NOTE: This post is an abbreviated version of the full article about a collaboration with international photographer Asa Mathat, originally published on Medium.com read full article
At the 2016 EG Conference in Carmel, California, I was a member of a volunteer creative team tasked with documenting the conference presenters; people described as “among the most industrious and iconoclastic talents of our time.”
This goal required a fast-paced artistic collaboration between photographers, artists, and students.
Together, we created portraits of this gifted mix of people, ranging from rising tech innovators to living national treasures, from the godfather of design thinking to wildlife photographers and winner of the international beatbox championship.
We were confronted with a unique challenge, the brainchild of photographer Asa Mathat, and none of us had done anything quite like it before.
Each portrait session required a four step process…
STEP 1: Interview
Briefly interview the subject of the portrait and try to pull out a visual theme, key word, symbol, or scene that sums up who they are and what is important to them and their work.
STEP 2: Ideate
As a team, quickly brainstorm, plan out, design, and paint a unique, multi-layered photo booth set to illustrate the person’s story. Super tricky because we needed to work with the photographer on what was possible.
STEP 3: Photoshoot
Photograph the person, often with some other challenge such as jumping off chairs, flinging water or paint, rolling plexiglass stands, hanging black drapery, swinging lights, or some other perilous piece of gear ready to reek havoc!
STEP 4: Reset
And then? Wash. Rinse. Wipe. And repeat. This had to happen 30+ times in three days.
The resulting portraits have an emotional range as diverse as the people at the center of the photograph. Topics ranged from deadly serious (police brutality, surviving war and disability) to the magnificent (eagles in flight, blue whales) to pure joy (performers, families, survivors).