DHS knows GIFFS: 2 new examples from ATT-Vice Media

We have now produced a quite a few GIFFS for different clients. The great thing about digital is that there is an immediate and fully quantifiable response. You know right away if your Giff is connecting with the audience or not. With considerable feedback data now, we have a good idea of what works.

-Don’t be cheesy. It needs to be organic, a bit crazy, and totally modern. This is the single hardest thing to impress upon clients. They are so used to having images that are pre-conceived to death, that they really have trouble getting their minds around the spontaneous and the organic. It goes against the first rule of the ad exec: Not failing is more important than trying something new that may really connect. But in the digital economy, its all about cutting through the noise to conect to your customer. Be different, be cool, the data says that works.

-Movement in 3 areas is best. That is the camera moves, there is something moving in the background, and the subject moves. The blinking girl we locked on a tripod because the background movement was too much with the type, but there is still a bit of movement in the background which I really like.

-Non-linear can be fine. For most of the GIFFs we do, it is a straight linear sequence. But the 2 guys with guitars are not. We found that by skipping whole groups of frames and making it more VINE like, it got more hits. Go figure.

-Accidents are great. So if there is one frame out of 15 where the autofocus messes up, that is wonderful. Its the off bit that makes them compelling, not making them perfect.

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New media never fully replaces previous media

Riepl’s Law

Dreamt up more than 100 years ago by a German journalist, in 1913, it say that innovations in media never wholly replace what came before them. “So radio did not supplant newspapers, film didn’t supplant radio and so on”

From The Financial Times, Jonathan Ford November 15, 2014

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Photographs and memory

Photographs and Memory

I was editing some work this morning and Nam June Paik came to mind. Nam wrote “TV is not TV”, which has me thinking photographs are not photographs- they are memory triggers. This principle is ever prescient in advertising photography. An effective ad triggers memories with a lot of people at once. Evoke a response linking positive memories of the past with the desires of the present and you have a winner.

Images are captured in a fleeting moment in the rushing flow of time. I find it fascinating how we are not necessarily aware of the present, but throughout our lives build huge baskets of woven memory where we spend most of our mental time.

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Great is Better Than Good

Good is the enemy of great. Why settle for good? Because its easier and safer than great. Walter Gropius, Mr Bauhuas, wrote that if we build better buildings, people will become better people. Gropius aimed high, he wanted to change the world. I read this when I was 19, and its stayed with me. I thought “If I take better pictures, I can improve people’s lives.” I know this sounds a bit grandiose, but its something that drives me. If I settle for good safe images, I will never make great memorable ones.

When you aim for good in whatever you do, you’ll most likely produce something less than good. Good has a way of changing into good enough. When you aim for great, you’ve made a commitment to push beyond safe, and possibly get you to something new, memorable and impactful.

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Provoked Spontaneity

Today I want to share with you a story that happened while on set to shoot this picture for the AT&T campaign I’ve been working on. It’s a sunny day and we are on the roof, trying to get the talent to give us an honestly expressive moment. There I was working the ground, climbing on things, telling jokes, but nothing was working. Suddenly I thought, let me ask the producer to get us a couple of Super Soakers. When they finally arrived I handed one to this beautiful girl on set, another member of our talent for the day, and told her “here, take this and when I give you the cue, shoot him in the chest.” She looked at me, “Really?” Yup, empty the entire thing at him.”

I picked up the camera and began working with the talent. I got him moving around the set, and then as he hit the mark “NOW!” Water flies, he is taken by surprise, and boom, I capture the perfect reaction.

Sometimes the only way to evoke an organic expression is to provoke a moment of genuine emotion.

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RedBulletin Cover story

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New GIFFs for ATT Web banners

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ATT Millennial campaign collaboration with Vice Media

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Responsibility

To whom are we responsible? I have a photographer friend, successful nationally known artist, who feels that his greatest responsibility is to the viewers of his images. I know many photographers who would say that their responsibility is to whomever is paying them. Or, for some people I would imagine their reflexive answer would be to say it is to themselves.

Photographers have an extra-ordinary amount of power in how the outcome of their images effects the subject. We are making the context, we are editing the circumstance of how this person will be seen. If the picture is published widely, it can have a tremendous power. In the case of working with models, there is a collaboration. Its a group effort that I as photographer lead. Even so, I don’t think I would be comfortable asking someone to do something they would not be proud of doing. Its just bad karma. When working in portraiture, it is even more important to respect and in a way, to love , the person being photographed. They have given me the enormous privilege of letting me into their world. Without this permission I am nothing. It is a space to be respected and protected.

On my commercial jobs, I will ask, I will plead, I will cajole to get a moment to happen, but I will not try to get someone to do something that would open them to ridicule or shame. Its not my jam. I know some photographers thrive on that scene. I don’t. My first agent also repped Guy Bourdan, a first class sadist, whom I heard all the stories about. Great images, but did he really need to tie the girl to the tree for 8 hours? Really? Yuk.

This is a bit of a touchy subject that will probably get me in some hot water, but the most important thing to me is how I feel about myself. Taking a great picture makes me feel great about me, humiliating someone, or trying for that gottcha moment makes me feel like a creep, and I really really don’t want to go there. As I often quote from the great Ed Kashi “ To be a better photographer I need to become a better person”.

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HOUSE OF GOLD for Los Angeles Magazine

These are some out takes from my HOUSE of GOLD project for Los Angeles Magazine. There are more posted on my site. Gold’s Gym Venice-The Mecca. Its the most amazing place. Last summer during the Olympics, they had a board in the lobby with a medal count for the members of that gym. It was more than most countries. I see action movie stars in there all the time. Robert Downey, Sarsgaard, Mickey Rourke and that crowd. Mike Tyson is there early in the morning. Gabby Reese and Laird are there in the summers. Its wack. No matter how crazy you think your workout is, there is somebody like Apollo Ono doing something that seems humanly impossible.

Anyway, Google bought the building and it is unsure how long this scene is going to be around. Thus the magazine piece.

Massive thanks to LA Mag, Golds Gym management and all the amazing athletes who so generously gave their time.

David Harry Stewart

David Harry Stewart

David Harry Stewart

David Harry Stewart

David Harry Stewart

David Harry Stewart

David Harry Stewart

David Harry Stewart

David Harry Stewart

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Revista 192 “DTLA”

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DIVERS

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At the Mecca-Golds Venice

Doing the #probikini #npccompetitor #abworkout at #themecca. Yea, I was also taking pictures from time to time. Sorry about the lack of sound, but you get the idea.

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Big wave surfer Greg Long for Red Bulletin

david-harry-stewart_greg_long

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2 AMERICAN DRAG images selected as Winners for AP-AI 2014

Thank you to AP-AI and to the judges for your support. To the other creatives out there, I encourage everyone to find the subject that intregues you and then go deep into it. Obsession is a wonderful thing. The drag and speed world has been mine for the better part of the last year. There is a film element that I am still working on that will be part of the overall work. Then it will be on to the next interesting sub cult. Photography has the wonderful gift of opening up worlds, both to the artist and to the audience. It is one of the things that keeps me coming back yearning for more, year after year.

I look forward to seeing all the other winners and their obsessions at the 2014 AP-AI launch.

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Announcing a major new body of work: AMERICAN DRAG.

This series grew out of my curiosity for the workings of tribes. As with all my work, these images are concerned with discovering beauty and honest moments of humanity. The drag and speed world is in many ways of another earlier time, despite the technology involved in the vehicles. It is a world of close families, of individual style, of pride of competition without prize money. It is a world of fetishized machines where style and speed are both valued.

My deepest thanks to all racers and families of the drag racing and speed testing fraternity who shared their world with me.

See the entire series at www.dhstewart.com/americandrag

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Out takes end of year 2013

Here are some of the images we shot this year that never made it to print. Sometimes its the accidents, the not setup shots that are the best.

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J&J Healthy Essentials Global Campaign

J&J was nice enough to share the stats with me on how we did on their global Healthy Essentials campaign. They signed up 150,000 new registrants to their web site in the first month, $30 million in sales in the first month, and a 12% increase in product use y/y. This is not some small start up, this J&J is a large proud company that has been around for a long time, with huge existing sales and market presence. It puts a smile on my face to see the benefit my work has to the companies that I partner with.

I help companies build their brands and sell their products through powerful visual story telling. This is what I do. I am the best there is at this work: visual story telling that influences consumers through captured moments that are honest, genuine and entirely believable.

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Luis De Oliveira for DeLaEspada.

Photographed at The Barragan House, Mexico City 2013

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New York Times Fashion




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