Michael Grecco and Flixel Studios Make Advertising History

January 4th, 2016

Michael Grecco Shoots First Ever Cinemagraph as a Broadcast Ad for Pizza Hut

In a world of oversaturation, overstimulation, and overexposure, the cinemagraph is what the advertising world needed; a visually fresh approach different enough to catch the viewers’ attention, yet familiar enough to be effective. Case in point, AdWeek calls the cinemagraph Grecco created for Pizza Hut’s Billy on the Street spot,

“…eye-catching, even hypnotic.”

A cinemagraph is part film, part still photograph. You can shoot still, motion or a combination of both to create the end result. Ultimately, it usually looks like a still photograph with elements of the background and/or foreground highlighted in either a short looped or linear video feed.

On top of being a completely new approach to broadcast advertising, cinemagraphs are equally, if not more, useful via current social media platforms. Philippe LeBlanc, co-founder and CEO of cinemagraph software company Flixel agrees,

“…autoplay makes it feel much more natural.”

The end result is the perfect way to embed something new, yet comfortable, into ones usual surroundings. Compound the incubator social media provides the cinemagraph with the mesmerization it invokes in a broadcast media environment, one can only conclude it is the best medium for visual ad campaigns. – Michael

Curious for more? Watch the Behind the Scenes


When the Magic Happens – with Virtuoso Violinist Lindsey Stirling

July 21st, 2015

As a portrait shooter sometimes you are only as good as your subject. What I mean by that is you can light and create the most amazing conceptual scenario, but if your subject is not into it, then it does not work. The magic happens when there is a wonderful collaboration of ideas and energy between the subject and myself.

Take a recent shoot I did with YouTube sensation and virtuoso violinist Lindsey Stirling – I can know how to light it and have some ideas, but when she turns it on, what we do together becomes magic.

– Michael

Print

Print


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.

photo layout (l2)


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


Vespa is the New Black

March 8th, 2012

 
I did it!  My Vespa experience in Paris was so great that I had to have one of my own.  Now I’m tooling around LA on my new vintage-style Vespa and my cool Ruby Helmet.  My kids used to request their goodbye hug a few blocks from school, now they’re holding on as tight as they can all the way to the front door for everyone to see.  I love that and, BONUS, it only costs me $3.89 a week for gas!

My friends from Hasselblad poked some friendly fun at my Vespa over dinner the other night so my crew and I decided show them how undeniably cool it really is. I’m sure you’ll agree.

Speaking of stylish ways to get around. I shot some great stuff for Porsche recently.  These great shots were totally worth the hour we spent wading in the freezing cold water waiting for just the right shot.  This shot of the Cayenne S splashing through the stream in Sedona, AZ will be out in Porsche’s speed centric newsletter shortly.

I’m also proud to report that I was one of 11 photographers in a show on Capitol Hill called Recording Our History: Faces Behind the Camera. The show featured my shot of Johnny Cash, always a favorite of mine.  I’ve always been a fan and I’m still tickled thinking of how he introduced himself by extending his warm hand and saying “Hi Michael.  I’m Johnny Cash.” (just as he did on his weekly TV show)

On a parting note, I hope that you’ll wander over to my new “raves” page. I’d love to have a rave from you as well.

Take Care,

Michael


Feature Image: Double Header, Yankees Pitcher Andy Pettitte

March 8th, 2012