Society for Human Resource Management
Another project with SHRM, a favorite ongoing collaboration. Each year, we explore how to highlight the host city for the SHRM Annual Conference.
Sometimes an area highlights itself….Vegas, baby.
Another project with SHRM, a favorite ongoing collaboration. Each year, we explore how to highlight the host city for the SHRM Annual Conference.
Sometimes an area highlights itself….Vegas, baby.
This project wasn’t a feat of post-production, everything was practical -floors were built in stables and pump houses and carpet was really laid down outdoors.
It was a pleasure to work with Creative Director, Jeremy Estroff, of 3 Atlanta
The Smithsonian is an American treasure, full of American treasures. Whether you’ve been there or not, the name Smithsonian points to our collective national history. Within the walls live stories in 3D, a narrative made more whole, more revealing and more resonant by objects preserved. Simply, it is the stuff of moments and eras, and it is really cool.
I’m extraordinarily fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Smithsonian on a variety of projects …and when I say variety I mean from Judy Garland’s ruby slippers to C3PO to James’ Brown Hammond Organ. Each project with them is a bit like the best day in History class.
On top of all the objects I’m lucky enough to get close to – my projects with the Smithsonian are always unique from a photography standpoint. Because of the sacred/fragile/protected nature of so many artifacts in the Museums, it’s often a dance with the curators in regards to approach. Production solutions range from (but are not limited to) photographing through glass the objects on display, working after hours and under limited time constraints that our created light can be shining on an object. And there is always the challenge of hopefully capturing the beauty or weight of objects, that have been seen so many times, in a way that invites another look.
While I can’t pick a favorite shoot for Smithsonian, photographing the Blood Relics from the Lincoln Assassination sticks with me. Each of the 13 items I photographed alone represents an aspect of that watershed American moment – panic, politics, revenge, compassion and loss. But to see them woven into the full story through the collector’s lens of James L. Swanson in his piece for Smithsonian Magazine, moves them beyond the simply historical. Written for the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s 1865 assassination, you feel his reverence for these artifacts as well as a bigger call to collectively recall.
One of the things I’ve come to value most about being a photographer is the opportunity to learn from every project.
Case in point, when working with the team at SmithGifford on the MyEyeDr. “Resting Squint Face” campaign, I learned there’s a name for that look, you know the one. “RSF” is that sideways glance or squint, created when a person isn’t seeing too clearly, that can result in a perpetual look of anger and distrust in just about every situation.
Not only is the campaign lighthearted and funny but I could very much relate — I totally get #RSF.
Ultimately, we had a lot of fun. We played around with not only the cast and the crew but also worked to ensure we brought attention to these misunderstood squint lines, with our lighting.
Creative Director: Bill Cutter
I love working with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Their productions are always so creative and diverse, and it translates into really fun shoots. Woolly Mammoth’s 2018-19 season features an energizing array of plays by new voices, Woolly veterans, Obie Award-winners, Pulitzer finalists, and familiar partners: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Rajiv Joseph, Heidi Schreck, Aziza Barnes, Mike Daisey, The Second City, and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre.
Thank you to Director of Brand and Marketing Gwydion Suilebhan
Hair & Makeup by Dean Krapf lluminaire Salon
Working with SHRM is always a treat – they think big. And the host city is an integral part of their marketing.
In these images, Chicago’s grand architecture and iconic urban vistas serve as an ideal backdrop to promote the largest HR conference in the world.
Another collaboration with Malina Jacobowitz, Conference Marketing Manager.
Producer: Monica Zaffarano
Savannah is a city that makes you feel something – the heat, the history, the mystery. Making images to convey the unique personality of one of the most iconic American cities was the best kind of challenge. These images are grounded in the historical grandeur and natural beauty of Savannah, and lifted by a wink of surreal Southern charm.
Yes, he’s real!
Legends like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and the Bermuda Triangle were as much of an influence to me growing up as the Lone Ranger, Zorro and the Two-Gun Kid.
Smithsonian Magazine Associate photo editor Donny Bajohr reached out to see if I was interested in taking on an assignment photographing Bigfoot.
THE Bigfoot?! Count me in.
I always love working with the Smithsonian, and they thought it would be cool to create a miniature set in the vein of the famous grainy “video footage” from the Patterson–Gimlin film.
Bigfoot will be September’s “American Icon” featured in the Prologue section of Smithsonian Magazine.
SHRM is probably one of my longest standing clients. And I’ve gotta gush – I love them, I really do. They are incredibly kind and easy to work with, and beyond that, the work we’ve done together is creative and fun. This year’s SHRM18 conference in Chicago is no exception.
The theme for SHRM18, the largest HR conference in the world, features larger than life objects set throughout the host city of Chicago.
SHRM HQ is in Alexandria, VA and each year the conference visits a different city. That’s where I come in. They hire me to go to that city in advance and create the images to draw people to attend their conference in that place. SHRM doesn’t just visit a city – they do a non-hostile takeover. A sense of place is really important to SHRM, and I like that challenge. I’ve really enjoyed working on these city campaigns, trying to create a different take on often-photographed and well-documented places and landmarks.
I think of this Chicago campaign as a double take project – in that it was almost a snap shot of the Chicago scene that you have seen a zillion times before followed by a double take – is that a giant coffee cup?
While the images are obviously not real, we worked to keep them from veering into looking too clearly imaginary. We wanted to inspire the reaction, “did I just see what I think I saw?”
With the release of the 2018-19 WNO schedule, I am thrilled to share these rich, dramatic portraits that give promise of the story these actors will tell as Violetta and Alfredo when they take the stage for the new production of Verdi’s “La Traviata” in October.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. is a legendary institution, and it is always an honor to work with them and Creative Director Scott Bushnell.
40 Faces. 40 Photographers. 40 Years of Choice.
5-years ago I was asked by @GMMB for NARAL – @Prochoiceamerica to make portraits for a project in commemoration of Roe v Wade’s 40th anniversary, called “Choice Out Loud”, to be one of 40 photographers who took 40 portraits of 40 faces of choice.
With this Monday now the 45th anniversary of this landmark ruling, as well as 1-year since the Women’s March, I can see clearly that this project was much more than a look back, it was a look ahead, a call to action for many.
I was inspired by this project then, and I am inspired by now.
One of the things I loved most about the concept was how it needed to be as much about the environment as it would be about the narrative — an elegant pied-piper in an enchanted forest setting, charming a group of curious characters. This piece brings to life the delightful sound of NY Phil’s 2016 Biennial season, entitled “Let’s Play” by combining a very magical Northern California location with the Phil’s french-hornist, Leelanee Sterrett and an audience of curious carousel-horses.
Sometimes the reality of a project dictates the approach. I generally pride myself on photographing as much as possible in camera. For this project, the client wanted me to keep with that formula and that was my initial plan. I was ready to go and after a few back and forths and with a final green light it was “let’s go find a location and put all of the elements of the image out there.” While this was a doable idea, Ms. Sterrett was leaving for a tour in Europe within the week. So we went ahead and photographed her in a studio in NYC before I went to scout the final location. Not only did I have to find the right location for the creative brief for this project, BUT I now had to find the perfect location that offered the same natural lighting that we had created in the New York studio. Working with producer Catherine Schramm, we found the forest two hours north of San Francisco and then I went to a Scooby-Doo Circus south of LA in Riverside, CA where we photographed carousel horses.
With these moving parts and challenges of time and space, the best way to answer the creative call of this project was to commit to a composite photograph. I worked carefully in each step of the shoot to ensure that every component would be as symbiotic to the whole as possible, the whole then becoming a magical sum of its parts. Aiming to have things line up seamlessly, CG horses were also created with the pros at Luminous Creative Imaging to match all of the pockets of different light that existed in the forest image – some horses are in open shade, others are back lit or side lit from the direct sun. Once each of the pieces of the image were layered and composed, the color and tones were massaged to radiate the playful feeling of a magical forest.
Our making-of is here:
Who doesn’t want to be asked to make pictures of aliens floating down from the sky, wearing cool shoes. The Mirabell Footwear campaign included a fun trip to Hong Kong, images I really dig, and definitely some adventures – and misadventures – along the way (buy me a beer and I’ll tell you more).
Toilet Seats. Toilet seats in Texas. A Toilet Seat Art Museum in San Antonio. Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum. Count me in!
One of the things I love about what I do is getting access to a place or a person that I didn’t know even existed before they contacted me. A big part of what keeps me going is the love of an adventure and to have – and share – these experiences with people and their stories.
Ketchum contacted me in regards to working a project for The Clorox Company. Working with creative director, Ken Buraker, we headed to San Antonio and Barney’s museum. In addition to creating a series of images as well as a short video of Barney for a national campaign, we set up an outdoor available-light studio in the 100 degree Texas heat and photographed the objects that inspired us – Clean, minimalistic and graphically interesting.
The images were created both for use on OdeToTheCommode.com and Clorox’s Facebook and Instagram channels. For Clorox this was more about digital storytelling and celebrating someone, who shares a unique passion for toilets, than a traditional campaign.
The idea came about after Clorox saw a news story about Barney Smith. Barney is an artist who uses toilet seat lids as his canvas. Over five decades, he created more than 1,300 ornately-decorated toilet lids, some of which feature artifacts with national and international historical significance. He displays them in his Toilet Seat Art Museum, which also happens to be the garage of his San Antonio home. With Barney’s 100th birthday a few short years away, he is looking to take a step back and is searching for a buyer for his entire collection who will keep available to the public, free of charge, for years to come.
It’s not often someone sees the potential for finer elements of the bathroom like Clorox does, so they had the idea to release a digital gallery featuring Barney’s favorite and most unique lids – an Ode to the Commode – to find a new home for the collection and share Barney’s passion for toilets with everyone to enjoy like thousands of visitors to his San Antonio museum have over the years.
The project was about creating different visuals that can live on many different platforms but telling the same brand story, and I think it’s a perfect example of where brand marketing and storytelling is going. As marketing continues to drift onto digital platforms, creating “assets” and “content” is what we are seeing more and more of in regards to needs from agencies.
I loved this project so much. It’s bananas!!
What do you do after toilet seats? What’s next? Honestly, I want to go where I don’t know I want to go yet.
*If you are in San Antonio, Barney’s Toilet Seat Museum should really be on your must visit list. Barney himself is an American treasure. And he has a ton of stories to tell. The museum is located in his garage, so it’s small but it’s overflowing with stuff to see.
As an admirer of the Virginia Opera and it’s mission to create transformative cultural experiences through passionate storytelling and beautiful music, I was more than excited to get the brief from one of my favorite creative directors Jamin Hoyle, “to make opera sexy”. Ultimately that meant tight portraits that would share the page with bold text. As stand alone pieces these images are unflinching, visceral representation of each opera. They are a stark departure from any lingering stereotypes that the Opera is a stuffy affair. Pascale Lemaire, Linh Nguyen and Viktoriia Bowers were brought in for wardrobe, hair and makeup, respectively, and were so phenomenal – and their creativity and vision also pop right out of these photographs. Ultimately, the photos served as the launching point for a larger brand refurbishment that we conducted through the design of the brochure.
The Marriott team, with creative director KD Cantarella leading the way, was a true pleasure to work with. The campaign was well-received and the megabonus for us was when we heard that it got great results ending up as one of Marriott Rewards’ highest revenue generating promotions, and much of this was attributed to breakthrough creative.
or 2017, their 37th season, I reunited with the creative mind of Jamin Hoyle for second helping of posters for Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington DC. Collaborating with the talented theatre team, we worked with custom-painted canvas backdrops, and a home-made space suit to achieve this series of dramatic, theatrical and provocative posters – perfectly suited for a theatre that always pushes artistic boundaries.
Check out the making of video here!
For 2017, their 37th season, I reunited with the creative mind of Jamin Hoyle for second helping of posters for Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington DC. Collaborating with the talented theatre team, we worked with custom-painted canvas backdrops, and a home-made space suit to achieve this series of dramatic, theatrical and provocative posters – perfectly suited for a theatre that always pushes artistic boundaries.
Check out the making of video here!
Growing up in Richmond, VA, trips just an hour or so southeast to Colonial Williamsburg were common weekend fare. I have really fond memories of my time there so when I was approached by Trend & Tradition: The Magazine of Colonial Williamsburg, to shoot a cover, it felt a bit like going home.
More than just a school field trip destination, Colonial Williamsburg is a true link between the present and a past that speaks to the very origins of the European settlement of the United States. Trend & Tradition is dedicated to telling the stories of 18th century America through a modern point of view.
For this Summer edition cover, I was asked to photograph the Fifes & Drums, a group dedicated to the tradition of military music dating back to the Revolutionary War. Boys and girls ages 10-18 apply to join and practice for 8 years through high school graduation, educating the public about the role of music in the 18th century military. Beyond the music, the Fifes & Drums are a group that speaks to the ideal of working hard and earning your place. Through their hard work and dedication to both the musical and historical disciplines, members move through the ranks in pursuit of a few highly coveted leadership spots in the corps. While the original fifers and drummers of the 1700s were exclusively boys, this cover represents the changing face of the group and the bridge to the present with a Junior Corps that is now over 50% female. The girl on the cover represents that shift. Working with these kids was so cool – they worked so hard and showcased incredible discipline to get this iconic image. It was clear that they treat their place in history and their role in shaping the future with real reverence and respect.
On one of my last projects in New Orleans I had a beer one night with location scout, Aaron Dunsay. While we talked, he told me that if I were to drive a half hour and then take a boat for another half hour, I would come across these fishing shacks you can only get to by boat.
It’s exactly the kind of thing – utterly distinctive – that I can’t resist. I was all in.
So I stayed an extra day in Louisiana and hired a waterman, from a long line of watermen, with a boat to take me out. I was so excited to have had this day and experience, to spend a little time capturing this somewhat surreal water world in person and with my camera. Not too many places are as unique as this one, places that make you wonder “am I seeing what I think I’m seeing?” I ran with that, and with the sense of magic of the bayou to create this image – are you seeing what you think you’re seeing?
The image, “Supporting the Arts,” is the result of a project with RP3 for Norfolk Southern Railway. Norfolk Southern has been a titan of American industry for over 35 years, with roots in some of the Eastern United State’s first railroad companies. To promote and recognize their support for the performing arts, I had the pleasure of working with the energetic and really fun Jean-Pierre Bovie, Creative Director at RP3. For this dramatic, photo-driven print ad I worked with a ballet dancer to have her shadow create the shape of a horse, which mimics the logo of the railway. With a clean background, the final image is uncluttered and focused like a spotlight. The juxtaposition of art and industry was interesting to conceptualize and capture.
I am honored to share that for our efforts, we were honored that this ad received a Gold award at the annual American Advertising Awards DC, held at The Newseum. This award show is always a great time to catch up with people and to see the cool work – from the funny to the sublime – coming out of the DC scene. Thank you to AAF DC and all of DC’s brilliant ad shops for another year of exceptional advertising.
My partnership with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has yielded a collection of posters as interesting and wide-ranging as their productions. The New York Times does a monthly piece that explores the story and the art behind theatre posters, aptly titled Behind the Poster. And what do you know, February featured a poster I did for Woolly’s first play of the 2017 season, Baby Screams Miracle. I’m proud to work with a theatre that always pushes artistic boundaries, and this write up is a pleasant surprise.
Take a look and if you want a little behind the Behind the Poster, my photographers take:
For Woolly Mammoth’s 2017 season – their 37th – I reunited with powerhouse creative director, Jamin Hoyle for a second helping of posters for the DC fixture. Working closely with Gwydion Suilebhan, the theatre’s director of brand and marketing as well, we aimed to capture the feeling of both a physical storm and one raging within. Baby Screams Miracle, begs for a dark and atmospheric look. The hand painted backdrop is a dark blue-green with brush strokes that mimic the movement of a storm. Our model is pregnant and made to look wet and wind blown. Her shimmery, smoky eyes give us a gateway into her internal storm as the viewer is challenged to read her ecstatic expression as laughter or tears. For the subject to appear to be solely lit by candle stub and proudly all captured in camera, I staged our lighting to simulate what would be cast by a candle stub in the rain, mainly her face illuminated with the murky suggestion of the whipping wind and rain behind her.
Nice to see these portraits being put to work. Only 3 more days until the Mercy Street drama debuts, congratulations PBS.
You can learn more about this series and characters here: http://www.pbs.org/mercy-street/home/
Any one of these names would be an attractive project. Put them together, throw in a little Disney magic, a sprinkle of Lucas Films and I’m not sure the whole thing wasn’t a dream.
I couldn’t have been more excited to get the brief from Deutsch for a project to photograph the latest Star Wars toys for Target – toys which would be released for the upcoming holiday season. Wow. Amazing. Yes, yes, yes.
Throughout my career I’ve always been defined – you’re a reportage photographer, a corporate photographer, a dance photographer. It’s natural to try to fit people, and their work, into a neat little space. But I honestly feel that all of my work has been a continuation of itself regardless of genre. So though I’m not a “toy photographer,” I was beyond excited to be considered for this project.
From the first call, it was clear that the agency saw past any proverbial boxes. They saw what I’ve just recently started to realize – that the movies and comics of my youth have been some of my greatest and most important influences in my life and my picture-making. These were key ingredients in who they were looking for — a photographer that loved cinema and also harbored an inner-nerd.
As timing would have it, I was on a Griswald-esque family vacation when this opportunity presented itself. While driving up, down and around the West Coast I pulled my two boys into the pre-production mix. “What are you seeing here,“ “what would you like to see happen” – one of the first things out of their mouths was “Do we have to follow the rules?” and “I’d like to see the hatch open and suck them out into space!” Kids. Funny and I’ll remember it forever. But, in truth their perspective also allowed me to start seeing things from a fresh point of view and channel the excitement of kids – the very kids who would take those toys and create their own rebel worlds.
The agency was just as excited as I was to envision the scenes that these toys would inhabit. I immediately imagined the toys as characters in a stop-motion film – pulling inspiration from the original King Kong, to Ray Harryhausen, to Jason and the Argonauts, to the genius of the recent film Anomalisa and the amazing stop-motion work from Laika. And they were totally on board with a cinematic approach, with everything captured in-camera.
Fast (and I mean fast) forward a few weeks and I’m in LA for a three day studio shoot. And while it always takes a village to pull something like this off, I am indebted to Deutsch for entrusting me to create these worlds, to the retouchers at Sugar Digital and to Amy Whitehouse, the producer that also led me to a kindred spirit set designer, Todd Davis, who was just as excited as I was to create these authentic small worlds. Wow. Deutsch LA. Target. Star Wars.
Some institutions live up to their legend. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. is such an institution. I was fortunate to be called on to work with the Kennedy Center again, this time for their presentation of The Washington National Opera production of Dead Man Walking. It was my distinct pleasure to have the chance to work with Scott Bushnell, the advertising creative director at the Kennedy Center. His vision for this poster was a dark joy to bring to life…or death. Inspired by the concept, I used an atmospheric approach to the lighting design, hard expressionistic light that would expose the dark side of humanity revealed in this story. The show kicked off a five show run February 25th.
A biker and a luchador walk into a photo shoot…R&R Partners have created some seriously sexy and impactful work. It was a privilege to work with the creative folks behind Las Vegas’s “What Happens Here, Stays Here” on a campaign for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Leave it to R&R Partners to make drought compliance and civic responsibility entertaining.
For these “Be An Angel, Make Sunday a Day of Rest” environmental portraits I was charged with placing recognizable, modern tough guys into a painterly setting where the sun would act as a halo. A little Hell’s Angels meets Giotto (or we could be more abstract and say early Renaissance) made for a not so gentle reminder to refrain from watering on Sundays, and for truly arresting results.
*Note: no photographers were harmed in the making of this campaign, though the talent was authentic, they were angels, as advertised.
When PBS invited me to create something engaging to promote Ridley Scott’s new Civil War production, “Mercy Street,” my team and I went to work exploring and transforming the fabrics and colors of the era. I created a uniquely textured and modern scene into which we would immerse the period-piece subjects. The final result is a campaign of striking, heroic portraits that promote the rich, multi-layered stories and characters of the series.
The University of Richmond is an inexorable part of the cultural fabric of Richmond. And it’s always a treat when the university in my childhood backyard turns into a client.
I partnered with Samantha Tannich from the UR in-house creative team for this project showcasing a mash-up of disciplines using real students as subjects.
I probably photograph real people more than I do models, and there is always that bit of the unknown that I enjoy – the challenge of making someone comfortable in a short amount of time.
The University of Richmond student subjects were assigned to us and other than the concept, I had no idea who was going to show up on set or what they would look like.
Surprise! It’s a swimmer/fine arts major!
Surprise! It’s a music major/equipment manager for the football team!
Real people, old friends, cool project.
Las Vegas is a place that inspires extremes, people love it or they turn up their noses at it.
I don’t gamble but there is something about Vegas that I am so drawn to. I’m unabashedly excited when a job takes me to the lights and the strip and beyond.
The landscape itself, built to thrill, is fascinating. There’s the curated excitement of the strip and then you go a mile or two in any direction, the landscape shifts, and you might as well be on Mars.
It’s a great place to people watch, everywhere you turn a cast of character.
What happens in Vegas….ends up on your Blog.
There are times when work looks and feels like play. Such was the case working with RP3 Agency for DC’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and their 35th anniversary season. We ended up with a visual feast of these engaging and original posters that really capture the personality and mission of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
When the crew and I found ourselves alongside the broadcast production, and ultimately in the position to have to reimagine and rebuild their sets; and regardless the challenge, I found this freedom a nice change of pace that allowed us to create a static version of this evolution of seasons concept with more depth, light and texture, more life than was originally envisioned. For me this campaign is a tribute to how everyone came together to make imagery every bit as visually arresting as its broadcast counterpart.
Cade Martin was honored to be featured on the cover of the March 2013 issue of Photo District News.
Photographed Sandy Bainum’s new Christmas album
Starbucks is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, and to work with them on the launch of their Tazo Teas was an honor – and ultimately a project that I didn’t want to end. I worked with the Starbucks in-house team and they were some of the nicest, most collaborative and supportive people I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and the creative for this campaign was off the charts. Taking cues from my portfolio, they honed in on the use of movie lighting and we pushed the work in a cinematic direction. I pulled together a team with a lot of feature film experience to bolster that look and feel and we worked for 3 days at two LA locations – the famed Greystone Mansion and the Huntington Botanical Gardens, casting dancers to create interesting shapes with their bodies. The results, which appeared on Tazo boxes as well as in store at Tazo, exude a hint of whimsy and magic and are a nod to a blend of eras, places and cultures.
People have amazing talents.
On a bookstore stop one night during a shoot in Miami, I came across the book Stickwork by artist Patrick Dougherty. I absolutely loved the stickwork structures and wrote Patrick a letter asking if I could possibly do a project at one of his structures. Got a yes. So I asked Design Army if they wanted to collaborate and they said yes too. Then we got these images.
Using minimal tools and a simple technique of bending, interweaving, and fastening together sticks, artist Patrick Dougherty creates works of art inseparable with nature and the landscape.
This was more work with the great Design Army, here we collaborated on a project for The 2012 ONE Show global campaign. The One Show, hosted by the One Club is the premiere international advertising award show, and it continuously sets the industry standard for creative advertising. We created a whimsical world inhabited by baby animals and cuddly bunnies, talking bears and happy clouds, representing the moment that deadline stress gives way to the creative euphoria that that one great, creative idea can bring. Our ONEderland was a dreamy place where the creatives and animals romp together through flowers and endless big ideas.
Photography: Cade Martin
Creative: Design Army