Last month my crew and I spent a few days creating lifestyle shots for a Laguna Beach luxury resort. Known for being the closest resort to the water’s edge, we slept to the sound of waves crashing on the sand and enjoyed golden sunrises and pink sunsets. Assistants Sara Bielecki, Sara Samario and Aidan Steele helped keep everything looking great along with the models and the team from the ad agency and client. Here are a few shots from behind the scenes of us all working together along with some outtakes:
Out in the current issue of AOPA magazine is actor Chris Meloni, photographed for the magazine back in late November. I have to admit that not owning a TV means I missed a lot of TV shows, Law & Order being one of them. I don’t think Chris holds that against me -he’s a really nice guy and we talked quite a bit about his time in NYC with his family and now his time here in LA. Beyond his jump to fame with Law & Order he’s been busy with lots of film projects – from Man of Steel (!) to White Bird in a Blizzard.
An avid aviator, he earned his full page in the pilots’ go-to magazine.
Here are some additional unpublished outtakes and behind the scenes:
Melvin Sokolsky is an inspiration: creative, dedicated and a man of strong convictions. Along with Irving Penn and Richard Avedon he defined fashion photography in the sixties. But beyond Penn and Avedon he pushed the creative envelope with his surreal and original ideas. The Bubble series created in 1963 for Harper’s Bazaar with model Simone Daillencourt is legendary.
I had the pleasure of visiting him in his Beverly Hills home on Valentine’s day. Melvin is curating an exhibition for a professional photography organization that I’m involved in (I’m the chairman of the LA chapter). APA = American Photographic Artists and was formerly known as Advertising Photographers of America before the name change 2 years ago. Each year APA solicits personal work for an exhibit: 100 images are selected from the thousand plus entries. Called “Off the Clock” it’s work that is done for purely personal reasons, not commissioned or created for a client – truly personal work. Previous curators have been from LACMA or the Getty, this is the first time a photographer will select the 100 images. After a one night show that draws close to a thousand guests the exhibit travels to the lobbies of top advertising agencies in LA over the coming year.
After Melvin brewed coffee for Heidi, Lisette and myself we went downstairs to his office where books by Dali and Rene Magritte shared shelf space with Einstein and Gunter Grass. Melvin has strong opinions and a unique point of view – he was given free reign at Harper’s at the age of 21 and never looked back, moving from fashion to advertising work to film and commercials. We talked about gesture, about people, about the changes he’s seen. Melvin will dive deep into a conversation and just as you feel you’ve moved into a different thread he will bring it back to the original thought with fresh insight: always exploring, always thinking, always looking, ever curious. He and his wife Button were gracious. Melvin definitely charged the creative batteries for me.
Sara’s now on board and helping drive the bus – we worked together a few years back on an opera ad campaign and her enthusiasm, energy and organizational skills are so welcome as we get busy. Her direct email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Terminal Cancer: what would you do if your doctor delivered those scariest two words? Andy Lyon went for a hike: 2655 miles from Mexico to Canada.
I was fortunate to be a part of Andy’s world in a small way: I never knew Andy but felt his spirit powerfully from Casey’s story – from the backpacking forums and cancer communities – from connecting tearfully with his family at home in the hills of northern California. A home where I photographed, from boxes brought out from tender storage, that which was such a core part of his life on the Pacific Crest Trail from border to border. Emotional portraits of objects. Objects with meaning.
It just came out this week in Backpacker magazine and I’m standing in the airport terminal’s magazine stand, waiting for my flight tonight, looking at the glossy green cover and realizing the power of the story that’s inside. There are a lot of powerful stories in those magazine racks I’m sure, but this one’s close to me – it touched me as I’ve dealt with death and loss this year and it touched me as I’ve followed the forums and conversations that are alight in the wake of this being published.
Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 19, he was optimistic: 90% of those treated survive. But in time Andy learned his fate was different and a few years later with a looming terminal date he believed he would rather “thrust himself into the heart of hardship and beauty to seize control of his fate and challenge his disease in fight to the death.”
Please read Andy’s story in Backpacker. Word is it’s the best story they’ve ever published. It will stay with you.
The best camera is the one you have with you. Yesterday after sailing and some chowder at Brophy Brothers, Aidan and I took a walk down the breakwater that protects the harbor. The storm swell was still pretty high and the waves would hit the breakwater wall and then ricochet back out to sea. Occasionally the timing would be just right that they would intersect an approaching wave and combine into this explosion. Very cool. And shot with an iPhone.