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.
The Nutcracker is a serious holiday tradition here in Seattle. People seem to get pretty excited about it, and it’s a big deal. I went to see it with my family several years ago as a Christmas present I believe. I can’t remember how long ago exactly that was, but then again, I can’t remember much about the Nutcracker either. I fell asleep… I guess it was just not my cup of tea.
What’s that? The Burlesque Nutcracker? Now that might hold my attention. It may not be a show grandma and grandpa are going to take you to for Christmas, but at least now I’m intrigued.
City Arts has been doing some really great things in Seattle with the arts for the past few years, and I have enjoyed working with them recently. For this assignment, I was tasked with photographing classically trained ballet dancer turned burlesque artist, Lily Verlaine. She is co-producer and Artistic Director of Land Of The Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker.
I had the opportunity to meet with her the day before the shoot to go over wardrobe options, and while we had some great pieces to work with, I wasn’t seeing exactly what I was hoping for. I briefly described my idea of something that says Burlesque, classy, and Holiday’s at the same without coming off too costume’y, but no luck. The next day, Lily showed up to the shoot arm in arm with designer Danial Hellman and this beautiful piece that he custom made the night before. It was exactly what I had described the day before. Wow! That never happens. That’s what you get when you work with professionals.
I really enjoyed showing something a little more sassy and pretty in this shoot, and I think the cover turned out perfectly. It says Burlesque and Holidays at the same time without being too loud or flashy.
Big thanks to City Arts Art Director Dan Paulus, and Editor in Chief Leah Baltus of City Arts for working with us on this. Thanks as always to Gigantic Squid for the beautiful color grading and retouching. Beautiful.
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.
I am very excited to officially announce I am now represented by Redeye. I spent the better part of six months doing an extensive search, including, meetings, phone calls, interviewing art buyers, etc. After all that, the stars aligned and I knew I wanted to be working with the wonderful people at Redeye. If you haven’t worked with Maren or Stephanie yet, you will love working with them. They are super lovely! I feel very blessed to be surrounded by such hard working, fun loving, personable and honest people. Here is to a great year ahead, and thanks to everyone for your ongoing support and interest in my work.
For those of you who are fellow Seattlites, you may have noticed City Arts has been gaining great momentum as the go-to arts publication around town. They have been doing a great job covering culture, art, and music, and are not afraid of going out on a creative limb so-to-speak, to bring their audience something fresh and original. I got to shoot the Seattle based hip hop group Don’t Talk To The Cops for the cover of the March issue. This was a really fun shoot, and I was excited to get to throw in a slight nod to those amazing laser portrait backgrounds we all coveted back in the 80’s. I think the hardest part was picking out the right turtleneck and NFL game day jacket. After that was decided, it was smooth sailing and a lot of laughing. I can’t say I’ve made it through the article exposing bubble tea, but the cover image is certainly reason enough for picking it up (not to mention it’s free).
Big thanks to Art director Dan Paulus, editor in chief Leah Baltus, and Don’t Talk To The Cops. This shoot was a fun collaboration of talking through ideas and inspirations with Dan and Leah, and I love how it turned out. I met Dan and Leah for the first time, when I was photographed as part of the City Arts Future List late last year. Retouching by Gigantic Squid.
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.