I shot this photo essay for Ritz-Carlton in Puerto Rico. I spent three days driving all over the island. While I’ve been to Puerto Rico many times, for the first time I really explored deeper into San Juan and had a chance to go beyond the capital as well.
Shooting this apartment designed by Cristiana Mascarenhas at 15 CPW was one of my favorite New York apartments I’ve shot. It wasn’t that there were both river and park views. It wasn’t the Ellsworth Kelley’s or the Damian Hirst, or the Andy Warhol’s. Sure, all that adds to this apartment’s greatness but it was the feeling I got when I walked in for the first time and looked around each room. Every object, piece of art, and handmade piece of furniture, while beautiful in their own rite, just worked together in a way I’ve never seen. It felt so welcoming that I wanted to unpack all my bags of photo gear as if it were luggage with my life’s belongings and just start filling the drawers. Instead, I unpacked my gear and started lighting and shooting and felt lucky enough to spend the day in this apartment that for a brief moment felt like it was mine.
I have been coming to Sag Harbor since I was seven years old when my parents first brought me to the then bucolic town on our old Chris Craft. I remember walking out of the marina (probably barefoot) and past the old dairy farm and right by this gem of a house now owned by designer Kevin Byrne. Without a doubt this house has changed for the better since the days when Sag Harbor really was a small town.
I was lucky enough to get a small glimpse of what beach life was like for Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft. Well not exactly. I was able to see what the transformation was like from an old mess of a beach house they used to own in Water Mill to a more modern and clean interior for the current owners by the handy work of Kerry Delrose from Delrose Design Group. I shot this for the September/October issue of Hamptons Cottages & Gardens with the help of Kendell Cronstrom, the Editor in Chief.
Last summer I worked on a huge advertising and packaging campaign for HGTV Home with Inna Khavinson from Lovely Giant Productions, Christa Boeke and Amanda Silvestri from Beanstalk, a global licensing agency, and Peter Carberry from Graj+Gustavsen, a prominent design and branding agency. It was a four day lifestyle shoot where we produced seventy final shots in three locations using twenty models, and a crew of about thirty people. Needless to say, it was a huge shoot that took months of prep and was full of challenges that I had never come across before.
The biggest challenge was to create lifestyle images that couldn’t be too specific in any way as at the time of the shoot HGTV was in the middle of partnering up with companies from all different segments of the home market and very few deals had been completed. This led us to shoot most interior shots in environmental studios where prop stylist Loren Simons could put her minimalist aesthetic to work, picking and choosing props that would give the images a non specific look while giving them longevity for the life of the licensing program. Wardrobe stylist Mindi Smith took a similar approach, creating easy and natural combinations that felt fun and fresh, yet timeless.
The client was extremely happy as the images really captured the look and feel they were going for and were more than pleased that we were able to deliver 20% more images than promised. All in all, a very successful shoot! You can see some screen shots below and as more come online I will post them.
LA based artist and friend Sal Messina was in town for the delivery of a commissioned 4′ x 8′ piece that took him almost a year to make. It is part of a group of his paintings he simply calls abstract series 1. In each painting in this series he creates what he calls a cell which is a unique line in its own right but evokes depth and movement, much like a landscape when viewed whole.
My time in Ghana was short but full. I saw a lot of the country in a week and after the story came out which can be seen here in Condé Nast Traveler tear sheets, I still think about the trip. I think about standing in the savannah with gazelle’s and bush bucks running past. The lonely elephant spending mornings near the watering hole at Mole National Park. Meeting with the Paramount Chief in Wa in the North Western part of the country, bearing gifts for permission to photograph him and his elders. The roads which were smooth and endless when paved and bumpy and back breaking when dirt and sand. And some of the people who at first seemed shy and fearful of cameras who in the end often let out enormous smiles, a contrast to what their life appeared to be.
There comes a time in almost every shoot when you wonder, should I really be doing this? On the edge of a cliff or standing in the middle of the street to get a shot. This was slightly different. For this shoot for UK Traveller it was when I asked the owner of Quirpon Lighthouse Inn if it would be ok if I took their 8 foot inflatable out to follow along as the whales made their round in the cove below the lighthouse. As we made our way walking the boat into the water from the rocky shore I could see one of the whales surface and it looked much larger than up on higher ground. In the dinghy I raced towards the whales, one hand on a camera and the other holding onto the small outboard revving it at full speed and trying to make it plane to catch up with the whales. It was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had shooting. The whales were surfacing almost directly next to the boat and we spent the next few hours surrounded by them off this tiny island off the northern tip of Newfoundland.
Some more images from Newfoundland