and the clothes she was wearing. “It was a high energy, high octane story using these big coats flapping around, using the movement of the coats to create something,” explains Tom. In that room they injected every moment with creation, not satisfied to let the clothes hang like on a hanger. They made it all come alive.
Each of the pieces that The Gloss highlighted in their shoot with Tom is oversized, but there’s more to them than just that. The textures, colors, and patterns are all amazing and Tom wanted to bring those out but not in a way that would be overpowering or distracting. He struck that balance with light. Using mostly camera-mounted flash to help everything pop, he let it all unfold naturally. “The detail just jumps out at you,” Tom says. They jump out at you just like the photographs, balanced and beautiful.
Tom Corbett Scores One for the NFL
If you think of men in recliners with cans of beer when you think of the NFL, it’s time to get contemporary. American Football transcends gender, economic lines, and political partisanship. Any given night during the season millions of Americans tune in to watch their favorite teams compete, and in their latest campaign to show off the diversity of their official merchandise the NFL asked Tom Corbett to show the fresh faces of the fans. Everyone loves football, so the NFL could pick basically anyone they wanted to show off these new threads. They tapped supermodels and actresses Adrienne Bailon, Olivia Culpo, Erin Heatherton, and Keke Palmerto be the faces of this campaign. Each donned the new merch for their favorite teams proving that this game is for everyone.
With September quickly approaching, voracious readers are thumbing through the pages of powerful fashion magazines like Vogue and Glamour, looking to the editorial powerhouses to see what’s new and next and in style. In those pages they’ll find Tom’s campaign with the NFL. These are models and actresses that will be donning looks from some of the powerful fashion names int he world, making a very strong pitch to fans. It’s the perfect translation of high fashion to accessible products, bridging the gap between aspiration and the lives that these fans live. This campaign underlines that fans everywhere, no matter who they are, should be proud of what they love even if they don’t look like the stereotypical fan. It’s an important message.
To put together a lifestyle campaign this significant requires an incredible team, and Tom’s team was able to shoot it in just two days. With stylist Luis Rodriguez, prop stylist Tara Marino, hair by Bradley Irion, and makeup by Brian Duprey, Tom assembled his dream collaborators around himself to make sure it went off without a hitch. Talk about a touchdown.
Tom Corbett Turns Up the Heat
Summer officially starts this month, but that doesn’t mean we have to wait for the weather. Sweltering temperatures have already shown their head and the only escape is away from the sun. But what if that heat is exactly what you want? In Tom Corbett’s latest feature for Siempre Mujer, he wanted to create a series of images that showed off a collection of sensual swimwear that shines in the heat of the summer sun. But the sun is almost 100 million miles away, which makes for a creative collaborator that isn’t very accommodating, so they had to make the sun themselves. “We wanted to shoot a really graphic swimwear story and basically bring the beach inside,” Tom explains. “We got our huge tungsten light called a ‘10k Big Eye’ and played with that and just used that as the sun and experimented with different shapes.” They effectively brought the sun onto their set.
By using this massive piece of equipment Tom was able to get the exact look he was going for without playing servant to the elements. But the light is only half the battle. To really sell it Tom worked closely with his model; she’s the one under the oppressive gaze of the sun, after all. Tom worked with her to explore what summer heat means beyond just a bright light. “It's like a hot summer’s day and the sun is beating down on you, a sort of assaulting heat,” says Tom. “It’s about energy and angles and getting the right mood and again environment, and it’s about communication and communicating with the model.” Working together they found a way to show us what it's like to be in the height of summer and still be sexy as hell.
In many ways, summer offers a whole new lifestyle. With the heat comes more carefully chosen apparel, usually showing a little more skin. It’s sexy and sensuous, even if the heat and light can be a little rigorous. It’s all about creating a balance of emotion, style, and aesthetic balance; Tom kept that balance while turning up the heat.
Tom Corbett Reflects on Fatherhood for Alexa
In the fashion industry it’s all about the hustle and bustle and everything moves at the speed of light. The global hearts of fashion are the world’s most fashionable cities like Paris, Rome, and New York. But Karl Lagerfeld’s main muse Brad Kroenig has rejected the lifestyle that’s forged in those cities. Instead he’s moved to suburban New Jersey to grab a piece of a quieter, more relaxed life. It’s an unconventional choice and something that The New York Post’s fashion vertical Alexa wanted to explore. The Post sent Tom Corbett to New Jersey to see what he could find, and what he discovered is a feeling of a time gone by.
For Tom, this shoot was all about visualizing the tradition of the 1950s Suburban Fatherhood ideal. In many ways, and from many angles, Kroenig is the perfect father so Tom wanted to punch that up. “It’s every suburban dream,” Tom says. “Perfect lawn. Perfect house. Perfect wife. We wanted to give it a little bit of the ‘Leave it to Beaver,’ ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ feel. And it think it came across quite nicely.” What better time to reflect on the idea of fatherhood than the week of Father’s Day?
To achieve this look Tom reached into his technical bag of tricks. “I used a Fresnel light, a movie star light, to really give it that ‘50s real vignette,” Tom explains. “And we played with curves just to give it that retro feel. I think it worked really nicely.” Technology has come so far in the last sixty years that catching the aesthetics were natural in the ‘50s requires incredible knowledge of the craft to make them seem true. Tom’s mastery of the form means he was able to achieve the look exactly right.
The last element was a creative relationship with a subject that lined up with Tom’s goals. He had to focus on making sure everything looked exactly right and luckily Kroenig was right there with him. Kroenig is an accomplished model and the perfect partner to create something amazing with. “He’s a big model so he’s really easy to work with and the kids were amazing, they’re really super easy to work with as well,” says Tom. Suburbia, meanwhile, wasn’t as cooperative. “The police showed up twice because they wanted to make sure we weren’t doing anything illegal,” Tom says with a laugh. Alas, perhaps the worlds of a fashionable city needs some distance from slow moving suburbia, and that’s precisely why Kroenig is out there. But the lights and the camera are always calling him back.
Tom Corbett Unveils Beauty for The Knot
When a couple is putting together their wedding, no detail can go untouched or unconsidered. Something borrowed, something blue, the adage starts, each item infused with its own history and superstitions. For some brides, one of the most important components to their day is the veil. Historically a symbol of chastity and purity, it is another extension of the style of the gown and something that must be carefully chosen. In the latest issue The Knot Tom Corbett got to photograph a feature on these crucial items. “Veils are really beautiful things and they always photograph well,” says Tom. “They have the movement, they have an energy, and a kind of mystique to them so they always look great on camera and we were lucky that we got a whole story full of them.”
The unique properties of veils allowed Tom to have fun with the shoot and play around with the medium. “All the things I love to do: shooting black and white, creating a beautiful light and a beautiful environment and nice to have some fun with movement,” says Tom. Tom’s passion comes through in the softness of this feature that imagines these women on their big day, while still creating the appropriate visuals for a fashion centered magazine. It’s a crucial balance to strike, an important line to walk, but no walk is as important as down the aisle.
Tom Corbett: Roman Holiday for St. Regis
In the last six months Tom Corbett has been whisked between London, Paris, and Detroit (The Paris of the West) photographing high fashion stories in the world’s hot beds of creativity. Models all their own, the cities are the perfect settings to explore beauty in action, and an environmental context for a gorgeous vision. Most recently, Beyond, the magazine by St Regis Hotels, asked Tom to join them in Rome to show off what they see as the perfect blend of classic elegance and a modern spirit. “It was just an amazing opportunity to shoot in Rome, to get out there,” says Tom. “A great opportunity to do another one of those high fashion luxury stories that I love doing so much.” The blend of classic and modern makes for an interesting aesthetic challenge that offered Tom a unique and exciting technical exercise.
To get high value images quite often it requires high value production, with huge teams and lighting rigs, and a mess of complications. But Tom has found that his clients are looking for a simpler look, a natural grace in the face of complication. It’s something that Tom is really excited about and employed in this Roman shoot. “They wanted to shoot all daylight, to have a real natural look to it, which we’re finding more and more,” Tom says about the vision created with Vanessa Arnaud, the Art Director. “I love shooting daylight. I love the freedom that it gives me. So we basically didn’t use any lights. We were a little creative sometimes using what was available, but we didn’t flash anything up.” With natural light, Tom can move around freely, and collaborate with the models in a 3D space, offering flexibility and improvisation, revealing images that are perhaps more than could have been anticipated.
The natural challenge ends up making for unique images that Tom loves. This kind of process wasn’t even possible just a couple years ago, but because of the advances in technology, Tom is able to capture his vision more readily. At night there is so little ambient light that older cameras wouldn’t be able to pick up any subjects which would require Tom and his team to set up lights. But, what he’s working with now helps him achieve what he’s looking for as naturally as possible. “Shooting at night with no lights was really interesting,” Tom says. “One of the shots we actually went out while it was nighttime and used the available light. I hadn’t done that in a long time. With the cameras the way they are these days you can actually walk down the street and take a picture, whereas in the past it would have been a lot different, which is kind of amazing. I just love that the clients seem to be asking for this look. This uncomplicated, natural light seems to be the trend so I’m excited about that.” Elegance doesn’t have to be complicated, heavy, or confusing. The beautiful styling by B&A Stylist Shelly Vella, balanced by makeup and hair by Lisa Valencia prove that, and that elegance is something Tom will follow no matter where in the world it takes him.
Fitness for All with Ben Wachenje and Blink Fitness
At the end of March New Year’s Resolutions are long forgotten and left on the slag pile of expired intentions for most people. But even if the fire of resolutions has gone out, the impulse for self-improvement never dies, no matter who you are. Blink Fitness is currently going all in on a series of advertisements that show off the diversity and experiences that their members represent in a series of illustrations with Ben Wachenje. Diversity and experience is their focus, presenting a paradigm shift of what gym ads can be, and for Ben it’s an important change. “I am very proud to be a part of this campaign,” says Ben. “Any campaign that says fitness is for everyone is good as far as I’m concerned.”
We don’t have to tell you that every gym has a diverse customer base, but those customers are usually not shown in their advertising. Blink has members that are overweight, older in age, and even have physical handicaps, but Blink has put those folks front and center. And for a good reason. “Whenever the consumer isn’t properly or fairly represented in advertising campaigns it’s almost like saying we will take your money but we would like our relationship to remain private and not public,” Ben explains. “Most gym branding revolves around images of athletes in peak physical condition when in reality the people attending gyms look like the heroes in the Blink campaign, so for me Blink’s approach is brave, refreshing and honest.” Gyms typically sell aspiration and a potential, preferred future. But Blink’s message is one of acceptance and process. Fitness is a journey, and each journey is different. Blink invites us on that journey rather than trying to sell a piece of a goal that cannot be bought.
To create these images Ben started with photographs of real people that Blink had commissioned from B&A photographer Tom Corbett (who also shot this video for the same campaign, with grooming by Sylvester Castellano and styling by Luke Langsdale). Then Ben used his own aesthetic style to develop the photos into illustrations. Although this step removed the initial ideation of the some compositional details, Ben found the process to be incredibly beneficial. Sometimes a concept is developed enough that execution is as fulfilling as creation. “It isn’t always necessary to have creative license when the brief is good and well considered. Sometimes simply executing a good idea can be interesting,” Ben explains. “Since the client had already approved the photography it minimizes the amount of amends and changes that I might normally have to undertake to satisfy a brief.” This process streamlined Ben’s process to create final images that are clean, considered, and celebratory.
The campaign is ongoing so keep a look out for more!