Last week, we launched “The Future Issue” of Resource Magazine featuring Bill Nye on the science of image-making, and what this can teach us about the future of the universe. The shoot was held at Root Studios and photographed by David Johnson, where we assembled a small yet expert team to produce our fall 2015 cover feature. With a carefully planned shot list, we had only two and a half hours with Bill—a considerably short time to capture eight images throughout multiple sets, but the shoot’s intimate vibe was the ideal setting to move through wardrobe and set changes without a moment to spare.
Collectively, our crew consisted of photographer David Johnson, myself as art director, Resource CEO/President Alexandra Niki as prop stylist, celebrity hair/makeup artist Alex LaMarsh, as well as a video producer David Geffin and a few incredible assistants and models. Anyone on set that day would agree that the team’s energy was electric, but the most important thing was making sure this energy was focused in the right directions. Additionally, many of these shots were constructed by compositing images, which made it possible to capture Bill throughout the entire duration of his time with us, then photograph the models and props later in the day.
From an art directing perspective, what struck me the most was our practical sourcing and use of props. In the cover image, for example, Bill’s custom-made light bulb helmet was built from scratch using a hard hat, spray paint and lights bulbs picked up at Home Depot. The light emitted from the bulbs was done in post, as it was a last minute addition created the morning of the shoot. Also, the other props you will find in this story—the camera mobile, camera obscura projector, and assorted photo gadgets—were made from the day-to-day items found in the nooks and crevices of the Resource office.
As for wardrobe, I can proudly reveal that we collectively spent only $150: the “old-school photographer outfit” was bought for $40 at Salvation Army, the lab coat for $40 at OK Uniform, and the futuristic costume worn by our lovely model, Sarah Valin, was purchased for $70 at New York Costumes. But outside of these purchases, what truly brought the images to life was LaMarsh’s last minute perfections, such as the sunscreen on Bill’s nose in the beach shot or the subtle rotation of his bow ties. Not to mention, instructing Bill to come prepared with a selection of his personal clothes added a relaxed aesthetic to our photos, a stylistic decision found throughout most Resource Magazine cover stories.
For the full story, you can visit the Resource Mag Shop or find us in Barnes and Noble stores and photo studios across the U.S. and Canada. In the meantime, check out our BTS video produced by David Geffin.
Photographer – David Johnson
Art Director – Billy Murray
Prop Stylist – Alexandra Niki
Hair and Makeup – Alexandria LaMarsh
Photo Assistants – Mary Kang, Lavinia Pisani
Prop Assistant – Johnny Self
Models – Amanda Brooklyn, Sarah Valin