Sep 12

Behind-the-Scenes: Age-Appropriate Reading

Since the series was recognized in this year’s IPA awards, I thought I’d take a look back, myself.

The idea for the series came from my now-five-year-old daughter. We were on vacation in San Diego, spending a good portion of the day in, at and around the swimming pool. She’d been splashing around for hours and decided to take a short break. She proceeded to grab a towel, kick back on a chaise lounge and read US Weekly. I guess “page through” US Weekly, as she couldn’t read at the time. It was a funny image that seared itself to my subconscious. It was the inspiration for the idea to show a series of kids reading non-age-appropriate material.

Pulling off a personal project is never easy. Trying to pull one off utilizing 5-6 year olds leaves people questioning your sanity. I had some incredible help along the way. Inna Khavinson of Lovely Giant Productions (who I work with quite a bit) volunteered to produce the project for me. We would need kids, locations, clothing and props. The kids (talent) being the most important (as always). Inna hooked me up with Mindi Smith, a killer wardrobe stylist who happens to work on children projects often. We had Mindi keep a look out for cute, precocious children who were easy to work with and had some visual idiosyncrasies. Over the course of a few weeks, she single-handedly discovered our talent on numerous, editorial jobs. Each a character to play the different parts we had previously decided on (hippy girl, Jersey girl, businessman, sport guy). Mindi went on to find some amazing wardrobe that worked with each persona.

Set designer, Nicole Sofer, signed on to help with propping. She helped nuance each location to really bring the characters to life: little things, like a red bowl of cheetos, a hard-boiled egg and cup of espresso, some Buddha statues, a toy car and tube of itch cream. Hair and makeup artist, Gigi Gommers, ensured that the kids look fantastic, but natural and still “kid-like.”

For locations, I wanted to have a simple, neutral color palette that allowed the images to stand on their own, but also work together as a series. The whole crew put out feelers, contacted friends, family and acquaintances and eventually found exactly the places I had been imagining in my mind’s eye. Everything was in place and we were ready to go.

It may not be obvious, but shooting young children and celebrities have a lot in common. Preparation is everything as you may only get 5 or 10 minutes with them (the reasons are sometimes different – temper tantrums and full-on melt downs versus busy schedules). Having worked with young children a few times in the past, I knew the sets would have to be perfect and the lighting already tweaked before we even though of bringing the kids out. My assistants, the crew and I worked for hours previous to each shot doing just that.

And thank God we did. As the initial minutes of shooting went by without any hitches (the kids were rock stars), inevitably nature took its course. Attention out the window. Crying fits. The need to sit on mom’s lap. Ants in the pants. We got in a strong 5 minutes of shooting. Maybe 7. But that was it.

And I think it was enough. You can see the final images here. I’ve also included some outtakes below.

Sep 12

2012 International Photography Awards

Ted Sabarese honorable mention in 2012 International Photography Awards

Well, I’m feeling a sense of deep gratitude toward the 80 or so judges who selected my “Age-Appropriate Reading” series for Honorable Mention in this year’s awards. There was truly some fantastic winning imagery in the competition. Definitely worth a peek here.

Jun 12

Yep, it’s a calamitous Brooklyn, alright

Yes. Crazy, weird and, oftentimes, preposterous things happen in Manhattan’s favorite, neighboring borough. Desperate housewives cook the kids’ burgers to well-done deliciousness. Pro bowlers wash up on the shore of the East River. Zany folks walk their cats on leashes. My new, ongoing series entitle Calamitous Brooklyn discovers and documents much of this BK kookiness. Below are a couple of examples to wet your whistle, so to speak.

Apr 12

Funny writeup from Fashionista.com

In this past Sunday’s NY Times T magazine, Richard Burbridge had a beautiful story entitled Salad Days. It’s absolutely freakin’ gorgeous. Fashionista wrote a funny little article comparing Burbridge to my Hunger Pains series and Paul Newman salad dressing. They ask the tough question: which salad dressing do you like best?

sabarese hunger pains compared to richard burbridge and paul newman salad dressing

Mar 12

Archive’s 200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide

I’m honored to be included in the recent photo annual published by Archive bi-anually. My Phonak Hearing Aid Campaign with Wunderman Zurich made it in. My one page aside, it’s a pretty special book to look at. Lots of amazing work by big name photographers.

Ted Sabarese in Archive's 200 best ad photographers

Jan 12

iPhone, schmyphone. It’s all about the Shellphone

Sure, Apple spent a lot of bucks promoting the iPhone 4s. But the rage is the newly-released Shellphone. It’s a brand new outdoor campaign I shot for Royal Caribbean with JWT. Thanks to creatives Carlos Fernandez and Richie Glickman for coming up with such unique advertising in the category (I’ve heard the Carnival bigwigs are green with envy). And to Art Producers Sara Clark and Kaia Hemming for making things go super smoothly. I was even able to have a still life day and shoot the heck out of that top-secret shell phone.

Seriously, if the sea calls you, you have to take the call, right? Pics below and on the website.

Jul 11

Thin Ice for Beazley Insurance

It’s crazy insurance for this era of electronic information–Beazley insures businesses against data theft, loss, hacking, etc. The ad campaign portrays the dangers of businesses who don’t have this type of coverage. Thanks to creative director Michael Demos for selling advertising you wouldn’t expect to see for this category. Here’s a shot:

Jun 11

Phonak campaign image makes the cover of Archive Magazine

Take some “psyched” and sprinkle it with a dash of “surprised.” That’s how I felt to learn an image from my Phonak Hearing Aid campaign would be the cover shot for the upcoming Archive Magazine.

Thanks to art director Michael Gallman at Futurecom in Zurich Switzerland for selling such a category-shattering campaign. And to Ami Goodheart of SOTU productions and her entire team for creating the jaw-dropping “sculptumes,” as she aptly named them.

Archive Magazine cover

Feb 11

Phonak campaign wins gold and bronze in Swiss Art Directors Club Awards

This is certainly one of the most downright fun campaigns I’ve worked on. Ami Goodheart and SOTU Productions blew my mind with their “Sculptume” designs and builds. And the entire team from Y&R Zurich gave us all such freedom to make it a work of art (big thanks!). Glad to see the Swiss Art Directors are showing it some love.

Feb 11

“hunger pains” featured in the Wall Street Journal

Food as fashion. Here’s the video: