• 11.25.14   James Joyce and Absolut Make Your Holidays Pop

    Holiday iconography comes from generations past. Gilded wooden carvings, illuminated manuscripts, and poems from the 19th century. Heavy garlands span the space between thick stockings and gold baubles. It is ornate and ornamental, and a lot of effort and expense. It’s easy to wonder: Why do we bother? Why don’t we clean it up a little? Enter: James Joyce for Absolut Vodka. Pulling inspiration from Andy Warhol and the Pop Art movement he helped to spearhead, Absolut has created a campaign “Holidays Pop” as a part of their “Transform Today” initiative. To celebrate Absolut's new collaboration with Warhol, they tapped James Joyce to take advantage of his clean, vector aesthetic to help make their new vision of the holidays sing. Since the launch on November 2, James’ work has been featured on Absolut’s social media, most notably their Instagram. The multimedia options that Instagram offers makes for the perfect environment to show off a handful of James’ abilities. From still compositions that directly reference the clean layouts of the Pop movement, to .gifs with drink recipes, they’re creating a full world of Pop Holidays. But it’s more than vodka drinks for this pairing; it’s really a fully integrated and immersive holiday experience. Between cocktail recipes and artful bottles, they’ve put together step by step instructions on how to tie a bow tie, and even an inspirational quote from Warhol himself encouraging your best holiday wear. Don’t forget that for how much we eat and drink over these last few weeks of the year, they’re a celebration of those we love and reflection on the ending year. The goal is to have fun and find some pieces of joy before moving on to a new beginning. To catch a piece of the action, check out Absolut on Twitter and Instagram.
  • 11.26.14   Brian Doben Puts Everything in Context

    We all know Brian Doben from his environmental portraits. He has pursued his series "At Work" for years, with forays into celebrity features, and the expansion of his passion project into large editorials. Environmental work provides the context that Brian uses for his work, and adds a baseline for the stories that Brian tells in his photography. Portraits come with a built in story, the subject comes fully packaged with a history and a point of view. But when Brian shoots fashion he uses the tools earned from this work. Those stories are how one captures a captivating photo. As a photographer he has to do that every time he picks up his camera. He doesn’t have the option of failing to take an exquisite photo. “I have to make a beautiful image every time,” Brian explains. “No matter what, I have to make it stunning. And there’s no excuses. And that’s fine. That’s the position I’ve taken. My job is to never to find excuses. There are no problems.” So Brian finds solutions. And he does that by finding stories. When it comes to models in furs, like his series comissioned by W Magazine, it’s hard to imagine how one injects a story into it. Especially to the layman. But Brian explains it’s a little more subtle than “Once upon a time…” Instead, Brian is fitting his work into a larger context by understanding the shared history of aesthetic, and placing his shoot among visual references and familiar looks. “I have visual images that come to mind that are off of my own internal Rolodex,” he says. “But I’m referencing imagery that is outside furs and fashion.” For this shoot he looked to photographers like Paul Strand who is known for his shadows and implied motion, as well as Edward Weston who portrays the vulnerable and powerful. Brian takes the lessons learned from these titans of photography and shares them with us, applicable in any situation. The trick to fashion work is to treat it the same as any other shoot. Even though these images are appearing in W, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle, and Town& Country, and bring attention to designers like Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Bisang, Brandon Son, and Maximilian, the audience is still owed the same level of intrigue. “You have to really reference and have an emotional connection to the work,” Brian says. “So what I do it is find the environment in the image. Not in the literal sense, but in what they’re about… I use the structure of the clothing and the way the hair is to create a graphic image. That could be in body positioning, lighting, or coloring.” Brian’s known for his environmental work, but the trick is that every project is environmental work. “Environment” is merely another word for “context,” and Brian never shoots without providing the context his audience needs.
  • 11.25.14   Titilayo Bankole and Amy Taylor Shake It Up

    As the days turn colder sometimes the greatest way to have a quick escape is in a shaker with some ice. A beautiful cocktail can be a mini vacation. Bright colors and tropical inspirations are transporting, and Amy Taylor and Titilayo Bankole joined Refinery29 to bring that inspiration home. Using substantial accessories, Refinery29’s story “Cocktails” shows off the bold wearability of these dramatic rings. The pieces are paired only by the bold cocktails created by Amy Taylor to help bring the story to life. Bright and soft backgrounds play off the colors in the glass, creating the perfect environment for a visual baseline. The color play continues onto the manicures by Titilayo Bankole, whose lacquers use textures and tone to punch it up to another layer. Together Amy and Titilayo have created an immersive atmosphere, offering a visual vacation, and a new look at pieces we might otherwise miss.
  • 11.20.14   Tom Corbett's Opening Night

    Gowns are glamour. They are grace and beauty in tangible form, draped on the wearer, magnifying the splendor to magnificence. They are a heightened kind of formalwear that carry gravity wherever they go, no matter the context. When Tom Corbett was shooting a huge array of formal gowns for Mall at Millenia Magazine, they decided to put the gowns in their natural, dramatic environment. They chose Alvin Ailey Studio in New York City as the setting for the project, utilizing the theatricality of the performance spaces and rehearsal rooms. “It’s an amazing space, they were very kind to give it to us,” Tom explains. “We shot in the auditorium, in the theatre, all over the building actually.” The use of that space afforded them details that would be impossible anywhere else. Most notably: the lighting. Alvin Ailey is already set up to light dance, which is a form unique to that kind of theatre. Where plays are lit from above, dance is lit also from the sides, allowing for dimension to play off the lines of the human body; perfect for a high fashion shoot. As much as Tom is known for high bright, high energy shoots, the other side of him has a passion for dramatic lighting. “Lighting was a big part of this,” Tom says. “I love lighting these kind of big stories, these big buildings.” They shot the whole story in only two days, and with all those moving pieces it meant a lot of hands on deck to ensure everything happened flawlessly. “It takes time to light these shots, and we’re using smoke, lighting whole rooms with big theatricals lights,” Tom explains. “It’s not something that’s done quickly. It’s a lot of work for the guys and they did an amazing job.” Everyone chipped in. “There’s a real team effort with everybody. The whole thing. Everybody pulled together and everyone loved what we were doing. That kind of energy really helps on the day.” Tom’s cast of crew all pulled together for the shoot, including fellow B&A artist Titilayo Bankole who did the manicures, but there was one final piece: the natural energy of their setting. Being in a dance theatre the whole day meant that the whole shoot was suffused with creative energy from the start. Everywhere else in the building, there were dancers studying their craft, exploring, expressing, and delving into the creative space of artistry. For Tom, it was impossible to resist. “It was lovely to take some of the energy from such a creative environment,” he says. "It’s always inspiring to be around creative people, there’s an energy there.” After a long two days, sometimes it’s not easy to look back and see the whole project in the context that it was, but for Tom this shoot was a complete joy. He shoots for Millenia every year and loves it more and more. “Every time I shoot for them I get something beautiful and it gets better and better, and this is the best one yet. So I was very excited,” Tom says. “It was a big two days, but it was a real labor of love.” Creative director Laurie BrookinsFashion Stylist: Mindy SaadMakeup: Keiko from Bryan BantryHair: Bradley Irion from ABTPManicurist: Titilayo Bankole from Bernstein & Andriulli
  • 11.21.14   Shotopop Gets Creative Quickly for Samsung

    Advertising, as a form, is always evolving. Audiences are captive, but don’t want to be preached to. They want to be engaged. It’s not enough to list features anymore, consumers are looking to connect with products the way they are able to connect with anyone online, or the world around them. Devices should fit seamlessly into their lives and enable them to reach their goals, not represent another pile of metal and electricity they’re liable for. When Shotopop took on Samsung’s latest spot, “Ready, Set,” for The Note, they were tasked with finding the inherent contrast that exists within portable technology. The new Note, a large touch screen phone, has infinite applications, and everyone uses it in a different way. For the sake of this project, they showed the happy contrast between two worlds, and how those worlds happily coexist. The advertisement shows off how The Note can be used in a host of situations to help users be creative, be engaging, and be productive. It uses the age old catalyst, “Ready, Set, Go!” as a stepping stone into richer, more nuanced endeavors,. The animation and design house took on the task of designing the typography for the spot, using two very different aesthetics. First, for the “Ready, Set” designs, they went with something graphic and strong. “Samsung wanted to keep the whole creative thing going, but also it’s business and serious, so that was the more corporate and techy clean and modern,” says Casper Franken, Producer at Shotopop. “For the other words the focus was to be as creative as possible and just do something wild.” It’s exactly what it sounds like. Shotopop was given free range to go as big as they could. The animators quickly put together some concepts (the timeline was condensed), and as soon as the basic images were approved, Shotopop got animating. What you see is the fruits on that initial exploration. The focus of this campaign isn’t just to sell the Note, but to show potential buyers that they can use the Note to operate in new, easy ways. With encouragement built into the spot like “Win, Write, Go Big, Create,” the message is clear: be active. This advice was not lost on the folks at Shotopop. In fact, because they were working so hard and quickly on the project, they didn’t have a chance to do anything else. “It was reasonably easy because we were given an almost complete freedom to do anything that relates to the word,” Casper says with a laugh. “We didn’t have time to fail or think about it.” In fact, right before the spots were set to be completed there was a creative change, and Shotopop made some very quick seamless adjustments, but we bet you can't tell.  
  • 11.24.14   Marc Hom Shows the Other Side of Benedict Cumberbatch

    Despite a litany of severely serious roles, the Benedict Cumberbatch that fans have gotten to know is deeply charming and playful. His energy is as high as his craft and he’s as quick to a laugh as he is to a genuine moment. But his latest film, The Imitation Game, is nothing to laugh at. Taking on the role of Alan Turing, a man who changed the course of World War II and was paid for his achievements with being branded a criminal (for unrelated reasons), is a somber responsibility and Benedict’s skills match the seriousness of the task. Elle UK channeled that solemnity for their recent cover featuring the star, and they picked Marc Hom to show off that side of this charmer. Benedict’s fame is relatively new, but he’s someone Marc has been watching. A viewer of BBC’s Sherlock starring Cumberbatch, Marc has been taken by his unique look. “In one way he’s old fashion, Hitchcock-like,” he says. “And in another way he’s just a mysterious person, he has an elegance but he’s intriguing. There’s definitely a different layer than the rest of the pack out there.” As a photographer, Marc interacts with famous people almost every day. If Marc is not shooting a cover, he’s shooting features on upcoming blockbusters or pieces about our favorite stars. His challenge is to connect with these celebrities and pull something honest out of them that we don't normally get to see. With Cumberbatch, it wasn’t a challenge. Marc was immediately struck by Cumberbatch’s intelligence. “What was so refreshing is that I was working with a person who is extremely well read,” Marc says. “Someone who has training going back to what actors used to have in the British theatrical tradition. There’s a maturity about him.” This is someone whose focus has been the work he’s doing, and doing the work well. It’s not about fame, it’s not about money, it’s about the craft and doing good work. So Marc and Cumberbatch did good work together. “It’s nice to work with people who have the openness to be a good listener and play ball with the ideas,” Marc says. “He’s very comfortable in his own skin. He seems like he’s in a very good spot at the moment.” That comfort allows for a totally different quality in the shoot. Marc explains: “There’s a certain kind of effortlessness about it. It’s organic.” As viewers, we end up seeing a version of Cumberbatch that is honest, unfiltered, and candid. With someone like Cumberbatch, who has quickly amassed an enviable career in a lengthy list of smash hits, it’s easy to be pigeonholed into a shallow and singular identity. But the truth is far more appealing.
  • 11.19.14   Amy Taylor and Gregg Hubbard Layer it On

    It’s getting cold and that means we are solidly in layering season. Layering is about being dynamic and flexible, evolving with the weather and the changing temperatures, while keeping a look fresh and comfortable. Refinery29, who always has their pulse on current trends and needs, is acutely aware of how challenging layering can be. Layering means more articles of clothes need to fit squarely into one styled outfit. It must be a more forgiving look, while making room for diversity and shifts throughout the day as layers are added and taken away. And don’t forget the breadth makes room for plenty of self expression. What better way to express the fashion of layers than to set their shoot in an Amy Taylor layered utopia? Using huge sheets of paper, Amy constructed environments reflecting the layers in the clothes on the set, bringing that energy across the entire image. Her designs set the tone, creating a world with total context for the fashion. Gregg Hubbard was also on hand, completing the layered extravaganza. Adding a softness of color to blend beautifully with the surroundings. It’s a full three dimensional, immersive look at this theme. These two artists provided the thematic space to tell Refinery29’s stories. It’s seamless, almost invisible work, to ensure the story is told well.
B&A Instafeed. Images From Our Artists & Community
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@spice_devile ♫ Music: Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake - Love Never Felt So Good made with @flipagram
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  • thankful for friends and family, today and everyday. #happythanksgiving
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  • Love! 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.. God new from the foundation of the earth what will come by my choices.. Good, bad or indifferent every knew will bow down. Here is my child and I know God loves him more than I do! I love you @spice_devile may your journey be successful!
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  • GRRYO (@wearegrryo) is an international community of photographers, artists and storytellers who provide a valuable resource for the mobile photography community. Grryo is taken from the West African word “Griot” meaning storyteller. Grryo invite you to "Shoot Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives. Tell Your Story!" #wearegrryo #grryo

Image by Grryo contributor @pictrola.
Chosen by @ink361 ambassador @sunflowerof21. If you would like to recommend an IG Community deserving of a feature here, please let us know in a comment below.
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  • @nychos in action on NW 26th & 2nd Ave, #Wynwood
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  • Thanksgiving in #jeremyville great to host a lunch with good friends ...happy holidays everyone! #studiojeremyvillenyc #brownstonebrooklyn #stuyheights
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  • Happy Thanksgiving! Part 2
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  • Spatchcocking with @marthastewart48 #thefacinator
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  • The other pic! @spice_devile is in the building!
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