We Are The Rhoads Bring the Sunshine to Tod’sIn their latest campaign with Tod’s, photographers We Are The Rhoads wanted to capture the latest designs of the season on a bright sunny day. The only problem was that when the day came, it wasn’t sunny at all.
The photo shoot was scheduled to take place outside on a sunny December Los Angeles day, and slated to debut for the Spring season. The objective of the campaign was to not only show the collection, focusing on an aesthetic similar to a hot summer day in Italy but also to capture an authentic and honest narrative that The Rhoads are known for. Although it’s shown in the final result, the sun didn’t actually shine on the shooting day. Instead, it rained the entire week.Despite several locations ready to go for the campaign, a last-minute weather change forced the shoot to move inside of a studio. Agile and dedicated to the aesthetic, The Rhoads were able to construct a new a set, replicating the natural beauty of a sunny day, all in the 24 hours before the models arrived. “It was pretty intense to change an entire shoot from being outdoors to indoors and creating light, sunlight and all that, inside a dark room. It was a big warehouse. The biggest warehouse in LA,” said Sarah of The Rhoads. Without design, without artistry, and without equipment, a studio is just a dark empty room. The Rhoads and their team were able to take that clean slate and turn it into a look that was everything they needed to be.The result is a series of images that live in the light. As creative masters of their craft, The Rhoads created sunlight in a studio setting where there wasn’t any, resulting in natural shading, with true shadows of artificial trees throughout the imagery. Despite the weather and last-minute changes, the photography pair were able to capture the effortless chic spirit of the Tod’s collection in their signature authentic style, despite the most challenging of circumstances.
Seth Brody’s Sculpture Studio for Christian Siriano
Visual artist and production designer Seth Brody created a studio of sculptures for the recent showcase of Christian Siriano’s latest Resort line. The overall aesthetic for the shoot, as well as the collection, was inspired by the sculptures of the Atelier Brancusi from the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France. “Christian was initially inspired by the sculptor Constantin Brancusi and shared some photos of his studio. He showed me the colors and textures of the clothing he was designing and gave me full creative control from there,” explained Seth.
“I knew we would be shooting in his new showroom, which was once owned by Faberge, so loading large props in and out of the room had to be done carefully. We had to be mindful of weight and potential damage to the building. I decided to use styrofoam for a lot of the white sculpture’s legs, reinforced with wood in the center and then epoxy coated for durability. I sourced only salvaged styrofoam from Big Reuse, a shop on the Gowanus Canal that saves materials from the landfill and resells them. Other lightweight materials were used as well like salvaged cedar, wood, and pine.”
Seth worked on one set of sculptures per week and spent a total of about four weeks on just the initial inspiration - without even the drawings or renderings. “I got so into the project that we had to edit out about 20% of the sculptures because we were limited with space.”
While this is the latest collaboration between Seth and Christiano Siriano, it isn’t the first. Seth worked with Christian to design the striking violet sets for his recent Pre-Fall collection with backdrops with hues of lavender and lilac that leave you dreaming of Provence in bloom. “I have been working in this industry for almost 20 years and I must say, working with Christian was a truly unique experience. He is so talented and hands-on when it comes to styling, dressing, moving props. He is very inspiring to work with and a really unique talent. The project was fun, challenging and allowed me to be my best using all types of materials all types of tools and 100% creativity.”
Jenue Paints the Town Pride
B&A illustrator, Jenue, recently collaborated with Time Out Magazine to create cover art that celebrates LGBTQ pride for the month of June. The artist created three unique covers; one for New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Each cover has their respective cityscape in the background with Jenue’s rainbow typography that reads “Paint the Town Pride” on each cover. The typography on each of the three covers are all slightly different in layout and coloring, but maintain the same three dimensional, textured feeling, as if the words were actually painted over the black and white backdrop.
Known for using a great deal of color in his work, Time Out asked Jenue to create a colorful, rainbow painted typography for the covers, inspired by one of his recent personal projects. For that personal project as well as this project for Time Out, Jenue utilized a new technique that he discovered by mixing different software, which allows him to create the realistic acrylic paintings seen on these magazine covers. Jenue explains that he has “always been inspired by primary colors and graffiti, and acrylic painting, so I always want to find ways to create things that look real and craft, but in CGI.” These inspirations are seen across Jenue’s work, as well as on the Time Out covers.
The main concept of this project was to “Paint the Town.” Jenue explains that this project was a collaborative effort between the Time Out team and himself. “Time Out gave me the photography in black and white, and they wanted me to create paint on top in rainbow colors.” The illustrator took this concept and ran with it by creating rainbow ribbons that tie together the city buildings and typography in a very authentic way, where the colors seem to literally pop off the page.
Of the three different covers, Jenue says the New York design is his favorite. All three covers can be seen in their respective cities this summer in celebration of the city’s LGBTQ communities.
Michael Schnabel Travels to Athens With Range Rover
In his latest project with Range Rover, photographer Michael Schnabel traveled to Greece to capture the contemporary, sleek feeling of the Evoque. In a compelling series of images, Michael captures the car as it travels through the streets of Athens where the beauty of the historical city compliments the luxury of the vehicle.
“Usually, my productions are very structured, where someone scouts locations beforehand. This shoot was really instinctive, although we did do some research. We flew to Athens, and cruised around the city for a day and found some nice places. The car was located in Athens, and the city itself was super accommodating, even though we didn’t use local production. I was amazed. Everyone was super easy going and we felt so welcomed there. It felt right to shoot there. The Evoque is a classic car, so it’s essence is a city with a lot of history. It’s much more of a city SUV than an off-road SUV.”
The team agreed on a general look and feel, and the collaboration with Michael felt natural. Michael took risks with some of his signature touches including layering, double exposure and shooting through the glass. “I sometimes use a lot of layers in my work. I do that a lot because to me it resembles how dense our life is, how many layers our lives have. There’s just so much going on in the world. The layering relates to the many layers of our lives,” explains Michael. “This whole shoot was pretty spontaneous. We had different priorities for what we liked and what we wanted to catch in variety. The art director knew what he wanted and gave me a lot of room to create. Sometimes I would shoot through the glass of the car it would give me extra layering. Sometimes I use these big tools and it’s totally controlled, but this shoot was very different and I think it worked out really well.”
Michael's passion for both automobile photography and travel brought the project to life, giving him the ability to tell the story in an innate way that conveys a sense of belonging for the Evoque on the streets of Athens. “I’ve never been to Greece, I was very excited to go to a place which I have never seen. Shooting in December in the southern part of Europe is just rewarding. I haven’t shot with such a small team in a while, so it was really nice. Wherever you see the car in motion in this body of work, it was actually in motion. We did a lot of car to car shooting from one Evoque to another Evoque. It honestly felt a little bit like a personal project which made it special too. I got to drive the car, it was a great ride.”
Buff Monster's Wall of Pride
Throughout the month of June, cities across the U.S. celebrate the LGBTQ community in various ways. In an exciting new campaign, NYC Pride’s WorldPride Mural Project Initiative, collaborated with production and curation partner, The LISA Project NYC, founding partner, HSBC Bank, and major supporter, Macy’s to participate in the 2019 World Pride celebration. The LISA Project is a non-profit organization, with a mission to unite and support a diverse group of artists in NYC to curate the start of mural art districts throughout the city. 50 local and international artists were selected to create murals across the five boroughs of New York that reflect and honor the beauty, struggle, and strides of the LGBTQIA+ community throughout May and June. B&A Mural Artist, Buff Monster, was among the artists selected to participate in the creation of these murals.
“I’m excited to contribute this giant mural to the neighborhood and I’m happy to bring awareness to the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQ community.” Buff Monster’s giant pride mural was completed near his Manhattan studio on the Lower East Side. Measuring 94 feet wide and 31 feet high, the mural stretches across the entire face of a building on Chrystie Street. Buff Monster is not unfamiliar with working in this space. In 2014, he worked on a different mural with the LISA Project on the same wall that his new mural is painted on. “I’ve always loved this building; there is a park across the street, you can see the mural for blocks away and there is a lot of traffic turning at the mural for the Holland tunnel (outside of which another huge mural of mine is located).”
Buff Monster’s mural is the largest of the 50 curated for this initiative across NYC, featuring a “diverse group of characters with various expressions unified by a rainbow; capturing various stages of the struggle and triumph of the LGBTQ community,” explains Buff Monster. The figures of the mural are on brand with Buff Monster’s work, one-eyed, animated, characters. However, rather than each character being their own individual color, which is seen in most of his work, each character is filled in with a rainbow gradient of color. While each of their personal expressions makes them unique, the rainbow gradient unites the characters with the symbol of the World Pride celebration. When walking past the mural alongside the building, it’s easy to just see the characters one by one. But, when looking at the whole wall with a little more distance, one can see how the expressions of the various characters tell the story Buff Monster intended - both the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQ community.
This mural was a seven-day undertaking and is just a bit smaller than the largest mural Buff Monster has ever worked on. The LISA Project team prepared and prime the wall, Buff Monster then sketched his design and filled it all in with the help of his assistants Amanda and Sam. “I’m very happy to be a part of this historic celebration, especially at a time that we’re divided more than ever. Big thanks to the LISA Project and NYC Pride for all their support, my assistants Amanda and Sam, and of course, Dana Dynamite.”
Joe Pugliese Shoots the World Cup US Women's National Team
In his latest story with Eight By Eight Magazine, photographer Joe Pugliese worked with a wishlist editorial and creative director to shine a different light on the Women’s World Cup US National Team.
“The editorial we were shooting for was created by Robert Priest, who is a legendary design director. He and his partner created this design group, Priest & Grace, that does all kinds of advertising. Robert Priest came from magazines and was the design director for GQ, and he just has an amazing eye. He loves soccer so he decided to start his own soccer magazine to marry his passions with his profession, and he’s doing a wonderful job at it. It’s a showcase of his design work and his love for soccer. When he asked me to photograph the U.S. Women’s National Team, I immediately said yes.”
The dynamic between photographer and creative director was fluid throughout the project and the collaboration felt natural. “He really let me lead the way on it, it was a total creative collaboration. We were both coming up with ideas and it was really a great collaborative effort. I got to lead the concepts and all the coloring,” explained Joe. “Some of the color changes are for visual relief. I knew this was going to be a sixteen-page portfolio and the idea of every single page being this blast of color or every single color being serene, classic black & white, felt to me like push and pull. I wanted to feel like layers taking on this journey, a dynamic journey, with visual ups and downs.”
The photoshoot took place at the Nike Photo Studio in Culver City in California. Nike hosted the launch for the team's uniforms so the shoot, as well as the set, were worked into a traditional press day for the team. “We were working with limited time and space, so I built the set to have the colors all around it. Some blues, some reds, some warm, some neutral. The shape of the lighting could change based on where I put people," said Joe. "These women, especially when they’re in uniform, they’re asked to sort of perform, to dribble a ball, to hold a ball. I made the decision to say I don’t want a soccer ball in this entire portfolio. It’s a soccer magazine. I just wanted their beautiful portraits in there. I think it was sort of a relief to them in many ways to just not have to do what they normally do at photo shoots which is you know to jump and kick. I wanted to respect them as athletes who deserve a dignified portrait.”
For this shoot, there was no designated cover star. The photographer had ten minutes with each soccer player, and Joe captured each team member as if they could be on the cover. “I have worked with a lot of athletes, but I haven’t worked with a lot of teams together. It was really nice to see the camaraderie on the team. It’s the fact that whether or not they like doing these press days, they all approach it like a team, they’re all very professional, they all have a clear view of their objectives. It was really nice for me to try to be a little more creative with them. Sometimes they’re photographed so often in such little time, that they don’t have the chance to do some photography that leans a little more creative, so I wanted them to have fun with that.”
“Honestly, the highlight of the shoot was working with Robert, he’s an absolute photographer’s dream to work with. He has so much talent, but he really lets you explore and take risks and he supports it. Part of working with Robert is being able to be experimental with color and lighting. Some art directors are more conservative, but he allowed me to push it. It’s rare these days.”
Taylor Rainbolt Shoots on Pixel for Google
With the rise of mobile cell phones, most individuals have a camera at their disposal, right in the palm of their hand. In a world where anyone can become the director of their own story, cell phone companies have taken the extra step to showcase the professional quality of the cameras within their devices as well as the latest designs. In her latest collaboration with Google, photographer Taylor Rainbolt showcased the new Pixel phone in a campaign shot entirely on the device itself.
“Google gave me direction, but it was kind of up to me to learn how to use the phone. They gave it to me a few days before the shoot to get my bearings and shoot some personal shots of friends,” explained Taylor. “It was different first going into the shoot because it’s not an actual camera like I’m used to. Once I had the freedom to play, I got much more comfortable with the device. It was definitely the hardest job I’ve ever done technically. The shot in the theatre took six or seven hours to light. Just the one shot. We turned off every single light possible in the theatre, even if it was someone’s cell phone light, because the Pixel is that good that you can literally capture the smallest light. Everything was done in camera on the phone, and we didn’t manipulate any of the shots. Everything you see is raw.”
Although it’s not required for every project, Taylor enjoys being fully involved in the process, including the location and model scouting. During the conversation with Google about casting, Taylor realized that she had friends that had the look the brand was hoping to cast. She created a deck of friends and loved ones who would fit in well with the aesthetic of the shoot. “Google liked practically everyone that I cast,” said Taylor. “It was really great because being from LA with a community that’s so diverse, my friend groups are into different things. I like that I can bring them into my work. I think it’s important to show diversity in casting and work in general because these are real people that I interact with and I want people to see that, and feel like they can be themselves.”
“I shot my friend Hazel for Solar Magazine and also for this shoot. I think that people are under the impression that being Indian means like wearing a jewel in the middle of your forehead and you wear a wrap around your head. We stereotype people and put people into boxes when really Hazel is just a normal girl, she’s a person just like the rest of us. So I think that when people see that everyone is kind of the same then we can all just love each other, and stop assuming people are certain ways because that’s what society has made us believe for so long,” explained Taylor. “We still have a long way to go. We’re so saturated with imagery constantly, ultimately the goal is usually that we’re selling things. But what I can bring to the world is changing how we see things. That’s the small role I can play.”
The shoot took place in LA, but the team spent their scout day looking for locations that were relatable no matter which corner of the world the viewer was from. “We wanted to find locations that didn’t feel like LA, locations that had a global feeling, as if it could be anywhere in the world. That was part of the message we wanted to get across. Grand Central Market was one of the main locations, which I felt like worked perfectly because there was so much culture and diversity there. I had a great group on this shoot. Google was very hands on. We worked as a team to get exactly what we wanted. They were a big help because they know the camera, the phone, better than I do - they built it. Having their input was really helpful.”
“I think my favorite moment was honestly just having my friends involved and getting to work with them. I think that with everything going on in the world right now, there’s so many photographers, so many DJs, so many creatives, and I never really talk about photography with my friends. Having them get to see what I actually do and how seriously I take what I do and getting to share something that I love with them was my favorite part of the shoot.”
An Artist's Process with Craig Ward
An artist’s process is ever-evolving, as not all jobs are created equal. While some creators rely on their practiced expertise, others are on a path of constant discovery, eager to push boundaries and manifest something new. Artist Craig Ward throws himself into his briefs and approaches each project with an open mind, ready to marry the needs of the client with any medium or procedure necessary.
Craig is no stranger to working with new materials in his work. “Fire, powders, light, smoke, food, money… I’ll use anything that helps the type headline better tell a story. I guess the most exotic ‘material’ I’ve worked with is bacteria; living organisms. The materials for the Adobe project, by comparison, were much simpler, just a mix of glycerin and water.”
In his latest collaboration with Adobe MAX, Craig was inspired by the idea of creative energy for the Core MAX logo. The logo consists of 6 triangles, so Craig’s process began by printing out a set of geometric shapes to build out the broader identity and patterns. “I pitched a handful of ideas around the theme of creativity - it being 'The Creativity Conference'. I liked the idea of somehow visualizing creative energy - the hum of a busy studio; the buzz of solving a brief, etc. I looked at a lot of ways of visualizing different energies - bubble chambers, lightning rods, but cymatics is a concept I’m familiar with that gives a lot of interesting results relatively quickly. It's a way to image sonic energy (sound waves) by vibrating liquid at different sonic frequencies.”
“The process involved a lot of trials with various lighting setups, art directing the shoot, cycling through various frequencies and photographing the resulting vibrations. The post-production on the backend was handled by myself also. I work with a photographer called Linden Gledhill and his background is in immunology. He's super smart and is also a keen photographer, so he’s able to combine his scientific know-how with photographic know-how, particularly when it comes to scientific processes. The hardest part was doing the maths for high-speed imaging. The LED's strobe at a certain rate and the waves vibrate at another so we had to work out how to sync up the strobing of the lights with the frame rate of the camera AND the wavelength of the vibrations. Not super easy stuff for a visual person.”
Some briefs require Craig to create his projects new from the ground up, while others entail working backward to break down elements that already exist. In his recent project with Time Magazine, Craig Ward deconstructed the UK flag and influenced the cover story’s subject line.
“Time came to me with the brief to interpret this headline, which was, at that time, “The Plot To Dismantle Europe”. I gave them three concepts that I came up with over that weekend. When you’re creating a magazine cover, it’s all about being easiest to see on a newsstand and attract people’s attention, so initially, I had sort of pitched this idea of the typography being stitched into the title on the top of it,” explained Craig. “I went out and found some fabric and sat down with it at the scanner. I frayed it and pulled it apart, as best I could, and scanned it in six or seven times, and just sent over a few selects of that in these various states of disarray. I went in with photoshop to color in every stitch to make it look like it was stitched, but I was very proud of it because it was a reflex, probably one of the better reflexes in a while actually. Even up close it holds up, in fact, it looks better up close than it does farther away.”
Most of Craig’s work is created to accompany a larger reveal, be it a new brand or product, a new company launch, or even a new idea in a headline. For his project with Time Magazine, Craig’s art had an influence on the overall story. “This always happens with editorial, but they changed the headline at the very last minute. It was actually very flattering because they changed it to “Unraveling of Europe” to fit the cover that I came up with.”
Craig's unique approach to the execution of the briefs from both Time Magazine and Adobe MAX took the extra step to elevate and bring the message in his typography to life.
Brook Pifer, Mother of Cameras
Fresh from the photoshoot of a currently sealed campaign that debuts in the Fall with a crew that she considers to be a “dream client”, photographer Brook Pifer lives to see life through her lens. When she’s not busy working with wish list brands and clients, she’s traveling and creating moments on film and translating them digitally into her own unique live motion GIFs for Instagram.
“What I find really special about film GIFs is that they bring together two things I inherently love about this art: analog and directing. Obviously, I’m a photographer first, but what’s really cool is that I’m able to know that visual sense, and still have this deeper way to tell a story with something really tactile and tangible. Of course there’s an inherent spirit to shooting film and I think that blending technology of film in that way is kind of awesome. I love it.”
Brook’s most recent bucket list trip was to Hawaii, but she creates wanderlust imagery from coast to coast. She photographs the people and places around her, including her pug Zoey, who has her own Instagram that documents their life together because “that dog knows how to find her light like you don’t even know.” Brook captures moments in her own travels and from moments authentically created by those who inspire her. “I’ve been working with a friend on a project called Lady Adventures,” explains Brook. “She had a career as a creative director, and she ended up selling everything and buying a van to travel across the United States. I would just meet her anywhere from Key West to Marfa, Texas, to Yosemite and Joshua Tree. We would hang out and camp and create and hike, go in the hot springs, climb boulders, and just be in nature, to be honest. When I’m with her it’s very stripped down compared to commercial, because it’s usually just me and what I can hike with. There’s beauty in stripping things away a little bit because it gives you that opportunity to capture raw and real and spontaneous moments.”
When it comes to packing, Brook handles work trips the same way she packs for travel - with as many cameras as possible. “I have this running joke that I have cameras, not kids. I feel like they’re all my favorite in different ways. Each camera, when it’s in your hand, it gives you a different way to create. It’s almost like if you’re a painter and you’re using oils versus acrylics, that gives you a different feeling than that versus watercolors, and it’s the same with a camera for me. I usually pack a few different bodies, a few different cameras, a few different formats. We joke about how much can I fit in a carry-on and still get in. I’ll split them up among carry-ons between me and my husband. I like to have different bodies and different cameras for different purposes.”
When she’s not traveling or creating passion projects, the photographer has a few tricks for connecting with the subjects and crew on set. Brook makes sure to bring the noise - literally. She always has music at her photoshoots and carries a speaker. She makes the distinction of identifying as a music fan, not a critic and that her choice of song depends on the vibe of shoot. On an all-day shoot, Brook can take the music from something chill to ‘60s protest music, landing on hip-hop.
“Whether it’s an actual client shoot or a personal shoot, I always treat people the same way. In some ways, I consider them less as objects and more of a co-conspirator, that way it brings models and talent to a place where they get to be an artist. When you develop that bond with somebody and develop that connection, that’s when you’re going to get the stuff where they’re relaxed, open to suggestions and things that they maybe wouldn’t want to try or ideas that may be adventurous or unexpected. That for me is how you get that ‘je ne sais quoi’.”
“You fall in love with people,” admits Brook. “That’s the thing about being a photographer and director, you fall in love with people over and over again.”
PK's Icy Heart for Vitamin Water's Ex Museum
Vitamin Water presented its newest “Ice” flavor in a humorous campaign that called on different artists’ to interpret the various elements of modern break-up culture. In a series of virtual exhibitions showcasing the journey of heartbreak, visitors are guided through a tour of the “Ex Museum” by the clever and endearing curator himself, “Tommy Lavender”. B&A artists, Pussykrew, designed a key piece for the museum that features a frozen-cold, bloodless heart reflective of the icy-fresh taste of the newly released blueberry lavender Vitamin Water. The frosted silver-blue heart is both beautiful and mesmerizing, yet unwelcoming, non-human, and totally hollow… just like your ex’s.
Pussykrew’s eye for intricacy and complexity is unique and always leads to stunningly elaborate works, even in the case of this more somber project. Their combined use of CGI and 3-D scanning produces visuals that are both graphic and imaginative at the same time. The striking use of texture, and vibrant, shiny colors, bring this icy heart to life.
Patrik Giardino Teams Up With Chris Pratt For Memorial Day
In honor of Memorial Day, photographer Patrik Giardino teamed up with Chris Pratt, Jay Glazer, Jared Shaw, and the other faces behind The Murph Challenge, created in memoriam of U.S. Navy Seal LT. Michael Murphy, who created and used the routine while deployed.
“I think this is a really great project, and it’s good timing, in honor of Memorial Day,” explained Patrik. “You train to have a really good experience, it’s almost like you train for a marathon, it's the same idea. You train for the Murph Challenge. Jared Shaw is the ex-navy SEAL who brought me in to the project. He is a very good friend to Chris Pratt. Jared has a really amazing background, they train together all the time. He did 4 tours in Afghanistan and in Iraq.”
Hero Michael Murphy was featured in the book and movie, produced and starring Mark Walberg, the Lone Survivor. Michael risked his life and continued to fight to save the lives of his unit, and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2007. That same year, his parents and brother started the LT. Michael Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, which supports Michael’s favorite saying “Education will set you free.” The foundation is funded by donations and proceeds from the Murph Challenge, the Forged non-profit organization’s annual fundraiser.
The Murph Challenge consists of a 1 mile run, 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 squats, and a closing mile run in either a 20 pound vest or body armour. The website reads “The ‘MURPH’ is more than just a workout, it is a tradition that helps push us, humble us, and dedicate a bit of pain and sweat to honor a man who gave everything he had”. Participants have the opportunity to register their timing and compare their achievements with the unique group of registrants who also paid tribute to the challenge. “It’s a workout. It’s hard. It’s based off of the special forces and the training they do to make it through wars and attacks,” explained Patrik.
Patrik got a firsthand look at the challenge during his latest project with The Murph Challenge, where he filmed a motion piece with Chris Pratt, Tyga, and Jay Glazer, owner of the gym where their challenge took place. “Chris Pratt is totally into this kind of training. As an actor, he’s done battle scenes and intense action shots in movies. He gets totally into it. He became really good friends with Jay Glazer, they work out a lot together. Chris Pratt is becoming the face of the challenge, so it’s definitely getting more attention now that he’s apart of it.”
“They gave me total free range to shoot whatever I want because they trusted I would make a cool video. Chris Pratt hams it up the whole time. He’s a super funny guy. The whole group did the challenge, from beginning to end. I was running with them on the street with a camera!” said Patrik. “It was a really fun project, it didn’t feel like work, we were just having fun. It’s kind of like how the Beckham shoot was, easy and not so much pressure. Photoshoots tend to take the personality/persona of whoever you shoot, so this is kind of old school documentary but it’s got a little more style to it. I’ve worked a lot of celebrity shoots, but this is so different. You have access to people who really care about something and you create something that people feel strongly about. There’s a lot of moments where they’re totally sweaty and tired and they still talk right into the camera. It’s totally authentic.”
The video Patrik filmed was meant to be debuted on Memorial Day, but because of the excitement generated by the challenge during filming, the team decided to create a teaser and post it on Chris Pratt’s Instagram. It went viral. “It wasn’t even supposed to go live yet. We were chatting in a circle, saying maybe we should just post it now, to sell more t-shirt’s before the challenge. So I shot the promo and actually went home and edited it right away. The next video is going to be about five minutes long; in that video they're going to talk about the challenge and thank all the people who do it. Everyone involved has inspirational backgrounds. There were some big names in the group too, some NFL players, some MMA fighters, actors, a bunch of different promenent people who participate in the challenge. That video is the documentary about that day and it’s going to come out Memorial Day.”
“It’s really fun to be involved in this kind of environment. It’s awesome to meet all these people, it's great to challenge everyone. I didn’t exactly do the challenge because I was shooting, but running after them the whole time was pretty equal, I was sweating up and down the street,” he explained, laughing. “It’s funny, the paparazzi was outside by the time we did the second run. There was an article in the Daily Mail about Chris Pratt getting in shape for his wedding. But we were shooting the video for the challenge. I actually made it in the Daily Mail!”
To view the MURPH Challenge video featuring Chris Pratt, click here.
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.”