Assignment

Portrait Shoot: Artefact

A few weeks ago, I returned to Artefact's office to photograph new employees.  I'm not sure how many photographers they've used in the past—I haven't done all their photos—but it was the fourth time they've had me, and as ever, the shoot was a total pleasure.  I do standard headshots for them, but every employee also gets a unique, quirky photo that showcases his or her personality and/or interests.  It is SO much fun.  The people are great, totally game, and their ideas for their personalized portraits are fun and creative and an absolute joy to bring to life.  Here are a few of them, and of course a couple obligatory photos of me taking photos.  Feel free to click any you'd like to see larger.

I should pause for a minute to give special kudos to Jefferson for his image, which was inspired by Arrested Development.  If you haven't seen the show, or have but didn't catch the reference, click here.  And no, we didn't have a sheep.  He added that later, and did a wonderful job.

Let it be known that I can, should the situation arise, be called upon to give juggling lessons!  Ultimately, Courtney opted for the balancing image above, but still.  We had fun.
(Thanks to fellow photographer Josh Huston, who assisted me and took these behind-the scenes photos.)

Conceptual Shoot: InfoSecurity Professional

Not long ago, I was contacted by InfoSecurity Professional Magazine about creating a photo to accompany an article about the proliferation of cybersecurity threats.  The idea was to play off the iconic Maxell ad from the 1980s.  You remember it, don't you?  The black and white photo of the guy in sunglasses slouching in his Le Corbusier chair, hands gripping the armrests as his martini spills and his hair and tie blow back from the massive sound from the speakers in front him?  He was known as the "Blown Away Guy".  Well, if you don't recall, here it is to remind you:

Of course you remember.  It's an ad referenced pretty frequently in popular culture, by everyone from P. Diddy to Family Guy.  So, the idea was to take the "blown away by music" idea to turn it into "blown away by online security threats".  Works for me!  I don't know about you, but data breaches always make my hair stand on end.

I built a minimalist office setup in the studio to echo the environment in the ad, and found a model with hair the right length to blow back.  The furniture was courtesy of IKEA.  As you can see in the photo below, I didn't have enough of one kind of flooring to build the set out as far as I needed, and buying more wasn't in the budget, so I had to use two different wood colors and do a little floor tweaking in post.  This wasn't terribly taxing, especially since the final file was to be in black and white.

The shoot was smooth.  We did an outfit change, and tried a few with glasses and some without.  When Rebecca (model) left, I shot a few papers in the air so I could composite them later.  I was super happy with the result, as was east coast art director Maureen.  Many thanks to her for bringing me along on the project!  I think the final page looks great:

Fun fact: the photo in the frame is of a coastal hillside in Ireland, which I shot on a recent trip.

Jewish in Seattle: Oscar Olivier

It was a privilege to photograph Oscar Olivier for Jewish in Seattle late last year.  He is a refugee from the Congo and an inspiring figure, and if you have a moment, you should really do his story justice by reading the excellent article by Emily Alhadeff. We made this portrait in Des Moines, where he lives.  Neomi, the art director, wanted something that looked dramatic but we didn't have a location and the weather wasn't cooperating.  It was a mighty bright, happy day outside (albeit still chilly—note the very stylish cardigan).

So we hit the beach—can't go wrong with water and a good sky as your background—and utilizing a little day-for-night camera and lighting trickery, we made it look a bit more moody.  I was really pleased with the result.  Below is my favorite image, along with Neomi's select as it appeared in the magazine.

I Don't Have A Gym Membership

Last week I shot some ads with a couple bodybuilders, and man was it a blast. It was our third shoot together over the past year and a half or so, and every time we just...kinda get to play. You might not guess it, but you couldn't ask for better collaborators. They're always energetic, funny, and game for anything, and perhaps best of all, they just don't take themselves too seriously. It makes for a fun day of shooting. So big thanks to Ron and Gabe for being reliably great in front of the camera, Sam for the fun concepts and choosing me to shoot them, Patty for her crazy good food skills, Jenny for her makeup magic, and Josh for being an ever-reliable facilitator. I can't share the images from the shoot yet, but here's some silliness we found time for:

Family photo.  Clockwise from top left: Gabe, Josh, Ron, Sam, Jenny, Patty, and yours truly.

You might be wondering if they're that huge or if I'm that small.  Answer's yes.

There may be two of them holding me up in this photo, but it really would have only required one of those four arms.

Jewish In Seattle: Fashion Feature

A short time ago I was contacted again by Neomi Rapoport (art director of Jewish in Seattle), this time to ask me about shooting a fashion feature for a holiday issue of the magazine.  "Do they really mean to be asking me?" was my first thought, as I'd never claim to be a fashion photographer and do not, in fact, even feel that I'm particularly fashionable myself.  I was nevertheless totally happy to do it, of course, because it's fun to branch out and do different things, and I'd never pass up the opportunity to work with Emily (editor) and Neomi.  And wouldn't you know it?  When you have a great location, art director, model (Devon at SMG), stylist (Emma Ranniger), and HMUA (Kathy Evans), it turns out you wind up looking pretty good.  Especially when you have lovely clothes as well, provided by some of Seattle's finest designers.  Here are just a few images from the day's shoot, beginning with my personal favorite:

And then, because there was some question at the magazine about fashion for the cover, we did a few photos in my studio depicting different takes on honey and apples.  I quite liked them all.

Jewish In Seattle: Conceptual Product Feature

In October I was contacted by Emily Alhadeff, the editor of the new magazine Jewish In Seattle, about a feature shoot highlighting the best of Jewish Washington.  She and Neomi Rapoport, the art director, envisioned a spread containing several images depicting Jewish objects and foods, all photographed in a clean, graphic, colorful and conceptual style.  I had worked with Emily before on projects for Microsoft, and was delighted that she thought of me for this one.  If you're familiar with my work, you probably know I'm not a product photographer.  But clean, graphic, colorful, and conceptual is exactly what I do, so it was great fun to apply those sensibilities to altogether different subject matter. I spent a day in the studio with Emily, Neomi, and Jonathan Kruger (my right hand on many projects), creating as many unique images as we could think of.  Here are a few of my favorites below, as well as scans of the final magazine layout (apologies for the quick and dirty scans—you know how it is).

I thought the above image would make a dandy cover.  You know, best of Jewish Washington, bagel is iconic, finger doing the "number one" thing...

I was really quite happy with this idea.  I like the way the round mirror echoes the bagel's shape, and it's just...delightfully weird.  I love quirky.  For this one, I shot a couple images and stitched them together in order to keep sharp focus throughout.  If I were a product photographer, I'd have a tilt/shift lens for that, but I'm not.  So I don't.  No big deal.

This one was Emily's and Neomi's idea—little jewels standing in for capers.  Very fun, very sparkly and happy.  And I particularly like it because if you think about it, it's a jewel caper.  So, you know, it works as a visual pun as well.  Here again, due to depth of field, I shot several arrangements of beads to hold sharp focus front to back.

Love this one.  Idea from team Emily/Neomi.  I forget how long we spent placing candles so they were spaced correctly, but...it was a while.

Three different loaves, replicated and patterned in Photoshop.

This, I think, is my favorite.  To be honest, I was having a hard time coming up with a conceptual idea for the sandwich until I started to think about that toothpick that holds a sandwich together, and what might take its place.  Receipt spindle!

And now the magazine!  Again, apologies for the rough scans—they don't do the magazine justice.

Thanks again to Emily, Neomi, and Jonathan!  It was a lot of fun, and I'm really looking forward to the next collaboration.