• 5.25.16   Michael Warren and the Soul of a Professional

    We think of companies as faceless organizations with their own whims and desires that are markedly separate from the heart of humanity. But that’s inherently false. Companies and corporations are made of up people, and those people come together to pursue common goals and objectives that bring them through their own corporate worlds to leave a mark on their industries. When Michael Warren got the call from Boston based investment firm Eaton Vance inviting him to help them create a photographic identity it was something that he knew he’d be able to tackle for them in a way that no one else would. “They wanted the humanity of their employees to come through is really what it boils down to,” Michael says. “They knew I could achieve that for them because they could tell that I’m more interested in real people. And this was all about real people.” It’s not enough to want to take pictures that truthfully show real people, Michael had to get in there and work it out so that his images would be a faithful representation. There’s only one way to do that: do it for real. It couldn’t be faked. For Michael that meant treating the project almost like a photojournalist. Instead of bringing the staff in one at a time to get portraits, he decided to almost embed with them and get a feel for what it’s like to really be a part of Eaton Vance. These images were going to be seen by potential clients and business partners, and they wanted to give a portrayal of what every day at Eaton Vance is like, without pretension or a false patina for the sake of PR. “I get to know my subjects before I photograph them, or even if we’re shooting a situation, I go to make myself a part of the group in a small way so that they can carry on and actually have a meeting,” Michael says. “I’m a fly on the wall. I’m going in, they’re having their morning meeting, and I’m documenting it. It’s not complicated. I’m there to get a moment that feels real, is unobtrusive, and honest.” It takes a special kind of company to open their doors and expose their inner workings to a photographer and then use those photos to show who they are. Michael’s photos show off this company unadorned, but that’s because that’s who they are. He’s showing the truth behind the company name. “Every corporation has their own soul,” Michael explains. “And if I can capture that spirit through their employees then that’s going to help visually tell the story of who they are.” This is a company of people who are proud of their staff and their accomplishments. What Michael had to do was show who they were, truthfully, and that’s exactly what he did.
  • 5.27.16   It's All Love with Jonathan Mannion and Viacom

    When Viacom approached Jonathan Mannion to help them with their latest campaign they were really looking for a partner. They had the beginning of an idea, but wanted his input to send it over the top. “They asked, ‘What would you do if we identified the North Star as the fans?’ And I came back with an idea that was, ‘The Circle of Fandom’,” explains Jonathan. In his concept, all fandom is essentially a cycle. The example that he uses is the singer Brandy. Brandy is on BET where she does her things, and her fans watch her because they love her. But she also loves her fans, and loves being a part of BET. And obviously BET loves it all. It becomes an ever moving circle of love and support, creating a community through fandom, and that’s what Jonathan was pursuing in this campaign. “The circular nature of it all coming together was at the core of what we wanted to do,” he says. There are thousands of fandoms all over the world of people connecting over their shared loves, whether it’s television like at Viacom, or any number of other hobbies. To capture even a tiny slice of the fandoms that touch what Viacom does at BET, Comedy Central, VH1, MTV, it was going to require a monumental undertaking, something that Jonathan doesn’t balk at even a little. But it did mean some packed days. “One day I shot three amazing, beautiful drag queens, Brandy, and then a four year old and his mother,” says Jonathan. “That was my eight-hour chunk of shooting for that day. My ability to react so purely and authentically to the talent that I shoot really allowed for all the images that we created to be so meticulously considered in their final execution.” It’s not enough to merely show up for the shoots, a photographer has to react and be present in every moment, no matter what’s happening on their set. Jonathan rolled with every thing that presented itself and that allowed him to capture moments that might be missed by someone else who isn’t as ready for anything. Part of the way Jonathan is able to get the images that he does while staying as engaged as he does, is by getting down to the core of what makes his subjects tick and engage with them on a personal, human level. “It’s always about the communication and the rich dialogue that allows us to yield imagery that feels real,” Jonathan explains. “I never want anything that I create to feel stale or gimmicky. So it was pushing people to belt out lyrics at the top of their lungs, and making them laugh, taking them a little bit further than they thought they would go that day.” When Jonathan finds something that surprises him he delivers that straight to us so we can be surprised in exactly the same way.
  • 5.26.16   Found Studio Does the Impossible for Fujitsu

    The last time we checked in with Found Studio’s projection mapping it was a mind bending exercise of unbelievable proportions. They turned an entire house into a moving image, as realistic as any movie we’d ever seen. But they just took it to the next level. In a spot for Fujitsu, the international information technology company, they created images that would normally be built in CGI inside of a computer. But through their expertise and experimental nature, Found was able to capture everything “in camera.” That means that everything you see in this incredible video is how it looked in the studio on the day that they filmed the spot. Don’t believe us? They also created a Behind the Scenes video so you can get a better idea of what the process looked like. Each element of the “effects” was created separately, and then every component was brought together into a single projection that would play on the day while shooting the final piece. Those moving images were projected onto the clean white walls of a studio and created the environments that the actors (both human and bovine) worked in. But what was truly ground breaking about this piece for Fujitsu was having projection mapping at multiple depths. For shots where the actors are interacting with invisible touch screens, the moving images were actually projected on a sheer screen that would pick up the projection, but still allow us to see beyond them.  When the young boy reached out his hand and an outline of his palm and fingers appears as if by touch, that was happening in real time as well. It almost seems impossible, or truly a glimpse of the future. In reality it would have been much easier to create many of these elements inside the computer and put them on top of the film. But for Found Studio, creating work like this is inherently valuable. There’s a beauty to the tangibility of it. “There’s a certain integrity and loveliness to actually doing it for real, and I think people connect with that,” says Ian Walker, Producer at Found. “We wanted to do something that people really connected with and I think you get that with doing stuff for real and not faking it.” It ends up looking like two parts magic, and if you’re still not totally clear on how it happened, don’t forget to check the accompanying Behind the Scenes video.
  • 5.18.16   Todd Selby and eBay Reject Perfection

    ‘Perfect’ means different things to different people. To be perfect is to be totally free of flaws, but the observer must decide what a flaw is to make the definition work. A flaw to one person might be a marker of brilliance to another, creating as many definitions of ‘perfect’ as there are people in this world. But what if the subjective nature of the word ‘perfect’ is actually devoid of meaning? What if “perfect” doesn’t mean anything? This spring eBay sought to find the answer to that question in their latest campaign and asked Todd Selby to help them in their investigation. It turns out that Todd is exactly the kind of person you want on your team to prove that ‘perfect’ doesn’t really exist: it’s not really a part of his vocabulary. “Personally I’ve never really been concerned with perfect, or interested in perfect,” Todd says. “I think only one time someone accused me of being a perfectionist. It was some random person who obviously didn’t know me very well,” he says with a laugh. The six women featured in the campaign, that includes a video, are a collection of ladies who use eBay to help express themselves through the special finds they discover on the site. Having access to the things that stimulate them through eBay has helped shape their point of views and strengthen the idea of creating their own version of ‘perfection,’ whatever that looks like. And good for them! “None of them said that perfect exists and it’s something that we can try to get to,” Todd says. “Perfection is a painful thing. When I see perfectionists, I don’t envy them. I think it’s better to express yourself and know when it’s right, the right amount of wrong.” At the very least we could all take their example and create a goal for ourselves that is true to who we are and how we see the world, rather than relying on the expectations of an outside construction of ‘perfection.’ The intimate, personal portraits in this campaign are exactly the kinds of photographs that Todd likes to create. Campaigns like this offer him an experience that inspires him, learning about his subjects and how they come into contact with the world. “It was a great group of women and it was great to talk to them and really I think all of them had really interesting things to say,” says Todd. “I always love visiting people and entering their worlds. It was nice.” When we reject the idea of 'perfection' it suddenly means that we have to understand everyone's experience as their own, with their own standards and unique genius. It is inside that diversity that we find what's interesting about meeting other people, and Todd is lucky enough that he gets to do it every day.
  • 5.19.16   Andrew Rae Circles the Globe with Google

    The digitizing of our culture has made the world feel a lot smaller than it is. The speed of communication and omnipresence of devices makes everyone accessible to everyone; we’re all just an email, tweet, or Facebook poke away. But sometimes it’s hard to bring that truth to the forefront, presenting it in an artful way. Google is changing that in a new browser game and they asked Illustrator Andrew Rae to help them make it as real and visceral as possible.  In Paper Planes thousands of digital paper airplanes are flying around the globe, and armed with a net you reach out and grab one. Once you catch a plane you get to open it up to see all the stamps from the locations where that plane has been. Each stamp represents a real person on their phone that held that piece of digital information. Then you add your own stamp to it and send it out. Andrew Rae created a great deal of the stamps that Google is using to help tag who is holding each of the planes, using fun animals that represent cultures all over the world. Aach stamp includes a little saying that is fun and exciting, blending seamlessly into the aesthetic of Google’s game. Andrew’s work is literally and figuratively zipping all over the world, and he says “It's really nice to know that people all over the world are looking at my funny little animal drawings.” The light energy presented in these illustrations is native to Andrew’s own humor, making the project pretty painless. “One of the quickest and easiest jobs we've ever done!,” says Creative Director Jerry Hoak at Droga5, the agency tasked with creating the project.  The tens of thousands of paper planes are all being traded all over the world through the digital sphere, creating a community of connecting synapses that exists in the cloud. It’s a seamless combination of old school forms with contemporary devices. In fact, it’s incredible who you’re able to come in contact with after even just a few seconds of using the game. Andrew used it himself and recognized that exact experience. “In the few minutes I was playing with it I saw stamps from Turkey, Dallas, New York, Wichita, Amsterdam, Chicago, Planet Earth and Fort Lauderdale. How crazy is that?”  To play for yourself, go to g.co/ioplanes on your mobile device. For a less interactive experience, check out paperplanes.withgoogle.com on your computer.
  • 5.24.16   ilovedust and Gatorade Send Peyton Manning Off in Style

    In football there are players and there are titans. Most players come on the field, play their careers, scoring wins and losses against their personal records, and then retire quietly. But there are a handful that leave a lasting impression, sometimes for decades, and attract fans the world over. Peyton Manning is one of those players. Manning spent nearly two decades on the field as one of the most famous quarterbacks in the world, but his retirement last year from the Denver Broncos was a heart rending event for fans who had followed him all that time. Gatorade wanted to celebrate his retirement by engaging his fans and their memories and asked ilovedust to help them do it. “We wanted to make this as much for the fans as for Peyton himself,” says Johnny Winslade of ilovedust. “We are able to view it as artists but more importantly as sports fans ourselves. We know only too well the passion that comes with those legends representing and pushing their teams to success. Peyton embodies all that and more.” Peyton isn’t much of a digital or social media guy so when Gatorade created a social media campaign for the fans to thank Peyton for his career they knew he wouldn’t see it. So they had to speak Peyton’s language. That’s why TBWA\Chiat\Day asked ilovedust to take the messages tweeted by his fans and create a huge mural that included words from peers, and imagery than spanned his career. “With a project of this size there are lots of challenges along the way with many moving parts, and factors to consider not just creating the art,” says Johnny. “But in truth it ran very smoothly. We created the mural in a studio space in Chicago, which had to be dismantled and reassembled at the draft village. That was probably the biggest challenge. But with lots of careful planning and a wonderful extended team it couldn’t have run better.” After the mural was revealed they invited further public collaboration as fans brought every more thanks and memories, writing them directly on the mural itself.  Players like Peyton Manning are only a few every generation, and these kinds of projects are equally rare. “We are honored to be part of such a wonderful project representing a monumental figure,” says Johnny. “It's not often you get chance to work with someone of Peyton’s stature, and a chance to do so in such a creative, hands-on expressive manner made it even sweeter for us.” Peyton’s retirement is a moment that millions of fans will remember for the rest of their lives and to be able to encapsulate that in literal relief is an incredible moment that will live on. Here you’ll find a video that follows ilovedust’s process and how it ties into Peyton’s retirement.
  • 5.23.16   Mark Hunter Stays Forever 21

    Turning 21 is one of the most exciting birthdays. A totally new world opens up filled with new opportunities and stirring adventures. That energy is exactly what Forever 21 captures every day. The fashion brand’s whole look is about holding onto the joy and exploration that comes with turning 21 and letting it live on forever. When it came time to shoot their latest season they turned to Mark Hunter who has made a career out of capturing energy just like that in fashion. For him, it was second nature. “This campaign was all about the fun loving energy: this playful, youthful spirit of being forever 21, which is like the most awesome name for a brand,” says Mark with a laugh. “And I think that at the same time they’re trying to elevate.” Part of taking it to the next level was bringing on Pyper and Daisy America, two sisters whose modeling work is captivating the world. It’s the easy and free energy of the America sisters that’s drawing the world to them and that’s exactly what Mark connected with immediately. “When they told me they had Pyper America and her sister Daisy I was really excited because they are superstar It Girls that I’ve been wanting to shoot with,” says Mark. “They shoot with the top photographers all around the world, so it was nice to be in good company.”  As the shoot progressed, the America sisters and Mark got along famously creating a fantastic collaborative energy in front of the camera, but Mark was also able to create that same collaborative energy behind the camera by taking advantage of creative technology.  Setting up with his digital technician and a tethering rig, Mark and his clients watched every shot as he took it, allowing him to work with the clients in real time. By taking out the guess work and time delay, they were able to amplify their creative exchanges and get exactly what they needed. “The clients loved it because we got to review the images and make sure that everyone was happy as we were shooting,” says Mark. “We were accomplishing and knocking each shots out one by one.” Since everything was happening in the moment, Mark and his clients were able to keep their eye on the ball, creating their vision with every click of the shutter without sacrificing the littlest bit of momentum. When technology and personalities come together it creates the perfect creative maelstrom to capture the energy of being forever 21.
B&A Instafeed
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