For the Love of Movies

A trip to the movies is a chance to escape the everyday. While you sit comfortably in the dark, you are whisked away to a faraway place.

For a few hours you get lost in someone else’s story, however, now we often trade in the sticky floors of the theatre for our comfy couches where pants are optional. But, to navigate through the endless sea of entertainment we look to our helpful critics to avoid the epic flops. These eloquent masters, like the late Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, sit through hundreds of movies and thanks to the movie critic, we can avoid wasting our money on the next big disappointment.  

Another addition to our Women’s Work project, film critic Mara Reinstein tells it how she sees it and puts her years of expertise into every review. In our brave new world, strong opinions are always met with an equal but opposite polarizing force. For Mara, this truth is amplified. Her judgements often make her the target of hateful and down right dreadful comments. After her 2018 review of Aquaman, which she described as an overstuffed mess, began to be bombarded with spiteful hate mail and messages through social media. These messages were sent by men who felt it wasn’t her place to speak about a comic book movie because she was a “girl”.

These people think I’m unqualified just because I’m a woman. They have no idea that I love movies just as much as them, probably more so.

Mara Reinstein

Mara’s passion for movies started quite young. She fondly remembers her father taking her twin brother and her to the movies when they were in kindergarten. Movies like Airplane, Tootsie, and Chariots of Fire fueled her passion for motion pictures.

When she was only sixteen, she wrote her first review on the disappointing movie of  Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Mara knew being a critic, a job that included two of her favorite hobbies of writing and movies, was her true calling and she wouldn’t let a little gender bias stand in her way.

Our society still tends to look to men as the end-all, be-all tastemakers in our industry. I don’t know if or when that stereotype will ever disappear. I tend to ignore the haters.

Mara Reinstein

And we are glad she does. As the film critic at US Weekly you can find more of Mara’s quick witted opinions on the newest thing hitting the big screen. With skin as thick as her hair (self-proclaimed), she won’t let the thoughtless comments of some stop her from speaking her mind.

Don’t worry, next week we will discuss how we created this dreamy 1950’s inspired photo!

Drinks that we are thankful for

By Robert Luessen

I’m not sure if it’s the food or the festivities, but Thanksgiving has always held the top spot on my list of holidays. There’s something that resonates for me about bringing together people to share a meal without the pretense of gift-giving or extracurricular celebration. It also helps that Thanksgiving is by far the best eating and drinking holiday on the calendar.

Photo taken by Jillian Guyette

Not that I have a ton of free hours in the day to devote to holiday preparations, but I always manage to carve out (pun intended) the time to devote to cooking a feast for my friends and family. These coveted seats at the table have no shortage of fine wine or tasty cuisine. Years ago, long before I helmed the entire Thanksgiving dinner I cut my teeth by helping in the kitchen.

Naturally helping in the kitchen came with a drink. For as long as I can remember, at the start of every Thanksgiving, my aunt or uncle would mix up a batch of Poinsettias to get the day started. I wish I knew the origin of this drink to my family’s holiday. I have a sneaking suspicion it falls into the same category of all well revered holiday mainstays; someone started it, no one can remember who or why, and nobody cares. Thanksgiving morning isn’t itself without one:

Poinsettia Cocktail

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 3 oz Cranberry Juice
  • 1/2 cup Champagne
  • 1 strip Orange Zest
  • Crushed ice

Combine ice, vodka, and cranberry juice in a rocks glass. Stir to chill and top with champagne. Garnish with orange zest. Enjoy and refresh a maximum of two times before dinner, no more, no less.

That said, sometimes the holidays can feel more like a marathon than a sprint. Whether it’s days stuck at home with family whom you may not agree politically or socially, or you’re actually busting your butt to cook two Thanksgiving dinners for almost 40 people in 72 hours (something I may be all too familiar with and everything is fine). Multi-day affairs in my opinion call for either a lower octane option like beer or an easy drinking lower alcohol option like an aperitif. A drink that will waft you through the day (or multiple) without regret. Take it easy and try a Lillet Highball:

Rosemary Lillet Highball

  • 2 oz Lillet Blanc
  • Soda water
  • 1 sprig Rosemary
  • Crushed ice

Combine ice and Lillet in a collins glass. Stir to chill and top with soda water. Garnish with a rosemary sprig. Keep on refreshing this and you’re good to go.

Despite my calls for moderation and pacing, I can’t argue that at the end of the evening there is always time for brown liquor. Once the desserts have been served and the dishes are washed then it’s time to break out the good stuff. Below are some of my recommendations for after meal sippers

Whiskey try Hibiki Suntory
Bourbon try Michter’s 
Scotch try Balvenie Doublewood 12 yrs
Brandy try
Copper & King’s Butchertown 
Cognac try Hennessy VS
Aged Tequilla try Don Julio 1942

 One should always save room for the last sip of the night.

Robert Luessen
Photo taken by Jillian Guyette


Reflections on the Road

Thoughts from an assistant on making the most of working on location

It’s hard to choose a place to begin when I reflect on all of the incredible experiences and opportunities I’ve encountered since joining up with the Crisman team a year and a half ago. Prior to working with Chris & Robert (and now Noel), I wouldn’t have described myself as ‘well-traveled’ but I’ve been lucky enough to take a few international trips and I’ve walked away from each one with a new found appreciation for the beautiful and vast possibilities traveling holds.

Copper Mountain, CO

The priority is always the project at hand and making the best work possible. But one of the many benefits of working with these guys has been their passion for exploring the culture and cuisine of each and every place the job takes us. That passion has had a trickle-down effect and functions as a constant reminder of the importance of staying open to new experiences and maintaining a fresh perspective while on the road.

Beale St. Memphis, TN

Everything from small towns to big cities hold culinary gems if you know where to look. Research should always start with boots on the ground. Do you have a friend in the area? Is there a local producer or crew member you worked with in the past? Give them a shout, for these can be some of your most valuable resources.

Sophi Davis Hunters Hot Springs, Montana

If I had to pick a favorite location it would be Montana hands down. I was absolutely blown away by Montana’s beauty. That and the fact that we got to spend 2 days with climbing legend and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, fishing crystal clear backcountry alpine lakes didn’t hurt either. It was definitely a life-changing trip for me and both reignited my lust for the outdoors and introduced me to the world of fly fishing.

Yvon Chouinard

I continue to be amazed by the places I find myself through this work and the many awesome and talented collaborators I have the pleasure of working with. Whether the job is a small editorial assignment with Chris and I or a large, multi-city ad job with a crew in the double digits, each project has a story and each story helps informs how I approach the next.

Park Hill Poultry, Erin NY

Stand ins

Daveed Diggs Portraits

chris crisman daveed diggs hamilton portrait photo

When our editors at the New York Observer called with an opportunity to shoot a member of the award winning cast of the hit musical Hamilton, we couldn’t say no. We were lucky enough to spend an hour with Daveed Diggs, the actor and rapper currently playing both the roles of Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette.

chris crisman daveed diggs hamilton portrait photo

chris crisman daveed diggs hamilton portrait photo

We spent a morning shooting with Daveed Diggs at the Fraunces Tavern Museum in downtown Manhattan, coincidentally a historically significant location that the real Alexander Hamilton frequented during the 19th century. Couldn’t have asked for a better location.

chris crisman daveed diggs hamilton portrait photo

chris crisman daveed diggs hamilton portrait photo

chris crisman daveed diggs hamilton portrait photo

We owe a big thanks to our editors at the Observer for the opportunity and a thank you to the Fraunces Tavern Museum for providing such an awesome location. As always, we also owe a thank you to the team at PXL House for post-production and the final polish on theses shots.

Tickets may be close to impossible to get these days but head over to the official site for Hamilton to check out more info on the show. Also if you’re a Daveed Diggs fan, make sure to give him a follow on Instagram @daveeddiggs. Also make sure to head over to the Observer’s website to read their story on the star.

Questions, comments? Let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto.

Captured52 + Chris Crisman

crisman wild horses

We’re excited to announce a new collaboration with Captured52, an amazing resource for large format, fine art photography. Starting this Saturday, 2/13 our award winning Wild Horses photo will be available as an open edition 40×60” print. We’re honored to be part of an elite group of image makers that include Sandro Miller, David Burnett, Simon Vahala, Adam Senatori, and Alex Buisse.

Captured52 releases for sale one photograph per week, all printed and framed in stunning large format. Our image will be printed in the USA by a master printer on heavyweight matte Hahnemühle paper, embossed with the Captured52 seal, date-stamped and custom framed in solid wood, museum shadowbox frame. Our Wild Horses image will be available for $1,952.00 including shipping and a large format journal at the end of 2016 featuring images and text from every participating photographer.

Questions, comments? Let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto. Also make sure to keep up with @Captured52 on Instagram and Captured 52 on Facebook. The sale starts this Saturday 2/13 and will only be available for one week so act fast!

 

New Personal Work: The Musician

chris crisman the musician conceptual personal work

We’re always striving to create new work that we’ve never seen before – some images that exist squarely in reality and others that require a bit more imagination to create and a bit more ingenuity to bring to life. When we’re in the studio concepting and brainstorming, ideas have a tendency to grow and build off of other ideas until everyone has a clear vision of what we’re after, whether it exists in reality or not.

For this new photo that we’re calling The Musician, both the location and the talent were born out of a brainstorming session that got us all a bit carried away, with thoughts and ideas that compounded and forced us to ask the question: “how can we shoot that?”

chris crisman the musician conceptual personal work

First and foremost we needed an environment for our photograph. From imagination to the internet and eventually to reality, we whittled down the list of possible locations from a worldwide search (ruled out – too many frequent flyer miles to travel to Europe on short notice) and eventually discovered a violin shop in the tri-state area that contained all of the pieces of what we were looking for.

chris crisman the musician conceptual personal work

Were those pieces necessarily lined up and constructed in the way that they needed to be for our concept to come to life? Not so much. But we knew that the reality of the space was merely a detail that we could overcome with a touch of creative retouching and post-work.

So we shot, and shot and shot, capturing as many angles and vantages on the violin shop as we could, knowing that the final space would be created as a composite of these pieces.

chris crisman the musician conceptual personal work

chris crisman the musician conceptual personal work

As for the character, we knew we wanted someone who would look eccentric and eclectic, someone who could match with and amplify the background we’d created. Simply enough, our casting call only asked for “unique looking” males and we let the magic of the search provide what it could. After sifting through a few pages of results, we knew immediately who our talent would be when we saw Geoff Lee – an actor and musician based in New York. Geoff was on-board and with the help of our talented prop and wardrobe stylists set to work creating his character.

In the end it all came together seamlessly, a space and character born out of imagination and brought to life through our vision. As always, we can say that the sum is greater than the whole of it’s parts, but those parts deserve a thank you. Many thanks to our talented model Geoff, Matthew Englebert on props, Wendy Oswald Kinney for wardrobe help, Megan Ambroch for makeup styling, and of course the talented folks at PXL House for bringing it all together in post.

Questions, comments? Let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!

Looking Forward – 2016

Crisman Forest Landscape

It’s that time of year again – time to take a moment and look forward at what opportunities and adventures await us in the coming weeks and months. Time to discuss and refine our team’s goals and ideals for the next 365 days, time to ask ourselves “what can we do differently, what can we do better this year? what can we create that will be new and different? How can we refine our craft?” Both practical and creative, we love to ask these questions and take even greater joy in answering them by creating new and inspiring images.

So what’s the plan for 2016? Isn’t it obvious?

Make new work. Make photographs and images that we’ve never seen before and create content that can embody our aesthetic and the ideas and vision of our clients. And as always, we’ll do our best to share.