Author headshot for Anne Helen Petersen

Headshot sessions fascinate me because of the gamut of people that end up in front of my camera. The authors that I've worked with have been some of my favorite clients and Anne Helen Petersen definitely fits into that category. Writing is definitely a skill that for the most part eludes me but as is the case with photography, I'm always impressed with people that are able to make careers out of endeavors that for the most part, everyone does. 


The author portraits of Anne Helen Petersen were for her timely book titled - 'Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman' - published last summer. Photographing authors opens up literary genres that normally would not be part of my usual reading list but I'm always curious to read their work after getting to know them through my headshot sessions. Ten "unruly" women are profiled in Petersen's book, from Serena Williams being labeled as "too strong" to Hillary Clinton's characterization as being "too shrill." The book is a great read and definitely hits home for me. I'm lucky to have a couple unruly women in my life and make no mistake about it - this is definitely still a man's world - but the book provides a little hope that change does happen through strong women that are resilient to the attacks they inevitably endure. 


Helix Sleep photoshoot with Amelie Mancini

"So would you like to shoot a couple hanging out on their mattress?" That was the message I received from Alisa Sheridan of Smalls Girls PR. That sounded interesting however the first question that popped into my head was 'what are they going to be doing on the mattress?' Alisa then told me it was just going to be more of a lifestyle shoot for Helix Sleep, showcasing the mattress within the setting of the bedroom. This photoshoot was fun for me because it provided an opportunity to combine my interior photography with my portrait photography. 

Amelie Mancini and her husband, Rami Metal were the (expecting)couple featured in the shoot. Amelie is an uber talented artist and textile designer from France, now operating her business in Brooklyn and Rami is the director of strategic engagement for the NYCDOT. You can check out Amelie's work here. As evident in the photos below, their cat Ladybird, was not camera shy and spent some time hamming it up for the camera. As an animal lover, I've never been opposed to letting pets have their moment to shine in front of the camera. 

Helix Sleep used the photos for their blog post - In bed with Amelie Mancini.

6 Feet Under - Portrait of a Sculptor

Sometimes to mix it up, it is good to get out and shoot some personal work. I'd been to my friend Jean-Marie Grenier's studio before and thought that it would be an interesting place to do some experimentation and create a photo essay about him and his sculpting. He refers to his studio as being 6 feet under because it is in the basement of he and his wife's converted funeral home.

Without time constraints and with Jean-Marie keeping busy on his latest piece, I was able to shoot using the natural lights, supplementing with my strobes, and even playing around with some gels to add some color effects. I also shot a roll of black and white film and will provide a followup post when I receive the scans. 

If you are interested in his work, check out the link below:

Jean-Marie Grenier

Jean-Marie's work is inspired by dancers in motion. His studio is adorned with imagery of this elegant muse and his work is a reflection of the human body's ability to move and be shaped as such.

Future dancer/artist?

Portrait of an Engineer - Round Two

For the second part in the Doggerel Series - Profiles in Design, I had the opportunity to Sebastian Lopez who is a plumbing engineer for Arup. To get the perspective of what it is like to be a plumbing engineer in New York City, check out the link to the article below:

Profiles in Design: Plumbing Engineer Sebastian Lopez

Sebastian is one of many people that commute to work via bicycle, so for this shoot I thought it could be cool to somehow incorporate his bike into the imagery. 


For some BTS info, the lighting for this photo was done with a deep octa softbox mounted on an Elinchrom Ranger RX.  




Portrait of an Engineer

A recent editorial assignment had me shooting portraits for Doggerel. Doggerel is an online magazine that covers the built environment, published by the international engineering consulting firm Arup. The focus of this assignment was shooting a couple environmental portraits of Matt Clark, a structural engineer with Arup that was being profiled by the magazine.

I was free to do pretty much whatever I wanted for the shoot but also realized that Matt would probably not want to spare more than 15 minutes so I had to keep it pretty simple. Therefore I decided to use natural light instead of trying to haul all my lighting gear around. I scouted locations near the Arup office in Manhattan's financial district beforehand and found an area under the FDR that would be perfect because it is covered so a) weather wouldn't matter and b) most importantly, you get that soft directional light, similar to a big window. Location - check, lighting - check!

The one requirement for the shoot was for the subject to be fairly centered because of the way Doggerel's website crops the photos depending on the reader's browser view. But just because this was going to be a simple setup, doesn't mean that I wasn't going to try something cool and honestly, keeping it simple tends to allow for more creativity during the shoot since you aren't confined to one complex setup. To try something different, I had been experimenting with panoramic portraits. Why would anyone want to make a panorama of human? Well, a wedding photographer named Ryan Brenizer popularized the method because it allows you to have a very shallow depth of field with a wider composition. Gives the image a feel of old school large format photography. The method essentially consists of taking a grid of photos of the subject and surroundings with a longer lens at a large aperture and then combining the files into a panorama using photoshop or other stitching software. I wouldn't recommend trying a new method on a paid gig so for some background, I had been testing the method with my favorite subject, Buddy:

Dog Panoramic Portrait

For Matt's first photo, I had him stand centered in an open area underneath the FDR in the East River Park. The hard part about doing this type of panoramic portrait is that you have to wait for the background to be clear for each shot and make sure that there are no gaps in your grid of photos. This meant waiting for the tourists to clear the scene of each image and making sure Matt didn't move too much. There are tripod heads that are designed specifically for shooting panoramas but these two portraits were shot handheld. The biggest benefit of using a panoramic head is the elimination of parallax error that is caused by the shifting plane of the sensor from shot to shot. Parallax error makes it hard for the stitching software to combine the images and can cause items that are supposed to be straight do some funky stuff.

Matt Clark Engineer Portrait

For the second photo, we walked down to an area of park benches for a more casual portrait. The sun came out from behind the clouds creating a warmer feel than the first portrait.

Matt Clark Engineer Portrait 2

I ended up with some parallax error that made post production a little more work than I would have liked but, overall, I was pleased with the way the panoramas came out.  Here is a link to the accompanying Doggerel article:

Profiles in Design: Structural Engineer Matt Clark