Part of the job description of being an editorial photographer is being able to pull all kinds of productions together in a relatively short amount of time, without of course compromising any sort of quality. It’s a fun and exciting aspect of the game, as well as a nerve-jangling one (but i suspect that’s what keeps us in it, right?). And although this was’nt a huge production challenge in terms of what could have been needed on any given day (which basically consists of literally anything!) it’s always somewhat of a tricky challenge to create an entire photo- studio in someone else’s workspace, one that’s high quality enough to grace the cover of a major newsstand magazine, all within a limited time-frame.I mean, it’s not exactly like working in a studio where you’re lighting, spacing and set-up have some consistency and familiarity. No, in this instance we basically have two hours to park, haul a studio up to the ninth floor, construct, concept, test, adjust, back-up concept, test, think, re-think, decide if you actually like the light or even the idea, sometimes start from scratch, hopefully have a cup of tea, enough to re-build your energy, ‘cos guess what, in 10 minutes your subjects gonna arrive and you’ve got to shoot a kick-ass cover. And oh yeah, he’s not someone who makes a living in front of camera, so I’ve really gotta bring it, to get him be there! So, it’s challenging, but also fun in a sort of self-mutilating/ testing ones- self kind of way! Ha. Oh yeah, and we also need a double page spread shot too! Yep, that’s got to be creatively worked, concepted, lit etc. So there’s a lot of work that goes into these location cover shoots in a very small amount of time and I couldn’t even come close to doing it without a great team, who act as a spare set of eyes as well as literally muscle. The trust allows it to become a great little creative menagerie, a melting pot where i’m nothing more than the head chef, as well as kind of circus ringleader! Thanks to a great team guys….Thomas Hencz, Leah Christensen and David Fearns.
It’s not everyday you get the run of the entire 20th Century Fox studio backlot, $250,000 worth of Ferrari, oh and yes, the venerable Mr. Jim Gianopulos, CEO of said studio, to play with. But thanks to The Official Ferrari Magazine, that’s exactly what happened back in June.Jim was actually awesome to work with. I’ve shot plenty of business types, and some you just can’t loosen up, but he seemed to totally enjoy the process and had fun with it. Partly due to the location, the car, and his Godfather-esque looks, i was feeling a kind of ‘Little Italy tough guy from the streets done good’ kind of vibe, and Jim was right there with me. Hey, forgetaboutit! It’s almost like he hangs around with famous actors all day!Great working with you Jim, hope we get to do it again some day. Thanks also to the excellent production team at Ferrari, and Amy Trezise and the location team at Fox.
Romo and the Cowboys are a rollin’, with talk of being the best team in the league! We’ve done a couple of shoots with the Cowboys QB over the years for Sports Illustrated and Pepsi. Stand up guy!
A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of working with LPGA Tour Pro Lizette Salas for Golf Digest. The editors there are so great to work with, always encouraging to go beyond the obvious ‘golfy’ shot, gives you so much more freedom and confidence to play around and have fun. And one thing i learned, if you’re ever short of a wind machine, a leaf-blower works pretty darn well as a stand-in! Especially when subject’s Dad is groundskeeper of said club.A fun day was had by all, and i think it shows in the pictures! Thanks Lizette and best of luck, we’ll be rooting for ya.
Stanford University’s Technology Ventures Program is Silicon Valley’s incubator for the next big thing. A business program where playtime is problem- solving. The brainchild of innovation gurus Tina Seelig, Ph.D and Tom Byers, Ph.D, the program is dedicated to accelerating high-tech entrepreneurship. It’s a high value prize for all at Stanford, and enrollment is limited to a dozen outstanding students each year. Plus you get to wear paper cones on your head all day and call it work!
We spent a couple of days with the professors and students of the STVP, poking around the creative hub on campus that is the d.school and generally soaking up the chilled out yet intense vibe that is Stanford for The Times magazine, and let me tell you, these kids know they’re at the center of the business world.
Here’s a fun shoot with renaissance- woman Sasha Grey. This girl’s a good laugh and so easy to work with, hope we get to do it all again sometime soon.
A girl who’s resume includes actress, model, author, musician, and former pornographic actress, and all by the age of 24! That’s not messing around! She played the lead role in Steven Soderbergh’s 2009 film The Girlfriend Experience ( and was excellent in my opinion) and is currently in the middle of promoting ‘The Juliette Society’, a fictional erotic novel, released earlier this year. A. O. Scott of The New York Times described her pornographic career as having “an unusual degree of intellectual seriousness about it.” In the words of Andy Samberg doing a Nicholas Cage impression…. “That’s high praise!” She’s an interesting girl, and quite clearly more than just a pretty face. Oh, and her instagram feed…. Sasha gone done got herself a good eye!
and of course, suitably inspired, she insisted on getting in on the photo- taking business herself….. my, what a fine looking couple of photogs right there! 😉
It’s always nice to get even a little bit of recognition from your peers, so it was great to hear i’d received an Honorable Mention in the International Photography Awards for ‘the sex therapist’, a cover story i shot about Dr. Brandy Engler, author of ‘The Men on my Couch’ for The Times Magazine. You can also read an in-depth behind the scenes post on how the shoot went down over at Wonderful Machine’s blog. Many thanks to Brandy for being such a wonderful and malleable subject, a true collaboration.
Here’s a shoot we did a while ago for Corriere della Sera‘s Style Magazine with Anna Anisimova, otherwise known as ‘The Russian-American Paris Hilton”. Unfortunately, sometimes just getting hold of published tearsheets can be just as challenging as producing a ‘Vanity Fair’ style shoot on pretty much no budget (both apply here). But hey, were photographers…. problem solving comes with the territory, right?
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today that she is resigning and will be nominated to become president of the University of California system. We worked with Janet twice on assignment for TIME magazine (with thanks to Martha Bardach) on both occasions in Phoenix where she was serving as Governor of Arizona. Both shoots couldn’t have been more different though. One relating to border security and it’s intense militarization, and the other working with an adorable group of young hispanic schoolchildren for a story on education. I have to say the border security story was much more fun. How often do you get to be in control of a military helicopter and instruct it on how close you need it to skim the head of the future Homeland Security Secretary? Just awesome!
When Dr. Eric Topol, one of the world’s foremost cardiologists, heard an alarmed flight attendant ask “Is there a doctor on board?” he instantly knew he could display the potential for wireless medicine. So he snapped an AliveCor device onto his iPhone and performed a cardiogram at 30,000 feet. “These days, I’m prescribing a lot more apps than I am medications.” he declares. For Dr. Topol, it’s no question that the future of medicine lies within your smartphone, and most notably the AlivCor technology.
We photographed Dr. Topol at Scrips Institute in San Diego for Der Speigel last year, and David E. Albert (below), the inventor of AlivCor, for the USC Body Computing Conference. As soon as i saw the little ECG displayed in real time on an iPhone, it was clear it was going to be a game- changer, and i’m not a Doctor, i just play one in my dreams.
Dr. Topol talks more about this revolution, which he clearly embraces, in his controversial new book ‘The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care’ and in a fascinating interview on NBC’s Rock Center. These two gents are true mavericks in my opinion, challenging the status quo in an industry so reluctant to change, and as so, hopefully help usher in a new era of affordable healthcare for all.
Bret Easton Ellis made his mark as a novelist and screenwriter who spotlights the darker, more twisted side of the City of Angels. With his latest movie ‘The Canyons’ he continues in that vain; the film stars a toxic mix of Lindsay Lohan and male porn star James Deen. Should be interesting!
We recently shot Bret for Der Spiegel, second time in fact for the same client. The first time, he challenged me, somewhat exasperatedly “Please shoot me in some different way in this apartment, we’ve done so may shoots here and shot every possible angle!” So for some reason i had him lay on the back of his couch. Not really sure where the idea came from, and how it was going to turn out, but i thought what the hell, at least it will mix things up! Turned out, Der Spiegel loved it! Haha, just shows, you never know. Portrait photography is all about pushing things for the heck of it. It has to be said, Bret was’nt too crazy about the idea, and got into position just enough for me to grab one frame, then he thought better of it, but by then, the shot was made.
For this, our current shoot, honestly, i don’t think he connected the dots that i’m the same guy who made him do that, but no matter, he’s actually a really chill guy, and pretty much game for anything once he fells your pretty cool too i guess. Anyway, we scouted his place, and i just loved the shafty window light hitting his bedroom. So we just made the shoot happen from there. Kinda works for a writer with a darker view of LA….i really should read one of his books one day, i think i’d like it.