• 4.29.15   Hollywood and Washington Converge with Jonas Fredwall Karlsson

    Every year in the spring, Washington and Hollywood converge on the White House Correspondents Dinner. This is when the most powerful people in the country break bread with the most popular, and it's an exciting time for all. It is hosted by a comedian who treats the event like a roast, this year SNL’s Cecily Strong, who checks Washington's power to their faces, and the President joins ranks cracking jokes at everyone's expense. The White House Correspondents Dinner has earned a colloquial nickname, "The Nerd Prom," because it's one of the only times Washington, and the reporters who cover D.C., dress up in such a public way for no other reason than to have fun (and give out a few, lesser reported scholarships). But what's a prom without prom pictures? This year Vanity Fair set up a tent to photograph the attendees of the Nerd Prom and conscripted Jonas Fredwall Karlsson to shoot it. This particular gig is tricky in how quickly one has to move. Jonas has shot projects like this before, most frequently at the MTV Video Music Awards, but Vanity Fair offered him something a little more formal. They were shooting while the party was raging in the next room and Jonas had people, like Vanity Fair Photo Producer Ron Beinner, help pull out the attendees to get their photos taken. “We had great help getting people from the party and come into the studio,” says Jonas. “So we had a little more time. Two minutes instead of five seconds,” he says with a laugh. The crucial element was time since Jonas had to photograph dozens of attendees in an incredible amount of time. “I had to come up with a way of shooting between 30 and 60 people within 3 hours and we had a very limited amount of space.”  In order to maximize their use of space, Jonas and Vanity Fair shot in a tent outside the event, and employed a set created by Jesse Nemeth. ”I wanted something dynamic and agile that could be fundamentally changed in the very short periods of time between portraits in order to photograph as many people as possible." Using a series of tonal set pieces and a few bold features, each image offers a unique take on very limited space because of the changeable set. The party doesn’t get into full swing until after all the speeches and the dinner, so it was late into the night before Jonas was even able to start working. “It was really, really intense,” says Jonas. “We started to shoot around midnight, and the last images were done around 3:30a.m. Then we continued working until they turned off the electricity.” Despite all the craziness, speed, and energy, at the end of the day Jonas stayed true to the heart of project: capturing beautiful portraits of famous faces. “The most important thing in portraiture is to connect with the person,” says Jonas. “You go on instinct.”
  • 5.1.15   Marcus Bleasdale Wins Robert Capa Gold Medal

    In late 2012 a group in the Central African Republic began taking over towns and regions in an attempt to steal power away from the central government. The take-overs devolved into a terror campaign as the Séléka continued all around the country in a method that could only be described as madness. Marcus Bleasdale was there to cover the events with Human Rights Watch. When the issue of Human Magazine containing Marcus’ story, “Unseen War,” was released almost a year ago, we brought you the powerful images and the tale that Marcus brought back with him. “It’s probably the wrong term but they kind of went psychotic,” said Marcus upon his return. “The whole society was psychotic for a period of three months… People that killed would never have killed before, and would never kill again. But at that moment they thought it was quite right to kill. And there’s no reasoning behind why people reach that point of anger, of hate, of thoughtlessness.” It was an altered state and something that Marcus was able to capture for the magazine in their breathtaking report. The question that remained was, What would it mean? In February, Human Rights Watch and Marcus Bleasdale put together a show at Christie’s in London entitled “IMPACT” to display how their collaborations over the last 14 years have affected policy all over the world. “Increasingly we’re learning, we’ve been learning, about how to do this,” said Marcus, discussing the discovery that their pieces could create a real impact. The starkest example was the war that had arrested Eastern Congo in the early part of the last decade. The conflict was being financed by illegal gold sales by the warlords to AngloGold Ashanti and Metalor Technologies. In a well-placed exhibition, Marcus and HRW hung “The Curse of Gold,” photographs and stories from the conflict, on the walls of UBS Bank in Geneva. This high profile act put pressure on the financiers of AngloGold Ashanti and Metalor Technologies, forcing them to stop buying the illegal gold. It pulled the money out of the conflict in Eastern Congo and effectively ended the war. They literally saved lives. Marcus has been doing this work for nearly two decades, but it was yesterday that the world took notice when it was announced he received the Robert Capa Gold Medal. Named after the famed Hungarian war photographer whose body of work included covering five different wars, the medal was created to celebrate the "best published photographic reporting from abroad requiring exceptional courage and enterprise." The honor is not lost on Marcus who, in conversation with The New York Times, responded by saying “I’m still shellshocked.” Perhaps the most remarkable point that Marcus made in conversation with The New York Times is how to use your power most effectively. He explains that it’s not so much how many eyes you get on your challenging work, but whose eyes you get on it. “Sometimes the most effective thing is to be on the front page of The New York Times, and sometimes the most effective thing is to put several photographs in front of three people in the world,” he explains. “You just have to choose those three people and put your case to those three people, and that can be a lot more effective than putting it on the front cover of The New York Times.” Congratulations to Marcus Bleasdale for this distinct honor.
  • 4.30.15   Olaf Hajek Breaks into the Third Dimension

    Art is visual communication. It exists to translate ideas and feelings that transcend what words can do and do it with more efficiency. It is its own dialect, and can act as a language between those who do not already share one. The communicative properties of art came into stark relief for Olaf Hajek when he created a series of paintings for the South Korean Lotte World Mall in Seoul. A celebration of spring, Olaf's paintings feature flowers in bloom, rich grass islands, and flittering birds. The images are printed onto three-dimensional installations and cobbled together into sculptures that inhabit the space and bring a new world of this fresh season. Olaf doesn’t speak Korean, and his translator didn't speak German, so they found a primary common language of English but a fundamental common language of art. They were able to create five seasons of installations for the next year through a series of revisions and figurative interaction. Since these pieces were going to be printed into 3D displays, Olaf had to provide the artwork in such a way that would be conducive to creating whatever sculptural elements Lotte would need. He painted each component independently. “I did every single element separately,” explains Olaf. “ The idea was to create a whole painting but every single element was painted on a separate layer.” Since they were creating the installations for five seasons, it ended up being an incredible volume of work. All in all, Olaf lost count of how many paintings he made for the final tally, but it was hundreds. To explain the breadth of the work, Olaf uses the island with the house on it: “There is this image of a little floating island, with green grass and a house. There’s a tree on it, there are birds, every single element is it’s own layer. If I count them together, every single blossom, every flower, I have no idea. I can’t count them." When you recognize that each insect and gem was painted independently and then composed together after the fact, it becomes an almost overwhelming prospect. But no trouble for Olaf, who has been working on the project for more than a year. Since Olaf’s work is typically printed in two dimensions, this project represented a change of tack for him, but the work remains essentially the same. “I dealt with the season’s ideas but in kind of a magical fairytale type world,” says Olaf. The aesthetic is still his. If art is a form of communication, no matter what Olaf is building his language remains intact.
  • 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.
  • 4.28.15   Adam Hayes and Kai & Sunny Find Inspiration with IBM

    It’s 2015, and in this age we know that the internet isn’t just a series of tubes. But sometimes it feels like maybe we’re just plugged into a digital world through our screens. It can feel difficult to connect with the real world around us, losing an element of tangibility, and finding a lack of inspiration. For their latest community push IBM is trying to reconnect users to that seemingly missing inspiration and to show us how they think. Rather than becoming the neo-stereotypical digital zombies, IBM is showing us that there is still passion to draw from this world. Especially in the digital world. Through a series of posters, IBM worked with a handful of artists to illustrate where inspiration comes from in our contemporary world. Each artist was paired with a quote for the posters, along with the central word “Think,” using those ideas as fertile ground out of which to grow their ideas. Two B&A artists, Kai & Sunny and Adam Hayes, joined in on the project. For Kai & Sunny, the quote came from Douglas Rushkoff, a Media Theorist and Author: “I believe we are migrating toward a networked environment in which thinking is no longer an individual activity, nor bound by time and space.”  Kai & Sunny are a collaborative, creative pair, so it was fitting they would work off a quote about moving together, as a group. Few artists work as closely together as they do, and they have a unique take on how multiple people can work off one another for fantastic gain. “From this [Douglas Rushkoff quote] we created our flock of birds migrating,” explains Kai on behalf of Kai & Sunny. “The birds represent freedom and progression. The idea of working together to achieve more. The campaign word 'THINK' has been created by the coming together of the birds but only for that moment.” Kai & Sunny are working with expectation and viewability. They’ve created a pattern that both makes and hides the message, “Think,” illustrating that what is most powerful can be creative by the collective.  For Adam Hayes, the quote wasn’t so much of a quote as it was a question, and came from Mike Rhodin, the Senior Vice President of IBM Watson Group: “How do we redesign how we think?” Adam’s style has always used a combination of technology and puzzles, employing typography to explore space and utility. "My poster mixes mechanical and organic inventions representing a future where man and machine think side-by-side; typeset on a layout of playful letterforms,” says Adam. Bringing the actual quote’s question to life in his poster illustrates the direct question his poster is asking. Combining form and function, we see how the technology works independently of the human mind while being entirely directed by it. In this future we work along side our machines, collaborating and growing together.  To see Adam Hayes’ and Kai & Sunny’s work in context, check out IBM’s “IBMblr,” where all of the posters are featured.
  • 4.28.15   The Power of Honest Representation with Tom Corbett

    Style is about showing who you are. Fashion, makeup, accessories: none of these should get in the way of identity. They are elements of expression, not a lacquer to cover up personal essence and Refinery29 understands this better than anyone. Their latest collaboration with photographer Tom Corbett shows off how the trend of nude lips can highlight what makes a face fundamentally unique, and reveal the wearer rather than try to change them. Tom Corbett’s inherent grace was the perfect match for this story. His signature energy is brought in subtly, coming through in the movement of hair or a powerful look. The intimacy of the makeup sets the tone for moments between the models and photographer, translated directly to the images for the viewer. What we see are soft interactions that Tom has crystalized for us in photographs, telegraphing potential. The concept of this story came from makeup artist Pamela Cochrane whose philosophy is about showing off the features of the wearer. When Cochrane takes care of the beautiful makeup, Tom is about eking out the connection that honest representation provides, showing us the potential strength of ourselves. Hair: Dominick PucciacrelloStylist: Sam BatesSenior Photo Editor: Laura Miller ZisaBeauty Writer: Maria Del Russo
  • 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.
B&A Instafeed. Images From Our Artists & Community
  • Sweet Vicious Dreams!
#goodnight #sweetdreams 
@SMMOA #smmoa I created this for a previous #incognito #vicious #garybaseman #baseman
    likes 90 // comments 1
  • Spitting teeth... #illustration #illo #blackandwhite #skull #skate #skateboarding #skateordie #skater #vector #lineart
    likes 20 // comments 3
  • Night paintin
    likes 586 // comments 9
  • Hey! @ian_mckay just started a bike ride from San Diego, CA to Bar Harbor, Maine. Safe travels and happy adventures to you Ian. Follow along on his feed. #mytinyatlas
    likes 617 // comments 8
  • #bahamanights
    likes 126 // comments 3
  • Tower Bar Martini excellence #towerbar #sunsettower #hollywood #cali #LA #martini #thecornerseat
    likes 117 // comments 3
  • love dis bish
    likes 31 // comments
  • Never gets tired #sunsettower #la #hollywood #homeawayfromhome
    likes 115 // comments 4
  • Progress on my @hownosm collaboration wall... @montanacans #brooklyn
    likes 1075 // comments 11
  • Morning view 🌳🌾🗻🌁
    likes 23 // comments 2
  • Soul recording
    likes 93 // comments 1
  • Nice to see a recent shot from the bedroom of friend and contributor-- mad traveler and inspiration @themagdalenaexperience shot by @angi_welsch on #mytinyatlas - Hope you had a relaxing weekend folks (if you didn
    likes 1242 // comments 13
  • Thanks to easy access to authentic Chinese spices, my Szechuan Mapo Eggplamt doesn
    likes 160 // comments 2
  • This image bringing back some personal stories (and possibly painful unprepared hiking stories) thanks for the reminder @niknak1707 The Colca Canyon in Peru outside Arequipa. #mytinyatlas
    likes 1680 // comments 25
  • Cooking some Chinese food...
    likes 143 // comments 6
  • So awesome to hang out with my homie RABI from @cyrcle in NYC and finally collaborate on a wall! Final pics coming soon... #brooklyn #cyrcle #tristaneaton #nyc
    likes 864 // comments 6
  • Ozem bday backyard tent zone
    likes 58 // comments 1
  • A big part of my job is to make my job look easy... To make it look like a party... I assure you it
    likes 123 // comments 8
  • Do you have all your duckies in a row for the upcoming week?
#duck #duck #goose #duckies #rubberduckies #Toby #tobylovesyou #tobystravels #garybaseman #baseman
    likes 768 // comments 9
  • This is my LA #rolls #rollsroyce #car #la #hollywood
    likes 188 // comments 4
  • Found @cyrcle
    likes 913 // comments 4
  • Sunset on #HudsonRiver
    likes 202 // comments 2
  • Cherry tree. Evening run in the park
    likes 269 // comments 1
  • Done. Barely been able to catch my breath since before Christmas so the #studio is #closed for May. Heading to the #UK and #Europe on family duties and to catch up with friends, back in #NewYork towards the end of the month. Play nice. // #holiday #vacation #outofoffice
    likes 43 // comments 1
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