As I mentioned in our first video portfolio post last week, it is pretty rare when we get to send out a portfolio for a request. Nowadays, they are used mostly for portfolio shows and events. It doesn’t make them any less important of course. In fact, I would argue they are even more important now. They are rarely seen so when they are they need to shine!
We thought it would be great if more people were able to see the portfolio so we asked Marc Viarta, a videographer, to video tape someone reviewing Kevin Twomey’s portfolio. We added some fun music and posted them to Vimeo. We will be adding Kevin’s video as well as others from our group to our websites soon.
If you would like to see Kevin’s portfolio in person, please email us – we would love the request! And, if you would like to see Kevin’s website, please link here.
When the trend started a few years back where photographers started learning to shoot video, many people wondered how a still life photographer could utilize video and still make it interesting. Kevin Twomey has shown once again that it is entirely possible to do so by exploring yet another interesting subject, The Birth of a Gummy Bear. When I asked him about it, here is what he had to say.
“I look at food as a still life challenge, asking myself how I would represent it in a way that stimulates the senses beyond the predictable “mmm, delicious”. How might I evoke an emotional, rather than salivary, response?
The gummy bear imagery emerged after toying with ideas for a holiday card a couple of years ago, where I explored the after-effects of destroying
candy (mostly by smashing them to bits). Experimentally melting some pieces, I saw how beautiful they looked as their sugars liquified. That
led to the microwaving of gummy bears, which then led to my seeking a more precise way of melting: the hair dryer. As I strategically melted the
gummy bears for my still shots, I noticed how beautifully the thick liquid flowed. The dynamics were so compelling, I had to film them, not just
melting to their demise, but in a way that celebrates the creation of the beloved candy.”
Kevin Twomey recently worked on a project that was unlike any other he had experienced in his career. It was called “The People Burn Project.” A project created by Fitzgerald + Co. for Bulwark, a company that make flame-resistant clothing. Their message is powerful, “Because people aren’t fireproof.”
A mere description of the project could never do it justice so be sure to link to the Bulwark site to watch the 8 month time-lapse video, review the stills from the day of the burn and to watch the video about the project.
Here is what Kevin had to say about the project:
“In April I went to Los Angeles to photograph a paper sculpture, 16’ in diameter, built by Jeff Nishinaka, an incredibly talented, world-renown artist. Taller than me by a couple of feet and as long a van, the structure took 8 months to build, 2 days to piece together, 2 days to photograph in the studio, but only minutes to burn.
The project was part of a campaign, created by Fitzgerald + Co. for the company Bulwark who makes flame-resistant apparel. The message was wonderfully simple: paper is no less fragile than life.
With a very tight schedule, needing to photograph numerous angles in a day, we decided we would turn the set into a giant 16′ lazy susan and spin it around until we got the right lighting and camera position. It was a perfect and simple solution.
Artist Jeff Nishinaka had created such wonderful detail and character in the figures that the lighting approach for these figures was obvious: bring these figures to life by bringing out as much detail and dimensionality as possible.
After the still shots of the sculpture were complete it was dismantled and reassembled in a quarry outside of LA. The final step to this project was filming it while it burned into nothing. Watching this was quite extraordinary. As it was burning I glanced over at the artist. I figured he would be sad to watch so many hours of his work go up in smoke but I was surprised to see that he was enjoying the process from beginning to end.”
After the success of Julianna Baggot’s book PUR, Grand Central Publishing released the second book in the series, Fuse. And, once again, Kevin Twomey had the honor of photographing the cover. And this time, it didn’t feature butterflies. It featured a pelican. When we asked Kevin to share some of his experience with us, here is what he wrote.
“There are times when I become so wrapped up in the technical challenges of an assignment that not until its end do I realize how inspiring it was. The photographing of a pelican’s wing for the cover of Fuse, the second book in Julianna Baggott’s post-apocalyptic trilogy, was just such an assignment.
From the photograph, you can see the impressive 8-foot wingspan of Neptune, the year-old pelican we had the pleasure of showcasing for this assignment. The relationship with his trainer, Joe Krathwohl, was heartwarming; the pelican toddled behind Joe everyplace he went, even waiting outside the bathroom door for him. Joe’s knowledge and passion for his work soon prompted us to bestow upon him the title of “bird whisperer”.
But what really inspired me was the turbulence generated by the powerful flap of his wings. It brought to mind the chaos theory quote about how a bird (or butterfly) flapping its wings can affect the future course of weather halfway around the world. It generates the indescribable feeling of being at the source of something simple yet incredibly powerful, and not yet knowing in which direction it will go.
And how privileged I felt to be able to capture that moment, from our chaotic environment of passion and expertise and inter-species relationships, when the bird flapped his wings.”
We always like when our photographers shoot for editorial projects. They often come away energized and excited about either what they shot or how they shot it. On a recent shoot for Bicycling Magazine, Kevin Twomey was asked to photograph head badges. He enjoyed the project so much he surprised us with this blog post.
“One of my recent assignments was with BicyclingMagazine, photographing head tube badges. Before the project I had never taken much notice because most of todays badges are merely stick-on decals of the company’s logo, like the one on my Gunnar. The attention that was given to creating these badges was quite amazing, as seen in the opening spread of the story.
Most of the badges in the story came from collector Jim Langley, who is very passionate about anything to do with bicycles. He has been collecting badges since the late 1970’s and now has approximately 600 of them dating from the 1880’s to current day.
After the shoot, I went online to do a little more head tube research and found some people filling the void by creating their own badges. One bicycle shop in Maryland, The Bicycle Escape, created badges out of bottle caps. Another was a Star Wars Stormtrooper with what looked like a Hello Kitty bow.
So now when someone pulls up next to me on a bike, instead of checking out their components, I’ll be looking for a nice head badge.”
In early 2009, there was a call for artists from Emeryville to submit work for a public arts project based on the theme of Flora & Fauna. Artists, including Kevin Twomey, were awarded grants from the city to create imagery for Emeryville’s Art in Public Places. The idea of this project was to display imagery of the artist’s work in bus shelters, normally reserved for commercial advertisements, bringing the exhibition space to the public. The exhibition started in October 2009 and runs through September 2012, giving each of the 9 artists four months to display their work individually in the bus shelters around the city. Kevin’s photographs are now exhibiting through January 2012.
The following is a list of the additional artists involved in the project: Nora Pauwels, Catherine Courtenaye, David D’Andrea, Robert Ortbal, Lenore McDonald, Dean Hunsaker, Laura Anderson, Exhibiting Feb-May 2012, Shawna Peterson, Exhibiting June-September 2012.
When I asked Kevin to share with us what inspired his submission, here is what he had to say.
“I had collected specimens for this project during my many weekend hikes in Marin, covering the beloved Dipsea trail, the trail from Muir Beach to the Marin Headlands and the trails from Muir Woods up to Mt Tamalpais. My first attempt to bring a dandelion back to the studio was somewhat a naive and comical experience; trying to protect the fragile flower in its post blossomed state from the wind while attempting to hike a couple of miles back to the car. I think I barely made it 100 yards before I lost the flower head. The dandelion problem was easily resolved by modifying a small cardboard box that kept the dandelions standing straight up, safely during the hike.
Given the luxury of 6 months to create the images for this project, it allowed plenty of time for the flora to cycle through to the right stage for the photograph. Such a contrast to the timelines we are given for commercial projects. Thank you to the City of Emeryville for their great support of the art community.”
In his own words, Kevin Twomey shares his obsession with all things dandelion.
“Last month while at a restaurant in Brooklyn, I saw that they were offering a Dandelion Salad as an appetizer. After spending countless hours photographing them, I could not pass up the opportunity to experience the plant in another way beyond sight.
I wonder why we spend so much energy trying to eradicate them when right out on our lawns is a nutritious salad just waiting to be harvested? And what about the medicinal uses, not to mention the ever so important relationship it has with the bees?
For me, my obsession with the dandelion lies after the flower blooms and turns into that white fluffy ball, so fragile, just waiting for a subtle breeze to release the seed-bearing parachutes. ….and so many wishes.”
Kevin has a wide collection of ‘organic’ imagery that he showcases on his website.
Juliette Lewis from FoundFolios recently reached out to Ann Elliott Cutting to ask her permissions to share two of her images in their newsletter. The theme of the newsletter was “Unhinged; an exploration into what is real and not real.” Click here for the complete posting on their site.
Juliette asked Ann to provide some background on each of the images. Here is what she had to say about her Floating House image:
“This piece was created for an editorial assignment for Ladies Home Journal. The story was about a clean home. Knowing that many concepts are repeated in editorial stories, I try to have fun with the assignments and give them a fresh twist. When I sketch the ideas, the most important thing is to stay at it after all the expected ideas have been fleshed out. Sketching a few more ideas usually is when the gems appear. That is how this image came about. (The house model was built by an Architect, and the composite was made by photographing the house on a matt of grass and adding in the sky and flowers. The Art Director was Clare Lissaman.)
Here is what she had to say about the image of Man and Clouds:
“This image was created for a promo piece. It was a new take on having your head in the clouds. I thought that taking it on location and having it be as if the guy is put a little off balance gave the concept a new twist. The final image is a composite with the cloud. “
One day when I was at breakfast with Hunter Freeman we were sharing stories about ourselves that the other didn’t know. We were enjoying the conversation so much that we thought it would make a fun blog post. Here is what Hunter Freeman wanted to share:
• I was handcuffed and put in the back of a police car and taken a the police station. To this day I swear it was because I had long hair.
• I used be able to tell you all about Fourier Series, Boundary Value Problems, and Vector Analysis.
• I photographed a Secretary of Defense in the White House one hot, summer day.
• I earned money doing calligraphy while I was an assistant.
• Along with four or five good friends, I was almost suspended from high school in my senior year because of an article we wrote for the school’s underground newspaper.
• I was pulled aside by airport security for carrying a (real) Navy flight helmet. (They let me on the flight, thankfully.)
• I used to play A LOT of bridge in high school. A LOT. (Can you picture me in high school yet?)
• I ground my own telescope mirror as a science project. (Now can you picture me in high school?)
• I look for joy in everyone I meet and everything I do.
• I had my picture taken with a live, 8 foot alligator, and no, her jaws were not taped shut.