By Peter Clark
November is a time for people to start cozying up in their homes. It’s also time to spruce up the house and decorate for the holidays. Because of this, we headed over to Design*Sponge for our November web ads. Design*Sponge is a design blog focusing on interior and product design, DIY, photography and more. They boast a diverse viewership including a good number of creatives.
Design*Sponge was created by Brooklyn-based writer, Grace Bonney. The site is updated frequently with fun design tips, ideas and products and was declared a “Martha Stewart Living for the Millennials” by the New York Times. The site attracts groups of devoted readers across the globe, with currently 75,000 daily readers, over 121,000 RSS readers, 315,000+ Twitter followers and 30,000 Facebook followers.
Throughout November we ran an eclectic group of ads on the site, hoping to entice new creatives to Wonderful Machine. Recently, I got in touch with the photographers featured to learn more about each photo:
Matt Rainwaters/ Austin
I wanted to create a portfolio of extravagant facial hair so I traveled to Anchorage, Alaska for the World Beard and Mustache Championships. I simply wanted to document in portraits the the most amazing and bizarre looking beards and mustaches in the world. As of October 5th of this year, the project has been published by Chronicle Books under title BEARD and has been selling very well during Movember.
Michael Piazza / Boston
This shot was for an assignment for Yankee Magazine. The story, “In a field of her own,” was about a young organic farmer, Tracie Smith, which ran last summer. Her farm is in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, about a two hour drive from Boston. The story featured a number of her recipes that were prepped ahead of time by my food stylist and then shot in her barn. In addition to this shot, the art director wanted a portrait of her in the fields, just as the sun was going down, so we dropped everything and ran out to try to grab the shot, which wound up being the opening spread in the magazine. While packing up in the dark, we left my tripod in the middle of the fields and didn’t realize it until the next day! I drove back five hours round trip just to get it. I made it worth my while by stopping off at a few antique shops and picking up some props.
Derek Israelsen / Salt Lake City
This image was part of a location shoot for Sundance Catalog Co. The theme behind the image was to coincide with the Sundance Film Festival, as the catalog was being released just before the festival started. The stylists and team that I am able to collaborate with always make the shoots enjoyable.
Tai Power Seeff / San Francisco
As youngsters, my siblings and I would spend hours swimming in the freezing Pacific Ocean. When my mother moved from Los Angeles to rural Wisconsin some years ago she was desperate to find a place to cool off from those sticky summers. Over the course of some months my mom and some friends started piling rocks and pebbles across the width of a small local stream. Over time a little swimming hole was carved out, and many of the local farm families now head over there to relax and swim at the end of the day.
This image was taken at the end of September and we were the only ones there on that brisk evening. Still a California girl, it was way too cold for me to swim, but my brother and sister, acclimated to the frigid Wisconsin winters, were contentedly holding hands and floating in the shallow current. The overcast sky made the colors so vibrant and the slightly muddy water diffused their bodies just enough to look dreamy. As I crept over to the stream’s edge, my brother opened his eyes and looked up at me. It’s a special image for me because, despite their age difference, they’ve always been incredibly close and I think that that bond is captured in this photo.
Casey Dunn / Austin
This shot was made on assignment for an Austin firm called Burton Baldridge Architects in coordination with a new modern boutique hotel called the Kimber Modern. This shot was probably the single most important exterior shot of the day. Mainly it helped to reveal the very subtle curvature of the structure as it wraps around the sloped lot which was hard to convey in any of the other images. The hotel is nestled into a small lot on a tiny residential street in Austin, so the logistics alone made this a difficult picture to make. It involved a lift, a couple of walkie talkies to help position lights, and the last minute cooperation of mother nature to clear the cloudy skies ten minutes before dusk.
Julie Bidwell / Stamford
The Del’s image was from a summer travel story on Jamestown, RI. “Del’s” was on the shot list, but no specific image was requested. I saw this truck parked by a beach where I was shooting and knew it was the perfect spot. It was afternoon in early September and the light was really good. I did a few different shots–some with kids on their bikes eating Del’s, some closeups of the frozen lemonade in cups, some pulled back versions of the truck in the scene. This is the last version I shot. The young woman had a timeless melancholy look to her that I love. I asked her to step into the light and look anywhere except at me. I shot maybe six frames before a customer walked up and was pretty sure I had a good one. I love the work of painter Edward Hopper with his strong light, composition and subjects and am always looking for this type of scene. This shot didn’t make it to the final story, but it’s a favorite of mine.
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