'Killing Kennedy' by Joey L. for Nat Geo
Following his masterful "Killing Lincoln" ads, Joey L. once again partnered with the National Geographic Channel for the "Killing Kennedy" promos.
The campaigns share commonalities ("historical subjects are depicted outside of a moment, breaking 'the fourth wall' ... these photos are posed, lit in a studio, and removed from their surroundings," Joey L. wrote on his blog); however, a key difference kept him awake at night: "John F. Kennedy's legacy and unfortunate death are in the living memory of many people around the globe. There is no one on earth today that was alive during Abraham Lincoln’s assassination." As such, "For 'Killing Lincoln,' we were able to take certain artistic liberties ... [but] being so incredibly recent, depicting the assassination of President John F. Kennedy would require even more care."
Joey L. noted the entire team did plenty of research to prepare for the two-day shoot. "We read the book by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard that the TV movie is based on, which was factual and well-done," he told B&A. "We all watched a few documentaries and spent time on Google." It also helped to build a rapport with the actors. "One of my favorite pictures is of Ginnifer Goodwin crying and clutching Rob Lowe's arm. That emotion came from her – she's a great actress and she trusted us not to make it cheesy, so she went for it."
The photographer and production company Variable used the same stage setting, a rarity in the biz. "Often, the photo and video sets operate separately and there's no collaboration – the people might meet each other the day of the shoot – and that's so backwards," Joey L. said. "When I get a job like this, we talk about the images from the beginning: 'How can we make sets that work for video and stills?' 'How can we do everything with a constant light?' It results in higher production value for both."
Scroll to see his images and behind-the-scenes footage below.
Client: National Geographic Channel
Creative director: Andy Baker, Tyler Korba, and Brian Everett
Design director: Christos Devaris
Production manager: Kevin Lahr
Production company: Variable