Stephanie Diani is a rare bird. Not the kind that can leave a mess on your windshield, but the kind that makes you feel privileged for having witnessed their exotic feathers. Along with Stephanie’s pleasant demeanor and highly amusing wit, a very important facet of what makes her a special photographer is the breadth of her artistic vision. On one end of her range, you’ll find oodles of unfailingly befitting (not to mention totally rad) portraits of famously fascinating folks such as David Lynch, Steve Carell, and Mark Ruffalo. While on the other, the phantasmagorical side of her spectrum reveals brilliantly bizarre conceptual photo series, each of which adeptly lives up to its description, i.e. “Faced With Writer’s Block, Man Made God in His own Image. And Worships.”
Whether she’s shooting deities, divas, or just about anything, the quality of Stephanie’s photography remains top-notch. So when she came to Wonderful Machine looking for a new portfolio, we were quite excited. The joy of arranging her portfolio was developing an arc that showcased the considerable strengths of her extremes while shedding light on the spectrum within.
The initial structure for the sequence was built outwards from the middle. There’s a triptych of studio portraits—the “Disintegrating Housewife”—where a smiling, tidy woman transforms into a frantic mess over the course of three panels from left to right.
This highly relatable and proficiently executed studio portrait format of the triptych provided an ideal conduit for a shift in the subject matter. The housewife’s left-to-right transformation from, let’s say “normal” to “not normal” became a microcosm of the entire book, which begins with straightforward portraits of celebrities and ends with (spoiler alert) a giant chicken seducing a woman in lingerie.
After much debate about the physical manifestation of the portfolio, we arrived at a 12×9 vertical book with Adorama’s classy seamless binding system. In place of the more standard white space and/or cropping to accommodate varying image proportions, any borders or gaps in each spread were filled with a color sampled from the spread to add a bit of extra ‘tude.
As with Peter Baker’s book, we had quite a bit of fun manipulating a vector of Stephanie’s wordmark to create an enticing cover design. Wrapped within her trademark bleeding rose, you’ll find an extraordinary sequence of photography that will entice and inspire. Stephanie’s already received some great reviews on the book saying: “I finally got the ‘consistency of vision/storyteller’ response that I’ve been after. I finally felt like I had the whole package together.”
For more of Stephanie’s work, check out her website.