Chris Botti for Genlux Magazine

It’s been 18 months since my last editorial assignment. This is way too long but we have been so busy with commercial assignments there has not been room to take on Editorial work.

 

My photographic assignment work should be a better balance of Advertising and Editorial…With editorial there’s a complete liberty to push boundaries, explore and try different things that opens my expression into new avenues.

In advertising, agencies look at the work I have done and see something in it they want to apply to their ideas and concepts. In many ways this is repeating myself, recreating something for the purpose of the ad. To look and push forward creatively one have to do personal work, and the editorial platform is a great outlet for this personal creative push.

With openings in the schedule I got really excited when Genlux Magazine called and asked if I wanted to shoot their upcoming cover story of Grammy winning trumpetist Chris Botti. Genlux Magazine’s Creative director Stephen Kamifuji is quite hands off in his approach and usually provide you with a theme or an overarching idea of what he wants the images to say or express.

We talked wind and sound and the air that flows through the trumpet.

How could we depict this idea of Chris harnessing the wind in a conceptual manner?

Among the ideas was Chris being on a raft with him creating the wind for the sails.

 

In the end this felt a bit literal and expected and I was more intrigued by the idea of him floating on air.

A dreamscape where the air inspire; Where he is in and of the wind, harnessing it’s power and floating within it…

 

As this idea matured I started thinking about context and how we would fill 7 pages. How would Chris Botti get there? What was the connection between him and the flying machine?

 

Genlux_Chris_Botti_FlyingM_Web

A storyline emerged of him being in a personal library and the floating on air scene being more of his subconscious or space of inspiration, then taking him onto stage to perform what the air inspired.

With this very cinematic storyline it felt more like a film than a still story and I decided to go all in, creating not only the still visuals but a small film as well.

I have written about my thoughts on the still and motion disciplines becoming one in the world of commercial assignments so this was another great chance for me to create visuals across the 2 mediums.

In this I feel the 2 executions, both in the creating, execution and post all came together to create a seamless visual blend of still and film.

 

Genlux_Chris_Botti_Library_Web

 

Genlux_Chris_Botti_Stage_Web

In creating this I’m in gratitude to Chris Botti for his gracious attitude and generousity of time. His manager Bobby Colombi for letting us extend the concept to include Chris floating in the air and ofcourse Stephen Kamifuji, creative director of Genlux.

An editorial budget does not cover much of anything so I’m also grateful to the crew, all wearing several hats, pulling together a shoot which should have had 3 times as many people helping out.

Also a big thanks to my friend and world class DP Ketil Dietrichson for a true collaboration of cameras.

 

I’m truly excited about the result so please check it out. There’s the film, stills and a behind the scenes look at the execution.

 

 

 

Genlux_Chris_Botti_Portrait1328_WIP_5_Final_Flat

 

Genlux_Chris_Botti_Stage1267_WIP3_Flat_FinalCover_Blog

 

The Behinds the Scenes from our shoot day in Los Angeles

Using the desire for ice cream in my picture taking…

For every commercial assignment I take on I try to make the photographs captured personal. I try to find a viewpoint that is honest and relatable to me so that I can stand in the location as the sun comes up, or in the studio in front of the talent, and be emotional rather than practical as I press the shutter.

This way I connect to the purpose of the ad in a manner meaningful to my longings, desires and dreams and hopefully make the images captured convey a part of me that aligns with what the advertising agency want the images to say….

The idea behind these ads done for AndersonDDB out of Toronto was to tell the story of a longer path to recovery. A journey more than something immediate; about taking the long road…

 

We ALL want instant gratification so in this case it was easy for me to relate.

With all the distractions of our fleeting mind, doing the small things every day that will eventually lead to deep gratification in the long term is really hard. I struggle with this every day in the decisions I make. After passing 40, staying in shape has become an increasing effort. I often order French fries for dinner and ice cream for desert even though I know the saying: “Nothing tastes as good as being fit”. It’s that instant gratification getting to me…

I also want to deepen my craft of photography but I still make lousy decisions when it comes to managing my time, spending it on social media or watching a movie I have already seen, rather than editing images or shooting new ones.

I am aware of my mind seeking immediate gratification and I try my best every day to steer it in the right direction.

So the indecision of those moments of the immediate versus the best long term was something I could relate to and really cared about when shooting this assignment…

To stand at the crossroads of that every day decision where the immediate gratification is pulling at you, but then committing to taking the journey of the long road was what these images were about.

Both for me and for my client…

 

RoughWater_Blog

Calm Water_Blog

Rural_path_e_AA

Urban_single_path_a

 

And Please check out the Behind the scenes if you want to see how this came together.

 

 

Traveling home to Norway to Shoot for Leila Hafzi and Sandnes Garn

 

Last May I traveled to Nepal with Norwegian clothing designer Leila Hafzi.

 

She had decided to become a designer at the top of the mountains in Nepal 15 years prior and wanted to return to that very place of her commitment as a location for her anniversary collection look book.

Leila_Hafzi_Nepal_Blog

For our second collaboration Leila wanted to shoot home in Norway with the archetypal Norwegian woman as her inspiration.

 

Leila describe this archetype that inspired the collection and designs done for knitwear company Sandnes garn like this:

 

“She is a young Krisin Lavransdatter, the singing Kari Knutsdotter and the Viking chieftain’s only daughter.

She is a wood nymph and a Birkebeiner on the ice – but most of all she is the Norwegian / Scandinavian woman: Strong, proud and fearless.”

(These are all mythical female characters from Norwegian tales, both historical and fictional…)

So solidly grounded in both our Norwegian heritage I started to think about how and where to take these images.


Norway is one amazing country but there truly was just one place for me this could be photographed: In the area around the village where my father grew up.

Sitting among the dramatic mountains and fjords of Norway’s West Coast is this extraordinary place called Flo…

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 1.31.19 PM

In a visual career one can look back at the work produced and see how it has drifted and how upbringing and heritage have shaped the artist and his or her esthetic.

In looking back at my own career and the images I have produced it’s easy for me to see in the photographs I have taken where and who I was as a person through out these 20 years. It’s all reflected in the subject matters I chose to photograph and how I chose to depict them at the time.  The longings, the ambitions, the insecurities, the times I were restless, the times I was calm the times I was seeking and the times I felt at home.

In all these variations though there’s a very singular visual backbone that carries through all the work I do. This thread is my visual heritage and, to me, so undeniably Norwegian. It’s influenced by these amazing landscapes of Norway, the bigness of the mountains coming straight of the water and the vastness of the land. All this enhanced and shaped by the low laying northern sun.

So here I was, going back to Norway to photograph in the environment I knew had greatly influenced both the way I see things as a photographer and the values I carry with me…

I’m excited to share with you the work I did with Leila Hafzi and Sandnes garn this past June. A combination of inspired Norwegian Knitwear, the Archtype of the strong Norwegian Woman and me going home…

 

 

Leila_SandnesGarn_Grotli4031_Wip1

 

 

Leila_SandnesGarn_Segestad_Blog

 

Leila_SandnesGarn_Skaala_Wip4

 

 

Erik_Almas_Leila_Hafzi_2014-2

Too see how all this came together check out the Behind The Scenes.

 

 

Again I’m in such gratitude to Leila and her inspirations for giving me another adventure and set of experiences.

 

A big thanks to Monkey Productions and the locals of Stryn and Flo for graciously helping with all our odd requests…

Connecting Still and Motion in the Namibian Desert

I’m really excited about the future of photography and image making!

As we are moving into one visual multi media language, how we create and absorb imagery and how the market savvy ad agencies choose to use it is changing really quickly…

If you know social media guy Gary Vaynerchuk he will tell you that people look down on their phones more than they look up. He ask’s the really interesting question; “Why would big ad agencies bother putting up Billboards when people look at their phones. Even when they are driving!”

As a photographer and artist whose living is made in Advertising I get excited! Excited to be a part of the changes.
I think imagery that stands out among the visual bombardment we are presented with during our day is becoming increasingly valuable so as photographers we have a great future.
That is as long as we stay relevant…

I believe  the biggest element in this change to be the ability to translate one visual language through all mediums(photography, film and animation) on all traditional and social media platforms.

So I have started; Started to look at how my photographic DNA can translate into moving images.

Last year I had an amazing trip to Namibia with the agency Frameworks and their client Dassault Systémes. It has taken a while but we now have what I feel is a seamless translation of my photographic language into the storytelling world of motion.

Check it out…

Art directed by Ray Brennan with original Score by Dominic Brennan. Post by Rainfall Films

Almas_DS_Still_Motion3