Chris Crisman Photography

Behind the Scenes with David Karp

Do you have a Tumblr? Are you part of the 43,854,332 (and counting…) blogs that they have to offer? If so, you can thank the guy on the cover of Wired Magazine.

In December of 2011 we worked with Wired UK to photograph the young, entrepreneurial founder of Tumblr, David Karp – it was a crazy day that took us all over lower Manhattan, from the rooftops to the streets, to Tumblr HQ itself. Keep on reading for more photos from our shoot and exclusive behind the scenes…

It’s not every day that you get to work with an inspiring, ambitious, and up-for-anything kinda subject like David Karp. Shooting on a rooftop? No Problem. Shooting on a motorcycle in the middle of 6th ave. in NYC? No problem. Add in the amazingly talented crew from Wired UK who made the transatlantic journey to be a part of the shoot and we had a guaranteed recipe for a successful day.

Even the weather cooperated – despite shooting in December, we had a perfect day, with blue skies and sunshine. Not relying entirely on mother nature though, we hauled our fair share of gear up 20 stories and then even further by hand onto the rooftop of our first location.

It was incredibly helpful to have Andrew and Dalia, our art director and photo editor from Wired working with us all day. What a better place to review a few shots with the art director and your subject than a few inches away from the edge of a building?

After a few shots with David standing a normal, sensible distance from the edge, Chris finally convinced him to venture out onto and sit down on the side of the building, 20+ stories above the streets of lower Manhattan below – resulting in the shot you see above.

We shot a ton of rooftop options, including the one seen above, which just happened to show Karp with the Empire State Building in the background (not too easy to see from this angle…)

It was definitely there though.

After working all morning on the rooftops above the city, we made our way down to Tumblr’s offices in lower Manhattan. Specifically, we wanted to know where David parked his Triumph Bonneville, so we could shoot him on it (yes that is yours truly sporting an awesome backpack filled with photo gear and an octabank on a boom arm. I was a human lightstand for that shot).

Make sure to read the full article on David Karp and Tumbling on Success over at Wired UK’s website. Also, keep up with Karp on his tumblr, Last but not least, if you can’t get a copy of Wired UK in the US, take a look at the Wired UK iPad app… they put an interactive twist on some of our still photos, it makes for a cool effect.

  1. Lyle Denman says: February 8, 20125:50 pm

    Sweet shoot, and good write-up. The Cover looks great.

  2. Pasquale says: February 8, 20128:17 pm

    Awesome shots. David is one of my favorite chaps. whoo.

  3. [...] how they got these shots at the behind-the-scenes post on photographer Chris Crisman’s site below.Behind-the-Scenes at David Karp’s Wired Photo Shootvia kateoplis Photojojo!//LinkWithinCodeStart var linkwithin_site_id = 313491; var [...]

  4. Kit Singson says: February 8, 20129:08 pm

    Very nice photography. The lighting setups are great. David is a great guy and founder.

  5. John says: February 8, 201211:14 pm

    I love reading “behind the scenes” articles about great photo shoots – well done, and many thanks!.

  6. [...] Keep on reading for more photos from our shoot and exclusive behind the scenes… [...]

  7. Kevin says: February 9, 20127:54 am

    First of all: Great pictures. I like the consistency in your work.

    Secondly: I’ve got a question about your lighting setups. I’ve often seen this double-octabox setup in your BTS pictures. How does this work? Do you have both lights on the same output level, basically just to make the light source even bigger?.. or is one source on lower intensity to create a transition? also: in what direction do you point the second octa? it looks like they aren’t completely aligned.

    thanks for the insight

  8. Rob (@rbp2) Peterson says: February 9, 201210:38 am

    Great stuff… glad to see a change up in the scenery for location. Also, killer boots on Chris :)

  9. Robert Luessen says: February 9, 201211:31 am

    Thanks Rob… There’s no place that cowboy boots can’t go.

  10. Robert Luessen says: February 9, 201211:32 am

    Thanks John, we’ll keep it up for the future!

  11. Robert Luessen says: February 9, 201211:32 am

    He’s one of ours too.

  12. Rick Lewis says: February 12, 201211:35 am

    Great work and great BTS info! Robert is certainly earning his keep:-)

  13. Robert Luessen says: February 12, 20122:24 pm

    I’m trying Rick!

  14. Robert Luessen says: February 12, 20122:32 pm

    Hey Kevin, thanks for the kind words. To answer your question, there is no one exact formula for how we’re using those octabanks. Different situations call for different ways of using the banks. Generally though, when we’re using two, one is set at a higher power to provide more shape with the light, and the other is used as a fill. Hope this helps man!

  15. [topherchris:via] | Hauskat Kuvat says: February 13, 20125:20 pm

    [...] [topherchris:via] [...]

  16. [topherchris:via] | Funri says: February 13, 20125:30 pm

    [...] [topherchris:via] [...]

  17. Kevin says: February 14, 20124:24 am

    Thanks for the answer Robert!

  18. Julian Abram Wainwright says: February 14, 20128:05 pm

    Love Cris’ work, and I really appreciate the behind-the-scenes blogging. Keep it up!

  19. Greg says: February 19, 20127:35 pm

    Absolutely beautiful shot of David sitting with his legs over the edge in the magazine.

  20. [...] coming weeks, and you might recognize Chris’s portrait of Tumblr Founder, David Karp from a previous blog entry as well. Enjoy! chris crismanchris crisman advertisingchris crisman conceptualchris crisman [...]

  21. [...] out more of Chris’ work and read more about the shoot (include behind-the-scenes images) on his [...]

  22. Paul O. Colliton Studio, Inc. says: April 12, 201211:23 am

    Thanks Chris for sharing these images. It was a pleasure having you and the crew @ The Penthouse, NYC. Please come again!!



  23. [...] across the pond this morning. When we learned that Wired Germany would be running a few images from our shoot with David Karp, founder and CEO of Tunblr, we were excited but didn’t know what to expect. Would it be the [...]

  24. Tom Lester says: May 31, 20129:45 am

    Great images…. but I have to say… there’s NO WAY I’d get out on the edge like that.

  25. Robert Luessen says: June 1, 20129:36 am

    Thanks tom! If you look close enough you’ll see that David has his eyes closed…

  26. Macroview 13 | Chris Crisman Photography says: January 30, 201311:04 am

    [...] If you haven read about our shoot with the Tumblr CEO, you should take a look at our blog post from last year. [...]

  27. [...]  Credit: Wired Uk/ Chris Crisman [...]

  28. Startups for Grownups — Academic VC says: July 5, 201312:36 pm

    [...] Mark Zuckerbergs and David Karps of the world get magazine covers precisely because they’re unusual. “Look at this kid, [...]

  29. [...] few entrepreneurs anywhere – made their millions while in their 20s. The Mark Zuckerbergs and David Karps of the world get magazine covers precisely because they’re unusual: “Look at this kid, [...]

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