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.
Steven Wilkes Takes Flight with National Geographic
This small blue marble that we live on is awash in ecosystems and visceral traditions we seldom see and even less frequently understand. Even as millions of migratory birds have flown tens of thousands of miles all over the planet each year, it is only recently that we’ve begun to unlock the mystery – as human communication becomes more immediate and our lived experience brings us closer together, we see the magnificence around us. These stories are older than the human species, timeless in a way we can scarcely imagine even in the prehistoric calcium in our bones. Stephen Wilkes pulls these journeys out of time in his latest feature story with National Geographic: The Epic Journeys of Migratory Birds.
The breathtaking story includes four new images from Stephen created through his Day to Night process that is a taxing but incredible method that stitches entire days and nights into single images. To capture the four images, Stephen chased five different birds over the globe: Northern Gannets in Scotland, Lesser Flamingos in Kenya, Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska, and Black-Browed Albatrosses and Southern Rockhopper Penguins in the Falkland Islands (who, Stephen reports, were surprisingly cooperative). Each stunning image is the result of an incredible process: Stephen remains at a fixed position with his camera for 26 to 36 hours, hitting the shutter almost by instinct, resulting in anywhere between 1,000 and 1,800 exposures that he sorts through expertly. Once this expansive amount of imagery is brought back to the studio, Stephen begins the process of bringing the exposures together to reveal the entire day in one single composition. He compresses time into one image, almost inverting the limits of photography, removing the boundaries of the medium.
In photographing this way, Stephen is able to reveal more than a stolen moment from one group of birds, and is, instead, able to provide us with a larger context to give us a taste of what it’s like to experience these creatures and their behavior in a deeper way. “The flamingos create extraordinary patterns and the sky becomes an undulating piece of fabric,” Stephen explains, a notion he’s able to deliver to us thanks to the sheer volume of work that goes into the photographs.
If you want to experience the images beyond the limits of your screen, they will be on view at The National Geographic Museum (1145 17th Street, N.W. Washington, D.C.) as a part of ‘Day to Night: In the Field with Stephen Wilkes.’ Also included in the show will be aerial imagery he captured as a part of the global exploration. The show opens Tuesday, February 13, and will be on view through April 22.
Patrik Giardino and Gus Kenworthy Proudly Advance on The Olympics
It was only four years ago that LGBTQ+ athletes were skipping out on the Sochi Winter Olympics because of Russia’s bizarre anti-gay laws. Some out athletes didn’t want their celebrity to attract visitors or outside dollars to the country, so they opted out, while others – like skier Gus Kenworthy – used the opportunity to show the world the inhumanity of those laws. It was a tense time, that put a lot of athletes, countries, and committees in difficult positions. But now, on the eve of the PyeongChang Olympics, it’s a different situation. Patrik Giardino just caught up with Gus Kenworthy to shoot a campaign for Head & Shoulders, but what started out as a hair care product commercial turned into so much more. “He was super nice, he was so easy to work with and very open and happy,” Patrik says about working and collaborating with Kenworthy. “He wanted to do everything, to make the shoot different.” That creative dynamic meant they were able to do a lot more than glamour shots of great hair.
With the Olympics around the corner, and Procter & Gamble (Head & Shoulders’ parent company) a sponsor of the games, Kenworthy and Patrik knew that a lot of eyes were going to land on the photographs and ad, so they took on the task knowing the stakes. “There was a little more pressure because a lot more people are going to scrutinize the shots, it’s not like just another athlete going up to promote some product,” Patrik explains. Kenworthy’s status as an out athlete means that he’s a hero to more than just other skiers, he represents the future of competition, where every athlete can compete as themselves with nothing hidden away. Patrik wanted to bring that into the shoot. “We had a focus on something else, so it means a lot more than just going up there and shooting someone for the PR or the commercial,” he says.
For Kenworthy to be able to wear official uniforms and Olympic insignias, each image was going to face approval from the Olympic committee, and amazingly they approved everything. Even the images with Kenworthy posing with the Rainbow Flag, a flag that celebrates diversity and is seen as the herald of the gay community. “Luckily the Olympic Committee approved everything... It went all the way up to the top,” Patrik says. “He’s in the official Olympic uniform, and he’s allowed to represent the gay flag and everything we wanted to do, so I think in that sense it was amazing… It’s way more personal than just shooting another athlete, it feels like so much more.” The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and as images from the shoot continue to be released as the games approach, the campaign becomes more than a story of great hair: it’s the story of a more inclusive future where everyone has the opportunity compete as their true selves.
The Arresting Surprise of Lady Bird with Marc Hom
Every year Hollywood surprises us, and never in the way that we expect. The blockbusters take over the summer, thrillers in the fall, then big dramas in the winter right before Oscar season. But every year there are one or two movies that appear out of nowhere and steal the hearts of their audiences. This year it’s Lady Bird, the dramatic comedy written and directed by actress Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan, with Laurie Metcalf playing her mother. It’s a coming of age tale that has exploded on the scene, gaining an incredible amount of Oscar buzz earning a cover story at Entertainment Weekly, photographed by Marc Hom. Marc was thrilled to take on this project because he loves working with close creative teams. “What I really liked about this is when you shoot with people who have been working together for so long and their project becomes a success, to become a fly on the wall,” says Marc. “I get to see the chemistry between them in this situation, just how well they know each other and the tremendous respect they have towards each other.”
These three leading women have worked together so closely to create this special story that the energy between them is dynamic, intimate, and intense. Although those relationships were honed through the making of the movie, Marc wanted to ensure that the photographs celebrating the artistic achievement wouldn’t be stuck in time. After all, each of these women will continue to go on and create more beautiful work. “I think it was a combination of course representing the movie but at the same time not replicating what’s already been done,” Marc explains. “it’s more about capturing them as they are more than they are as a character… It should represent the energy between three women, but also represent them as individuals, and also have a feeling of great portraits that we can look at in 10 years and say it’s a beautiful picture.” They came together for this film, which we’ll all celebrate, and then they’ll move forward and make more laudable creations.
The images that Marc created have a stillness and intimacy to them which is a treat to behold. But there’s also a power, a power that each of the women wield in front of and behind the camera. For Marc, that power settled into the room, not just because of the capabilities of these three artists, but also because of the electricity around their movie. All eyes are on the women of Lady Bird as awards season gets into full swing. “You could definitely feel that there was a train full steam ahead,” Marc says. “You could feel that. It was definitely a good nervous energy but you could definitely feel that they were hit by something that they didn’t quite expect.”
Jenue Lifts Cryptocurrency to Visibility with The New York Times Magazine
Cryptocurrency doesn’t have to be a mystery: they’re often crowd sourced currencies, so all the information is out there even if it seems like the conversation is happening without you. It’s not just Bitcoin anymore, there are thousands of different currencies, each with their own rollercoaster of valuation, and each of them with their own culture. It’s certainly a bubble, as described visually on the cover of New York Times Magazine with an image by Jenue - the question is whether or not this new market is going to burst. All markets eventually have their maximum limit, but Jenue wanted to infuse his imagery with the playful excitement that’s come along with the cryptocurrencies, as well as their true fragility.
The idea was pretty simple: turn the currencies into balloons. It’s the perfect metaphor. They’re shiny, buoyant, can rise as fast as the air will part above them, and pop when faced with unexpected outside pressures. So Jenue created a veritable flock of Bitcoin balloons crowded onto the cover. Each of these CGI balloons is tethered to a very conspicuous string, keeping it in place. In Jenue’s image it implies the limits, but ironically, perhaps, cryptocurrency doesn’t have the tether that comes with financial regulations. It’s that aspect that has made these currencies the preferred method of illicit payments online, but may be the largest contributor to their downfall. As an entity, cryptocurrencies have built into them alluring tensions – like air captured under thin plastic.
As mentioned, there are so many more currencies than just Bitcoin, so Jenue also brought the logos of Ripple, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Zcash to life in golden, poppable balloons in a center spread to help us visualized the breadth of the issue, and recognize how these variables are broader than we know now. The balloons are aloft, thanks to Jenue, now we wait to see if they’ll be attending a celebration or an entirely different kind of ceremony.
Lydia Whitmore Discovers the Origin of Coffee with Nespresso
In Nespresso’s latest campaign, The Origin of Coffee, created with photographer Lydia Whitmore, they strike a fascinating aesthetic balance between photography and illustration. The imagery creates an almost alternate reality that exists in the space between the two mediums. For Lydia to achieve this her team crafted paper sets for the coffee and then she balanced the images with the propping so together they would sell the aesthetic chameleon. “The challenge in this project was working on such a small scale and making sure that the coffee sat naturally within the set,” she explains. To make that happen she surrounded herself with a great team.
“Luckily, I was working with an amazing paper artist, Lydia Shirreff, who understands finding the right weight and texture of paper, and transformed the original illustrations into a carefully designed and intricate set.” Bringing coffee plants, flowers, and huts apart from the background offered a whole new dimension not only for image placement but also to let Lydia play with shadows and depth.
While all their hard work appears in the final photographs, there’s even more we don’t see.
“The other indispensable team member was Lesley Sendall who is a really talented food stylist,” Lydia explains. “She had a table of Nespresso machines all going to achieve the perfect coffee with the exact proportion of crema. What I didn’t realize at the start of the day was that the coffee she prepares is only perfect for around 3-5 seconds, after that it settles, and a new batch has to be made.” With the flora and fauna popping off the page, fresh coffees zooming in and out of the frame, it’s a wonder that Lydia was able to capture a stillness and calm that comes with the morning’s first cup of coffee.
Of course, after a full day of pulling shots, Lydia’s whole crew had their fill of coffee. But Lydia stayed focused and chill by abstaining while the world hummed around her. “I don’t drink coffee so I missed out on all the free drinks the rest of the crew were taking advantage of - I think they were all buzzing by the end of the day!”
Vault49 Gets to Work with Justworks
Running a company is about more than just having a great idea and setting up an LLC. You’ve got to solicit customers, manage employees, get a gorgeous website, and don’t forget about getting in enough coffee! All that and you haven’t even gotten to the legal aspects yet: payroll, benefits, HR, compliance. It’s a lot to handle, and for many business owners, it’s too much. And that’s okay! There are people who will do it for you. Justworks created an entire business out of doing that work so you don’t have to, and if spreadsheets don’t seem sexy enough, Vault49 was brought in to help sell it.
Vault49 helped Justworks by creating a series of advertisements in CGI, bringing together retro inspiration with the timeless aesthetic of neon lights. Justworks cuts through the darkness of navigating the complications of running a business, so Vault49 wanted to offer the light in the dark – and sell a couple aspects of the company.
In the pieces, Vault49 focused on two distinct issues: benefits and reliability. The first piece proclaims, “Get the Benefits of Your Dreams.” Benefits really are a dream, they can be what causes a fantastic candidate to choose your company or another, so vault49 kept the composition dynamic and exciting – while adding in a friendly, sleepy sheep in the corner to remind you that you have nothing to fear.
The second piece that Vault49 created for Justworks proclaims, “We’re Working Whenever You’re Working,” reminding us that Justworks is all about creating a professional internal culture. It’s not enough to do your best when you’re just starting a company, you can’t really let up until the whole machine runs smoothly – and that can take a while. Vault49 created an image that assertive and firm: they’re not here to play. Trusting an outside resource like Justworks with the crucial elements like payroll and compliance is no trivial matter, so Vault49 created a composition that inspires trust and reliability. Messaging is as much about emotions as it is information. Vault49 tracks, and expresses, both.
Michael Schnabel Gets Reflective for Lexus
Michael Schnabel has been capturing flawless imagery of gorgeous cars for most of his career. He’s mastered the form and delivers for his clients project after project after project. But every now and then he gets to work with a brand that wants to push the envelope, and when those opportunities arise Michael jumps at the chance. Most recently, he got the shot to work with Lexus again (after an award-winning campaign) and they wanted to explore the outer limits of what’s possible (and expected) in car photography. “On a previous project, we were very successful and we had a good relationship,” Michael explains. “We were building on the success and trust from the first project for this project. It was all about the New York vibe and a certain extent mood, atmosphere, lifestyle, but not too much about showing the car in its full perfection and shape and lines.” Michael used windows and other surfaces to add dimension and reflections to the photographs. We see only parts of the cars, or glimmers of them fit into a larger context and a larger experience.
Cars are the pinnacle of design: they bring together the cutting edge of engineering with the most refined taste. Any company would want to show off all that, but Lexus trusts their customers to recognize that Lexus is a lifestyle and not just whatever their latest model looks like. “They produced a super beautiful and rather fancy car, and they take a visual point of view with the story I was shooting for them where they are sophisticated enough to not even show the car in its full beauty,” Michael says. “Which I think is a statement towards the customer.”
Not only was Lexus willing to go in a direction counter to the rest of the industry, they’re also incredibly agile which made for a rewarding creative experience. Like on any shoot, Michael spent days with his team planning out every shot throughout a series of locations in New York, but when they arrived on the day to get the shots not every element cooperated. One afternoon in particular, where Michael had counted on bright sun but what arrived was rain. Michael was a little disappointed, but as he set up the shots and adjusted to the rain, the art director tapped on his shoulder and expressed how much he loved the new vision. “Here’s an art director who isn’t stuck to the sun, who isn’t stuck to a special quality and who isn’t afraid,” says Michael. “It turned out super beautiful. I adjusted myself to what it was, and that day the shots became even better than with the sun. So that was a really wonderful moment… It’s excellent for me to be given that freedom and that trust.”
As mentioned earlier, this isn't the first time Michael Schnabel has worked with Lexus, with a previous project earning a bevy of awards. Check that project out here.
Platon and Fiverr Want You to Get to Work
New Year, New You, right? 2018 is going to be your year, right?
Don’t just say it: Do it.
That’s the message behind the latest campaign from Fiverr and DCX, photographed by Platon. It’s not enough to have good ideas or dreams as high as the sun: our world only rewards those who do. So, you better do. Platon and Fiverr want to make sure you’re one of those people that does.
This isn’t the first time that Platon teamed up with the freelancer marketplace that connects independent creators with entrepreneurs to collaborate. Last year was the first iteration of the “Doers” Campaign, and this year it’s expanded, not only in representation, but in inspiration as well. This year it’s all about inspiring the entrepreneur inside all of us. The campaign is bundled with the “Year of Doing” initiative that invites creatives the world over to make their goals public on Fiverr’s website and offers tools to help make those goals more attainable.
Provocative copy like “Actually, It Hasn’t All Been Done Before,” and “It’s Not the Thought That Counts” is paired with Platon’s portraits, connecting the word to the faces of those who use Fiverr. It reminds us that these services are about people, they’re about bringing together communities and creators. They’re about doing it this year.
Platon’s imagery challenges us to chase that dream, and make good those ideas that live inside each of us. As always, the campaign is no BS, reminding us that no one cares if you thought of an idea first and meetings should be about work and not about vanity.
So, get out there and get it done!
American Crime Story Is Kaleidoscopically Colorful with Pari Dukovic
“You can’t make this stuff up!” the adage goes, telling us that the truth is sometimes stranger – or more dramatic – than fiction. Ryan Murphy has spent a career telling dramatic fictions, but there are stories from our real world that are just as captivating as the fictions he’s shaped. American Crime Story makes television out of true crime stories that are too big for a single TV movie, and this season the show examines the drama around the Assassination of Gianni Versace. An all-star cast tells the story of a murder, a family shattered, and a would-be celebrity turned serial killer. FX, the home network of the show, invited Pari Dukovic to photograph their official photography and the extraordinarily cinematic and kaleidoscopic images are as honest show itself: everything you see is real.
In this age of photography, artists rely on retouching and processing to add colors and manipulate imagery to make it larger than life, but Pari didn’t need to do that. He captured everything “in camera.” In a single image of Penélope Cruz, who pays Donatella Versace, Gianni's sister, shades of purple, blue, red, and yellow light skate across the actor, each color carefully placed and calibrated by the photographer. Recoloring photographs isn’t easy by any measure, but capturing this kind of rainbow in every image for the project is a totally different kind of challenge. Pari did this not only by placing lights right where they needed to be, but balancing color temperatures and intensities so the exposure would be perfect. By controlling the colors in this tenacious way, Pari was able to harness of the breathtaking variety of colors and textures at the Versace mansion in Miami, where much of the shoot took place. The mansion is resplendent in tones, details, and surfaces that would threaten to steal focus from any subject including a Hollywood A-lister. But not on Pari's watch - he negotiated between all the different visual demands to let them all play in harmony, drawing us into the story he's telling.
The composition is bigger than the constituent parts, and although Pari could have artificially fashioned these results through a kind of visual fiction, he instead went with an honest execution. He could have made it up, but he didn't. He did it for real.
Platon Sees a Hero in Stephen Hawking for Wired UK
Stephen Hawking lives at the juncture of flesh and technology, both because his entire career as a theoretical physicist and cosmologist has been about exploring the limits of the human condition, but also because it is through a complex series of technologies that he remains alive and communicating. ALS has stolen most movement from him, relegating him to a motorized wheelchair, and allowing him the usage of only a single cheek muscle to manipulate a communication system. The 76-year-old scientist was the subject of Wired UK’s 100th issue cover, and SAT with Platon for the photograph.
Platon met Hawking at his personal office at the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University, England. “The professor was brought in by a team of medical nurses and a technical adviser. I was asked to leave the room so they could have some privacy to prepare him for my sitting - and prepared he was,” explains Platon. “He has a powerful presence. Silent. Motionless. Yet, 200% alive. This man radiates charisma - his eyes burn with fire.” Those of us who aren’t in contact with Hawking on a daily basis, and are isolated from the differently abled among us, often lower our expectation of life signs from those who experience life differently from how we do. That’s a mistake. As Platon’s experience and images prove, just because we can’t empathize with an experience, or see the expression of it, doesn’t mean it’s not as rich and full as our own.
Hawking’s limitations in his chair could potentially also limit his ability to express himself in other ways – like fashion – but he was on point for his session with Platon. “He rocked a dapper tweed jacket with a silk cravat, which elegantly covered up all the plastic tubes entering his fragile body,” says Platon. “He was engulfed by a mechanical throne-like wheel chair, in my opinion it only added to this man’s stature.” He even donned a pair of sunglasses at one point in response to the photography lights, and upon doing so adopted what Platon calls “rock star swagger,” making him into a kind of “a badass super hero.”
We must all constantly reshape how we think of achievement and contributions, and what they look like. Even as Hawking ages and his body betrays him, his work becomes ever more relevant and we must continue to listen to this living icon.
Joey L. Opens the Wilderness for Hostiles
The United States of America’s history with Native Americans is rife with blood and conflict, a horror story filled with terror and shame. It’s a history that every American must contend with as a part of our shared heritage, and one of the best ways to approach that education is through storytelling – even if the stories are fictitious. Late last year Hostiles debuted at the Telluride Film Festival, with a larger national release on December 22. The film stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, and Wes Studi, and depicts a collection of white Americans escorting a dying Cheyenne war chief to his homeland in Montana in the late 1800s. The film was shot in New Mexico, where Joey L met the cast to photograph the key photography for the project. Joey was able to grab portraits of each of the main actors including Jesse Plemons, Ben Foster, and Adam Beach.
Shooting in New Mexico afforded Joey L the luxury of a kind of untouched wilderness. From a metropolitan point of view in 2018, it’s easy to forget that even just over 100 years ago, the US had a kind of wildness that has since been largely sanitized not only by urban spread, but also by technology that arrests anyone from getting lost. Part of what makes western stories so captivating is the experience that any danger can be on the other side of a hill, the mysterious stranger we meet could threaten any life, and there is no savior on the other end of a cell signal. Joey L uses the expansive wilderness to great effect, calling up all those desperate risks, allowing the landscape to unfold into mountains in the distance that are then absorbed into the clouded sky. In each solo portrait, each character stands in the grassy expanse, profoundly alone. In the group shot, they move together through the same landscape, alone together, working towards a single goal despite whatever conflict undoubtedly will disrupt their efforts.
The full story is told in Hostiles, but Joey brings pieces of it to the key art the studio used for promotional posters found in Times Square, and dotted all over the country.
Hostiles is out now at theaters nationwide.
Bill Gates and Stephen Wilkes Have Good News in TIME Showing the Grand Canyon from Day to Night
There’s good news!
The good news is that as a culture and as a world we’re doing better than ever. It may not feel that way every day, in fact, as Warren Buffett points out in the latest issue of TIME, pessimism is on the rise. But it’s a feeling of malaise that’s not tied to the real numbers of what daily life looks like today. The reality is more beautiful, and sometimes we need to step outside to remind us how beautiful. In the latest issue of TIME, guest edited by Bill Gates (the first time the magazine has ever had a guest editor), that reminder comes in the form of Stephen Wilkes’ Day to Night photograph of The Grand Canyon. Stephen created the image over a full day of capturing thousands of images that he then digitally stitched together into a single composition. For those of us who can’t get to this amazing natural feature, better yet spend a whole day there, this is the closest we can get to the lived experience in nature. And that’s exactly what TIME wanted to do by inviting Stephen’s photograph to be a part of this monumental issue.
The days may feel darker today than they have in a decade, making Gates the perfect editor for an issue of TIME. The magazine accused him of “relentless optimism,” an incredible and influential quality. His response was astounding. “Improvement is kind of a silent thing that happens gradually. The world is unjust, but it’s way more just today,” he told the magazine. “When you say you’re optimistic you’re not saying you can just stand back, and you’re not saying there aren’t reversals. But you can say, ‘Okay we’ve done really well, let’s take the examples of where we’ve done super well and spread those.’"
Stephen’s image is paired along with a piece by Warren Buffett that goes through the numbers of why we should all be more optimistic about what the future holds. The issue also includes contributions from Ava DuVernay, Malala Yousafzai, and Bono. They’re here to give us the good news, even if it’s couched in hard shots of reality. But if we keep our heads up and our eyes open, we can start to see the world the way Stephen Wilkes is showing it to us: broad, bold, beautiful, and fleeting.
Let’s get out there and see it.
Jeff Nishinaka Stays Festive for CVS
We know that the holidays are already over and eyes are set forward on the new year that’s stretched out in front of us, but we had to show you this project. Jeff Nishinaka teamed up with CVS to help them ring in the holidays with their customers, creating a breathtaking amount of work for their holiday sales. You already know that Jeff can make just about anything out of cut paper, but did you know he could create an entire holiday season?
CVS’ campaign was pretty straightforward: there were a ton of deals for entertaining and gift-giving, but they wanted to add a new twist to the typical holiday fare. So they asked Jeff to create a series of holiday-themed environments entirely out of paper. And boy, did he.
Jeff made it all. There’s a snow-covered pine forest made from white paper. A blue mantle is covered in candles. A green kitchen countertop is complete with wall clock and a hot pot. A red living room window sets the base for picture frames and poinsettias. There’s even an entirely white landscape of snowy hills where a snowman makes an appearance. Plus all the details you can imagine: wrapped gifts, neighbors’ houses, twinkle lights and needles of pine.
It’s another year until the holidays arrive again, but it’s never too late to be festive. Especially in the face of such extraordinary work.
(Check out some of Jeff's work animated below! There's even a swooping dove!)
Paola + Murray Discover San Francisco and New York's Chinatowns for Food & Wine
Home isn’t just a place, but also a people, an energy, and definitely food. Traveling across the globe can make home feel very far away, unless, of course, we bring home with us. Groups of Chinese immigrants who found themselves in New York and San Francisco both have created their own homes carving out a Chinatown in each city and just recently Food & Wine magazine asked photography duo Paola + Murray to get a taste of each.
The two started in San Francisco, heading to Mr Jiu, a restaurant that sits above the street and is known for its design as much as it’s known for its food. “The restaurant itself holds a very sensual energy. When we arrived almost at sunset this incredible warm, golden light was beaming through the floor to ceiling windows,” says Paola. “It was a truly magical moment.” They were welcomed by Brandon and Anne-Lee Jew, the married chef and designer team behind the restaurant. The menu and space is as much a representation of them and their relationship as it is of the culture that surrounds them. Paola + Murray wanted to capture it all.
“The presentation of each dish hit all our senses in one, first the visual satisfaction of very attractive plating followed by the scents of exotic ingredients that enhanced the desire of tasting these incredible creations,” says Paola. “All of these elements inspired us to re-create the lighting, keeping it as authentic and close to reality as possible. We wanted to make it look as if we had used the natural golden light coming through the windows. We strive to show our viewers what we see and taste and feel and we hope we conveyed those emotions as well as smells and tastes through our images.”
Being in California, San Francisco’s Chinatown has a specific energy, exactly what Paola + Murray translated into pictures. But when they boarded a plane to head back home to New York City to face the Chinatown there, they thought were heading right back to a place they knew. After spending time in San Francisco, they saw NYC’s Chinatown again for the first time.
“When we landed back in NYC and headed to Chinatown to photograph Nom Wah Tea Parlor we could not help but notice how this Chinatown was the one of hustling, loud vendors, of smells of dry fish, mysterious ingredients and cigarette smoke,” says Paola. “Although we have been to Chinatown a million times this was different, our senses were enhanced and made us realize how opposite yet complimentary this was from the Chinatown in San Francisco.” Anyone’s first time in New York’s Chinatown experiences the assault on the senses that dulls over time as we experience it over and over. But Paola + Murray got to start new and bring that experience to their audience who may not have the luxury of dropping in on Canal Street whenever they want.
All told, both assignments came together into a sort of uber experience, exploring how shared heritage can shift and grow into different shapes based on context. “This assignment definitely increased our desire to head to China and explore the vast, mysterious, controversial country but also made us curious about what is at our doorstep, making us realize how much there is to enjoy in the country we live in,” explains Paola. “We truly hope our viewers feel the same excitement while looking at our images and reading the words that go with them.”
Christian Kozowyk Wants You To Have Fun
Next to all the challenges, there are a million wonderful aspects of being a professional photographer. There can be a lot of travel, you can photograph the most influential people in the world, you can work with really great brands. But for Christian Kozowyk it’s all about the experience of interacting with other human beings. It’s about the human experience. “I really like interacting with people and I think that’s one of the things that drew me to photography from the get go,” says Christian. “I really just enjoy spending time with people and being an active participant in life.” Photography draws Christian out into the world and as an observer he gets to share all the amazing things that he finds on a day to day basis. “When you’re going through life and you see people from afar sharing a moment – it’s like what life is all about. Spending time with people and being able to enjoy that time and pay it forward and be positive and all that,” explains Christian.
He’s all about the human experience, but Christian also recognizes that a lot of his clients are brands who are selling products. His job is often to make those products look great and create imagery around the products that show people enjoying them. And he loves it. He brings his unique form of positive imagery to these campaigns not just because he enjoys doing it but because he thinks it’s good business. “People want to see things that are hopeful and I think that brands that position themselves as a company or as a corporate entity that’s aligned with that positivity, I think that’s what helps sell the product,” says Christian. Corporate photography doesn’t have to be about a rigid brief and boardroom decided guidelines: it can be about joy and fun and excitement.
This strain of positivity doesn’t just live in his images though, Christian ensures that it’s in his working environment as well. Everyone on his team on every job must approach the work in the same way that he does, that way a workday is never a slog: it’s always a joy. “I work with really great people and really nice people and I really only work with people who have the same philosophy and make a difference in the day to day interactions that they have with people,” says Christian. It can be hard work to make work so fun, but it pays off in job after job and with client after client. The results speak for themselves.
123Klan Blends Aesthetics with Damascus Clothing
Graffiti duo Scien and Klor of 123Klan have come together with Damascus Apparel to create a pack of collaborative product that includes a limited edition teeshirt and an enamel pin.
As a brand, Damasacus is about supporting and lifting up creators of all kinds, it’s a broad invitation. But their look is very specific: they use black, grey, and white in all of their creations for a very consistent look. 123Klan, on the other hand, typically uses all sorts of colors applied in different ways for their murals, apparel, and prints. 123Klan’s brand identity is built around lines and shapes. Bringing together 123Klan and Damascus’ aesthetic sensibilities meant blending them into something new.
The resulting shirt uses the shapes and lines you know from 123Klan in the color scheme of Damascus, printed onto Damascus’ clothing. The pin is the spray can you’ve come to know and love from 123Klan done up in black nickel and black enamel. On both pieces it’s a seamless partnership.
Shotopop Gets Epic for Spike's Ink Master
Tattoos can be anything you want them to be. A memento for a loved one, a reminder of a time gone by, or a beautiful flourish that simply looks amazing. But if you’re going to put something permanent on your body, why not make it epic? That was the idea when Shotopop created the latest teasers for the newest season of Ink Master, the SPIKE TV reality show that celebrates the artistry of tattoos in the best prototypical contemporary American way: competition.
The animated spot entitled “Ink Master: Return Of The Masters” that stretches past 90 seconds, shows us the masters Anthony Michael, Steve Tefft, and DJ Tambe, as well as host Dave Navarro, surfing through a city’s sky that moves to a massive battlefield at the foot of a mountain. Each master commands a small army of artists on the show who compete to win, but in Shotopop’s animation the masters also command all the entities that come to life from tattoos scrawled across fans. Dragons, octopi, birds of prey, and femme fatales leap off arms and chests and slam together on the field of battle.
Shotopop carefully honed the animation style for this video, choosing lines and colors that reflect the heritage of the art form, respecting the source inspiration while bringing it all together to its logical display.
The war climaxes at the apex of the mountain with the masters and Navarro about to engage in a final showdown. But if you want to see what that showdown will look like you’ll have to tune in on January 9th when the new season begins. Until then, check out Shotopop’s animation to tide you over.