A Few Minutes With Bill O’Reilly

Bill O'Reilly

When I got the call from Dave Baratz at USAWeekend to shoot Bill O’Reilly, I immediately could tell from his voice that this was probably when was of those quick in-and-out gigs, and I was right. Bill had extremely limited time available and wouldn’t go to a studio, so the only place we could shoot him was on the set of The O’Reilly Factor at Fox News. Oh yeah…we were told we would only have about ten minutes with him…immediately before he taped his show!

I figured I had better go check the place out…

It was small…really small! My wide-angle lenses were gonna get a workout! The only place I could drop a seamless for the cover would be in a back corner behind the cameras…

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For a second shot, the only other possibility seemed around his desk…

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But when I saw the Stage Manager sitting in a nook to the side I had an idea…

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Because of the time constraints and the fact that I was going to shoot him against that backlit set, I made the decision to light Bill with a couple of 1′ x 1′ BiColor Litepanels. The BiColor variator made it super easy to dial in the correct color temperature and the output variator allowed me to match the intensity of the backlit blue wall in seconds. I’ve really come to appreciate the WYSIWYG aspect of shooting the the Litepanel system.

Bill O’Reilly…on set in 3…2…1…

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Bill O'Reilly

That took care of the opener…

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Now, on to the cover.

I took a subjects-eye-view of the cover setup…

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…which sort of shows how tightly backed into that corner we really were…

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Since the story was about volunteerism, Dave and I thought it would be nice to play off the old Uncle Sam, ‘I Want You!’ poster…

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And Bill got into the whole Uncle-Sam-pointing thing which made my work that much easier…

Bill O'Reilly

And here’s the cover that came out yesterday

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Bill and I hope YOU enjoyed todays behind-the-scenes look!

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Three Canadians Walk Into A Bar…

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

Even though I’ve lived in New York since 1982, if someone asks me where I’m from I immediately say, “Edmonton!”, so when Terri Belley…the Art Director at Avenue Magazine…asked me to shoot a feature on another ex-Edmontonian, actress Catherine Mary Stewart, I jumped at the chance. I mean, this was the hot chick from “Night of the Comet”, “The Last Starfighter” and who can forget…“Weekend at Bernie’s”!!! And designer Michael Kaye…another native son of Edmonton now calling New York home…was gonna be providing the fashions.

But then reality kicked in. Avenue ain’t Vanity Fair, and as such, the production budget was very tight, so we decided to shoot everything at Michael’s design studio. The only problem, he just moved in and when I went by to take a look at what we might have to work with, the place was still under construction. Even so, there were a few things that caught my eye…

These mirrors…
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A Knoll Egg Chair…
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A wall of dress forms…
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And something all Canucks have on their walls…a really cool mounted head!
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Michael assured me the studio would be completed in time for the shoot, and a few weeks later Kaz and I hauled a thousand pounds of gear uptown and went to work, starting with those mirrors…

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Well, that sucked…gotta get that color balance right…

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Much better. Let’s do it…

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

And here’s how it looked in the magazine…

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Now…the dress forms…

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Way too much ring light and too little drama…gotta bring in the Mini-Octa…

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Perfect!

Catherine Mary Stewart

So good, it ended up on the cover…

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Michael had a black pony area rug on the floor that I thought would look good from above…

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The high angle was great, but the day bed wasn’t working, so we went with the Egg Chair instead…

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And as the only horizontal I shot all day, it fit right in as the opener for the story…

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Since I had been to the studio on the scout, Michael had added some shelves that showed off his collection of fashion illustrations on either side of the Antelope head. Catherine was going to wear one of his signature Tartan dresses that he designed especially for her, and I originally thought it might look good with a stark ringlight effect…

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But it came off like a Terry Richardson rip-of and was too different from everything else we were doing, so I brought back the drama with a spotlight on her…

Catherine Mary Stewart

Catherine Mary Stewart

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We had already shot a lot, but Michael had one more gown he wanted to include and although we had pretty much shot every angle of his studio, after wracking our brains for one more idea we thought it might be fun to offset the stunning beaded dress against a haphazard pile of chairs…

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Works for me!

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

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After a very long day in a very small studio, we were three very tired Canadians! And the June issue of Avenue magazine is on the stands now!

Catherine Mary Stewart & Michael Kaye

Catherine Mary Stewart

Blowing Smoke With Iron Chef Bobby Flay!!!

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This past weekend was the unofficial start of Summer and to kick off the season, Dave Baratz at USAWeekend had me shoot Iron Chef Bobby Flay for a Summer Grilling cover. He wanted BBQ…he wanted smoke…he wanted fire…and he wanted it shot in a studio.

So we obliged.

We set up shop at Milk studios for a couple of reasons…first, Studio #3 was wonderfully huge and second, it had tons of windows that we were gonna need to clear out all the smoke I knew we would have. But fake smoke is one thing, fire is something else! Since we couldn’t exactly light a real fire, I called upon Sarah Oliphant for a flame backdrop

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Next came the smoke. I kinda knew the standard Rosco smoke fogger wouldn’t be the way to go because all it does is spew out a huge blast of very hard to control smoke and I really wanted to have very precise, wispy smoke curls. We did tests using Superior smoke pellets

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…but at $7 a pop and only lasting 20-30 seconds each, they weren’t the ideal fit. But then we found something new to me at JMFX out in Brooklyn…the Tiny F07 fogger

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Not only is it small…about the size of a deck of cards…so it’s easy to hide on a set or maneuver in and out of the shot on the fly, but since it has a wireless remote control, it’s extremely easy to control the output. About the only downside is that the damned thing costs $1850.00!!! Thank God for rental houses.

But after firing up a couple of the Tiny F07’s, this was literally our first test with the smoke..

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Not bad at all…all we had to do now was add an Iron Chef…

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

…and the cover…

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With the cover in the bag, we moved on to a second shot with another Olpihant backdrop

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After slapping a couple of steaks on the grill and both mini-smoke machines hidden inside, Bobby went to work…

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

Bobby Flay

So that was our day with the Iron Chef…and the best part is that now all of us at Damn Ugly Photography are certified special effects technicians!!!

Kaz, Brad & Ben

Cooking With Cash For The Barron’s Roundtable

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Here’s a quick follow-up to what we did with that $30 Grand in cash I needed as a prop for the Week Two and Week Three group shots of this years Barron’s Roundtable shoot. Once again, our object was to shoot as many different single images of each Roundtable member playing around the cooking theme so that we could later assemble them into our little stories. Since the theme played on the idea of cooking up a recipe for the perfect economy, cash…lotsa cash…was required as our main ingredient!

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And here’s how the final pages looked…

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Behind The Scenes At The Most Expensive Barron’s Roundtable Yet

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We here at Damn Ugly Photography have done many, many, many Barron’s Roundtable shoots over the years, but this time we came close to breaking the bank…literally! Our cover idea was to have the members of the Roundtable rockin’ Chef Props as they cooked up the perfect economic recipe for the coming year, and for our ‘ingredients’ we needed cash…lots and lots of cash

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Since Photoshop has added high-tech security filters that make it almost impossible to scan money and print it out…and prop money looks way too fake…we decided to hit my bank and just get real cash (that’s about $30 Grand in the bag) to use in our recipes…

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The basic cover setup was a raised plexiglass platform that I could shoot from both a low angle for the cover image, and from slightly above for the inside compositions for the Week Two & Week Three images…

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Hasselblad H1/50mm f4.0 with a Leaf Aptus 33 for the cover and the 5DmkII/24-70mm f2.8 for the higher-angle inside shots…

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As in previous years, we have only two hours to shoot everybody…all separately as they arrive at The Harvard Club for the meeting…on two different sets, and we must come away with two covers (for the January and June Mid-Year issues), two inside openers for those covers, two feature openers for the second and third week follow-up issues and individual shots of each person for the June Mid-Year issue. In those two hours we try to cram in as many different poses and props as possible so we have enough to work with when it comes to assembling the final group shots. Here’s some of the fun…

Marni worked her super-fast makeup magic on everyone before they got on set…

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Oscar Schafer…

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Brian Rogers…

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Fred Hickey…

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Abby Joseph Cohen…

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Scott Black…

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Adrian and I liked the idea of placing everyone on the edge of a mountaintop made from a butcher block cutting board and viewing them from below…

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…so once I shot a bunch of angles on the board, we had all the raw materials in place. Now it was up to me to assembly the individual shots into our cover and feature opening photos…

The 2013 Barron's Roundtable

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The 2013 Barron's Roundtable

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This stuff never gets old!

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Stay tuned next week and you’ll see what we did with all that cash once Barron’s runs the Week Two and Week Three images…

Alec Baldwin Is Santa Claus

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In the Dreamworks Holiday Blockbuster, Rise of the Guardians, Alec Baldwin is lending his (Russian-accented) voice to Santa Claus, and in a bit of cross-promotion, David Baratz at USA Weekend called upon me and the crew to shoot him for the cover of their Holiday Tech Gift Guide. So a few weeks ago, we turned a room at the Crosby Street Hotel into our studio and brought a bit of Christmas to Soho…here’s how it went down…

Since it was a Christmas cover, I figured it was OK to dress up the set with a few Xmas lights…

Even though we knew we would only have Alec for maybe half an hour, my stylist, Cynthia Altoriso, pulled together a stunning array of clothes, including a couple of $7,000 Brioni burgundy velvet jackets (that unfortunately didn’t get worn)…

Since the idea of the cover was to have Alec plugged in to the tech gifts, he worked with the few props that played on that metaphor…

…and here are the final images…

Merry early Christmas!!!

In Case You Were Wondering…CEO’s Are VERY Busy!!!

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I logged another CEO Spotlight for Barron’s a few weeks back when Adrian sent us to shoot Bob Benmosche, the CEO of AIG. As usual, the drill is we get told The Boss is extremely busy and I will only be allowed five minutes to get everything I need in the can. I typically take the ‘five minutes’ as shorthand for we hafta be quick, but this time I knew we had no wiggle room. Benmosche was going to shoehorn us in between an earnings statement conference call and a Town Hall Meeting, so his schedule was carved in stone. There was going to be very little time for small talk, but I know how important it is to come away with a portrait that shows the subject’s personality. Obviously, with such little time to shoot we had to have our setups nailed down when he showed up. Here’s how it went.

The CEO Spotlight is formatted as a full-length portrait on white, so on this day we turned the top floor of the AIG building…with it’s 18-foot ceilings and Million Dollar views…into our studio…

That gave us our feature opener…

We also did a second shot where I used my Ghetto-Flos in the hallway area directly behind where we had the seamless set up…

…which gave us this…

…that morphed into this after a wee bit of Photoshoppery…

And we were done…in five minutes.

The Doctor Will See You Now – Sanjay Gupta For Prevention Magazine

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It took a while, but my friend Marybeth Dulany finally called me with a gig over at Prevention Magazine. I used to work for Marybeth a lot back in the days of ‘Rosie’ magazine, but once that folded she moved on to ‘Health’ where my particular style wasn’t a good fit. She ended up at Prevention last year and now she had something kinda cool…a profile of Dr. Sanjay Gupta for the July issue. The Damn Ugly crew made the trip down to Industria and here’s a bit of our day with the Doctor…

We started with a white setup for some cover stuff. Cate Sheehy was styling…

…and Marni Burton handled makeup…

We even did a bit of off-set/artificial portrait stuff that made it into the story…

I also set up a canvas backdrop that had a nice, terra cotta look to it…

I got to use my new 5-foot PLM umbrella for the first time…what a great light! I was really impressed at the quality of light and how large the coverage was. It was set up about 15 feet away from the subject and kicked out an open, but still contrasty light that gave me a wonderful shadow.

Finally, since it was such a nice day, Marybeth asked if we could do a few outdoor shots, so we fired up a 600-B and hit the street…

Marybeth was very happy…

And here are the final pages…

Soccer by the Pool with Olympian Megan Rapinoe

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Stacey Pleasant offered me a fun gig a few weeks ago. She produces a series of advertorials for McDonald’s that runs in Sports Illustrated and they wanted me to shoot Megan Rapinoe, a mid-fielder on the United States women’s national soccer team that’s going to London for the Olympics. Megan was gonna be in town doing some P/R and had very little time available for a shoot, so Stacey arranged to do everything at her hotel, the Dream Downtown. The advertorials are single-page interviews with the athletes and formatted in such a way that there has to be a lot of clean space around the person in order to run the type over the background. For our purposes, the options for locations at the hotel were limited, but we were offered the swimming pool area. Both Stacey and I figured using the pool as a clean backdrop would work perfectly for the type…but we didn’t know about one of the main design features of the Dream’s pool…

Portholes!!! Hundreds of little (and a few BIG) portholes at the bottom of the pool! Well…we were locked into the location, so I was just gonna hafta deal with that later…right now we had to start shooting!

While Marni worked on Megan…

Ben stood in so we could pick an angle on that pool, but without the sun things were looking kinda flat…

Megan’s a pro…she immediately understood the Damn Ugly Photography aesthetic…

And as if by magic…a few frames into the shoot the Sun came out…and all was right with the World. We decided to still keep the full-CTO filtered bare head we set up for a Sun-like skim camera left, ‘cuz it added a nice warmth to the highlight created by the real Sun…

But as good as that looked, I still had to deal with all those portholes…a few hours and a lotta mouse-clicks later, and the shot was now ready for type…

The final page…

With the pool shot in the can, I pressed for a couple of minutes more to do a second shot. Immediately to the left of the pool was a wall clad in Stainless-Steel that could be kinda nice. The natural light was a little flat, so we threw on the ringlight which gave us a hot highlight that ran vertically through the middle of the shot…

That looked like Hell, but once we got the available/strobe balance down, we had a little fun…

The final image…and that ringlight added a nice, smoky highlight rising off of her…

The issue hit the stands this week. Good luck in London, Megan!

The 2012 Barron’s Roundtable Mid-Year Report

First off…I’m gonna thank Timothy Archibald for getting me off my ass and back on the blog! He wondered aloud on his own blog the other day about how facebook might be causing a lotta guys like me to slack off on our blog duties, so thanks T.A.

Now, back to business!

My twice-yearly Barron’s cover story on the meeting of their Round Table participants popped up a couple of weeks back, so just as I did for the Black Board cover back in January, here’s a little behind-the-scenes on how we put together the cover for Part 2…

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Since we only have about two hours to shoot all ten Roundtable members individually for both covers and all the inside photos for the two issues, we have to have our two sets nailed down pretty tight. And because we decided on the very complicated Black Board set for the January cover, the Mid Year cover set had to be somewhat simpler. Barron’s Photo Editor Adrian DeLucca and I came up with the idea to use arrow props that would be held to illustrate the Up and Down market trends and pose everyone on white around a few cubes…

Once we got all ten members shot, now I just had to assemble them into believable groups for both the cover and the inside opening spread…

…the final spread had most of those red arrows changed to blue…

…and for the cover we went without props altogether…

See y’all next January…

There Is No Photoshop Easy Button…

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Over the past few weeks you didn’t have to look too far to find an online review claiming how spectacular the new Photoshop CS6 upgrade is and how it’s gonna make everything you photograph so much better…but all I could think was no matter how easy the software engineers at Adobe make image editing by adding fancy new filters, content-aware tools or sexed-up widgets, none of that amounts to beans if you don’t have the smarts to envision the final result in that pile of mush that occupies the space between your ears. And it reminded me how I recently had to put some of my Photoshop smarts to good use and ‘fix’ a less than ideal situation when I was shooting the Annual Report for Philadelphia-based Glenmede…using Photoshop CS3, no less…

I had gone down to Philly a few weeks before the shoot to scout the location…Lenfest Hall at The Curtis Institute of Music…and on the day of the scout it was bright and sunny and would give us the perfect light & airy backdrop for the Management Committee photograph…

Problem was, on the day of the shoot, those 30-foot high windows gave us a view of Philly at it’s darkest and rainiest…

That’s when it became pretty clear I had to figure a way to let Photoshop brighten things up and get me to where I needed to be.

Here is the unretouched original, straight out of the camera…

The first thing I did was slide a new floor under everyone that was shot separately using a 16-second exposure…

For the next step, I figured the hardest thing I would hafta do would be to blow out all the detail in the windows to give the impression of it being a sunny day…but then things even got more interesting…the layout changed! My client wanted to know if it would be possible to give them more space on both sides of the group. Now this wasn’t something I had planned for, but if James Cameron can make the Titanic come to life I guess there had to be a way to generate a whole mess of information that didn’t exist…right?!!

I had some empty frames I shot after everyone had gone that I could use to clone the wood trim under the windows, but the real test would be adding perspective-correct banks of windows on both sides of the frame…that had me working well after midnight. Then I had to fake the entire right side of the piano, remove the rolling wheels under the piano, erase the clock and lighting panels from the back wall, and then turn on the sunbeams, add a little overexposure flare and brighten up those windows…

For the final step, I adjusted the color balance, heightened the Curves and Levels, and amped up the contrast with a High Pass Filter layer…

To see a larger version of the animated GIF at the top of the post that shows all the steps, click HERE

SXSW Special: The Bird Call Cover Shoot & Song of the Day

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BIRD CALL
Waltz in the Snow


DOWNLOAD: Waltz in the Snow

SXSW starts this week, and Bird Call is heading down to Austin to play a whole mess of dates, so I figured that since the festival has morphed from being just a week-long Indie music show into a multi-media-mega-extravaganza, today’s post would mimic that sentiment by including music, photos and yet another these stop-action jpeg movies I find myself playing with when I got nothin’ else to do.

A few months back, we were out at the Brooklyn World Headquarters of Bird Call Music and mindful of the low-budget, Indie-Music, keep-it-simple aspect to the shoot, we turned a very tiny white room into a photo studio for Chiara Angelicola’s new record, using nothing but four do-it-yourself lights and a bit of ingenuity.

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes of what we did and some of the resulting final images…

We started with nothing but some sheer drapes covering a sunlit window and a piano dropped in front of it…

…in a very small room (thank God for wide-angle lenses!). We added a couple of my DIY ‘Ghetto-Flo’ florescent strip lights as backlight skims, but decided to use no front light at all, just overexposed the living daylights outta the thing to let the background blow out and see where that took us…

Not bad at all, even if GiGi looks kinda bored…

Chiara getting beautified…

…and standing in…

Some last minute touch-ups…Lovin’ the Horns!

And away we go…

The final resulting images…..

Next, we pulled out the piano and added a couple of front lights…

…and Chiara jumped around in a cool stripy dress with a pork-pie hat!

Which I was able to turn into this cool multiple…

In the end, GiGi was impressed…

Behind the Scenes of the 2012 Barron’s Roundtable Cover Shoot

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I first photographed the annual Barron’s Roundtable cover story back in January of 2007, which makes this the sixth year I’ve had the privilege, and each year the team of Art Director Pamela Budz, Photo Editor Adrian Delucca and myself have stepped up our game to reinvent creative ways to show the gang of financial prognosticators. This year the three of us came up with the idea that centered around the entire group posing in front of a blackboard. I did a quick mockup using shots of the Roundtable members I had taken previously…

So we packed up our usual thousand pounds of lighting gear along with a blackboard and various other set pieces and headed uptown to The Harvard Club to make it work…

Our main prop…a 4’x6′ blackboard…

Now for those of you who haven’t read about some of the previous Roundtable shoot days, I’ll break down the schedule for you. We have roughly two hours to shoot everybody before the meeting begins at 10:00AM. In that two hours we have to come away with two cover shots (one for main January issue and one for the mid-year follow-up in June), three additional situations that will be used for openers in three January issues, an opener for the June issue and individual portraits of all ten Roundtable members that will get dropped into the copy of the June issue.

Ten People. Two Hours.

Oh yeah…we shoot everybody separately as they arrive at the Harvard Club and assemble those shots into the group photos for the cover and inside openers.

Simple.

Here’s what it looked like…

Adrian reminding me we have very little time…

And this is just from the Blackboard set. You can see the second white seamless setup behind me in one of the above photos, but I can’t show you any of that until it publishes in June.

Once we had finished with the people, we now had to shoot the blackboard, out of the rigging we used to suspend it for the portraits and back on its stand…

…and various elements on the blackboard that I could insert into the final compositions. Since Pam can freehand fonts way better than any of us, she got to draw the cover headline on the board…

Adrian was elected to do the ‘Charts & Graphs’…

And with all of the elements photographed, now it was up to me to push everything together in Photoshop and manufacture that group shot for the cover. The individual photos looked like this…

…so first I had to silhouette the images and paste them into a new Photoshop document…

…and then fill in the group with everybody else…

…do a rough mockup with the blackboard inserted behind the group…

…and after Pam and Adrian had approved the final composition, do a whole lotta fine-tuning…like erasing the rough edges around the silhouette, feathering the hair to blend naturally against the blackboard, add shadows in front and behind everybody and finally cook in my own special sauce of color and contrast adjustments…

With the cover outta the way, next up was the week one opener. I started by seriously stretching out that blackboard so that it would run over a two-page spread, then I added both the people and their names that I had them write on the board…

Using the same fine-tuning I did on the cover, this was the final image…

And here’s how it appeared in print…

And using the same basic technique, just on a smaller scale, here is the image that ran as the opener in this weeks issue…

Just like I said…simple!

Up On The Roof, Playing Soccer With A Billionaire

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Normally when you get the call to shoot a Billionaire industrialist, you can pretty much bet you’re gonna have five minutes in a stark boardroom and there won’t be a whole lotta fun involved. This was exactly what Jeff Beasley…the Picture Editor at FourFourTwo magazine…hoped wouldn’t happen when he asked me to shoot Bob Rich, the Chairman of Rich Products Corporation, for a feature on unlikely soccer club owners. Rich had recently gotten involved with the Bedlington Terriers F.C.…a small football club playing in the Northern League based in Bedlington, England…after tracing his family tree back to the area and after his wife purchased the title of Lord Bedlington for him as a gift. Jeff wanted a portrait that would show Rich’s Big City American roots…something that might mimic a photograph I did of Howard Sontag high above Madison Avenue…while still tying in the Soccer aspect of the story. It turned out the Buffalo-based billionaire was going to be in New York City for a couple of days, but his schedule was extremely tight. We had a tiny window of opportunity to shoot him at his hotel…the Peninsula New York…but while extremely nice, was not exactly a soccer pitch in midtown. I called the hotel and their P/R person told me they that since it was Mr. Rich, they would gladly make the roof bar area available to us and that it has a “lovely view” of Central Park. Feeling buoyed by that news, I headed uptown (in the rain) to scout it out. This was the “lovely view” of the Park…

It wasn’t exactly the pastoral oasis amongst the concrete I had envisioned, but panning the roof I figured I could make something with what I had to work with…

The next morning the rain had stopped and Kaz and I arrived at the (extremely humid) crack of dawn and went about moving the 50 or so tables out of the way to turn the Salon de Ning Rooftop Lounge into our studio for the day…

With the sun out, lighting was super simple…all we needed was the Mola Setti on a boom and the backlighting did the rest…

We even broke out the tried & true ‘Ball Juggling’ routine…

Bob approves…

…and FourFourTwo liked it, too…

I Shot Mr. Post-It® Note For The London Sunday Times

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So I get a call from Andrew Mitchell, one of the photo editors at the London Sunday Times, and he needed me to hightail it to the Palace Hotel to shoot a feature on George Buckley, the Chairman & CEO of 3M. Now the Palace is a really nice hotel, but the idea of shooting a couple of portraits in his suite just kinda seemed flat, so after a bit of pleading with the hotel’s P/R people, they said if I was quick I could use the Gilt Bar as a studio. So Kaz and I packed up the van and made our way uptown, but not before making a stop at an Office Depot for some props. You see, 3M makes more than 55,000 products, including adhesives, abrasives, laminates, fire protection, dental products, electronic materials, medical products, polishes, waxes, car shampoo, car chassis rust protection, electronic circuits and optical films. But if you had to pick the one thing they make that everybody knows, it’s the Post-It® Note, and I bought almost every Post-It® Note on the shelf at that Office Depot! I had been to Gilt a few times and I had an idea to dress up the ultra-modern lounge area with a few (thousand) of the little paper stickies…

Kaz sits in for the first test…

…about half an hour later, after Post-It-ing the set…

…and the final image of George…

For a second photo, we turned 90 degrees to the left and set up a shot with George framed by a golden wall and warm lights…

The gold wall…

A nice start…

That was nice, George…but what do you say we try this…

Dont’cha just love it when the CEO of a HUGE multinational corporation has a sense of humor?!!

Larry Fink for Barron’s

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With over $3.7 trillion (not a typo…with a “T”) of assets under management, BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager, and CEO Larry Fink runs the whole ball of wax. And you would be right in assuming that posing for pictures is pretty far down his ‘To-Do’ list, so when Adrian asked me to shoot him for the magazine’s new ‘CEO Spotlight’ feature, I knew I would have precious little time and have to be nailed down and ready to go when he got to the set. The CEO Spotlight is formatted with the subject silhouetted onto the page and has to be shot on white seamless, but with few locations at BlackRock large enough for us to set up a mini studio, we decided to drop our paper right in a hallway on the executive floor. Enjoy…

Initial setup…

Add a couple of skim lights…

Insert CEO…

Change angles for a couple of variations…

Bake and serve…

Here Come Da Judge, Here Come Da Judge…

Until recently, William B. Chandler III was a Federal judge in Delaware, serving on the Delaware Court of Chancery with the title of Chancellor. But then he retired as Chancellor and became a managing partner of the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and I got a call from Larry Gendron…Art Director at The Deal…asking if I could do a feature shoot with The Judge. Now Larry and I hadn’t worked together in years…ever since he was at Financial World Magazine…so I really wanted to impress him with a good job, but the offices of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, while very functional, aren’t gonna be featured in the pages of ‘Dwell’ any time soon. We were faced with a lot of beige walls and small conference rooms…but Kaz and I still came away with three situations that Larry liked so much he put the story on the cover!

We started with a view down a hallway…

…then moved into the Board Room for the opener…

…and finally, we stuck him in a corner of the Law Library for what ended up being the cover shot…

MTV’s Beauty Academy Gets Damn Ugly

When she’s not applying powder & lip gloss to my subjects, Kelly Stedman…my good friend and makeup artist of the past 15 years…has been producing reality shows, and for quite a while she’s been trying to include me in one of her little projects. I have always declined because I don’t really have a desire to get thrown into some televised ‘reality’ drama, but last month she asked if I could help her out on a new show she’s doing for MTV on a Beauty School in New Jersey and I finally caved in and agreed to give it a go. The show follows hair stylists Thomas McKiver and Oscar Bond and a group of students at The Bond Academy. Thomas and Oscar put the kids through the paces, and as incentives the top students get to assist them on photo shoots. That’s where I come in. For the first shoot, my crew and I trucked out to Bloomfield NJ on one of the hottest days of the year to set up a fantasy hair shoot in a third-floor walk-up, un-airconditioned Salsa Dance Studio. Here is some of the fun that ensued…..

My assistants Vivian Alban and Alex Minkin stand in for the models…

Kaz and I on set…

Hair stylist Thomas McKiver checks how things are looking…

The video and sound crew guys…

Don’t stare at the hair…don’t stare at the hair…..

Try not to mix up the model’s names…

Tall, skinny models on set, please…

Happy models…

…and happy students…

And here is some of how it all looked in the end…

Lauren B…

Roz…

It’s Summer…Let’s Go Fishing!!!

A few weeks ago, Adrian asked if I wanted to head up the Turnpike to shoot a couple of fund managers…Ed Nicklin and Andy Knuth of the Westport Select Funds…for the Barron’s Mutual Fund Report. We were both hoping to get anything other than the usual office environment portraits and since the Westport offices were kinda on my way up to Damn Ugly’s weekend command center, I swung by to take a look around and right behind their building I found this…

It’s funny how one simple prop can get your juices flowing on a shoot, but as soon as I saw the plastic Adirondack chairs and the river location I knew we had something to play with. And I’m not usually one who tries to cram a metaphor down the reader’s throat, but when we found out that Andy and Ed kept fishing poles in the office and that they were known to ‘fish for good deals’ in the market, I couldn’t turn up the chance to turn these fund managers into sport fishermen!

Once that was done, Kaz and I set up a nice, relaxing scene next to a waterfront shed where the boys could kick back and enjoy the sunny day…..

…which gave Barron’s the perfect opener for the section…..

Behind The Scenes At The 2011 Barron’s Roundtable PART THREE

Click on any image for Full-Size

The year is half over and that means The Mid-Year Roundtable issue of Barron’s has hit the stands. I’ve already spilled the beans on some of some of what went down at the Harvard Club that cold day in January in PART ONE and PART TWO, and now comes the final story of how we shot the ten members of the Roundtable separately and put ’em all together into a cover, an inside opener and individual portraits that would accompany each of their stock picks.

Adrian DeLucca and I figured we would hammer home the Global theme we started in the January issue by shooting each person against a section of a World map and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for me to squeeze a few Artificial Portraits in at the same time. I photographed a giant map I picked up from IKEA and then printed it out in ten 40″ x 50″ sections that would serve as a backdrop for each individual portrait…..

Since we had precious little time to waste the day of the shoot, I decided to ‘map out’ who would be in front of which section ahead of time…..

I kept the lighting pretty simple…just a gridded 20″ Profoto beauty dish way up high on a boom and an on-camera ringlight…..

Because we were jumping between the two sets, I gave myself a few cheaters to remind me what my settings should be…..

Oh yeah…just about forgot…I added an over the shoulder fill in the form of an open-face Octalite…..

…all of which gave us ten images that I had to re-assemble into a map of the World…..

…which looked like this on the cover…..

…with a variation for the inside opener…..

But while I was shooting the images for the cover, I also had to come away with some individual portraits that were a bit different and that’s where the Artificial Portraits came in…..

…and these shots were peppered throughout the article…..

And another year of the Roundtable was in the can! So until next January, Photo Editor Adrian DeLucca, Art Director Pam Budz and yours truly wish you well!