Friday August 22nd, 2014
For more information, visit Drew’s blog!
Friday August 22nd, 2014
For more information, visit Drew’s blog!
Thursday August 21st, 2014
It’s a sports photographer’s dream – being invited to photograph hall-of-famers and legendary players and coaches for Sports Illustrated. At a ceremony honoring Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, no less. Ryan Gibson got to live that dream out when he got a call from the baseball photo editor of SI who he had kept in touch with after pitching him a different assignment years ago.
Ryan was tasked with photographing a number of portraits at the ceremony, but had little time to prepare.
The ceremony was taking place during the Braves opening night at Turner Field in Atlanta. I got the call about the assignment the day before so there was virtually zero time to prepare. I didn’t even really know who I was supposed to photograph.
Being unsure of what to expect, Ryan packed up his gear (and his assistant) into his car for the shoot. It wasn’t until they arrived that Ryan learned he would not be able to bring his assistant or most of his gear into the luxury suite (where everyone was gathered). Equipped with just his camera bag and a single light on a monopod, he was given a list of portraits that SI wanted him to get, and with the help of a media relations person who stood in as an assistant, he set up shop in a corner that offered a leather chair against a plain wall. He was also instructed to be as unobtrusive as possible.
One by one we went down the list and pulled them over for a portrait. I don’t think I got more than two minutes with any one of them. They were all very easygoing and great to work with.
The photo editor had also requested that Ryan incorporate some sort of baseball element to set them apart from a standard portrait. With the circumstances, he thought the most logical choice was a simple one – a baseball. In order to keep them from looking cliché, Ryan simply handed the ball to each person, without giving any direction.
Most of the subjects were former baseball players and I think handing them a baseball instantly loosened them up and made them feel kind of at home. Every one of the pitchers instantly formed a pitch grip around the baseball when I handed it to them.
The final images show how at ease everyone was, and the reaction has been very positive so far. The most important critic agrees as well. “My mom LOVES them!”
While it was an extremely challenging shoot with lots of obstacles to overcome, it was also a learning experience.
It’s good to be prepared for anything. As much as I like to have a plan going in to a photo shoot, winging it can yield some great results. As stressful as the experience was, I really loved this shoot!
I am a HUGE fan of the game of baseball and especially of my hometown Braves. It was a tremendous honor just to be in the same room as these Braves legends. It was a surreal experience that I’ll never forget… I got to keep the baseball that they all held in their portraits!
To see more of Ryan’s work, check out his website.
Wednesday August 20th, 2014
For our August portfolio event, we were looking to switch it up. While planning, we wondered, “where can we find cool clients, delicious coffee, intimidatingly stylish young people, and a view of the Manhattan skyline?” Oh right, Brooklyn. So off we went.
Within minutes of walking through the artsy DUMBO neighborhood, Alex and I discovered that this area is populated with a ton of cute and friendly dogs. If you haven’t visited our Instagram page, it’s typically filled with pictures of dogs in our office, so we were excited about this. Here’s a furry friend we made:
Our first meeting brought us to Generation, a branding agency for nonprofits. They do a lot of impressive work for institutions, so we brought along a handful of our education and lifestyle photographers. Jamie Wolfe, who manages their design and production, took the time to look through all that we brought and listened intently about how we could help her on projects in the future. Jamie was coincidentally already busy working with one of our photographers, but there were others she wasn’t already acquainted with who made an impression on her, like Porter Gifford and Terry Vine.
With a small amount of free time between meetings, Alex and I detoured to a park on the East River, where we sat between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge for a short-lived, but relaxing break.
Next up was Red Antler, whose clients vary between start-ups and tech companies (they just rebranded Foursquare). An enthusiastic bunch, their creative team thoroughly enjoyed looking through physical books. The lifestyle work of Natalie Faye made an impression for an upcoming project, while the automotive work and moody landscapes in Roy Ritchie’s portfolio were marveled at by many. The highlight, though, was definitely when they came across images of their own offices in Ryan Donnell’s book. No co-workers have been spotted during a portfolio meeting before, so this was a fun first. We informed them of all of the logistics of Wonderful Machine and left feeling accomplished.
Our last meeting of the day was another one-on-one, this time with the lovely Jessie Adler of Hemispheres Magazine. Jessie is already an avid user of Wonderful Machine and our stock services. She had in fact already worked with both Julian Love and Yadid Levy in the past, who we brought along for her to see. Still, this didn’t keep her from spending time with them. We introduced her to the beautiful work of Raleigh-based Joel Collins and a hospitality extraordinaire, Devon Stephens. I had expected her to already know of Matt Dutile, a local in Queens, but was happy to hear that she hadn’t. We shared our love for travel as we flipped through his stunning images of Thailand and Greece. Our meeting was a great refresh for Jessie and it was a pleasure chatting with her.
Speaking of travel, we headed over Radegast Hall in Williamsburg (the only place in the US to get an unfiltered Radeberger) for happy hour. Shavonne Wong, one of our photographers based in Singapore, is in New York for the summer and joined us. It’s very rare that we get the opportunity to meet our international members, so this was a pleasure! We were also joined by Jordan Hollender and his wife Diane, who made us laugh over wooden boards of oversized, doughy German pretzels. After taking epic selfies, we headed back toward Philly–but not without catching the skyline at dusk on the way.
If you’re a Wonderful Machine member photographer and you’d like to send us your portfolio to keep in house, please email Jessica Stewart.