• 4.23.15   Marc Hom Is All About Trust

    In one month, Marc Hom has two covers releasing for Vanity Fair Italia. For both he photographed some of Italy’s most beloved movie stars, starting with Raoul Bova, and then the ever-elegant Margherita Buy. Marc’s portfolio is already a deep archive of celebrity portraits, but Italy’s film community is a little different. Marc is building his relationships there, and those relationships are built on trust. “It’s all about a trust to get someone to get comfortable,” says Marc. “There’s so much that goes into these intimate moments when you photograph somebody.” Both Raoul and Margherita's distinct personalities suffused each shoot with their personalities, and it was up to Marc to capture those for each cover. Photographing film stars presents its own set of challenges. Marc is obviously shooting static images that provide a decidedly different point of view from film. But each of these movie stars is most adapted to a more fluid style. “They’re used to moving and being free to move around, walking from one place to another. So I try to make the same scene as if it were a movie,” says Marc. “Make them not think that they’re doing a still photo but more a moving element.” He creates actions around the set, and keeps the whole production agile so they can follow the whims and energy of the actors on set. Actors live in front of cameras; that's what an actor's job is. They take on the lives of their characters and then forget the crew is there, offering a performance that is intimate and breathing. Marc's setups allow for them to continue that process they know, playing the part of themselves in a natural way. Shooting Raoul was particularly exciting for Marc. “He was just really good,” says Marc. “He really took directions well. I had an idea with the blinds and the light which created a small element to the image that gave it just a little spice. I really liked that and he did too.” The cover with Raoul is the perfect example of what happens when a photographer and subject work together seamlessly. Each brings the elements only they could: Marc's compositional vision pairs with Raoul's generous moment and they capture an ephemeral moment, crystalizing it on the cover of Vanity Fair.
  • 4.27.15   Denim Is Very Serious Business for Douglas Friedman

    In San Francisco there is a laboratory that measures the effects on natural materials by ozone, lasers, and acids. The people who work at this lab are constantly exploring, creating, and innovating what will ultimately change the way we interact with the world. Specifically our denim. The lab is Levis’ Eureka Innovation Lab, and it is filled with creative people who love denim and are searching to discover the next level of invention. Photographer Douglas Friedman teamed up with GQ Germany to explore this creative hub. “The whole thing was so exciting to see how they make jeans, how they make Levis, how bespoke and hands-on and organic the process is,” says Douglas. “It’s a lot less clinical than I thought it was going to be. It’s an experimental laboratory where they play and they create.” The lab is full of the kinds of machines you’d expect at any laboratory, but at Levis’ Innovation Lab, it’s not the sparkling clean familiar to a medical facility with the sterile science behind the slow trudge of medicine. Instead, it’s a much more dynamic environment. “Everyone who works there is young and creative and there’s energy that was inspiring and exciting to be around,” says Douglas. “Giant washing machines full of stones for the stone washing, acid for the acid washing, vats of indigo dye to makes shirts and jeans and experiment with different colors and textures and this incredible machine that uses a laser beam to age brand new denim. It was all so fascinating.” There are even safes where they lock up their experiments. It’s very serious business. When it comes to Douglas’ own denim he’s just as serious, taking the time and effort to age them on his own. He gets his pairs crisp and wears them until they’re aged exactly the way he likes them. But, even though his jeans aren’t coming out of Levis’ Innovation Lab, he has one rule: “I only have Levis jeans.” He is brand loyal. When asked if he notices a work adjustment to cater to photographic tastes in other countries, Douglas jokes with a laugh, “I have a really healthy relationship with the countries of Germany and France.” His style remains signature to Douglas Friedman, no matter where he finds himself.
  • 4.24.15   ilovedust Shakes It

    We’ve all learned to love twerking the last year or so. If you’ve been living under a rock, twerking is a form of dance that exists mostly to show off the natural, god given assets by the dancer whose ecstatic motions and gyrations illuminate the bounce and elasticity of the human body. Through targeted movement, plump muscles and fatty tissues are whirled and twirled in conjunction with poppin baselines in a celebration of the human form. The only challenge that twerking has raised is that not every song is conducive to the twerk. TWRK, a Trap Music / EDM musical collective, is looking to change that. For TWRK’s debut EP, “WE ARE TWRK,” creative agency ilovedust teamed up with record label Mad Decent to create artwork that matched the energy of TWRK’s music while keeping the celebration alive.  Drawing from SciFi and 1980’s aesthetic traditions, old school references to the fantasy of Egyptian culture are juxtaposed against retro 80’s color and construction, while remaining contemporary in its inspiration. In many ways, ilovedust’s style transcends classification, shirking a confinable definition for deference to the project. But what ilovedust always brings to their work is a sense of movement and energy, perfectly suited for musical projects. In many ways, the representations that ilovedust has provided for TWRK’s EP are moments of stillness, but through color, gradation, and the play of light on these particular subjects, there is an inherent energy that leaps off the page. They imply the pounding baseline and vigor that TWRK delivers directly to their listeners. At a time when music is increasingly released entirely through the digital plane, album artwork is at risk of demotion, but not in this case. It is compositions like what ilovedust created for TWRK that prove their relevance. It is a visual distillation of TWRK’s own work, communicating through imagery what TWRK communicates through sound. If you want your own piece of ilovedust artwork to stare at you from your digital music device, and beg you to bounce along, the four track EP will release on May 5, but is available for pre-order now.
  • 4.21.15   The 90's Are Alive for Guillaume Lechat at GQ France

    This month, after twelve years of silence, Britpop band Blur is releasing their first studio album since 2003. "The Magic Whip" represents a true reformation of a musical group whose legacy is behind them, but has the opportunity to grab a new future. For many of us, Britpop calls images of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Blur broke out into the scene. In our age of redemption and redefinition, Blur has picked the perfect time to return to us, just as the style from their heyday reappears. GQ France has recognized this confluence of style and trend, releasing an editorial shot by photographer Guillaume Lechat. “Parklife,” as the editorial is called, borrows its name from Blur’s 1994 studio album of the same name, drawing inspiration from fashion in the mid 90’s that has reemerged. Using four young men, each around the age of Blur’s band members 19 years go, it is a contemporary reimagining of a day in the life of this band. Lounging on velveteen mod furniture, drinking tea on weathered leather couches en plein air, backgrounded by smoky, printed, patterned wallpaper. Guillaume, who got to skip around London for this shoot says it was a “Super cool shoot in London paying homage to the Britpop era in the 90's.” Traversing rooftops, passing through alleys, and habitating flats, the shoot took them into a London we remember through photographs and musical reminiscence. London isn’t historically known for its bright sun, but Guillaume takes his natural light very seriously, chasing the sun to achieve the light he needs. That look is an integral element of his process and aesthetic. “To me, a lot of natural light is really important, a lot of movement, and a lot of honesty,” says Guillaume. That light gives an effortless quality to his images, lending a realism that is almost candid in nature. In this editorial for GQ France we’re not seeing Blur as they were in 1994, but we might as well be looking into that past – a past that is increasingly becoming our present. 
  • 4.20.15   American Apparel and Todd Selby Save the Sloths

    As humans we share our world with all manner of animals. The great, the fast, the strong. Elephants, whales, cheetahs, each as majestic as the last. But there are ever more living alongside us, and many need our help. Through deforestation, or natural events, there are sloths in danger and require human intervention. This year, to celebrate Earth Day, American Apparel has teamed up with artist Todd Selby to help save the sloths. Slow moving, grinning sloths may seem like an untraditional choice, but sloth preservation is something that Todd has been thinking about for a while. His brother, Scott Selby, was the one who inspired the idea. “My brother Scott has got a very deep love for sloths; protecting and loving sloths. So we were talking about it for a long time,” says Todd. “We have a friend who works at American Apparel. So it just kind of happened through natural conversation.” That conversation lead to the idea that they would make a shirt that would feature an original painting by Todd and could raise money to benefit these gentle creatures. Sloths are slow moving, and not aggressive, so their main source of protection is their own camouflage. In the natural world this is great for them, but it provides a challenge for anyone who wants to paint or draw them. “A lot of times they’re actually hidden,” explains Todd. “They’re hard to see, they’re always balled up or hanging from a tree in a funny way. So it was kind of a challenge. I’d never painted a sloth before so it was a fun new thing for me.” The painting found its way onto the shirt made available in both Men’s and Unisex silhouettes available through American Apparel right now. Proceeds benefit the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica where sloths are rescued, rehabilitated, and sometimes released. They also use funds to study the animals, which are the least studied mammal on our planet. So much of these animals’ lives remain a mystery to us, and there is vital information we need if we’re going to help them thrive along side us.
  • 4.22.15   Nicole Heffron's Fanatic Cakes

    Every month prop stylist and set designer Nicole Heffron celebrates some of our favorite directors in her own unique way. Taking inspiration from classic cult filmography, she and photographer Henry Hargraves set up tabletop scenes that imagine how fanatics celebrate their top directors’ birthdays. Replete with birthday cakes and party accouterments, the images evoke the lines that are blurred between narrative fantasy and the passion of fanaticism. It’s April, which means that Nicole and Henry have collaborated on four compositions so far this year. January saw a party for David Lynch, while February was for John Hughes. Quentin Tarantino’s birthday was in March, and April all filthy, filthy John Waters. They’ve given themselves the limit of posting one per month, so they had to get choosey with who they were highlighting. “We did target the ultimate cultish directors that have pretty passionate followings,” Nicole explains. “We are having a lot of fun with it.” Take a look at what Nicole has released so far, see if you can guess which image is for which director, and remember: there are still eight more on the way.
  • 4.22.15   Ars Thanea Explores DuPont's Tasty World

    DuPont is a massive international company whose technological and chemical innovations have spread into almost every industry on the planet. They’ve helped bring humans to moon, developed Kevlar to keep people safe, and even keep our paper as white as possible. Their reach is nearly endless, so it should come as no surprise that their advances have touched the world of food. From added vitamins to preservatives to guiding agricultural advancements increasing crop yield, DuPont is making our culinary experiences richer and more efficient. For their latest campaign, DuPont wanted to focus on how they’re benefiting the world of food and teamed up with creative studio Ars Thanea to bring the message to the public. Using the slogan “It’s What’s Inside,” Ars Thanea created a series of images that evoke just that: the world inside our foods. Working with Ogilvy & Mather New York, the series features different prepared dishes with “portals,” or doorways, that imply an inner working to these dishes that DuPont is helping to shape. In conversation Marcin Kowalski and Aleksandra Watras of Ars Thanea divulge that when they were presented with the concept of the campaign, it was still a seed of an idea. “They had some general ideas and sketches of what it could be,” says Marcin. Dupont has such large work as a brand that they had to cover all sorts of food genres, so it was going to be a broad campaign, and Ars Thanea took on the entire creative challenge. Starting with photography, Ars Thanea worked with a food stylist to make sure that each dish would look as good as possible. And with the exception of the dumpling and the chocolate bar, every food item is real. The ham, the cheese, even the bread is real. (Since Ars Thanea is based in Poland where they don’t have a sliced wheat bread tradition, the loaf of bread had to be flown in for the campaign.) The dumpling and chocolate bar were still photographed, but they were models made from plastic and rubber. After photography they attacked the “portals,” or the doorways in each dish, using 3D digital compositing. Each image becomes an integration of photography and digital creation with each element created couture for DuPont. When asked which ad is their favorite, Marcin and Aleks agree. While others at Ars Thanea love the dumpling or the bread, they both prefer the cheese. Those photographs are the result of shooting multiple images and combining them into one super cheese. “The cheese was combined from three different cheeses,” explains Marcin. The rind, the flesh, and the holes each came from different sources, making the perfect presentation of cheese that they could. And they had to make sure that cheese was just right because, after all, it’s what’s inside.
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