The Art of Creating Living Photography™

May 12th, 2015

As someone who both appreciates and creates still photography and motion footage, I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking of the best ways they might come together. After all, we live in a world of web browsers, tablets, smart phones and moving billboards where still imagery can move and film that is still in places can make the viewer deeply reflective.

Living Photography, or Cinemagraphs, is just that; it is literally the merging of a still photograph with selective elements of motion footage. To create a great Living Photograph I actually shoot video, directing talent in a way that makes sense for the execution of the movement and the still image being used. It’s a fun process that has its own special requirements to make it work.

The effect of Living Photography is not only surprising and unexpected, but from a marketing perspective it is effective – Living Photography is clicked 60 to 80% more often than a still photograph.

I believe this melding of still photography and motion footage is the future of imagery – which makes me excited about creating it. Please let me know what you think of these examples of Living Photography. – Michael

Recent work for Panasonic Avionics


Creating a Spot for Panasonic, “Forever Young”

April 8th, 2015

I first fell in love with photography as a kid in summer camp; the magic of watching a print develop in a tray in the dark totally captivated me. Having the bug, a few years later I started poring over the Time Life Photography books from the local library. In fact I actually snuck them out in a vein attempt to “own” something so great, a photograph. This is where I became deeply committed to the art, after spying the likes of Penn, Avedon and Bruce Davidson. All though grade school and high school I stayed up many a night studying, reading and learning everything I could about great photographers and amazing photographs.

So as any teenager, thinking I knew it all, I went to film school. I figure I could not learn any more about photography, how silly of me! Instead I would learn about moving images; this was a completely new experience that also mesmerized me because the films I studied were Ingmar Bergman, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Michelangelo Antonioni. This is where I really derived my deep love of lighting and the use of shadow to create an emotion that helps convey a great story. Movies I had never imagined existed at the time inspired me to graduate with a degree in filmmaking.

So having the opportunity to direct now is an honor. I realize in many ways it very much like directing your subjects for a still shoot, it’s all about good communication and patience. But I must say it is definitely in my blood. Please check out this latest work for Panasonic, they asked me make a short film that highlighted the nimbleness of their 4K cameras. I hope you enjoy it!

4K Stills from the Motion Shoot

Behind The Scenes of the Forever Young Commercial

Behind The Scenes of the Forever Young Commercial

Behind The Scenes of the Forever Young Commercial

Behind The Scenes of the Forever Young Commercial


My Dream…for a Brilliant Campaign

November 12th, 2014

One of my favorite things to do while traveling is to record my world using Instagram. Sometimes these images are shot on my Panasonic GH4 and wified to the phone; sometimes I just use my phone. Taking happy snaps and then doing that Instagram filter thing really excites me. Instagram is the quick version of a Photoshop effect and has become so ubiquitous in our society the word is used as a verb or a noun.

My images are all personal. At times they are life achievements and events going on around me. Other times they are the visuals that I have to stop and shoot. I always keep them as snaps though; to me taking a commercial image that has been retouched and putting it up to Instagram defeats the purpose. Instagramming should be the spontaneous side of your photographic life, the one you get to set free with the medium.

My dream is to someday do an entire magazine travel piece or ad campaign – either all on my phone, or all through Instagram. Below is a collection of my Instagram images I wanted to share with you.

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What I did on my Summer Vacation, an Instagram Story

August 20th, 2014

 

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One of my favorite things to do in the world is to take my daughter, Sophia, on vacation with me. It’s our ‘father-daughter’ thing to do and every year we go to Europe on a food excursion. You see, I taught Sophia to cook, as our ‘father-daughter’ activity when she was 9.

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I showed her how to use a knife properly, explained about spices and how they change at different points in the cooking process, reductions, etc. I taught her everything I know about food types, which was Chinese, Thai, Japanese, French and much Italian cooking. She is now 17 and a fabulous chef. She has well surpassed my skills as a cook; the basics taught to me by my Italian mother and grandmother.

So when Sophia asked me a few years ago to come with her to France, to explore the food of the country, I was thrilled. We have made this our annual excursion – usually adding a week to my trip to the Arles Photo festival – eating with my big girl around France.

This year she wanted to go somewhere different. Being half Italian and enjoying cooking in her family heritage (and boy, is she good), she naturally wanted to try Italy. So we ate and shopped our way around Italy and France, with the help of my girlfriend Gill. We had a particularly good time. The Arles festival was not the best this year, but the time we all had could not be beat!

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My Day with World Champion Joe Torre!

May 14th, 2014

My family is Italian  (my father’s parents were born in Italy), but my mom’s parents grew up in New York City. In fact, my maternal grandparents worked in Harlem and lived in the Bronx, in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. As a kid, Yankee Stadium was impressive. Of course, whenever you are small things always look bigger. Grandpa Jack loved to take me to Yankees games as a child; he exposed me to baseball for the first time. It definitely seemed like a strange and complicated sport to a 6 year old, but I loved going with him and both of us keeping the score card. I saw many greats of the game, including Whitey Ford, Joe Pepitone and Mickey Mantle.

Last month, it was a great pleasure to be asked to photograph Yankees Manager Joe Torre for a campaign for consulting and accountancy firm, Cohen Reznick. It was a crazy shoot –  we had to find an available stadium in the middle of spring training, and make a training stadium look like the “real thing”. I love a challenge! Not only did we get to transform some of the spaces, but I also got to direct a spot for the client with Joe.

The spot and the images are below; please let me know what you think, and give us a call if you have a hybrid still/motion project for me and my team.  – Michael

 

The tunnel at Bright House Field before we dressed it.

The tunnel at Bright House Field before we dressed it.

 

The final image with the great Joe Torre in the tunnel.

The final image with the great Joe Torre in the tunnel.

World Campaign Yankees manager Joe Torre in the dugout at Bright House Field.

World Campaign Yankees manager Joe Torre in the dugout at Bright House Field.

Joe Torre just days before being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame!

Joe Torre just days before being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame!


Showing at the Photo Independent Art Fair April 25th – 27th

April 21st, 2014

Hi All, So I decided to take a booth at the upstart art fair, Photo Independent, across from Paris Photo this weekend, April 25th through the 27th. I will be showing a body of personal work, The Urban Landscapes Project, which are panoramic images that chronicle my travels around the world while on assignment. The images are colorful and graphic and received rave reviews at Photo LA in January. Please come to the Raleigh Studio Hollywood, 5300 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90038, I will be in Stage #8, Booth #603

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Apple Store, New York, NY; Archival Inkjet Print, 72 x 32; Signed, 1/10

Friday, April 25
Trade Day, 1pm – 5pm
Press Preview, 5pm – 7pm
Opening Night Premiere Party, 7 – 10pm

Saturday, April 26, 11am – 7pm
Sunday, April 27, 11am – 6pm

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Striped Bank, New York, NY; Archival Inkjet Print, 72 x 32; Signed, 1/10

You can get your tickets at the Photo Independent website. Please bring collector friends and photo enthusiasts. For those of you who came to Photo LA, there will be new work exhibited. Below is gallerist W.M. (Bill) Hunt’s review of the work, I think you will enjoy it. See you there!  – Michael

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Red Curtain, New York, NY; Archival Inkjet Print, 72 x 32; Signed, 1/10

Michael Grecco’s night is full of light.

He is a moonwalker, a somnambulist whose conscious and unconscious are not blinded by the brights of oncoming traffic or swallowed into shadows. He is enthralled by the radiance within the blackness, the rapture of color. Grecco’s “Urban Landscapes” are vivid panoramic photographs shot in mostly unidentifiable locations around the world. These places seem alien and exotic, showered in vibrant, lucent, sometimes iridescent almost radioactive colors, revealed in raking rays, squiggles, planes, and circles.

Through long exposure, selective focus, shallow depth of field, blurring and wide framing, he finds his way in the dark and leads us as he dances ecstatically through the color spectrum. In the studio and on location, he is a virtuoso of lighting technique. That skill has obviously sharpened his eye and instincts in locating these chromatic landscapes as he travels the city after dark. Further all of what happens is “in camera”, in his panoramic Hasselblad.

Sixty years ago, the legendary photographer Ernst Haas made this journey. Haas was interested in “transforming an object from what it is to what you want it to be.” Grecco wants to “to contextualize man and his/her place in their environments they create, in the artifices they live in, to go out every day with the intention of breaking visual rules, to create an evocative, cinematic image that inspires – in its format, composition and color” This is the visual music of the night.

W.M. Hunt – Gallerist, Curator


Patrick Dempsey, a.k.a. “McDreamy”

February 11th, 2014

I am blessed. Really. I have been able to do the thing I love – image making – my entire adult life. I am not only blessed because I have been able to do it, but because as I have grown, it has been with clients that appreciate my work – and these relationships have existed for a very long time. Celebrity portrait of Patrick Dempsey for the cover of Forbes Life Magazine by Michael GreccoTake Forbes magazine for instance: in the past few months I have had the honor to shoot two very prominent covers for them. The first was of Patrick Dempsey, a.k.a. “McDreamy.” We spent a Saturday morning with him on his Malibu Estate. I often get involved in all the aspects of a shoot – even wardrobe – so Patrick wore clothes from my favorite menswear designer in the world – John Varvatos.  According to all the ladies that I have conferred with, I did good. Enjoy!20130803_Dempsey_Patrick_MGP_006320130803_Dempsey_Patrick_MGP_0031Patrick "McDreamy" Dempsey for Forbes Life by lifestyle photographer Michael Grecco

The second cover shoot was of the boy wunderkinds Evan Spiegel, 23, and Bobby Murphy, 25 of SnapChat. If you haven’t heard, Facebook offered them 3 billion dollars for their company (yes, billion) and they turned them down. This was just pure fun because they did not want to be shot in a static way, given that SnapChat is all about the 9-second photo that then disappears. So I had to bring a sense of fun and immediacy to the images. I love that!SnapChat co-founder Evan Spiegel on Forbes magazine cover by business photographer Michael GreccoThese shoots for me represent the most fun one can have as a photographer (except maybe, possibly, if you are shooting the SI Swimsuit Issue). Please reach out to me or my agents for your next photography project.Snapchat co-founders, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy in Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 by commercial photographer Michael GreccoSnapchat co-founders, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy in Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 by commercial photographer Michael Grecco


Urban Landscape Project at Photo LA

January 8th, 2014


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Schoeler Editions, the Brazilian Publisher of Fine Art Portfolios, will have its first booth ever at Photo LA to celebrate the U.S. release of Michael Grecco’s Urban Landscape Portfolio. The portfolio consists of 11 selected prints from the series in a specially designed Corian box, in a choice of colors. It is the publisher’s most adventurous and luxurious artist portfolio to date. Also exhibited will be six 72″ wide panoramic prints selected from the portfolio. Both the portfolio and the gallery prints will be specially priced for sale at the show.

Please come to the Schoeler Editions booth (#120) at Photo LA, meet the artist, and explore his new work. This will be the first time the work and the portfolio will be exhibited in the U.S. Don’t miss this exciting event! 

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Schedule of Events:

Thursday, January 16, 2014 / Opening Night Reception, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Friday, January 17, 2014 / Public Hours, 11:00am – 7:00pm
Saturday, January 18, 2014  / Public Hours , 11:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday, January 19, 2014 / Public Hours, 11:00am – 6:00pm

Location:
L.A. Mart
1933 Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90007

http://www.photola.com

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The Urban Landscape Images

December 11th, 2013

 

“Daylight is too easy.  What I want is difficult – the atmosphere of lamps and moonlight.”  – Edgar Degas

Everyone thinks that being a photographer is a glamorous life. In fact, it’s often lonely on the road. Please don’t get me wrong, I am crazy about what I do and would never trade it for the world. But after the shoot is over and we’ve had a nice client dinner, photographers are often alone in some exotic location. So, I put that time to good use photographing the light and design that interests me around the world.

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Michael Grecco’s Urban Landscapes portfolio of eleven limited edition signed prints from Shoeler Editions of Brazil

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Michael Grecco’s Urban Landscapes portfolio of eleven limited edition signed prints from Shoeler Editions of Brazil

While speaking in Brazil several years ago I showed the work to publisher Christian Moldanado of Schoeler Editions. They loved it – enough to produce a very unique portfolio in a Corian (as in counter tops) box of varying colors. The esteemed gallerist and curator W.M Hunt wrote the text for the project. Here is a link to the press release.

I came to meet Christian over very sad circumstances. He was friends with my close friend and college buddy Jay Colton, Associate Picture Editor of Time Magazine. Jay and I had worked together for years and years. We loved collaborating together, shot many covers and both really appreciated each others personalty and eye. Jay sent me an email once: “MICHAEL, I LOVE IT WHEN YOU MAKE MY JOB HARD. I threw down and you picked up and ran. I am amazed once again, you are outside your comfort zone and you excelled. You have by far my favorite take in LA and maybe my favorite take in the world. Really interesting novel approach to a difficult situation. I think when you go over this take carefully you are going to find gems in it. Very very happy.”

How could I not love him? I was ready to give him my kidney – literally. We both had a rare blood type, and when Jay was struck ill and needed a kidney, I let him know I was more than willing.

Like myself, Jay loved Brazil, and while there speaking, he had a heart attack during a portfolio review at a photo festival. I was scheduled to keynote the next month at the Brazilian National Photography Convention, so I hunted down Jay’s friends Christian and Luis to find out what happened. This project is the result of the bonding of our friendship to Jay.

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Michael Grecco’s Urban Landscapes portfolio of eleven limited edition signed prints from Shoeler Editions of Brazil

As a side note, I lost the Hasselblad X-pan I used to make these images, and have since purchased Jay’s X-pan from his wife Moira. I will never lose this one!Here is to life and our experiences, both good and bad, may we learn from all of them!  – Michael

For purchase information, please visit SchoelerEditions.com


Harper’s Bazaar Brazil

November 13th, 2013

Sao-Paulo-by-professional-photographer-michael-greccoWhen my parents started dating, my mother aspired to be a Jazz singer; my grandfather owned a Jazz record store in Harlem. (She let that dream go for marriage and the prospect of having children. I guess for me that was a good thing.) Growing up as a kid in NY there was alway music playing, much of it was the burgeoning Brazilian Bossa Nova scene of Antônio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto. Bossa Nova is the fusion of Brazilian Samba and Jazz. Mother was always singing; this stuck with me so much that my 5th grade project was all about Brazilian life, culture, architecture and government.

So, when Brazilian Harper’s Bazaar asked me to shoot six of the most important designers in Brazilian Fashion, I was more than pleased. I was thrilled to go to Sao Paolo in September, and very excited to be meeting such talent. Four of the images are included here (and on my blog), the Brazilian designers impresarios: Alexandre Herchcovitch, Reinaldo Lourenco, Vitorino Campos, and Carlos Miele with their clothing, friends and favorite models.

The designer Vitorino Campos with his collection.

The designer Vitorino Campos with his collection.

 

Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch with his models friends and stylist.

Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch with his models friends and stylist.

 

Carlos Miele with a piece from his "flowing" collection.

Carlos Miele with a piece from his “flowing” collection.

 

The "King," designer Reinaldo Lourenco is the life of the party.

The “King,” designer Reinaldo Lourenco is the life of the party.

Obrigado,  Michael