Out now in the Jan. 2014 issue of Golf Digest is my fun, fashion-y shoot with pro golfer Michelle Wie and her funky personal style. We didn't have a whole lot of time to chill, but Michelle was a joy to work with and brought plenty as attitude as well as a closet full of clothes, hats, and shoes, plus of course her famous pup Lola. As should all seamless shoots, we ended with Michelle far too enthusiastically breaking through the back of the white seamless with her golf club (might have been a 5 iron)… after coaching her to be bold and have fun, she nearly brought the house down on the first go. Hats off to the Golf Digest design team led by Ken Delago for the really great horizontal treatment!, and thanks to director of photography Christian Iooss for the call.
Found in the Dec. 2013 issue of Men's Health is my profile of Tom Szaky, founder/CEO of TerraCycle, which is one of the more photographer-friendly workplaces that you could ever hope to discover. We had fun running around the office a couple of months ago and learning about how the company is helping change our disposable culture by reusing recycled materials in a huge variety of ways. And even if I wasn't already really down with that, there is a huge George Clinton mural on the wall and that's my shit. Many thanks to photo editor Joe Rodriguez for the call.
Out in the Dec. issue of Golf Digest as part of their Golfers Who Give Back annual package, is my portrait of Golden State Warriors SG Steph Curry (representing charity Nothing But Nets), who lit up the NBA with his fantastic playoff hot streak earlier this year. We didn't have a whole lot of time with Steph but we made the most of it with a fun concept and some custom props. Steph was more than game to play along, and in fact one of the nicest athletes I've ever worked with, and told me that he was probably more excited to be in Golf Digest than any other magazine shoot he's ever done. Oh yeah, and in addition to being a straight-butter NBA all-star jump shooter, he's also a scratch golfer. The whole question was how do you combine golf and basketball without it being (too) cheesy or awkward. I've had the concept for a custom golf sign (playing off the QUIET PLEASE signs that course stewards hold up at golf tournaments) that encouraged fans to get loud for a long time, but it never really fit into any other assignments. Unlike golf, NBA fans know how to get loud so combining two model/friends dressed in ref uniforms while holding the signs helped to marry the two sports together in a somewhat over the top absurd way we could amplify. Finding a basketball-sized inflatable golf ball way way harder than you'd think, but we got one that came close enough (the next step would have been hiring a talented prop stylist and we just didn't have the time line for that). Many thanks to director of photography Christian Iooss, who produced a cool BTS video of our shoot as well.
Out today is my new cover feature for ESPN the Magazine on University of Kansas Jayhawks freshman F Andrew Wiggins, the pride of Canada, Mr. Basketball, McDonald's All-American, #1 high school prospect in the nation, and very possibly the top draft pick in the 2014 NBA lottery. Andrew has found himself in the middle of a media firestorm of hype and expectation -- it's a mind-bending world for a teenager to step into, especially one who, as Wiggins himself immediately points out, has not scored a single NCAA point yet. Andrew has very smartly tried to keep his media availability very low key and humble, which I certainly respect but knew would really be the big challenge of our very short cover shoot. Ultimately we had just barely enough setup time to run through several lighting options and find what worked best in the space. We needed a huge chunk of time because I had flown in with eight Profoto 8A packs, an army of heads and modifiers for multiple different scenarios, etc., and just getting everything perfectly lined up and ready to go was no small task, esp. given a finicky power situation. Also on hand was my portable bluetooth speaker ready to blast some hip-hop (I of course included fellow Canadian Drake in the mix) and help all of us get amped. Once Andrew arrived I immediately began telling him what I wanted to do… I didn't tell him anything about the lighting or the concept; instead I talked to him about energy and passion and how excited not only Jayhawk fans were, but how pumped college basketball and diehard NBA fans were to see what he could do. I didn't sidestep that I knew he didn't like the attention or showing up for a photo shoot… I just told him what I was about, how far I had come to spend some time with him, and he got it. We started working and I was very vocal, encouraging and badgering Andrew to bring it (we only had a few short minutes so there was no slow playing this one). Without the music and me giving as much energy as I expected back from Andrew, the shoot would have been very flat and probably unsuccessful. And Andrew brought it… it was immediately clear that this is an athlete who has unbelievable body control in the air. I never let him or myself stand still, we kept moving… and then my 8As starting acting up with the power again so I immediately switched setups to a much lighter concept that became the opening spread. We were hoping to get some of the really big smile and laugh that Andrew has so I asked him to spin the ball on one finger (in other sporst I use juggling), and immediately we were all laughing as he struggled to make it happen. And what felt like 10 seconds after we started I told him thanks and good luck, and we gave Andrew over to Jay Bilas for an interview already set up a few feet away. Later that day we made our return flight to NYC by about 90 seconds… the whole day a blur of sprinting around. Many thanks to Karen Frank, Jim Surber and Stephanie Weed for the assignment. Check out johnloomis.com to see a few more images, and ESPN's video piece below for a bit of BTS from the shoot.
My alma mater, the University of Missouri has published a short Q&A with moi on their new blog, The Photo Department. So at the very least their new forum for all things MU PJ has no where to go but up, though on a serious note I've seen first hand how much has changed at my school in the last couple of years so its worth your time to stay in touch! Go check out the full interview at their site - many thanks to my mentor, photojournalism chair David Rees for inviting me to participate. My favorite question is below... What advice do you have for the current generation of students: For starters, don’t get ahead of yourself. You’re young, you’re going to make mistakes…if you accept that and grow from those failures you might just learn a whole lot about the industry and yourself, not to mention begin proving why you deserve to be a member of this community. You don’t start off, especially if you plan on going freelance, ahead of the game–you start off (post-college) at the rock bottom. No one owes you anything. You build a career step by step by working hard, being professional, and making smart creative decisions. In the very beginning the answer (“hey can you build a studio on a chicken farm to shoot Avendon-esque portraits of animals for $500??”) should be YES! Once you move forward you must learn how to start saying no. Next, you gotta be passionate and personal; shoot what you love. One of the biggest lessons I learned at Missouri was that great pictures come from a personal place…a connection to the story that is hard to fake. Though its not always easy, on each of my assignments I try to find a personal take (the very act of portraiture is extremely intimate to begin with–you connecting a subject’s humanity to an audience) and editorial spin alongside my client’s needs (they need this detail, I’m inspired by this idea). Shooting personally/passionately will also focus you on shooting the kinds of pictures that you want to be hired for in the future, and will, as you connect and interlace your work to your other passions (Architecture, comic books, acid jazz), move you towards your own signature style that separates you from the madding crowd. And lastly, or maybe the same point boiled down…have fun. The best thing to ever happen in my career was for me to make a decision to stress less about minute details and to try to bring more energy to my shoots. It made me work harder for myself, enjoy each job and experience way more, and carve out a deeper niche for my business. In my experience when you match loving your job with being a professional, good things happen. And since photography isn’t exactly the best paying career in the world (or even in the top 500), what’s the point if you’re not having fun?!