Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jamey Stillings Journeys to India for BBDO

Jamey Stillings, pictured above with one of the locals, was one of several photographers chosen by BBDO/NY to work on a large global image library for GE, that is literally, being shot around the globe. Betsy Jablow is holding down the ever-changing art production responsibilities for the agency, aided by Gyorgi Sapojnikoff, who is executive producing the project out of San Francisco and line producers working directly with the photographers on a local/regional basis.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Steven Lippman Joins S+A Roster

It's finally official!! Steven Lippman Print + Film joins our roster today, bringing his amazing fashion, beauty and lifestyle imagery to our portfolio offerings along with a talented production/studio team and incredible energy. A native of So. CA., Steven is still active in professional surfing circles and is a fixture in Malibu due to that and his commitments to numerous charity events there through the years. He's been on our radar for a long time, as he's one of the few shooters that can pull off highly produced, well-crafted, BELIEVABLE lifestyle work; something that's akin to the holy grail in this business and a void in our roster we've been looking to fill. He's also one of the few shooters in that genre that has a strong enough stylistic vision to fit with our other talent, and we feel his fashion and beauty work will open up potential clients for us in those categories where we historically have had little to offer. As his company name indicates, Steven also directs commercials and music video, which we are also excited about. We are adding a MOTION portion to our website soon, where you will be able to see his reel along with other motion work from our roster. Stay tuned...

Friday, November 20, 2009


Jason Sumrak of Statik Digital found the tat picture above on and sent it to us today. We don't know if we should be flattered, impressed or disgusted!
Zachary Scott shot Will Ferrell for the New York Times Magazine's annual comedy issue back in 2007, and apparently, someone noticed! We've been trying to figure out what body part the person used, but haven't been able to reach a consensus. What do you think?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Zack Scott Goes Virtual for Microsoft

Continuing a long and fruitful relationship with the good folks at McCann/SF, Zack Scott collaborated on a global trade initiative for Microsoft's Virtualization product along with SuperFad, who handled all of the CGI work. Don't ask us what the product does! McCann AD: MaryAnn Saltonstall

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Say Cheese!

Why is it that when creative people are photographed for industry trade rags like ID Magazine or AdAge, the majority of them DO NOT smile? Come on people! Being a designer/art director doesn't mean you have to cop an attitude for your public persona. Maybe it's just me, but I try to show my best side whenever I'm photographed...just like my fellow industry media, account management and marketing executives. Check out THEIR mugs the next time you are browsing AdWeek, and compare it to those folks featured in the next issue of Creativity...I rest my case.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Where Are WE?

Got the latest CA Photo Annual recently. Here's what I thought about it: Noticed a new feature from Ann Telford covering a specific personal project from Jim Fiscus. I hope that is a regular feature, as we have alot we could share. Wondered why Fiscus mentioned how much he depended on his creative team to help him realize his vision for the series featured, but then failed to give ANY of them credit by name. Protectionism?? Hmmm. Everard Williams, Jr., a friend of mind and formerly a part of our roster, was included in the "50 Years of Photography" feature the pub ran. Ahh, those were heady days! Go Everard! He's now the 2nd in command at the Photo dept. at Art Center. Then I got to the annual part of the annual. Where are all of the US advertising winners??? I've noticed a declining number of US winners in other award shows, but never took the time to go through an tally up the totals. Here's what I came up with for CA: Non US: 24 winners, US: 12. Of those, almost half were for either pro-bono clients or spec work done purely for exposure. Is it indicative of a declining amount of good ad photographers in the US, or the lack of good ad work here?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Comrade Shoots Stashes for MN Lottery

Moneystaches, that is... Colle & McVoy AD Dustin Black came to Michael Rodriguez (aka Comrade) recently with a wacky campaign riffing on the Monopoly board game's iconic character for Minnesota Lottery's Mega Monopoly game. Shot in-camera in Los Angeles using a custom mustache prop and a combination of agency and "real people" talent. The portraits were lit using Rembrandt as an inspiration, and a oil-painting effect was applied to the images in post to further push the classical, kitsch direction.
Here's what they look like as bus shelter posters...

Redpath and Cossette Team Up for Pro Bono

Anthony Redpath and long-time collaborator, Rob Sweetman, now CD at Cossette Communications in Vancouver, BC teamed up with AD Andrew Alblas on a charming campaign to generate donations to the Vancouver Society of Children's Centres, a non-profit who's aim is to provide high quality child and family services to people in need. Ahhh.. Where's my wallet??

Eva Kolenko Shoots Third Eye Blind

Third Eye Blind front man Stephen Jenkins was introduced to Kolenko through Mary Scott, the Chair of Graphic Design at Kolenko's alma mater, the Academy of Art University, who he had enlisted to design the packaging for the band's long awaited fourth album, "Ursa Major". Eva shot a huge variety of individual and group shots over the two day shoot at a friend of Jenkins' mansion, which were eventually whittled down to the twelve selects used throughout the packaging, which we're told is in record stores now. Here are a couple more of my personal favorites...


In case anyone noticed the lack of blog entries here lately, I've got a good excuse. We got away for two vacations in August, one to Oklahoma for a family reunion and a two week home exchange with a family from Rouen, France. Ready to put the "pedal to the metal" for our Fall business push now that I'm back, but there is ALOT of news to share in the meantime, as Annika and the gang were busy while I was gone. First, here's a self serving picture of me and the family on our bicycling tour of the gardens at Versailles...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Morgan Silk Shoots Network Rail

Last month, Virgin-owned Network Rail launched a campaign promoting the massive improvements recently completed on the company's North West Main Line - the largest civil engineering undertaking in ALL of Europe, if one is to believe their own PR (bigger than the Chunnel?!). However big, the campaign provided Morgan Silk a great opportunity to create some amazing time lapse images of trains moving through key portions of the line, in collaboration with Iris, London and AD Toby Burnett. The images are also being used with motion on digital out-of-home boards, which is pretty damn cool. All aboard!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Jamey Stillings' Bridge to Somewhere

Jamey Stillings first saw the Hoover Dam Bypass construction project while on a photo journey/vacation with his family. Inspired by the project and the material from it he originally captured, he began a personal quest to document it and (hopefully) some of the workers there as it evolved. We presented a selection from his first round there to the editorial staff at the New York Times Magazine, and they got on board immediately. Turned out it was a perfect fit for the first issue of their pub's redesign, which was devoted to our nation's infrastructure. The NYT used the shot above on the inside back cover to introduce Endpaper, a new feature to close the pub, as well as a larger selection of images in a slide show available on

Though he's returned to site three additional times since he first encountered it, he's planning on shooting there one more time in the coming weeks as the gap is about to close. Jamey's access to the site has grown with each subsequent visit, as he gains the trust and respect of the numerous parties involved in the construction.

Additionally, the images have struck a chord with other publications around the globe as well as private collectors, giving us hope that the series might find a home in the gallery world.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Brilliance from Boone Oakley

Charlotte, NC ad agency Boone Oakley hit one out of the park with it's new company website. The brainchild of agency creatives, Jim Robbins and Ryan Holland, the site is a collection of low-tech videos residing on YouTube that brilliantly position the company as a smart, creative, fun, contemporary alternative to the bigger, older, stodgier, inbred agency brethren found in Big City, USA. While Modernista! was the first agency I'm aware of to adopt a "siteless" approach to their web presence, their effort isn't nearly as successful at branding the company as Boone Oakley's. Web 2.0 won't just be about access. The content will still have to entertain and inform in order to get the attention that marketers and agencies are after. Boone Oakley has set the bar, and its already paying off. Not only has the intro video received over 120K views in just it's first six days, the agency has already received calls from new biz consultants, clients, the press and people like me, who are now out here in cyberspace, spreading the word. Credits: CDs: John Boone, David Oakley; Interactive Director: Bill Allen; AD: Ryan Holland; CW/Illustrator/Narrator: Jim Robbins; Producer: Craig Jeiniker; Media Director: Demian Brink; Strategic Director: Phil Smith.

Does Martin Deserve This??

According to AdAge, there is a new bonus scheme at WPP which entitles CEO Martin Sorrell to take home up to $95M (that's MILLION) over the next five years if the holding company reaches new performance targets. This is a guy who's basic salary & "fees" were over $1.5M in 2008, and totalled $5.6M including bonuses from the old bonus scheme. Explaining the new scheme, a WPP spokesperson said that it was "even more aligned with shareholders' interests...because of extremely demanding performance targets." He also said the "WPP executives have to take a financial risk to gain the rewards, just like any other investor." WTF?! So if they don't meet the business goals, they only get their huge base salaries?? Wow. What a risk! Meanwhile, one path to meeting their performance goals is drastic cost cutting (layoffs) in order increase revenue. Here's an idea: How about if they miss the business targets, they DECREASE their salaries by the percentage they under perform?

Sir Martin... No wonder why HE"S happy! Photo: Pierre Verdy/AFP/Getty

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Morgan Silk Goes to the Philippines

He's done it again. Morgan Silk returned from another trip for One Life Magazine, the house publication of Land Rover targeting existing LR owners, this time to the Philippines. And again, he came back with so much incredible imagery that ANY edit won't do it justice!! Here are a few of our favorites. Check out the rest of the edit on Morgan's newly redesigned website, or a smaller grouping on ours.

A GREAT Promotion

My photographer friend David Zaitz included me on an email promo he sent out last week that was so good, I shared it with my photographers, my family and friends, and now I'm sharing it with you. The email itself was simple, a compelling image an a short note from David to me underneath with a link. The link took me to a little web gallery of images from a four day trip David took through Texas. Each picture was captioned, and the combination of "stranger than fiction" reality with the captions had me laughing most of the way through the series. Great photos, entertaining copy that shows David's wit (one of his strongest suits), easy viewing and forwarding on to others made this one of my favorite promo efforts of recent past. Check it out here. Now, how can I do something as viral for MY group??

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Race to the Bottom

Just received the new PDN PhotoSource Stock Directory, which includes a feature titled, "Micro Machines, Stock producers boost volume, efficiency and quality in hopes of making microstock pay." Note the "in hopes of". It chronicles the current microstock environment, the only portion of the stock (and the photo industry at large) industry expected to grow in the next few years, and states that "...photographers are turning to microstock more than ever, even though the microstock business model is daunting. Prices are lower - much lower than in the RF sector." As more producers turn in that direction, the quantity and quality will only continue to improve, driving prices down further as supply continues to outpace demand. The article mentions that Yuri Acurs, one of the MS success stories, gets 5 times the industry average of $1 per image in sales per month. Wow! A whopping $5 per image per month... I'm reminded of the documentary I saw a few years ago about the seasonal changes from wet to drought conditions in the Serengeti, and how prey and predators inevitably end up at the same shrinking watering hole as the drought takes hold... Before I leave this happy place, I've got a bone with the PDN folks I want to mention, which is their "Reviews" section of the stock directory. Since the "reviews" are the same superlative puff written by the advertisers themselves, it's a little disingenuous to call the section that. ...Now... I'm off to find some water!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

We get a lot of unsolicited email from photographers and photographer wanna-be's; more than ever lately, since everyone is hurting. I do my best to respond to all of those who come to me directly and not as part of a mass emailing. I figure if someone has taken the time to send a personal note, the least I can do is send them back a quick response. On most occasions, I can judge the quality/professionalism of the work based solely on the note, through its content and its appearance. Large, clunky type? Sub par work. Dated logo in the signature? The same. Mention of an attached resume? Not ready for prime time. For awhile we collected the worst examples and displayed them on a wall in our office for fun. While it made us feel better about the quality of our own group, we ultimately decided the wall of shame was too mean spirited and bad Karma, so we took it down. Recently I received one that would have definitely made the wall. It was written by someone making a career change into photography out of necessity due to losing his former job. He spoke of finding his true self through his explorations into photography, and in uncommon honesty, told me details about his personal life that one wouldn't expect in an introductory letter, especially in a business setting. I figured, "This is going to be good!", totally writing off any chance the guy had talent. I used the link he provided to his "site"- a flickr page I believe (another giveaway that the work wouldn't be decent) - and began looking through the imagery. It was unpolished, yes, but my prior expectations were blown away by the potential he showed, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him on the pro-circuit in the future. Lesson (re)learned.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

BCD Does Green for Fed Ex

Bryan Christie Design's work promoting FedEx's green packaging initiative launched today! The effort's main piece is a web animation that appears to crumple the entire content page of the site on which it's placed, without requiring a rollover, as if it's a sheet of paper. Click here to check it out. The "wad" disappears into a FedEx ad frame on the page's border as a corrugated FedEx box drops down with copy announcing that the majority of FedEx boxes are made from recycled materials. BBDO/NY created the concept and handled the development side of the effort, which also includes two additional animations of the FedEx box, one creating it from rays of light, and one creating it from clouds. Frames from the animations are being used in national print ads. Something like this...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just say "No, (thank you)"

Everyone wants to work. It's always been difficult to turn jobs down, and nowadays, few folks will no matter what the situation is. A recent experience reminded me of the importance of not losing sight of the "big picture" and knowing when (and how) to say no. This time it was a project for a sizable, national consumer magazine, but the same holds true for other types of clients/projects. The clients came to us for what at first sounded like a pretty cool series of images: three full page conceptual still lives illustrating the changing investment landscape and consumer mindsets due to our tanking economy. We NAILED it, and presented 2-3 sketches for each of the shots. The PE said everyone loved them, but that they weren't quite right for the feature (ie. not literal enough), and could we think about it some more and present some alternative directions? A weekend passed, the deadline loomed closer, and the following Monday, several new concepts were presented, getting a lukewarm reception. We were then asked to revisit the original directions, but to change them so they more closely fit the financial subject material (can you say, "literal"?!). After bastardizing the first round, making further changes, twice, we were finally ready to shoot. At that point, I believe EVERYONE was fatigued, and because it was too late to do differently, we forged ahead with approved concepts that NO ONE felt great about. Unfortunately, it showed in the work, and even after re-shooting one of the concepts, I'm certain both parties will bury these images once the feature runs. Looking back, we took the job not just because we felt it was a good creative opportunity, but because we felt we "needed the work". Even though editorial fees are at the bottom of the industry pay scale, something is better than nothing, right? - especially when things are tight. Sometimes not. We should have bowed out of the job gracefully when they reacted the way they did to the first (and certainly the second) round(s) of creative we presented. By not doing so, we put everyone through alot of frustration, the job went over budget, and most likely, they won't be calling us the next time they need imagery. Lesson learned. Again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tough Times, Stupid Offers

I hate to admit it, but I'm old enough to have been on the front lines at Tracy-Locke in the early '80's, which gave me a great opportunity to witness what was then the dumbest marketing idea I'd ever heard of, the introduction of More Nacho Cheese Flavored Doritos, from Frito-Lay. I was an account executive, fortunately working on the smaller F-L brands of the day, Tostitos and Sabritos, so was able to watch the debacle unfold without taking any direct hit personally. The thing was, Doritos ALREADY HAD a Nacho Cheese Flavored product. Somehow, the client became convinced that having more Nacho Cheese Flavor was not only enough news to talk about, but was compelling enough to relaunch the product. They directed the agency (never known for it's creative chops, as it was) to concoct a series of TV spots around the news, which resulted in the most expensive production the company had ever funded. VERY expensive drivel. The CD at the time was euphoric that he'd sold a spot that was going to to cost over a million bucks to produce, which was unheard of at the time. We watched from the sidelines as our account brethren went through the process, which ultimately ended up with the campaign being pulled after a few short weeks from lack of results (duhr...) and the agency getting a black eye. Why talk about all of this now? Because I just heard a radio spot from Frito-Lay which essentially said that because of the tough times we're all going through, they've decided to help out and give us more product in every bag for NO EXTRA CHARGE?! WTF?! You mean the product will no longer feel half empty when purchased? We were always told that the emptiness was to keep the product from getting crumbled...was that a lie? Feels like deju vu to me.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Comrade Takes a Punch

Michael Rodriguez (aka Comrade) just sent me a self portrait he took yesterday. You should see the other guy...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Where's My Check??

Went last night to see a "panel of distinguished guests" speak about the recent news that Omnicom (holding company for the likes of BBDO, DDB, TBWA/Chiat Day and a host of other agencies)has changed its contract language to shift its liability to NOT pay vendors for services rendered until it is paid by ITS clients. In addition, they purportedly will no longer be paying any advances for production. Both changes are incredibly bad news to anyone who counts agencies as clients, and are ludicrous, if they are indeed put into in practice by Omnicom's agencies. My takeaway from last night's speakers panel was that there's not really a whole heck of alot we can do about it as long as there are people willing to work under the new terms, which in this economy, few would turn down. Ironically, we are working with Atmosphere BBDO at the moment. As much as we enjoy the folks we've worked with there, as well as BBDO/NY and Energy BBDO in Chicago, the agency's accounts payable has ALWAYS sucked, and getting money from them on a timely basis is impossible. On that note, one of the panelists made a great suggestion, which is to date the invoice with the date of the shoot, regardless of when it is billed. According to her, the invoice date is not scrutinized by the front line budget folks (ABs, ADs, AEs) but is by the accounting clerks, who schedule payment based on that date. I'm going to try it on my next job. At the same time as this bad news arrived, we're also seeing more clients willing to pay electronically, which speeds up the payments greatly. Could that be the silver lining we all are looking for? Maybe. Now all we need are some projects to bill...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Table for Twelve?!

What were they THINKING?! "We've got two sets of twins...let's take some more fertility drugs and see if we can field a basketball team!" Well, it did bring them their very own reality show on TLC, and thanks to them and the good folks at Discovery Communications, it brought Reimers + Hollar a photo shoot under the auspices of creating an image to promote the show's launch. Problem was, the family wasn't available for a shoot. Solution: Show only hands at a fairly chaotic dinner table. Problem: Budget won't accommodate hiring 12 different talent. Solution: Hire 2 adults and 4 kids, and play mix and match with positions, wardrobe and propping to come up with a combination of all of the elements that works. Oh yeah...and prep it in four days! As it turned out, the short prep time actually worked in our favor, as there wasn't enough time to over-dwell on any of the elements. The shoot was arduous but went smoothly, and believe it or not, everyone had fun! Berns Rothchild pulled another rabbit our of her hat on the production. Big Swing Productions handled all of the post production. Dan Cavey was the CD/AD at Discovery and Susan Wetherby was the AB. We LOVE Reality and hope to get another serving soon!

Kolenko Gets Some Furry Love

Eva Kolenko loves dogs. None more than her own, a pit bull named Bubby. So she was thrilled to work with Colle + McVoy on a campaign for a heartworm medication from Novartis depicting intimate moments between people and their canine pets. She shot four ads over the course of two days at three different locations in the LA area, each with a number of variations. Yes, it was a scramble. But, with strong agency support and a stellar crew she pulled it off with aplomb and left the client promising to come back. Agency credit goes to CD: Mike Caguin, AD: Nina Orezzoli and AB: Chris Peters (another favorite of ours!). Lynn Campbell of Lynn Campbell Productions did an outstanding job as producer. We love you, Lynn! Here are the first two ads to break:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Where's Wanda?

Zachary Scott got to go to Vegas to shoot three ads for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority with R&R Partners and AD Jessica Hazen. The challenge was to create three images with unique environments that integrated the hero talent into their design in a subtle, sophisticated way. The campaign is targeting event planners, portraying them as behind-the-scenes heroes.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Redpath Shoots Glacier Girls

Anthony Redpath teamed up recently with Toronto based agency Grip Limited to shoot the 2009 Glacier Girl calendar for Columbia Brewery and their Kokanee Beer brand. The shoot took them to the mountains in the Whistler-Squamish area of British Columbia for the cold and crazy couple of days it took to produce 14 images.
Here's Anthony setting up the climber image above.

Laara Cerman, Anthony's in-house digital tech/retoucher, using her computer to stay warm.

The production crew from afar.

New Websites

Several of our group have new or recently re-designed websites that are worth a look:
Reimers + Hollar, Michael Kelley, Hugh Kretschmer, Jamey Stillings. Stop by, then come back!

Is it REAL?!

Morgan Silk was just informed that two of his images from his Mongolian series have been shortlisted in the 2009 AOP Awards competition. Word got to him through the grapevine that the image above also impressed the judges and would have been shortlisted as well, but some on the panel suspected that the super-sized statue of Ghengis Khan was faked through cgi, and pulled it from the running! It's real, folks. This situation points to a growing problem photographers face in this increasingly digital age. Namely, that the public at large no longer trusts what they see. That lack of trust is helping further erode the value of the craft, and doesn't help us as we try to maintain the fees we negotiate for assignment work.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

IS the Sky Falling?

The news of late isn't pretty. By all accounts, we should be in our economic bomb shelters, hunkered down with C-rations to wait out the climactic storm bearing down on us outside - especially those of us on the supply side of the print ad world. If that's the case, why the HECK have we been so busy? If anyone out there can tell me, I'd love to know, because I sure would like to figure out a way to keep this going. No one expects it to continue, but for now we're making hay while the sun is still shining - and still in the sky.