• 4.29.16   Olaf Hajek and the Dream of Hermes

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    Hermes has been on the scene for almost two hundred years, commanding the interest and hearts of those who love fashion for all this time. The design house is a home for luxury creativity, and boasts a creative tradition unlike any other group in the world. There’s a rich history in the brand, something that Olaf Hajek distilled into a single image. It’s one thing to create a composition for a single season or campaign, but Olaf took the entire story of a brand and condensed it into a single image that Hermes could use however they felt fit for as long as they needed it. It became an exercise in metaphor and illustration, which happens to be a unique creative undertaking. And one that he excels at. The painting that Olaf ended up with is a direct reflection of Hermes’ logo, but brings in elements that run through the brand’s mission and how their work has affected their customers and the rest of the fashion world. To strike that kind of balance, Olaf had to go a little bit beyond reality and encapsulate the brand’s emotional history, reaching beyond the pale of our world and into another one that is more expressive. Olaf’s painting includes the recognizable tree and horse of Hermes’ logo, but also brings in impossible elements, like a leaf full of water emptying out into mountain mist, and coming back down in a river. “I always love to have this kind of surreal element, bringing all these different things together,” explains Olaf. “I just do it naturally. My hand is doing something without thinking.” Olaf’s paintings have freedoms that photography, perhaps, doesn’t. Rather that creating a reflection of reality, he can get closer to a deeper truth and representation. He can bring an index of emotion and story into one image that speaks to experience over analysis. Hermes represents so much more than collections of clothes, and is constantly telling their story to the world. Olaf sees their work writ large across time and incorporates it into his own process. “That’s why I also play this with these symbols, like evanescence, birth; something beautiful happens and then something is going down again, it’s dying,” explains Olaf. “Water for me is an amazing element which I really love and include in a lot of paintings.”  In a way, Olaf's work becomes something of a dream, connecting us to moments that live outside of our perceived reality but connect us to a deeper truth, the truth of experience.
  • 5.3.16   Jason Madera Gets Real with Best Buy

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    At Best Buy there truly is something for everyone. Whether you're in the market for a gigantic TV, or need the latest tiny music device, you can find something that will give you a little spark of joy. In fact, that's what Best Buy is all about: connecting people to new pieces of technology that will enrich their daily experiences. This is exactly what they wanted to mine in their latest collaboration with Jason Madara, and gave the photographer a focus that he knew he could have fun with. After combing through thousands of models and actors, Jason found around 30 people to photograph and jumped right in. Sometimes literally. “I had the music on, I had the Tina Turner on in the background, I had to laugh and make a fool out of myself and get them to really bring it, and feel comfortable,” Jason explains. “So for me, no matter what I’m shooting, I want to get into it and become part of it and get in there with them and share that experience with them. And not make them experience it alone.” Creating that kind of an atmosphere means that he makes space for his subjects to open up and have fun, something that will show up directly on film and make for imagery that is fun and engaging. Best Buy's products are incredibly diverse because their customers are diverse. Each person who comes into the store has slightly different needs, and Jason wanted to make room for that. The diversity isn't limited to race, age, or gender identity, but goes into life experience and Jason wanted to reflect these different experiences throughout the mix of photographs. “I was trying to mix it up and not feel like all the same,” says Jason. “So for every person I would get a feel for their personality and change the music maybe, and laugh with them. In a campaign with 28 images you want to try and mix it up as much as you can.” Jason asked each of them to imagine what it would be like to get whatever they wanted from Best Buy as a gift, and each of his models had a totally unique reaction. That was the point. Everyone who comes through Best Buy's doors is looking for something that's going to specifically speak to them; the broad range of experiences that Jason brought to this campaign means everyone can see themselves in it and engage with these stories. What Jason wanted to keep the same was the overall aesthetic of the shots. Even with the variation on film, it all had to feel like it was a part of the same story. So Jason created a solid base for himself that he used as a touchstone for continuity.  “My approach is always the same and technically my approach was always the same. I never changed the light too much, I wanted to keep it really consistent. We didn’t overly retouch these,” says Jason. “That was important. One of the things Best Buy mentioned is they really wanted that texture. They really wanted to basically feel real, that people can relate to these. That they look natural.” The engagement that Jason achieved can only happen if each image feels real. When an audience sees themselves in these images, it cannot be an extension of imagination, it must be a true visceral experience. Jason puts it all out there to connect with his subjects and ensure they'll connect with us so we can see ourselves in the story that Best Buy is telling us.
  • 5.2.16   He's Back! Marc Hom and the Return of Jon Snow

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    Marc Hom continued his blockbuster collaboration between Entertainment Weekly and Game of Thrones with the incredible exclusive story on this week’s episode of the HBO show. Fan favorite Jon Snow was killed off at the end of last season, creating a cliffhanger that no one expected. But, on the second episode this season, Jon thundered back to life in a move that many were too afraid to hope for. Kit Harrigton, the actor who plays Jon on the show, covers Entertainment Weekly this week in a shoot with Marc Hom to announce that Jon Snow is alive.  For all intents and purposes.  We won’t get into all the complexities, but there are still a lot of questions that the show will hopefully answer in the coming season. For Marc, this shoot was really refreshing. He’s photographed the Game of Thrones cast many times before, but this was the first time he got Kit Harington as Kit Harington. This was about connecting with the actor and not the character, and Marc was thrilled to do that. “It was very nice to work with him on something that was not in costume,” says Marc. “It was just about capturing him more than the character, basically. So that was very nice and it was cool. And I think that not having to have a reference to the show makes it kind of a bit more fresh.”  When Jon Snow died last season, fans were horrified to think that the only taste of Jon they’d ever get again would be watching Harington play other characters while grieving for their favorite character. Marc gives us Harington, but for now at least, we get more Jon as well. Until, of course, we don’t. Valar Morghulis.
  • 4.28.16   Tristan Eaton and Jeff Soto Team Up with Converse for Good

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    Bringing art home always makes us feel good, but did you know it can make others feel good too? This year, Converse’s Lovejoy Art Program teamed up with 22 global established and emerging artists to create 48 original pieces of work that would be put up for auction. Tristan Eaton and Jeff Soto are a part of this impressive roster whose pieces are now available for bid at Paddle8.com.  The auctions are set up to benefit Artists for Humanity, a Boston based non-profit that focuses on job training for underprivileged youth. Their whole mission is to create a sustainable pipeline for kids who are interested in building careers that they might otherwise not have access to. Artists for Humanity is in the middle of a massive expansion, and the proceeds from this auction will help to build the future of this organization.  “At Converse we owe so much to artists and their abundant creativity,” says David Carrewyn, Global Creative Brand Director at Converse. “The Converse Lovejoy Art Program is an amazing opportunity for us to both give back to the creative community and offer all artists a platform to showcase their work. We’re proud to host our first auction to benefit the great work Artists for Humanity does in Boston and look forward to continuing this program next year.” Before Converse lets go of all this incredible work, they’ve hung it in their Boston headquarters to soak up the inspiration and creativity for their own employees. We think of sneaker brands as being places where technology meets the road, but everyone at Converse is trying to push the boundaries wherever they can and look to artists like Jeff Soto and Tristan Eaton to help them think about their processes in new ways. Converse is already benefiting from having this art all around them, and now you can too (while at the same time benefiting Artists for Humanity).  Both Tristan and Jeff’s work is still available to be bid on at Paddle8.com until Monday, May 2. You can find Tristan Eaton’s ‘Against All Odds’ here, and Jeff Soto’s “Distant Sounds in the Night” here. The rest of the work as a part of Converse’s auction are here.
  • 4.26.16   He & Me Create Balance for Audi

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    When Audi called photography duo Tom Mennemann and Yona Heckl, also known as He & Me, the car company had a secret. They were sitting on their brand new S8 model and needed an amazing shoot to celebrate and unveil the vehicle to the world. But no one could see the car or the images before they were revealed. The shoot had to happen completely in secret, away from anyone’s eyes, so Tom and Yona met the car and the team at Audi’s private racetrack. One of the crown jewels of the Audi brand is their racing program, so He & Me teamed up with Pierre Kaffer, one of the car company’s drivers, to be their model.  The S8 represents a unique mixture of Audi’s performance sensibilities and extraordinary luxury, so they concepted a visual language that would combine these two things in a way that was captivating and even a little bit surreal. “We thought it would be a nice look to be a little bit more aggressive because it’s the luxury limousine of Audi but the S8 is the ‘speed luxury’ version of it, so we just thought it fit better in this kind of racing character,” explains Tom. “And because it’s a limousine and not an racing car, the styling concept was a nice suit with the helmet to show that mixture.” The resulting creates a new world that shows off this dichotomy that may feel unprecedented, fun, and incredibly attractive. To make this shoot happen they were able to use Audi's racetrack totally alone which not only made the shots possible but also made the whole experience extra enjoyable. “We were the only ones on the racetrack and it felt like our course, so we could do whatever we wanted which was great. Pierre brought us in the car and while shooting we were doing 240k/hr (149mph) so that was really amazing,” says Tom. “We never felt unsecure. Once there was a rabbit on the racetrack and he needed to do a little turn which was quite a little bit freaky, but it was okay,” Tom says with a laugh. They were able to strike a balance between being true to Audi’s heritage while mixing a stylized version of Audi’s story. The S8 represents luxury and performance in one, offering a unique balance, the same balance that He & Me was able to bring into a new visual language for the car company.
  • 4.27.16   Platon: Service

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    To civilians war is hell. Guns and ammo. Fire and death. The slow march towards oblivion surrounded by the calls from the other side or existence, bathed in dirt and suffering. War is the stuff of nightmares for civilians. For soldiers these things are true too, but on the ground it's far more complicated. Relationships are forged in this crucible, the madness of life becomes simpler in a way, moments are distilled and objectives reveal themselves. In this struggle many find a way to serve, a direction to focus on, a path. When Platon began photographing Army recruits at the beginning of their training, his goal was to get a glimpse at what they go through. What he found was a meditation on loyalty and sacrifice. "I wanted to find out what happens when you're asked to do something and you do it - and it's very dangerous, and the sacrifices you make,” Platon explains to NPR. “This is where I learned about the other side of leadership, which is service." In his new book 'Service,' Platon delivers to us what he found and teaches us perhaps how we should understand the 2% of Americans who uphold the mantle of this service. Platon started this project at a training center in California known as ‘Medina Wasl,’ photographing service members before they deployed to the Middle East. What he found there was harrowing, but even he didn't realize at the time that he was shooting a series of "before" images. It started at ‘The Suck,’ Medina Wasl’s nickname, but the stories started in these images would play themselves out unseen in the deserts and mountains of the Middle East, and many would find their way back to US soil and in front of Platon's camera again. "They were deployed. Then they come back and it's all different," Platon says. "So it became really human. It stopped being about the military and war, and turned into this human story that I never really expected it to be. I ended up taking pictures of love in the second half of the book." For soldiers returning from duty, love is a complicated notion. They've returned from a place where IEDs are hidden everywhere and bullets slam into rocks and bodies without warning. In that place love is a part of life and death, the distance between the two written in a fog of dust and smoke. Survival is immediate and clear, leaning against their brothers, counting on them for their next breath. Their service is clear. But when they come back their path is less clear. That murky passage reveals itself almost immediately after the soldiers return from their deployment.  “I've done some emotional projects before, but not at this relentless pace, day after day,” Platon says. “The way I work is, I'm very subjective. I'm not the objective journalist who doesn't get involved. I'm not the ‘observer.’ How the hell can you be objective when you're in a widow's house and she's standing there in front of you and she's crying? You can't. You're in. You find yourself becoming part of the story in a weird way. The picture is a complete collaboration between me and the sitter. There's no stolen moment. It's a discussion – a visual lesson they are teaching.”  Platon’s ‘Service’ is available now with essays by Sebastian Junger and Elisabeth Biondi. For more information find interviews on NPR and Time.com.
  • 4.28.16   History and Texture with Rachel Stickley

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    Our history is woven into every stitch of denim. Columbus’ sails that carried his ship across the Atlantic were denim, and Southern soil was resplendent with indigo plants in the centuries after. Few colors have the kind of rich history that indigo has and nothing says heritage better than denim. It is always in style, so it’s no wonder that Women’s Wear Daily just published a feature on what’s trending in denim and tapped Rachel Stickley to help visualize what the most creative minds in the industry are coming up with. Rachel’s styling goes against convention when it comes to thinking about apparel. Shrugging off the tradition of buttoning up models into clothes, Rachel has set the pieces up in a sort of origami showcase, utilizing textured white surfaces to highlight the shapes and feel of the cloth. The natural colors of the fabrics echo off the stark white base, highlighting how Rachel has arranged and folded them, displaying character and giving each article its own personality. 
B&A Instafeed
  • Advocate. Activist. Mother. Afeni Shakur, photographed by @jonathanmannion. Rest.
    likes 60 // comments
  • What
    likes 36 // comments 1
  • We
    likes 54 // comments 1
  • Does this mean winter is here? Illustration by @mriowgnr. #got #snow
    likes 52 // comments 2
  • Would you like fries with that? Toy by @bigshotklim.
    likes 50 // comments 1
  • “I’ve done some emotional projects before, but not at this relentless pace, day after day,” @platon says about his latest book
    likes 73 // comments
  • @mriowgnr helps us celebrate #alienday on this 4/26. Who knows why today is the day?
    likes 48 // comments
  • Your Monday just got a little bit butter. Photo by @jamiechungphoto.
    likes 63 // comments 2
  • Our #mondaymotivation is courtesy of @sam_photography and @polarglobal reminding us to jump to it!
    likes 68 // comments
  • You are what you make yourself. Illustration by @chrisbuzelli
    likes 80 // comments 1
  • Artists like @platon are sharing their memories of the legendary Prince. Add your voice to his legacy.
    likes 101 // comments
  • Remembering the late and great. #RIPPrince art by @mriowgnr
    likes 120 // comments 2
  • Goodnight sweet Prince. Photo by @platon.
    likes 96 // comments 2
  • tfw the weekend is sneaking up on you. @gigihadid by @jonathanmannion for @bmw
    likes 64 // comments 4
  • @jeffnishinaka for @HBO
    likes 59 // comments
  • @shotopop made a run for it with @brisk. #briskmate
    likes 40 // comments 1
  • Confused? Don
    likes 95 // comments 4
  • Did you catch the global @daredevil GIF-iti by @insa_gram? Full story on our blog. #gif
    likes 36 // comments
  • Down in the depths of a cave under the Champagne region of France, Erwin Olaf found the convergence of man and nature.
    likes 48 // comments
  • @jimmy.nelson.official finds beauty in the mist.
    likes 103 // comments 4
  • If you
    likes 69 // comments
  • The uncensored version of this @steven_laxton image from his travels in Thailand was selected to be one of the @american_photography_winners for AP32. #freethenipple
    likes 43 // comments
  • Between late night food carts and small islands full of zebra, @thayerandco found a lot to see in Cuba.
    likes 82 // comments
  • When Bose Collins starts on their CGI you know it gets wavy. #🌊
    likes 100 // comments 1
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