A Holiday Tradition of Collaboration
Holiday traditions bring warmth and togetherness to the winter season. In their long-standing tradition, Kiehl’s continues the annual Limited Edition Charitable Holiday Collection artist collaboration to do just that. This year, the family-founded skincare brand selected Andrew Bannecker as the artist to illustrate their campaign to help end hunger, and it’s the whimsical festivity that we’ve all been waiting for.
Andrew’s signature use of bright and vivid colors illustrate these quirky characters, evoking the festive spirit throughout this collaboration for the holidays. But the collection raises more than just awareness. During a segment on her daytime talk show, Ellen Degeneres featured the project and announced that 100% of the net profits will be used to provide over 1 million meals to Feeding America.
Inspired by the spirit of holiday collaborations, Bernstein & Andriulli brought some of our artists together. Creative studio Bewilder gave life to the otherwise 2D characters from the Kiehl’s campaign. In this short holiday message, you can meet some of the illustrations Andrew featured throughout the collection and share in the holiday cheer.
From all of us at B&A, we hope you have a great holiday season.
Joey L Embraces Warmth with Canada Goose
Even in August, the Arctic is a cold place. Almost five months ago, Joey L was on the Grinnell Glacier with Canada Goose shooting two of their campaigns for this winter, and while it was often raining, the ice held strong. They were on the Baffin Island in Nunavut, a territory of Canada populated almost entirely by the First Nations, the native population of Canada. It’s a place that Joey had never been before, and one he was keen to visit. “I’ve traveled to so many countries but I’ve seen so little of where I’m from so it was nice to do that shoot and really go out deep into the glacier,” Joey explains. “We were driving for hours in the helicopter; it was pretty far out.” The opportunity was to do something more than a fashion campaign, and bring the wider context of the Canada Goose brand into the story. So that’s what they did.
Both campaigns engaged professionals with the product. They brought on adventurers and activists, explorers and a dog sled racer. These are the people who understand what it’s like to spend time in extreme weather conditions - they know how to wear the gear. In the second campaign, Generations of Warmth, Joey and Canada Goose invited family members and friends of their subjects to bring real relationships into the story. The marquee photograph of Sarain Fox, Indigenous Rights Activist and TV host, and her mother, Banakonda, was full of emotion - even more than anticipated. The close relationship between mother and daughter had been untended because of Sarain’s intense working schedule, but when they got their time together in the Arctic they immediately reconnected. Joey cleared the set and let them interact personally, brimming with emotion and quietly conversing. Then Joey gently called Sarain’s name, both she and her mother looked at Joey, and he took the picture. Sarain describes the moment as an outtake, it was such a light touch, but the result is a favorite from the campaign.
Joey L and Canada Goose have been working together for years, and over that time Joey has witnessed how the brand has found a voice in the market. Each year they evolve, and this latest campaign, Generations of Warmth, has struck a chord with him. “I think this shoot solidified what I think they want which is raw, real human stories,” Joey explains. “It should be raw and photojournalistic but it also has to look elevated, and that’s what I think we accomplished” When we’re examining how a brand can self-identify, we have to go beyond surface definitions of expectations. When we see a beautiful photograph, we must demand more from it: story, humanity, emotion, authenticity. Joey L strove for all of that in these campaigns, and certainly succeeded with each one right after the other.
Pari Dukovic's Seemingly Unlikely Man of the Year for GQ
Henry Golding didn’t expect to be one of GQ’s Men of the Year. When the Crazy Rich Asians star started the year, he was following the typical grind of a Hollywood actor, trying to break out of the roster of auditioning talent and make an impression on directors and producers. He couldn’t know that his movie that released this summer would be the biggest rom-com release of the last decade and turning from a Malaysian TV host to an international leading man. That shock of career lines up perfectly with Pari Dukovic’s signature shock of color that makes his work so eminently recognizable. The power in Pari’s work comes not only from a technical mastery but also the energy injected through the host of hues he employs, and for Golding it adds a level of timelessness. Which is not ironic – it’s fitting.
We shouldn’t talk around what’s made Crazy Rich Asians such a phenomenon. Sure, it’s based on a best-selling book series, had a great script, and was directly deftly with an incredible cast. But it’s also the proof to American audiences that Asian stories are worth telling (and to American studios that Asian actors can lead huge films). As we wait for Hollywood to catch up, we must grapple with the fact that our culture has systematically left Asian voices and faces out of our canon. The images that Pari created with GQ for this year’s Men of the Year story with Golding are immediately contemporary, but carry with them references and a feeling of the 60s and 70s, a time of huge image making that was focused on white faces. In a way, Pari is helping us all to catch up. As we move forward into a culture that represents all people, Pari gets to play with retro aesthetics and reconfigure our collective archive to include those who should have been included from the start.
Joe Pugliese Shows the Transformative Power of Haircuts on LA's Homeless
Sometimes the biggest impact comes from the smallest gestures. Jason Schneidman is a hairstylist and groomer that’s worked with Joe Pugliese on set for their jobs, but they recently collaborated on project that goes beyond the glitz of an editorial set. In his free time, Schneidman offers his time to cut the hair of homeless folk in Los Angeles, and after hearing about this ongoing service, Joe asked if he could document the process and people that Schneidman reaches out to. “It was important fo me to honor it in a very matter of fact way without building up the heavy sympathy approach that we see a lot,” Joe explains. “I just thought that this was a nice way into a singular thing that one person does that doesn’t necessarily change their lives but it might change their day… Do what you can with what you have and incrementally make somebody’s day better whether or not you change the world or change someone’s life is nearly here nor there.”
The series offers a look at Schneidman’s process and the effect that a haircut can have. Like Joe says, the minutes in that chair and the human attention that Schneidman gives will not change the trajectory of their lives, but it does offer a human moment and the opportunity to feel good about themselves and the world they're living in. “I wanted to illustrate the transformative property of a simple haircut and I didn’t want to do it so much for the haircut but with their expressions,” Joe says. “I used a long lens to stay out of the action, and I was a sort of fly out of the way so they didn’t feel like there was a photoshoot. it was important to him that it not be a complicated set up. This wasn’t about photography.” Joe’s distance allowed for even more authentic moments so the transformation is ever clearer and deeper.
Often, the photographs are less about the haircut and more about the connection between two people. Living on the streets can be isolating and stressful, but Schneidman gives his clients the opportunity to sit and connect with another person in a context that has no expectation or ulterior motive. “It looks like they’re happy to just be gently handled. They’re happy to have somebody who’s really caring for them in a way that is respectful,” Joe says. “There’s a level of trust that I think we all relate to even when we’re sitting in a barber’s chair… His interaction with them taught me a lot about how I interact with my subjects. And I saw a lot of the same trust building steps that he takes with his subjects that I tried to take with my photographic subjects.” As we approach a season of giving, Joe and Schneidman remind us that sometimes the best gift you can give is your time and attention.
Paola + Murray Don't Freeze Up in Japan for Conde Nast Traveler
To hear it told, Northern Japan has some of the best skiing conditions in the world. The idea of ski resorts calls up images of the Alps and Colorado, but there are pockets on Honshu, Japan’s largest island, where the mountains give way to thrilling slopes. Conde Nast Traveler invited Paola + Murray to venture to these more remote places to bring back a taste of what they found there. What they found was a little bit different from what they expected. “[Adam Graham] had been there two weeks before and the conditions were absolutely perfect. Lots of deep snow and blue skies, and pretty much as soon as we landed it started raining. And it rained, kind of the whole time,” says Murray Hall, who makes up half of Paola + Murray with his wife Paola Ambrosi De Magistris. Even though it rained the whole time they were exploring the area, they were still able to use their skills to show off what it was the writer saw and deliver a story that’s as full of snow as we could hope.
The story in Conde Nast Traveler is about more than the slopes and the wintery conditions – it’s also about everything that surrounds the literal skiing experience. And when Paola + Murray couldn’t capture three feet of perfect powder, they were still able to deliver the full picture. That’s because they looked beyond the expected. “It comes down to those areas around ski resorts; they kind of just have that vibe,” explains Murray. Whether it’s a steaming bath at a hot spring onsen, or a hearty meal of soba, the experience extends far beyond the trails and deeper than the rain sodden snow outside.
“In all our photography, our main objective is to keep things as real as possible and keep it really authentic and real,” says Murray. “Japan is one of those places that is super authentic, so it’s not very difficult to make it look real.”
Kyle Bean Expands for Kiehl’s
When an artist approaches a creative process with authenticity, every project presents an opportunity to grow and learn. For Kyle Bean, much of what he creates is rather broad. He’s generally brought on to solve large creative problems in a visual process, but every now and then he has a collaboration that has more defined boundaries. His latest, with Kiehl’s was one of those jobs and it opened up new doors, even within its constraints.
“What I found quite appealing about this job was that what I was tasked with almost creating something between an architectural model and an illustrative representation of a Kiehl’s store,” explains Kyle. “Normally, I don’t normally have that much of a brief when I’m given a job to make one of my artworks, so it was a bit more specific in that they wanted there to be lots of references to what you find inside a typical Kiehl’s store like their flagship store in New York.” Those details included the pear tree that sits outside the Kiehl’s store on Manhattan’s East Village location on 3rd Avenue, a Mr Bones skeleton, a motorbike, the little compartmentalized drawers where the product sits. But above all else, literally, the entire store was set in the shape of Chinese retailer TMall’s logo. The project was created to celebrate Singles Day, a holiday in China that celebrates folks who are romantically unattached. Every one of these confinements was an opportunity.
The biggest change for Kyle was all the people. The store he created with photographer Mitch Payne is chock full of customers, and so Kyle had to create them. “My work doesn’t really contain people usually, so that was definitely a new challenge for me,” explains Kyle. “What we arrived at was this combination of papercraft and simple painted shapes so they look like stylized characters.”
“Every job I learn something new, even if it’s something simple. On this job I was using a bit of a mix of materials in a way that I wouldn’t always use or combine in some of my other work,” Kyle says. “With the motorbike I used a weird combination of oven drying and some painted wooden dowels. What I found quite liberating with this job is I could kind of just find materials that I felt could work for different parts of the model and not feel constrained.” Every limitation offers an opportunity for expansion, and with this project for Kiehl’s, Kyle was able to use every square inch to broaden his process.
Dan Craig Breaks Through for UGG
In the latest collaboration between Illustrator Dan Craig and UGG, time is an illusion. In a subversion of the myths we’ve told ourselves, Dan has created a series of classically styled paintings that reflect stories from times of old. Each one is massive and a take on images you already know: Simon Vouet’s Venus, François Boucher’s Hercules & Omphale and Alexandre Cabanel’s Apollo. Of course, they’re all a little different, but that’s the point. They’re all remixes on a classic.
This latest campaign celebrates the collaboration between UGG and Y/Project, a series of new styles that remix the classic UGG look, so it stands to reason that the new styles would be breaking through the past and into the present. Each of Dan’s illustrations are painted life-size and feature cutouts so that live models pop in and out of them, showing of their very human faces and the UGG styles featured in each image. Whether they’re a heeled version of a boot, or a men’s style that’s three-tiered or a take on a flip-flop, these are styles we’ve never seen before with DNA that runs back to the very beginning of the brand and their most iconic styles.
It’s a blend of new and old that makes this campaign created with Plus Agency burst through to the future, with each image offering a tension that demands the audience gives a second look.
Marc Hom Reveals the Breadth of Willem Dafoe for Esquire
Willem Dafoe has made a reputation for himself as being one of the most engaging and agile actors of his generation. In the latest cover story for Esquire featuring Dafoe and photographed by Marc Hom, the magazine makes clear the breadth of roles he’s taken on. Everything from a death god to players on both sides of the Holocaust, to the Green Goblin and Vulko. Now: he’s playing Vincent Van Gogh. What makes this range so profound is that Dafoe has an unmistakable look, he’s able to reshape his energies and body language to inhabit these roles. For this cover story, it was up to Marc to ensure that we see the range even when he’s dressed up in the latest fashions with nothing between him and audience but Marc’s discerning eye and flair for composition.
In only eight images we see a multifaceted man, the same man that’s revealed through the companion interview. And he’s never out of place in the fashions he wears: Prada, Louis Vuitton, Dries Van Noten, Ferragamo, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Hermès. It’s all the names that make the most fashion savvy weak in the knees, but on Dafoe they’re perfectly at home, and pieces that he’s able to use as tools in his arsenal. See one photo where he’s balancing on a table, slicing an apple, a vision of an effortless leading man. In the next image, he’s a total creep in an oversized jacket. Then a blissed-out meditator in a full wool suit. Marc’s ability to capture each moment from the actor proves not only Dafoe’s versatility but Marc’s instinct to reveal to us all he sees and invite us into every moment.
TEVA Straps In with Taylor Rainbolt
TEVA is undergoing a transformation. What used to be an outdoor sandal brand is now expanding into new markets thanks to the explosive and exploratory nature of today’s fashion community. This season the brand is underscoring the shift with a campaign shot by Taylor Rainbolt in collaboration with Chloe x Halle, the R&B duo blessed by Beyoncé’s mentorship. The resulting campaign combines the two artist’s unique style sensibilities with the cultural heritage of TEVA. “We wanted to keep it raw so that we felt like it wasn’t too high-end where it wasn’t accessible to people. Giving it that rawness from nature. TEVA can be for anybody, so we decided to show the actual scene and give it that,” explained Taylor. “They’ve noticed their products showing up a lot in New York Fashion Week, so they came out with a line that you could wear every day, not just to the beach or hiking, or just camping.”
The shoot features Chloe x Halle lounging in styles that they chose on a set that gives away its own secrets: you see C-stands, sandbags, and clips holding up pieces of flora or the draped seamless. Everything was brought together to play with the tension inherent in the pieces that bring together the final look. “We used plants to cast shadows onto the wall, to keep both together. Keep fashion and nature together. And then if we didn’t cast a shadow we put plants in the scene to give it that natural vibe. It’s cool vibes, it’s so versatile you can wear it with an outfit or go camping,” Taylor explains. “And then we played with the color because I feel like it really gives it that pop.” Chloe x Halle are set in this specially created world to bridge the gap, but it’s not just the aesthetic that got it to work. It was also the energy that Taylor was able to create with Chloe x Halle on set.
“They came to set right away giving everyone hugs and were super excited about it and we created the dynamic where we know everyone’s excited. They were great at collaborating and it was just really amazing,” Taylor says. “It’s cool that it was bringing young women working together; just collaborating with younger women.” The collaboration between all three women created a dynamic set of imagery that wouldn’t have been possible anywhere else.
Emiliano Ponzi Goes West for The New Yorker
The scale of America is often misunderstood. It’s not until non-Americans attempt to span the country, or you lay a map of the US over other countries, that the sheer size of 48 contiguous states make sense (not to mention Alaska’s yawning enormity). When Emiliano Ponzi embarked on a trip through the American west, he gave himself nearly two weeks to cover a massive but relatively small corridor of the country. Throughout those 12 days, he illustrated what he saw, handing his work over to The New Yorker who shared it via their Instagram. “Drawing is the most ancient way to represent the world and I wanted to be a witness to Western America using just my drawing tools,” Emiliano says. “Visiting places and meeting new people can make us feel smaller or bigger, speechless or emotional. Simply different. Visiting new places is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves. To do that, we have to leave our biases at home and see things for what they really are.”
Throughout his journey, Emiliano captioned each of the moments with his impressions of the experience, watching where time and cultures have compressed and expanded over time. After leaving Los Vegas he made his way to Antelope Canyon, where he was confronted with the Native proverb that says: “You cannot see the future with tears in your eyes.”
“Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon on Navajo land in Arizona. During the visit, a Navajo man in traditional clothes entertained us with a hoop dance,” Emiliano tells it. “The music came from an iPhone and I glimpsed the Nike shorts he had under the straw skirt. I saw the connection between the past and the present and wondered what the future holds for these people who are keeping their traditions alive.”
Continuing out through the desert, the sheer size and heat of the place became oppressive and worked its way into Emiliano’s work and experience. He began to see gas stations as oases, if for no other feature than to break up the monotony. “No phone service for hundreds of miles, no shaded areas, no food or water during the long rides from one destination to another,” says Emiliano. “I found these modern oases during my journey. They were a vector of hope, a sign of civilization in that specific context—things you barely notice walking along the street in everyday life.”
Emiliano continued his journey through the desert into Palm Springs, and beyond into Monterey, Big Sur, and Los Angeles. Check out everything on The New Yorker’s art Instagram.
Sharing Human Stories with Jason Madara and Best Buy
Our cultural economy has changed. As the world grows smaller, we’re more connected than ever before thanks to a constant deluge of information streaming from never ending communication and expression. These connections have given everyone the ability to parse between what is real and what is fake, forcing major brands like Best Buy to tell the story of their company entirely without artifice. That is not an easy thing to do. So when Best Buy made the shift to invest in that kind of a brand identity they went to Jason Madara to help them do it. The Creative Director of Best Buy, Denton Warne, explains:
“Jason Madara’s body of work intrigued us right away. His framing and composition always feel timeless and his light is meticulous – but what we loved most about his work is the character he’s able to draw out of his subjects. It takes a huge amount of care and intuition to capture a frame of someone who has never modeled before and turn it into something you are immediately drawn to.”
For Jason, the challenge of bringing truth out of a subject is the sum total of his job. He works on every element: lighting and wardrobe, casting and makeup. But the deepest part of the work happens between him and his subjects, translating those moments into images. But even beyond that, it’s about more than just making something great for his clients. “When I’m away from my family and I’m doing work, I want to find a way to not just enjoy shooting the job and going to work, I want to really become part of it,” Jason explains. “I find something to connect with for everybody, and that is really important to me.” By investing himself in every moment, the subjects meet him on that level and open up. It’s a collaboration: they work together to tell the best stories in the way that supports their message.
And the message is shared humanity.
Best Buy is a massive company with huge stores filled with hardware and electronics. But with this campaign, they were able to fill every location with authentic human moments. “When I walked into Best Buy and I saw this campaign for the first time in Manhattan and in LA, I saw the prints in the stores and there is a certain sense of nothing feeling forced. Everything feels warm,” Jason explains. “Humans are the core of the story, and I think that’s true in life.” The campaign created the opportunity to fill every location with human stories, setting the tone for the future of Best Buy, but also giving Jason the platform to connect with people in a meaningful way.
Serge Seidlitz Saves Us From the H*ll of Home Mortgages
Entering into a home mortgage is long term relationship. The 15 or 30 year commitment with a lender is one of the most comprehensive and invasive agreements that most will enter into, and Habito Mortgage knows it can be a scary prospect. That’s why they teamed up with Serge Seidlitz to illustrate those fears and to assuage the audience that there are other options.
With characters and settings created entirely by Serge, the 30-second spot shows a young man beginning the process of applying for a loan and unfurling the mile’s long application that launches a host of grabby hands, each one with a different goal: it’s not just every penny in his pockets they want, they also want his gold tooth, his skeleton, and even his spirit. It’s a profound message that many home owners can relate to. Serge brings us along with the character’s journey every step of the way: mixing comedy with the real fears that arise from these processes.
Of course, the savor is the product and Serge’s client: Habito Home Mortgages a brand that works to demystify the process and rescue hesitant shoppers from their fears. In just a single moment, Serge changes the entire tenor of the message with the introduction of Habito’s website and product. Quickly the hell that has been carefully created is replaced by serenity and calm, each mood balanced and executed by Serge’s illustrations and Strange Beast’s production.
Check out the spot below, and see if you recognize your own home mortgage hesitancies in Serge’s exciting characterizations.
Nickelodeon and Radio Get Creepy for Halloween
There are few days more exciting than Halloween. As a holiday it is a thrilling mixture of fear and potential, combined with dressing up, the promise of candy, and a suspension of rules still unclear to forming minds. It is a cornucopia of adventure, but a feeling that gets tempered with age and the unexpected becomes a little more predictable. This year, Nickelodeon and Radio celebrated the season by bringing those feelings back to life for children and adults alike, and the results are the best kind of creepy.
Each of the spots, set to play on Nickelodeon to let kids know what they’re watching and what’s up next, tells its own little story from characters who are living a whole Halloween life. And each one has its own silly payoff. A haunted house is inhabited by a group of friends that includes a flaming skeleton, a werewolf, a living headstone and an animated coffin. Over the course of these idents, the gang gets up to their own late night antics: giving the werewolf a festive trim, scaring the headstone with an explosive boney hand, and even dunking a flaming head into a carved jack-o-lantern to complete the seasonal fun. There’s a ton of them.
“We worked closely with the Nick team, coming up with concepts that relate to each show, such as SpongeBob SquarePants, The Loud House, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and more, as well as a few generic ID’s, all featuring our beloved crew of characters,” says Radio. “The house, characters and environments were all created from scratch and then brought to life by our team.” This was more than just a few videos: this was a top down recreation of Nickelodeon’s identity for the season, and Radio made every moment of it.
How First Responders Respond with Brian Doben and AT&T
Since Brian Doben officially launched his At Work series in 2013 it’s become a new window through which to understand his own work. By attaching the stories he tells to the work that his subjects spend their lives pursuing, it affords an opportunity to see them operating at the height of focus and passion. He was recently invited to a shoot for AT&T, embedding into a disaster zone situation to see how AT&T’s FirstNet gets everyone up and running on the other side of tragedy. “It was an incredible experience for me because I had the opportunity to work in a natural disaster environment with professional firefighters who embody the At Work philosophy of loving what they do,” Brian explains. “They’re very passionate people who work their entire life with their main goal of saving lives.”
There were no lives to save during the shoot: the entire situation was manufactured to create the campaign, which afforded everyone on set to take their time and get every epic moment possible. “They created a small town and they just made it look as though it was hit by disaster,” Brian explains. “They set fire to buildings, we had helicopters, and torn down buildings and had people working through the buildings. It was kind of a little bit of everything.” Briand had full run of the place while real firefighters and first responders did the work they would normally if the situation had higher stakes. This way, Brian was able to get the images that tell the stories of these incredible people without getting in the way of what they were doing. As an audience we need to understand how that work is done but without the risk of impeding it.
As part of At Work, Brian’s process is to have as light a touch as possible. He meets his subjects in their work spaces, spaces that are markedly theirs, and composes the images to highlight their unique personalities. There are no sets and nothing is manufactured. But this massive, Hollywood style, creation was something different. The truth of the work from his subjects is still intact, but the setting was created for the images. That was really fun for him. “I get to see people in all facets of life, usually it’s either creative people or business people, but to see people in action was kind of a different form which was exciting to be in,” Brian explains. “I got to be a kid and I got to hide under pieces of metal and in burnt out buildings and try to capture these moments because I was really left to my own accord to make epic images.”
Brian is always our guide when he enters a space and presents it to us later. This time he was able to show us something that the luckiest around us never get to see. And he did it in a way that was as safe as it was truthful.
Enroll in Tinder University with Alexandra Gavillet
The digital age has allowed all of us to create our lives in the shape that we want them. Everything is available at an arm’s reach: delivered food, concierge laundry, and even phone-initiated relationships. Apps like Tinder have connected strangers and formed relationships that are unique to the digital age, and even as we’re still discovering what the contours of those relationships are, we can celebrate the new landscape. Alexandra Gavillet recently photographed Tinder’s latest campaign, dubbed "Tinder University," that imagines all of these new relationships formed through more traditional routes. More specifically: it sees what Tinder looks like in action in a University setting.
Alexandra has shot an entire campaign for them already, with three unique images releasing to the public, each playing with different conventions. In all of them we see how the life of a curious student lines up parallel to the needs that Tinder satisfies while still staying true to the cheeky concept.
The first image of Alexandra’s features a young woman in a library, doing her “research” both in the science of Chemistry and ostensibly the chemistry between the curious she’s meeting through her phone. In another, a couple is studying together, doing the work necessary before a test, and they’re “just trying to figure shit out” – both in their subjects and between each other. Finally, we a see a crowd of seven young people, each offering their unique qualities with the title “Thank Goodness for Multiple Choice.” Each image is filled with the humor and a balance of authentic accessibility and expert crafting that Alexandra is known for.
This is our first presentation of Alexandra Gavillet’s work, and we’re looking forward to showing you more. Please join us in welcoming her to the B&A roster.
The Power of Women Speaks for Variety with Joe Pugliese
Our culture is finally beginning to wrestle with what it means to put women at the center of our conversations. For generations, the male voice has been the default but in the last year or two the paradigm has begun to shift. It’s only the beginning, and it’s been a rocky start, but considering the work that has yet to be done: the start is good. Variety just unveiled the five covers for their Power of Women Honorees, and though the distinction is in its 10th year, the event has never been more prescient. Emma Gonzalez, Tiffany Haddish, Lena Waithe, Natalie Portman, and Regina King, each earned the platform to share causes that are important to them, and the cover of their own issue of Variety. Joe Pugliese was on hand to collaborate with each of these women and create imagery that would speak to the messages they have to share.
“I’m a conduit for their message, I’m a tool for them to get this out,” Joe explains. “I believe in diversity of views and vision and photography is benefiting from that and has a lot more to give in that respect, so I don’t take it lightly when I have a project like this.” Joe’s portraiture is always about finding a way to let his subject best speak for themselves, and never to apply anything on top of what he finds. Rather than being driven by concept: he acts as an observer to show us what we would experience if we were in the room.
That’s why in almost all these photos you see the subjects hands (“Hands are as expressive as faces,” he says). That’s why there are textural flares in the corners (“I wanted to add some depth and I also wanted to show that this is organic in camera, there were no effects”). Each element isn’t just an invitation in, it’s a removal of an obstacle between Joe’s subject and our experience of the photograph.
If there is an added element, it’s the unique color that was applied to each one of the honorees. But that was done to express the range of this group of powerful women, and underscore moments special to each subject. “We also tried to make sure that their expressions are lifted through the color and that it’s not overwhelmed,” he explains. The look on Waithe’s face is even moodier with the shade of green, the light blue behind Gonzalez becomes almost ethereal when filtered through her expression. “It was something to separate but tie them together, in kind of a chromatic way. They all lived in their own chromatic worlds but it was clear that they were related. I didn’t want it to be the same treatment for all five subjects, I wanted it to be that they are their own but they’re together.”
The invitation to photograph the Power of Women covers was more than a creative challenge for Joe but he accepted the job knowing that he could step back and make it about the women who were telling their stories. As Waithe said on her Instagram, sharing the cover image, “Thank you Joe for creating such a safe space and for being one of the dopest photographers on the planet” - a compliment that Joe ranks as “the highest compliment I could have received.”
Rod Stanley Gets Curious with Gucci
There’s a reason Gucci is on the minds of everyone in fashion: the brand is forging new ground. Their FW18 campaign is no different. “Curious Collectors” is far more than fashion films: they’re a series of documentaries that reveal an entire lifestyle around the brand that offers a window into a world that you may be shocked to learn doesn’t exist. Roderick Stanley helped create these new worlds thanks to his direction.
Roderick was on set in Austria, directing and improvising with the actors in three videos that follow collectors of butterflies, stuffed animals, painted portraits, and more. These stories draw us in closer than just how the actors are styled and the experiences that they exude; each one implies a whole lifetime, a fully realized obsession, experience far beyond the boundaries of the video.
What reveals itself in the final execution is the depth of detail that Roderick gets to. He scripted some of what we see on set in real time but also took ample time to explore and improvise. It’s that edge of curiosity, that real-time trudging forward into the unknown, that sparks on screen. We know that they’re finding the truth of these moments together, and it draws us in. And it just so happens that they’re wearing some of the most progressive fashion, with the most fully realized point of view, in the industry.
Roderick reminds us that a brand’s potential is in its totality, not just in the pieces we bring home. Roderick sells the lifestyle, proving that it is a top-down vision and not just snippets on a line sheet. And once we see that, thanks to his humanization of the experience, we’re ready to join in.
Jason Madara and ABC Carpet + Home Invite You Out
Joshua Tree National Park is an expansive otherworldly space outside of Palm Springs, east of Los Angeles, California. You’ve probably seen pictures, but there’s nothing quite like being there. “It’s a mysterious terrain and everything about it is so surreal, you really feel like you’re somewhere else,” explains Jason Madara, who shot his latest campaign for ABC Carpet + Home (his sixth) in the unique location. It’s true that there’s nothing quite like Joshua Tree, but there’s also nothing quite like getting there. “When you go to Joshua Tree you go to this place called Twenty-Nine Palms, which is literally like out of a David Lynch movie. It’s weird, but it’s cool. You’re only an hour from Palm Springs: great hotels, flashback to the 50s and 60s, great restaurants. And then you’re in Twenty-Nine Palms which you feel like you’re in a weird, bizarre, alternate universe. And then you go to Joshua Tree.” The desert is filled with Yucca palms, also known as Joshua Trees, recognizable for their unique look and even stranger taxonomy.
It was on this backdrop that Jason wanted to create the newest campaign, one that is markedly different from the previous five. This latest campaign has a much deeper sense of space. “I feel like after we did the caves (last year), I was like, how do you outdo the caves?,” Jason says. “I love landscapes, I love product design, I love nature. This was everything. This is a portrait of an environment more than anything else. There’s always that balance of the rug and the tree and the nature of the lighting… There are always those elements that we use in everything we do.” By bringing nature into the campaign in a new way, the balance of those elements became ever more complex. But each of those complexities offers new depth.
It would be impossible for Jason to light the entire sets like he did in all the previous campaigns. These scenes stretch out for thousands of feet and feature mountains in the distance. Instead, for the first time, Jason harnessed the light of the setting sun and the vibration of the moonlight – in addition to carefully, and conservatively placed lights. Ultimately, that’s what sets this campaign apart from the rest. “There was a delicate balance between the ambient light, the sunset, the clouds, the moonlight,” Jason explains. “We had to combine all these elements and I knew right away that the only way they were going to work is if the sky shots had clouds. Everything had to have some side of clouds and texture and the feeling that you could touch it. Everything had to have a tactile texture to it.”
Jason has created these campaigns for ABC Carpet + Home for years, and they’re literally about selling rugs. But more, they’re about showing space. A home is a place of comfort, an enclosed private space that we shape and mold into our own self-contained worlds. But in this latest campaign, Jason takes that fantastical idea of “home” and opens it up. Walls are replaced by mountains, tangible clouds and arcing star trails become a ceiling. Instead of inviting us in, Jason and ABC Carpet + Home are now inviting us out, showing us what it’s like if we make the whole world our home.
Jess Rotter Illustrates Parker Posey's Truth
Parker Posey is a unique brand of celebrity. Her humor percolates like a pinball from anecdotes to painting uncommon moods and knocking her audiences off balance in the most charming ways. When it came time to deliver her own personal story through her memoir, the approach was unconventional and she presented it unconventionally: it’s an invitation to spend time with her more than anything else. ‘You’re on an Airplane’ enfolds you in Posey’s stories in ways only she could tell them, and she collaborated with illustrator Jess Rotter to bring us even deeper into that experience. The results are far more than a traditional collection of illustrations.
Jess’ work is always injected with a sense of whimsy and nostalgic authenticity that she shares with Posey’s work, so the collaboration is seamless. Illustrations meet photographs (both new and vintage), brought together with type and composition that feels as contemporaneously hilarious as it does like a moment out of a bygone era. “The illustrations were a whimsical collage collaboration with Parker directly as an homage to zines and books of the past evoking spirit over modern slickness,” Jess explained. “Super grateful to be a part of this awesome project.”
The imagery is playful, but there is a rich solemnity to it: it reminds us that we’re reading a memoir. When we tell our own stories, we tell them from our own vision, through the glass of experience. Our experiences are what bring a color to what we remember and what we tell. Jess’ creative interpretations of Posey’s tangible histories elevate the truth into memory, bringing us into the often foggy experience of reliving and retelling our histories. In some ways, the results are more truthful to the experience of Posey as she and Jess were able to create representations that feel the most true even if they’re not entirely real.
The book is full of these collaborative collages and although we’re sharing a number of them here, the only way to get the true experience is to pick up a copy for yourself.
David McLeod Helps Reinvigorate BBC2 with Eclectic Stimulation
Every television network is a curated collection of experiences. They each have their own identity crafted by their programming and catered towards an audience that’s always growing and changing. They must stay dynamic and it’s ultimately a collaboration between their staff and their viewers, but it always comes down to the core message of what a network is trying to do. At BBC Two, they’re in the midst of a reinvigoration to be the home of the newest and edgiest programming, and as a part of that they’re presenting themselves through a series of creative and progressive Idents (the short spots between programs that remind you what network you’re watching). They asked David McLeod via B&A London to create two of these Idents to help spread the message of their identity.
“The new channel branding reflects this constantly eclectic and stimulating mix of programming and I am so excited to see it help define this next stage of the channel’s evolution,” explains Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two. Each of the 16 Idents, that include work by other artists like Futuredeluxe, The Mill, Aardman, and Mainframe, play with the unique curvature of the numeral 2 in ways that are exciting and seductive. David’s two pieces use similar textures but tell two different stories.
One uses a combination of amorphous three-dimensional shapes whose color combinations form the curvature of the numeral, and then bounce and move, cycling through different hues, until they reform back again. In the second Ident, David created forms as if fireworks and fungus came together into a single construct, rippling and exploding in waves of color. Each unique execution vibrates and moves, peaks and settles, in its own special tempo to shape the viewer’s experience of how to understand BBC Two’s identity.
“This project is one of those gift briefs that not only allow for the best art and design minds in the country to come together - but also has an immediate effect on popular culture with millions of eyes seeing it every day,” explains Laurent Simone, Executive Creative Director of BBC Creative. “Only the BBC offers such a large public platform for creative expression and exposure.”
We’re honored to have David McLeod’s work as a part of this project.