It has been a while since I have blogged by the look of things. No, I am not getting lazy, or losing my edge. It is just that I am coming off of a 2 month long video project working 18 hour days, 7 days a week. Holy smokes! Somehow I was also able to sneak in a few quick photo assignments where time permitted. One of my most recent shoots was for the Wall Street Journal who called me to photograph Bill Gates with his favorite business book, “Business Adventures” by John Brooks. Needless to say, thanks to Bill, this relatively unknown book is now a New York Times Bestseller. It’s a really interesting read, and you can read the Wall Street Journal article here as well as watch a video about Business Adventures and John Brooks.
The copy of “Business Adventures” Bill is holding in this picture is the actual book Warren Buffet sent him 23 years ago. You can see from the wear on the dust jacket, it has seen some use over the years. Pretty fun assignment. Thanks Ronnie!
A few weeks ago I wrote about my most recent shoot with Macklemore for the cover of The Source. We also thought it would be fun to share a behind the scenes video to show you how the magic happened. Thanks for checking it out. Shout out also to Just 2 Guys for putting this together for us. Cheers.
For many people, Ferran Adria needs no introduction, but for those of you who are not familiar with Ferran, he is one of the most innovative chefs and people in recent history. He has been on Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people list multiple times. His restaurant El Bulli was the best restaurant in the world until he shut it down in 2011 at the peak of it’s success, with the idea of reinventing it. Not many people have the vision and willingness to take great risks the way Ferran does, and that is a big part of what this feature is about.
This assignment came up very quickly, and within 3 days of getting the call, I was off to Barcelona. Aside from creating some awesome images, my secondary goal was food. Get food. Just a piece of cheese or a scrap of bread would suffice. To be able to say I was handed food from Ferran Adria, that would be pretty cool.
Right off the bat, I want to thank and acknowledge the creative team at Wired UK. The Photo Editors, Dalia Nassimi and Steve Peck, Art Director Andrew Diprose, and Executive Editor Greg Williams. Greg and Andrew also traveled to Barcelona for this shoot, and we first met up with Ferran at El Bulli Workshop not far from our hotel in Barcelona. It was a busy morning between meetings, the interview and photo shoot, but we worked with Ferran in small chunks of time throughout the day. Ferran is one of the most meticulous and driven people I have ever met. As you can see from some of these images, his attention to detail and planning is second to none. Every room in his workshop as well as his kitchens are lined with whiteboards covered in notes, diagrams, and plans. His spice rack at El Bulli Workshop is so thought out, he probably knows how many grains of salt are in the salt jar. Perhaps most impressive was the play dough portion size and design templates for each meal he has created. Nothing is left to chance. His passion for his work and innovation also seem to be very contagious, because everyone he works with seems to completely buy in. I was able to learn some of this before the shoot through my research, but it is never as fun as the real deal. It was really amazing to pull some of the intensity and passion out of him, as you can see in these images.
Ferran now has a new tapas bar with his brother, Albert, in Barcelona called Tickets. From what we had gathered, it is quite an experience in it’s own right, with an impressive menu, including several famous dishes from El Bulli. It’s also next to impossible to get in to. Greg brought up the idea of getting a table during the photo shoot, but we were told it just wasn’t possible. While Ticket’s would have been the ultimate dining experience, we were in Barcelona after all, and Ferran recommended some of his favorite tapas bars and restaurants to us, which were all amazing. Later that evening, we caught up with Ferran at a local museum which has a wonderful exhibit on the history of El Bulli. They closed the museum down, and we got a private tour from Ferran.
We had 2 days of shooting scheduled with Ferran, and after a long and eventful day one, we got up early the next morning and drove a couple of hours outside Barcelona to El Bulli. It is still closed as a restaurant, but currently is filled with computer programmers and large white boards of plans and code. Big changes are coming to El Bulli before it re-opens in 2014. Going out there, we knew the kitchen was closed, so we were not expecting food, but we were also not expecting the surprise Ferran had instore for us. Ferran pulled Greg, Andrew, and myself over to a corner of the outdoor patio and brought us into a tight circle. He held out 3 fingers, looked at us in the eyes, and said, “9:00 tonight, Tickets for the 3 of you.” Kids at Christmas! We were through the roof. More on that below.
This issue has only been out about a week now, and we are already seeing this cover being recognized as one of the best covers of 2012. Pretty exciting to be a part of that, and an honor to work with AD Andrew Diprose, who is one of the best in the industry.
Ferran at El Bulli Workshop talking with two of his computer programmers, who are working on some exciting new developments for the El Bulli brand.
Working with Ferran on the how best to hold the E, and balancing it with the proper way to hold a knife and cut. Pictured with Ferran’s interpreter, Andrew Diprose and myself.
El Bulli kitchen during the remodel / reinvention of El Bulli.
Portion sizes and shapes of all ingredients served at El Bulli made out of Play-dough.
Two dishes served at El Bulli made from Play-dough, next to a photograph of the actual dish.
Below are pictures I took of our meal at Tickets. In all of the excitement and euphoria, there were several dishes I forgot to photograph. That being said, here are quite a few images of many of the amazing things I got to eat that night. Our server’s name was Claudia, and she added so much to the experience. We didn’t feel qualified to order, so we told her to bring whatever she wanted to serve us. She talked to us quite a bit throughout the night, and brought the dishes in an order that flowed and paired flavors. Ferran even came in to say hi and introduce us to his brother Albert. It was by far the most amazing food experience I have ever had. We asked the concierge at our hotel for walking directions to Tickets before we left, and he told us he could make several other restaurant recommendations because we would not be able to get in. Greg tried to explain that we had reservations, but he just laughed at us. Silly tourists.
Confit potatoes with pork rib jus and boiled iberian ham
Liquid ravioli of Payoyo cheese
Warm lava cake of “turron de Jijona” with raspberry sorbet. We ordered 2 of these. 🙂
This short video about Tickets gives you an awesome behind the scenes look at the food they create and what the dining experience is like. Eating at one of Ferran’s restaurants really is about the whole experience and using all of your senses.
Wired UK AD Andrew Diprose, Ferran Adria, John Keatley, and Wired UK Executive Editor Greg Williams
I would encourage you to pick up a copy of the October issue of Wired UK which is currently on stands. You can also see a great documentary on Netflix called El Bulli: Cooking In Progres. There are also hundreds of fascinating videos online of Ferran and El Bulli. I can tell you I have already invested countless hours watching many of them.
I would like to thank everyone who worked with me on this assignment. Dalia, Andrew, Greg, and Steve at Wired UK. Awesome people. Thanks to my rep Julia at Redux Pictures for all her support and hard work on the backend to make this all happen. Thanks to Gigantic Squid for the awesome retouching. Thanks for stopping by and enjoying my work.
Another amazing shoot with Macklemore! Goes without saying, but The Source Man of the Year cover is a pretty big issue in the hip hop industry. I’m so happy for Macklemore and all the amazing things that have happened this past year for him and Ryan Lewis. The first portrait shoot I did with the guys was 2 days before The Heist came out. This shoot was just two days after The Heist World Tour came to an end, and that really put it in perspective for me just how far these guys have come in such a short period of time. Although, that’s not really accounting for the years of hard work they put in before the world started paying attention. Well deserved if you ask me. Now go get em at the Grammy’s!
Below are some of my favorite images from this shoot as well as some fun behind the scenes pictures. We have a behind the scenes video in the works as well, so stay tuned for that. Enjoy!
And that’s a wrap. Thanks to my great crew for making this big production come together so smoothly. I think we wrapped around 1:30 am, but everyone hung in there tough. Behind the scenes pictures by the wonderful Olivia Lazer. Makeup by Katya Gudaeva. Styling by Cara Aeschliman. Production by Taylor Reed and Pat Vong. Retouching by Gigantic Squid. Assisting by Gregg White. And thanks Macklemore for the hat!
One of people I had the pleasure of working with in 2013 was the beautiful and talented Mary Lambert. Many people know her as the featured vocalist on “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, but I know her as Mary, easily one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. I had this old piano moved in for this shot, and Mary played and sang while we set up. I’m pretty sure everyone on set took extra long to set up because nobody wanted her to stop singing. It was one of those indescribable experiences, and a highlight of my year.
This shoot was for a great organization called Arts Corps in Seattle. They do incredible work with young people in low income communities where there is little or no access to art. It’s a program Mary was a part of when she was younger, and I was thrilled to work with them on this. You can follow the link above if you would like to find out more about Arts Corps. Special shout out to Art Director Patrick Mullins!
Here are a few behind the scenes images from the shoot. I don’t like to brag, but Mary was dying to sing a duet with me, and how could I say no. It was magical. People were crying and leaving the room so quickly. I think it was because they didn’t want ruin the moment.
Go Huskies! Ok, so I didn’t go to UW, but my wife did if that counts for anything. Over the past several years, I have learned to enjoy Husky athletics because of my strong sense of Seattle pride. I follow the football team a little more closely than the basketball team, but it was still really fun to photograph Lorenzo Romar, the Husky men’s basketball coach. He is one of those people who commands your respect when he walks into a room, but I also found him to be very kind and personable. I think a good gauge of success is when strangers carry around giant cardboard pictures of your face. That’s when you know you have really made it in life. Something I think all of us should strive for.
How was work today honey?
It was great!
Did you get that promotion they promised you?
No, but my manager did hold up a big cardboard picture of my face at lunch.
Oh, that’s wonderful! Congratulations honey.
Yeah, it was awesome!
Many of you have asked about editing commercial work with VSCO Film, and how it looks with images lit by strobe. I busted these images out after I started using VSCO Film, and gave them new life with just a couple of clicks. All three of these images were lit with strobe, so hopefully this gives you an idea of what is possible. I think it works just as well with strobe as it does with natural light images. If you are unfamiliar with VSCO Film, it is a film emulator that plugs into Lightroom or ACR and makes digital images look like film. Not to mention, it is an incredibly fast alternative to Photoshop actions and other Lightroom presets. It really is an amazing tool for photographers. So far I am editing images 10 times faster than I was before, and I am getting better results. Here is the VSCO Film review I wrote last week.
I used Kodak Portra 400, and Orange Skin Fix + on these images. You can see a cool video tutorial and find out more about VSCO Film here.
Why are Bill Gates and Dustin Moskovitz, the richest and youngest billionaires in America, laughing? Let’s just say my joke was so funny, someone bought it, and I no longer have the rights to tell it… I have wanted to photograph Bill Gates for a long time, and my opportunity finally came around a couple of months ago when Forbes called. Dustin, is one of the four co-founders of Facebook, and since he is 8 days younger than Mark Zuckerberg, he is the youngest billionaire in the world. As you would expect, time was extremely limited for this shoot. We were given one and a half hours to set up the studio shot, and then I would have the first 10 minutes of the interview, and the last 10 minutes of the interview to take pictures. Immediately after the interview we had 3 minutes for hair and makeup and 7 minutes to photograph both Dustin and Bill. It was a whirlwind, but I am really happy with how everything turned out, not to mention it was a pretty cool experience to sit in on a conversation with these two. You can read the Forbes article here.
Here are a couple of shots I took after the shoot of the studio lighting setup.
I am so proud to be included in the 2013 PDN Faces contest. Both of these portraits were selected and are in the September issue of PDN. I know what you are thinking. That is a whole lot of fur…
I first photographed Macklemore and Ryan Lewis two days before the Heist was released. It’s hard to believe that was a year ago now. A lot has changed since then.
My other furry friend is Colonel Meow. If you are not familiar with him, he is only one of the most famous cats on the Internet. So there you have it. That being said, he was terrible to work with. He showed up late, was rude and inconsiderate, and he reeked of Scotch. I have nothing kind to say about him. But I do like this portrait, and I am glad I won a contest with it.