- "Simple" and tasty burgers a la Marcus Nilsson
- Mikkel Vang shoots for H&M Home!
- Lee Clower: New York Times Shoot with Sandra Lee!
- Tom Watson: New Beauty
- Q&A with Frank Herholdt!
- ..And He's Off!
- Marcus Nilsson: "Guns Within Reach"
- New Portraits by Sue Parkhill!
- New Beauty by Tom Watson!
- David Sykes - Buona Pasqua!
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Born and raised in South Africa in the midst of Apartheid, Frank Herholdt grew up surrounded by oppression, segregation, and extreme racism. Dissolusioned by the tyranny around him, Frank became seduced by the romanticism of film in the era of Hitchcock, Fellini, and Bergman. Aside from film, Frank also fell particularly in love with the romantic chiaroscuro utilized in the paintings of Caravaggio and Vermeer: "The light in Johannesburg is harsh and uncompromising...I loved looking at European art and seeing the gentle light used by the old masters," he explained. Years later, Frank now lives in London with his family, but traces of his childhood adoration for film and European art prove indisputably present throughout his work. An established and irrefutably talented photographer, Frank sits down with JMI to talk about his past, present, and the many influences behind his unique photographic style.
JMI REPS: You lived in South Africa for a short while before moving to London, is that right?
FRANK HERHOLDT: I was in fact born and raised in South Africa, right in the middle of a very suppressive era - the Apartheid era. Luckily, my father worked at a very liberal university, and as a child and young adult, I was exposed to numerous professors and lecturers who had liberal views - a number [of whom] were later persecuted and jailed by the state for their anti-racist veiws...This upbringing made me rather angry and anti-establishment. I was hopeless at sport because of my terrible eyesight, and so I was a bit of a nerd that didn't fit in. My main diversion was books, and mags like LIFE, and going to the movies..
JMI: How did you get started as a photographer?
FH: I was studying Fine Art at The Johannesburg School of Art, and in my second year...I ran into an ex-girlfriend on the street. She was a crazy, enthusiastic character, and insisted that I come with her to meet her new husband who was a photographer. He was a really nice, generous guy, and offered to teach me dark room techniques if I would help around the studio occassionally. I started coming after school...but soon I was so hung up on the shots and the processing, I began to drop classes. Eventually, I ended up working for [him] more or less full-time. I never finished my degree! I eventually moved to London and worked with several eminent photographers, including the great American artist, Art Kane, who worked regularly in Europe. That's when I finally started my own career.
JMI: In what ways has your photography evolved since you first started out?
FH: Of course, fashion and techniques have all evolved, and I have endeavored to keep up. I would hope that I have become more and more skilled, and also more mature in many ways.
JMI: How would you characterize your photography?
FH: Narrative. Painterly, mostly.
JMI: What inspires your photography most?
FH: I can't answer this one too easily. I am not good at leisurely pursuits, I don't get golf or fishing, and I cycle to keep fit (but secretly hate it). So, really, the thing I love doing most is taking pictures that work - but that isn't always easy.
JMI: Do you ever find yourself influenced by other artists' work?
FH: I constantly visit both art and photography exhibitions, and look stuff up online. So yes, I am definitely inspired by other artists' work - Bill Brant, Guy Bourdan, Man Ray, Andre Kertesz, Alex Prager, Ryan McGinley, and Steven Meisel.
JMI: You've shot everything from conceptual pieces to portraits to lifestyle work...Do you prefer one style of shooting to the others?
FH: I just like taking pictures, and the cooperation and interaction between the crew and the subjects. I guess my favorite is conceptual.
JMI: Really? Which conceptual piece of yours is your favorite?
FH: The guy smoking in the foreground with the girl on the bed.
JMI: I love that photograph! My favorite of yours is the one you shot for Brooks saddles, where the hounds are chasing down the man and woman holding the fox (pictured above). Every aspect of that photograph is absolutely perfect. What's the story behind this shot?
FH: The original idea was from a modest but wonderfully crazy art director, Fabio Fedrigo. He is Italian and looks at British culture with a different perspective. The shot took weeks to prepare and negotiate. None of the hunt clubs would cooperate because they thought it was too "anti-hunt," and the producer struggled to find someone who would provide the hounds. Also, it was shot in late-October, and the weather was awful. I had about 7 assistants on this shoot, and they were run ragged - chasing dogs, covering light from the rain, and pumping smoke across the background. Everybody was covered with mud by the end of the shoot.
JMI: That sounds chaotic! What is your typical approach on shoot days? Do you walk into a shoot with a particular focus, or are you more "go-with-the-flow"?
FH: I am a maniacal researcher...no way "go-with-the-flow." I try to research and plan every aspect of the shoot - even the catering (a happy crew is a well-fed crew)! Clearly there will be spontaneous moments, but only within the original planning.
JMI: Looking forward, is there anything new and exciting on the horizon for you?
FH: There's this woman I met who makes these really strange masks - decorative, gold masks. She's an artist and is doing really well in London. I have an idea to do something with that soon. I've also been shooting portraits lately, of mothers and children we've met in the park, etc. I have various projects up my sleeve...
On the heels of her recent inauguration into Rehabilitation Through Photography, a New York-based NPO centered on the rehabilitative capacity of the creative arts, photographer AMY POSTLE sat down with JMI to talk about the program, her inspiring involvement, and the true power of creativity.
JMI REPS: You've recently become involved with the Rehabilitation Through Photography NPO here in New York. For those who are unfamiliar with the organization, what can you tell us about it?
AMY POSTLE: Rehabilitation Through Photography is a local not-for-profit that, for 70 years, has implemented a broad range of photography programs to various populations throughout New York, including the physically and emotionally challenged, elderly, at-risk youth, homeless, and the visually impaired.
JMI: What is your roll in the program?
AP: My program takes place at Marilyn David IVDU Upper School, a special needs high school for girls in Brooklyn. I am a volunteer photography instructor who created, implemented, and am currently teaching weekly photography classes to eleven emotionally and socially challenged girls, ages 13-21.
JMI: What techniques are introduced during a typical class period?
AP: We work with point and shoot cameras, learning practical skills while exploring the creative process.
JMI: While clearly centered on the photography process, what else would you say this program offers its students?
AP: My goal is not only to expose the students to the creative arts, but to enhance their life skills...to inspire and enable (them) to channel their energy in an open and expressive way, reinforcing independence, self-confidence, and a sense of accomplishment.
JMI: What has been one of your most memorable classroom experiences, thus-far?
AP: The highlight of my first class was a breakthrough I had with one of the students, Tahilla. Having been warned of her intense shyness, it was an overwhelming feeling to have her engage, ask questions, and be very focused. Watching her explore the room with her camera was equally exciting. She was drawn to shapes, color, and she, who had never even held a camera before, by far captured the most creative images of the day.
JMI: What insight has being a part of this program given you into the power of photography as a vessel of expression?
AP: While I love my commercial work, the joy I am receiving by helping these girls is so unique. In my class, I see students connecting to each other and to the world through their cameras...the creative process is helping them find their voice.
Here it is! The cover of Parenting Magazine (and story- see below!) shot by Lee Clower AND part II of the interview series! In part II we will get into the "nitty gritty" of the First Lady shoot exposing what Lee felt, experienced and did that day! Here goes, enjoy!
JMI: We want to get a feel for your “day of shoot” routine…What was that morning like, before you actually got the shoot going?
LC: Well, I’ll step back a second and say that upon arriving in DC the day before the shoot, I took my team and the camera and back up camera and other back up camera around the city to shoot and get in the mindset of being a patriotic American. It was a really great experience for all of us and genuinely brought a feeling of unity to our team for the next day.
On that particular morning, I was in an especially good mood as I walked to Starbucks in the rain to pick up my copy of The New York Times. The rain could have really wrecked the entire shoot concept because we were planning to shoot on the South Lawn. But, I was in a good mood despite the rain because I had a backup plan that I was confident everyone would love. And they did!
JMI: What was the backup plan?
LC: Well, every kid loves a good picnic and is pretty bummed when the plans have to change so I figured it would be fun to just “go with the flow” and move the picnic inside. Everyone thought it was a great idea…so that’s what we went with.
JMI: A rainy day picnic, awesome! Was there music on set? Or was it everyone all abuzz that there was no need?
LC: No music on set, at all. But I did listen to Renee Fleming all morning in my hotel room. When prepping back in New York I listened to “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen 'cause that’s what seemed right….but Renee’s voice puts me in the right place every time.
JMI: Whatever gets you in the zone! You told us at the end of our last interview that you weren’t nervous…. what were you feeling right before she arrived on set? Did the nerves kick in then?
LC: Oddly enough, even with the best efforts of the Secret Service in play, nervous never entered into it for me. I think my enthusiasm was so great that there simply was no room for any other emotion. Even when the Secret Service treated her arrival like the Space Shuttle launch:
“First Lady arriving in 15 minutes, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, 1 minute, 30 seconds, 5-4-3-2-1…..Everyone, the First Lady has arrived.”
JMI: And there she was! Tell us about your first interaction with her!
LC: Her presence was simply larger than life in person. The best part of our introduction was when I told her that the six kids that would be photographed with her were going to stay hidden around the corner until we called them out to meet her. I really wanted to capture all of the emotion that came along with the kids interacting with her for the first time. She loved the plan and the kids, unwittingly perhaps, loved it too.
JMI: No stranger to cameras, how did you get the First Lady to act natural right off the bat? After all, you only had 30 minutes for two scenarios and had lots of shots to capture! Time was of the essence….
LC: She naturally fell into her “mom” role and just because the White House setting was so regal, we all felt a sense of elegance. It also sort of took care of itself because we photographed her with the kids first. So she was immediately tossed into the situation of interacting with them!
JMI: Makes sense. She was interacting with the kids AND she was in her own home!
The interactions she had with the kids seem truly genuine. Was it hard to balance directing the kids and getting them to do what you needed for the shot while still keeping full focus on Mrs. Obama?
LC: One important element for me when shooting kids is I prefer to not have preconceived notions of what they should or shouldn’t do. In this case, since there were six of them in the shot, the most I could demand was that they do whatever they felt like doing within the frame. That was the tricky part!
Also- it was really important to me that the shoot felt genuine, personal and real. I made a conscious effort to not spend too much time looking at the tech monitor/screen and really just focused on interacting with the First Lady and the kids. I wanted to have a good flow.
JMI: What was the funniest thing said on set?
LC: Ha, easy one. At one point there was an issue with one of the lights. I used my normal terminology on set and told my assistant to “kill” the backlight…
Well as I said it, I realized the mistake and stuck my head out from behind the camera to find the Secret Service agent in charge starring hard and shaking his head at me…We [First Lady] looked at each other and laughed. For next time I know not to use the term “kill” with the First Lady in front of my camera. On second thought, I’ll probably strike it from the White House “approved vocabulary list”.
JMI: We know the shoot was all about the First Lady but did she mention President Obama at all? The upcoming presidential race?
LC: She did not mention him at all and I was aware not to either! When this job first came up, I had a few friends and colleagues mention how great it would be if the President was involved and included but [with all due respect] I never saw it that way. The honor of shooting Michelle Obama was not to be lessened by wanting something more or different.
However, the President was in the building even though he was not scheduled to be! As we wrapped the shoot and started breaking down the significant set in the State Dining Room, we were advised that the man himself was just outside our door and we could not leave for at least an hour. In accepting our fate, we proceeded to run around the room to shoot outtakes of the crew in front of the gigantic windows, even more gigantic fireplace and paintings of Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson.
After an hour we were told that President Obama had stepped away for five minutes but only a few of us could go through the main exit. So, my team of 3 and I would have to be escorted through the back way by Secret Service agents. The rest of this story could compromise national security so I will leave it at this...we ended up back at the South Lawn where we started the day!
JMI: Since we know you are a HUGE dog lover, it seems the only way this day could have gotten better is if you had a run in with Bo (the First Dog) as well. Oh wait…you did!
LC: My wish to meet Bo was granted if only accidentally! He was heading out for a walk and stopped in front of me for less than two seconds so I had time to either take his picture or pet him. I assume you can guess which one I chose!
And there you have it, above is the finish product! Looks pretty great, doesn't it? Be sure to click the images above to go to the parenting.com site for the full interview as well as a video of Mrs. Obama!
We want to thank everyone at Parenting Magazine once again for this amazing opportunity. And a huge shoutout/thank you to Lee Clower for being so open and awesome during this whole process! Be sure to pick up a copy of the August Issue of Parenting Magazine!
We know the change in temperature makes everyone a bit more conscious about getting "beach bod ready" but we strongly suggest you put down the dumbells and pick up a copy of this months Town & Country. Featured in the "Out & About: Culture, Leisure and Other Pursuits" section is a story of the "stylish pixie from Atlanta" owner of Cacao Atlanta, Kristen Hard. The "self-taught chocolate-maker [Hard] is one of the few chocolateiers who starts with beans that she personally procures, and then roasts, grinds, tempers, and molds." Pretty cool stuff!
T&C asked Lee Clower to return to his homestate of Georgia to shoot Ms. Hard in the back of one of her three Atlanta shops. We had a chance to catch up with Lee a bit about his time back in the "peach state" and what it was like to spend the day with the chocolate visionary.
JMI: First things first, did you get to eat chocolate?
Lee Clower: Yes, all day.
JMI: Lucky you! From the article it sounds like Kristen is a pretty awesome lady. Tell us about her!
LC: Kristen is very elegant and Southern. In fact, she is four of my favorite things in life: elegant, Southern, hot AND she makes chocolate! I had trouble deciding which I preferred more, Kristen's elegant demeanor and appearance, or her chocolate...so I shot both!
JMI: Tell us about the store/ shoot environment? And how was it to be back in Atlanta shooting? We know your southern roots are very important to you!
LC: The environment of the shoot was appropriately "upscale Southern" which was perfect for Town & Country! And It's always nice to go home, especially when I get to work with people who are also from the south. Always nice to return to my roots!
Check out the shots:
We will for sure be heading to Cacao Atlanta next time we head down south!