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.

29 replies to “Behind the Scenes with David Karp”

  1. 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

  2. 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!

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