Making a Dream

by Noel Pattani

As you know from last week’s story, Mara Reinstein is a kick-ass movie critic who tells you how it is no matter the possible backlash. If you missed it, don’t worry. You can read about Mara if you scroll down

I first met Mara when she was my teacher at a Gotham Writers Workshop. Quickly I saw her passion for writing about movies. I knew she would be an amazing addition to Women’s Work and after sharing just a few of Chris’s stunning photos she was on board.

Lisa Calvo for the Women’s Work project

One of the goals with the Women’s Work project is to depict our subjects in a moment that is contextual to their work. However, Mara spends most of her day either in a dark theater or screening room. That environment would not create the most dynamic picture and we felt Mara deserved a little bit more glamour. Then it came to Chris, he wanted to create a quiet and pensive moment in time amongst a well populated 1950’s drive-in theatre. He envisioned the movie light pouring onto the field of cars, but the center front stage would be our hero,  Mara Reinstein.

Chris had a vision but how could we perfectly transport her to this time and place? First, I began reaching out to local drive-in theaters. Luckily, there are still drive-ins operational in the Tri-State area but unfortunately, they are not open in December.

Since traveling to a warmer climate wasn’t in the budget, the only option was to create a composite photograph. I began the search for the perfect background plate.

After weeding through many options and confirming with George McCardle, our trusted retoucher, we finally landed on a background plate that fit our needs perfectly.

To create a picture where Mara is placed seamlessly in our dreamy drive-in would require a car she could interact with. We wanted to find one from the ’50s and after asking around I discovered Klassy Karz. We knew that somewhere in his collection was the right car and after carefully reviewing the inventory we chose a playful light mint and white 1955 Studebaker as Mara’s co-star.

Now that we had the plate and the car it was time to turn our attention to hair, makeup, and wardrobe. The 1950’s is jammed packed with style icons like Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, and Grace Kelly. We wanted to create a look that could have been plucked right out of the postwar era. When I think of timeless style icons, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe are just the bee’s knees. Both women during their time defined femininity and continue to do so today. After discussing options with the talented Dawn Episcopo, who shared many styling options for us, we all agreed on the stunning look below.

For Wardrobe, we opted to utilize Mara’s personal garments. After deciding on the perfect pink fuzzy sweater and ideal circle skirt, pre-production was done and we were ready for our shoot. Next week we will get a little insight on how Chris created this shot in Bud’s Studio on December 3rd, 2018.

Kodama – Spirit of a Tree

Here in the Northeast spring has sprung. The once barren trees looming over our heads are now sprouting with new life. As the lush green growth floods our landscape we once again marvel at the dramatic rebirth of these gentle giants and reminding us of the great role trees play in our world. From producing much of the oxygen we breath, to shielding us from the harsh summer sun, trees are often overlooked. But, for Mira Nakashima, trees play a large part in her life. As the daughter of the famous woodworker, George Nakashima, her upbringing was molded by the philosophies her father embodied.

Mira Nakashima, Designer and Woodworker

Each tree, each part of the tree, has its own particular destiny. We roam the world to find our relationships with these trees.

George Makashima

With the belief of working with trees deeply ingrained in her at a young age, Mira has continued her father’s tradition of making unique and memorable furniture after his passing in 1990. Surprisingly, she was not formally trained as a woodworker but as an architect.

Mira Nakashima

Architecture was extremely good training for me as it was with my father.  Not only can you visualize shapes and volumes on paper, but engineer the structure and visualize the piece in a given space.

Mira Nakashima

She began her studies in architecture as an undergrad at Harvard and earned her Master’s at Waseda University in Tokyo. After receiving her Master’s, she returned home to New Hope, Pa in 1970. Once there Mira spent the next 20 years as her father’s assistant. In this role she quickly became skillful in woodworking and mastered the techniques that her father was renowned for.

Classic Daybed

When it was time for her to take over the “family business”, she strived to maintain a close connection to her father but over time her designs began to push beyond the boundaries set by her father.

Conciod Coffee Table

I’ve created a few new designs out of necessity, sometimes in collaboration with my design assistants, sometimes in collaboration with the client, and always in cooperation with the wood and the woodworkers

Mira Nakashima

It is through this respect for the wood and the tree it came from, that you will not only find a Nakashima piece sitting in a lucky home but also within the walls of a museum. The ability to see the true potential of a raw material and allow it to be beautiful in its own special way is what makes Nakashima furniture truly one of a kind.

Mira Nakashima

The Life of Art

Art is an opportunity to analyze and discover new perspectives of the world. To find a deeper meaning in a spring day or unravel the mystical quiet of a dark city street can seem pointless and almost impossible but to the artist that is where the truth resides.

It is the creative mind that rips open the mundane and explores what is inside. As we continue to expand our Women’s Work project we had the pleasure of interviewing talented artist, Christina Bothwell.

With her craft, Christina has been grappling with the idea of spirituality while digging into the concept of our mortal bodies and the force that some call the soul. As a small child, Christina would ponder the depths of our existence. The cycle of life that is all around us which creates a beginning, middle, end, and then back again.

She currently examines this grand concept through sculpture. Using glass, clay, ash, oil paints, and found objects she has brought captivating pieces to life that stun the audience to stop and think. She forces the viewer to see the world differently while simultaneously poking holes in their existence.

I am drawn to the processes of birth, death, and renewal. What lies below the surface fascinates me and I try to capture the qualities of the ‘unseen’ that express the sense of wonder that I feel in my daily existence.

Christina Bothwell

Typically, Christina’s art is often times inspired by quick fleeting dreams. Like a flash of lightning, the brilliant idea illuminates her creativity but rapidly fades to the darkest corners of her mind. When such influence appears she immediately sketches the thoughts for later reference before the image is lost to the thoughts of the day. What is most intriguing about her work is the ability for others to see their own truth. Each sculpture has a tendency to affect all who view them differently.

I do hope to communicate my ideas directly to the audience, but often people bring their own perspective to my work and see something vastly different from what I intended.

Christina Bothwell

But, isn’t that what art is? Creating a piece that you poured your thoughts, passions, and inspirations into. To then release it into the world to grow through interpretation. Unlike the circle of our life, art lives forever.

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!

2015 in Review – Behind the Scenes

We may have a few less blog posts to show for it than usual, but 2015 has been a year with just as many days on set and on the road as the past few before it. With any shoot there comes those wonderfully awkward test shots and cringe-worthy behind the scenes shots. Since it’s the end of the year, what better time and place to share them all here on the blog:

chris crisman advertising photography behind the scenes 2015

chris crisman advertising photography behind the scenes 2015

chris crisman advertising photography behind the scenes 2015

chris crisman advertising photography behind the scenes 2015  chris crisman advertising photography behind the scenes 2015

chris crisman advertising photography behind the scenes 2015

chris crisman advertising photography behind the scenes 2015

chris crisman advertising photography behind the scenes 2015

chris crisman advertising photography behind the scenes 2015

chris crisman advertising photography behind the scenes 2015   chris crisman advertising photography behind the scenes 2015

chris crisman advertising photography behind the scenes 2015

chris crisman advertising photography behind the scenes 2015

And there we have it – 2015 is all wrapped up. We’ll be taking New Years off, then getting back into the swing of things early in 2016. We hope you’re as excited as we are for what the new years has in store – happy holidays all!

American Standard DXV II

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chris crisman advertising photography american standard

Early on in 2015 we were already chatting with the awesome creatives at 22Squared – the word was in that their client American Standard was interested in shooting a second round of the “As told by DXV” campaign and they wanted to bring the Crisman Team back for the sequel to our 2014 shoot.

From the get-go, we worked closely with the agency and designers at American Standard to brainstorm, concept and ultimately execute three new images for this years campaign. Culled down from practically a dozen candidates, we landed on Beauty & The Beast, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – three instantly recognizable classic stories that we were tasked to bring to life in the context of premium plumbing.

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This was no small task, but we knew our team was up to the challenge. Choosing to shoot this in our hometown of Philadelphia meant that this project was a bit of bringing the band back together from 2014. Our first call was to the talented set designer Matthew Englebert. He was on-board from day one, overseeing the practical design and construction of our three sets. Matthew and his team worked for weeks to design, build, and prop the three spaces – creating custom pieces that show a true mastery of craft and an artisan quality of construction.

Crisman_American_Standard_DXV_008

chris crisman advertising photography american standard

We worked closely with the team and 22 Squared and the brand designers from American Standard to create rooms that framed up the story while keeping the plumbing fixtures the star of the show. This meant lots of discussions and lots of collaboration between Chris, our team, the agency, and the designers at American Standard. It was an amazing process to watch everyone’s ideas and input get distilled down into the three final ads.

Not only that, but it is equally amazing to see these concepts physically brought to life and built by our set building crew. Trust me when I tell you that every little detail, down to the subtle coloring of the real poured concrete floor is not missed by these talented folks.

Beauty_ad2a

Alice_ToiletLidOpeningOnly-2-GIF-Final

One of the biggest and certainly the coolest differences between our previous campaign and this years shoot for American Standard was the decision to shoot motion content and create cinemagraphs. To achieve this we needed to both concept actions and elements in the images that functioned with motion, and also practically light and build our sets in such a way that we could capture this content. For every shot that we lit with strobe, we needed to match that lighting with HMI & continuous lighting.

The results are something we’re really excited about and definitely plan on shooting again.

chris crisman advertising photography american standard

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chris crisman, chris crisman photography, chris crisman advertising photography, chris crisman ad photography, chris crisman american standard, chris crisman american standrd dxv, chris crisman dxv, chris crisman 22 squared, chris crisman 22 squared advertising, 22 squard american standard, 22 squared american standard dxv, chris crisman american standard advertising

chris crisman, chris crisman photography, chris crisman advertising photography, chris crisman ad photography, chris crisman american standard, chris crisman american standrd dxv, chris crisman dxv, chris crisman 22 squared, chris crisman 22 squared advertising, 22 squard american standard, 22 squared american standard dxv, chris crisman american standard advertising

With any large production – it quite literally takes a village to get the shot sometimes. Whether that’s designing and building the sets, wrangling the animal talent, propping out the shots, tweaking the lights, or even in my case – standing in for a light test…

As always, we owe a huge thanks to everyone who helped bring this project together. From our clients at American Standard and 22Squared to our talented set building and construction crew, the hair and makeup and wardrobe styling team, and our trusty photo assistants. We couldn’t have created these images with you all so thank you!

Questions? Comments? let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!