Sep 182018
 

Anne Akiko Meyers violinist album Mirror in Mirror
Anne Akiko Meyers violinist portrait Death Valley
Anne Akiko Meyers violinist portrait - musician

I’m very excited to share the artwork I created for latest album from acclaimed violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, Mirror in Mirror. Late last year Anne and I began discussing a trip to the desert to photograph her for a series of images to accompany the album she was working on. She describes the project — which took nearly 10 years to complete — as transcendent, reflective and very personal, so she wanted the artwork to reflect that.

After some discussion, we realized there were a few too many obstacles to make a desert shoot a practical option. First, it was late in the year, which meant very short days and chilly weather. Second — and by far most importantly — is that Anne’s violin is the “Vieuxtemps” Guarneri del Gesu. Crafted in 1741 and in pristine condition, it’s considered to be one of the finest violins in existence. It was most recently purchased at a price estimated to be north of $16 million, making it the most valuable violin in the world. It does not go to the desert.

So, rather than deal with cold temps, short days and substituting an inferior violin, we decided the best option was to set up a studio at her Los Angeles home and composite her into desert scenes I had previously photographed. These are the results.

I’ve listened to the album a couple times now and it’s beautiful. It features a mixture of original commissions and arrangements with a list of composers that includes Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt and Maurice Ravel. I recommend that you treat yourself by picking up a copy here.

On a technical note, we shot a number of lighting scenarios considering the different background options I could provide, but Anne ended up going with the night shots for the album. The lighting for those images was primarily a Profoto head shot through a large Elinchrom Octabank. I previously posted a preview of this shoot where I elaborated a little more on the technical aspects and what it was like shooting around such a valuable instrument. Not nerve-racking at all.

I’ve also included some additional publicity photos we shot that day, including a couple of black and white photos shot experimenting with an antique Graphic View camera using sheets of New55 film. Love the results!

Some of my favorite shoots involve collaborating with creative subjects, and working with Anne was no exception. She was a pleasure to work with, and I’m happy to see the results of our collaboration out in the world.

 

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 Posted by at 9:15 pm
Jul 192018
 

Chronicle of Higher Education Editorial Cal Lutheran

Chronicle of Higher Education Editorial Cal Lutheran Portrait

I recently spent a morning at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif., photographing Dr. Rahuldeep Gill, an associate professor of religion, and Dr. Leanne Neilson, the provost, for a story on diversity hiring and the school’s changing demographics for the Chronicle of Higher Education. As a Sikh, Gill had often felt like he didn’t belong at the university, to the point that he considered not returning following time away on sabbatical. He did return, however, and is now, along with Nielson and others, a member of the university’s “evidence team,” a task force created to help the university recruit and retain faculty of color to better reflect the changing demographics of their student body, which has shifted in recent years from predominantly white to about 50/50 white to non-white. It’s an interesting topic. If you’re a subscriber you can check out the full story here.

Chronicle of Higher Education Published

 

May 022018
 

RTL_Stylehaul_Annual_Report

Stylehaul Corporate Editorial Portrait

A couple months ago I spent an afternoon in the fashionable offices of Stylehaul in Hollywood photographing project manager Melanie Okamuro for their parent company RTL Group’s 2018 annual report. Stylehaul is essentially an online network bringing fashion and beauty influencers from around the internet under one roof. Founded in 2011, the young startup was recently acquired by the larger, Luxembourg-based media company. What I loved about this shoot was that the client designs their annual reports with an editorial eye, using fun, modern design and portraiture rather than the typical approach of more traditional corporate imagery. The photos really help tell the story of who their employees are and gave me the freedom to play around with various looks and lighting approaches. Melanie, who as a project manager and programmer isn’t usually in front of the camera, was a great subject. She was not only very friendly, but very patient and was willing to work with me and my team to create the best images possible. Thanks to all involved!

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Jan 312018
 

Photojournalism - WSJ Honda

Photojournalism - WSJ Honda

Last month I spent an afternoon going door to door with members of Honda’s Recall Team in Torrance as they attempted to inform car owners that their vehicles are subject to recall due to the famously deadly flaw in Takata airbags that were used between 2001-2015 by Honda and numerous other carmakers. The only problem, they were hard to find! This is largely due to the fact that Honda, whose cars were affected possibly worse than any other company, has spent the past several years reaching out in every way they can to car owners and have already found a high percentage of them. They are also trying to reach 2nd, 3rd and higher-generation owners, whose records are often hard to find or turn out to be inaccurate.

After several hours driving to various residences, which their records indicated were home to Honda owners who had not yet fixed their vehicles, we found exactly zero actual owners. We often missed them because they were at work, in which case they left a flyer on the doorknob, and in one case found someone whose husband owned the car, but had just sold it. I’m sure it’s a frustrating experience for the recall team, but also worth it as there’s supposedly a 50/50 chance that the driver or front seat passenger of an affected Honda could die or be seriously injured by shrapnel should the airbag deploy. Pretty bad. The recall is considered the largest in history, affecting over 42 million vehicles across all manufacturers and killing at least 20 people worldwide. If you own a car you think might be affected by this hopefully you’ve been contacted already and taken care of it! If not, you can get info here. Honda will actually come to your vehicle and fix it for free, so get on it.

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Dec 222017
 

Magazine Cover - Editorial Photography

Editorial Portrait Photography

Not long ago I found myself bobbing, weaving and trying to hold focus as a fierce woman with a two-toned mohawk swung large purple boxing gloves at my face. Usually I don’t appreciate that sort of behavior while I’m trying to take a picture. In this case I’d asked her to do it, so it was okay. My would-be attacker was Hollywood super-cool stuntwoman Petra Sprecher, who I was photographing on Venice Beach for a profile to be published in Migros magazine, a publication from her native Switzerland. She may not look familiar, but you’ve probably seen her work!  She’s performed in numerous big-time films, including Minority Report, Eagle Eye and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, to name a few. Prior to that she grew up performing in circuses, ultimately touring with Cirque de Soleil’s Quidam. Circus to stunts seems to be a natural transition. The other stunt performers I’ve known were either trained gymnasts and/or parkour runners. Who else would be capable of jumping off rooftops or falling down stairs? Unfortunately timing didn’t allow us to shoot her doing those things on an actual set, so we did the next best thing, having her demonstrate some of her training exercises, also stopping to take some standard portraits. It was a fun afternoon and we were both thrilled to see the work chosen for the cover.

Oct 022017
 

Discover Magazine-Editorial Photography

Discover-Editorial Photography

Discover-Editorial Photography

Discover-Editorial Photography

Discover-Editorial Photography

It was great seeing not one, but two, pieces published in the October issue of Discover magazine! The first story was shot at the UCLA Brain Imaging Center to illustrate a first-person narrative by writer Jeff Wheelwright relating his experience getting tested for the Human Connectome Project, a large study creating a baseline map of the brain to better study how it ages. For the story we created a series of images of him going through various cognitive tests, as well as an overhead of him lying in a decommissioned MRI machine. That latter was a challenge, but we pulled it off with the help of my assistant LR, a patient subject and a Camranger remote, which allowed me to shoot live view wirelessly from my laptop to my Nikon, which was carefully positioned overhead on a boom. The second story was a fascinating piece on advancements in stem cell therapies that are allowing people such as Kristin MacDonald, who I shot at home in Beverly Hills, to regain partial vision almost totally lost to Retinitis Pigmentosa, an incurable degenerative eye disease that caused her to start going blind in her twenties. Others have successfully used the therapy to overcome paralysis caused by stroke or injury. The advancements were initially made possible by the passing of California Proposition 71 in 2004, which provided $3 billion in funding for stem cell research in the state after the feds cut off funding for embryonic stem cell research in 2001. I did a related story several years ago when scientists were just figuring out how to work around the ban, so it was great to see how far things have come in the last seven or so years. I’m looking forward to seeing the advancements this field is sure to produce in the coming years.

 

 

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