Jason Schmidt Captures Frank Gehry's Home
Architecture enthusiast and photographer Jason Schmidt had the opportunity to photograph Frank Gehry’s home and latest structural design masterpiece for a cover story with Architectural Digest.
"This is Frank Gehry's new house which he designed with his son. The house couldn’t be cooler. It’s an architectural and engineering masterpiece with these timbers. I feel like with any Gehry structure you try to fathom how it looks on paper, how you can draw and figure out how this all works - it's mind-boggling, the complexity of it all. When you're in the house, it feels somehow light, like you could have built it as a kid with pickup sticks. It has this incredible way of feeling light and simple while complex. It’s so cool."
Jason spent two days shooting Frank’s home, working closely with his son and considers the project to be a dream assignment. “I only had an hour or so with Frank himself for the portraits. That was an extra bonus, to spend time with Frank. My favorite parts of the house were the hippie nook with the round daybed and the green piano in that music room. It’s hard to have a favorite moment from the project, it was really just one incredible moment after another.”
Anna Pogossova Plays In The Sand With Museum Magazine
In her latest collaboration with Museum Magazine and Camper, photographer Anna Pogossova headed to the Stockton Sand Dunes in New South Wales to capture her own sculpture designs in a still life setting.
“The sculptures were a reimagining of the Eames Solar Do-Nothing Machine from 1957, and were designed and constructed by me. I created vector drawings which were then used to laser cut various shapes which formed the sculpture. The choice was very much to do with the look of the Camper shoes themselves, which I felt referenced a 60’s vision of the future and the atomic era design aesthetic.”
“I wanted to shoot specifically in afternoon light conditions as the sun was setting, and the shadows were getting longer,” explained Anna. “It did become quite cloudy towards the end of the day, but I liked the way it gave the image some softness and an ethereal quality.”
The sculptures feature a reflective component that mirrors the sand and the sky more vividly than the reality. The sleek lines of the sculpture's stem flow into the dark fabrics of the shoes, corresponding to the fluid nature of the geometric shapes. The result is a series of images captured by Anna that both complements and contrasts the Camper pieces.
Jèss Monterde Creates A Story For Vogue
As a professional artist, it’s easy to get lost in the process. Personal projects are an important way for artists to reconnect with their inspirations and reignite their passion in creative avenues that would go otherwise unexplored. In her latest collaboration with Vogue Portugal, stylist Jèss Monterde created a mood board for a story close to her heart and expanded her role on set.
“I didn't know Ericka Hart at all when this project first began,” explained Jèss. “When Arale Reartes, the photographer, told me about her and how she'd love to shoot her, I started to follow her on Instagram and fell in love. That's when I created a mood board for a story that I wasn’t even sure she’d be interested in.” The client, Vogue Portugal, responded well to the mood board and decided to commission the story. They loved the idea of featuring Ericka and were coincidentally preparing their Sex Issue for May. Once Vogue signed on to the project, it was time to reach out to Ericka.
The project is centered around the sexuality educator with a Master’s of Education in Human Sexuality. “She is Ericka Hart: She/They, sex educator, black queer femme, racial/social/gender justice disruptor, writer, breast cancer survivor, model,” explained Jèss. “This is how she describes herself and I couldn't do it better. The inspiration came from her: from her words, from her strength, and from her knowledge.”
In addition to setting the tone and aesthetic for the project with Arale, Jèss was also responsible for the wardrobe on set. “I did the entire styling for the shoot, but as you'll see, some of the photos feature the model naked. Sometimes you just have to step aside and let the body talk. Ericka’s energy, in terms of fashion, is really bright and colorful. Her style is free and powerful. Color, tulle, and glitter are all among the dreamy elements that have become my signature on shoots. So I decided to pull the craziest dresses. I have never seen so much joy in a person wearing a Marc Jacobs dress. It was really emotional for me to see so much happiness on a shoot.”
“I wanted to use young designers for some of the accessories,” explained Jèss. “They are free, and more likely to feel comfortable taking risks. I commissioned ANH Jewelry to create a crown for Ericka. It had to be colorful, that was the most important ask. With the help of the artist Giorgia Rojas, they created a crown that transmits light and color, the same as Ericka.”
“Vogue has been really respectful, no boundaries, no rules. They trust in our mood board and our ideas, so we were really free in this story. Ericka said something about the shoot that really resonated with me: ‘If you only see stretch marks and scars in the picture, you are missing the entire canvas.’”
Pussykrew Reconstructs The Forbidden City for Nike
With the rise of social media and accessible entrepreneurship, businesses are now operating on a global scale. In such a diverse marketplace, retailers are struggling to find ways to set their merchandise apart from the rest. In recent years, experiential endeavors, experience-based events, have become increasingly popular among retailers and brands alike to promote their product offerings. In their latest experiential collaboration with Nike, digital media artists, Pussykrew, deconstructed the traditional Chinese architecture of Beijing's Forbidden City to create key visuals for a large-scale campaign. The project included an activation which consisted of a four-weekend basketball tournament called the Beijing99.
“The campaign was created for Beijingers. It was inspired by China’s rich visual history, combined with the elements of modern art direction to celebrate the attitude and intensity of Beijing basketball players. In our designs, we referenced elements from the Forbidden City which features very traditional Chinese architecture - ancient wooden structures of the palace complex in central Beijing. We think the whole idea for the campaign was very inspiring and quite innovative. The team really put in the effort to create something that feels very inspired by the local culture and that could only exist in Beijing. All of the jerseys featured artworks based on Chinese folklore and Chinese mythology. It’s pretty iconic. They were inspired by different mythical beasts and elements that are a part of the Chinese heritage as a way to celebrate the local culture and history and celebrate the pride and ambition of Beijing’s younger athletes”
The brief's intent was specific: the purpose of the campaign was to inspire the people of Beijing to participate in more athletic endeavors. To do this, Nike planned to honor the top 99 Beijing basketball players in the city by creating a wearable ranking system on jerseys numbered 1 through 99. The basketball jerseys can only be won, and aren’t for sale.
“The collaboration was quite organic. There was a lot of creative exchange as we were trying to find the balance between the ancient historical inspirations and the modern artistic approach. We initially made more simple designs but while the project was moving forward, it really started growing and evolving. We definitely had creative input; we were involved in the whole process. As we were progressing with the project, the client and the agency and creative directors were kind of learning from us what is possible and how we could take it to another level, in an interesting way.”
All of the visuals that went into the campaign were to be directly related to the city’s history, with a modern interpretation to reach the Beijingers. The portraits were inspired by the 2000-year-old tradition of Chinese portrait painting crafted for emperors, empresses, and the elite. Nike planned to recreate those images in a modern interpretation featuring proud Beijing basketball players. The background 3D designs are inspired by the traditional buildings in the Forbidden City, such as the iconic rooftops, and follow themes of repetition, order, and symmetry. The inspirations were to come 80% from traditional architecture and city-based references and 20% basketball elements, focusing on a combination of geometric and abstract designs.
“It was pretty intense because we were 3D modeling single parts that were inspired by the old Beijing architecture while trying to create traditional Chinese patterns. We were basically drawing on 3D models, in the software, trying to recreate a few thousand years of Chinese culture. This was quite challenging, yet very enriching ” Pussykrew explained. “ We painted everything digitally using a tablet, we were drawing and painting by hand. We created collages from photos and had to trace every single detail and added new elements to make the design unique and consistent. I think what we did with the texture is interesting because while we were trying to recreate the patterns, we were also adding our take on the patterns. We added a bit of metal, gold and sheer, glossy details. Beside developing CG backgrounds for editorial and key elements for the campaign that were transformed into CNC machined models, we created jersey product shots. We were asked to 3D model the Jerseys and make hyper-realistic renders.
“To be honest, it was probably one of the craziest projects we ever did because of the complexity of the patterns. We had about three to four weeks to do all nine backgrounds and patterns. The project expanded so that those designs were printed for promotional materials all over the city. The basketball tournament featured a custom basketball court with decals and our 3D designs printed as physical sculptures. Our work was even projected on the Bell Tower in Beijing.”
In addition to Pussykrew’s contribution to this project, another interactive design studio from our B&A roster also collaborated with Nike to help bring their Beijing99 vision to life. Conceptual design house, ilovedust, worked with Nike on three of their basketball game jersey illustrations, The Bluebird, The Bear, and The Horse. “The brief was pretty in-depth. It included a lot of insight into the Chinese traditions and working styles. We partnered with Nike to create fresh takes on these Zodiac animals whilst maintaining a strong link to paintings and illustrations from the past.”
Bejing99 with Nike is one of the largest collaborations by B&A artists, creating something fresh and innovative that hasn’t been done before.
Ben Rayner's Obsessed With Natasha Lyonne For Oyster Magazine
Photographer Ben Rayner spent a day in New York City with actress Natasha Lyonne for his recent collaboration with Oyster Magazine for their latest issue, Obsessed. Ben and Natasha made their way to Brooklyn and checked into the Williamsburg Hotel. “It was super cold outside that day so we kinda just stayed inside and made the most of it,” explained Ben. “We were able to photograph some balcony shots, and of course all around the Williamsburg Hotel in Williamsburg.”
The images feature Natasha having fun with Ben, playing dress up and posing around the hotel room. There was no concept, mainly because they didn’t need one. “She’s such a strong character so anything conceptually is really just about her. I wanted to capture her personality more than anything else, which I think comes across very well. There definitely was a dynamic, she was kind of mean to me,” Ben joked, laughing. “We definitely had a bit of dynamic, we played off of each other a lot. She was a lot of fun.”
“It was just the one day shoot with a small team. The stylist did a great job. Natasha is wearing pretty cool pieces in the shoot, they were a little eccentric. I love all the images where she’s in the green dress and on the couch where she’s goofing around. When her personality came out, I was really able to capture her.”
Stanley Chow Shows Face In Time 100
Stanley Chow has been creating portrait art since high school. Using his illustrations as a way to bring his peers together, he took pride in how happy his classmates and teachers were with his interpretations. It wasn’t until the dawn of social media that he truly felt like he found his niche. Since then, the renowned illustrator has perfected his craft and drawn portraits for some of the most well-known faces throughout history. In his latest collaboration with Time Magazine, illustrator Stanley Chow features portrait art for eleven of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2019.
This isn’t Stanley’s first time working with Time. He most notably illustrated a feature for Mad Men, as well as an article on the similarities between the two controversial presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, while on the campaign trail in 2015. For this project, Stan was given creative freedom on most of the faces he drew. Like with all of his portrait work, he took some time to research and study different images and visuals of his subjects. They varied in occupation, falling across Time’s different categories, from government official Robert Mueller to make-up artist Pat McGrath. In this level of editorial work, Stanley prefers for the illustrations to be created in context, so the expressions and details can reflect the content in the feature.
Since these illustrations were created out of context, there was a small editing process. The illustrator received specific notes for Emilia Clarke’s art. The actress was to be illustrated in a red dress with short hair, looking like herself and unlike the roaringly popular character, Daenerys Targaryen, that she depicts in the popular HBO series, Game of Thrones. Stanley’s favorite portrait of the mix, however, is another notable face from Hollywood. “Rami Malek has a pretty distinctive face. My kids are big fans of him. They’ve been watching Bohemian Rhapsody on rotation recently. I think I nailed his likeness on the 1st attempt. It’s easier to do a portrait when you already know the face.”
Although Stan has been creating portraits since before the rise of social media, it isn’t his only area of expertise. “I was mainly doing lifestyle and fashion illustration,” explained Stanley. “Twelve years ago, I did an illustration of Jack and Meg from The White Stripes for fun and I posted the illustration on Myspace. It somehow reached Jack and Meg, and they asked me to do some work for them. Six months later, the work I had created for them was nominated for a Grammy Award. I naturally started illustrating more musicians and sports athletes, and by then twitter was starting up. Celebrities started retweeting my images and even using them for their profile pictures. I haven’t looked back since. Right place, right time.”
Taylor Rainbolt Brings The Energy With Refinery29 & Adidas
As one of the youngest photographers on our roster, Taylor Rainbolt’s fresh take on capturing an organic moment proves to be a unique advantage. She believes in collaboration, and the nature of her process relies on connecting with her subjects in a non-traditional way. Taylor Rainbolt gives us a behind-the-scenes look into her techniques and aesthetic in her latest photoshoot collaborations with Refinery29 and Adidas.
“I love shooting as everything is happening. I think you get a better result when you’re in the moment. I like when the client understands when the shot looks different and gives me the creative freedom to roam and really connect with my talent. That’s how my work can feel really genuine when looking at it,” explained Taylor. Like most photo shoots, the brief for her shoot with Adidas included a shot list, but the team quickly put it to the side. “It was really nice to work with the Adidas team because we were all on the same page and I like to be very collaborative with my client. I want to make sure we’re all getting what we need. Being one of the younger photographers on the rosters, I regularly work with a younger demographic. I love when clients take my opinion into consideration and we can really collaborate on something rad.”
Taylor believes in creating an authentic moment on set, and that connecting with her talent can make or break the flow of a shoot. Part of her process involves bringing extra tools to set to create a specific atmosphere for her subjects. “One thing I do always have with me when shooting is my Polaroid camera. I like to start my shoot off on a positive note. I believe that playing around with the Polaroid and being able to show the talent “this is what it’s gonna look like” gets them excited. Being able to hand them something tangible creates an intimate moment between us, and the subject is able to see that outcome instantly. Everyone is all about Instagram these days, so being able to collage your favorites and show what we’ve been up to and what we did that day, really resonates with my generation and future generations in general. So that’s really important to me. I have boxes and boxes of polaroids, with these mementos. My polaroid camera is always with me, but not necessarily that I do my whole shoot with.”
“I think what really brings the energy is that I have to be super positive and be ready to shoot. I always grew up listening to Spanish music, so getting that going before I go on set really amps me up, and bringing that playlist to set really helps. Most importantly, my goal is to always make sure that my talent feels very comfortable and I want them to feel confident. It’s important to make my talent feel beautiful or handsome and feel good in what they're wearing and how they look. If they don’t feel good, it shows in the photos. Actors are just normal people, they're just as self-conscious about the same things as we are. I hate being in front of the camera, so I totally understand that feeling. My job is to make everyone comfortable.” Taylor’s ability to inspire the subject to let loose is an asset on set and her unbreakable energy sets her apart. “In my recent shoot Refinery29, it was rainy and we had no sun but the whole shoot was based on being outside. It was muddy and I had to get in the mud and just do it. The team is so important. It was an all hands on deck moment, the stylist even had to carry the talent so that she didn’t get all gross and dirty. I would do anything for the photo.”
Michael Muller Brings Virtual Reality to Aston Martin
Photographer Michael Muller has a unique talent for combining his passions and creating art that moves. A frequent photographer to the superheroes, Michael is known throughout Hollywood for his adventure-based shoots. Whether he’s capturing Captain Marvel take flight, setting Tom Holland on fire, or diving deep to the depths of the ocean, Michael will stop at nothing to get the shot. In his ongoing partnership with Aston Martin, Michael took his love of cars and teamed up with Aston Martin’s Design Director Marek Reichman to produce stills, motion, and VR for the elite brand.
“A year and a half ago I started working with Marek and shooting at factories with Eric Reichman and Tom Brady. I showed Reichman the VR that I made and he was blown away. He started talking with the company about making VR and that was the beginning. It was a lot of talking. I basically got three of their cars and started this project. My vision was to film the ocean and then the desert and then downtown and shoot all three mediums. The project grew to about 48 people coming out to the desert. We had 3 stunt drivers, using Shotovers with a technocrane. Two camera cars, two drone teams and I had to choreograph all three films being shot at once: stills, VR, and motion. I had complete creative freedom so we only had one person from the company there, which allowed me to move really quickly. The pace is what allowed me to get all three shoots accomplished in one day.”
The idea of incorporating VR into advertising campaigns was born from one of Michael’s first passions, the ocean. “I've been doing my shark project for 15 years and my goal is to change people’s perspectives of sharks, as well as to raise awareness of what’s happening in our ocean. With photography, it’s challenging because you only see one moment. You don’t see the large scale of what’s down there. I reached a point where I was going to stop my shark project and move on. In that moment, I knew that VR is the future. I had never put a headset on at that point. I just realized that I can take you with me underwater with the VR and you can actually see a 360 view, so you can dive with me. That’s what I’ve been wanting to show people the past 15 years,” explained Michael. “What we did with Aston Martin is give people the opportunity to experience what it’s like to drive the car. When you have hands on the steering wheel, the camera is where your head would be. The only way to capture that was with CGI so you either CGI the car or the outside background. It’s just like a video game. We were able to get that perspective, the driver’s POV, in camera. It's a game changer.”
Michael sees this technology as a turning point for not only the automotive industry but commerce as a whole. “It’s really cool, your phone just turns into a headset. So you can turn your phone around 360, point it anywhere and you can see any part of the commercial. It’s not as immersive as a headset, it’s another tool. It’s a really powerful medium that hasn’t even been tapped yet. It’s fun to be on the forefront blazing the trails. As an innovator, you gotta make stuff yourself and figure it out as you go, there’s no path no one has come before us,” explains Michael. “You’ll be shopping in your headsets soon; you’ll get on a plane and half the people will be in headsets.”
Serge Seidlitz & Radio Celebrate 420 With Lyft
As the cannabis industry continues to grow, pun intended, more brands are emerging to show support for the business sector valued to reach $20 billion by next year. Lyft is one company that is using cannabis’ newfound mainstream popularity as a marketing tactic. Lyft hired B&A artists to create a humorous campaign for 4/20, a well-known cannabis holiday in the United States that has spread internationally. In their most recent collaboration, Illustrator Serge Seidlitz and animation studio, Radio, came together to create an animation that speaks directly to Lyft’s audience.
While certain cannabis brands have been working to elevate the industry’s image, others are embracing the roots of the culture with cartoons, ice cream, pizza, and internet sensations such as psychedelic cats. When Serge received the brief to personify each letter of the Lyft logo with a cannabis theme, he chose the latter route. “I thought of my sixteen-year-old self and how pleased I would be that I would be this far into my career as an artist and drawing stuff that I was pretty much drawing when I was fifteen or sixteen years old,” he said on the process.
For Serge, this project was also the result of a more contemporary aspiration–to illustrate for Lyft. Serge cites a visit to New York in October of last year as the introduction to his admiration for the brand’s use of typography in their advertisement. “I saw these Lyft ads everywhere back then, all over the subway, and I thought that’s the kind of thing I would have liked to have done.”
Aside from the research into the subject he did as a teenager, Serge drew inspiration for the characters from the shapes of the letters in the Lyft logo and the brief to create a narrative of people getting high. The L, for example, lent itself perfectly to a bong illustration whereas in the Y he saw a mouth. But usually, for his process, he says “I just start drawing and see what happens.”
Once Serge had created his sketch, Made by Radio stepped in to do the animation, a process which Serge loves. “Animation takes a special skill,” he said. “I’m not an animator so it’s nice to see something that I’ve drawn come to life. Radio does a really great job. They’re amazing guys, so I was looking forward to seeing how they did it. They made it look like that’s exactly how it should move.”
Jason Madara Connects With Fiverr
In our digital world, human connection isn’t hard to find. There are phone apps, websites, and even ride-share programs that help bring us together. In his latest project with Fiverr, photographer Jason Madara showcases the beauty of bringing creatives together.
The campaign focused on the unique collaboration process offered through the Fiverr platform. “You have the buyer on one side and the freelancer on the other side. My task was: how do you merge these two and make it show that they need each other?” Jason worked with the graphic black and white aesthetic to develop a concept that illustrates the partnership.
“The subjects are all real people that you and I walk by every day on the street. They're all real freelancers that actually work within the Fiverr community. We had twelve talent per day, and we had to do two outfit changes: twelve in black and twelve in white, so really I had twenty-four shots to do each day,” explained Jason. “I had a key light on each side, one person facing the right one person the left so I made sure I was lit for each side so I could switch back and forth easily. I really don’t get too much into the technical things, it’s more about connecting with each person. On the day of the shoot, my main objective is to spend time with each person, as much as I can. I like to get to know each person, talk to each person, try to connect with them on some level so that when they get in front of the camera, they aren’t nervous, and so we just continue the conversation that we started having. The camera is a small element, it’s really about what we’re talking about and then the camera comes up and I take pictures.”
Like all of his work, Jason’s passion for human connection shone through the shoot. “When you photograph everyday people: designers and illustrators, like with Fiverr, I don’t approach it differently. I’m trying to connect with people. Every shoot is an opportunity to celebrate the human story.”
Dave Homer's Kama Sutra Guide With Ikea
Illustrators and architects both draw to create imagery. Unique in their skill sets, both artists detail their designs in very different ways. In his latest collaboration with Ikea, Illustrator Dave Homer married these techniques in his depictions for Ikea's Kama Sutra campaign - a fun and practical guide to help Ikea fans find their own bedroom nirvana.
Ikea asked Dave to illustrate the title cards, borders, and bedrooms for the Ikea bedroom guide based on actual three-dimensional room set-ups. “Initially when I first got the brief, I thought that I would only be doing the title page and the borders because the room itself would be a photograph,” explained Dave. “Instead of it just being the decaling and typography, they wanted the entire room illustrated.” Each bedroom illustrated by Dave was pre-designed and curated by the in-house team using furnishings from the Ikea catalog.
“It was a bit daunting,” he said. “I’m not an architectural perspective illustrator. That sort of stuff is not in my wheelhouse normally, getting perspective right, so I worked a lot with one of the Ikea artists to get the angles correct.” He was up for the challenge. “It was fun because I got to work with the CAD drawings, and it was exciting to push what I normally do a little bit. Most of my work is usually typography based. So it was a nice challenge to do something that is really technical but not have it look like a technical drawing.”
Finding it exciting and innovating, the Kama Sutra theme itself pushed Dave out of his comfort zone. Although he did not have a hand in creating the room names, he definitely had fun with them. “I thought it was a pretty edgy idea to do something like that. Some of the room names are kind of raunchy and fun. The Doggy Style and the double entendre in the video are pretty hilarious.”
Jesse Lizotte Gets The Job Done With Levi's
Choosing an outfit for work isn’t always easy. Working in an office requires business attire, whereas working outside designates outerwear. Some jobs mandate uniforms, but others are more casual, allowing even streetwear to work. In his latest campaign with Levi’s, photographer Jesse Lizotte highlights the workwear collection that works as hard as you do.
In the campaign, Jesse captures four scenarios where wearing denim to work is preferred. Building wooden structures in jeans with his dog, gardening outside in the sunlight in khaki shorts, making a mess with paint in a studio wearing black jeans, and welding metals using fire in a classic pair of khaki pants. Jesse crafts the series of photos that evoke the feeling of real-life scenarios ideal for the workwear collection. Each image is centered around a man working with his hands, and sometimes making a mess, to get the job done.
Jesse Lizotte is represented exclusively through our Sydney office.
Photography: Jesse Lizotte
Creative Director: Nick Humphreys
Joey L Explores India
This was not Joey’s first time in India. The seasoned lensman has traveled to the area many times before and cites India as one of his favorite places to shoot. In his latest overseas project, photographer Joey L traveled to Kerala, India to capture specific scenes from those inspiring places throughout the state that are worth the trip.
“I was hired by the state of Kerala, they have an advertising agency,” explained Joey. “They had me shoot a tourism campaign to convey the five different lands that travelers frequent. Each of the pictures of the five main ads represents the different environments that tourists enjoy visiting. I’ve been to India in the past for personal projects but this is the first time I’ve gone there to do client work. India is one of my favorite places to shoot and this time I was hired by an Indian client and worked with Indian production.”
Joey and the team were on-site in India for two weeks. The first week was spent scouting, where they found locals to be the faces for the concept. “Even though its a tourism campaign, there are real travelers in the ads, they're just in the background,” said Joey. “We used real people from the actual environments.” Joey started shooting as they circled back from scouting and completed the project over that second week. “There was a full casting, we choose every single person. The group shots are really elaborate; there’s a lot going on. Every single thing was constructed. For example, for the seashore scene, the main hero subjects were the fisherman. We went there and saw the fisherman pulling in their boats and we chased people we thought would be good for the advertisement. They weren’t Indian actors or models or something, they're all street casted.”
“The locations are very spread out because they wanted to show a large, encompassing look at the state they belong to. Each environment is pretty famous for Kerala. One is the backwaters, there’s an image on the streets, one outside of a temple. Each one is a place they’d like travelers to visit. If you look in the backgrounds, you can see tourists traveling. They are ads for tourism, so it makes sense to see travelers. But most people who come to Kerala are a little adventurous, and would rather see local people than other travelers so they are there, but not super prominent.”
In addition to this experience being his first time working on commissioned work in India, the project itself was unique. In lieu of a traditional shot list that contains a series of image suggestions in words, the client had developed detailed sketches to serve as inspiration for each of the 5 images they intended to create. While there was a general understanding throughout the team that the sketches were provided as a starting point, the final product ended up being a close match. “My favorite location was the backwaters, that’s the girl in the boat. The reason why is that the first sketch and the final execution are almost a perfect match. My favorite moment was when we had all that moving pieces in front of us and it just became real. It wasn’t exactly what they had drawn but we made it come true in a different medium that wasn’t just a pencil on a paper sketch. Even the light, the time of the day, early in the morning, it all came together and made the perfect shot.”
Patrik Giardino Captures Brooklyn Beckham For GQ
Brooklyn Beckham is no stranger to the spotlight, but he prefers to be behind the camera. His mother, Victoria Beckham, is an international pop star and designer while his father, David Beckham is known around the globe for his careers in both soccer and modeling. When BMW first approached the aspiring photographer to serve as brand ambassador, he accepted, on the basis that he wouldn’t just model alongside the cars, but that he could shoot them as well. In their latest collaboration for BMW and GQ Magazine, photographer Patrik Giardino captured Brooklyn Beckham in a documentary style photoshoot, centered around the brand ambassador.
“The whole concept was to shoot a documentary around Brooklyn,” said Patrik. “That was the whole idea of the shoot. We wanted to keep an Instagram feel to it so it didn’t feel so much like advertising. The story for GQ was a story about him as a photographer but it was a hybrid shoot for BMW as well. The project started as a GQ shoot and then they were like, hey let’s do social media too, so that portion was added on and kept growing from there.”
In addition to his role as photographer, Patrik stepped into another role of photography mentor for Brooklyn while on set. “Brooklyn aspires to be a photographer, and he’s done some shoots already,” explained Patrik. “We were chatting about everything, going back and forth. I helped him set up the camera, and was really there through the whole process. He went totally analog for the whole shoot, no iPhone. He likes using old cameras so we had a really good time chatting about that too.”
The entire shoot took place over several days. They shot everything in Palm Springs for two days before heading to the race tracks. “It was a thermal race track outside of Palm Springs in the middle of the desert out there. BMW let him drive some of their race cars there, and they were going fast, like 150mph each - they were flying!”
Like all photo shoots, there were challenges. “The funniest part of the whole shoot is that we couldn’t drive the car. The day before the shoot, we found out as we were pulling into the hotel. It was just a prototype car, so it was not functional, and you cannot drive more than a couple of minutes. That was a little challenging because we had to think and move around with the car, and we had to throw a lot of ideas out the window,” explained Patrik. “When we went to the race track, they gave him other cars to drive around, so he went a little crazy. Donuts and crazy stuff, Brooklyn had a blast!”
Anna Wintour Gets Personal With The Selby
Anna Wintour has been editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine since 1988. A cultural icon and aesthetic expert, Anna is credited with forging and shaping America’s relationship with fashion into the new millenium. Artist The Selby directed and illustrated the hit social series Go Ask Anna in his latest collaboration with Vogue and Anna Wintour herself.
“People on the street ask questions, and then Anna answers them,” The Selby explained. “I do an interview where I’ll ask follow up questions and have a conversation with her. Then I do some watercolor drawings that go along with the video; it adds that bit of fun and funk and it helps illustrate what she’s saying.” The entire process is a collaboration, with The Selby at its core as director. The questions come from curious fashion lovers around the country. Vogue gathered some questions straight from the streets of New York, and The Selby was able to collect some unanswered thoughts in both Texas and LA.
It wasn’t the first time The Selby managed a project that included taking his interviews to the streets. “When we approach people that know who Anna is, they start freaking out. It’s like going up to a Catholic and saying ‘We’re going to show this to the Pope,’” Selby said. “Tourists might not know Anna or might be suspicious of me. They ask me for a business card; it’s an interesting thing. When I started my career, I used to work a lot for NY Mag. I did a lot of “hundred person polls” where I would grab people on the street and interview them. I like that random element of grabbing people and talking to them, but it’s gotten much harder now. Everyone’s on their phone, and you’re distracting them. I remember when the iPod came out with the earpods. It changed everything.”
Once all of the in-camera elements were shot and complete, Selby found space for his sketches to playfully illustrate Anna’s thoughts. “Once we lock the final edit, I think about a moment where it would be fun to show something happening. I’m trying to use myself as the audience, doing things I like that could be interesting. Anna only told me to take out one drawing, out of hundreds of hundreds of items. I got the AWOK. This thing with Anna is called ‘AWOK.’ It means the ‘Anna Wintour OK.’ There’s this whole thing at Vogue, you don’t have anything if you don’t have AWOK. It’s a huge deal in the world of fashion,” Selby explains. “That’s why all the stuff is like floating around her head. I think it's a representation of Anna’s world and what she does. That’s something I always do with my work. I try to document and represent someone’s world by also adding my own creativity to it.”
In this project with Anna, The Selby has the unique opportunity to pull back the curtain and giving the world a few moments to see into her brain and thought process. “I think it’s really fascinating to see how her mind works. She’s like this wizard of fashion so just seeing her process and listening to how she’s seeing these different things, I’ve learned a lot. Anna has this incredible knowledge of fashion and all sorts of things around fashion, and I think what’s really interesting is that she only looks forward, you know, which I found the same thing with Karl Lagerfeld. They are always looking forward, that is the thing, and I found that really compelling. It’s a mark of powerful people, visionaries look forward, they know the history, but they're looking at the future.”
Kai & Sunny Paint The Downtown
Kai and Sunny recently completed a mural at our very own Great Bowery office in New York City. The project was commissioned by Nutrafol, a hair wellness company, and unveiled during a launch party for the product. When asked about their inspiration and process in creating the mural, Kai admits that they designed for the job in mind and that they were focused on trying to capture dynamic movement. However, like all of their work, their process is holistic and informed by their environment, so the final piece is up for interpretation. “I think society is shifting right now and everything seems to be fighting,” Kai explains on the direction of the project. “We try to navigate through that. The idea of change is a good thing, it’s not that hard to explain but it’s an abstract piece. People can take what they want from it, but I wanted to get the idea across of shifting and moving and some kind of change.”
The style of the piece is in fact juxtaposed with the method they used to create it. When speaking about their process, Kai described a process that is “quite methodic and thought-through.” He further explains that their process does not include free form, it’s focused on planned design. Their piece, which is painted with acrylics, includes 10 different colors. “We work through our colors, so we work from the lightest up to the darkest,” Kai adds. “Very slow, very methodic and start to finish, so we know what we’re doing.” Kai and Sunny are not new to this process of collaborative creation. Their style evolved organically through the partnership. “We’ve been working for 15 years, and together, 16 maybe. It’s just been a natural process of chipping away, and extracting, and deconstructing, and building it up again.” Kai and Sunny’s use of a methodic process to create an image that captures fluidity is a paradox, but it informs their interpretation of the final product.
While their work is open to interpretation, they value the consistent symbolism of constructing large pieces out of thin lines and the detail of how many tiny, delicate parts make up an impressive whole. “We liked this idea that a single line is very fragile, with the lines in the beginning. You get a group of lines together, hundreds of lines, or even a thousand lines, and it has the strength and the structure, to create an image. There is something quite nice in a line, somewhere, very fragile, but with a thousand lines you got strength and power and color and movement,” Kai explains.
Kai and Sunny’s work is a wholesome collaboration between process and message. While their process is deliberate and focuses on precision, the message is one of change and progress. Kai explains that what attracts him to making this type of art is that “going back to the one line, fragile, hundreds of lines, makes something interesting, makes something powerful. If we all come together, we can make change.”
Back to Brutalist Roots with Jason Schmidt
Before realizing his love of creating images, photographer Jason Schmidt originally saw himself as an aspiring architect. Growing up in New York, he idolized the iconic Twin Towers and later found his ideal aesthetic with Brutalist architecture. In his latest cover story for T Magazine’s annual design issue, Jason marries his creative interests in a series of photo shoots focused on the six Brutalist leaning Chilean structures which he refers to as a “dream assignment.”
“It was kind of amazing,” Jason explained. “There was a local producer and architect who knew most of the architects that designed these six different homes, and he was our guide. We drove about four hours to get to the first house and we shot till sunset which was about 10pm and we were able to actually sleep in the first house. And then we got the sunrise and then we hit the road again. It was six houses in six days and six nights. And the itinerary was over a thousand miles. I had never been there before and the landscape there is incredible, quite extreme and it made for these incredible setting for these rather generally extreme homes.”
Traveling to six homes in six days from northern Chile to more southern areas of the country is no small feat. Jason traveled light, bringing just his camera and a tripod. “Interiors were not the primary focus, otherwise I would have had to bring some lights but in this case, I knew I wanted it to just be the daylight. A big part of shooting architecture is that invariably end of day and beginning of day are going to have the best light. Midday can be too flat or too harsh. You have to figure out exactly what the right type of angle is,” Jason stated on his process once on location. “Where I want to stand for a certain definitive view of the structure, or a certain elevation, or a certain facade. But then I’ll come back and revisit that same view or that same spot with my camera and tripod back multiple times throughout an afternoon or morning because sometimes the light radically changes the way the house is rendered dimensionally, as well as the mood. Sometimes the editing process is pretty interesting because I have to compare the same picture and see how it works.”
Although this project with T Magazine is architecture and structure focused, Jason is inspired by people and artists. “My portraits are pictures of people in a room and I sort of frame the space and put the person in there. I like organizing how I see things in a sort of architectural way.” In his photography work today, Jason still thinks about the lines and proportions of architecture that originally inspired him in his images every day.
In The Shadows With Nigel Cox
As the season turns to Spring, small trickles of color and warmth flow back into the winter world. Store windows become bright and vibrant, filled with floral-inspired accessories and sleek silhouettes perfect for a summer day. Spring-inspired accessories appear on those not yet ready to shed their winter coat. In his latest collaboration with Bergdorf Goodman, still life photographer Nigel Cox shows us the latest and greatest sunglass styles for the Spring/Summer season.
“I think it’s a nice thing that designers seem to be having more fun with sunglasses than they ever were before. There are some great materials and some great shapes in the range they gave us to shoot,” said Nigel on the aesthetic appeal of the project. “The Oliver Peoples glasses was the first shot we did of the series. The first shot is the one everyone always gets excited about. I love the surface and composition on that pair because it feels very levitating. It almost feels like the shadow has dimensions because the one arm seems more defined as if it actually is an arm. The rest of the shadow is more shaded and black against those colors. It’s interesting how the shadow sits because that arm is in such a different position and it’s casting that back shadow. The shadows are still very similar, sticking out at the same angle. When you look at the top one, you notice that it was made by an almost vertical arm. That's why we really had to think about the positioning and shapes.”
The consistent theme of Spring drove their choice in color, focusing on a more “off-beat” palette choice with colors that are unexpected, pitched by Nigel. The series featured a horizon line behind the floating eyewear that is suspended in mid-air. “We had a lot of work to do in two days. Sixteen shots over two days is a lot for that level of work, you really had to get in there and light them beautifully. We were doing all real shadows. Everything was shot very much in camera. We were holding things in place with plexiglass but otherwise, it was all very much shot in camera. We wanted to have really crisp shadows that were really true to what was happening above. We were factoring in those shapes when we were styling the glasses,” explained the photographer.
Although each season’s selections feel fresh and new, this wasn’t Nigel’s first time shooting accessories for the luxury retailer. Nigel and Bergdorfs have collaborated on many different fashion shoots over the years. “They want you to put your stamp on it and make it yours. They want you to be invested in it. A good client is one that lets you explore a little bit. The best ones are the ones that you explore the process. When they want something more creative, the best people are the ones who let you play around. Bergdorfs has always been one of those clients, they want something unique and original.”
Marc Hom's Game Of Thrones Finale
Marc Hom is no stranger to the set of the captivating HBO series, Game Of Thrones. The photographer has worked closely with Entertainment’s editorial on four different series of images since the show’s premiere. For each set of photographs he’s taken of the cast, the number of images that became covers has grown, with this final project producing sixteen. Each photo features a different actor, with the occasional pairing of intertwined characters. “No one has ever done 16 covers,” Marc said, cognizant of the magnitude of such a statement. “There was so much inspiration - the sets are amazing, the costumes are amazing. The way the show is made, everything around you is so unbelievably done in the Game Of Thrones world,” Marc continues, letting us in on the magic of being on set.
“The shoot itself was very well planned out. There was no way to achieve that level of work with that big of a cast without having it planned to the minute, because you only have 15-30 minutes with each person. We did have to be very careful because we were shooting where the show was shooting, so we couldn’t show any blood or spoilers from the set. We had to think about our camera angles and focus away from areas where the show had been filming. It was a lot of teamwork,” the photographer explained. Even the notion of there being blood on set incites a familiar anticipation for the fast-approaching series finale that is reminiscent of the consistent outpour of emotion from loyal fans and followers over the years.
Marc revealed his process behind the shoot, which is surprisingly less focused on the final season than one would imagine. “I’m never really thinking of the script,” Marc says, painting the picture of his thinking while on set. “I’m giving my take on it and looking at it through my own lens as opposed to focusing on the script because then it’s not really my picture. That’s something I think about in all entertainment work. When it’s too controlled and too directed, everyone becomes too stiff. It’s fun for these guys to think about who they are underneath all that stuff. In the last shoot, we took them completely out of the context of the show and shot them in the trailers behind the scenes. I loved that because it took them completely out of character. You can allow yourself that when you have characters that are so well known because the characters themselves tell the story. They're so recognizable.”
“It’s always incredible,” he continued, wrapping up his overall feeling about the photo shoot production. “We usually shoot in winter, but this shoot was done in June of last year. It was a touching moment because this was one of the last times the cast would be shooting in their beautiful costumes. They were in the middle of filming with just a couple weeks left. Kit was actually wearing that uniform for the last time when I shot him. It was a huge chapter of somebody’s life coming to an end, so it really was intense. We did 16 covers in 2 days with single portraits plus the big group picture. It was definitely a lot, but so well worth.”
Marc Hom’s collaboration with Entertainment Magazine follows Illustrator Jeff Soto’s Westeros artifact project with HBO, continuing B&A’s contributions to the final season phenomenon of the Game Of Thrones television series.
Alexandra Gavillet Goes Neon With Blackpink
Some of America’s most influential music groups come from abroad. A band’s first American tour sets the stage for their international success - pun intended. In her latest collaboration with Billboard Magazine, Alexandra Gavillet was one of the first American photographers to shoot the K-Pop artists, Blackpink, during their debut tour of the US.
A female photographer shooting an all-female South Korean girl group during their first tour of the US is a moment that America has not seen many times before. “Music is my number one inspiration and I primarily listen to music that is made outside of the US. This project was really exciting for me because it’s something I chat about all the time - how incredible the music scene is internationally and how important it is to work with, listen to and support international talent," explains Alexandra on why this project was a great fit. "Blackpink is so major, they're huge superstars. To have the opportunity to photograph their first US cover was major. I just felt so proud because it's so important that American media is more supportive of international artists, so this felt like a really meaningful first step for the k-pop community. I was so grateful to be a part of that.”
Although it was their first trip to the US, the girls had little time to sit back and relax. The girl group kicked off their stay with a performance at the Universal Music Group’s annual showcase and made morning and late-night appearances on primetime television talk shows, including Late Night with Stephen Colbert. The girls looked soft during their photo shoot with Alexandra at Smashbox Studios, accentuating the vibrant fashions and fantastical sets showcased in each photo. The band members stretched out on velvet couches in front of luxurious backdrops featuring green and fuschia hues of satin and fur and posed in a lilac room with whispy bunches of florals floating mid-air around the singers.
In addition to the cover image of all four band members laying in a sea of luxurious neon pink fabrics beneath a plethora of different floral arrangements, Billboard Magazine produced four covers featuring a portrait of each of the stars from their photoshoot with Alexandra. Billboard even produced a commemorative collector’s box set with all five covers and full-size posters of Alexandra’s images. Blackpink brought their A game to set for Alexandra, ready to show face and announce to America that the group, in fact, has arrived.