Chill Out for Arc Worldwide

Here are a couple posters I shot for Arc Worldwide for Icehouse beer. These were shot in Chicago last year and running in your finer liquor establishment now. Steal one!

Hardball Fantasy

It's been 66 years since the Chicago Cubs have been in a World Series. (103 years since they won) The south side Chicago White Sox are better off having just won World Series in 2005. None-the-less, baseball fans hope that each new season will be THEIR YEAR. The crew over at Time Out Chicago dreamed up a little fantasy of their own for this weeks baseball season issue.

I was asked to make an image of two hardcore Chicago baseball fans invoking lucky superstitions to bring fortune to their team this year. Time Out liked my idea to have an appearance by the Billy Goat famous for the curse cast upon the 1945 Cubs during their last chance at a Series win.

Using 8 original seats borrowed from Wrigley Field, two funny looking dudes and a petting zoo goat, I assembled the cover by doing an in-studio shoot. Some 12 pieces were shot separately and retouched as one seamless image.

Time Out Associate Art Director, Carrie Ferris enjoys livestock detail.

The challenge was not so much how to technically create what appears to be the nosebleed section at a ball park on a limited budget, but how to keep the goat from peeing on the floor. I quickly realized it was futile, put on my rubber boots and went to work.

Me photographing the goat plates.

Stylist-Liz Klafeta
Talent-Planet Earth Agency
Asistant-Krystina Archer
Make-up- Jennifer Brown
Retoucher-Tim Blokel
Photo Editor-Martha Williams
Assoc. Art Director-Carrie Ferris

Fffffffriigggggid frame.

When we arrived at Chicago's 39th street beach in two vehicles and a bag of Subway sandwiches, the place was crawling with cops. Five police cars scattered the parking lot with all occupants eating their lunches. Not good. I was there to do a run-and-gun photo shoot for a magazine on a budget and rightfully should have called the Chicago Film Office for a permit costing many hundreds of dollars. Not really an option. After unsuccessfully waiting for the cops to leave I decided that we were "art students" or shooting for Oprah (either usually charms the authorities). We unloaded the truck.

I was shooting a photo illustration for Runner's World Magazine about an online service that rates your body's recovery and advises you to take a break or go for a run. The creative direction was to show a runner resting in a chair while another considers that he should take a break too. It was winter, snowing, gray and blustery. Non-seasonal locations were limited, so I took it to the lake shore running path to avoid signs of winter. Or so I thought.

Under the layers of sleeping bags, blankets and improvised hats, these dudes wore extra-light running clothes.

Part of my job is to just get-it-done despite the odds. Beyond the cops about to bust me for lack of paperwork my other challenge was to make a blue-sky summer day of late winter in Chicago. This day began with light snow and the windchill left temperature hovering in the low 20's. A stiff wind along Lake Michigan sent white surf repeatedly topping the seawall, threatening my electronic lighting gear. We pressed on.

The lake frequently overtook the seawall threatening to drench our gear.

We placed the props: one $30 reclining chair from Craigslist, one flag built from a trip to Home Depot, and a table "on loan" from Target on the driest part of the path. Once lit the guys dashed out from under their blankets and sleeping bags. They assumed their positions and gave me 30 second performances before retreating beneath their cocoons. I had them repeat this drill again and again until I shot all the necessary parts for compositing (or rather, until I was about to get punched by two icy male models).

You'd never guess it was 20 degrees.

The skies cleared for a time toward the end and I shot the sunny sky which replaced the gray that dominated 99% of my shots that day. Within a few hours at the computer all pieces were assembled and the final was uploaded to the magazine. All extremities intact. The lessons learned here were two: Bring hot beverages to winter location shoots; everyone will feel better. And never fear a cop on his lunch break; he could probably care less.

Goat is Meh friend.

Meh-Meh, the stud goat (above) came over and brought his buddy, Nugget (below).

Me shooting Nugget. Food inspires his greatness.

Groupon: A full shoot in half the time.

In this months Fast Company Magazine, I have pictures of Groupon founder, Andrew Mason. My research on Andrew found that for a CEO of a billion dollar company, he was quite an eccentric. Maybe even a nut job. I was prepared as I could be.

We arrived before dawn. With only had 30 minutes with Andrew and three locations to shoot in, we couldn't make a mistake and everything was triple checked. Once my sets were prepped, I felt we needed props. You case he was shy. So three of us spread out and raided desks and cubicles on multiple floors of office space borrowing personal oddities like balloons, business card helmets, and stuffed animals. We arranged them on a table to throw in when needed.

Andrew arrived on time, slightly paunchy and wearing jeans with a light blue button down shirt. Once through make-up, he jumped on the first set and I began shooting. He wasn't taking direction well and seemed distracted. He wiggled with some discomfort then and declared he'd feel better wearing less clothes. I agreed. Shorts were quickly produced. He changed behind the set and emerged wearing an employee's sweaty workout clothes and loafers. No socks.

Now comfortable Andrew giggled and seemed to transform into an eight year old, laughing spontaneously and flitting from flirtatious modelesque poses to rolling over and hiding his face in a corner. Andrew has a signature good nature and was game for the challenges I threw his way. At one point I gave him 30 seconds to stuff his face with as many chocolate chip cookies he could cram. 15! Ten minutes later we got him dressed and onto our second set which was for possible cover use. He donned an employees Scotch taped Groupon business card helmet borrowed from the 6th floor.

Done with set two and ten minutes left with Andrew, my second assistant dashed upstairs to meet us in our last location, "Michael's Room", a converted windowless office turned beer soaked teenager's bedroom and meeting space. Don't ask. Andrew quickly changed back to his first stripped down look and mounted an exercise bike which plays a 45 record when you pedal. He gave a light spinning workout on the bike and 5 minutes later we wrapped. While leaving Michael's Room I overheard Andrew gently scold the PR girl, "You should have stopped me back there."

I've shot Andrew again since. When we shook his hands for the second time I think there was a tinge of embarrassment on his face. However, now knowing a little more about him, it was probably just pride.

Photo Editor: Leslie Dela Vega and Jessie Adler
Set and Props: Jay Neander
Hair and Make up: Karen Brody
Assistants: Harrison Hillman and Tim Blokel
Wardrobe: Andrew Mason

The Mocking of a Photoshoot.

It was snowing heavily when we showed up at the Congress Theater in an equipment van to shoot for Wahl salon products. You know Wahl clippers if you've ever been to the barber shop and the guy lays a cold, sharp, noisy electric clipper to the back of your neck and you think , "I should be seeing blood now". Wahl also makes Kayline portable salon furniture which was what I was shooting.

The creative was to showcase Kayline's portability on a professional photo shoot. With a tight crew and even less heat, I shot two ads with one professional model and two official Wahl stylists who traveled with our client. It was a riot thinking backwards about what to include in a "photo shoot" because they can be so....well, un-beautiful at times. See behind-the-scenes here.

I truly enjoyed working in the old Congress Theater again. I've shot many dirty, hairy rock bands there for magazines in the past. Before the shoot I considered how to play down it's fading graces and emphasize it's old glory. With clever lighting we carefully placed our shadows over the dingy bits and took decades off its age. The snow continued to fall, the heat finally kicked in. By the time we we finished around 6 o'clock we all skidded our cars away down a snowy street, me with two pretty ads on a hard drive in my pocket.

Agency: Grip
Art Director: Josh Blaylock
Hair and make up: Joyce Taft
Wardrobe: Brynne Rinderknecht