Empowering Africa through creativity

This one was really fun. After nearly a year of isolation, it really felt like christmas working with so many people on set. The full length spot is below(left), as well my favorite “cut down”(right) and some behind the scenes stills from set.

“A self-pronounced “feelings” person, Steven’s shoots are born of his desire to connect with people and tell their stories. He credits the strong relationships he’s made with talent over the years as the reason the shoot was able to manifest during this time. Steven worked remotely with studio manager, Cameron Joseph, and longtime collaborator and Director of Photography, Matthew Roe, to produce a shoot that was safe for everyone involved. The two models featured in the campaign are a real-life couple and friends of the photographer who live two blocks away from him in Los Angeles. He knew that everyone on the crew had been adhering to the quarantine in a serious manner, and he felt safe working at a distance with the team. The shoot was a lesson in working with what was available. It pushed Steven to think outside the box and created an opportunity to pull from all of his interests and skills.

They shot with only natural light. They drove themselves to a remote location for the outdoor scenes. They used a room in the couple’s apartment with three walls of windows for the interior shots. It was conducted in open air, with masks, and from a distance. Steven commissioned a friend, singer-songwriter Jordan Tariff, to write an original song for the video—something nostalgic, warm, and simple to complement the visuals. He worked with a small mom-and-pop shop to process the film and a film colorist, remotely. With the help of his team and immediate network, he successfully and safely acted as both creative agency and production company, delivering something highly personal despite the restrictions of COVID-19.

Without the time constraints of a typical production schedule, Steven shot motion with 16mm film—a medium he’d always wanted to incorporate into his reel; he felt the aesthetic matched the warm, nostalgic theme. The distance enforced by pandemic protocols added to the theme. The still photos feature a couple walking hand-in-hand through fields of poppies, surrounded by the dust of the desert in a convertible car, wind blowing on their faces, the sun high, their eyes protected by designer shades. The couple is also shown lounging in a sun-soaked interior. The film shows them driving through the desert with the narrator speaking of learning to let go, taking things slow and enjoying the ride, the moment. 

The final piece was considered, shot from a distance, and spoke of simpler times—a balm to the uncertainty felt by many during the pandemic. Respecting the extreme challenges of the times, Steven endeavored to put out a piece that was positive and aspirational. 

It was rewarding for the artist to be able to strip himself of all the extras of a normal shoot and feel less control over small production details. It became a therapeutic process and a great proof of concept.”

– Lindsay Comstock / LeBook

Behind The Scenes via @CameronJoshep

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