Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome To The Dollhouse

Model: Heather with Wallflower Management
Styling and Art Direction: Ariella Villa
Hair and Makeup: Shane Monden
Styling Assistant: Fred Holston
Photo Assistant: Benjamin Hubert
Location: The Bell House

Creativity: A Family Tradition

Both of my parents are extremely creative. Really, my brother and I had no choice. My Pops would've loved for us to have followed in his military footsteps, his contributions to the fields of aviation and leadership being quite enviable. But what I remember best is how many creative endeavors my Pops tackled in his off-time. He is a carpenter, a water-color painter, a sand-blast artist, a civil war re-enacter, an expert shooter, an amazing cook, a historian... The list goes on.

When I was home for Christmas, I photographed some of his handmade and hand-painted ornaments (made from clothespins), in an effort to record a small part of his creative talent.

This is me, my Pops, and my brother Teej, circa 1990.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Small Magazine Shoot

The new issue of Small Magazine just came out, and I thought I'd share it. Many thanks to my talented art director and set designer Valerie Mangum and wardrobe stylist Aften Owens.

All images © Nick Prendergast

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New York Times Magazine - Fourteen Actors Acting

Every year, New York Times Magazine approaches a photographer to create a portfolio of the year's most acclaimed actors. This year, they tapped Solve Sundsbo to create minute-long video 'screen tests' of fourteen actors including James Franco, Natalie Portman, Tilda Swinton and Michael Douglas to name a few. The resulting vignettes are at once beautiful, strange, and mesmerizing. Watch it for yourself here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Benjamin Hubert - Tetanus Jewelry

© Nick Prendergast

This is Benjamin Hubert. Aside from being an extremely cool guy and helpful hand on set, he's also the designer of some truly amazing jewelry and accessories made from bugs, bones, teeth, fire, stones, found objects, antique and oxidized metals. His one of a kind pieces make for great gifts. Go to his website and buy something now.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

This was going to be an album review post, but - as fun it was to write a record review, rife with insight into the music-making process and the progression of the artist - this isn't a music blog. So I'm going to concentrate on another aspect of Kanye's creativity: his visual endeavors.

Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Kanye is never boring. While he may be the only pop artist ever to be called a jackass by a sitting president, Yeezy is definitely more than the sum of his Twitter rants and Award Show hyjinx. The dude may be a little weak behind the mic at times (and a mostly tone-deaf singer, hence the heavy reliance on auto-tune), but he is untouchable in the way he communicates his image and his music visually.

Having finished his 'College' series with it's iconic teddy bear mascot, Kanye released 2009's '808s and Heartbreak', an album cover featuring a deflated heart-shaped balloon being pulled apart by graffiti-artist-turned-fine-art-phenom KAWS' signature white-gloved hands. The portrait of Kanye inside showed a more subdued side of the artist wearing shades and a broken heart pin on his suit's lapel, also surrounded by KAWS' artwork.

Add to that his incredibly detailed and expensive live tour stage set that looked like the surface of the moon, and you begin to get a picture of how seriously this guy takes his performance art.

It's been a (needlessly) controversial year since then, and Kanye has only become more focused on his passion for visual art. His new album, aside from musically being his strongest artistic statement to date, is also pertinent to his visual progression. Let's begin with the album art, which I thought was incredible: no title, not even an artist name; just a picture of a dark-skinned party monster being straddled by a fair-complected, winged and polka-dot-tailed female nude. 

For reasons that I cannot fully understand or condone, this album art was banned due to the unfortunate, but unavoidable influence of the most powerful music seller in the world. When I went to buy the album online, this is the album art that came with it:

What a shame. But I digress...

Ever the ambitious artist, Kanye also directed the 35 minute short film/music video "Runaway" to accompany the release of Fantasy, with mixed - but mostly positive results. As directorial debuts go, this shows confidence in spades. From the dependence on visual effects to the large set pieces to the attempt to create a narrative out of a medley of songs from the record - Runaway should have been a disaster. while it may not be a masterpiece, it definitely avoids disaster status.

But, like they said on Reading Rainbow - You don't have to take my word for it:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Blurb Book

I had heard about Blurb Books from another photographer who had used their website to make his printed portfolio. It looked great, like a coffee table book filled with his own work.

My wife and I had talked a few months earlier about how one of the really disappointing aspects of digital vs. film was the loss of the printed snapshot. For years, we had kept numerous photo albums of our travels, pictures of friends and family. But as I switched to digital, all those kinds of snapshots went to live on a computer hard drive, never really to be seen again.

As a response to that complaint, I decided to make a book from the hundreds of photos we shot on our trip to Europe this past summer. It's a 12" by12" bound book with an 'Image Wrap' cover and premium luster paper.

The print quality isn't quite as dynamic as I would have liked, but as a document of a great trip, it's perfect. I gave it to my wife for her birthday, and she says it's the best and most thoughtful gift she's ever been given. How's that for an endorsement?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Behind-The-Scenes: Web Gallery - 1st Draft

Spent a couple of hours whittling a recent shoot down to this. Got a lot of whittling to go...

Gallus - Cycle Shots

Every couple of months, I shoot some images for my buddy Jeremy's company, Gallus. Each bespoke bicycle is painstakingly custom-measured for it's future owner, hand-cut, sanded, and welded by Jeremy himself, and his work is beautiful.

As a relative outsider to the cycling world, I never knew how much precision and artistry went into the process of building a bike from scratch. I'm trying to shoot video of the entire process, but in the meantime - I thought might share a few pics from our latest session...

I want one.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

David Lowery - Music Videos

I just blogged about my friend David Lowery and his inclusion in the IFC 'Icon' campaign. I thought I'd follow it up with a couple of the music videos he's directed. I really like both of these songs, and I think he did an excellent job interpreting them visually.

(Half Asleep video co-directed with Toby Halbrooks)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Inspiration - The Title Sequence

As the photo industry heads toward moving images, I've started keeping an 'inspiration' folder of videos. Lately, I've noticed some amazing work in the title sequences of movies and tv shows. The artists who put these sequences together are brilliant, communicating so much in so little time. The truly inspiring part (to me) is how much storytelling these short sequences do without the benefit of dialogue or exposition.

I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you, beginning with the one that caught my attention first:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Halloween!

styling and sets by Valerie Mangum

Sierra Nevada x Anchor Steam

Disclaimer: I really hate to use this blog to promote a product, but when that product is an independently owned and operated craft brewery, I figure: Who gets hurt? It may not have a direct correlation to photography, but I sure know a lot of photographers who drink the stuff.

While I think the so-called 'collabo' craze has gotten a little silly, here's one I can definitely get behind. Two of my favorite craft breweries have gotten together as part of Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary series of limited-run collaboration beers. Sierra's Ken Grossman and Anchor Steam's Fritz Maytag worked together to produce this "Pioneer's Stout Ale." Enticingly described on the website as "a rich and roasted ale, perfect for aging, and worthy of your finest snifter." Yes, please!

Unfortunately, it's doesn't appear to be available anywhere near me. But then, maybe some generous soul out there will find it in their heart to ship me a bottle.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Local Natives 'Who Knows Who Cares"

LA's Local Natives released one of my favorite albums of the year, and now have a really cool video for one of the best songs on it. Directed by Eli Gunn-Jones.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

David Lowery, Icon

My good friend David Lowery has just been honored by IFC as a featured filmmaker in their "Icon" series. I've known David a long time, and he is without a doubt one of the most dedicated and tireless artists I have ever met. He spent years tossing security and comfort out the window in exchange for the freedom to pursue his passion for storytelling.

Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to work with David on a number of projects:

Deadroom is a feature film we co-directed with two other filmmakers, James M Johnston and Yen Tan.

I was the cinematographer on his short film The Outlaw Son.

And of course, I've shot his portrait a few times. This is one of my favorites.

Congratulations, David. You continue to be an inspiration, both as an artist and as a friend. Keep up the good work.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Behind the Scenes: Small Magazine

I just shot another kids fashion story for one of my favorite clients, Small Magazine. The set stylist, Valerie Mangum, took these great behind-the-scenes photos. I'll post the whole story when the issue runs.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Skate Or Die

Friday, September 24, 2010

Songwriter Chris Johnson

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Breck Woolsey for Modern Luxury

Breck is an very talented interior designer based here in Dallas. I had the privilege of shooting his portrait for the current issue of Modern Luxury. Breck was an extraordinarily fun and enthusiastic subject. We ended up shooting for a couple of hours, every now and then taking a break to talk about music, style and travel. It was a blast. I wish they could all be like this one.

Here are a couple of other versions and outtakes:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NYC, How I Miss Thee...

It's been a while since I've had a chance to visit New York, and I'm thinking it's about time I head back east. Fall seems like a good time to see some old friends, set up some portfolio showings, and swing by my favorite optical shop, MOSCOT, for a pair of these:

Moscot's 'Nebb' frames in tortoise.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Las Meninas, After Velazquez

When we were in Barcelona, we visited the Museu Picasso. There's an entire room dedicated to his series 'Las Meninas, after Velazquez' and I found it extremely inspiring. I guess I never fully grasped how absolutely devoted Picasso was to his craft. In the span of only four months, he painted fifty eight interpretations of Velazquez' work.

Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez

The museum describes his series as an "exhaustive study of form, rhythm, colour and movement." It was incredible to see these in person, imagining Picasso at work, studiously examining his own technique and approach. That examination, and the discipline with which he made it is what really impressed me.