• 4.21.14   Stephen Wilkes Photographs the New Manhattan Skyline for Vanity Fair

    Stephen Wilkes documented the dramatically changing Midtown skyline for Vanity Fair's May article "Too Rich, Too Thin, Too Tall?""When I work for a magazine, I first read the story and gain insight from the writer in order to understand what lies at the core of the article," the photographer said of his process. "I study the text and ask myself on shoot days, 'Is this going to be an opening picture or is this going to be a closer?' and then I determine how the remaining shots fit in. I think when a writer tackles a topic and a photographer visualizes the words, it's a very, very powerful combination."For Paul Goldberger's piece, which "looks at the construction, architecture, and marketing of ... super-luxury aeries, gauging their effect on the city's future," Wilkes rented a helicopter to capture the epic vantage points of these new skyscrapers. "I intentionally went up while there was snow on the ground for the aerial view of One57, because I wanted the contrast of the silvery buildings set against the white in Central Park," he explained. To portray the impact at the street level, Wilkes shot the construction site of the forthcoming Extell tower, on 57th Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue, which will be cantilevered over the Art Students League next door. "I rented a scissor lift so I could look into the site, and the resulting picture was striking because it provides a context for how these buildings emerge, how it all begins," he remarked. Without a doubt, he achieved his goal of making a picture (or several) that shows the shifting cityscape and how it, in turn, shifts New Yorkers' perceptions of the city.
  • 4.24.14   Serial Cut Takes Qantas to 'Ausmerica' With Print and Motion Campaign

    Qantas spelled out its extensive network of services from Australia to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, and New York with a print and motion campaign by Serial Cut."Droga5 came to us with the word 'Ausmerica' – a portmanteau of Australia and America – and asked us to create the lettering, and to fill each letter with a different landmark that would illustrate a journey," said Serial Cut's Sergio del Puerto. "The creatives told us, 'The first letter should be Sydney, the second should be the interior of the aircraft,' and so on, and we submitted our interpretations." Following the sketches' approval, the team dropped "Ausmerica" into Cinema 4D. "Some of the letters were more difficult than others, like the Hollywood 'M,' " del Puerto noted. His favorite was the "C," which shows yellow cabs whipping around the curve. Serial Cut also animated the key-visual narrative in a pair of commercials – a 15-and a 30-second-long spot.
  • 4.17.14   New Season of Nat Geo Channel's 'Life Below Zero' Premieres With Joey L. Promos

    Joey L. captured the key art for season two of "Life Below Zero," a National Geographic Channel series that explores what it takes to live off-grid in subzero conditions. "To make a long story short, I had photographed some portraits in an indoor blizzard setting and shared them online," he explained on his blog. "The images were then shared around quite heavily … and got a lot of traction. L.A.-based design company Cold Open was in the process of pitching ideas to National Geographic Channel, and were chosen to lead the design and creative for the new campaign." Coincidentally, the group brought along Joey L.'s blizzard images as reference imagery, but wasn't aware that the photographer had worked with the channel before. Nat Geo Channel creative director Andy Baker and design director Carla Daeninckx mentioned it to Cold Open, which would ultimately pick the photographer, and everything fell into place in Joey L.'s favor. He flew to Anchorage to shoot Sue Aikens, one of the program's subjects and the warden of Kavik River Camp, miles north of the Arctic Circle (and 500 miles from the nearest city and 80 miles from the closest road). "Although I think Sue is actually quite beautiful and charming in real life, the image of her chosen for the main key art isn't exactly flattering, but it is honest in representing exactly what the show is," Joey L. noted. "Sue didn't mind this either, and would rather be depicted authentically as someone facing a harsh climate rather than 'a girly-girl with a pink rifle,' as she put it." He added that aside from technical knowledge and artistry, portrait photographers have to develop social observational skills: "Sue is a lovable person and easygoing, but this is still the first time she's done a photo shoot like this. She hadn't met us previously ... we listened to what she had to say and made her part of the creative process. We did our research by watching episodes and reading material about her life, we took recommendations on what she'd actually wear and even the way she'd hold certain props or objects." Joey L. also paid particular attention to creating the faux precipitation. "When it's extremely cold, snow is not puffy and large," he remarked. "Beyond making the light more dramatic and less feathered and soft, something as simple as reducing the size and speed of the snowflakes themselves could even change the feeling of the photograph." The second season of "Life Below Zero" premieres Thursday, April 17 at 9 p.m. on the Nat Geo Channel.
  • 4.18.14   'BYRONESQUE OFFLINE,' Featuring Craig Ward Mural, Nominated for CLIO Image Award

    "BYRONESQUE OFFLINE," a shoppable retrospective that feted the one-year anniversary of vintage e-commerce and editorial site Byronesque.com – and featured a 700-square-foot mural by B&A's Craig Ward – is nominated for a CLIO Image Award (Engagement/Experiential).Ward received a copy of Jens Peter Jacobsen's poem "Company of Melancholiacs" from Byronesque.com CEO and editor-in-chief Gill Linton and creative director Justin Westover. The text is about "a secret confraternity ... who by natural constitution have been given a different nature and disposition than the others ... that wish and demand more ... than that of the common herd." And it "sums up why we started Byronesque – because pandering to 'the common herd' has [gotten] out of control," Linton explained. "We wanted to create something more provocative, more polarizing." The artist responded to the brief with an enormous mural using layered wheat-pasted posters installed in Manhattan's former James A. Farley Post Office for three days last December. "It dealt with the idea of emotional layers and the masks we wear from day to day – the image we project ... versus what lies beneath," Ward said. "Icons of masks and fragility were juxtaposed with images of strength and sat alongside bold and raw typographic pieces. Through layering and tearing these posters, we revealed other messages, with each line trying to cover up, or being revealed by, the next."Westover wanted to partner with Ward for some time and "this seemed the the right project to approach him with ... Craig totally grasped the melancholy spirit of the poem, and the décollage technique that he used really accentuated the fragility in the text and made it feel like an integral part of the derelict space," the creative director remarked. "It ended up being much larger than we originally discussed – we're very grateful he didn't get put off by the vastness of the space ... there's no doubt that the finished mural perfectly complemented the rest of the installation in the vault and was definitely one of the most talked about parts of the whole project."Regarding the CLIO Image Award, "We're definitely the underdogs in the game, and what we did was very underground by comparison, so we were surprised when we got the call," Linton noted, "but it is testimony to everyone who helped make it happen. We were blown away by how people threw themselves into making it better than we could ever have imagined, including Craig and his team." Ward added: "Shiny things are always good! Honestly, I'm not huge on awards, but it's great when your work is acknowledged by your peers." The winners will be announced May 7.
  • 4.23.14   Stacey Jones Styles Greta Gerwig for As If Issue No. 4

    As If issue no. 4 is soon to hit newsstands with B&A stylist Stacey Jones as the magazine's fashion director. The cover depicts actress Greta Gerwig wearing an Alexandre Vauthier couture gown and a Ziggy Stardust-like pompadour. "For the story, [editor-in-chief] Tatijana [Shoan] and I wanted her to be elegant and sophisticated, with a hint of Old Hollywood and a slight seventies feel," Jones said. "I researched other photo shoots that Greta has done and we watched some of her movies to get a good sense of what she's already done and who she is – and to get an idea of looks that we felt would complement her." That meant an embellished Miu Miu number, a Salvatore Ferragamo trench coat paired with La Perla lingerie, form-fitting Chanel, and a Prabal Gurung silk tuxedo dress. "We wanted to enhance Greta and have her love being a part of the shoot, and I think we succeeded," Jones continued. "The energy was fantastic on set."The issue's spring fashion story, "Portrait of a Lady," portrayed the season's graphic-art trend in an unexpected way – by using white contact lenses to turn her into a background. "I explained the concept to the model – that she would be playing a canvas – and she totally went with it," Jones remarked. "She was excited about putting in the contacts, which, admittedly, was a bit eerie. People have been drawn to the images because it's intense and absolutely gorgeous at the same time." The fashion director mentioned that she's already received positive feedback from the designers showcased in the spread."Portrait of a Lady" illustrates the brand of fashion-forward, thought-provoking content Jones plans to contribute to the magazine. "Readers of As If expect to be challenged, and what I create is never going to be a typical American-fashion-publication editorial," she noted. "The clothes are still going to be beautiful – I love beautiful clothes – but we're going to put twists on these stories that get people talking ... the minute that you see the images, you'll say, 'That is an As If fashion story.' "Credits:"Gerwig"Photographer: Tatijana ShoanHair: Marco Santini at The Wall GroupMakeup: Matin at Ray BrownNails: Alicia Torello at The Wall Group"Portrait of a Lady"Photographer: Tatijana Shoan at CREATETHE STUDIO in New York CityHair: Rudy Martins from L'AtelierMakeup: Asif ZaidiModel: Elly
  • 4.23.14   Mercedes-Benz Cruises Through 2014 With He & Me Calendar

    He & Me captured twelve months of German luxury vehicles for Mercedes-Benz's 2014 Passenger Car Calendar. "We decided to shoot during the night – in a huge, empty garage in Stuttgart – to achieve much more interesting light reflections than we would in the daytime," explained photographers Yona Heckl and Tom Mennemann. "The challenge was twofold; we had to pick out different spots within the same location for each car and we had to find distinct perspectives so they all looked great."They noted: "The most exciting part of the project was working with Mercedes's top designs. Be it the E-Class, S-Class, or C-Class, we shot the best interior and exterior packages that a customer can buy." The calendar, consisting of thirteen images (the cover photo and one per month), was unlike a campaign or brochure from the creative perspective "because there was no layout, in a way," He & Me said. "Nothing had to be connected to a headline or text, so the aim was to make a series of amazing pictures that could stand on their own."
  • 4.22.14   AdoptUSKids Ads Showcase Bigshot Toyworks' CG Trophies

    Bigshot Toyworks created a set of lively, computer-generated statues for AdoptUSKids' "You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Be a Perfect Parent" campaign. "Partnering with Klim [Kozinevich, the creative lead at Bigshot] was an awesome experience," said kbs+ copywriter Ben Cascella and art director Nigel Gross. "He created these incredibly realistic trophies and gave them a level of humor and character that completely blew us away – and he was extremely easy to work with." Klim and the Bigshot team received a straightforward brief that included a list of poses for the imperfect-perfect parents, like a father recoiling from a blazing barbecue and a couple holding a huge map (and looking in different directions). "Our first steps were to mock up the basic human forms for each in ZBrush," he explained. "We showed a few previews to the clients, they made some notes, and then we did a second pass. Once the poses were approved, we finalized the details, developed the bases, and rendered them in VRay to become gold trophies." He continued: "It was a challenge to maintain the figures' expressions while using a single, reflective color. We used a lot of VRay and Photoshop tricks."Bigshot Toyworks also took into account the ads' lighting. "We all worked together on figuring out where the light source would come from, so we were able to submit the trophies with the correct shadow information, and they could be dropped into the photos with minimal retouching," Klim noted. "To see it entirely composited was amazing; when you work on isolated assets, you only see a fraction of the picture ... the whole thing really came together and it was surprisingly nice."

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