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  • Adrienne Frank 2:39 pm on June 9, 2014 Permalink  

    good sports 

    Though I’m an editor and writer, I love a photo shoot. It’s exciting to develop a vision and execute it—or rather, have our talented photographer, Jeff Watts, execute it. I would guesstimate that about 90 percent of the images you see in the magazine are original, not stock, photos.

    When our friends in Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) decided to profile Loren and Jamie Danielson for the April issue, we knew exactly where we wanted to photograph the Bethesda couple. Loren, Kogod/BSBA ’80 and Jamie, CAS/BA ’81, are generous, longtime supporters of the AU wrestling program (Loren wrestled for AU). What better place to photograph them than the new Bender Arena locker rooms, surrounded by the wrestling team?

    When we went to scout the locker room before the shoot, it looked like a hurricane had come through. The guys were at practice, so there were shoes, clothes, and wrestling gear everywhere. (It was a good preview of what my son’s room will look like when he hits the teenage years.) A few days later, however, when we met the Danielsons, DAR staff, and the coaching staff for the photo, the room was spotless—as were the wrestlers, all decked out in their warmup gear.

    We tried several combinations before settling on the fourth photo below. The students were great sports (no pun intended). I know being photographed can be a little uncomfortable, but they did everything we asked with a laugh and a smile. And, like our wrestling squad, the final photo is a winner.


  • maria 1:21 pm on June 2, 2014 Permalink  

    ugly duckling 

    Cameo_Joy-of-ChemestryWe knew exactly how we were going to illustrate “Joy of Chemistry” about CAS professor Matthew Hartings’s class on the science behind food. It was going to be easy as pie.

    Adrienne and I hit up five different stores looking for the best jumbo blueberry muffins we could find. They needed to have round, sky-high tops with crumbles, and fat blueberries. Starbucks was the clear winner.

    We waited until the day of the shoot for peak freshness. We didn’t know that we needed to buy them before 7 a.m. if we wanted to be that picky (annoying) customer behind the glass pointing at the specific muffins we wanted. We had to take what we got. We bought the last three—the third one being our “just in case” muffin as it was, frankly, ugly.  Its top was amoeba shaped, flat, and had a skimpy crumble covering. When we met our photographer, Jeff Watts, in the studio for the shoot I left it in the paper bag in my office thinking I’d take it home for my son to enjoy.

    This shoot should have been quick—maybe a half an hour. But food stylists we are not. We quickly discovered that we shouldn’t have used the most beautiful muffin first. We pinched off part of its perfect top to simulate how one might begin to eat such a lovely, fluffy muffin. Though we could picture it in our heads, we spent 15 minutes trying to style a mangled mess into something attractive—to no avail. We moved on to our second best-looking muffin and spent even more time to get worse results.

    123We only had the ugly muffin left. We decided to go Seinfeld and “break free” the muffin top from the stump. This was definitely the better way to go but the irregularity of the muffin top was pronounced in Jeff’s images. Our stomachs dropped. We were resigned to the fact this photo illustration was not going to be our best. We were ready to call it quits when I thought to lift up the muffin top to the same level as the muffin bottom. In a feet of engineering (if I do say so myself), I propped up the top with stray blueberries. After strategically placing some crumbs, Jeff took a few shots and ta-da, we had our picture. Our ugly duckling came through.

    blueberry-stiltsI will never look at or eat a blueberry muffin the same way again.

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