Category Event

A design conference and an urban tale

Chip Kidd’s new motto: Bitch, I don’t know your life!!

Yesterday I attended Reach, Princeton University’s forth-annual graphic design conference. The event had a great line up of interesting speakers and I left Princeton thinking about how I might apply current design trends and concepts to my own work.

The most entertaining speaker of the day was designer Chip Kidd. The guy kills it on stage and I loved his story about a fast food chicken order gone funny. In his story, a customer and a cashier quip back and forth until the cashier ends up yelling: “Bitch, I don’t know your life!” Today, as I was editing a few photos from the conference, I decided to google the funny line to see if any background details came up. I found these two clips which leads me to conclude the line is just part of an urban tale. The first clip below was uploaded in 2006 and the second clip is from the movie Baby Mama (2008).

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Finally, here are a few more conference photos from my very (obviously) stationary seat:

Speaker: Stephen Doyle of Doyle Partners

Speaker: David Reinfurt of Princeton

Speaker: Paula Scher of Pentagram

Speaker: Bethany Johns of RISD

Speaker: Debbie Millman of Sterling Brands and AIGA

Speaker: Willy Wong of NYC & Company

Directional contrast

I made this photograph on Sunday at a fundraiser in Princeton, NJ. While I think there are some challenges with this image, I can’t help but be drawn to the contrast between the direction of the subjects in the art pieces on the wall and the direction of the people in the room. It’s curious to me that the people in the room are now directioned subjects in a new work.

What do you think?

Also, If you’re curious, that center photograph on the wall is supposedly number one in a series by photographer Alex Prager. The homeowner from Princeton noted that MoMA owns number two.

Four photography rules to break on halloween (or anytime really)

A party planner emailed me a few weeks ago and asked if I was interested in shooting a Halloween party. Not being an event photographer, I hesitated. After a few conversations with the client, where it became apparent that I could basically shoot whatever creative craziness I wanted to, I agreed. My plan was deliberate. I wanted to screw with some common photography conventions and have a bit of fun in the process.

Rule #1: Don’t light people from below.

The Birds

People can look scary when lit from below. This rule of lighting and photography likely has something to do with the fact that the sun and moon are always above us. In nature, it’s not really normal to see light sources coming from below the horizon. Fireplaces and lanterns create light sources from below however.

Rule #2: Be careful with your horizon.

As humans, we like level things. It would be a bit disorienting if everything in our world existed at funny angles. Sleeping would be hard, things would roll off our desks, paintings on your wall would have to be studied with a head tilt. One general rule in making photographs is that we like to keep objects in our frames fairly level. While there are definite exceptions, Halloween gives us the opportunity to disorient with the viewer’s permission.

Rule #3: Avoid making hard shadows with your flash.

Small hard light sources can create intense shadows. Often, these shadows become problematic distractions in photos. I’ve read a few lighting books where different techniques are suggested for avoiding this effect. On Halloween, however, it works.

Rule #4: Don’t make people look crazy.

Ok. That’s not really a conventional photography rule. But I do think that when we are making photographs of people there’s a general sense that people should look normal or sane. Halloween gives us permission to portray people as a little mad. We should take advantage of that exception.

Here are a few more photographs from the Halloween party.