Oddest way I’ve ever landed a meeting at an ad agency: Art buyer calls me to return a portfolio of mine they found that was lost in the mix. Last printed portfolio I sent out was over 5 years ago. Meeting today to show current work in updated format and view this relic.
Sapeint Nitro tapped me to photograph real NBA fans around the country for a campaign they rolled out for BBVA Compass at the NBA All Star game in Houston. They asked for photo of real life fans of basketball. Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Brooklyn all have really fantastic fan bases with countless dedicated fans. We photographed face painters, families and super fans (yes Clipper Darrell , I’m looking at you).
The Agency placed these images all over Houston in key trafficked areas by fans promoting the hashtag #realfan. Fans submitted photos to a micro site where images can be uploaded as entries for really sweet prizes like tickets to the NBA finals.
I love shooting fans as I am a fan of fans. I love them more than the sport itself.
Just photographed Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels for BodyArmor SuperDrink as first athlete of a 5 part campaign. What a great dude to work with. He is one of the best at his game and still the most down to earth and willing athlete I have ever worked with. He lept through the air, dove for catches and laughed a bunch with us. I look forward to photographing Trout many more times in his and my career. @Trouty20 BODYARMOR SuperDrink @DrinkBODYARMOR ©monte isom 2013
Check out the Behind the Scenes with Mike Trout
And spotted out in the wild
The greatest boxing rivalry of the last 6 years brought me the opportunity to photograph fight legends Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez for Top Rank’s official boxing poster for the pay per view event Dec 8th on HBO and HBO‘s 24/7 advertisement. When Top Rank Boxing tapped me to do this shoot I was honored knowing that Pacquiao vs Marquez 4 would probably be the final epic match to decide who is the better fighter.
Both showed up in great shape and gave me everything I asked for. From intense expression to flexing every muscle.
Marquez was on set first and it turned out I shot a photo with him that takes me back to the beginning of my career and my first direct mailed promo in 1998. Funny how your career comes full circle and sometimes you try to make a photo of yours better.
Juan Manuel looked amazing and gave me fantastic intensity. You could tell he had been prepping for this event long before the contract was signed.
When Manny walks into the room you know it…usually because of his smartphone camera toting entourage. As soon as he saw photos of Juan he was ready to jump in on set and start…and he brought it.
Manny Pacquiao is one of those talents that has fun out of the ring, loves the camera and even incorporates the crew. What started as a stand in shot turned into lots of laughs. You’ll see that in the this Behind the scenes video
Getting boxers of the magnitude of Pacquiao and Marquez in the same room is not an easy task. Often we photograph two fighters individually and then composite them together. Top Rank arranged both talent to be in the same building and ultimately in the same room to play off each other. Fortunately these guys have intensity to spare and Top Rank chose a single frame to design the Pay Per View fight poster from. This is a little victory for a photographer in an age dominated by retouching and post work.
HBO designed an advertisement for 24/7 that also came out great and is appeared in Times Square. BTW the photo of Adrien Broner on the left is also taken by me..
When the Top Rank Boxing official fight poster went up in Times Square it was my 8th billboard this year to appear in the world’s media center. This was a great culmination of a memorable year in my career.
In college I was a tattoo artist for a year. This surprises some people because I didn’t have tattoo fever and cover myself with ink.
I was psyched to get the call to shoot the advertising for Spike TV’s Ink Masters. A super duper double dog whopper bonus was that Dave Navarro, guitarist from my favorite bands ever, Jane’s Addiction & Red Hot Chili Peppers is the host of the show. Being on set with one of your heroes is always interesting as you are playing it cool and professional all the while the 16 year old inside of you is jumping up and down.
We had an aggressive shoot schedule planned on the same day as the on air TV promos, which always adds a few beats to a typical shoot’s rhythm. We began at 6am and shoot wrapped at 6pm, capturing 15 contestants and the 3 hosts: Dave Navarro, Chris Nunez and Oliver Peck. Shooting efficiently and finishing on time required a lot of direction and coordination on the production side. The TV production crew ran a smooth tight ship.
Officially I can say that I found my true calling as a photographer. So glad I hung up my ink machine as a tattoo artist. I doubt tattooing would have ever taken me to the places photo has…or allowed me opportunity to say to one of my heroes, “the music you have made makes me happy.” Thank you photography and thank you Mike Levine for hiring me to shoot this ad. If you need a giant tarantula back piece you may want to call someone else…I’ll be taking pictures.
The Amazing Spider-man posters are the newest project I have photographed and one I am most proud of.
I scaled buildings, jumped out of planes, did some base jumping and developed this scientific breakthrough elastic poly-nylon carbonate webbing for support to get the angles required…it was awesome.
Okay, perhaps I only borrowed friends rooftops and gained private roof access to a few NYC skyscrapers in order to capture the right angles and perspectives. None the less I am overwhelmed with the dynamic treatment the designers did (including the CGI Spidey himself) to make these posters as arresting as they are. There are quite a few executions and the media buy is tremendous. It is truly one of the experiences of a lifetime to see your work on this scale and participate in one of the largest movie franchises in history.
I love when a client has faith in me to shoot something outside the subject of work I usually show on my site. Every time I get a call for cars I feel a challenge coming on. When Allyson Torrisi of Popular Mechanics reached out about photographing the not yet released 2013 Dodge Viper I jumped at the opportunity. This sexy seductress of a vehicle is unlike any I’d ever seen.
Opposed to humans vehicles are 13 foot mirrors with more curves. Everything within viewable distance can and will reflect in the surface of a car. Important to the client is that we didn’t make the images look like they were CGI created and that we actually had access to the unreleased Viper.
We weren’t in a car specific studio and couldn’t fit a 4o’ chimera in the space so we flew a 20′ x 20′ silk overhead then wrapped 3 sides by white seamless to clean up the surfaces. We utilized 30′ of black duvateen to define some elements and features of the car. The roar of the engine was ferocious and smooth. Passersby could not help but stare through the garage door when it was open. Post shoot the Viper was driven out of the studio and into the transport truck. Dozens of people were stopped in their tracks and taking photos. A french couple asked me who was the celebrity that people were so excited about taking pictures of. I retorted, “the sexiest thing to come out of the American automotive industry in a long time”.
Newsies was a movie in the early nineties with Christian Bale that has a cult following. On March 15th the Newsies the musical opened on Broadway in NYC and Serrino Coyne tapped me to shoot the advertising for Disney. My first musical and I had an absolute ball. Let me tell you the dancers from the production took great direction and could leap higher than many of the NBA stars I’ve worked with. They garnered Choreographer, Christopher Gattelli a Tony award for best Choreography. The Wall Street Journal wrote an article titled Culture City: The Jump That Saved a Season – WSJ.com about Gattelli, the remarkable choreography and the marketing photo.
Check out the behind the scenes video.
HBO is one of my favorite long standing clients with over 20 shoots under our belts. Our most recent boxing poster collaboration took me to both a rooftop in Manhattan and studio photographing the best looking pugilist in the game. Most professional athletes are not models but in boxer Sergio Martinez’s case he may as well be. This Argentinian fighter loves the camera and it loves him. It was like Bieber mania with the women swooning while working on set. You can witness some of it in the behind the scenes video.
Shooting celebrity athletes means always balancing between nailing enough quality variations in a short time frame while not appearing rushed. Sergio gave us one fantastic image after another right from the start hence we were never hurried. We even had enough time to get a facebook photo of he and I.
During the shoot HBO marketing manager Sandy Ortiz suggested we try to capture the New York skyline for the backdrop as the fight would take place at Madison Square Garden. We decided to shoot asap as we were up against a tight deadline. HBO photo editor Justin D’Amico worked his magic and had me 689 feet above 42nd st on the roof of the Grace building the following evening. Fortunately the weather and NYC city lights conspired to give me exactly what I needed: clear crisp beautifully illuminated cityscapes. Like Sergio I needed to give very little direction.
I am never more proud of my work than when I turn the corner of 42nd and Broadway and see my images on a HBO Times Square billboard. Thanks to everyone who hustled that day to make it happen.
While driving home from a paintball excursion I was asked by my friend and creative director Sherina Florence if I would come do a talk at Miami ad school in Brooklyn. After 1.6 seconds of considering it I said, “name a date”. We decided our only opening was the next day. So with a paintball blister on my forehead where I was shot the day before I showed up to speak about how dealing with and understanding vendors will help creatives in advertising. I didn’t treat it as a show and tell of my work rather used examples to illustrate different aspects of successes and failures between photographer and agency. The questions from advertising students were very well thought out and on topic…which was a breathe of fresh air. Not one asked what camera I shoot with. I like Miami Ad School students.