August, 2013

margaret lampert for MAM baby products

Margaret Lampert was recently commissioned by Gotham Inc. to shoot a library of images for MAM baby products. The images needed to portray the real moments of parenting, so the project was best served by casting and directing real moms and babies, something for which Margaret is often sought out.

Margaret was hired by Gotham Art Director Natalie Chambers and Art Buyer Joy Adler-Kerekes. Natalie and Margaret had previously worked together on a project for Clorox at DDBSF and Natalie wanted to work with Margaret again and in this, found the perfect assignment.

One of my favorite projects to date was for Clorox DDBSF working with Natalie,” adds Margaret. “She completely understands my work and allows me to shoot intuitively. Her sensibility and understanding of the process is such a gift to all of us who make pictures. I was thrilled she thought of me for this wonderful project and it was such a pleasure to have the chance to collaborate with her once again!” 

With great appreciation to both Natalie and Joy for the opportunity, and a special thanks to Joy who was a ‘joy’ to work with throughout the project.

MAM3_117936-AmerBaby_7.875x10.5.indd

jim salzano for tricycle magazine

Jim Salzano was recently hired by Stephanie Heimann, photo editor at Tricycle magazine, the leading journal of Buddhism in the West. She asked Jim to shoot a portrait of a female African American ordained Buddhist priest from the South named Merle Kodo Boyd for the Fall 2013 cover of Tricycle.

Merle had never been photographed in a studio setting and Jim knew he was in for an interesting day when he asked the priest if she minded having a hair and makeup artist on set? Merle responded that she had a shaved head and had never used makeup before.

What was I thinking? I let her know we would make sure she would feel comfortable. When she arrived I was happy to see how peaceful and humble she was and I went with that feeling for the shoot,” added Jim.

Thanks to Stephanie and Tricycle for the great editorial shoot.

C1_TRIFALL13

 

 

 

 

rj muna for ASICS reveal in ESPN: the body issue

ASICS1_web

RJ Muna was selected by ASICS to shoot one of their most strategic ads of the year: ASICS Reveal “No-Body” to introduce ASICS training collection in ESPN: The Body Issue. The ad is running on the inside-front-cover as a gatefold—quite an honor as this is ESPN’s biggest issue of the year and a key media buy for ASICS.

The idea was simple. And very complex. In other words, perfect for RJ. The ad features ASICS’ sponsored athletes performing various training activities, with a twist. In the print ad, the athletes are invisible with a call to visit a micro-site, Asics Reveal, where a scroll-over reveals both the athletes and their training routines. The shoot was highly technical and the clothing was shot separately to recreate the effect that it was being worn. This required a lot of post-production but also the expertise to get everything possible in-camera.

Asics2_web

RJ was considered because of his gorgeous dance work and hired because of the high-level advertising work he does. “They understood I could shoot a body. And then clearly from all the other high-end advertising we do, he understood we could handle a production,” adds RJ.  And because of the creative call. “You have to show them that you get it both in terms of how you are going to technically and creatively approach the shoot. This is a huge part of it.”

I asked RJ to give us an insider’s view into the process and share some tales from the set. It often seems like magic when everything lines up, especially on a complicated shoot. But generally it’s just due to a highly professional collaboration and we can’t thank Vitro and Art Director Tim O’Malley enough for being so great to work with.

Click here to watch a video on the making of the ad.

What were the specific challenges of this shoot?

The concept was a “No Body” ad for The Body Issue and there was a print version and a web version. We had to make the print ad good enough to stand on its own without the athletes which was a great challenge.

We shot the athletes one day in the clothes and the clothes on a separate day. The trick was to get the athletes lit to show the character of the fabric without too much wrinkling. To shoot the clothes on their own we hung and relit each piece, shoe and neckline based on how it looked in the ad. Additionally, we had to shoot the insides of the clothing as this would be visible in the print ad.

We shot a lot of frames because we didn’t know whether the athlete would be turning left or right and had to shoot for each of these possibilities. But this is what makes the ad interesting.

We wanted to make everyone look real and effortless. There was a lot of discussion about which apparatus and exercise to achieve this. We ended up with extra shots so we could compose after we shot. Everyone was shot separately and stripped in in post.

This shoot also required dealing with a lot of logistics and getting everyone together. We had to shoot it in Des Moines because all the athletes were there for a track meet. We had to rent a warehouse to shoot it in rather than a studio because they didn’t want a studio look. We built and created an environment and stripped people in.

What was the most surprising thing about this shoot?

We were shooting elite athletes whom you expect to be fairly remarkable. It’s a given they can do things beyond what normal people can do.

One of the athletes was working on pushing tires and doing box jumps. He was average height and well-built, very calm and easygoing. We set something up and he hopped up without even trying and asked us to set one up higher, 45” above the ground and well above his waist. He hopped up with a 6” clearing more than 10 times. And every single time it seemed completely effortless and presented the same. They were incredible machines and this photo shoot was barely breaking a sweat for them. Certainly competing is a lot more effort, but we expected them to sweat just a little. But the fact that they were so effortless was incredible.

To what do you owe the success of the ad?

The art director Tim O’Malley was a great guy. We had a very good creative exchange and collaborative process. This job had the most moving parts and was the most piece-intensive shoot that I’ve done. Every logistical decision had an implication. We had to have very clear communication every step of the way.

Tim and I were on the same page and this is key. If you don’t share a similar vision with the AD, it’s difficult. Our visions aligned very quickly.

Thank you Tim O’Malley and Vitro for the opportunity. It’s not every day you get two amazing ads running simultaneously in ESPN’s biggest issue of the year. For the story on RJ’s other body ad, click here.