Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland

Click on any image for Full-Size

I’m not sure at this point if there’s anyone out there who hasn’t heard of Misty Copeland. Besides making history as the only African American soloist dancing with the American Ballet Theatre, her best-selling autobiography, ‘Life In Motion’, dancing onstage with Prince, appearing in ads for Under Armour, Dr. Pepper, Coach, The Corcoran Group and T-Mobile, and her numerous features in magazines like The New Yorker, Vogue, Elle and New York Magazine, the 32 year-old ballerina is possibly the most visible face in the dance World since Baryshnikov. And my buddy Rob Smith asked me to put her on the cover of Arrive. Here’s the behind-the-scenes from our day at Bathhouse Studios

Since we knew we would have relatively limited time with Misty, Rob and I had worked up our ideas for the shoot early on. The story was about mentors, and we would be photographing Misty with Raven Wilkinson, the first black woman to dance full-time in a major ballet company, including Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, the Dutch National Ballet, and the New York City Opera Ballet. We had to get enough for our cover, a few opening shots, a portrait of Misty and Raven together and anything else we could fit in! But shooting at the Bathhouse meant we would have lotsa space to set up everything beforehand cuz the studio is so beautifully huge!

_MG_0024

_MG_0082

Our setup on the cyc…and that marvelously high ceiling…

_MG_0031

Kaz and I setting up the two-shot of Misty and Raven…

_MG_0091

Robert and Julien sitting in for our cover…

misty_copeland_1843

Julien taking flight…

misty_copeland_1869

_MG_0832

My stylist Karen Sherwood laying out the wardrobe…

_MG_0022

_MG_0042

Misty arrived just as we were about finished with our setup and went into hair & makeup right away…

_MG_0026

…but shortly afterwards, our little dancers from the ABT School showed up…

_MG_0269

and they quickly put on a little show for Misty…

_MG_0316

_MG_0363

Julien grabbed Misty to test the lighting on our first setup…

_MG_0296

_MG_0309

…and so started our shooting day…

_MG_0440

_MG_0460

_MG_0476

_MG_0574

Here is the final portrait of Raven and Misty…

misty_copeland_1937

Next, we moved onto the cyc for our opening photo of Misty with the Dance School students…

_MG_0619

_MG_0621

misty_copeland_1969

_MG_0651

_MG_0659

_MG_0676

misty_copeland_1973

_MG_0691

Misty approves…

_MG_0699

…and the resulting photograph…

Misty Copeland

Now I wanted to do a series of solo shots of Misty in different positions. The idea was that I would assemble these solo images into one unified ‘group’ photograph…

_MG_0804

misty_copeland_2012

misty_copeland_2066

misty_copeland_2043

misty_copeland_2018

And the final ‘group’ shot…

misty_copeland_group

Before I took Misty off the cyc, I pulled out my vintage stools for one more idea…

_MG_0814

_MG_0835

_MG_0823

Best shot of those two stools I’ve ever taken…

Misty Copeland

Oh yeah…I nearly forgot…CBS sent over Anthony Mason and a film crew to document our little shoot for CBS Sunday Morning

_MG_0905

Now where was I…oh right…the final shot would be of Misty and Raven together for our cover. We re-purposed that ballet barre from the shot with the kids, and set up a very simple situation with a big, soft Octalite…Misty in her costume as her mentor looked on…

_MG_0917

_MG_0936

_MG_0984

Our cover image…

misty_copeland_2130

Here’s how everything looked in ‘Arrive’…

AA0315_Misty_Cover

AA0315_TOC_xxx

AA0315_Cover_Feature-1

AA0315_Cover_Feature-2

AA0315_Cover_Feature-3

misty_copeland_2121

Joking Around With Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers

Click on any image for Full-Size

I’ve had a pretty good run of celebrity shoots lately…Frankie Valli, Ricky Gervais, Tony Bennett, Spike Lee, Willem Dafoe…and I’m trying my best to catch up on the behind-the-scenes on most of them. This shoot with Seth Meyers was actually shot back in February, but it just published a few weeks ago in the latest issue of Amtrak’s ‘Arrive’ magazine. Rob Smith…Arrive’s Art director and one of my oldest friends…had a few thoughts on what he wanted to do with the shoot, and I had a couple of ideas as well, so we drove out to Queens where all the prop warehouses have moved to see if anything got us going…

Since Seth was the Head Writer at SNL, we both stopped when we came across these old desks and typewriters…

photo 5

photo 7

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

Next, we brainstormed a few shots based on the idea that Seth was not only moving from Saturday Night Live to the Late Night program, but when the story was scheduled to run Seth was supposed to be taking the show on the road. Moving his stuff in a little red wagon just made sense…

photo 4

With the van full of dusty old props, we headed down to Bathhouse Studios…truly one of the nicest places you can shoot at in all Manhattan…and got to work…

_DSF0321

_DSF0327

_DSF0329

_DSF0331

Unlike the low-key shoot with Willem Dafoe last week, this time the studio was filled with multiple stylists, make-up and hair people, and more NBC publicists than I’ve ever seen gathered in one place!

_DSF0334

_DSF0340

_DSF0342

And I know it might not look like much in these BTS photos…but dropping Seth into that precisely focussed spot of light against the cyc background created just the right amount of drama…it was all about Seth going out on his own…

_DSF0343

Here are some of the final selects…

Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers

_arrive_seth_spread1

Now where did we put that red wagon…

_DSF0322

_DSF0350

By the way…for all you lighting geeks out there…I am seriously loving the Rime Lite deep octas…as long as you know a bit about lighting, they’ll give you everything you expect out of a Broncolor Para, but for less than one-tenth the price!

_DSF0344

Seth Meyers

_arrive_seth_spread2

And since a lot of people figured that Seth taking on Late Night was a bit of a leap…

Seth Meyers

_DSF0352

…I thought having him stepping into the unknown kind of worked the metaphor nicely…

Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers

_arrive_seth_spread3

Next, we moved on to our cover setup…

_DSF0355

_DSF0358

_DSF0359

Seth Meyers

…which gave us both our cover and a pulled-back shot for the table of contents page…

Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers

_arrive_seth_toc

Seth Meyers

_arrive_seth_cover

So thanks to the huge team it took to pull this off and make things come off so smoothly, but especially thanks to Seth for giving up his time and being such a good sport!

Seth Meyers