Tag Archives: black and white

Behind the Scenes at SAB

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Last week was a really exciting one for us both creatively and culturally. The past month we have been working feverishly on a series of cinemagraphs we made with the School of American Ballet we shot back in February. It’s always been a dream of mine to shoot ballerinas as I so admire their lines, pose, discipline and beauty of dance. As you saw, the cinemagraphs were displayed in the David H. Koch theater of Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House. These cinemagraph portraits showed the art of ballet caught at it’s best eternally. The perfect pose, spin, point, there to study and be inspired by its beauty. In addition to the cinemagraphs, on this day we also shot the staged dance sequences for the video.

Just to give you some behind the scenes at SAB’s shoot, we kept the setup pretty simple. The inspiration was based on Eadweard Muybridge’s studies in motion from the history of photography. We wanted to study the ballerina, the form, the movement and motion. We decided to put them on two 12×12 Solid black backdrops and asked the dancers to wear all white. With two large Arri M18 HMI lights we pointed up bouncing the light off the white ceiling illuminating the dancers from above going for an effect of a large skylight for a classic and natural feeling. After tapping down a black rubber floor, the stage was set.

We shot six of SAB’s students in one of their dance studios at Lincoln Center. One of the great things about SAB is how they use live piano players, which we had for our shoot, and hire the most passionate teachers. On this day we worked closely with Suki Schorer who directed the dancers throughout the shoot and tweaked their hands or feet positions with every shot.

It was such a joy to create around a thing of incredible beauty like in ballet. After every dance sequence I would applaud and smile from sheer joy… until Suki told me to stop clapping because that tells the piano player to stop playing and nobody wants that.

Here is a peek behind the scenes shot by our assistant Diana Ola~

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Old School Photography

Holiday_Card_2014_02 Much about being a creative is really understanding your voice and your vision, which isomething I have struggled with in the past while trying to find myself as an artist. With the passage of time and constant study, you start to see who you are, what you love and then… how the world truly looks to you. I will never be able to escape my tendency toward romance, beauty, simplicity, emotion and the classics.

So, I embrace it.

I can never ignore the soul fulfilling satisfaction of taking a photograph from concept, to composition, and then captured at just the right moment on film. That one shot, the quarter of a second pulled from time and eternalized into a physical object of study. This was the birth of photography for me, this was how you would take a picture and then agonize through your fear of mistakes in the waiting of development; a torturous process that I’m insanely in love with. In 2012 I decided that our studio holiday cards would be created in this fashion every year as a way for me to count the passage of time, to make something of an artifact for the people in my life, and to slow down from our crazy digitized lives back to where it all began for me as a photographer. I get to give the best I’ve got in this old school process; my vision, my thoughts, my mind, my passions, my skill and most of all, my time.

For this year’s studio holiday card I thought about the recurring visuals from 2014 and let my mind’s eye wash away in the strong currents of pictorial memories. What stood out to me? What did I learn about myself? What did I realize I loved? We traveled around and around the world to Bali, Brazil, Australia, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Provence, Germany, England, the American South, and Peru (more on that next week!) and you’ve been with me each step of the way these 12 months.

As I reflected on the year the place I loved most was Paris. It keeps coming back to me, as if a part of my soul is there waiting. I love the classic nature of her perfectly white architecture. The endless amounts of art and inspiration. And of course, the light. I love the way the french look at beauty and the physical form. As an adult now in charge of my own body, destiny and confidence, I’ve found that I am now enamored with the beauty of the body, it’s evolution and ever changing shapes, the softness of skin and functionality that make us human. I thought about the beautiful sculptures of Paris that dot my endless walks, the thing I love to do most there. I thought about that day I spent in the Louvre with my father and all those breathtaking halls of beauty celebrating the female form. Then that was it. I wanted to bring all of those things into my world, in front of my lens, on an early winter evening at Ann Street Studio…

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Using a dark changing bag I loaded Ilford Delta 400 black and white film into my 4×5 sheet film holders. Below our intern Sarah Rocco captured behind the scenes shots photographing model Mitzi who I previously worked with at our studio and who I knew had the type of body I was going for.  Holiday_Card_2014_07 Holiday_Card_2014_11

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Maiyet Resort

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Sometimes you have to be present in the moment. Sometimes you wake up and it’s raining outside, the wind is ripping at you and what you physically feel in nature, you are emotionally feeling in life. When Kelly and I were talking about shooting a fashion story on MAIYET’s resort collection, fittingly while at a resort for Art Basel, we couldn’t have anticipated the day nature gave to us. I wanted to use it as inspiration, to set the mood, to let the rain fall on her, the sand stick to her skin, the wind throw her hair and the ocean push her down. I wanted to wash away the year into a black and white memory. I’ve been so raw lately, having traveled and created non-stop for so long. I wanted a dark day on the beach, just to feel… something.

I think though the turmoil of that day, the turmoil of emotion is a part of life and a part of art. The change in the weather, the change in our lives. Everything changes, does it not? I remember last summer shooting my first story on MAIYET, the dancing light of the eastern tip of Long Island, the bond of friendship and womanhood captured from behind the lens. This resort collection carries the same threads but like life, you can see the changes. The signature cuffs are here but they are bigger now. The gorgeous coats take on more volume. The artful design to clothing is still there but more refined, more wearable from ocean to ocean.

So why MAIYET?… because they think differently. They hire artisans from around the world to produce their boutique clothing line which aids in these craftsmen to be able to build viable businesses in counties where opportunities like that do not exist so freely. Beyond the clothing they work with artists like Benjamin Millepied to choreograph a video with custom made pieces in movement to a beautiful dance based on an ancient Greek love story. They also made my all time favorite black blazer I’ve worn more than any other article of clothing, and THIS video which always and always gives me wanderlust.

…. and then I’m ready again for the sun to come out.

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Big Sur

California's Big Sur, a sceneic drive along the pacific coast highway

I’ve always wanted to drive along Big Sur, the dramatic edge of the western United States. While in Pebble Beach with Lincoln Motor Company, it seemed like the appropriate time to do that all-American activity of going for a drive, listening to old Beatles songs and Elton John favorites, pulling over every two miles to look in awe at the real picture show that is Big Sur.

California's Big Sur, a sceneic drive along the pacific coast highway California's Big Sur, a sceneic drive along the pacific coast highway California's Big Sur, a sceneic drive along the pacific coast highway California's Big Sur, a sceneic drive along the pacific coast highway

 

Captured on 4×5 black and white Ilford Delta film



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