Tag Archives: photographer james weber

MOD Fashion

My latest editorial from the fantastic team below. 🙂

Fashion Styling by David Widjaja, introartists.com

Hair by Elsa Canedo, www.elsahair.com
Makeup by Patrycja @ www.halleyresources.com
Model: Veronika Gorczyca @ Women Direct


Elsa had a great idea to use electrical tape to wrap the hair up.  We switched it out once from white to black.  It was a simple and beautiful way to showcase the hair.  This is one of the more interesting dresses I’ve ever seen. It’s got a motor inside it that puts air inside the dress…awesome. 🙂


Always love The Blonds and there’s the star of the show…the Gareth Pugh Cage Corset


Love the Tom Ford, and the Red in the shoes with the lip….

I got inspired by the Gareth Pugh cage corset, so I did a little video at the end of the shoot.  Veronika was amazing!

It was a fantastic day all around, thanks to my team. 🙂

More updates to come if I can but find the time to blog about it…lol.  Til next time… James

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Christy Turlington Cover Shoot!

Ok, so here I am in the Dominican Republic, on my Honeymoon, enjoying this beautiful weather and perfect scenery…

…and then I look down at my phone(I know…I’m on my Honeymoon, I shouldn’t be looking at my emails…lol)…but what would that have gotten me?…Ha!  Anyway, there was an email from  Women’s Running Magazine asking me if I’d, “Like” to shoot Christy Turlington for their March/April 2012 issue.  Ummm…well….you know…Yea!

To shoot one of the original Supermodels of our time, and a personal favorite of mine…. Aaaaamazing!! It turned out to be a really wonderful shoot.  She’s absolutely one of the nicest people I’ve ever shot.  Beyond being physically beautiful, as has been captured for her entire career as a model, she’s also a great human being.

Much of the feature in the magazine covers Christy’s foundation, www.everymothercounts.org.  It seeks to help increase education and support for mothers and their children’s health.  Did you know that a woman dies every 90 seconds from complications of pregnancy?  Neither did I before I met Christy.   You wouldn’t think that in today’s world, this could still be happening. Please check out the foundation link above for more information.  Christy also directed a documentary film, “No Woman, No Cry”, in which she travels to four parts of the world where maternal care is desperately needed.   You can see more about her film here, “No Woman, No Cry” Film.

It was truly an honor to meet and photograph her.

Can you believe she’s a mother of two?  Insanity… 🙂

Here are the results of our shoot…

Here’s a little behind the scenes video of our shoot. 🙂

I must thank my wonderful team for their amazing work here.

Team:
Photography:  James Weber, www.jamesweberstudio.com
Hair Stylist: Giovanni Giuntoli, www.giovannigiuntoli.com
Makeup Artist: Tamah K, www.seemanagement.com
Art Direction:  Melissa Mellert
1st Assistant:  James Sullivan, http://www.1prophoto.com
2nd Assistant/Videographer:  Jesus Baez

Thanks to David Zimand for the portrait of me in the contributor photo.  It was taken at the May 5th, “Art for the Cause” event for my foundation, The Leukemia Needs Foundation.  www.leukneeds.org

It was nice of the magazine to do a little behind the scenes of the shoot.  We had such a great time shooting it.  It all happened in 2 hours.  Hair/Makeup/Photography, and even a small interview during hair and makeup.   It’s amazing how much you can get done when you have to. 🙂

We had some fun at the end of the shoot with her in her, “Every Mother Counts” t-shirt.  I LOVED her energy!

Thanks so much for checking this out…more to come soon.  I’m working on a little video behind the scenes right now…check back later for that…

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Magna Beer – Water Shoot

So I don’t think I’ve ever grown up.  I mean, really…still playing in a pool of water only a few inches deep…makes you think back to that little plastic pool you had as a kid.  What can I say, water is fun to shoot…in and around, if a little messy.  I had my two compatriots, Henry Alvarez and Jesus Baez with me to create some great beer advertising imagery.  This is not a project you can do alone.  It requires teamwork.

The idea was simple:

1. Go to Home Depot and buy new Drill!! (been looking for an excuse for that). Love me some Makita.
2. Create big pool enclosure out of 1’x6’s reinforced by 2’x4′ pieces at the corners. Make sure to screw from the inside out or risk the screw going to deep and puncturing a hole in your enclosure…
2. Fill pool with water(and hope it doesn’t leak).  For this, I bought a 10’x25′ 6 mil drop cloth that I doubled, so that, effectively, you get 2-6mil plys for your waterproofing.
3. Set up boom and tie off beer bottle to it via fishing line.
4. Light it and throw water at it and me until the perfect capture is made…

So is this work or play??  Play was definitely in the shooting…work was most CERTAINLY the cleanup…hand bailing out of 400 gallons + of water isn’t good for the back. 🙂

So here’s the money shot.  Click the image to see it bigger…you can see more detail in the larger pic.

The pool was 8′ x 8′, and the bottle was set near the front of the pool.  I believe the f/stop was 4.8, which allowed a nice depth of field behind the bottle for the water droplets to go in and out of focus based on how far from the camera they were.

Here’s a closeup shot.  Strangely enough, all the best shots came when the camera and I got wet as well…gotta take one for the team sometimes. 😉

…and the team that helped create it(below).
Jesus Baez on the left and Henry Alvarez on the right.  I’d like to thank both of them again for their help and hard work, especially on breaking down the set and draining the lake…not fun…

I may post a little video later of us doing the shoot, but I’ve got no time to edit the video now…so we’ll see about that later…til next time…

Thanks for viewing,
James

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Fashion Night Out

Ok, another post that’s taken me a while to get around to…four months or so, but who’s counting. 😉  Had a great shoot in and around the High Line and the Meat Packing District.  It’s one of the few areas in New York that still have the old cobblestone streets.  Only a few years ago, meat packing was a rough place and stank to high hell with all of the meat packing plants there.  Now, most of the plants are closed, and the district has become the next big shopping mecca, but it still has the look that I wanted…

So we started hair and makeup around 4pm at my studio…thinking we’d leave for the 1st look around 6:30pm.  Well, I think we got in the location van about 7:30…a little behind as I wanted to get more of the twilight, but you roll with the changes.  We got everyone in the location van and took off.  We started off on the High Line, which was surprisingly fine with a crew of people setting up shop and shooting.  I was concerned that the people working for the High Line would take issue with people shooting there.  As I thought, however, it goes back to the principle of, “If you aren’t preventing people from moving through an area and your crew is fluid and can move where it needs to, you’re ok”.  The rules of, can you shoot in New York with or without a permit, only really apply if you want to stop traffic or block a street from pedestrians from coming through your set.  If you’re fluid, you’re generally good.

We shot this while we had a guard coming over to us and saying, nicely, “10 minutes to closing”…which was nice of them.  They didn’t have any issue with us shooting there, they just wanted us out on time.

So we headed out on the street, I believe this is Gansevoort St…with the Gansevoort Hotel in the background.  I’m a huge fan of mixing strobe and ambient light, be it outside in full daylight or, as in this shot, using the city lights at night as the ambient.  Time exposure, around 1-2 seconds + Beauty dish strobe.

Here we are taking a break at our location van/changing station…

Onto the next shot…

This one was difficult.  I was walking back with the model, still at about 1 sec exposure, and had my assistant James walking back as well with the strobe, trying to keep the distance the same so the exposure is good.  We did this eight or nine times and I ended up liking two images.  So this is two of the individual images put together in post.  Other than that, there’s not much done to them.  All of the blurring and colors were done in camera.

Loved the storefront from Christian Louboutin and the colors it gave off on the model.

I liked the way the red dress and stockings were set off from the blue/silver background.  Also another image put together in post from two single vertical shots.  This wasn’t an easy thing to do.  La Boutique Creative Retouching did a great job making it look seamless.

Now onto our last and most traumatic look.   It was 2am and we were all tired.  Maria’s ponytail was so tight it was becoming painful.  We were all happy that David and Moani had packed up the car and moved it down the street to the end of 27th and the west side highway.  We were ready to go once the look was done.  They then came to join us while we finished up the last look.  The look itself was easy and done in 20 minutes.

We were maybe a 5 minute walk from the location van.   We finished up and started walking back.  We got back to where we had parked the location van….

and it was gone…

So there we were, staring at each other…mildly freaking out.  We were only gone 15 minutes, which means someone was watching and waiting for us to leave.  The only question is…stolen, or towed??  I looked at a sign on the wall and it looks like we were in a tow-zone at night.  Moani, the clear headed thinker that she is, knew about the Tow Yard around 30th and the West Side Highway.  We took off in a cab to the tow yard…

So while I’m in line checking to see if the tow yard had it, Moani took a little video to capture the moment…did they have it or was it stolen???

So, yes, they had it and it took another hour and a half, plus tickets and fees to get our lives back…clothes, camera equipment, etc…which was about 3:30am.  It ended well, but not without a dramatic flair. 🙂  Thanks again to my wonderful crew who put up with a late start and even LATER finish…

THE Crew:

Photography by James Weber, www.jamesweberstudio.com
Styled by David Widjaja, www.introartists.com
Makeup by Moani Lee, www.moanilee.com
Hair by Nelson Vercher, www.utopianyc.com
Model:  Maria Beljanina, www.majormodel.com
Photographic Assistance:  James Sullivan, www.1prophoto.com
Retouching:  La Boutique Creative Retouching, www.laboutiqueny.com



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The Kanji Cosmetics Project – Skin’s Signs

Late last year, I had a wonderful collaboration with two amazing artists on a very interesting, conceptual still life project.  We started the project with seven kanji signs: Love, Life, Harmony, Dream, Happiness, Flower, and Strength.  The idea was to create these signs using cosmetics in an interesting, visual way.  The thing I liked most about this project was the complete creative freedom that was given to us by Hea7en Magazine, where it was run.

I almost didn’t take this on as the actual doing, writing, creating of the kanji symbols in cosmetics to me was very daunting.  In comes my savior, Moani Lee.  Aside from being an amazing makeup artist, Moani also brought to the table the ability to write/create the kanji symbols.  As this is a beauty cosmetics story, I would need someone that really knew the cosmetics and how they interacted with each other.  A story board might also be nice…Problem solved.  Moani came through on all fronts.  She story boarded the project, which was genius….and we got started.

Moani and I got together and went shopping for the accessories that we needed down the street in the Flower District of New York.  I love having that street so near to me as it provides so many great props for shooting different genres.  So we walked out of the store with about $50 in props, that on another day, wouldn’t have caught your gaze, but I knew they would be perfect for our shoot.  So while Moani worked on creating the cosmetic art for me to shoot, I worked on lighting the scene so that each one would have it’s own look and feel.

The last piece of the puzzle was the graphic design work.  We wanted something on the opposite page that reflected what the kanji symbol looked like, but we didn’t know where to go or how to do it.  Enter, David H…

David is an incredible graphic artist.  He took to the project head on and created seven beautiful kanji masterpieces for us to use opposite the photography.

MAC Shirelle Nail Laquer

It’s a tough call, but I think “Love” was my favorite.  It just pops off the page visually.  This isn’t a digital creation.  Moani created the base symbol out of glue, let it dry, then “wrote” on top of it with the nail laquer so that it would be raised higher.  The higher it was, the better for me to light it and get the three dimensional look I was going for.

MAC Studio Sculpt SPF 15 Foundation.

Here’s, “Life”, aka “Sexual Chocolate”.  If this wasn’t foundation, I’d think it was pudding that I should dive into and love. 🙂

Mac Gloss Lipmix

I Ioved,  “Harmony”, but it was a hell of a lighting challenge.  How do you light something that’s clear and put directly on a mirror?  Very carefully…I probably took the most time shooting this one as it wasn’t an easy light.  In the end, though, I loved the outcome.

MAC Iridescent Powder  / Loose in Golden Bronze mixed with MAC Matte (Creme Matifiante)

MAC Baby’s on Fire (Dazzle) Lipstick.

Photographically, this is the one that I had the most fun with.  The base that it’s sitting on is this silver dish shaped like a leaf.  Obviously it reflected everything, so I thought to put a red gel over the top of me so that it would warm up the entire photo.  You can actually still see my hand near the top left third of the photo.  Distorted, yes, but still there..

MAC Electric Eel Eyeshadow / MAC Vibrant Grape Eyeshadow / MAC Mascara in Black / MAC Golden Lemon Pigment / MAC Neo Orange Pigment / MAC Fuchsia Pigment.

Flower was a real challenge for Moani as it had to be built upon and you can’t really clean it up if you make a mistake.  She did a wonderful job adding in all of the different colors and making this symbol.
MAC Mineralize All-Over Lotion

Here’s Moani working on “Life”, or as we nicknamed it, “Sexual Chocolate”. 🙂

Me downloading the images manually as the tether decided not to work that day…I dunno, would you trust this guy?   😉

On the right, in the foreground you can see a little bit of, “dream” and a nice closeup of the coffee that fueled us…

It turned out to be a fun, creative day.  I’d love to give props to my two partners in crime here, Moani Lee and David H for making this a wonderful story.

Special thanks to Joe Lombardo for bringing this story to Moani and I to shoot.  He was the catalyst that brought all of us together and got the creative spark going.  He’s also the photographer for the wonderful behind the scenes images you see here.

THE Team:
Photography: James Weber
Makeup/Styling/Story Boarding:  Moani Lee, www.moanilee.com
Graphic Artistry/Layout/Design: David H,

Retouching:  La Boutique Creative Retouching, http://www.laboutiqueny.com These guys did an amazing job,  I’d highly recommend them.  They’re a very professional organization.

Hea7en Magazine Issue 4
:  There are many other wonderful artists here in this issue.  I was kind a blown away when I first saw it.  It’s art and photography rolled into one..

Thanks and see you again next time…

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Portillo Wine Ad Campaign

I’ve teamed up again with Creative Director, Henry Alvarez on the new campaign for Portillo Wines.  It’s always good to know the agency point of view, so I asked him, “From a branding point of view, what did you want to accomplish for Portillo with this ad?  What was the Client looking for?”

Henry: “We wanted an image with strong appetite appeal as well as create a mood and atmosphere that would bring an elegance to the dining experience.  Our assignment was to connect Portillo Malbec with steak. We played back and forth with a strong tagline. We finally arrived at “A Cut Above the Rest”.  Once done we ended up with a strong consumer Point of Sale campaign that elevated the brand.” 

The shots we needed were broken down into three individual images, which would then be combined to make the different creatives needed.

1. Shoot the wine bottle alone and the wine glass alone.  That would go towards the first creative.
2.  Shoot the food + wine glass, then add in the wine bottle shot in #1, which would go towards the second creative. The shots would all be used in a mix of website use and advertising formats.

So here is the first creative, made up of the bottle and wine glass separately and put together in post.  There would be no way to light both of them together and achieve this same result, thus the decision to shoot each of them separately.

So here was the set for the bottle shot.  The main light is coming from 2 strobes with reflectors shooting through the 4’x8′ plexi on the left hand side.  This softens up the light so that the rich detail in the label doesn’t get blown out.  The reflection on the right is created by the silver card on the right, sitting on the table.  The two reflections running up and down both sides of the bottle are created by the soft boxes in the back facing in.  Lastly, I’ve got one more light on the floor with a beauty dish + grid hitting the backdrop so that there is some separation from the background.  Below is the shot.

The individual wine glass shot I don’t actually have a behind the scenes photo of.  I had to create a totally black room out of black v-flats.  The only area for light the was possible was from the back side where I had the 4’x6′ feathered off.  It was a one softbox shot.  Getting the angle right was the hardest on this one so that there was a nice reflection on both sides of the glass and the wine showed up just enough.  I fired the camera remotely so that I wouldn’t be in the reflection.  It was much more to setup than to actually shoot.  We did have to do a little post on the glass as even as much as we tried to clean it, there was still a little dust here and there.

Here is the version with the Argentinian Steak.  Although I don’t have a behind the scenes for this one, I used Dedo Lights to do the job on this one instead of strobe. They allowed me to spotlight what I needed and provide a low depth of field.

A little about the wine and the region…click the image to see it larger.

So that’s it for now…stay tuned for more…

Thanks to the Team:

Photography: James Weber, www.jamesweberstudio.com
Creative Director, Henry Alvarez
Food Styling: Ed Gabriels, www.halleyresources.com
First Assistant:  James Sullivan

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Evolution – Shannon

I had another wonderful Evolution shoot today with one of my favorite models, Shannon. We shot a few years ago and I’ve been trying ever since to get her to pose for the project.  It’s taken me a few years to break her down, but she finally agreed…so here’s to tenacity… 🙂

Even in a studio that I had prepped to be nice and warm, the moment you put the mud mixture on, it gets a little chilly. It’s kind of like jumping into water that you know is a little cold, you just have to get in and get it over with. She dove right into the mud treatment.  So she was a real trooper.

I shot these with the Hasselblad H3DII, 80mm lens, with the HTS 1.5 Tilt shift Adapter.  I like using the HTS as it gives you some of the controls of a 4×5, but in the Hasselblad system.  It changes the plane of focus, which can be a nice change of pace from the norm.

I used a few different lighting setups.  A few direct light, but most of it was bounced light through a beauty dish with grid or P-50 reflector with grid.  That leaves the background a nice gray and the light soft.

Here are a few of the images from the shoot…

This was one of the first shots in the shoot…it’s nice to start off with one you like right away.



On this one I did a little slow shutter and liked the effect…



I’m not sure between these last two which one I like more.  I’m leaning towards the last one…care to vote?

So there’s a few more for the Book and Show later on this year.  I’ve probably got three or four more and then I’ll close up the project for the moment and concentrate on editing and getting the book/show ready.  Until next time…and thanks again, Shannon for giving the project a second look. 🙂  These will be a fantastic addition…

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Rooftop Fashion Shoot

A while back I shot these images as part of a hair editorial that sadly did not get published.  Timing is everything, and in this case, we were a little late getting it out to the editors.  I was going over some of the images recently and I realized I never put them out there.  I really liked the lighting and what the team and I did that day.  I got to mix a little strobe with daylight, which I love.  It always gives you a somewhat otherworldly look that I enjoy.  It’s like taking reality and giving it a visual focus on what you want.  In this case, I used a two light setup.  In shot one you can see the bare head strobe that I kept in a few of the shots.  It creates an in-camera natural starburst(not photoshop).   In the last set of images, you see the Redwing boom that is over the head of the orange/red haired(wig) asian model.  That was set to a fairly high power setting so that it would overpower the daylight and give it a somewhat darker look like dusk, even though I shot them in full daylight.



Sometimes it’s nice to leave the lights/equipment in the for atmosphere.  I thought leaving in the boom in this shot made it a little more dynamic and gave it some scale.

The trick to getting these images right was adding in a table to get the models a few feet off of the roof top itself.  This allowed me to get underneath them and shoot up, giving me more of the city above, and less of the regular looking rooftop below.   It’s a more cinematic viewpoint.  The clouds added a wonderful background.  I think if this day was just a normal sunny day, they wouldn’t have the visual impact that they have.   Hair, Makeup, and Styling by the Tearsheet Artistic Team.

Here’s a couple behind the scenes shots.  I added some mylar to the table that we were using to elevate the models to give it a stronger fill from the bottom.  I also had to reinforce the table with some wood pieces too to make it safer…

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Black & White Beauty

Beauty…

Most of us ascribe current beauty images with beautiful full color images.  Let’s be honest, though…most of these images are ridiculously retouched for most of the major ads.  In terms of what “sells” in the beauty world, it’s all color.   I’ve personally been told that black and white beauty images don’t sell.   What’s the point in creating or showing work that shouldn’t sell??  Well, maybe because I like it and who the #$%@ cares.  At some point in your life you have to create images for yourself regardless of  what other people tell you is right or appropriate.   I like the feel of a beautifully crafted black and white image.  I breaks it down to just the essence of the photograph.  Light, Shape, and Form.  In any case, I’ve been shooting some images recently and have been compiling a series of them that I think really take shape in the black and white environment.  Here are a few of them…













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Night at the Museum

Recently, I got an opportunity to do a shoot in the King
Tut Exhibit in New York City. It was for Dr. Zahi Hawass’s new men’s line. As well
as being a leading Egyptologist, he is also the star of the
television show ‘Chasing Mummies’ on the History Channel.

cover/back cover
images courtesy of Zahi Hawass.

It was really
unprecedented that we got access to shoot at the museum. Usually,
there are no cameras permitted inside the museum space. Obviously,
we had to do the shoot when the museum was closed as we couldn’t
interrupt the daily business of the Exhibit. That being said, the
call time was 9:30pm for crew and models. Unfortunately, there is
only one freight elevator and that closed at 4pm. So, my assistant,
James Sullivan, and I trekked over with the stuff earlier in the
day to beat the freight closing. The hardest part about doing a
location job like this is that if you don’t have what you need with
you…you just don’t have it. Period. The doors opened for us once
at 9:30, and then were closed and locked behind us. So, we brought
ALL the gear, and then the kitchen sink. We would be shooting in
the museum from 9:30pm to 7am. It was a looong night. After the
freight drop off, I got some sleep, but it’s hard to try and train
your body to stay up and focused for such a long time after you’re
normally in bed. So there was lots of coffee and red bull for us as
the night wore on. As I was working out
the lighting of the space, I wanted it to be dramatic and as much
as we could manage, have it not look like we were in a museum. I
wanted the lighting to feel like we were in a tomb with the work
lights on in the background lighting up the space. I also wanted
the lights to be shot directly into the camera lens, which creates
the sunburst/rainbow effect above. That would give the space some
life that it otherwise wouldn’t have. Using the hot lights also
adds a warmth to the photos.

We’re shooting here
against what I think was the best artifact in the museum. It’s the
“Gilded Coffin of Tjuya”. (Text from the museum): It was
made during the reign of Amenhotep III. During his reign, Amenhotep
authorized a burial in the Valley of the kings for his non-royal
in-laws. The tomb included this elaborately decorated coffin for
Tjuya. It’s spells and divine imagery ensured her successful
transition to the afterlife.

I took the photo below of this
beautiful artifact. Click to see it larger. The detail is really
exquisite.

There were certainly
restrictions and some difficulties to shooting there. The first of
course is the lock down we were in. The head of security was with
us the whole time. Basically, no one could leave until 7am when the
doors would be opened again. Also, the glass cases that these
artifacts were in had seismometers in them that would set off an
alarm and call the police/fire department if someone bumped into
them too hard. They were also temperature controlled, so that if
the temperature exceeeded 70 degrees inside the glass case, the
same thing would happen. So…I’m using hot lights… 😉 Yes, we
had to monitor the reading in the glass case a few times and
couldn’t put the lights too close to the case so it wouldn’t heat
up and set off the alarm.

One thing that no one counted
on was the music. It was the kinda creepy instrumental music that
the museum plays all day…well it played ALLLLL night as well. We
couldn’t turn it off. At about 5am we all started getting a little
loopy and the music wasn’t helping at all…lol. Art Zulu, who also
did the book design, did some wonderful compositing of some of the
images with or against images of hieroglyphics and other antiquity
artwork(all with permission). Lora Flaugh of Art
Zulu, the branding and design firm that designed and is selling the
line, has this to say about the new clothing line: “The Zahi Hawass
collection features natural dyes, vegetable dyes, and organic
cottons with environmentally friendly fabrics that deliver a bold
new look for men. The rich khakis, deep blues and soft, weathered
leathers tie together the rich tapestry of ancient Egyptian
artifacts in his new collection”.
Thanks go out to my
wonderful team:

Men’s Grooming:
Daryon Haylock First Assistant: James Sullivan

A big
thanks to everyone at Art Zulu, www.artzulu.com, for
making it a fun, “Night at the Museum”. 🙂

Edited to add some additional information, Interviewer Danny Ramadan of: http://damascusian.wordpress.com/

1.  Danny Ramadan:  Can you provide me with date, place and more information about the photoshoot. When and where did it take place? I can use quotes from your blog about the details of the photoshoot, but I want more information about specific dates and place.

James Weber:  The Shoot was on October 7th, 2010 from 9:30pm to 6:30am.  It was shot in New York at the King Tut Exhibit, 226 WEST 44TH STREET (between Broadway & 8th avenues)

2.  Danny Ramadan:  You blogged about the photoshoot on November 23rd. The revolution in Egypt took place in January 25th. Can you tell me more about the reaction to the blogpost between November and January and that after the revolution.

James Weber:  Since the blog was written on Nov. 23rd, I have not had any negative reaction to it until 4/14/2010, well after the revolution. I imagine this is when information from my post was published somewhere in a blog or newspaper in Egypt or an Egyptian blog.  The comments have been mostly negative, lambasting Dr. Hawass for doing the shoot with country resources for personal gain.  A lot of them seeking to sue him or oust him from the ministry post he now holds again.  Some of the time, the posts lambasted me as well for being a part of it, but most of their energy has been focused on Dr. Hawass.

3. Danny Ramadan:  Tell me more about the original pieces used in the photoshoot as a background and the replicas used in the photoshoots as well. In one of the photos, the model is placing his foot on one of the artifacts; is it real one or a replica?

James Weber:  The only original artifacts used in the shoots were as backgrounds.  None were ever touched.  The chair and the bench that we used are replicas.  We never would have sat a model down in a 3,000 year old artifact.  We would have also never had the chance.  All of the artifacts, such as the chairs you speak of are protected under glass.  There was also some photoshop involved in some of the images.  The one photo where his foot is up in what looks like a Hieroglyphics wall, that’s a photograph of the Hieroglyphics wall, mixed with a photo I took of the model.

4.  Danny Ramadan: Tell me more about the safety measures you and your team took to protect the artifacts; were they ordered by Zahi Hawass himself or by the New York museum? Who was there to make sure that these measures are being respected?

James Weber:  Safety of the artifacts was a primary concern for us.  The entire time that we were there, the Exhibit’s head of security was with us.  He was there to safeguard the artifacts themselves and also informed me about the safety features that the items behind glass had in them.  When I spoke of a seismometer in my blog post, that was relating to the glass itself, not the artifact inside.  If the protective glass was jarred, bumped, moved, in any way, it would trigger an alarm and the police and fire department would be called.  As for temperature control, the items inside the glass were not to exceed 70 degrees.  If the air inside the glass reached 71 degrees, it would trigger an alarm and the police and fire department would be called.  So these controls are inherent in all of the artifacts behind glass.  The, “Gilded Coffin of Tjuya”, is one example.  The entire King Tut Exhibit is temperature controlled for the safety of the artifacts.  That being said, the artifacts were never in any danger of damage from heat or being touched.  These safety measures were in place at the King Tut Exhibit prior to and after our shoot.  It’s just a part of how the New York Exhibit protects these artifacts.

5.  Danny Ramadan:  Was Zahi Hawass present at any moment during the photoshoot? Did he show you any documentation to prove he had any permission from anyone to use the artifacts to promote himself?

James Weber:  I’ve never met Dr. Hawass.  He was not at the shoot at any time.  He did authorize the shoot and make arrangements for the Head of Security we had with us, who was there to safeguard the artifacts.

The documentation question you ask was an irrelevant one at the time.  He was the Minister of Antiquities.  From that post, he was in charge of the very artifacts that we were shooting.  Prior to the Revolution, there wasn’t any question about his role in the country.

6.  Danny Ramadan:  In your opinion; was it Hawass’ right to take advantage of the artifacts for promoting himself?

James Weber:  Now whether he had the moral right or justification to do this shoot is another question entirely and it’s not my place to answer.  I believe the Egyptian people will be answering this question in due course.  In this way, I’m very happy that the Egyptian people have the right to speak up so forcefully now, so that this kind of dialogue can happen.

7.  Danny Ramadan:  Would you work with Hawass again? can you explain your answer?

James Weber:  Especially since this has been brought to such a negative light, I don’t believe I’ll be working with Dr. Hawass again.  In one respect, Dr. Hawass has done some great things for Egypt and Egyptian Antiquities over the years.  I only heard good things about him prior to the shoot.  Chasing Mummies was an exciting look behind the scenes at things most of us will never get to experience first hand.

Now, after the revolution, there are other questions that arose about things like this shoot…using country resources for personal gain.  I understand why the Egyptian people are outraged at what he and other governmental ministers were doing.  I’m sure everything will come out in due course as the Egyptian people demand answers.  This is only the beginning, and I think discourse like this is very healthy and necessary in any society.

I hope the answers to your questions have been helpful in shedding light on this shoot.  I can say with all sincerity that I love Egypt and her history and never wanted to do anything to tarnish her or her artifacts.  Thanks again for giving me the chance to respond.

Regards,
James

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