Thursday December 5th, 2013
by Liz Ream
When I hear Patagonia, I usually think of a really warm, fuzzy sweater that I pull over my head in the winter. Not a herd of Argentine Merino sheep grazing the Patagonia Region of South America from which the brand originates. After speaking with Seattle-based photographer Nick Hall, I have a different perspective.
Nick was recently contacted by Nature Conservancy Magazine about a project that focused on a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, Patagonia and an Argentine science organization all working together to create sustainable merino wool from farmer to the insulated outerwear we see in the stores.
Nick has a long standing relationship with the Photo Editor at Nature Conservancy magazine, and says that shoots for TNC always expand his portfolio. He shoots editorial as well as commercial, and TNC presents opportunities for Nick to keep his editorial portfolio fresh and exciting. Because the magazine is both a journalistic publication and the publication of a large environmental organization, There is a balance that must be hit between journalistic integrity and corporate communications, which NCM does beautifully.
“The Patagonia project was epic in every way from the massive landscape down there to the amount of incredible meat we ate at least once a day if not twice. When I do these assignments I learn so much. I love the opportunity I get with NCM to learn about global environment issues and the incredible conservation work they do with local people.”
The shoot days were pre-dawn to post-dusk, in the Argentinian summer. With this brought the wind, which gusted a minimum of 30km/hour constantly and proved a challenge as the crew was creating portraits with location lighting. Fortunately, one of Nick’s assistants is an avid sailor and was able to rig some lines to hold the gear in position.
Another challenge that Nick faced on the project was photographing the Merino sheep, as he quickly found that they are vastly different from the docile and tolerant English sheep he is used to. However, the crew received a bit of help from some other photographic animals:
“The Argentine Merino sheep are very difficult to get close to when they are out on the grasslands. We tried all kinds of techniques to get close to them and all failed miserably. Fortunately, and on two seperate occasions a herd of horses came to our rescue and posed beautifully in the wind. We also had some successful encounters with Guanaco. And finally, one of the ranches we worked on had a huge penguin colony for us to shoot. Penguins are awesome and very photogenic.”
Nick’s photo editor has been thrilled with the images, and there has been such a positive online response that Nick is launching a shop on his website where prints will be available for purchase.
One of Nick’s personal challenges before landing in Argentina? To eat at least one steak every day and post it on Instagram. He succeeded, but not before becoming “very familiar with the limits of his carnivore-ness.”
View highlights from the trip and BTS footage below:
For more of Nick’s work, check out his website.
Wednesday December 4th, 2013
By Melissa Ginsiorsky
Over the last month, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Thomas Strand, a portrait and lifestyle photographer based in Minneapolis. Tom came to Wonderful Machine looking for a new graphic identity, hoping to elevate his brand and bring in more of the sophisticated work he was looking for. I used his existing logo to create the appropriate stationary needed to fulfill his package.
While stationery might seem insignificant in comparison to a photographer’s website or print portfolio, we’ve found that unique stationery in certain instances can make all the difference. It’s in the stationery and promotional pieces that a brand further takes its shape and is allowed to adapt and evolve across various forms of print media. A business card that has the unique tactile quality of letterpress not only stands out as a unique piece worth holding onto, it speaks to the photographer’s commitment to his brand and his eye for the finite, yet crucial details.
Tom has been a pleasure to work with not just because of his strong work and great personality, but also because he understands the importance of securing his place in his clients’ minds by using these materials. While letterpress business cards come with a greater price tag, Tom understood that he invested in his brand, building a strong foundation that his future clients will take notice of and won’t soon forget.
Tom’s business cards are letterpress printed with black ink on Black Speckletone stock from French Paper, fused to Crane’s Fluorescent White Lettra. Letterpress printing by the awesome Scott McClelland of Paper Meets Press.
To learn more about our design services, please visit our Consulting page.
Wednesday December 4th, 2013
by Liz Ream
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition that develops after a terrifying ordeal that involves physical harm or the threat of physical harm. PTSD has become more widely recognized in recent years, and is common among war veterans.
Recently, war veteran and 2013 Tour Divide finisher Kevin Campagna started Pedal Against PTSD, a young non-profit organization that is intended to bring awareness to PTSD and how cycling can help heal this disease. Dallas-based photographer Matt Jones set out to Moab with Kevin to capture him on a multi-day ride, bringing us healing images that are being used for promotions and fundraising for Pedal Against PTSD.
Because Moab is such a vast and remote area, Matt and Kevin were overwhelmed with where to begin. They dealt with the challenges of light, as they spent most of their afternoons and evenings looking for appropriate camping spots. Therefore, they had to take advantage of the early and mid-mornings as prime shooting time. Matt found the shoot rewarding despite it’s challenges:
Our goal on this particular trip was to capture as many images of what a participant would likely experience during a multi-day ride as possible. The adventure is part of the healing process, which is what we worked at capturing. Aside from the location itself, I found enjoyment through embracing the challenge of a new location and a new sport. Everything about this shoot was challenging, but rewarding from all angles. Of course camping underneath the crisp, clear sky in Utah pretty much tops the list!
Through this project, Matt learned a lot about how cycling can help those that fight with this disease, and he has been inspired to help grow the organization:
A victim to PTSD, Kevin has found endurance biking as a vehicle to fight this disease. His story, like many veterans, is one that will inspire many. By providing all gear necessary to go on both single and multi-day, self supported rides, no one will be hindered financially. Hopping on a bike, the open road, nature, campfires, building friendships and healing together is what it’s all about.
Matt plans to keep this project going as Pedal against PTSD grows. For more of Matt’s work, check out his website.
Tuesday December 3rd, 2013
By Karrisa Olsen
How important is it for photographers to shoot personal work? Well, I think different answers come from different photographers, but David Bowman will has a testimonial of success that may or may not alter your thoughts.
Minnesota hosts the 2nd largest state fair in the US by total attendance–the largest by daily attendance. One out of the 1,693,533 in attendance during the 2008 festivities was David (and his 4×5 camera, if that counts), capturing all of the colors and motion. The year before, he took shots of his kids that later sold as stock for an ad campaign. This time around, he gave it some extra effort and five years later, the photos are still receiving exposure and positive feedback.
David showed the images to the editors at TIME, which immediately led to an assignment of Mall of America landscapes. He went on to become the official Minnesota State Fair photographer for a year, followed by winning first place in the IPA Awards in 2011 and National Geographic Magazine selecting one of the images to be the opening spread in the January 2013 125th Anniversary Edition. Popular Photography, Minnesota Monthly, and Quest have all featured spreads of the work in their publications. Discussions about re-licensing the photos along with gallery prints through commercial art dealers have also been made with various outlets.
As for that first question, David’s opinion about taking on projects of your own is quite clear:
Jobs are great, they pay the bills. But they don’t define who I am as an artist. Personal work, on the other hand, is why I am a photographer. I shoot jobs so that I can afford to make personal work.
In the commercial world, the lifespan of a photograph is hard to prolong and they’re easily disposable, but these state fair photos have taken on a life of their own. Just when David thinks the work has run it’s course, it catches a new set of eyes and the excitement starts all over again–much like a Tilt-A-Whirl at a crowded summer carnival.
View more of David Bowman’s work on his website.
Monday December 2nd, 2013
By Mark Harris
Josh Anderson is the perfect client: cool, calm, and collected. He had an idea of what he wanted when he initially approached me about designing a print mailer, but it needed some bending and molding in order to bring it to life.
Josh didn’t have a logo, which is necessary to create marketing materials–before we moved forward, this had to be taken care of. I looked through the work, ideas, and notes Josh sent over. I understood the style he was trying to achieve with his graphic identity and was confident that I could design a logo that embodied the simplicity of his work. I also kept in mind the clients he wanted to go after–Bloomberg Business Week, Design Bureau, Vice, Apartamento, The Fader, Urban Outfitters, Vans–to name a few.
We went through a few rounds to determine the proper layout. The logo started with his first name on top and his last name underneath. We eventually decided to organize the 12 letters of his name as three letter rows with four columns. This proved to be the best way to keep things balanced. One initial concern we had was the possible struggle of distinguishing between his first and last name, which we later solved by adding color.
When it came to designing the postcards, I kept in mind something Josh said in his first email:
I think what I would like to be promoting right now is more a specialty than a project. I’m interested in marketing myself as contemporary editorial and youth culture-ish. I’m also a big fan of “odd” images. I’d like to present myself in a way that maybe reads “odd” but not in an off-putting way that might seem inaccessible but more in a way that seems unique.
The “odd” aspects came naturally to me (so I might be naturally odd?)–I just knew the proper direction for the logo. Seeing how Josh uses lots of frontal lighting on his subjects, my thought was that Josh’s name could almost be like a flash over his pictures. For the back of the cards, I mirrored the front image and lightened it slightly so Josh’s information would be the most prominent. Because his name was not only in a geometric typeface (Futura), but also organized typographically into a square, I decided to let the rest of the text follow the same rule. I used simple geometric shapes on the whole package. Josh’s website link, email, and “view more” tag are organized in a rectangle, while his client list is in a triangle and his pins are circular.
As for printing, Josh knew he wanted to do a spot varnish on all of the cards. I convinced him to do the extra gold foil on the first card. My reasoning behind this was to add value, which I attempted to do even more by adding a client list to the back of the fourth card with a blue overlay to support the brand. A client list acts as a track record for potential clients to view. The list also added diversity and avoided redundancy.
The addition of the stamp and pins came later, when we both agreed it would make the package more memorable. I’m happy that everything came together the way it did. I didn’t spend time over-thinking the project–the flow between photographer and designer was effortless.
Josh gave us some feedback once the final product was complete:
I recently worked with Mark Harris on the design of a new promo card. I had a general idea of how I wanted the card to look but wasn’t sure how to get what I was looking for. Mark was able to take my ideas into account, get exactly what I was trying to say and turn it into a beautiful looking promo. His suggestions were things that I never would have thought of and that I ended up loving. That is exactly why I originally decided to get Wonderful Machine’s help with this project. When I got the cards back from the printer both the woman at the counter and myself said, “wow” when she opened up the box with the finished cards in them.
If you’re interested in working with our designers, visit our Consulting Page for more information on the services we offer.