We Are The Rhoads Photographs Oscar Contenders
Last Sunday the world tuned into Hollywood’s Biggest Night: the Academy Awards. People Magazine asked We Are The Rhoads to shoot their selection of female nominees whose talent and performances truly shined - with one who walked away with the award.
The Rhoads were provided the benefit of a unique photo shoot with each of their subjects, but because of busy schedules, some of the shots had to be done in just a few minutes. This was no challenge for The Rhoads. Their time with Rachel Weisz of The Favourite is a great example. “We shot those images literally within seconds of each other, the horizontal one was shot by Chris and I was on a side angle on a tighter lens. I shot the portrait of her looking back over the shoulder,” Sarah explained, who makes up half of We Are The Rhoads with her husband Chris. Their team was planning on shooting Rachel after the SAG awards, but after connecting, they decided they wanted to capture the excitement and energy of the awards and shoot during a short break in the show. “We had Rachel for seven minutes. Literally seven minutes,” added Chris. “We shoot almost all of our scenes in tandem, I will have a camera and Sarah will have a camera as well. That’s when you have that moment when I’m shooting straight on and Sarah is on the side and you get those two different moments beats apart that have different feels.” The dual capability of having both cameras on set is part of the magic that The Rhoads bring to their shoots, and this specific circumstance made for a dynamic contrast of images in under just ten minutes.
The gleeful image of long-time actress and new Oscar winner Regina King shows the star looking up towards the ceiling, with a warm smile on her face as if laughing. “She's been in such dramatic roles recently, and what Chris and I love to do in our work is to capture that honesty about a person and show how that resonated with us,” Sarah says about capturing a cheerful moment with the If Beale Street Could Talk star. “That was one of the last shots we got of her. She was just so warm and gregarious, Chris and I wanted to capture that spirit about her. She had a nice warmth that immediately when she walked in the room you could feel.” Capturing that one special and specific moment is deeply rooted in the spirit of We Are The Rhoad’s philosophy.
While the other shoots were hosted in California, We Are The Rhoads took their talents to New York to shoot Lupita and Danai. The two shots feature the actresses first looking straight at the camera, with all the intensity that they bring to the big screen in their Oscar-nominated motion picture Black Panther and contrastly, leaning into each other and laughing as if having an intimate moment. Chris credits those captured moments to their practiced philosophy. “I think it goes back to our whole ethos of trying to make them feel comfortable. Lupita and Danai had been friends for a while and have worked in numerous different projects, so they were already pretty comfortable with one another, so really it was just trying to extend that and have them kind of forget that they were on set. Obviously they're dressed up in this incredible wardrobe and we have this incredible fairly large lighting scene, but it’s really trying to start connecting with them on that human level. I think that’s where we’re able to get a little more serious or keep it a little more lighthearted and, you know, they’re pros. They’re so generous with sharing that kind of connection with the camera that it really makes our job easier. They're willing to step in and be vulnerable with you and show a more human side of themselves as opposed to just the character that they’re playing.”
Not all of the shoots were done on a set. The photographers immediately felt a spark in Marina De Tavira of Roma, so when the sun broke through for a few moments during their shoot, that flare of light felt like magic. The image of Melissa McCarthy was also taken outside, but the moment didn’t exactly come as easily. “It was raining,” Sarah started explaining about their experience with Melissa. “We had a torrential downpour in LA for a good 10 days during the time that we were supposed to shoot. We really had to execute quickly and get to something really honest that resonated and felt real very quickly and build rapport. So, I hopped on Chris’s shoulders for that shot to get a little height because there was very little room in the quarters we were shooting, especially for both of us to shoot. I went to get that angle from the top down and the second I got on his shoulders she was just cracking up, like ‘I can’t believe that someone is shooting my photo like this!’. That moment is kind of special because I feel like that's really when you got to see her real spirit shine through and that’s the image that they choose which we were really thrilled with. I’m 5’3’’ so to get that downward angle, I had to get a little height and there wasn’t time to pull out apple boxes!”
Each image created by We Are The Rhoads is special in its own way, bringing their ethos through every shot to create a collaborative yet cohesive portfolio of the leading ladies of 2018.