A Commercial Shoot with Heart

Sometimes simplicity tells the fullest story. So when Publicis, the agency for Dawn dish soap asked us to help tell the story of Dawn’s role in rescuing animals affected by oil spills, we chose the simplest, most elementally appealing image imaginable: a new duckling, shot in close-up to reveal the softness—and of course, cleanness—of its downy coat.

That single, iconic image evoked sympathy, joy, and in this context, brand affinity. What wasn’t simple? Getting 5-7 day-old ducklings to sit for their portraits. Not only do ducklings like to explore, but they need to be warmed throughout the day, so even working with several animal handlers, the shoot was an all-day exercise in patience and precision.  

Capturing the sun within: a winter shoot for Dr. Oz

It was a feature all about how we feel, so it called for photography that spoke vividly to the senses. When The Good Life magazine came to us to illustrate their December 2016 article on combating the “winter blues,” they were looking for a way to uplift with images. To find it, we worked closely with the magazine’s art director on an idea to marry the winter elements with iconic warm weather images, those that suggested energy and positivity.

The result? Images of snowflakes and ice crystals (the perfect signs of winter, but no breeze to shoot) covering colorful objects that innately said “sunshine:” a luscious peach on the tree, a brightly swirling pinwheel, a sunflower in full bloom. In each shot, the warmth within is clearly visible through the cold, capturing the energy and essence of the story it illustrated.

Eat, drink and be active: a holiday shoot for the NFL

Good photography tells a story; even better photography inspires action. Like the shoot we did for the Play 60 Initiative, a holiday partnership between the NFL and the American Dairy Association. Because the goal was to inspire kids to eat well and exercise daily, the images had to be vivid, delicious and motivating, but also active and—to remind kids of where good health can take them—all in the shape of a pro football.

The demands of having to shoot and edit in one day, was an exercise in composition and speed—marrying diverse elements from an avocado to snowflakes, from jump ropes to playfully spilled milk into an irresistible montage.

Sleep to Dream

We recently had the pleasure of working with the creative team at Firstborn, on a six day shoot for Airweave, the maker of the best selling bedding toppers in Japan.

Collaborating with Creative Director, Adam Boyette and Art Director, Camiel Flohr, we shot products and portraits both in the studio and on location with principal dancer, Lauren Lovette of the NY City Ballet, as well as with architect James Ramsey, whose current project is the much-anticipated Lowline underground park in NYC.

Our shoot would not have run so smoothly without the help of the talented make-up artist Agata Smentek, and prop stylist extraordinaire, Terry Lewis.

Pop goes the hoverboard

Fortune Magazine photo editor Armin Harris called on us to create an image for a story about the boom and bust cycle of hoverboards. After a number of companies made cheap copies of the original hoverboard designs, that sometimes burst into flames, they were pulled from the marketplace during the last holiday shopping season.

While creating sketches for the story, David relied on an image in his mind of a Roy Lichtenstein comic book inspired painting using Benday dots.  He called on model maker, Kellie Murphy to create a large three dimensional painted sign out foam to add to the shots of the hoverboards, adding to the Pop-Art look.

Fortune - Hoverboards

It's all about the Light Festival

We were commissioned by Pace Communications for Southwest Airlines, to create a series of images for a cover story about the new Light City Festival taking place in Baltimore, Maryland. David has experimented with light painting for several previous projects for Comcast, as well as for personal projects, but the scale of this shoot put everything in a new light ! A special thanks to composer and guitarist Kaki King for being part of our shoot.

Light painting for Southwest Airlines
Light painting for Southwest Airlines
Portrait of Kaki King for Southwest Airlines

You light up my life

To celebrate the winners of the Smithsonian Ingenuity Awards, we were commissioned to create this cover image that recognized a dozen very talented individuals. Thanks to Kellie Murphy, for her "brilliant" model making as well as Molly Roberts, Photo Editor and Maria Keehan, Art Director. A special shout out to NASA for letting us use their drone :)

Fractals and Flowcharts

For high school students, the illustrious College Board (purveyors of the SAT and AP courses) should be a familiar organization. Advanced students with an accelerated academic schedule often take on a full AP course load.

Once of the more emergent areas of study is Computer Science, a career track which continues to achieve greater relevance through the rapid digitalization of society. To promote the AP Computer Science course, the College Board called upon David Arky Photography to shoot a still-life image showcasing various aspects of both technical and creative computing.

Working with young models and vibrant props made for a jovial atmosphere on the shoot, which occurred in-studio:

The resulting shot truly conveys the excitement of students immersing themselves in the world of computer science:

Joined by an organic approach to prop styling, the rainbow of colors that spangle this conceptual image work to infuse a youthful aesthetic that beautifully suits the subject matter.

We at the studio hope our work will help inspire the next generation of computer programmers and engineers, along with their educational leaders.

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On Location With Pitney Bowes

David Arky Photography had the recent pleasure of participating in Pitney Bowes’ promotional efforts towards their newly redesigned company logo.

A historic company whose roots date back to 1902 when Arthur Pitney first patented his hand-cranked postage-stamping machine, Pitney Bowes has used the same angular logo since 1971. Through a partnership with FutureBrand, the logo was reshaped into a series of concentric circles with the company’s initials neatly folded in the center. With its ripple-like form, the symbol marks a key milestone in the 95-year-old company’s ongoing efforts towards global innovation in the postal industry and beyond.

To celebrate this modernization, FutureBrand enlisted David Arky Photography to shoot on-location at their global technology center in Danbury, Connecticut. David and his crew transported most of the studio’s lighting, camera and digital processing equipment along to the shoot, which occurred over several days.

Some of the main subjects to be photographed were the current models of Pitney Bowes’ digital postage machines. Much like those used by the United States Postal Service to weigh, sort and stamp mail, these machines are the newest models in a long series that originated with the company’s founding.

This image showcases the new logo design, which is visible on the machine’s digital monitor:

We are thrilled to have taken part in the re-branding campaign of this historically significant company, whose products helped shape the United States mail system that is still in use today. For more info on FutureBrand’s design efforts, visit http://www.futurebrand.com/news/pb-rebrand and check out Pitney Bowes’ website http://www.pitneybowes.com/us to see the new logo in action.

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A Leading Light

Professional photographers and photography students recognize ICP as the International Center for Photography, a renowned institution dedicated to the education, research and exhibition of photographic arts.

Since 2001, David Arky Photography has welcomed ICP students into the studio as part of an immersive course entitled Fundamentals of Studio Lighting for Portraiture and Still Life. The ten-session course offers a rich curriculum that showcases photographic lighting as its own vibrant entity. Each class tackles a range of meditative topics relating to the history and application of this essential component of the photographic arts. Taking a holistic approach, the course engages the students in the subject matter on a deeper level than pure technical instruction.

The course commences with a brief insight into the history of lighting and discussion on the transition from available to controlled sources. By discussing lighting techniques through a historical scope, students are able to gain a more robust understanding of the medium while tracing its evolution. Class assignments encourage students to produce works that capture their personal sense of creativity and passion. The students learn to regard every environment as a studio with unique attributes for photographic capture.

For David, one of the most enjoyable aspects of teaching has been the ability to interact with an inspiring range of individuals from different spheres and disciplines. Over the years, the class enrollment has included students with varying levels of experience and often diverse occupations. From full-time students, to working photographers, creative directors, and even doctors and lawyers, the interesting mix of personalities and skill sets has helped shape the course’s goals and aspirations.

During a recent class session, ICP photographer Ben Jarosch visited David Arky Photography to take shots of students in the immersive environment of the studio. Below are several images from that shoot:

For more information about ICP’s programs and resources, visit http://www.icp.org/

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Luxurious Journeys

A recent spread in Fortune Magazine presented a bevy of fine travel accessories inspired (and in some cases manufactured) by purveyors of luxury automobiles.

Not intended for shallow pockets, these opulent items are pleasing to the eye, though a little out of reach for most. Still, they form an artistically aesthetic collection that can be appreciated by all.

The feature’s main image was produced here at David Arky Photography, and shows the various items in a collage-like arrangement, framed by the dark tones of a carbon fiber luggage set from McLaren.

The photo’s palette is a striking coordination of bold and contrasting colors, with cool blues accented by the cherry red interior of the Tod’s for Ferrari driving shoes as well as the Bentley calfskin handbag.

The lapis-colored laces of the shoes perfectly match the stones and Hermès alligator band of the Parmigiani Bugatti Vitesse watch, the feature’s priciest item at $325,000.

Check out the article’s online version at Fortune.com for more detailed descriptions of these lavishly beautiful driving accessories.

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The Bionic Professor

David Arky Photography has collaborated with Smithsonian Magazine on several projects, the latest being an item on bionic limbs.

“Giant Steps” by Matthew Shaer, appears in the November 2014 issue of the magazine and features a series of photo illustrations created by David.

The article centers mainly on the life of Hugh Herr, an award-winning MIT academic whose work in biomedical devices has greatly accelerated the field of biomechatronic technology. 

An amputee since the age of 17, Herr’s disability came as the result of severe frostbite sustained during a mountain climbing expedition. Decades later, he has developed a computerized ankle-foot system called the BiOM, which allows for more natural forward propulsion than any other prosthetic limb. 

Herr’s personal BiOM units were x-rayed by David for this editorial, as well as Herr himself:

The color-blocked composition suits both man and machine. The deep blue of Herr’s blazer is razor-sharp against the turquoise backdrop and complements the ghostly x-ray of his BiOM legs. A fiberglass crag joins this top-and-bottom contrast in alluding to Herr’s life, and the mountaineering hobby that has so affected his physiological appearance.

A simple side-view x-ray of one of the BiOM units allows readers to view the mechanisms that make this amazing technology function:

It was a privilege to photograph Herr and his invention, which is sure to go down in history for its ingenious contribution to prosthetic technology.

For more in-depth information about the BiOM program and its charitable endeavors towards veteran amputees, read the full article at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/future-robotic-legs

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Test Shot

Though this test shot was originally intended for a different product, the colorful label of this Runa bottle (an organic tea made from guayusa leaves) inspired a new direction for the shoot.

While lighting the shot, the objects on set seemed to create a dark, theatrical mood that contrasts the final image of an energy-packed beverage splashing towards the viewer.

As one can tell, the process of bringing an image into existence often incites new approaches and multiple impressions of the same subject.

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In With the New

In a recent edition of ESPN Magazine, the article “No Matter What Color You Bleed” by Pulitzer Prize winning sports writer Rick Bragg discusses the new College Football Playoff selection system.

We created a photographic illustration for the article that shows the new sharply-designed championship trophy smashing through the Waterford crystal football that topped the former one.

Slender and statuesque, the two-toned trophy features a gleaming silver football framed by tall plates of yellow gold.

Check out ESPN.com for the article and image.

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Conserve and Protect

David Arky Photography recently teamed up with Pentagram graphic designer Carla Delgado and the World Wildlife Fund on their campaign towards preserving the Siberian tiger population in the pine forests of southeast Russia.

In the article “Forests, Pine nuts and Tigers” from World Wildlife Magazine’s Fall 2014 issue, Cheryl Lyn Dybas explicates the correlation between the rapid decrease of wild Siberian tigers and the on-going deforestation of Korean pine trees.

The situation is precarious as these trees provide a necessary shelter to the animals and the nuts are a food source for the tigers’ targets of prey. To personify this symbiotic relationship prop stylist Kellie Murphy used light and dark pine nuts to form the shape of a pouncing tiger, which David photographed in-progress.

This sketch served as a template for the tiger's construction:

We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to help spread awareness to this cause and appreciate the warm response we received from World Wildlife Magazine’s managing editor Sarah Forrest with a copy of the Fall 2014 edition.

Read the full article “Forests, Pine nuts and Tigers” on
line at

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Handbag Cannon

A recent issue of Time Magazine featured an x-ray image from David Arky Photography alongside the article “Armed America” by staff writer Kate Pickert.

A discussion on the rising prevalence of concealed-carry practice, the article highlights the high percentage of women who are responding to this nation-wide trend.

Accommodating these women are several companies that have become known for their functional yet fashionable handbags. Here we see an x-ray of a large pink tote that reveals a special hidden pouch containing a .38 Smith & Wesson revolver:

Visible within the metal chamber, the gun’s heavy bullets are a sharp contrast to the girlish pastels and makeup scattered across the bottom of the handbag. The bag and gun were both photographed by David with a special camera that captures non-medical x-ray imaging. Apart from the varied opinions towards concealed-carry, the image is visually compelling and illustrates the thriving market that this movement has created.

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Still Life Desire

This year’s advertisements for the annual Photo District News (PDN) “Objects of Desire” contest feature an x-ray image from David Arky Photography. The tear sheet below is taken from the July 2014 issue of PDN:

Against a white backdrop, the look of the sculpted mannequin and tight, structured corset is softened by over-laps of translucent blue.

This futuristic bicycle was David’s 2012 submission for the contest:

Bicycle of the future

The photo made it to the final round and was displayed in that year’s Winner’s Gallery under the Food and Still Life category.

Information about the contest including prizes, judges, categories and entry fees can be found at http://www.pdnobjectsofdesire.com The contest deadline has been extended from July 16th to August 4th, so there’s still plenty time to send in your own submissions!