This poster has a history that spans decades and continents. It started in 1952 when American photographer Harold Feinstein created a photomontage of Brooklyn’s Coney Island Boardwalk that looked like a music score. Sixty years later on the other side of the planet, someone at Havas Worldwide Turkey in Istanbul flashed on Feinstein’s photomontage while brainstorming ideas for a print ad for Acik Radyo, the only non-state-owned radio station in Turkey. Acik Radyo covers global social and cultural issues and airs all types of music from around the world. Its motto is “Open to all sounds of the universe.” Feinstein’s artistic photomontage perfectly expressed the theme “Music of the People.” The poster was a big hit and went on to win multiple prestigious international honors, including the Cannes Gold Lion and Epica Grand Prix award.
Kombucha Dog is one of those “only in California live-your-passion” stories. According to the Kombucha Dog website, the beverage company was started in L.A. by Michael Faye, a successful commercial photographer who loved traveling the world on assignment, until he found that the photo business was beginning to require spending more time on the computer than on location. That’s when Faye sold his studio and set up DogIsArt, a dog portraiture business, combining his avid love of dogs with his professional talent.
The kombucha link comes in because Faye, who was raised as a strict vegetarian by a mother who even made her own yogurt, was strongly into the raw food movement and yoga. An early adopter of kombucha, Faye started drinking the fermented tea back in 2005, but had to stop when actress Lindsey Lohan failed an alcohol test. Lohan’s attorneys launched a “kombucha defense” saying that drinking lots of kombucha caused a false positive on the test. The controversy caused L.A. retailers to pull kombucha from the shelves, forcing Faye to experiment with brewing his own.
The other day we were lamenting that good art-directed, concept-driving original photography has become a rarity when we happened upon this Washington Life Magazine piece on the Washington Ballet’s production of “Alice in Wonderland.” Photographed by Dean Alexander with creative and art direction by Design Army’s Jake and Pum Lefebure, the photo essay presents a consistent and cohesive story line, communicated through thoughtful choice of lighting, scale, pacing, mood, poses, typography and layouts. Everything hangs together as a piece. The photos have a subtle narrative flow, beginning with the lost look of Alice in an innocent baby-blue dress, all the way through to the playful mid-air leaps of Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum and the White Rabbit, to the darkly surreal portraits of the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts staring provocatively at the camera. Although Lewis Carroll’s tale of Alice in Wonderland is well-known, this photo shoot reveals strong art direction by Design Army to ensure that the make-up, hair and costume stylists, the photographer, and models are all working toward the same vision on how the story should be told.
One of the most famous fashion photographers of the 20th century, Berlin-born American Erwin Blumenfeld took more photographs for Vogue Magazine than anyone else before or since. His style was classic yet innovative and experimental. Among his most memorable photographs is the January 1950 cover for Vogue, which captures the essence of model Jean Patchett’s beauty through just her eyes, lips and beauty mark. Blumenfeld’s photograph served as the inspiration for Norwegian fashion photographer Solve Sundsbo’s new video for Chanel’s Rouge Allure lipstick line. Sundsbo removed everything except model Barbara Palvin’s luscious lips, green eyes,eyebrows and fingernails. The effect is flirtatious and alluring. Although the voiceover is hard to hear, it’s advice from Coco Chanel: “If you are sad, if you are heartbroken, make yourself up, dress up, add more lipstick and attack. Men hate women who weep.”
San Francisco-based photographer Ryan Heffernan took these dramatic shots for a Japan Rags ad campaign. What looks like a freeze-frame photograph captured with split-second timing is actually a composite of three different stills.
A weekend Fourth of July holiday project that designer Marta Harding produced with her husband, photographer Joshua Harding, this stop-motion video, “How to Make Dill Deviled Eggs,” is fun and instructive and maybe embedded with an embryo of an idea on the future of digital cookbooks. Who knows, maybe they are onto something.
“When you take anything out of its context and put it against a white background, you see something different” explains photographer Andrew Zuckerman. “It forces all attention on the subject….It’s the absence of space and color…in the end, all you’re left with is the form and range of colors contained in the subject.”
Like his previous books “Creature” and “Wisdom,” Zuckerman’s latest book, “Birds,” is shot entirely against a white background. Using a Leaf Aptus 75S digital camera along with high-speed strobe lighting, Zuckerman caught details that would be impossible to see if the birds were photographed in their natural environment. Instead, Zuckerman set up a mobile studio, mostly at zoos, in four countries and coaxed 74 species of birds into the camera’s range. The result is microscopically crisp detail and dazzling nuances of color. To see more Zuckerman birds and a behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot, visit Show-Off, a virtual nonprofit gallery conceived and curated by San Francisco/Newark, UK-based design firm Dowling Duncan.
There are assigned projects and self-generated projects that you do for the love and joy of it. Ten years in the making, The End (Is Just the Beginning) by photographer Rodney Smith is pure passion, wit and style …a total delight. The pleasure Smith took in producing this book comes through on every page. The 16×20 inch, 15 pound tome is hardbound on imported linen with a hand-printed silver gelatin photograph on its slipcase. The design by David Meredith and text by Walter Thomas beautifully mirror and play off the whimsy and elegance of Smith’s black-and-white photographs. Smith, whose editorial and commercial clients range from the New York Times to GQ, Starbucks to Visa, documents a surreal world with a photojournalist’s eye. The End was published by Smith in a limited edition of 1,000 copies, with each signed copy priced at $750.