Revealing the Real Jon Hamm with Marc Hom for Esquire
Before Mad Men, Jon Hamm had been kicking around Hollywood for the better part of a decade but it wasn’t until he landed the lead role in the AMC runaway hit that he became a critical darling. Mad Men ran for seven seasons over eight years, launching Hamm into the spotlight. It was amazing for Hamm’s career, but any time an actor becomes well known off one character it can often turn into a liability. Now that the show is over, it’s time to leave that character behind and that’s exactly what Marc Hom was tasked with for the cover of Esquires Big Black Book with Hamm. “My biggest challenge for the cover was to take him out of the Mad Men 50s era,” Marc explains. “And just trying to make him look a little bit more rugged, a little bit more real. We created the whole setting in this garage in Canada and just brought in the different kind of elements to create almost like an artists’ studio with some elements of steel and making him a little bit more hardcore and not so refined.”
Removing that familiar context meant getting closer to who Hamm is which is exciting for Hamm. His upcoming projects are deep and rich: his current film ‘Beirut’ looks at the Lebanese city in the 80s, he’s taking a turn as the Archangel Gabriel in an upcoming TV series, and his voice acting for animated comedies seems to be endless. He’s doing a lot that has nothing to do with his previous characters, and it couldn’t be better. “He seems to be very excited about getting out of this shadow of his past,” says Marc. “I think he just felt good and was a really an organic shoot. He was just into it. The styling isn’t overly fashion oriented, so it’s more as you would think he would be in real life.” Instead of that tired trope of Hamm as Mad Men’s Don Draper, we’re seeing Hamm as Hamm.
To see more of Marc Hom’s work, check out his portfolio.
Marc Hom Gets on Jessica Jones' Level for Marvel and Netflix
The world’s favorite superpowered PI is back in the second season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix. Jones, played by Kristyn Ritter, most recently appeared in the limited series The Defenders, also on Netflix, wherein all the Netflix Marvel properties came together into a crossover season to save New York from the shadowy international cabal, The Hand. In the newest season, Jones deals with the aftermath of the events of The Defenders and continues to investigate her own past as those whose lives she touches continue around her. Netflix invited Marc Hom to help them create the advertising properties for the show and they’re pitch perfect for the character we’ve come to know and love – despite all Jones’ best efforts to be off-putting.
Jones is a little bit of an alcoholic, a little bit emo, and unnaturally strong, bringing all the angst and edge that come with those unique aspects. Marc captured Ritter as Jones with that potent mix in her bare office that’s meant to be a little bit uninspiring. We’re brought to her level, both on the floor or while sitting on her desk, in her busted jeans, old leather jacket and coat, and fingerless gloves to protect her knuckles from the damage of throwing punches. In an additional wide ad Marc shows her in a dingy bathroom cleaning up after beating up an antagonist, while her adoptive sister, Trish Walker, waits in the stalls for it all to be over.
Jones is an introvert who just wants to do her job and have everyone else mind their own business – a challenging blend of characterizations that Marc Hom brings to each ad for this wildly popular show.
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.”
Marc Hom Gets Friendly with Bryan Cranston for Esquire
Bryan Cranston’s career began in earnest in the 1980s, but America didn’t truly meet Cranston until ‘Malcolm in the Middle,’ where he played the goofy dad on a 2000s sitcom who was more a victim of his chaotic household than anything else - and he certainly wasn’t the star. It wasn’t until Breaking Bad landed on AMC in 2008 that he truly broke out, leading the most popular dramatic series in a decade and forcing everyone to take notice. Since Breaking Bad he’s become one of the most sought after actors in the industry, but many have forgotten he got his start in comedy. When he met up with Marc Hom to photograph the November cover story for Esquire, Marc was quick to learn that part of Cranston’s history. “I knew about him, I knew about his career, but I didn’t know he had this very comic element to him. There’s an undercurrent of something quite funny yet quite austere, and that was so great to discover,” says Marc. “It was a really fun fun day where everything I asked for got delivered. I think that’s the beauty of doing what I’m doing, I’m always working with such talent - if you can transcend your direction and use them as a tool or that kind of thing, it’s just such a great time when that happens.”
The two got to play all day at a gorgeous house in gorgeous clothes creating imagery that was as fun as the energy on set. Cranston’s improvisational chops meant that he and Marc were able to explore all day, and when unique opportunities arose they took full advantage. One such opportunity arose when three furry friends appeared on set, uninvited but totally welcome. “We’re standing there with the Bentley in the garage and we heard this noise, and I say “What is this noise?” and then I looked over at the fence and there were three rabbits there,” Marc tells it. “And we both look at each other and decided we must do something with those rabbits.” They grabbed one of the rabbits and paraded it around the house, capturing the almost dream-like energy that appears on the Esquire subscriber’s cover. The other cover features Cranston sliding in to (or out of) that Bentley.
The ability of a subject to just grab a rabbit and continue the shoot is invaluable for a photographer like Marc who is always trying to capture moments we’ve never seen before. “It was a very organic shoot in a certain way,” says Marc. “It was fun because he had fun.”
Marc Hom Gets Classic with Michael Shannon and Esquire
Michael Shannon is one of those actors that disappears into everything. It’s not just the roles he plays that seem to consume him, it’s everything around him. He fits every world he enters, whether it’s 1950s suburbia or the stars around Krypton. “He’s a chameleon in many ways,” says Marc Hom who photographed the actor for the cover of Esquire’s ‘The Big Black Book,’ an issue that goes through all the ins and outs of what’s happening in menswear. It was Shannon’s chameleon abilities that made the shoot run so smoothly and so successfully and allowed Marc to get photographs at the height of his artistic expectation. “I wanted to be able to look at these pictures again and again and again and feel they’re quite timeless. So that’s how we treated it,” explains Marc.
There’s the famous story that Laurence Olivier needed to know the nose of his character before he could act the part. It seems that with Shannon, it’s all about a costume. Every time Shannon was dressed in a new piece of apparel he understood it immediately, making Marc’s job that much more exciting. “He’s amazing because he’s one of those guys, it’s very rare, who understands clothes in a very strange way. He knows what kinds of movements fit what he’s wearing. It’s something rare and very organic,” says Marc. “It was one of those great organic days when everything just fits in terms of character and styling and what I wanted to do, so when you have all those elements together you can just keep shooting.” Every time they did a new set up it was a new story, each gesture and movement tailored for the exact piece, materials, and aesthetic.
Part of Shannon’s power is his energy that is solid and still. Marc recognized that power and made sure to suffuse it through every photo. “There’s a certain silence to it,” Marc says. “I was trying to do was trying to have, have a little bit more movement in the color than the black and the white. I wanted to keep the darkness of the more graphic portraiture with the black and white, and then modernize it a bit with the movement of the color pictures. So you have a little bit of both feelings and exploring his repertoire.” Shannon’s abilities extend through the 75+ roles he’s played in film and television, and beyond a single shoot for the cover of Esquire, but he and Marc got to explore everything they could together and the results are dripping with style.
Marc Hom and the Magic of Twin Peaks
When Twin Peaks first hit the air in 1990 it quickly became one of the top-rated shows on television, thanks to its mash-up of noir and horror tropes with unconventional humor and a thick band of eerie mystery. But the show didn’t last long. ABC canceled it after only the second season, launching it from popular culture to the cult classic hall of fame. But 25 years after the show went off the air, it’s coming back, this time to Showtime for a limited series. When the show was originally on the air, Marc Hom was a fan. “It was just such a magic moment the first time around because TV was not what it is today,” says Marc. “It was such a milestone so to revisit that and seeing all the people again and that was pretty magical.” His fandom made him the perfect photographer to reintroduce fans to the world of Twin Peaks, teaming up with Entertainment Weekly on a trio of covers and a breathtaking series of portraits.
Twin Peaks was a cultural moment, and the team that created it knew what they were doing was special. So bringing them all back together 25 years later was exciting for everyone involved. Marc was just glad to be there to witness it and take part in his own way. “I haven’t been with people so excited to be together and photographed together and excited to celebrate this kind of reunion,” says Marc. “And of course I have tremendous respect for David Lynch and having him to come on set and see them all again, so that was really, really quite great… It’s a little bit like the band going back on tour.” Some of these actors we haven’t seen much since the show was originally on the air in the 1990s, so it’s a thrill to let them back into our living rooms, either through the television or the cover of Entertainment Weekly.
The morning that Marc woke up to get to the shoot, he realized that he had the opportunity to contribute more than just beautiful pictures. He wanted to inject a little something extra as an homage to the story. “I thought we needed to give it something that had just a little bit of mystery to it somehow, just to make it a little bit eerie, give it that kind of feeling,” says Marc. So he decided to use a very analog technique of setting up a series of lights and moving the subject and camera together to get a wispy, almost ghost-like swipe into each portrait. It gave him the exact eerie feeling he wanted, as well as being a perfect reflection of the themes of the show: “It’s really something you can’t control, that’s the fun about it,” Marc explains. “Every frame is different because it depends on how much you move compared to how much they move, and so it’s really quite fun. What you’re getting it’s absolutely not what you think you’re getting. Magic happens when you do something like that.” Magic cannot be controlled, instead we stand back and let it wash right over us. That’s what Marc wanted to deliver in this shoot and that’s exactly what he gave us.
Marc Hom Finds The Beginning of Everything
Everyone knows ‘The Great Gatsby’ and not just because of Leonardo DiCaprio’s opulent film, but because the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald has had a wild life since its publishing in the 1920s. But not everyone knows about Fitzgerald’s wife and muse: Zelda. Until now. Amazon’s newest streaming show is ‘Z: The Beginning of Everything’ that acts as a bio-series about Zelda and her husband, who despite his historical impact plays a supporting role. Amazon invited Marc Hom to photograph their poster art, connecting with the two stars Christina Ricci and David Hoflin to create an image that brings the whole feeling of the series into one shot.
Photographers create images like this in different ways, often taking a few photographs and combining all the best aspects of each photo into one final composite. It makes it easier to get every actor’s best face, along with the perfect arm movement and lighting angles. But Marc goes for something more natural. “I always do everything in one. I always try to achieve everything in one shot,” Marc says. “I don’t even remember the last time I comp’d anything. So I’m trying to create the image in the camera, and at the same time playing that scene around them and really putting them into character and trying to capture those emotions from the series.” Instead of creating poses and then puzzling everything together, Marc sets reality in motion in front of the camera and then captures everything he sees.
Telling the story in a single image is more than just getting Ricci and Hoflin right, but its also about composition, movement inside the frame (or lack thereof), placement of each actor. Each of those considerations tells a part of the story, and Marc has to balance all of it. “We play around with different croppings, different placement of the man, but this whole thing was about him always being in the shadow of her,” Marc explains. “This is the time for her to shine. So there was a subduedness of making him fall off in the back and not being the center of attention.” The image Marc created is a microcosm of the entire series, which is a reflection of history. It’s a lot to put into one picture, but Marc’s mastery of his craft makes it an achievable goal.
Marc Hom Steps Out of Time with Patek Philippe
We measure time because it is how we understand the world. It passes and we age, people shift around us, seasons come and go. We use time as the metric to understand where we are, who we are, and where to draw meaning. Time is how we count ourselves against the press of history. We step into time like it is a river rooted from far away, and when we step out it will continue flowing into the horizon. But while we are here we measure it, every moment, so we can taste it while it lasts. It is the vastness of time that Patek Philippe taps into with each successive campaign that for decades has a shared heart. But for this cycle they asked Marc Hom to photograph the images that would feel outside of time.
Patek Philippe has used the same tag line for years. It reads:
“You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.”
“That is an incredible line,” says Marc. “That’s great to get that continuity.” Marc recognizes that his involved in this campaign is him stepping into a narrative that began before him and will continue after the work he does for them. But as an artist he’s still present in the collaboration. Within the apparatus of what Patek Philippe does, Marc had some ideas. “You’re trying to move things a little bit in terms of making things slightly more modern feeling and getting a little bit more movement to the images,” says Marc. “That was kind of my biggest goal with it. I think we did move it compared to other previous campaigns.” Each image features a visualization of that trade from generation to generation, with an adult and their child. Between those two people we see one version of measuring time, while the watch measures in seconds, minutes, and hours.
It wasn’t just the subjects who created the context, but the classics aesthetics as well. “They’ve been doing it black and white forever,” says Marc. “It’s incredible that I got to work with Leagas Delaney who’s been doing the campaign for 20 years and it has a huge amount of heritage… The black and white imagery makes it look a little bit more timeless.” The photos will be used in the advertisements for Patek Philippe for years because the watch company works outside of the typical doldrum of fashion seasons. Instead they create something that lasts a little longer - not quite generations, like the watches, but something that will outlive the rest of the advertisements you see around them.
Marc Hom Shows Us the Real Viggo Mortensen with Esquire
Viggo Mortensen is not the traditional movie star. Probably best remembered as that guy from the Lord of the Rings movies, his entire career is a long list of challenging and unexpected films. He’s never leapt into the spotlight, instead using his position as a performing artist to explore and present stories and points of view that our culture doesn’t normally watch or listen to. He’s a unique voice in a very loud industry, and that made him the perfect partner for photographer Marc Hom when they shot the June/July cover of Esquire.
The story that Esquire created around the actor is for his new movie, Captain Fantastic, about a man who rejects modern society to raise his children off the grid. What Esquire found is that Mortensen isn’t so different from the character that he’s playing and with Marc Hom they created a visual language that reflects those aspects of his personality. Between thick rugged fabrics, a worn wooden set, and Marc’s signature revealing warmth, we get a taste of that through each of the images. “There’s so much that goes into these intimate moments when you photograph somebody,” Marc says. He’s known for his quieter style, a gravitas that comes through every frame. There’s no one who is better served by that energy than Mortensen who displays it every day.
Marc shoots a ton of celebrities and must always strike a balance between what he needs to get for his assignments and finding a portrait within the work that is honest and revealing. Marc accomplishes that by relating to each and every subject. “I think it really is about comfort, it really is about trusting each other, sometimes it takes longer to build up and sometimes it’s easier,” Marc explains. No matter where he shoots he lets it be their turf, their home base. Marc just visits, makes them comfortable and allows them to reveal themselves to his camera.
Marc Hom Catches Norman Reedus
Norman Reedus is the surprise star of The Walking Dead, AMC’s currently most popular show. When he began on the show he was a supporting character whose personality was mostly defined by the crossbow he held in his hands. But over the intervening seasons his unique relationships and quiet manner have made him a fan favorite, inspiring a vicious passion from his base. Part of Reedus’ draw is his enigmatic energy that is personal, but draws on for his professional life. He follows a path that is set inside of, that is mysterious even to those closest to him. In their latest issue, Men’s Journal wanted to highlight some of the few things that are clear about Reedus to the rest of his: his love for motorcycles. Using that as a root, Marc Hom met up with Reedus in Louisiana to get the best picture of him possible (both photographic and conceptual).
Often, magazine shoots that are paired with lengthy profiles are high concept and about executing ideas more than they’re about giving us a better idea of who the subject is. In this case, it wasn’t a question. Reedus’ newest project is a documentary series that is centered around motorcycle culture, something that Reedus has been a part of for decades. So Marc and Reedus met down in New Orleans just as he was wrapping up the last episode of the series. They found an old vintage gas station and fitted it out to look just like a mechanic’s shop. Reedus has spent a fair share of his private life around motorcycle mechanics, so although it was a set up for an image, it was something that he was totally comfortable with.
Then they went on the road, both figuratively and literally, setting Reedus up in a tent and getting him in action on his bike. Even if Reedus is beyond our understanding, at least we can understand a part of his world and his experience. At least we can see a part of a shared vision, and thanks to Marc we get at least that.
He's Back! Marc Hom and the Return of Jon Snow
Marc Hom continued his blockbuster collaboration between Entertainment Weekly and Game of Thrones with the incredible exclusive story on this week’s episode of the HBO show. Fan favorite Jon Snow was killed off at the end of last season, creating a cliffhanger that no one expected. But, on the second episode this season, Jon thundered back to life in a move that many were too afraid to hope for. Kit Harrigton, the actor who plays Jon on the show, covers Entertainment Weekly this week in a shoot with Marc Hom to announce that Jon Snow is alive.
For all intents and purposes.
We won’t get into all the complexities, but there are still a lot of questions that the show will hopefully answer in the coming season.
For Marc, this shoot was really refreshing. He’s photographed the Game of Thrones cast many times before, but this was the first time he got Kit Harington as Kit Harington. This was about connecting with the actor and not the character, and Marc was thrilled to do that. “It was very nice to work with him on something that was not in costume,” says Marc. “It was just about capturing him more than the character, basically. So that was very nice and it was cool. And I think that not having to have a reference to the show makes it kind of a bit more fresh.”
When Jon Snow died last season, fans were horrified to think that the only taste of Jon they’d ever get again would be watching Harington play other characters while grieving for their favorite character. Marc gives us Harington, but for now at least, we get more Jon as well.
Until, of course, we don’t.
Marc Hom Goes Classic for Game of Thrones
This is not the first time that Marc Hom has shot the actors from Game of Thrones, but this time it was going to be a little different. Entertainment Weekly created six concurrent covers with Marc’s photographs, each with a different actress in costume from the show. Six different covers sounds like a lot, but for loyal viewers of the show it makes total sense. The series features a huge cast, and each of them is as integral to the story as any of the others. “The thing with this show is that there are so many characters and they’re all important. It’s not like there’s just one lead and the rest are supporting roles,” Marc explains. That’s why Daenerys Targaryen, Brienne of Tarth, Arya and Sansa Stark, Cersei Lannister, and Margaery Tyrell each get this distinction. But Marc did want to make a slight shift in tone. He wanted to root the imagery in this world because the show is so real to so many people.
“This time around I just wanted it a little cleaner,” says Marc. “And make it a little bit more fresh, more timeless.” Instead of bringing the shoot to a massive soundstage, Marc met the actors in Spain and Belfast and brought the shoot outside. Even though we see the environments only on the edges of the images where they’re out of focus, they create a context for the women that is tangible and of our world. “This one was more of a Goddess approach to make these women beautiful and iconic rather than having a playfulness like we had last time,” Marc describes it. “There’s just more striking directness.”
The danger with a show that’s as popular as Game of Thrones is to go too far towards representation. These covers aren’t a page from the story, instead they’re a different branch that reflects the larger world of it. Marc has shot some of these characters three times now, but he makes sure that the history doesn’t dictate what happens on the day. “We always plan it quite in advance in terms of what they’re going to wear with colors and stuff like that, and the show has certain things that they want them to wear,” explains Marc. “But it’s better to just go in cold because there’s so much going on. If you start thinking too much about the storyline it gets a little stale. It’s more about going in there and taking beautiful pictures of these women.” You can plan every detail but when it comes to taking a great photograph that can only happen between the subject and the photographer. So that’s exactly what Marc did.
Marc Hom Presents the Ladies of the Oscars
Oscar season is the perfect time to get to know Hollywood’s most famous faces. The job of an actor is to disappear into a character so they can help us experience a story. But they have complicated human lives all their own, and now’s the time to get a little taste. Last year, Marc Hom shot a portfolio featuring some of the nominated artists for People Magazine, and this year he was at it again with one subtle but crucial change. “This time around we decided to make it a much more clean portfolio,” Marc explains. “It’s just one of those things, the cleaner the better. It was great.” Not only that, but this group was only the women. The last time, Marc used a bunch of different locations with different concepts, but felt it was necessary to have a clean through line for the whole portfolio to really highlight what made each woman different.
As the Oscars get closer and closer and we make our way through Awards season, these women are incredibly busy but each was able to make some time to connect with Marc and capture these photographs. Even if he only had a short window to photograph, Marc was able to create intimacy and a relationship between himself and each actress that he delivered to us with the photographs. “They were all great,” says Marc. “There’s something kind of haunted about Jennifer Jason Leigh that’s quite interesting… And Alicia Vikander I’d worked with before so it was nice to see her again. Amazing to work with her two years ago and see how she’s progressed.” Between Alicia and Kate Winslet, and the rest of the actresses, there’s a huge range of experience and career, each working in different genres and on different roles. Marc is proud that he was able to show off each of their unique qualities.
But of course, it wouldn’t be a Marc Hom shoot if he didn’t bring out the sensuality. “I love that photo of Rachel McAdams,” he says. “I’ve always found her so beautiful, and sexy, so I was very excited that we got to photograph her, you know what I mean? It’s a good mix of different people.”
Marc Hom is a fan of all the women he got to shoot and made a point to see as many of the films as he could before the ceremony this weekend. He’s looking forward to the awards as much as the rest of us. “I’m super excited,” Marc says. “I think Bree Larson is going to win, but we’ll see!”
Marc Hom, GQ & David Beckham Team Up for Charity
When Marc Hom first met David Beckham it was years ago during a furious shoot where Marc photographed ten different soccer players. Beckham had just signed with Madrid and moved to Spain with his wife Victoria. He was in a transition period and beginning to really solidify his foundation as a soccer celebrity, but he was on his way up. In the years since that first, fast shoot, Marc and Beckham have seen each other a few times, but it wasn’t until late last year when Marc shot a much more in depth editorial for People Magazine that they connected deeply again. In those intervening years, Beckham became an international superstar, fashion icon, and philanthropist and Marc was able to see the whole development from the other side of a camera. Images from both shoots are being featured in a gala auction presented by British GQ and London's Phillips Galleries that will benefit The David Beckham Unicef Fund and Positive View Foundation. To celebrate, GQ picked five images from their entire exhibition to grace the cover of February’s GQ and both of Marc Hom’s photographs were chosen for two different covers.
“That makes me proud, I think it’s great,” says Marc. “It’s always great to be involved in these kinds of projects. If you can help in any way you can with the help of the endorsement of a celebrity, it’s good for everybody.” It certainly will help a lot of people. Both of the benefitting organizations work to improve the lives of children all over the world, and everyone involved anticipates huge success when the auction starts on March 10.
As a celebrity, giving your name and face over to a cause is not an easy decision. Spending a life building wealth and fame is a currency that doesn’t need to be lent or given away, but success brings with it a certain amount of responsibility that Beckham has really given over to. “I think it’s more interesting in terms of what’s going on and where David goes from here after he stopped playing football,” says Marc (for the Americans in the room he means "soccer"). With this auction, it seems, what Beckham is going to do is use the assets he’s created over a celebrated career to benefit the less fortunate.
David Beckham: The Man opens on February 27 with the images going up for sale at auction on March 10, with all proceeds benefiting The David Beckham Unicef Fund and Positive View Foundation. If you can’t make it to the gala action at least you can get a piece of this history in the form of Marc Hom’s two GQ covers.
Happy Holidays: 2015 in Review
As we come together with loved ones and friends to close the year, we’d like to take this time to reflect on some of our favorite moments from the last year. Included here is a list of some of our favorite stories we’ve had the pleasure to share with our community and friends. This year our artists helped usher in the next generation of Star Wars stars, discovered what bacteria lurk in NYC’s subways, sent hundreds of mean postcards to adoring fans, and put their own stamp on the 2016 Presidential campaign.
Our artists have done amazing things, so let’s take some time to remember some of the best stories from 2015 before turning our focus to the New Year.
We hope you have Wonderful Holidays, and a Happy New Year.
Weeks before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters, Marco Grob photographed the cast of the highly anticipated movie for Time Magazine. Not only did he get to photograph the human stars, he also got to spend time with the famous R2-D2 and meet the newest favorite: BB-8.
Riding the New York City subway can be a precarious situation, not because of the unpredictable riders but because of what lurks on the handrails. Craig Ward wanted to see what exactly he has holding onto every day and the answers were both beautiful and revolting.
Sawdust and Nike Reach New Heights
One project with international powerhouse Nike is celebration enough, but when Sawdust teamed up with the athletic juggernaut for three bespoke typefaces it was an honor. Not only were they creating these solutions for Nike, but they'd be paired with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant, three of the most powerful names in basketball. What they created turly elevated the game.
This year Joey L joined Annie Leibovitz, Erwin Olaf, and David LaChapelle as a photographer for Lavazza's annual calendar. With the theme “From Father to Son,” Joey L examined how the tradition of sustainable farming is passed on from generation to generation, and how food gets to our tables from around the world.
People's Sexiest Man Alive is always a hotly watched and eagerly awaited issue, and frequently their most popular. When Marc Hom got the call to photograph their non-traditional choice this year, David Beckham, it was an honor and a thrill. And on the day of the shoot, Beckham didn't disappoint.
For more than a decade Stephen Wilkes has been pursuing his ongoing personal project of condensing an entire day into a single photograph. This year, Stephen showed off some of his favorite shots at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, a great way to look back on all the work he's done, and look forward to what's still to come.
Over the course of months with locations stretching from The Costume Institute to the Louvre's vault, and even the private archive of Yves Saint Laurent, Platon captured the epic vastness of the Met's latest blockbuster. "China: Through the Looking Glass" examines how China's history has impacted the rest of the world through design influence, and Platon was able to photograph every step along the way.
Mr. Bingo's ongoing series "Hate Mail" pits the artist against those who pay for the pleasure of being berated by him through the post. Enough fans have gotten their kicks this way that he turned them all into a book that catalyzed an enormously successful Kickstarter. Books are available for purchase now!
Living a life in the limelight isn't always easy, so when We Are The Rhoads teamed up with Taylor Swift for their latest Keds campaign, they immediately found common ground. By creating a safe space the mega celebrity was able to focus on the moments with Sarah and Chris, resulting in images that are effortlessly Taylor.
Style is communication and a stylist has the power to shape how their subject communicates to the world. For Uzo Aduba's cover of As If Magazine, Stacey Jones dove into feminine luxury, offering the Emmy Award winning actress the opportunity to step away from the orange jumpsuits that her fans so often see her in.
Paris is a hotbed of fashion and style, making it a dream destination for many and attracting artists from all over the world. Tom Corbett is no different. On his latest assignment for Somerset he really sank his teeth into the city, taking advantage of every block and street corner, capturing the beauty of the city and the ease of its powerful energy.
It's hard to describe Donald Trump's political rise, so sometimes the best option is to not even try. When The New York Times Magazine tasked Stanley Chow and Jamie Chung with an image that spoke to the story they got right to work on something that felt honest but was also a lot of fun.
When Marcus Bleasdale began his work as a photojournalist it was to make a difference, but an artist can never be sure if their hopes are going to come to fruition. Marcus' has. His work with Human Rights Watch has lead to changes in law, and even helped end a war. Their joint gallery show, "Impact," proved it.
Chipotle has seen better days, but before their troubles they made a very solid decision when they asked Harriet Russell, Sarah J. Coleman, Adam Hayes, and Dave Homer to create illustrations for their bags and cups. Each illustrator was paired up with a writer whose pieces were to serve as the inspiration, and the results are as delicious as you can imagine.
Ken Fulk is a master at interior design, and Douglas Friedman is a master at photographing interiors. When the two came together in a show-stopping shoot of Elle Decor, Fulk's vision leapt off the page thanks to Douglas' unique ability to translate space into flawless photographic composition.
Bernie Sanders represents one of the most interesting political stories this season, and like any political character his whole persona is hard to distill into a single image (even a photograph!). Ryan McAmis took his time, and dug deeply into his bag of tricks, creating a portrait for the cover of National Journal that is as honest a representation as we've ever seen.
It's not every day that passion projects turn directly into corporate campaigns, but when UPS saw Brian Doben's "At Work" series they knew they needed it for themselves. Brian extended the project, meeting with read UPS customers that happened to run their own small businesses, to see what it's really like to work with a company that caters to their needs.
Cinemagraphs are becoming more and more popular, but Chloe Aftel was there since day one. In fact, she's sort of become a go-to photographer to create these captive moments that she finds particular expressive because of their ability to inject more emotion and more story.
Sometimes the best way to talk about serious issues is with a good laugh, so when Todd Selby linked up with Evolve on a series of gun safety PSA they imagined what other things kids get into. Whether it's playing with condoms like balloons, or tampons like Wolverine's claws: the kids will get into anything and, most of the time, it can be hilarious.
Few artists are as closely watched as Banksy whose work is discussed and devoured the world over, so when James Joyce got the call to be included in Banksy's latest installation it was a no-brainer. James' contributions ended up including the cover of Dismaland's catalogue, a piece that has now been distributed the world over and marked as a coveted accomplishment for any creative CV.
We cannot pretend we know what the future will hold, but if we had to bet we'd bet on Roof Studios' vision. They were tasked with glimpsing ahead for a spot with Toshiba that envisions how our relationship with technology will continue to deepen and grow, and shows us what that will look like.
Ice Skating GIF by Nomoco.
Marc Hom for PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive
Few magazines attract the kind of excitement and intrigue as PEOPLE’s annual "Sexiest Man Alive" issue. This year, they called up Marc Hom asking him to shoot what is often their most visible cover of the year, and when they told Marc who they chose he signed up immediately. He's photographed David Beckham before, and was excited to work with him again, but it had been a long time. "I worked with him 12 years ago and at that time he was at the beginning of his career basically," explains Marc. "He was obviously already famous but it wasn’t to the point of where he is today, where it’s really like photographing an empire." The status that Beckham has achieved over the last decade has made him one of the most recognizable faces in the world, a distinction that can make shoots like this complicated. But this shoot wasn't complicated like that.
In a move that both surprised and delighted Marc, Beckham came to set and immediately set the tone for what could have been a high pressure, high drama event. Instead, Beckham and Marc made sure that everyone felt comfortable and were working towards the same goal. "He arrived on his motorcycle alone, stepped up, gave me a big hug and said, 'Great to see you,' and then he went around and said hello to everyone on set," Marc says. "And that’s such a great gesture that a lot of people could learn from. It just brings a much more relaxed atmosphere, and to just show respect to everyone that's working that day and trying to make everything best for him and for everything." By shrugging off the airs of celebrity, Beckham proved they were all there to work towards the same goal and everyone on set was crucial to that goal. It kept everyone energized and positive, engendering efficiency and ease.
It's not lost on Marc that PEOPLE Magazine already has a huge readership as it is, but the Sexiest Man Alive cover gets seen by everyone. Millions of people will lay their eyes on these photographs, a distinction that even the most successful photographers don't always get to claim. But that doesn't mean we know how everyone will react, and Marc is excited to see the reaction. "I think it’s always interesting when you do something that goes out to the masses in that sense because we have no idea what's going to happen," says Marc. "And I think for them to choose him was one of the reasons I committed to this. It is very unusual kind of choice for a main street magazine. I think he has an edge and something different. We’ll see!" The cover was revealed early on Jimmy Kimmel Live, surrounded by applause, cheers, and the laughs appropriate for that kind of unveiling. A fitting response for a monumental cover.
Marc Hom Gets Intimate with Bob Shaye for Space Magazine
Most people may not recognize Bob Shaye to look at him, but everyone knows the biggest risk he ever took: Freddie Krueger. When Wes Craven was first formulating the idea of A Nightmare on Elm Street it was Bob Shaye who took a risk on the struggling director and made the movie happen, changing the horror genre forever and cementing New Line Cinema as a force to be reckoned with. As the years went on, New Line Cinema became a juggernaut with Bob Shaye at the helm making him one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. Photographer Marc Hom goes way back with Bob. “Bob is a very old friend of mine, and he’s a friend of my father’s from back in the 60s before he started New Line Cinema,” says Marc. “After I moved to New York we became good friends.” When Space Magazine got together with Marc to shoot a feature on Bob, Marc wanted to use that relationship as a way to tap into something deeper and get a more honest portrait.
They met at Bob’s home in the Hamptons, a residence that is unique to Bob’s style and has a relaxed atmosphere by design. But Marc wanted to ensure that each photograph brought out something authentic in Bob, so he tailored the production of the shoot to foster that attitude on set. He kept the crew spare so that the communication could be just between him and Bob, with the results in the frame. “It is a more personal, intimate portrait. I thought to just build on that scenario that would be really nice,” explains Marc. “So it was a really low key and quite intimate setting. It was actually quite refreshing. We didn’t have to maneuver around so many people. I could basically just do what I wanted to do, which was great.”
It’s obvious that the way Marc was about to get such intimate portraits is because of the way they set up the shoot, but without the cooperation of Space Magazine, it would have been impossible for Marc to get such intimate portraits. He credits the magazine for enabling such a personal experience. “There’s a much bigger freedom with smaller magazines. And I also think that sometimes people get timid when there’s 25 people around looking at them,” says Marc. “You get to get some more of the soul because people open up in a different way, which is really great. I love that. When you have an idea it’s about executing it and getting it out instead of keeping it inside of your head.” Creative success is all about finding the right partners, and Marc and Space Magazine worked together exactly the way they needed to in order to get the best results possible.
Marc Hom Proves Charlie Hunnam Is King for Entertainment Weekly
For most, their introduction to King Arthur is the story of the sword in the stone. Arthur, a peasant boy, ends England’s Dark Ages when he draws a mystical sword (Excalibur) from a stone, beginning his reign as king. The truth is far more complex. Guy Richie’s forthcoming film, Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur, examines these tales with Charlie Hunnam as the epically beloved king of epic. Richie’s energetic style is poised to recontextualize these classic stories for all lovers of legend placing a huge weight on Hunnam’s shoulders, one that his fans are certain he can uphold.
When Marc Hom met Hunnam on set for Entertainment Weekly’s cover shoot, it was an exciting experience for everyone. They were on the verge of wrapping up principal production for the film, and the mood was jovial. Marc’s goal was to find where Charlie Hunnam and King Arthur met in one man. After working on this character for so long, the line between actor and character is bound to blur and in that space is room for authentic moments. “We actually got full access to go on set which was incredible,” explains Marc. “Just that freedom to take it out of context a little bit: that was what I wanted to do. So it didn’t feel like a still photograph from the movie.” By finding where King Arthur and Charlie Hunnam merge they were able to present that moment with compelling imagery.
The obsession with image that has dominated the conversation of celebrity over the last decade seems to be falling away, at least in Marc’s experience. And everyone stands to benefit from being generous collaborators. What Marc noticed most about working with Hunnam is his willingness to work with Marc as a collaborator. “This generation of actors is more open to going for the ideas and being a little looser,” Marc explains. “Charlie was really great. He was in a very good mood. Everybody was very happy.” That positive set meant authentic moments came through making for photos that pair perfectly with EW’s aptly named story, “The Sword and the Stone Cold Fox.”