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Posts from the ‘fashion’ Category

Who Will Save Your Soul

Jewel in her Volkswagen Van.

Entertainment Weekly, February 2015, photo by Steve LaBadessa

In 1996 Jewel wrote a song, “Who Will Save Your Soul,” a thoughtful poem about the struggle of life and redemption.  The song later brought her national attention as well as a Grammy nomination.  On assignment for People magazine I was asked to make a portrait that illustrated her story.

Jewel’s home was located in an urban section of San Diego. On my arrival Nedra, Jewel’s mother, directed me inside. Jewel, raised in Alaska, shared a home with her mom.

I photographed Jewel in three different settings; surfing, painting on a canvas and sitting in her ’67 Volkswagen van. The van seemed the most comfortable location for her. She used the van to travel to gigs and it served as a place for her to sleep for out-of-town performances.

In the Volkswagen Jewel started to sing, “Who Will Save Your Soul”. Her voice was passionate yet soft. I was awestruck by the private concert that transpired. Passersby didn’t seem to notice the chart-topping singer songwriter was performing on this narrow street.

Jewel was unpretentious in every way. There was no hair and make-up stylist. She was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. She didn’t even wear shoes. Photographing Jewel was one of my favorite celebrity shoots of all time.

The van photo has achieved iconic status. Every few months I get a request to use the photo on-line or in a publication. Several months ago I got a call from a photo editor at Entertainment Weekly. She remembered the photo. She wanted to use it as the opening spread for a dedicated issue about Jewel. She said it was a beautiful picture that symbolized Jewel’s humble beginnings. That’s how I remember it too.


South Florida – Very Hot and Very Cool

South Florida is unique. It has a mix of US and Latin cultures. It has warm light and cosmopolitan people. Walking around you see 50’s Art Deco styling everywhere and yet it embraces all that is modern. I love it.

I was in South Florida last week on assignment. On my down time I captured these images in the Naples area.

Woman on the beach in South Florida

Warm evening light covers a woman on the beach in South Florida

Three boys show off salt water at the Naples Pier.

Showering off at Naples Pier

Storm clouds building in the afternoon heat.

Storm clouds building in the afternoon heat


Playing paddle games on Naples Beach

Playing paddle games on Naples Beach

Palm trees, cars and architecture

Palm trees, cars and architecture

Silicon Valley meets Wall Street

A good photograph like a good book contains conflict. However, the conflict in a photo is visual, your eyes bounce off the conflicting elements as they explore the image. To communicate the idea of an IPO, Silicon Valley meeting Wall Street, I found using conflicting elements would be my best approach.

While planning the shoot, I decided that for each high tech item I added to the image I’d put in a corresponding Wall Street element. A cigar is offset with high tech Google Glass, a conservative suit is made new with a pixelation filter, and the model’s youthful face is framed with slicked back hair.

This photograph was turned into a visual soup of props and styling that tell the story.

Wall Street meets Silicon Valley, the IPO

Wall Street meets Silicon Valley

Making a Robot

Woman Robot photo illustration

Female robot photo illustration

I shot this assignment for a story about the film, “Her”. The film directed by Spike Jonze dealt with the idea of humans and computers having relationships.

Turning this model into a robot required a lot of skills. The make up stylist was a huge help adding white make up to the model’s skin. Using a wig to make the model’s hair look too perfect made her robotic. Finishing the shot required many hours of Photoshop, adding details and enhancing the colors.

You can see the before and after pictures.

High tech looking female robot

Female robot before Photoshop


Long Tall Sally

Photograph of a 50's model

50's photograph

I was putting together a short series of 1950’s fashion shots and struggled with the idea of a storyline for the shoot. Typically the 1950’s are idealized. It was seen as an era of happy homemakers baking apple pies and wearing poodle skirts. If there was a point in time when all was right with America it was the 1950s.

Photographically, I didn’t feel a happy housewife was the way to present these fashions. The shoot needed a modern spin. I decided to applied my 21st century sensibility to the 1950’s fashion spread. I thought a sexier look at 1950’s would relate to today’s readers. The client loved the concept and all the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

50's model50's fashionSally 2