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Tim Ogline cleans streets for the Philadelphia...

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Tim Ogline cleans streets for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

American civics is a common subject for illustrator Tim Ogline, making him a natural fit for “Great Expectations,” a Philadelphia Inquirer series that chronicled the closing weeks of the 2007 mayoral election in the City of Brotherly Love.

A joint project of the Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board and the University of Pennsylvania’s Project on Civic Engagement, “Great Expectations” featured candidate forums, websites, blog, “town hall”-style neighborhood meetings and a number of editorial illustrations – including this sweeping representation of municipal responsibility, which won a Graphis Gold Award and took first place (editorial) in the Philadelphia Sketch Club Phillustration Show.

Click here to view American governance from Tim’s unique perspective.

Celeste Canino shoots Bonnie and Clyde. Photographer Celeste...

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Celeste Canino shoots Bonnie and Clyde.

Photographer Celeste Canino has always had a thing for Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow, the leaders of the Depression-era Barrow Gang. “Bonnie & Clyde” robbed banks and gas stations throughout the Central United States and were blamed for several murders, but one of history’s most unlawful unions provides a particular curiosity for Celeste.

“Having always been fascinated by the criminal duo, I set out to recreate one of their famous bank robberies,” she says, noting her Bonnie’s hair color is historically accurate – unlike the flaxen antihero portrayed by Faye Dunaway in the 1967 film.

“I opted for a brunette female to play the part of Bonnie, as opposed to the blonde Faye Dunaway,” Celeste notes. “Bonnie, in real life, was a brunette.”

Click here to see more of Celeste’s colorful artwork.

Richard Schultz travels the world in 10 days. From Dublin...

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Richard Schultz travels the world in 10 days.

From Dublin (above) to Mumbai to Sydney, photographer Richard Schultz and his small production team found adventure and more than a few pints during a recent 10-day, round-the-world shoot. While the team picked up local crew (and made plenty of new friends) in several exotic ports of call, Ireland’s capital city stood out, according to the artist.

“Dublin is now on my hot-spot list,” Richard says. “This is a seriously fun city, and home to Guinness.”

While Richard’s traveling companions did experience some whirlwind moments (“We never knew quite what time it was”), their “few in a lifetime” adventure, as the photographer put it, was a commercial success — and they managed to avoid any “Hangover”-like complications. “No one ended up with a bizarre, unexplainable tattoo,” Richard notes.

Click here to see more of the photographer’s awesome international shots.

Jody Horton’s bloody cookbook. It’s not for the squeamish....

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Jody Horton’s bloody cookbook.

It’s not for the squeamish. But for those who don’t mind seeing how the proverbial sausage is made, “Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish” (2012, Welcome Books) just might be the best bloody cookbook of all time (think “Julia Child meets ‘Saw III’”).

Some 335 incredible photos by FoundFolios member Jody Horton highlight the tails (and entrails) in the new collection, which was written by Jody’s friend and fellow hunting enthusiast Jesse Griffiths. From concept to covers, the two spent nearly three years on the book, including many battles with publishers over which of the nearly 15,000 photos Jody shot would make the…ahem, final cut.

Ultimately, the hunter/gatherer/artists were pleased with the final product, which contains lots of plucking, gutting, decapitating and general butchering of everything from fish to feral hogs – but also overabundant beauty, from sunrise shots along the hunting trail to dramatic muzzle flashes to stunning reflections of a gear-heavy Jesse in mirror-smooth lakes.

Among many photographic highlights is Jody’s personal favorite, a double-truck spread of Jesse following his hunting hound into a lake at dawn, in pursuit of a downed duck. “There’s a little bit of motion in it,” Jody notes. “I like the position of the dog. And there’s very low light. I feel like it captures what I saw and felt at the time.”

The beauty shots of the prepared dishes, naturally, look scrumptious (a good sign for the three new cookbooks Jody is currently shooting for Welcome Books, Chronicle Books and Rizzoli New York). And some may even find splendor in the field dressing of a wild boar.

“Even though it can be disturbing or gross to some people, I can appreciate the color of the organs of a wild pig,” Jody says. “It can really be quite beautiful.”

Click here to see more of Jody’s flavorful photography.

Jeffrey Thayer’s cheeky update on American Gothic. A good...

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Jeffrey Thayer's balloon-ish take...


...on Grant Wood's classic painting "American Gothic."

Jeffrey Thayer’s cheeky update on American Gothic.

A good artist makes use of his or her surroundings and whatever materials are available. A better artist takes all that and adds a little creative flair, maybe even a clever wink to classic imagery.

That was photographer Jeffrey Thayer’s plan when, tongue planted firmly in cheek, he took this shot of his friends Aaron and Sara, which he titled “Balloon Gothic.” A play on the famous (and often imitated) Grant Wood painting “American Gothic,” this was actually the second time Jeffrey lined up his good friends in a pose similar to the iconic old farmer and his spinster daughter – when Aaron and Sara married, he took a wedding portrait of them in the very same pose.

This is a business for commercial photographers like Jeffrey, but that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy it. “It’s fun to see the photos framed side by side,” he says.

Click here to see more of Jeffrey’s whimsical work.

Julia Minamata draws the Beatles. An illustrator with something...

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Julia Minamata draws the Beatles.

An illustrator with something to say, Julia Minamata completed “Sgt. Pepper’s” as part of a series of 12 illustrations appearing in the rock ’n roll poetry book “A Circus Mind,” landing between covers this holiday season. Julia, whose work often veers toward the political, was inspired here by the Beatles in their military-silk best.

“I studied the lyrics of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and included lots of bits that relate to the songs, including marshmallow pie, a parking meter and of course salt and pepper shakes,” Julia says. “Long live the Fab Four!”

Click here to see some of Julia’s more politically charged cartoons and illustrations.

Dan Wagner shoots for New York Magazine. FoundFolios member Dan...

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Dan Wagner shoots for New York Magazine.

FoundFolios member Dan Wagner recently landed his first assignment with New York Magazine. While Dan’s career has included high-profile editorial and advertising shoots, the publication of three photography books (a fourth is on the way) and an adjunct teaching gig at New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology, he recently fulfilled an ambition to be featured in New York Magazine.

Dan snapped a photo of the life-size ark built at the Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, New York, by director Darren Aronofsky. The ark is the setting for scenes from the “Black Swan” director’s upcoming Old Testament film, “Noah,” starring Russell Crowe.

New York Magazine also shared Dan’s comments about the awe-inspiring scope of the faux ark — and his doubts that Noah and his family could have built it in a short period of time. “I have no idea how long it would take to build an ark,” he said. “Jesus was the carpenter. I’m only a photographer.”

Click here to see more of Dan’s work.

Jonathan Chapman: On Target in San Francisco For photographer...

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Jonathan Chapman: On Target in San Francisco

For photographer Jonathan Chapman, the “logistical challenges” were part of the fun.

Award-winning advertising/consumer strategy agency Knock Inc. contacted Jonathan Chapman, Minneapolis-based photographer and emerging cinematographer (film / motion now comprises almost 50 percent of his business) for an estimate on a 10-minute “day in the life” video “from the athlete’s point of view,” to promote Target’s “C-9” active wear line.

Jonathan immediately recognized the immense challenge of a weeklong shoot on the streets of San Francisco – and rose to it.

“The ‘point of view’ video brought an exciting element involving the mounting of several cameras, as well as bringing on a Steadicam operator for the first time,” Jonathan says. “Shooting in San Francisco also added to logistics, as well as excitement and interest.”

The technical requirements, including mounting and directing four cameras trained on the same subjects/action, were not unfamiliar to Jonathan and his crew. But “capturing energy and emotion” from these varied POVs proved difficult.

“We captured eight different sporting activities over four days, all edited as if they took place over a single day,” Jonathan notes. “The transitions between activities were the greatest logistical and creative elements to coordinate.”

Considering factors like location permits, managing the talent and coordinating a sizeable crew, “the producers really earned their pay for this production,” Jonathan adds. And the artist himself was able to advance his cinematography skills to new professional levels – the best possible result when logistical challenges are answered.

“This project really highlighted the value of bringing on specialists, such as our Steadicam operator,” he notes. “There is a greater level of collaboration on the film / motion side of the business.”

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The final video was “very well received” by both Knock and Target, Jonathan adds. It’s currently running in the San Francisco City Target store – but you can check it out here, along with other samples from Jonathan’s growing video library.


Click here to check out more of Jonathan’s work.

Courtenay Nearburg’s Wild, Wild West A School of Visual...

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Courtenay Nearburg’s Wild, Wild West

A School of Visual Arts assignment sent photographer Courtenay Nearburg in search of “an accessories story with an inventive twist,” so the native Texan (and current Manhattan resident, via New Mexico, Guatemala and California) returned to her roots.

Drawing inspiration from Richard Avedon’s portrait series “Into the American West,” her all-time favorite photo book, Courtenay teamed with models Drake Burnette and Efren Garza of DNA Models in New York City to create a chic Western portfolio – and a little “magic,” the photographer says.

The resulting cowgirl-and-Indian spread was “the perfect marriage of talent and theme,” Courtenay notes, giving all the credit to her talented models.

It was also a breath of fresh air for the fashion/lifestyle photographer, whose work has a decidedly urban bent. Courtenay’s portraiture and advertising work is big-city hip, so the “Austinite by choice” relished an assignment that allowed her to channel her passion for the Southwest.

It helped, she adds, that Drake, the female model, was also a native Texan.

“Drake killed with great attitude and style,” she says, while Efren, her male counterpart, was “a dream come true.” Falling in with these models was a great stroke of luck, Courtenay adds, “like all great things that happen serendipitously when practicing photography.”

Click here to see more shots from Courtenay’s SVA graduate-program exercise, and other examples of her fashion and advertising work.

Adam Ewing, Lincoln Beard Hunter When his friend and colleague...

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Adam Ewing, Lincoln Beard Hunter

When his friend and colleague Anya Mills first told him about a neighbor sporting a 19th century beard, photographer Adam Ewing had no idea he was heading for a rendezvous with history.

It all started when Anya, a Virginia resident and art producer at The Martin Agency, spotted a neighbor wearing his facial hair in a style two centuries out of fashion. She asked him about it, and the neighbor turned out to be an extra for the movie “Lincoln,” then filming around Richmond (this is the Spielberg historical epic, not the one with the vampires).

Anya soon noticed other Richmondites wearing beards and hairdos in Civil War styles, so she approached Adam with an idea to take portraits of these “Lincoln” extras. Adam liked it, but decided to add an extra anachronistic element by having the historically haired actors wear modern clothing.

One Craigslist ad later, they were swamped with “Lincoln” extras ready for their close-ups. Adam based each shot on traditional poses from the era, he says, and even had an opportunity to ask each performer about his or her role in the movie for a bonus history lesson.

“It turned out to be a surprisingly emotional project,” Adam notes. “I was no longer just photographing hair, but I was documenting the feelings evoked by a history hundreds of years past.”

The collision between antique coifs and modern clothing, between old poses and color photography, turned the project into one huge study in juxtaposition – and a successful one at that. Adam’s portraits became the centerpiece of a gallery show The Martin Agency held in conjunction with the “Lincoln” premiere, and have since been featured in Adweek, Buzzfeed, and on CNN’s photo blog, among other places.

Not bad for what Adam calls a “personal project that was never intended to get the attention it received.”

Click here to see more of Adam’s trendsetting (and trend-busting) personal and commercial work.

Sue Blanchard’s “Hero” Worship Look, down in...

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Sue Blanchard’s “Hero” Worship

Look, down in the mailroom! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … a hero!

One of the “Working Class Heroes,” actually, the title of a whimsical collection by San Fernando Valley-based illustrator Sue Blanchard. The premise is simple: As a society, we rely heavily on the man pouring our coffee or the woman stuffing mail into our P.O. box, often without realizing how much we need them. But with the simple addition of a cape or secret-identity-protecting mask, these everyday heroes can get the “super” status they deserve.

“I’ve always admired the guy who gets up pre-dawn to fold newspapers before his route or the barista who has to open the doors and get the coffee going at 4 a.m.,” Sue says. “These people are made of much sterner stuff than me!”

She’d heard the phrase “working class hero” many times, the artist adds, and decided to give these work-a-day everymen a super-makeover. “I found it very satisfying to bring out the bad-ass in each one,” she notes.

This sort of thinking – the everyday turned into the extraordinary – is common in Sue’s books (particularly “I Will Not Catch a Frisbee,” about an unyielding cat quite comfortable with himself) and her many collections, which range from the comical (“How Penguins Dance”) to the clever (“Hillbilly Flashcards”) to the absurd (“Animals in Underpants”).

But while she clearly enjoys skewering the “regular” (she’s fond of illustrating the scene at her favorite Starbucks and sketching cats in recognizable situations), there’s extra reverence in her “Working Class Heroes.”

“I had a lot of fun drawing these characters,” Sue says. “Given how many real-life working class heroes there are, I could do hundreds more – and maybe I will!”

Click here for more glimpses into Sue’s unique world.

Darius Davis Sheds a Little Light on His Work Any commercial...

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Darius Davis Sheds a Little Light on His Work

Any commercial photographer can tell you that lighting is critical to product shots – but not every photographer can recognize his own work might not meet the commercial crowd’s exacting standards.

When he was transitioning from assistant photographer to leading man, Darius Davis reached that precise conclusion. The body of work he’d amassed to that point didn’t accurately portray the skills he’d worked hard to develop, nor did it reflect the subjects that most interested him as an artist – so he set out to create new work that showed exactly who he was and what he could do.

Several main themes were on his mind during his self-assigned project, including humor (Darius is a funny guy, the kind who might envision tabletop fans as airplane engines) and simplicity (he’s all about keeping things uncomplicated: just a product and bright, beautiful light).

“Incorporating humor into images has been effective for me, as it seems to keep the interest of potential clients,” Darius notes. “And simplicity was key. By keeping my imagery lightly styled, minimally propped, and heavily focused on color and composition, I was able to create an identifying body of work right away.”

That was the most critical part of the entire exercise, he adds: crafting a collection that could immediately be recognized as his, the better to attract potential clients with similar stylistic tastes. “I strongly believe that you have to have a cohesive body of work,” Darius says. “The quickest way to establish that is to shoot a single theme, subject, or type of product that you’d like to shoot every day.”

That’s why his efforts to build a new body of work focused heavily on electronics and machinery, subjects that lend themselves nicely to Darius’s meticulous control of shadows and highlights. By showcasing these skills, the photographer has even been able to land assignments shooting other types of subjects, such as liquids and beauty products, which “work well with my techniques for reflective, glassy, and glossy surfaces.”

Click here to see more examples of Darius’s lighting expertise.

Lars Topelmann is All Over the Map Photographers usually develop...

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Lars Topelmann is All Over the Map

Photographers usually develop a knack for food shots, or portraits, or landscapes. They’re not always “one-trick ponies” – they can shoot more than one kind of subject, sometimes with great skill – but when it comes to legitimate expertise, it’s often one specialty or another.

This is one of many things that make Lars Topelmann unique: his ability to beautifully illustrate a wide range of diverse subjects. One day it’s fuzzy kittens, the next a throbbing mosh pit - and it’s always amazing, a view of that adorable fuzzball or that intense concert you might not have considered.

“I do shoot a wide variety of subjects and genres,” says Lars, who traces his comfort with multiple subjects – from innocent children to the rampaging firebrands of Death Grips (pictured above) – to his youth in northern Wisconsin, where his social circle included a bit of everything.

“I hung out with the jocks, party kids, nerds, farmers, etc.,” he notes. “There were not enough kids in my school to form large cliques, so I was friends with all types of kids.”

The photographer expanded his range after graduating from Ohio University and moving to Chicago, where he delved into alternative/punk and other corners of the live music scene. He paid the bills as a studio assistant but also took his camera everywhere, always ready to document the people, places, and things he found. “My spontaneous style developed from always being ready and living in the moment,” Lars says.

As a pro, he has tinkered with techniques to best capture the wonder of children (“I lay on the ground to get at their level, and enjoy being there”) and added various new skills, such as photographing hardcore sports (including windsurfing and snowboarding).  He still loves live music and shooting animals (“even though I can’t directly communicate with them”).

Click here to see more of Lars’s amazing range.

Craig Orsini Helps the Easter Bunny Apologize Over the last...

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Sorry Bunny on his public apology tour© Craig Orsini


Sorry Bunny with Tom Brady and shooting crew© Craig Orsini


Sorry Bunny with John Legend © Craig Orsini

Craig Orsini Helps the Easter Bunny Apologize

Over the last four years, photographer Craig Orsini has been working to incorporate more and more video into his workflow.  He knows that clients love the ease of having a director and a photographer on set – and that they appreciate the economic benefits, too. 

Craig’s diligence ended up paying off big time when he was offered a job by a longtime client, creative director Ted Schlueter at Crunch Brands. What initially started as a quick studio shoot led to twelve days of travel across the United States, punctuated by fun shoots with several different celebrities.

The campaign was designed to promote Unreal, a new (and healthier) alternative to big-name candy. The concept was that the Easter Bunny finally learns exactly how many unhealthy and artificial ingredients are in the treats he leaves behind every year and decides to make amends. First the regretful rabbit apologizes. Then, realizing he needs to go public with his message, he embarks on a national publicity tour. 

The project called mostly for video, although a handful of stills were needed as well. Always eager to work with the latest and greatest equipment, Craig used a service called LensProToGo.com to rent a new Canon C-100 alongside his usual lens kit of primes. He was also involved with the concept for the campaign, working with creative director Amelie Loyot and copywriter Mark Nardi—“It made for an amazing team and experience,” he says.

Because of the celebrity endorsers’ busy schedules, the crew would have to be small – making Craig’s range of skills especially useful – and would have to work quickly.  Over the course of almost two weeks, the crew visited Tom Brady in Boston, John Legend in New York City, Maria Shriver on the west coast, and then looped back to New York to film with Jillian Michaels. 

There were some challenges with all the travel, like an unexpected major snowstorm, but despite the complications everything ultimately worked out for Craig and his crew. The video content was produced by Craig’s partner Element Productions with Executive Producer Eran Lobel. Element Productions finished post-production and the site went live within four days.  See the fruits of Craig’s labor here, www.sorrybunny.com.

See more of Craig’s work here.

Max Hirshfeld: The Horror and Hope of Haiti Artists, and...

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Max Hirshfeld: The Horror and Hope of Haiti

Artists, and particularly photographers, often get front-row seats to the most powerful human emotions. They’re regularly called upon to capture the highest of highs, and just as often asked to chronicle the depths of human suffering.

Washington, D.C.-based photographer Max Hirshfeld experienced heaping doses of both in 2011, when he visited earthquake-ravaged Haiti as part of a volunteer team of environmental artists, psychologists and social workers.

The Caribbean nation was devastated in January 2010 by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that leveled the capital city of Port-au-Prince and, according to reliable death counts, claimed over 220,000 lives. Haiti’s presidential palace was destroyed. The country’s Parliament and many other important and historical structures were demolished. Tens of thousands of Haitians were left homeless and penniless.

It was into this shocking environment that Max – a multifaceted artist comfortable shooting hard news, celebrity portraits, offbeat magazine covers and everything in between – traveled with his team just one short year later. The trip was, he says bluntly, “an eye-opener,” touching on everything from human trafficking to the often horrific conditions some 1 million Haitian orphans must endure every day.

“Over the course of four days we visited three orphanages where I photographed over 100 orphans,” Max notes, “as well as efforts to initiate disaster-coping skills for the caretakers at dozens of other orphanages.”

For all the suffering he witnessed in the shattered nation, Max’s gripping photos are a remarkable testament to the human condition – particularly the unique beauty and strength of children, who despite challenges most of us could not imagine can still find cause to dance in the streets or crowd around a small television and enjoy a favorite program.

Max, for one, found the children of Haiti to be extremely inspirational.

“We hope this will be the first of several visits to this challenged but most remarkable of places,” he says.

Click here to see more of Max’s inspirational work from Haiti.

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Jonathan Chapman’s Winter Baseball     The opening day of...

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Jonathan Chapman’s Winter Baseball

    The opening day of the Major League Baseball season was this week, and we’re all excited to see our favorite teams kick off a new season of America’s pastime.  Photographer and director Jonathan Chapman was brought onto a project created and conceived for the Minnesota Twins Community Fund by Martin Williams in anticipation of a new year of exciting games.

     
Jonathan worked closely with the team at Martin Williams and Volt Studios to bring the “Winter Baseball” project to life visually on the frozen surface of Brownie Lake in Minneapolis.  Pre-production involved creating an accurate baseball diamond the day before—surely the childhood dream of many a sports fan stuck inside for the winter.  Jonathan had his team outline the shape of the ball field with a 100’ measuring tape. Then they removed snow until they had finally reached the base level of the lake.

     
As additional support for the project—and certainly essential for the impressive reveal shot at the end of the spot—Jonathan collaborated with Picture Factory, who brought in their CineStar 6 aerial platform to fly a camera over the whole scene and capture the impromptu game in progress.  Further production supplies and support were provided by Tasty Lighting. Finally, the video was edited together and set to “January Hymn” by the Decemberists.

    
The final 30-second spot has begun airing on TV and will also be shown at Target Field, the Twins’ home turf, now that the 2013 baseball season is underway.  “We hope you enjoy watching this alternate 60-second version of the spot here as much as we did creating it,” Jonathan writes (and, he adds, “Go Twins!”).  For more insight into the process behind “Winter Baseball,” check out the behind-the-scenes video on the making of the ad here.

A Taste of Poetry from Leigh Beisch The visual poetry in...

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A Taste of Poetry from Leigh Beisch

The visual poetry in photographer Leigh Beisch’s work should come as no surprise: Her mother was a poet.

And let’s be clear, there is poetry here - beautiful verse that turns simple food shots into a songwriter’s notebook or a painter’s canvas: a complete story. Beisch’s award-winning work has been featured in numerous cookbooks and magazines. Her flavorful client list is filled with high-end favorites from Williams-Sonoma to Applebee’s, and every shot in every portfolio is a sonnet, an homage to the edible.

Consider the testimonial on her website from the McDonald’s creative director, praising “the most beautiful McD food I have ever seen!” Believe it: Turning a Big Mac into art is no mean feat.

The work and the awards are nice—the above plum shot won a 2012 PDN Object of Desire award in the Food and Still Life category—but what really fire-roasts Leigh’s creative spirit is the challenge. That’s precisely what she found at the end of 2011, when acclaimed wine blogger Alder Yarrow came knocking.

“He was creating a new series on his blog titled ‘Essences of Wine,’ and he wanted to partner with a photographer to create some imagery that wasn’t so illustrative, but more captured the ‘essence of the essence,’ so to speak,” Leigh says.

As Alder’s writing is “rather poetic,” she aimed for imagery with “a similar sensitivity” and in putting together her shoots she called upon lessons she’d learned from her mother’s verse. “Poetic sensibilities are something I embrace working with,” Leigh notes.

Over a year later, the ongoing collaboration with Alder has proven “very fulfilling,” she adds, “especially when we see the imagery paired with Alder’s prose.”

“Flavor is an abstract idea and has always been a challenge to capture,” Leigh says. “It’s a challenge I love to embrace!”

Click here to see more of Leigh’s mouth-watering food photography.

Matt Furman’s Night Morning at the Museum Matt Furman...

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Matt Furman’s Night Morning at the Museum

Matt Furman knows the value of staying in touch with his creative contacts.  Years after first meeting photo editor Ronnie Weil (then working for BusinessWeek), Matt received a call from her. Ronnie was now working at the Wall Street Journal, and she was pitching a fairly unique gig. 

She assigned Matt to shoot a feature on museum planner and exhibition planner Melanie Ide.  Melanie had recently overseen the redesign of several dinosaur and fossil halls at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and Matt knew the site of Melanie’s work would provide an ideal location for the shoot.

His crew was given unprecedented early access to the museum. They were permitted to be inside the dinosaur hall hours before the museum opened to the public in order to complete the shoot. Flanked by bones (and casts thereof) that were millions of years old, Matt instructed his crew that “this was not the shoot to knock something over”. 

The fragile nature of their surroundings called for a great deal of care from every member of the crew. It was a little difficult for Matt to compose his shots among these constraints, and the pressure he felt under such a stringent deadline—the museum was operating the day of the shoot, affording him less than two hours to set up, use, and break down the equipment and lighting—also complicated things. 

Despite the difficulties he faced, Matt was able to capture some fabulous photographs.  The shot above, featuring Melanie peering through a dinosaur’s eye socket, was published in the Wall Street Journal’s special Saturday Arts section on March 9.  See the online version of the article here.

See more of Matt’s work at his online portfolio here.

Rock Lobster: Michael Raabe Goes Deep Los Angeles-based artist...

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Rock Lobster: Michael Raabe Goes Deep

Los Angeles-based artist Michael Raabe has taken his share of industrial landscape shots, built a well-earned reputation as a skilled underwater photographer, and brought his videography talents a long way, but it’s his dynamic sports-based photography – the muscular hoopster hanging on the rim post-dunk, the sweat beads dripping from the boxer’s hard face, the soccer player framed midway through her spinning kick – that really showcases a master at work.

During the recent filming of the pilot episode of Harbor House Life– a hunting/cooking show that puts viewers what Michael calls “face-to-face with the ocean’s tastiest creatures” – the photographer combined two of his best genres, blending the motion-filled action shot with the cool blue of an underwater photo. While shooting free diver and U.S. spearfishing champion Dan Silveira about 50 miles off the California coast, Michael snapped amazing images of his subject wrestling a 7 1/2-pound lobster.

While the gigantic crustacean is impressive in its own right, the shots’ lighting and composition are simply amazing – a fortuitous combination, Michael notes, of the right place, the right time and the right geology.

“It was quite a rough day at sea, but we found this small rock formation that had an arch with perfect conditions,” the photographer says. “The arch happened to have a hole in the middle of it, which created the light rays that shined through the water.”

It was a lengthy battle between man and beast since the lobster was tucked deep in a rock crevasse and wouldn’t come out without a fight, but Michael’s skills – and Silveira’s – combined beautifully to create a series of amazing images.

“Dan had to go down a second time and fight the lobster for what seemed like an eternity,” Michael says. “That allowed me to take advantage of the situation and capture these pictures.”

Click here for additional shots of Silveira’s duel in the deep, plus more of Michael’s action-packed imagery.

The Finer Things: Ryan Heffernan’s “White”...

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The Finer Things: Ryan Heffernan’s “White” Album

Ryan Heffernan shoots many kinds of photography: portraits, sports, travel, lifestyle and all manners of unique advertising content. So UBS knew it was getting a pro when it tapped Ryan to create conceptual imagery for its annual limited-edition fine-art piece, “Thirteen.”

Ryan’s portfolios may sound routine (plenty of photographers list “travel” and “sports” among their top genres), but they’re anything but. Everything he shoots, from basketball players’ shadows on a playground wall to New Mexico tourism ads, has a top-shelf finish, a sense of art’s finer side.

So when UBS called in October and asked the Santa Fe and San Francisco-based photographer to illustrate 13 events ranging from the Salzburg Festival (a prominent music and drama celebration) to Art Basel (a four-decade-old international art show based in Miami Beach, Hong Kong and Basel, Switzerland), Ryan knew precisely how to attack the project.

“The book showcased a number of unique UBS-sponsored events throughout 2013,” he says. “Working alongside talented creatives and designers from UBS and Scholtysik Niederberger Kraft in Zurich, we set about illustrating 13 of the most conceptual events.”

Ryan quickly decided the job had two main requirements: Each image would have to be motivational, in its own way, and each would play off the color white. “Given the importance of the color white in the UBS brand, our creative thread was to target naturally white environments,” he says, noting he paid just as much attention to identifying and photographing “inspirational environments … that were at once both vast and intimate.”

“Incorporating the human element into these unique locations expanded the opportunity for metaphor and messaging,” Ryan adds, while reinforcing UBS’s strategic theme of “staying in touch.”

The end result was a collection of artworks firmly in Ryan’s wheelhouse: crisp, rousing and dramatic, from white go-carts racing across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats to breathtaking New York City skylines to the stunning mountaintops of Zermatt, Switzerland.

Click here to check out more of his UBS work and other selections from Ryan’s next-level portfolios.