Robotics Researcher Sergey Levine for MIT Technology Review 35 under 35 | Seattle editorial photographer
Robots! Labs! Robotic hand labs! Had an awesome shoot back in July that just ran this month in MIT Technology Review. I was commissioned by the art team to photograph and film University of Washington CSE Professor Sergey Levine for #TR35, the magazine’s 35 under 35 feature. Levine has helped pioneer some incredible scientific research on how robotic limbs can be taught to touch and manipulate objects, learning independently through trial and error. I visited the sophisticated lab and was struck by how this robotic hand could be an asset for the future of everything from assembly lines to people requiring fully functioning prosthetic limbs. It was a joy to meet Levine and his co-lead on the ADROIT project, Vikash Kumar. They were gracious with their time and allowed me and my team all the access to do the shoot and get exactly what I envisioned for this story.
A statue depicting Donald Trump appeared overnight at the corner of 11th and Pike in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood Thursday August 18, 2016. I was free that day and decided to make the drive over and take some portraits of Mr. Trump, figuring it would not be up there for long. Uniformed SDOT crew took a look and snapped their own photos quickly. A few wondered if they were going to take it down. Seattle Police drove by with smiles but used their intercom to tell people to get out of the street. All kinds of people and vehicles stopped to gawk. Most seized the opportunity to take pictures of and with the statue until about 4:30 pm, when the art was dramatically removed by men pulling over in a truck, taking the piece for purported safe-keeping and installation elsewhere out of traffic.
It was great to work with Cultured Magazine to illustrate a story profiling Winston-Wachter Fine Art Owner Stacey Winston-Levitan for their Summer 2016 issue. The photoshoot was originally for a cool new client, Discover South Lake Union, which sent me out to photograph a range of business owners and cool people working in the area. My thanks to Stacey for being so cool and welcoming as I took over her beautiful gallery space for an hour back in April. Check out the fun story by Maxwell Williams
This Summer has been filled with lots of interesting yet-to-be-released projects, so please stay tuned!
Photographed @snoopdogg for @nwleaf back in April and it was one of the craziest shoots of my career. Asked for 1 minute and got 39 seconds – did two setups and managed 23 photos. Arrived two hours early and up until I had Snoop in front of my camera wasn’t entirely sure it would actually happen🙂 Big thanks to Will and Ryan for making that possible! Snoop was friendly but quiet, and flashed a bunch of poses at me without talking. I asked him to look up toward my light in one – and then his manager said alright lets go. Such a quick encounter as these tend to be.
Afterward, Snoop was posing for photos and signing autographs for fans at @haveaheartrec_ – I had a kind of crazy idea to light Snoop while he was posing with other people and got the go ahead to keep shooting. I convinced my assistant @taylorfeistphoto to jump in and hold up a piece of black seamless behind Snoop for a couple of seconds at a time. Taylor convinced his security guards. It was working! But just as soon, the legend had to take off. One of those shoots you prepare hours for and its over in a puff of smoke.
Thanks for looking!
Got approached to do a cool shoot for my longtime client, Cityvision, last month, focusing on the innovative efforts of Everett to combat the issue of homelessness.
By opening new shelters and affordable housing, and stopping the revolving doors of the criminal justice system, Everett is finally doing something productive on the matter.
The magazine’s art director had coordinated access to do the shoot on top of the Wall Street Building in downtown Everett. In my naivety I thought, ok, we’ll get to the highest floor, pop out a roof hatch, and be shooting in no time.
photo by matt mills mcknight
But when we got to the 10th floor, the PR person let us know we went on foot from there. We emerged on a sub level of the roof, surrounded by a 6-foot-tall parapet. I couldn’t understand why we would do the shoot there — you couldn’t see anything. Then he pointed to the ladder. Did I mention I hate heights?
My assistant, Matt Mills McKnight, and I worked out a plan to get the lighting gear up to the actual roof. We packed two heads into the beauty dish case, which I put onto my back. Matt carried my camera bag. Then we held on for dear life. The most impressive part though is that all three of our subjects were game to participate and climb too. What troupers! If nothing else, this job makes for some very interesting bar stories. Many thanks to City of Everett Lead Prosecutor Hil Kaman, Deputy City Attorney David Hall, and Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson.
One of my last and favorite shoots of 2015 was to photograph Korea’s first female astronaut, Soyeon Yi, for Cosmopolitan.com. Yi made headlines in 2008 as she conducted research for 10 days at the International Space Station. Today she volunteers at The Museum of Flight here in Seattle. Big thanks to Soyeon for her time, my assistant Kyu Han for wheeling lights around, and The Museum of Flight for their gracious accommodation!
One of my final assignments of 2015 was to photograph BioViva CEO Liz Parrish for OZY.com, which just published a five-part story on the biggest ideas of the future coming out of Silicon Valley. Parrish, 44, who heads a Seattle-based gene therapy research company, recently traveled to the country of Colombia to receive experimental stem cell transplants designed to reverse signs of aging — it was a controversial operation rebuked by some as unethical human experimentation. A colleague gave her only days to live several months ago, she said. Parrish said she believes that the issue of aging is too important for science to ignore.
I have only photographed a few people more than once for a portrait so the chance to point my camera toward the CEO of Amazon again for a few minutes made for a pretty surreal morning earlier this month. Jeff Bezos convincingly pretended to remember me as we worked through a few setups and I asked him if Donald Trump ever replied to his tweet offering a rocket ship ride (he hasn’t) and he let out of one of his trademark chuckles. He takes direction well and laughed at my dumb jokes. Perfect subject. Before I knew it, an assistant was calling time and he thanked me and walked out. One of those mornings that are way too early and over way too quickly. Photographed for Welt am Sonntag, a German newspaper http://welt.de Big thanks to my assistant @jovellephoto too for her help. This is one of my last tear sheets of the year and it was an awesome time.
I had an awesome two-day assignment from The Verge last month to photograph Microsoft Game Studio’s Kudo Tsunoda and Shannon Loftis for a story about the XBOX One and new directions for Microsoft. Editor Michael Zelenko asked me to also capture the feeling of working at Microsoft’s Studio C, located on the company’s sprawling Redmond, WA campus. On both days the weather was pretty bad, as it tends to be in November around these parts, but I actually thought it signaled a kind of classic Washington vibe in the exterior shots. The story is a great read so make sure to check it out. Happy Holidays!