Photography Through the Eyes of Art Directors

Photography Through the Eyes of Art Directors

I had the pleasure of attending the Art Director’s Club Annual Awards the other night on the invitation of my friend (and Board member) Ann Harakawa from the design firm Two Twelve. In college, I worked at a small design firm in New Haven, so design has always been near and dear to my heart. But more specifically, I am really interested in looking at the cross pollination of photography into other disciplines. So let’s look at some of the photo-related award winners…

The Face of the Marathon
HEIMAT for Adidas

Those GoPro cameras are all the rage for extreme athletes, and what could be more extreme than a marathon? HEIMAT rigged up helmet cams which streamed photos of a handful of runners. I’ve seen similar photo stories of boxers or runners before and after, but I’ve never seen an interactive version. Here’s the behind the scenes video:

And here’s the project website.

The Real Lady Gaga
Harper’s Bazaar

Inez & Vinnodh (of NYT Magazine’s Movie Issue fame) did their own take on the real Lady Gaga (not to be confused with Terry Richardson’s). The photos are so very understated, and the styling has her looking more like Tilda Swinton.

On Earth As It Is In Heaven
Sebastião Salgado for The New York Times Magazine

Kathy Ryan published a photo from Salgado’s “Genesis” project, which he conceived of as a way to capture places that were still relatively untouched by human. The all black-and-white project is stunning, and this particular photo is from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Like so many of the winners, the page design is also stunning.

Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience
Marco Grob for TIME Magazine

There are a myriad of ways to take a portrait. You can use diffuse light and Photoshop away every blemish. You can also create shadows, boost the blue channel, and emphasize imperfection. When you’re talking about resilience, this seems appropriate. Grob’s portraits are immediately eye-catching and distinct in the same way that Martin Schoeller’s work grabs you with those strip lights.

Steve Jobs 1955-2011
Bloomberg Businessweek

I’m an Apple Fanboy, I read the bio in a day, and shed a tear when Steve died. But I never saw this piece, which is really well designed and ran for 18-ad free pages. Again, I think the use of photography with great design to support an editorial piece shows you how important the cross-pollination can be.

Steve was said to be very fond of Albert Watson’s portrait which was features on Walter Isaacson’s biography. But I think this Getty Images editorial photo taken by stringer Shaun Curry of Steve is pretty darn nice too. Here’s the original.

Occupy Wall Street
Chris Anderson for New York Magazine

NYMag made some waves at the beginning of the year by hiring its first “photographer-in-residence,” which is about as close to a new staff photography position as we’re gonna get in 2012. Chris’ photo from Occupy Wall Street made the cover.

Touch of Evil
Alex Prager for The New York Times Magazine

Could I possibly talk about the NYT’s Movie Issue any more? No, it’s not possible. But hey, I’m not the only one who likes it. The past year’s issue featured self-trained Alex Prager and her retro-look. She’s really blowing up with her Mercedes commercials and all that good stuff. Oh yeah, and Jessica Chastain looks like she’s gonna blow up too.

Long is Beautiful
Kenji Aoki for Wing for Pantene

This is a perfect example of a photo where the average person might say, “What’s the big deal? It’s a comb. I could shoot that.” And then you try, and you find out that shooting products is actually very difficult. Seriously, try it.

Life Hurts
Zach Gold for Goodby, Silverstein & Partners for Dickies

I like a humorous picture. You know, like Tony D’orio and Altoids. I think Zach Gold did a pretty stellar job with the creative team on this one. I would love to see the behind-the-scenes on this bad boy. Zach?

The Ship Song Project
Simon Harsent for Monkey One LLC for the Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Operate House is iconic, and it’s as stunning in person as it is in photos. But how do you give it an air of modernity to a 40 year old structure that features a 300-year old art form? With some awesome photography. And for all the tilted horizon haters, I think this one works pretty damn well.

Listen up. Surround yourself with creatives. Designers, painters, dancers, etc. Expand your mind’s eye and your art. Join the Art Director’s Club. Oh, and join us for our photo conference where we’re exploring all this cross-industry stuff. Luminance, baby. It’s gonna be sweet.

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Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

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  1. Pingback: Pro Photo Daily’s Weekend Update: the efficacy of Kickstarter, photo layouts from the Art Directors Club Annual Awards, and more « Stockland Martel
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