6 continents and 12 countries, the wild adventures of the past few months…

The last few months has been nothing short of one extraordinary adventure!

I have been through 5 states and 12 countries on 6 different continents.

In reflecting back on it I can’t help but feel like the luckiest guy there is…

To be hired to see and explore, interpret and create in some of the most extraordinary places in the world is nothing short of a blessing. In this 4-month period I feel like I packed a lifetime of experiences and it’s only after I got a bit of a break I managed to start absorbing and appreciating it all.

I’m excited to share more about these 4 assignments as they get published. They all have their own story with a lot of heart and effort from all involved. On this blog I usually like to share some of the thoughts around the images I make, but in this case I believe the below photographs will be way more telling of the travles made and the experiences had. So here’s a brief travel letter from the places I have been the past 4 months…

 

New York

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog New York

 

Miami

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog miami

 

Costa Rica

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog Costa Rica

 

 

Maine

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog Maine

 

Hong Kong

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog Hong Kong

 

New Zealand

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog New Zealand

 

Buenos Aires

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog Buenos Aires

 

Amsterdam

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog Amsterdam

 

Barcelona

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog Barcelona

 

Rome

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog Rome

 

Venice

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog Venice

 

Dubrovnik



Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog Croatia

 

Wentzville, Missouri

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog Missouri

 

Trondheim, Norway

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog Norway

 

London

 

Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog london

 

Mozambique


Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog Mozambique

 

Travel by plane, helicopter boat and tractor…



Erik Almas Advertising Editorial Photograper Blog Travel

 

The Roots and the quiet moments before getting on stage

What music would you play if you were to hang out with some of the best live bands around?

How would you set the mood with music if you were to photograph The Roots as they prepare for going on stage??

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The Agency Octogon came to me to help create a new ad for Martell Cognac, featuring The Roots.

The idea was to show Questlove (Ahmir) and Black Thought (Tariq) in a dressing room as they prepare to go on stage. Reflection, self-evaluation, and elevation all happen at various moments in our lives, but they consistently are a part of the quiet moments before we are to do something of importance….

The intention was to capture The Roots in their pre performance rituals as they get into the zone, soak up the things that inspire and prepare to elevate themselves and those around them to share their music with the world.

 

In preparing for this picture, and any picture for that matter, I seek in myself a connection to the moment I want to create. I seek to understand, relate and make the emotion my own so the relationship between me and the captured moment will be a real one rather than completely created for the purpose of advertising.

 

So what are my rituals? How do I get into flow?

 

Early in my career one of my preshoot rituals was to play Opera.

I loved being in the car, driving through the dark with the anticipation of what the sunrise would bring, listening to the emotions packed into the performers voices.

My favorite was Maria Calas singing Mamma Morta. It’s a stunning aria where she goes from mourning to rejoycing, from seeking to believing and from darkness to light in the span of a few minutes. This aria is symbolic of so many things and in the quiet moments before sunrise gave room for getting in flow while waiting for the light to reveal the landscapes before me…

 

 

“It was then, in my grief,

that love came to me.

A voice full of harmony says,

“Keep on living, I am life itself!

Your heaven is in my eyes!

You are not alone.

I collect all your tears

I walk with you and support you!

Smile and hope! I am Love!”

 

 

 

The morning I drove into Manhattan to photograph The Roots was an amazing one. As I crossed the Williamsburg bridge the sun was rising and the wind from the open window flowed through the vehicle.
I shot the image below and let the sensation of the day envelop me just like Mamma Morta would do and I started thinking about what music one would play for amazing musicians…

 

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As I have grown older and increased the understanding of myself and how I prepare and get into flow, my preshoot ritual has boild down to a short walk and a few deep breaths.

I close my eyes and breathe deepley. This grounds me to the moment and make me present. Not just in person but of the moment so I can soak up what is infront of me, connect to it and find in myself what I can bring to it.

 

As for the music it landed on my digi techs playslist; An eclectic mix of rock and electronica…

Creating space to be creative

Being creative, for me, is not something I do but something I let happen. I experience, see and observe and as I absorb these impressions of life, a craving to create surfaces with its ideas and visuals.

It is often in the quiet moments while I run or practicing my craft I get ideas. It’s when the mind quiets and I’m in the “zone” and being truly present, that the well opens and ideas surface.

 

The past years I have found that I have been giving myself less and less time for these ideas to come forth…

What I have noticed is me filling those moments between moments looking at my phone; To be “catching up” on all things social media, news and email. The phone is one massive creative distraction, taking me away from those moments of quiet, and in some ways robbing me of the creativity flow.

 

Now, being conscious about the addictive distractions of the phone, I have become way better and I deliberately try to allow for this space to happen during the day.

In this awareness of me clogging up my own creativity there was a new and somewhat unexpected antidote reentering my life…

 

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Yoga has entered my life many times over the past 2 decades.

Inspired, but uncommitted it wavered in and out of the different stages I went through without me fully getting my Yoga on.

 

The first time I did Yoga was a bit of an initiation. I had gotten my dream job out of school, assisting legendary advertising photographer Jim Erickson. The 3rd day at work he says; lets got to yoga!

New on the job and eager to impress, no was not an option and off I went for my very first Yoga Class.

In working for Jim there were these random invitations to a bout of stretching, but at this time in my life it never became more than that.

 

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Fast forward a few years, and marathons, my back started giving in. Getting to the point where I could not run much anymore my chiropractor prescribed yoga.

I dove into the healing process and for a while had a private teacher specializing in yoga for people with bad backs.

 

The back did get better and after reading the book Born To Run, I traded out the conventional running shoes with barefoot shoes, and got back to running again. This is a whole different story, but I went from not being able to run to now running 4-5 times a week. (If anyone want an extraordinary read, Born to Run by Chris McDougall is one of my top 10 books of all time.)

By running correctly the back sorted itself and yoga again disappeared.

 

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I had a short stint with a truly spirited class with teacher Rusty Wells. It was bongo drums and chanting and windows dripping in steam from bodies filling every inch of floor space with Yoga mats.

 

Even this didn’t last.

 

18 years after my first Yoga experience I meet Andrea Bogart, extraordinary Yoga teacher and actor.

I believe life gives you what you need at the time that is right…

This time Yoga will be a permanent part of my life. It’s an antidote to all things cellphones and social media. It’s grounding rather than fleeting and connected being to being rather than through a device.

Now, I come out of a Yoga session with a massive smile and an all-encompassing vibration that has a peaceful tension to it. It’s hard to describe but I feel vibrant and connected and beautifully disconnected all at the same time.

It creates a deliberate stillness that connects me to my own core and allow space for the creative well to open up.

I like to describe it as seeing the world through a super wide angle lens. It’s all in my view. I find it at times when running, when I make pictures and now in Yoga…

 

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We have all read or heard about the concept of solitude and sitting by yourself for an hour. If you do so quietly ideas and insights will begin to flow from your mind. From there, whatever the current situation, the right answers usually appear and one can act on them.

Yoga has this for me. The answers are there when I leave…

 

This series of Yoga images is the beginning of a larger body of work inspired by Andrea Bogart.

Andrea is one extraordinary human being I’m truly grateful to know.

 

 

Hit by a truck?

We have all heard the sayings and know the metaphors of being “hit by a truck” and “run over by a bull”.

We have all been there and felt it. Metaphorically…

 

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When Saatchi & Saatchi came knocking and wanted me to work with them on visuals overcoming these metaphors I was truly excited. As I have matured in my craft and my style of photography I find myself increasingly drawn to what add layers to my images. Drawn to the assignments that have some photographic challenge to be solved. I have found it is more the idea and concept around the visuals and how I relate to the idea that gets me excited to dive in and make compelling imagery…

For me, as a photographer, there are two areas of challenge that I strive to explore and push further. The first is the emotional quality, having a storyline expressed through talent and treatment, and the second, crafting something visually improbable.
This assignment for Saatchi had a lot of creating the improbable and some emotional qualities mixed in and it, to me, became a very special campaign.

 

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Making an image with a person lifting a train come to life can only happen when there is authenticity in the assembly of the photographic elements involved. Only then will the mind except it as real.

The process to get to this authenticity is in 2 stages; The first is to pre-visualize and the second, to capture the parts to fulfill this visualization. In this I’m a photographer and orchestrator, using my experience in how pictures come together, how light falls and perspective works and to bring together amazing artists to make one final image.

My partners in this were many; The wonder woman with the ideas, Creative Director Carolyn Gargano, Producer Stuart Hart, the crew on set, HacJob on CGI and Chris Bodie on retouch.

We all collaborate to make the upfront vision come to life; To suspend the beliefs we hold about what is real and accept the picture of a girl lifting a truck or a train with grace and strength. It’s a lot of IDEA and part photography and part CGI. Then a beautiful blend of this in photoshop and the ideas start coming together in a photographic image.

 

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Erik Almas Advertising and Editorial Photographer Botox TRAIN CGI Blog

 

 

I’m truly grateful to both Saatchi and their client for trusting me with this assignment.  It was a gem to be a part of both as an experience on location and during the post process.

I have realized in all my travels taking pictures that new places and experiences are only an unlocking mechanism of oneself. This campaign for Botox was special, opening me up to people, emotions and picture making in great ways.

 

Erik Almas Advertising and Editorial Photographer Botox Blog