[ February 23, 2009 ]
Amber Gray is a native (Northern) Californian photographer/ director based in New York City. She has photographed celebrities Beyonce, Penelope Cruz, Roisin Murphy, John Turturro, Nina Hagen, and Maria Sharapova as well as ad campaigns for Maybelline, Splenda, Sony, Discovery Channel, MGM, Orly, etc.
People often describe your shoots as experiences in and of themselves. Please recount one of the most outrageous moments during
an "Amber Gray" production.
I like to do everything we possibly can in-camera. I obviously do use post, but much prefer to have the models and the crew reacting in a real environment. So my interest in sort of surreal situations has yielded some unusual set situations. I like to tailor the music and even the catering sometimes to reflect the theme of the shoot. I once did a shoot where we used a thousand giant spherical latex balloons and filled a huge three-wall cyc with them, we had a large trampoline and wind machines nestled within them to give the impression that the model was free-floating through a pastel outer space kind of environment. I had the DJ play really weird music and we all took turns jumping on the trampoline to space rock while the model was in hair and makeup. It was like a dream, where you are falling and everything is oddly colored and then David Bowie shows up, and offers you cotton candy...
Obviously, your shoots require a tremendous amount of planning. Are there ever times when something unpredicted pops up and changes everything at the last minute? How do you handle a situation like this?
Almost all of my shoots are in-studio, so that unexpected element is really not too much of an issue. I storyboard out all my shoots and get very involved in literally every element of the shoot (casting, styling, set design) which is why my work has such a specific and consistent aesthetic. There have been a few left field demands made by celebrities, and in those situations- you just have to go with it. I do my best sales pitch on why we should do things my way, and if they are not into it, I do it their way (shrug).
Who is Ivan?
Ivan is the baddest mother-scratcher in town...he's a 9 pound terror that kind of looks like a fuzzy bat / teddy bear with the heart of a stone cold gang-banger. (but he is technically a 9 lb. Pomeranian)
Artistically speaking, is there any medium you explore outside of photography?
Yes! I love motion picture! All my ideas are compromised and condensed in order to make it into one frame. Film is much more freeing because you can use sound and motion to help carry out the story. I have been working on my directors reel for the past two years, and I'm currently working on the script for a short film. I am also looking to do a music video.
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