Playing High-Stakes Chess With The Smartest Guys In The Room

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When January rolls around, one thing you can always count on is that I’ll be packing up 1000 pounds of gear and heading to The Harvard Club to shoot the Barron’s Roundtable. This year, Adrian Delucca and I worked up a few ideas based on the game of Chess. Here were Adrian’s chicken scratches that led to our cover shoot…

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This year we would be publishing three covers in January, and the usual mid-year cover in June, so we had to set up three different lighting setups in the very tight quarters of the Presidents Room at the Harvard Club…

The main setup for the Week One cover and opener…

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…the Chess Table set for the Week Two & Three covers…

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…and third area for the mid-year portraits…

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As usual, we would start shooting the ten Roundtable members separately as they began arriving at 8:00AM, and we had to be finished everything when the meeting began…at 10:00AM! That meant we had to shoot each person in enough different situations for three covers and three openers as well as individual portraits of each for the midyear issue…all in two hours. And we also had to convey exactly what we needed each person to do since they wouldn’t be posing with anyone but themselves and everything would be put together in post! They’re given no advance warning of what we’ve cooked up for them until they arrive.

That kinda thing is hard enough to pull off when you’re dealing with professional models, but when you’ve only got 5 or 6 minutes with a financial expert, getting him to instantly channel his inner actor is a wee bit harder…

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With our Roundtable members safely in the bag, now I got to spend the next three days locked in front of my computer. I had already spent a day shooting a Chess Board & Pieces for our base cover image…

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Now came adding the human chess pieces…

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And after a considerable amount of Photoshop work, the final cover image looked like this…

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Next up was the opening image…

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And the final image…

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Finally, I had to put together two different chess playing situations…from two different angles…for the Week Two and Week Three issues. This was our high-angle test shot (you can see the low angle tripod at the bottom of the frame)…

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What would be so easy if we could just shoot it as one photo becomes a very complicated puzzle when you hafta shoot everyone separately while trying to keep track of who you’ve already shot and in what position…

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These are the two final images…

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Now on to the low angle…

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Man…am I ever tired…….

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Barron’s PENTA – Premiere Edition

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A few weeks ago, Adrian Delucca and Pamela Budz from Barron’s came to me with a cover project…..would I be interested in re-working a shot I had done for them last year that didn’t run into a slightly more stylized version for Penta, a new insert Dow Jones is including with the magazine. This was the original photograph I did of financial analyst Stephanie Pomboy…..

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First, we had to come up with the same piece of furniture that Stephanie had in her apartment…thank God for The Conran Shop! The only tiny wrinkle was that it was in bright orange and we kinda had our hearts set on green…..

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…but I knew that Photoshop was gonna let me pick and choose whatever final colors we needed! Next, I had to stuff the drawers with a few hundred thousand dollars of prop money…..

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…and finally, after Kelly worked a bit of her magic on Jackie Mumm, our model……

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…we ended up with this…..

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…and our final cover image…..

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Pretty much all that was left for us to do was to horse around on the set!!! Adrian got to trash the money…..

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…and my stylist, Naila, wanted to burn the place down!!!

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(Don’t ya just love what happens when you spin those Photoshop dials?!!)