Alex Silva Knits the Fractious Resistance
We are in historic times. Not only is there a new President who won the office in a surprise upset through the Electoral College, but a vocal resistance to the new administration is at a scale this country has never seen. The first real show of power by new President’s opponents was on full display the day after Inauguration Day at “The Women’s March” in DC, and the sister marches that took place in cities throughout the world. It’s estimated upwards of 4 million women and their allies marched – truly unprecedented. One of the most stable images from that march is the thousands of pink hats worn by marchers, all knit at home. The meaning of the hat is different from person to person, but one thing is clear: it was a part of the resistance. This past Sunday’s The New York Times Magazine chose to feature this new feminist movement for their cover story and invited Alex Silva to create the imagery for the magazine’s cover.
The cover is deceptively simple, saying just “RESIST,” but each letter is knit out of pink yarn and distressed. Alex created each letter separately, and then distressed each of them. Even though the cover of the magazine simply says Resist, the story is much more complex with an earned headline saying, ‘How a Fractious Women’s Movement Came to Lead the Left.’ The reporting by the magazine bears this out, that the movement is fractious and Alex illustrates that reality by having each letter distressed. We all know that if you pull one string on a sweater it can unravel the whole thing, so the question right now is how long will this resistance hold together despite the fact that many of the groups marching under the same banner had very different goals just one month ago? Right now the resistance is standing together, displaying a single message that we can still read. There’s no way to know how long it will be this way, but for now we can see what Alex spelled out clear as day: Resist.
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.