• 10.14.16   David Doran's Rich Cultural Brew for Nespresso

    Coffee is a finicky plant. It requires very specific conditions, and minor variations result in different flavor profiles, textures, and consistencies. As a result, coffee is imbibed in as many different forms as there are varieties, and to celebrate a culture’s way of drinking coffee is to celebrate their people. This year Nespresso is celebrating the unique tastes of Brazilian and Columbian coffees and invited David Doran to help. Through a huge range of illustrations, David created a veritable library of imagery that Nespresso used for packaging, social media, advertising, and in-store installations. “It’s really nice to see. It’s good to walk into a coffee store and see people talking about the coffee, to search the hashtag and see everyone enjoying it,” says David. “And it’s really exciting to have a brand like Nespresso trust me with the illustration.” To offer a fair representation of these cultures, David needed to understand them so he could translate them into a visual language. He couldn’t make the trip to Brazil or Columbia, so he grabbed as many references as he could. “I’ve was given loads of reference material, and the ad agency that I was working with was visiting so they were making a video,” says David. Those visual references gave him cues that he used to bring an honest depiction of these places. “Picking up on the small details, the small nuances in the buildings, the way the roofs were tied in with all the small lines inside the buildings... that makes it very distinct,” says David. The personality of a culture is locked away in their aesthetic details; David uncovered those details and placed them at the soul of his work. Often when a brand approaches an artist like David it’s to create an image or two that is repurposed across the brand's messaging. That kind of project can be limiting since every concept needs to be jammed in a single composition. David was liberated by the sheer volume of work he had to provide. It was a lot, to be sure, but it ended up creating a better context for the story he was helping to tell. “It was really nice to have the opportunity to work on so many pictures. It’s kind of another world and I think that comes across in the whole campaign that they’ve invested in creating something,” says David. “The project itself is just trying to be genuine and respectful to the people and what inspires them. Hopefully that comes across in the pictures.”
  • 10.21.16   Todd Selby Brings it All Together for New York Life

    Todd Selby is known for creating portraits that are full of energy and full of life. They’re rarely staged, if ever, and offer a window in the lives of the people he photographs, and his clients love him for it. They help to bring an authentic connection between their product and the subject, and Todd has found some incredible partnerships to help facilitate this work. But his newest partner was looking for something a little different. New York Life, the insurance giant, wanted something with structure, and they wanted a lot of it. They asked Todd to not only create their latest campaign but also construct an entire image library for them. It was so no small feat. “It was pretty gargantuan,” says Todd. “The idea was people in their natural environments but then kind of them coming together for a portrait, or the moment before the portrait. We used new talent for almost every shot and new situations and new families.” It was hundreds of talent in dozens and dozens of set ups, one right after another. And it was awesome. To strike the right tone, Todd’s team took to the street and recruited subjects from real life. “Street casting” has the benefit of discovering how subjects interact right from the beginning, but also helps save time and energy when on set: real families and friends already have a solid rapport. “We used real families and extended families and lots of real friends. So we tried to have that camaraderie rather than constructing everything,” Todd explains “We had so little time, so for something this big, sometimes 18 to 19 scenarios in a day, we had to have that instant connection with people. Having that comfort that’s the most important.” Going to such a real place with their subjects meant that Todd was able to maximize his time during shooting which was crucial, especially considering how much work there was to do. Faced with the incredible volume of assets Todd was expected to produce, he dove right in. Thanks to his own work ethic and the people he surrounds himself with, he and his team were able to complete the project on target and with aplomb. “I really loved it. I like being productive. It was really a lot on the production,” says Todd. “I have a great producer, Elle Sullivan Wilson, she’s my long time producer and she had a big challenge in terms of putting all the pieces together so that everyone was ready. It was quite a big production. We did it.”
  • 10.20.16   Josh Cochran and Andrew Rae Introduce Google's Newest Generation

    If technology has achieved anything in the last two decades, it’s helped us communicate better. Whether we’re sharing our thoughts in a finite number of characters, images from our daily lives, or the latest presentation at work, we’re able to bring information to each other in incredibly efficient ways. But we can always be better, can’t we? When Google launched their suite of products that include Google Docs and Google Sheets, they did it with the intention of bringing everyone together - and they achieved it. Last month they decided to rebrand the entire project as GSuite and invited a handful of artists, including Andrew Rae and Josh Cochran, to help them launch it. The campaign celebrates how easy Google has made professional and personal communications no matter where users are, and both Josh and Andrew take that idea and turn it into a visual language. Josh Cochran’s “Airplane Window” shows multiple professionals working from their own private spaces as if through the windows of a plane. Each of them has found a way to be in their own corner of the world while being efficient workers. The strength of any company comes from diversity of thought and one way to keep that fresh is to allow employees to follow their personal curiosities. The constant communication and information sharing that GSuite facilitates allows each worker to make their own discoveries and deliver them back to their team. Josh shows each of these team members engaging in the exploration, enriching the final product of their collective work. Andrew Rae’s piece, “World Meeting” depicts figures from all over the world brought together into a single room. From first sight it looks like each of them are literally in the same room together, but upon further inspection we see that they’ve created a central location that is impossible: it features Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, the Empire State Building, and more famous landmarks. Instead of this meeting happening in one location it’s happening through Google’s GSuite in the common digital space. Andrew shows us that GSuite allows us to be everywhere at once, and in one place together.
  • 10.13.16   Douglas Friedman Reveals It All for Architectural Digest

    In this month’s Architectural Digest, Douglas Friedman has three different stories that each delves into the lives of unique people. Norman and Norah Stone’s brick San Francisco mansion, Brigette and Mark Romanek’s Laurel Canyon family home, and Jessica Chastain’s New York City apartment are all created around the lives of the people who live here, making each space a revelation of who that person is. These three projects show how truly revealing a space can be. When Douglas traveled to San Francisco to meet with the Stones it was to ultimately walk into their old school brick home whose inside is completely different from the outside. “Listen, Norman and Norah Stone are a legendary couple in San Francisco and in the international art world,” says Douglas. “The home is very traditional and then you walk in and they have meticulously restored it and filled it with the most incredibly brave collection of contemporary art. You’re in someone’s personal museum. Then to be working with Norman and Norah who are just the most fascinating creatures… truly amazing people.” Living in a museum doesn’t so much change a person as it does give a hint to the kind of people that would live there. Douglas found two collaborators who were generous, sophisticated, with rich senses of humor. The perfect partners.  Southwards in LA Douglas met up with Brigette and Mark Romanek and their family. Like the Stone’s, they had curated an amazing collection of beautiful things, but for this growing family the space has a different set of needs. Their home was immediately inviting. “This felt like it had a very specific point of view: Bridgette’s. Her ability to find a narrative with all of this stuff was incredible,” says Douglas. “One of the amazing things about her home is it’s not precious - in a good way. You don’t feel like you’re required to take your shoes off. Even though you probably should because everything in there is so fine.” Douglas photographed the entire family in their own spaces. It was personal, comfortable, and intimate. On the opposite coast, Douglas got access to Jessica Chastain’s New York City apartment and what he found behind her front door is not what he was expecting at all. “There’s something fascinating about dipping into the life of a celebrity, especially someone who is so famous and has this incredible ability to conceal who she is,” says Douglas. “And it was so unexpected to walk into her home and be like ‘Wow, this is who Jessica Chastain the person is.’" Even though Chastain wasn’t with Douglas every step of the way he learned from the choices that she made about what went into her space and how she arranged it around herself. This is a woman whose job it is to disappear into the lives of other people, but when she comes home it’s all about her.  Every space reveals the truth about the person who lives there and designs it around their needs, and no one can read that language better than Douglas Friedman.
  • 10.17.16   Vodafone Keeps It Real with Brian Doben

    When an artist creates a personal project separate from their advertising work it’s because there are stories they want to tell and explore that the market isn’t asking for. But when an artist hits on something special in their personal project the industry starts to ask for it. That’s what happened when Brian Doben started his ‘At Work’ project. The ongoing series of images visits real people in their real working lives and offers environmental portraiture that reveals the heart of their work. Grey Advertising caught wind of Brian’s ‘At Work' and thought they would be the right match for Vodafone, the technology giant, who is looking to tap into a new market. “They’re humanizing the brand and ‘At Work’ was the perfect opportunity for them because they just felt that what they wanted to do was just create a day in the life moment image,” says Brian. Typically technology companies focus their advertising on shiny new products or the future, whether it’s in robotics or what the omnipresence of the internet can achieve in the coming years. But Vodafone had a different idea. “They’re seeing an attraction to honest imagery. Even though at the end of the day they were selling a product, we’re trying to humanize the people using it,” says Brian. “We’re trying to capture an image that really tells the story for both Vodafone and how using a Vodafone product maybe will help them in their day to day. It’s embracing their customers, which is really what it’s about.” Technology helps us live our lives and take advantage of every moment. The way to understand that best is not through aspiration but through real human stories, and that’s exactly what Brian does. For one of the ads he connected with the proprietors of Life Kitchen, a catering hall in London. Brian speaks the language of visuals, that’s why he’s a photographer, but it’s also the same language that they were speaking over at Grey making it a perfect partnership. “Grey’s Art Director is absolutely brilliant, he was great to work with. He had these amazing sketches that really helped,” says Brian. By interfacing visually, Brian and Grey were able to skip the confusion and get right to telling the story of this small business. “[Nick and Dave of Life Kitchen] explained that Nick will walk in the kitchen at any time and just plop his computer down and work in the midst of a very busy environment,” Brian says with a laugh. “And so I just wanted to it this as authentic as possible.” They tossed out their initial plans and just went straight to recreating that reality resulting in an image that is true to life, but also true to Vodafone.
  • 10.19.16   Carles Carabi Dives Right In

    On any given week, Carles Carabi is photographing soccer stars for ESPN, yogis for adidas, or explosive imagery for Budweiser. These projects make for incredible imagery but there’s more for Carles to explore. “Diving is a beautiful sport, I always liked it and I always watch it on TV during the Olympics,” says Carles. “They pose well in the air, there’s action, there’s movement, and it’s easy to compose. It’s a beautiful sport.” He wanted to bring the sport to life in a personal project, something that would be free from the expectations or constraints of a client. So he teamed up with Spanish diver and model Claudia Gilabert, photographing her during training and practice to get a full picture of the diver’s process. Diving is a unique sport, similar to some in Track & Field, where athletes get only a single moment to compete. When they jump off the board or off the platform, all of their work is expressed in the distance between the board and the water. It’s a compact time, and the focus of all their training. “There’s a lot of preparation and years of training for just one or two seconds of execution so I asked her how it works with the preparation. I wanted to know if before she jumps if she does the whole jump in her mind at the time, or how does it work,” says Carles. Through his images he offers us both frozen explosive moments of Gilabert’s dives, and the focus that surrounds her before she jumps off the board. “The duality is quiet and concentration, and then action. It was important to show both sides,” Carles says.  Carles has made a name for himself by shooting incredibly famous and wealthy athletes all over the world. It’s afforded him a particular angle on the sports industry but he wants to open it up to more figures. There are sports and athletes all over the world that get almost no coverage compared to the most popular athletes, and Carles takes it as his responsibility to boost those that are relatively hidden. “I find it important to give visibility to other sports besides soccer or basketball, and specially feminine sports. I think they don't get the attention that they deserve,” Carles says. “Divers train hours and hours every day for many years and they don't make any money with it. Even if they represent their country in the Olympic Games and win a medal, they will never make a life of it. It's a lot of work and sacrifice for ‘nothing.’ I think it's unfair.” As an artist and photographer, Carles is uniquely poised with his audience to bring attention to parts of the industry he’d like to shed more light on.   
  • 10.18.16   Reed + Rader Blooms with V Magazine

    Most art is about communication, but sometimes the goal is to open your mind. For Pamela Reed and Matthew Rader, the creative duo behind Reed + Rader, they're all about edging into totally new spaces. They’ve been collaborating with V Magazine for years, making the impossible, and this year was something of a celebration of summer with a new immersive video that’s at once inconceivable and totally accessible.  “V Magazine is willing to just go for the ride with us. We did a flowers video with them a few years ago and it was like the beginning steps for us to rotate the camera in a 3d space,” says Pamela. “This is kind of a follow-up for us where we wanted to do a new floral themed video but really push the camera movement in the 3d space.” To create a look like this requires a process that Reed + Rader have been perfecting over the last couple years, and requires a certain amount of planning, skills, and techniques that they’ve made their go-to tools. “Everything’s shot on green screen and, sometimes the camera movement is done on set, but most of the time it’s done completely in post production. And everything else is complete CGI,” says Matthew. “It looks more complicated than it actually is.” We’d tell you exactly how they achieve this magic but that would kind of take the fun out of it, don’t you think? What’s unique about what Reed + Rader does is that it’s not trying to be realistic. This isn’t hyperreal CGI that bends the mind. Instead it’s self-aware and invites you to come along anyway. “We create all of our worlds in 3d because we like worlds that can’t really exist in reality,” says Pamela. “So just pushing that line of doing these surreal fun worlds is something that clients really latch onto.” Overgrown ruins in a field are familiar enough, but no one is stepping through human sized tulips or grasping 10-foot tall daisies. But that’s what gives their visions their unique value. Pamela and Matthew are tapping into something visceral, continuing an exploration that began in childhood. “Having the possibility to walk around this place and have it feel like it could be real and maybe some day will be real, years from now if the technology gets good enough... that feels magical," says Matthew. "As a kid you read bedtime stories and it transports you to this magical place: what if we could actually go there? That’s kind of the overarching theme.” Until we’re able to step inside these worlds we can use our devices like windows into the impossible imaginations of Reed + Rader.  Please join us in welcoming Reed + Rader to the roster at B&A.    
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