June, 2016

randal ford for sage security

There is a recent trend in advertising of using a sort of quirky or otherwise oddball spokesperson to sell a brand—think Rob Lowe for Direct TV or Dollar Shave Club’s viral YouTube video featuring a machete-wielding CEO.

Sage Home Security recently hired Victors & Spoils to create a series of print ads to build on the success of their Easy Is Awesome video featuring the amazing comic actor John Fulton. The goal was also to visually tie in a bright sage green color to its brand.

The images portray Fulton as burglar who has broken into a completely green house, and who is advocating for Sage Home Security “to protect my home from dirtbags like me.

When I first heard about the project from Victors & Spoils, I knew that visually it was going to be awesome, so I was really excited about trying to bring it to life,” says photographer Randal Ford.

Ford worked with the LA-based set designers Still Sets. The set and prop designers scoured local vintage and second-hand stores for objects to build a living room and bedroom in a studio in LA. And then they painted everything green.

We painted everything the exact same matte green color. Everything from the carpet to the molding. We even painted a grand piano green. None of this was color composed in Photoshop—it was all done in camera,” says Randal.

Fulton is shown smoking a pipe in front of the fireplace, lounging on a bed, and kicking his feet up on the living room sofa.

 

John Fulton’s personality is so fun and quirky and goofy, I think they were able to do something kind of crazy because this actor would be able to pull it off—and he did it behind a piece of hosiery. Many thanks to the creative team Rob Lewis and Pat Horn at Victors & Spoils for these great concepts and to Still Sets for the greenest set we’ve ever created.

jamie kripke for phillips 66

Jamie Kripke says Ed Ruscha’s iconic painting of a Standard gas station is one of his all-time favorite images. The clean, graphic lines were a source of inspiration for Jamie when working with Venables, Bell & Partners to create a library of updated photography for the Phillips 66 brand, which also includes Conoco and 76.

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Jamie started by doing a test shot at a Conoco station in Boulder, CO, using his friend’s vintage Porsche 911—a process that taught him a few things about gas stations and showed him how much post-production work would likely be involved to achieve a similar look as that of Ruscha’s image.

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We selected four service stations that had interesting visual elements that would give us some variety with our compositions: Two in LA, one in St. Louis, and one in Denver. On each shoot day we’d close down the pumps, bring in a range of prop cars and talent that were brand appropriate, and arrange them into compositions. To visually differentiate the brands, we used constant lighting for Phillips 66 and Conoco, and strobe lighting for 76. Each has its unique advantages, and I’m equally comfortable with either, but the workflow for each is very different. Which makes the images different,” said Jamie.

Head over to Jamie’s Journal to read the rest of the story and to see additional images. A big thank you to Michelle and the rest of the team at Venables for the great opportunity.

instagram takeover by jim salzano

For the next week, I’m doing an Instagram takeover featuring samples of my waitress project. Go to the New Republic Magazine’s page to see the series.

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Thanks to Stephanie Heimann and The New Republic Magazine for featuring this series. This project has been an obsession of mine for over 25 years. I’ve photographed waitresses in more than 20 countries in every type of restaurant imaginable! And am always looking to find the next waitress willing to pose for the project. I love meeting these strong, determined women and hearing their stories. This is a coffee shop in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Today’s takeover is a portrait at the 11th Street Diner in South Beach, Miami, FL. I was in town for a shoot and took some extra time to visit this diner. I had to get permission from this waitress’s family because she was under 18. We waited for her mom to come to the diner and and approve this before I shot it.

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The latest in my New Republic Magazine’s Instagram takeover. I was in Ireland in 1993 and heard about a great place in Dublin, Bewley’s Cafe. This is when they were still wearing old style uniforms.

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Today’s New Republic Magazine’s Instagram take over is a portrait of a waitress I shot in Rome. This waitress wouldn’t stop moving and although I got her to look at the camera she kept saying that she wanted me to catch her in the act!

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Today’s second Instagram takeover post was shot at a great New York City spot, The Coffee Shop in Union Square. Thanks to Eric Petterson and the Coffee Shop crew.

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Today’s New Republic Instagram takeover was shot at the Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, LA. a few weeks before hurricane Katrina. I’m happy to see the cafe recovered and is doing well.

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This New Republic’s Instagram takeover post is a waitress portrait in Evansville, IN at the Hilltop Inn. Voted the manliest restaurant in America by Asylum Magazine in 2009. The waitresses were pretty tough!

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Continuing this week’s New Republic Magazine’s Instagram takeover with a waitress I shot in Shanghai, China. This was a men’s-only tea house and my female interpreter insisted I go upstairs with this waitress and have tea, while she stayed in this waiting area for women. I went upstairs to a large dark room which was filled with men smoking cigarettes and drinking tea, served by waitresses dressed like this.

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The next image for The New Republic Magazine’s Instagram takeover is a portrait of a waitress at a Chicago coffee shop. I seldom have the opportunity to get behind the counter for these portraits, but this place was very open, flexible and Christmas-spirited, and allowed me to move around and shoot wherever I wanted. 

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My next-to-last day of New Republic Magazine’s Instagram takeover is a shot taken in the Monmartre section of Paris. I was visiting a friend and asked her where I might be able to shoot a waitress. She told me there weren’t many waitresses in the area, that most restaurants used waiters exclusively. Then she remembered a family-owned restaurant where one of the owners also worked as a waitress. This is her portrait.

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This is my final post of The New Republic Magazine’s Instagram takeover. It’s a shot taken at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany, during Oktoberfest. I got there mid-morning expecting only the breakfast crowd, but the beer-drinking had already begun. Thanks again to Stephanie Heimann for featuring this series – hope you all enjoyed seeing a portion of my ongoing project.

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new directors showcase spotlights randal ford

We are proud to share this engaging interview with Randal Ford, just published in The New Directors Showcase of Shoot! Magazine.

 

1) How did you get into directing?

I’ve been an advertising photographer for almost 10 years now and over the past couple of years started to direct more live action pieces. The progression from still photography to live action has been very natural as I treat most of my print shoots similar to how a director treats a live action shoot. My obsession with details in a still picture or moving picture is the same and the additional variables when shooting live action makes the process even more creatively fulfilling. I’ve also had the desire to direct more because there is more interaction with people—whether it be on-camera talent, crew, or agency creatives—and I believe I have a knack for collaboration, communication, and bringing people together.

2) What is your most recent project?

My most recent project was a print and live action campaign for Purina and The Martin Agency. We created a series of live action pieces and print ads of rural animals to be used across a variety of media outlets. All animals were shot (cameras only!) in studio on black backgrounds and lit in a timeless but modern aesthetic. The goal with the assignment was to create a body of work that was visually arresting, sophisticated but simple, and cohesive.

3) What is the best part of being a director?

Coming from a still photography background, the best part of being a director are the additional creative variables that are available to tell the story. Photography is stripped down to a frozen millisecond whereas live action is an evolving picture. Even a five second piece has the ability to tell a story in a much different way and the exploration of that process has been an amazing experience for me. And being a director also allows for so much collaboration and connection with on-camera talent, which I love. At the end of every shoot I walk away energized and excited, in large part, because I love the process of working with on camera talent. That’s what keeps me coming back for more.

4) What is the worst part of being a director?

The most challenging part of being a director are the constant decisions that need to be made. I would definitely consider myself a decisive person but even so, a director is constantly making a lot of decisions during pre-production, shooting, and sometimes post production. Those decisions—some small, some large—are inevitably what makes the piece yours and determine its success. So it’s imperative that as a director I’m aware of the importance of making decisions, big and small.

5) What is your current career focus: commercials and branding content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?

Because of my background as an advertising photographer, my current focus is commercials and branded content. I’ve been living in that world for the last ten years so I’m familiar with the process of collaborating with agency creatives and brands. I believe that my experience in the ad world is one of the reasons why becoming a director has been a natural progression. As far as specializing, right now I want to be able to offer clients a cohesive solution of visuals, from live action to stills. With that said, I’m open to the evolution of specializing further within the realm of shooting people.

6) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you?

I’ve been lucky to have some amazing mentors throughout my process of becoming a director and visual artist. My mentorships have become friendships and by staying in touch, I believe that we both are constantly learning from each other.

7) Who is your favorite director and why?

My favorite director is Richard Avedon. Yes, the still photographer. Even though Alvedon was a photographer, his direction of talent was incredible. When you read about his process and the connections he developed with his subjects, it’s just incredible and beautiful. Had Richard Alvedon been of this generation, I believe he would have evolved into one of the great directors of our time. Avedon’s obsession with the story being told and minutia in talent direction for a single still photograph is inspiring to me as a photographer but even more so, as a director.

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?

Favorite movie from last year was probably “The Big Short” or “Spotlight.” My current favorite TV content comes from Netflix and Amazon. Both are putting out such entertaining shows from mini documentaries to dramedies. I like “Cooked,” “Chef’s Table,” and “Flaked” on Netflix and then “Mad Dogs” and “Mozart in the Jungle” on Amazon are great. Oh and “Silicon Valley” on HBO is hysterical and all too real. Regarding branded content, there’s just so much great stuff out there. Whether it’s through humor or drama, I’m drawn to the content that tells a story in the simplest way.

9) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?)

I’m originally from Dallas, TX and now based in Austin. I went to Texas A&M and received a business degree but my obsession wit the visual arts drew me into the world of commercial photography. Since then, I’ve been an advertising photographer and have photographed everything from people to animals to landscapes to food.