Bradley Tusk Hates Bill De Blasio


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Bradley Tusk is a lot of things. He was the Deputy Governor of Illinois, the Communications Director for Senator Chuck Schumer, he’s the driving force behind Uber’s dominance in New York, he’s working to keep online sports betting sites like FanDuel up & running and he was Mike Bloomberg’s campaign manager. But right now, his primary focus is to make sure that current New York Mayor Bill De Blasio never gets a second term. He is aggressively searching for anyone who can defeat De Blasio in the next Democratic primary. And Mr. Horton needed me to capture that bulldog attitude for a feature on Tusk in the Village Voice. Here’s how it went…

Tusk Strategies had just moved into new offices and there wasn’t a whole lot of window dressing to work with…


…but this looked promising and showed the lean, mean layout of the place…


…but Kaz and I dropped a seamless for some portraits as well…


The lighting for the office space shot was super simple…a couple of bare skim lights aimed directly at Tusk with nothing more but whatever ambient light there was floating around. We did white balance the shot extremely cool to keep the mood a little chilly…


Bradley Tusk

The seamless allowed us a distraction-free setup where I could really focus on Bradley’s expressions…






Bradley Tusk

Bradley Tusk

Bradley Tusk

Here is how it looked in the Voice…and I can’t thank Ashley Smestad Vélez enough for her amazing layout…great design helps OK photography every time…


Say My Name

Bryan Cranston

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I’m gonna keep this behind-the-scenes look fairly short and sweet…kinda like my time with Bryan Cranston…because I think the portraits will sort of do all the heavy lifting. Ronnie Weil needed Mr. Cranston shot for Alexandra Wolfe’s ‘Weekend Confidential” feature in the Review section of the Wall Street Journal and I was happy enough to oblige. Here’s how we set up our pop-up studio at the London Hotel for what turned out to be a pretty great morning…

Unlike a lot of the hotel shoots I find myself in, the London gave us a pretty nice (and large) space to work with…nice enough that I was able to break out some of my really BIG guns…the 79″ Rime Lites…




Here’s how things looked with Robert standing in…


That set would allow me to do everything from full length to tight portraits, but I wanted to also have a more controlled lighting setup for another portrait, so we pulled out the beauty dish…


Here’s Kaz posing as fast as he can…


Alright…we’re ready to go. Mr. Cranston, you’re on!


Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston

Next, I broke out my favorite antique posing stool…

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston

After a very quick 5 minutes…with his publicist doing the countdown mambo behind me…we moved over to the second set…

Bryan Cranston

…and played around with the shadow and light on his face, getting progressively darker and moodier as we went along…

Bryan Cranston


Bryan Cranston

And here is the final story as it appeared in the Wall Street Journal…


And for you Breaking Bad fans, here’s a little Badfinger to play us out…


Life is good when you love what you do…..


Broad Sword Battles…In Harlem


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A couple of weeks ago Mr. Horton sent Kaz and I up to the New York Historical Fencing Association in East Harlem to shoot some women who like to get their ‘Game Of Thrones’ on by bashing each other in duels using broad swords!

What fun!!!

Here we go…



















Andrew did me proud with a wonderful layout in this week’s Village Voice



Thanks to Andrew and the Voice for another great opportunity and special thanks to the Women Warriors at the NYHFA…Rebecca Glass, Laura McBride, Tanya Smith and Deena Sadek…who made it look so damned mean!!!


American Photography AP32 Winners


The American Photography AP32 Winners Slide Show will be announced tomorrow. I got two photographs accepted…

The portrait of Judy Collins I did for the Wall Street Journal…

Judy Collins

And my shot of Patti Smith in the Amtrak departure area at Penn Station…

Patti Smith photographed in the Amtrak departure lounge at Penn Station, New York City, 8/27/2015

You can see these…and all the rest of the winners…over at the AP32 Winners Gallery here:

AP32 Winners Gallery

Activist Investors & Bank Presidents For American Banker

Richard Lashley

Mark A. Turner - CEO WSFS Bank & WSFS Financial Corp

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We just did back-to-back covers for American Banker…here’s how it went…

First, we headed to Morristown NJ to shoot Rich Lashley of PL Capital. Upon arrival, we found that PL Capital runs a pretty close-to-the-bone operation…which meant the entire place was two small offices and an equally small reception area. It was pouring that day, so shooting outside was outta the question, but we had to get creative fast. We cleared out as much of the reception area as possible and set up under a framed newspaper from the day of the Stock Market Crash of 1929…


…which gave us this series…


Richard Lashley

Richard Lashley

…for the feature opener…


Then we dropped a seamless for a bit of color…


Richard Lashley

Richard Lashley

But then I noticed Rich had a bright green baseball bat leaning against the wall…and besides the green looking great on that purple seamless, the metaphor of him being an ‘activist’ investor wielding a bat was just to good to pass up…



Richard Lashley

The cover…


A couple of weeks later we jumped on the Turnpike for a day trip to Wilmington Delaware to shoot Mark Turner, the President and CEO of WSFS Financial Corp. As soon as we got off the elevator we were greeted with a floor to ceiling bank of windows…


That was kind of a no-brainer. They also had a lot of this kinda stuff all over the walls…


But first we’d get a simple one-light seamless portrait out of the way…


Mark A. Turner - CEO WSFS Bank & WSFS Financial Corp

Now to tackle those windows…



I figured on only needing one light for this, but the hot reflection on the window frames bothered me, so we put a grid on the mini-octa to focus the light more on him and keep it off the window…


With that reflection taken care of, we could get under way…

Mark A. Turner - CEO WSFS Bank & WSFS Financial Corp

Mark A. Turner - CEO WSFS Bank & WSFS Financial Corp


Finally, we had to try to make that ‘Word Wall’ exciting…


We succeeded…

Mark A. Turner - CEO WSFS Bank & WSFS Financial Corp




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One of the best things about doing what I do is not knowing where I’m gonna be tomorrow, so when Dana Kien at the Wall Street Journal asked if I wanted to shoot Irish singer Enya, there was no hesitation when I said ‘Yes!”. She was going to be in New York to promote her new album and I could get an hour with her at her hotel between interviews and TV gigs. So Robert and I loaded up the van and drove downtown to the St. Regis Hotel…

I didn’t know what kind of suite we would have to work with, but I did know all of the rooms at the St. Regis face North, so we would probably have lots of soft window light to play with. And when we got there, the first thing I did was see how Robert looked with nothing but that available light…



Well…that was easy…now what else can we do?!! The bedroom was pretty opulent complete with a nice, velvet wallpaper…



…and I also brought a lavender seamless that I could drop for a variation…


…that looked like this…


I think we’re ready to go! And as cute as Robert was, I knew Enya would bring a bit more to the table…



And by just pulling the seamless outta the way…and adding a pillow from the bed for her to lean on…this is how things looked…


Now let’s move onto the windows…



You’ll notice that I got rid of those windows across the street…it just makes everything look a lot cleaner and more elegant.



And here’s the page from today’s Wall Street Journal


Thanks to Dana for the great shoot…and thanks to Enya for letting me turn her suite into a studio for an hour!


Hamilton In ‘Da House!!!

Lin-Manuel Miranda

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OK…let’s get this outta the way right off the bat…

No, I did not get tickets to Hamilton!

Now…on with the show……

My string of extremely cool shoots for Arrive Magazine continued when Rob Smith offered up Lin-Manuel Miranda for a cover feature on the ‘Hamilton’ writer and star. The story was tied to the productions donation of 20,000 $10 tickets to High School students so they see private matinees of ‘Hamilton’ that also includes a Q&A with the cast afterwards. It’s all done with the hope that it will get students to enjoy learning history…and what better way to get teens to enjoy history than to have them rapping the incredibly infectious songs from the musical after they leave the theater?!! And for one of our main photos we would be shooting Lin-Manuel with a group of students!

There were of course the usual difficulties of a shoot like this…very limited shoot time…having to do a union call which besides being crazy expensive, meant we couldn’t even plug in a light or move as much as a clamp without having a Hamilton crew member do it for us…to not even knowing what kind of wardrobe Lin-Manuel would be wearing before he arrived. Then there was the fact that I had a wild chest cold that made me feel like death and took 90% of my voice away! But hammer on we must…

On the location scout we decided on a few locations…

A view from the stage for our shot with Lin-Manuel and the kids…


The back wall of the stage for a portrait…


And a corner up in the mezzanine that would work great for our cover…my editor Leigh Flayton was giving her acting chops a workout…


The ‘Hamilton’ wine being served in the Mezzanine Bar…


Since we are going to have very little time for our shots, we had to pre-light each shot in advance…that was a lotta light! We had three separate setups on the stage alone, as well as the cover we were doing up in the mezzanine…

Most of these lights were for the opening shot of Lin-Manuel with the kids…


But you can see the setup against the ‘rope wall’ in the background…


Rob and I checking out the opening shot…with some of the union crew approving in the back…


Here’s our first shot with stand ins for the opener…


…and how things got looking better when the ‘talent’ showed up…


But once we got the lighting dialed in a bit more, the final shot for the opener dazzled…

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Next was our ‘rope wall’ shot. Since Matt and Lin-Manuel were about the same height, he got to be the stand in…


Lin-Manuel Miranda

Then we dropped a seamless for a tight portrait. I wanted something a little darker and moodier, so we kept things pretty contrasty…and I tweaked the color way into the blue spectrum which made Matt’s baby-blues even dreamier than normal…


For Lin-Manuel I backed off a bit cuz I liked the shadow we were getting on the background…

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Finally, we raced upstairs for the cover. It’s pretty hard to describe how tight this location was, and unfortunately we didn’t have the time to do any behind-the-scenes shots, but Lin-Manuel was stuck into the corner and I was no more than four feet away shooting between the railing of a very dark stairway with the widest lens I had!


Once again, I chose to shift the color balance towards the blue end of things since I didn’t really like how the dead green/cyan of the wallpaper was looking. I also popped the saturation of the gold quite a bit in CaptureOne which really made those frames stand out…

Lin-Manuel Miranda

And here’s how it all turned out…





And I wasn’t kidding earlier…I still haven’t seen ‘Hamilton’…..but these kids did!!!

Lin-Manuel Miranda