April 17, 2014 0

Meeno: Lady Gaga

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Lady Gaga as fallen Phoenix, photographed by Meeno. Official single artwork for “G.U.Y” and opening “ARTPOP” scene from the “G.U.Y.” music video.

Fashion director: Brandon Maxwell
Hair: Frederic Aspiras
Makeup: Laura Dominique

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April 7, 2014 0

James Quantz, Jr.: LasVegas.com

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Agency: R&R Partners James_Quantz_Jr_LVCVA_LVcom_MatchMakers

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April 4, 2014 0

Kyle Dreier: Diabetes Forecast Magazine

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Food photography by Kyle Dreier for Diabetes Forecast Magazine.

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March 30, 2014 0

Agency MJ Artist Spotlight: James Quantz, Jr.

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Fun On Set With James Quantz, Jr.Agency MJ artist, James Quantz, Jr. was interviewed about his life as a photographer.

Q: Tell us a bit about your background.
A: I went to a traditional university and double majored in history and business. I then ran a company for a while, doing large-format landscape on the side. I’d stay up until 2:00 AM learning my craft: film, manual, darkroom. I sold the company and went to The Portfolio Center in Atlanta and learned studio lighting, styling and Photoshop. After school I assisted for a couple years and moved into conceptual, stylized photography.

Q: When did you first start taking photos and what did you shoot?
A: Early on I shot golf courses in black and white with a 4×5.

In 2007 I attended a PDN on-the-road seminar series and met with some reviewers from an agency in Atlanta. I had a book of landscapes and portraits and had done a couple out-there composites by playing around with some of the capabilities of Photoshop. Each person at the review was drawn to this work and said I should be doing that. I would think up the craziest scenario and if I could pull it off I knew I could go in that direction.

Q: Lighting and style for different markets?
A: My lighting looks very similar to both sports light and movie posters/key art—campaigns for movie and TV shows: rim, hard lighting, deep shadows and crisp highlights.

I really love films and sporting events. I go to films just to watch the lighting and then bring a cinematic style of lighting to my work and make it as dramatic as I can get away with. This works across both celebrity high-key imagery and sports.

For sports, it is the heroic with the stadium and fans in the background. I’m persistent and this paid off when I got into the door at South Carolina University. This has given me access to top-tier athletes and full creative control.

With a movie, you have a certain plot point and have an epic event. You’re trying to capture that during a still. An action or romantic movie will be a different feel. I’m telling a story with the photo.

Baseball work is softer, but I’m still trying to recreate that epic moment during a game – - the big play. I fantasize about what that might look like. I also like low-key natural light as in the celebrity window-light portrait I recently shot.

I enjoy using humor and details – - when the viewer can go back three and four times to see details they didn’t see the first time. And to build out a landscape that could stand on its own and makes a stronger image when you can bring in characters.

Q: What is your conceptual process?
A: Pre-visualized and a plan of action. It starts with an idea. For the Chelsea Handler piece they wanted something that revolved around travel. So we started with an airport, the Avedon image and luggage from the 50s. Then we played off of the baggage claim area and involved animals and people in an activity to insinuate something going on—another elephant simulating a pose and the other elephant pulling luggage off of the carousel. The elephants were shot at a local zoo. We mixed and matched several elephants to make one.

Q: How important is the technical aspect of your work to you?
A: With my work, it can go wrong if it’s not done absolutely correctly. I learned the zone system and still use this knowledge. I also learned Photoshop very well. A lot of art buyers (about 50%) have said, “This could have really gone wrong if you didn’t pull it off right.”

Q: Collaborative process?
A: If we go back to the athletic work and Chelsea Handler we have a creative call and the idea of what they want to do. They’ll either have it scripted out or an idea to start with and we then toss ideas back and forth. From that point, optimally we put together a background so when we’re on set we have a brief.

We use the background shot on set and drop the subject in when we’re shooting. It gets them motivated and lets them use their imagination while shooting. So there’s verbal and visual interaction.

For the Gamecocks, I had already shot the background in the studio and had print out for them to hold during shoot. We then dropped them into the scene. For athletes it’s easier to show them – the cooler you can make them look the more they are motivated.

It’s the same with celebrities. I have backdrops and drop them in so they can see what is working and what isn’t. Before they leave they see a rough layout of what they are going to look like. They can give their input.

Q: What about retouching?
A: I do all my own retouching.

Q: What’s it like working with you on the set?
A: I try to have fun, joke around, have a good time. People like that and hire me for that as much as being able to deliver visually.

Q: What do you most hear from art buyers/clients about your work?
A: Most people flip through the entire portfolio and seem to enjoy it. It’s different than what a lot of art buyers are presented with.

Q: Do you have repeat clients?
A: Yes, two recently. I’m a big believer in wrap parties and taking everyone out after. If people like to hang out with you, then hopefully they will want to work with you. I take everyone out including the assistants.

Q: How are you using social media?
A: I take photos on shoots, release photos I’m working on during retouching, BTS snaps throughout day, cows for Chelsea Handler. I have a blog and a Behance account. I use HootSuite for sending out to social media channels.

I got hired from Twitter posts to shoot for The Falcons. I shot editorial for Smithsonian off Facebook. Kimberly Clark marketing follows me on Facebook.

Q: What would be your dream career?
A: One week photographing NFL and next week photographing celebrities. That would be the top for me.

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March 13, 2014 0

Kevin Arnold: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy Beer

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First print ad just launched from Kevin Arnold‘s shoot last year for Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy Beer. Shot on location in the Boundary Waters.

Agency: Jacobson Rost
Produced by Elizabeth Nicole Productions

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March 12, 2014 0

Kyle Dreier: Planet Smoothie

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Thanks to the adventurous team at Planet Smoothie, photographer Kyle Dreier was able to combine his passion for typography with playing with food.

Read Wonderful Machine’s interview with Kyle Dreier.

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March 7, 2014 0

Kevin Arnold: Transitions Lenses

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Kevin Arnold shot a campaign for Transitions Lenses on location in Brisbane, Australia.

Agency: DDB Worldwide

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February 25, 2014 Off

Agency MJ: Five Years And Still Rockin’

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Photo by Kyle Dreier

Photo by Kyle Dreier

December 2013 marked Agency MJ’s five-year anniversary. To honor this milestone, we asked Mollie Jannasch, Owner and Agent, a few questions about the history of the Agency:

When did you know you wanted to become an agent and what led to that decision?

Working at NYC Artist Agencies, Art + Commerce and Nice.  These amazing experiences helped me to identify that I had an interest in the business side of the photography industry.

How many artists were on your roster when you started out?

I started with three photographers and grew the business to include East and West Coast representation within the first year.

The best thing I did starting out was consult with industry professionals who have been in the trenches longer.  I reached out to Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease, who co-wrote the book ‘The Photographers Survival Guide.’

As a team, we worked on everything from setting business and marketing goals to scouting new talent.  I could not have done this without their initial guidance and direction.

What’s your day-to-day like?

It is a mix each week. Everything from project conference calls, scheduling and booking assignments, and marketing events and portfolio shows.

What are some of the milestones you’ve reached in your first five years?

Shooting with some of the best agencies and talent in the industry – from booking Chelsea Handler to Fruit of the Loom to Publix Supermarkets, I am thrilled with all the opportunities and ways in which we have developed over the past five years!

We have had so many small and large triumphs along the way, we are so grateful for our talented roster.

I also want to thank my parents, family and friends. Their support and inspiration has helped us blossom!

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February 24, 2014 0

Hollis Bennett: Paros Magazine

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Hollis Bennett‘s photography can be seen on this months cover of Paros Magazine.

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February 20, 2014 0

Kyle Dreier: Ruby Tuesday in NYC

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Kyle Dreier and his talented crew did the food photography for a special breakfast menu for Ruby Tuesday’s Times Square location.

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