Tag Archives: photography

South Street Men’s Editorial

I had a great men’s shoot recently downtown around the South Street Seaport.  We had a fantastic day and a great crew.  Here are some of the results…

Styling:  Roy Fire
Men’s Grooming:   Kim Weber
Van Driver:  Kim Weber…Kim always rocks out here…she has NO trouble driving in New York City…lol.  Never drive in Soho though, those cobblestones will kill you.
Model:  Kyle Ledeboer

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Faces of Men I

I started a men’s portrait book a few years ago and have been slowly adding to it’s contents.  I’m continuing a series I’ve been working on, kind of like a men’s black and white beauty series.  I’ll be adding to it occasionally as I come across good new faces…I’ve got a few new entries to add to the collection.  The first is Kyle L.  from Major Models.  I shot two editorials with Kyle…the stories are in the works, so I’m holding off on sharing those for the moment, but we shot some portraits after the first editorial that I really liked.  He’s very chill and a great male model to work with on any shoot.  I highly recommend him.

Below are some of my other images in the series…this is an ongoing project.  Feel free to email me if you’re interested in shooting for it.

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Parvati Lifestyle

I Would like to share a a few images from my recent work with ParvatiNYC.  They wanted to update their site with new and fresh beauty images that more reflected their brand than the black and white shots they were using on their site previously.  I highly recommend their work if you ever are in the need for threading/waxing, etc…and you’re in mid-town manhattan.  See Parv or Paula and they’ll take care of you…

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New Water Still Life

I’ve started a new project based around Still Life and Fragrance specifically. While in this project, I’m not necessarily shooting the bottles for the brand, I’m exploring creatively what I can do with light, shadow, and sets to create unique visuals that showcase the beauty of the bottles in those environments.

Usually, the fragrance bottle gets shot on white or black and then cut out and put on some lifestyle image that represents what the brand is going for. Photographically and creatively, I think this approach falls short. This works and does convey the brand’s message, but I feel that they spend so much time and money creating these beautiful bottles for the fragrance, that the photograph of the bottle ends up being an uninspiring secondary visual.

My goal in this project is to find unique ways of shooting and showing off the bottles in an environment either natural or a set built for it. I think that if I let the background show through and let the bottle become a part of it’s evironment, then it will become a more interesting visual that the usual boring cutout…

Gucci’s Flora:
The fun part about Flora is that the bottle has a unique shape and takes on whatever colors you put behind it. For a subject it’s great as you can really do anything with it. I have an empty 110 gallon fish tank that is not being used right now, so I thought I’d have some fun with water drops. It’s all timing and lighting here. I think it took about 40 drops before before I got just the right angle and bubbles. You can never go wrong with water and still life. Every shot is unique and can never really be recreated, so you just have to limit the factors that could make for a bad shot and have great timing to catch it.

Marc Jacobs’ Daisy:
I took some artistic license with this one as the bottle has some very unique white flowers on top of the bottle. I knew that if it were backlit, it would create a very dramatic silhouette, while lighting the bottle’s distinctive yellow liquid and branding. Part of creating the look was using a snoot to spotlight just the bottle so that the light dropped off dramatically on the right, silhouetted the rocks and top of the bottle. I left the bubbles on the flowers intentionally as I thought it added something unique to the shot.

More to come…up next Givenchy and Escada’s Ocean Lounge.

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Water Sets…small and large.

(You can click any image below to see a larger version)

I thought I’d pass along a little of how I arrive at deciding to build certain sets. I’m a firm believer that if you think it(and it’s reasonable), anything is possible. The building blocks of this are material cost, space, time, and man(or woman) power. If you have all four, you can create anything your heart desires. Sometimes we have the space and time, people to create, but money becomes an issue. This should never stop creation, it should spur invention… This first set is born of a collaboration between myself and Jersey(stylist/set designer). Jersey and I have always worked well together in creative collaborations. We were given 2 six page spreads and told we had to have certain items in the shoot, but we could shoot it however we liked. I had wanted to do a water/nature shoot for a while, so we sat down and figured out the “how” of it. We had all of the required elements: Space(my studio), $$(relatively inexpensive), time and manpower were at hand as well. So the river/lake edge set was born.
This Project was built in a waterproof 4’x4′ enclosure that I made out of plywood and 2″x4″s. 1/2 of an old aerobed made the waterproofing for this one. It was sacrificed for the good of the project. 🙂Being on 28th St. between 7th and 8th avenue in Manhattan is a HUGE benefit to shooting Still Life. The Flower District is only one street over between 6th and 7th. If there’s a rock, tree, stump, or exotic flower that I need, it’s in one of the shops down the street. We went shopping for 4 different kinds of rocks/shale and a variety of vegetation that would give our set the look of a beautiful water paradise. We shot this over 2 VERY long days. Going from set to set took a while to break down and build up, but we both enjoy the building/creative process, so it was more fun that work. Especially when we saw the results of the work, we were very pleased. This was the one and only “dry” set shot. The look of the Sun in the background, for those interested in technical details were 2 bare bulb Profoto heads firing at full power on their own packs. I used this a few times during the shoot to simulate daylight shining through the vegetation. There were some outtakes and things we tried, but ultimately got left on the cutting room floor. I had this idea that dry ice would make for a bog-like place(think Empire Strikes Back with Yoda). Unfortunately, the dry ice just didn’t work in well with the other sets to make the story Gel together. Trust me…I’ll find a use for the dry ice yet. 🙂 Sooo…it got cut. But dry ice IS fun. 🙂

That’s me having fun with the dry ice. Very Yoda in Empire Strikes Back, No? Jersey working on jewelry placement.

The final result…with raindrops added by spashing from the sides and a high shutter speed to capture the “stop action”.

So I was thinking about what we accomplished with a 4’x4′ water set in studio… What if I could create a larger set with more water? Could I do a fashion shoot with men or women? The answer is an unequivocal YES. 🙂

For the next set…

Zink Magazine was doing their first Men’s Issue scheduled for publication in April of 2009(shot in Dec 2008). I thought this was the PERFECT time to try out my “human” water set theory. The product set above got me to thinking that it was possible to do this larger set in studio. It was December and really cold, so doing anything outside on the roof was completely out of the question. In Studio was the only way…I went to the hardware store and bought enough 2″x6″ boards to creat a 12’x12′ enclosure. I made sure that they had enough screws in them during construction that they would not break under the pressure of about 400 gallons of water that would eventually be in the enclosure. Then Costco comes into play with the 2 – 20’x20′ waterproof tarps that I used to waterproof the enclosure. I really had NO idea prior to doing this shoot whether the tarps would be completely waterproof. The box said water resistant. wow…this could be REALLY BAD. I was fairly sure that it was, but only found out after the fact that it worked perfectly…lol. No worries…everything was fine. 🙂 I have to say that Jonathan, our model, was a trooper throughout the whole thing. Even with keeping the studio very warm in the air, it’s impossible to make 400 gallons of water warm. The first 30 or so was hot, and then it was just a losing battle. So Jonathan had to get brave the cold every outfit. It didn’t help that everyone was spashing cold water on him to give the shot movement. Other artists on set:
Kim Baker: Grooming
Roy Fire: Wardrobe Stylist
Vincent: Splasher, Art Direction.

Back to the set for a minute…here’s a shot of the set once I put up the background for the left photo(above). We could get most of the clothes wet, but there were some that we couldn’t, thus, I shot it within the set below. So that was the Zink shoot… The last water set is Very Small. I was shooting Diamond earbud covers for the classic white IPOD headphones. These were made out of pink diamonds and retailed for around $50,000. What celebrity wouldn’t want them?? 😉 This was shot in a little bowl, maybe 1/2 inch of water. I used some wax to keep them upright(standard for jewelry shoots). To get the movement of the water, I used a fan blowing softly. That’s all for now….

I have some more projects in the works that I’ll share when completed. You can see more of my work at: www.jamesweberstudio.com

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Dark City, Top of the Rock – Christmas night 2008

My girlfriend, Maria and I decided to take in the sights of the city Christmas night in search of some new material for Dark City. We started out going uptown to see the tree at Rockefeller Center. We got off the bus one stop later than we had planned and ran into the two scenes below, including Radio City Music Hall. It’s such a NYC landmark that I had to shoot it.

Right after this shot, we saw the sign for the “Top of the Rock”, 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Maria and I have never been, so we decided to up. My big tripod created quite the scene there as they have this tripod rule where you can’t extend it outward(like normal) to use it for time exposures. It would have to be used only like a monopod(or just extending the legs downward). This makes sense in a way as when it is busy, you don’t want a bunch of photographers to be hogging the space up on the top…but that made it harder for me to get these shots that would normally be so easy to set up.

This shot, below was on the 68th floor. You can see the viewers on the 67th floor viewing area below and the wonderful expanse of city beyond.

If you’re wondering what that blurry part is on the right hand side, it’s the gap between the glass(2″ thick). The glass has about a 2.5″ gap in 4′ sections, so you can actually stick your camera lens out of it, but for this shot, I liked the composition of it even with the glass distortion.

This is shot through the glass showing the city below and the reflection of the people behind us, which happens to be this dancing light show(which is multi-color and feeds off of people moving near to it).

This is truly one of the best places to view Manhattan if you’re visiting New York. I’ve been up the Empire State Building so many times with other friends and family, but I’ve never seen such an amazing view of New York. Unlike the Empire State Building, which has these nasty metal grates that separate you from the incredible view…the Top of the Rock has completely unobstructed views of NYC. Floors 67 and 68 have glass between you and the view, and 69 has nothing, only air and the view of the city. It’s truly amazing. Even though there was that nasty tripod rule in effect, once we were on the 69th floor, there was this older security guard that saw I was trying to shoot some of the scenes with my tripod and said, “It’s Christmas, go ahead and use it”. I thought that was so nice(and needed).

So we were fairly frozen, especially my fingers, being out using the camera and tripod, so we had enough and went back down to the bottom. Maria and I had thoroughly enjoyed our experience at the Rock. So it was off to see the tree and the Saks 5th Ave windows…

Finally, what we had gone to see that night…with a little interlude…

Trying to get an interesting shot of the tree, I didn’t shoot it with the building behind it…I wanted a more raw aproach with some atomosphere behind it. So, here you have it. The tree did seem smaller this year. I don’t know if it’s the economy or not, but the trees of past years have been much taller. Swarofski Crystal is responsible for the star and led lights on the tree.

So we moved onto Saks Fifth Avenue, which is a stone’s throw from the tree. Beautiful as always, it has a wonderful snowflake light display.

Maria wanted to see the displays at Saks 5th Avenue, so this was just a nice scene I captured when she was looking at the windows…

Lastly, this is an interesting scene that I saw when we were waiting for the bus to head back home. There is this old woman in her fur coat with a pile of garbage next to her. It just seemed interesting that here is this old woman, here with her fur coat, alone on Christmas trying to catch a cab home. Sad in a way…but a New York story none the less…

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Dark City continues…

“Dark City” continues with a few new additions due to my friend and frequent stylist, David Widjaja. These were shot from his rooftop. It’s quite an amazing scene, as there are not any buildings right next to his so it gives a nice panoramic view of the city from within the city. I plan on doing more of the building, “looking down” images in the future(like shot 2). My hope is to get a shot of the empire state building(sticking the tripod/camera out of the grate and looking down the building). It’s a scene not easy to get…we’ll see if I can pull it off without the guards at the top giving me trouble…

Thank you again, David for showing me your wonderful rooftop. 🙂

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Darker Evolution

Evolution has taken a little darker turn as I’ve switched up the lighting and played in the shadows a little more. The project is coming along nicely. Give a warm welcome to Natsuko…

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I’ve been wanting to play with a smoking shot for some time now and recently had an opportunity to do so. Shooting smoke is a lot like shooting water. Every shot is unique. You just want to keep shooting to see what will come up next. It makes for a fun project. I believe I’m going to be playing around with this medium for a while and see what comes of it.

Makeup:  Dyana Aives

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Evolution Continues…

…and the Evolution Project continues…

See the “Evolution Revolution” Post to see the story behind the work and the first series that got the project started. I’m currently looking for a gallery home for these images and the many to come. I’ve got more models, men and women being shot in the coming months, so keep a look out here for updates.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with more talented models for the project. Every time I shoot someone new, something unexpected and wonderful comes out. Here’s a few more from the recent work.





Feel free to comment. More updates soon…
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