February 26, 2014 @ 12:24 pm
One of our goals for 2013 had been to work on more print campaigns. I come from an advertising background and geek out over unique & interesting ads. Throughout the year were fortunate enough to be asked to work on several amazing campaigns – McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish (seriously fun), Missouri Wines (wine, duh) & Crest 3D WhiteStrips (this one just makes me smile) to name but a few. But, out of all of them, one really stood out for us – Knife & Flag Survival Union – Launch Campaign. Back in January of 2013, the talented art director/designer/illustrator/gentleman caller/freestyle spelunker, Jake Houvenagle (Boxing Clever) approached us and asked, “want to make something cool”, and we said, “sure”. Done. What Jake had in mind was a launch campaign for a new product line called, Knife & Flag Survival Union, created by tattoo artist Sean Baltzell. ”Through the years he spent honing and perfecting his skills and tools, the one thing always missing was the right apron. One that didn’t impede him from his canvas, that stayed on his legs and protected his clothing so he wouldn’t have to wear junk clothes to the shop each day – and one that didn’t just look like junk.” – http://www.knifeflag.com/ Necessity being the mother of invention, Knife & Flag was born – “a brand built by independent craftsmen for independent craftsmen”. A brand that merges form and function into stylish and bad ass work aprons, that are perfect for any craftsman (or craftswoman). The look and feel of the campaign needed to be couture meets grease monkey. The goal was to make the silhouette of the form – pop off a grungy, grimy surface. Much to our good luck, our studio has a massive back warehouse that looks like something from “The Walking Dead”. This provided an excellent set to shoot the campaign. Over two sweltering days in August, we shot content for print, web and motion. The quickly decaying hogshead smelled as good as it looked. West Modeling provided talent for the Mixologist and Machinist ads, while the Tattooist and Culinarian were hand picked from our motley crew of friends and acquaintances. Full list of credits are below. Big thank you and props to Curt von Diest for his beautiful work with the digital retouching.
January 21, 2014 @ 10:47 am
November 1, 2013 @ 10:22 am
In honor of Dia de Los Muertos, we present this grim series using old school camera tricks.
On Oct. 30th, we hosted “KegsWithLegs”, a monthly event put on by the The Egotist. Along with tasty beers from Urban Chestnut, cocktails from LetsClink.com and big ass doughnuts from Vincent Van Doughnut, we took these photos.
Each model stood for a portrait with their eyes closed. When the strobe flashed, the model opened their eyes as the shutter dragged. The end result is rather eery and ghostly. At first glance the subject appears awake, but upon second glance you see the eyes are closed. Spooky.
June 13, 2013 @ 10:36 am
Sometimes, I take it for granted that I am surrounded by truly brilliant creatives. Only after they move along on their journey, do you realize how fleeting a time it was to work with them. Back in the summer of 2011, our friend and former studio mate, Hector Caiazza was commissioned to oversee the creation of two stone carved bears for the newly restored Peabody Opera House in St. Louis, MO. Hector is an amazing 3Dimensional artist. Recognizing the scale of the project, Hector brought on master sculptors, Chris Cassimatis and Jeff Metz to tame the wild beasts. Working out of a rented (abandoned) factory on the southside of St. Louis, the team worked for 10 weeks in the unforgiving midwest summer heat. 3,000 lbs of stone was carved away (and probably 100lbs of water weight from the sculptures).
This is one of the rare projects that writes itself. We just needed to aim cameras.
Currently, the bears, live at the secondary entrance of the Peabody Opera House for the public to enjoy.
Edit: Brittany Accardi
Sound: David Kernis
Music: Brittany Accardi, Lance Thomas
PA: Monica Heitz
Second DP: Derek Feldman
Direction/Production: Brian Cummings
May 30, 2013 @ 10:56 am
The are times that I am reminded why I still love advertising. In my yout (not youth, yout), as an art director, I would pine away at all the amazing ads I would see in books like Archive. You know the ones I’m talking about. The uber cool, euro ads that just dare you to even recognize them as an ad at all. It’s as if someone had tied the client to a chair in the basement while the writer & AD went completely rogue. I tried year after year to do just one idea that was so simple and clear that you just look at it go, “are you kidding? that’s just right.” The kind of ad that doesn’t make you feel like you are being sold to. The kind of ad that just is. A writer I worked with was always quick to say, “Good copy needs no image!”. Which I was quick to respond, “Good imagery needs no copy”. Honestly, I think the truth lies somewhere in between, but the point is, good concepts don’t need a lot of help.
The point of my yammering is that once in awhile you get fortunate enough to be part of something just cool. A few months ago the fine folks at PublicisKaplanThaler contacted us about one of our tattoo images (seriously, these shots have more lives than a cat). The creative team was working on an ad for Crest 3D Whitestrips and wanted to know if they could use one of our shots for stock. “Well, sure!” Honestly, I had no idea how in the world they could use tattoos with teeth whitening product. I pretty much forgot the whole thing until I got this beauty of a tear sheet from the producer just yesterday. My hat goes off to the creative team of Alessandra Melo & Lori Korchek. This is a really strong ad. I would love to see what the whole campaign is like. Good job!
April 1, 2013 @ 5:56 pm
I’ve said it a thousand times: We love a challenge. One recurring theme on our ever-growing list of Things We Have Dominated is “It’s winter in St. Louis, but we need to make it look like spring.” Now, most people in this day and age are hip to the magic of Photoshop, and while it is always possible create a the illusion of a model in the midst of sunshine and faux lush greenery in the absence of any actual living plant life or rays of light (i.e, Missouri in the dead of winter), it is ALWAYS preferable to capture the model and background in frame. The ability to shoot on location in the actual environment not only saves a ton of time in post-production, but it creates a cohesiveness between the model and background that just cannot be faked, no matter how much of a retouching genius you are!
Luckily, here in St. Louis, we have a special little gem known as the Missouri Botanical Garden. While much of the grounds lay dormant during the winter months, the garden features a summer wonderland known as the Temperate House, where it remains a warm, dewy oasis year-round. St. Louis Magazine picked this great location as the set for the 2013 Spring Fashion shoot, and it was an excellent choice. We worked around a couple challenges, mainly that the exhibit was open to the public, so we were mindful to stay out of the way of visitors. The other obstacle was keeping the model and crew (not to mention the photographer) from stepping on the rare and very fragile plant life. Mission accomplished.
Check out this behind the scenes video by Kevin Roberts, and keep an eye out for the April edition of St. Louis Magazine, featuring all the photos from this super green shoot. You can also see the images online RIGHT NOW!
*No plants were harmed during the making of this video.
Location: Missouri Botanical Garden - Temperate House
Art director: Lindsay Timme
Stylist: Jan Leach Givens
Hair/makeup: Danielle Erb
Model: Whitney Raidt, Mother Model Management
Assistants: Derek Feldman, Brendan Moloney
March 26, 2013 @ 1:48 pm
The Missouri Professional Cycling Series takes over St. Louis, Missouri each Spring, as the city’s fastest growing neighborhoods are flooded with cycling fans and the fastest professional male and female cyclists in the United States. MO PRO takes place over three days, in three different neighborhoods. In addition to the races, MO PRO features all sorts of rides and events. The Big Daddy of the series is the Tour de Grove, part of the prestigious USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar and the USA Crits Championship Series, and featuring America’s best cyclists.
Last May, Brian Cummings Photography joined up with several other videographers to hit the streets of St. Louis for twelve hours to catch every aspect of the race, from course set-up to the podium ceremony. Armed with multiple cameras, a jib, and several Go-Pro’s, they didn’t miss a minute of this heart-wrenching spectacle. Enjoy.
Brian Cummings (Director)
Blaine Deutsch (Producer)
Brittany Accardi (Production Assistant/Editor)
Chad Harris (DP, Interviews)
Matt Murphy (DP)
David Kerins (Sound Engineer)
Kevin Kelly/Anti-Agency (Camera, Coordinator)
Derek Feldman (Camera Assistant)
Jeff Daniels (Camera Assistant)
Ryan Doris (Camera Assistant)
Paul Nordmann (Camera Assistant)
Hannah Harris (Camera Assistant)
Cameron Mcarthy (Camera Assistant)
Brian Mohn (Camera Assistant)
Jelly Belly P/B by Kenda – Jeremy Powers & Brad Huff
Vanderkitten-Focus – Jennifer Reither & Maura Kinsella
United Healthcare Pro Cycling – Robert Förster & Hilton Clarke
Mountain Khakis/SmartStop – Luke Keough
Elbowz Racing – Christian Helmig
Big Shark Bicycle Company
March 14, 2013 @ 11:16 am
Last fall, we mentioned that our work was going to be featured in Inkarnation, a tattoo and lifestyle book being published in Germany. Well, our copy has arrived, and my-oh-my is it ever a beaut. The epic embossed hardback cover is filled with over 300 pages of amazing tattoo photography from all around the globe. Curated by German designer/photographer Dirk Behlau, aka Pixeleye, this book is full of hand-picked images that were found and collecteed by Dirk himself. The man has got an eye for all things tattooed, and we’re honored to be a part of his collection.
February 19, 2013 @ 9:13 am
“Who do I know that looks like a dirty old fisherman?” It’s a question we all ask ourselves from time to time. But this time, the fate of an ad campaign depended on it…
When Hoffman Lewis needed a photographer to shoot conceptual portraits of dingy, weathered fishermen for a Filet O’ Fish billboard campaign for McDonald’s, they knew where to turn. Brian’s ability to capture the personality of a character in his lens was exactly what they needed. When they approached us with the project, we were all over it. When they laid out the project’s budget and deadlines, we were… willing to accept the challenge. Not every photographer can (or is willing to) work within a tight budget, and when the words “quick turnaround” are added, FORGETABOUTIT. But when the project feels right and gets our creative juices flowing, we’ll do whatever it takes to make it work. Not unlike people who are trapped together in an elevator for fourteen hours, we at Brian Cummings Photography have a special bond that is formed by keeping our cool under intense pressure (and by not eating each other). Everyone on the team plays an important role (or two) in a production like this, and if we each summon our spirit animal and keep our head in the game, we can pull it off.
First step: Casting. When you are casting on budget, professional models are typically not an option. So we go to plan B: Scrolling through our mental photographic rolodexes for “models” who fit the bill. We noted several options, including friends, friends of friends, and a few strangers we found online (through reputable sources, I’m told). In the end, we nailed it hook, line, and sinker. With Brian’s wife’s boss, a professional Santa (luckily we caught him in the off-season), and our very own photo assistant Derek Feldman to star as the fish sandwich-seeking deep sea diver, we were set.
Step two: Wardrobe. There are projects where a professional wardrobe stylist uses her connections and knowledge of resources to find us everything we need, then we all sit around and twiddle our thumbs until she comes back to us with several options, at which point we say “No, no, yes, no, that’s awesome, no, let’s keep that as an option, yes, no, etc.” This was not one of those jobs. Our producer, Brittany Accardi, stepped up to the plate to take on the role of wardrobe stylist, and she took it like a boss. Dressing the fishermen was straightforward and fun, and a little research lead to a costume shop in L.A. that could provide the diving suit, but there’s nothing like sourcing an antique, rentable, diving helmet to really take the wind out of your sails. Boy howdy. We all Googled our hearts out, and after days of searching, Brittany finally struck gold (actually, I think it might be copper) when she found the giant spherical gem hidden away in Wisconsin. This helmet probably hadn’t seen a camera since it was used in Men of Honor over a decade ago. That’s right, this helmet was in that movie. That’s right, the year 2000 was over a decade ago. Now, if you have to ask how much it costs to overnight a 75 lb. chunk of metal worth about $20,000 from Wisconsin to St. Louis, you probably can’t afford it.
Step three: Shoot! As I’ve mentioned before, our crew works well under pressure. Once we’re on set, it’s smooth sailing (are you picking up on all the ocean puns yet?) We totally knocked out the three portraits, and even found a couple of extra hours at the end of the day to do some freestyle shooting. You know, show the clients a couple more options. THAT is how it is done.
January 16, 2013 @ 9:20 am
Some wisdom that we took away from 2012 is the importance of us folks in what are often client-ruled creative positions to occasionally partake in a self-inflicted creative endeavor of our own direction. Opportunities to collaborate with creative people whom we like and respect build enthusiasm (and portfolios), even if there’s no paycheck guaranteed. Don’t get me wrong, money is nice, but we need to remember why we’re all in this industry in the first place: We were bad at Science. Just kidding. We all came here to MAKE ART. When a group of guys and gals have an opportunity to come together on a project where we know the general direction (we think), but it’s going to take everyone’s input to figure out how the hell to get there, dreams come true. There’s a magical sense of camaraderie when shooting and collaborating in a room full of creatives. It’s a virtual Island of Misfit Professionals, where everyone’s voice is heard, every idea is considered, and everyone chips in however possible to make it happen.
From the initial “What if…” (which may or may not have been conceived over beers), to brainstorming, sharing, and bouncing ideas off one another (this might be also referred to as “meeting for beers”), to the execution of the project (usually sober for this part) and the celebration afterwards (beers), everyone is smiling and laughing, everyone is stoked to pitch in, everyone is awesome and important, and everyone walks away with a fulfilling sense of accomplishment and a reminder of why we love what we do. Those of us who choose to be in this field are a special breed. It’s not always glamorous, and it’s not always fun, but by remembering to say “Yes!” to opportunities to surround ourselves with our own kind for the creation of something radical, we’ll all make it through another year. So here’s to a 2013 filled with talented friends and endless opportunities for creative collaboration. And to beers.
Agency – Boxing Clever
Executive Producer – Brian Yap
Creative Direction /Title Design- Jake Houvenagle
Director / Photography – Brian Cummings
Talent – All Along Press & Woodford Reserve
Assistant Camera – Derek Feldman
Digital Technician – Monica Heitz
Sound Design – David Kerins
Editor/Motion – Brittany Accardi