Artist John Lacko Finds The Time To Make The Doughnuts

by John Lacko

About ten years ago, I met a Miami cop who wanted to open a doughnut shop. This week that sweet dream comes true…

Turns out his extended family once operated a beloved South Florida bakery; a popular spot that got its start back in 1947. They handcrafted those pillowy soft, glazed doughnuts everybody raves about. The place was called Velvet Creme Doughnuts.

The long road back to a brick and mortar store included a few false starts and a bunch of test runs at free-standing kiosks and popular Miami food trucks – each of which I helped to design – but this week, the official Velvet Creme Doughnut Shop will relaunch in the heart of Little Havana at 1555 SW Eighth Street, next door to the historic Ball & Chain Lounge. Every time I mentioned that I was working to bring back the brand, friends would get all misty-eyed and start telling stories about doughnut-filled family breakfasts or endless nights studying for exams at University of Miami, fueled by boxes of doughnuts and bottomless cups of coffee.

My background in visual design & merchandising dates back to Burdines “Sunshine Fashions,” another beloved South Florida institution that faded into memory in 2005 when many regional big box stores were absorbed into the Macy’s brand. I got my start on the selling floor building store displays and wound up as an executive-level visual presentation designer crafting the interiors of specialty departments working on a computer. Partnering with two devoted South Florida families who have put their heart and soul into the resurrection of Velvet Creme is a far more personal task, and so I’ve found myself back on a ladder helping to place the dynamic graphics I designed that honor the history of the company and move the brand forward for the next generation.

My background in visual design & merchandising dates back to Burdines “Sunshine Fashions,” another beloved South Florida institution that faded into memory in 2005 when many regional big box stores were absorbed into the Macy’s brand. I got my start on the selling floor building store displays and wound up as an executive-level visual presentation designer crafting the interiors of specialty departments working on a computer. Partnering with two devoted South Florida families who have put their heart and soul into the resurrection of Velvet Creme is a far more personal task, and so I’ve found myself back on a ladder helping to place the dynamic graphics I designed that honor the history of the company and move the brand forward for the next generation.

 

To see more of John Lacko’s work, please visit his website and Altpick page.

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Photographer George Kamper Finds Atlantis

by George Kamper

The Atlantis Resort & Casino in the Bahamas has been on my radar as a shoot destination since they opened. I’ve been visiting Nassau for years, seeing our friends and shooting in, around and under their crystal clear waters. I was thrilled to hear we were awarded the project to create a library of images of their water parks and attractions.

Creating artful libraries has become one of our fortes.  We often shoot under water and have become specialists at shooting lifestyle imagery around water, pools, and resorts as well as providing video and drone services as needed. You could say we create a 360° experience.

We’re very adaptable and have a lot of tricks and knowledge that we bring to the experience. We keep it light and fun and we shoot fast… so we don’t capture stale moments, but focus on authentic moments and having fun. We offer very strong support in post-production and retouching, We’ll often encounter a cloudy or rainy day that we transfix into a beautiful sunny experience. We don’t have the luxury of not shooting when we’re on a trip. We’re always shooting and there’s always a camera within reach. If you want real moments, you have to be willing to live in them, and I think that’s one of our strengths.

We surpass client expectations and the challenges of returning from rainy days and challenging moments by loving what we do! We love our clients who allow us to bring our vision to their brands!

See more images from the shoot here: http://blog.georgekamper.com/2017/finding-atlantis/

Also, please visit George Kamper’s Website and Altpick page.

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LACKO’S Animated Mechagodzilla Cover for The Seattle Times

Lacko Illustration

With record temperatures keeping South Florida locals indoors this summer, Miami Beach artist Lacko Illustration has his eye on the start of the NFL PreSeason which marks the debut of his animated Mechagodzilla cover for The Seattle Times.

Celebrating the contributions of the defensive backs for the Seattle Seahawks who are nicknamed the “Legion of Boom,” Lacko created a hybrid football Kiru (Japanese for “machine dragon”) wearing Seahawk colors and fiercely guarding the ball.

Lacko Illustration

The NFL PreSeason kicked off on August 3, was perhaps the most anticipated team taking the field this summer is the Seattle Seahawks who kickoff against the Kansas City Chiefs Friday, August 25. Washington football fans are not only ranked highest when it comes to team loyalty, but also rated loudest when they reached over 137 decibels of ear-splitting sound cheering their team to victory at CenturyLink Field.

Lacko Illustration

To gauge just how passionate Seahawks fans can be, know that 137 decibels of cheering equates to a jet engine at 100 feet or a rock concert in full throttle. Sustained exposure to sounds over 90 decibels may cause permanent hearing damage – but that fact certainly won’t quiet a football fan on gameday. The Times serves as a vital link between players and fans. At the end of the 2016-2017 NFL season, former Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch took out a full page ad in the newspaper to thank his fans before he left to play for the Oakland Raiders.

Lacko Illustration

In the stands, Seahawk fans wear lime green wigs, bright blue face paint and massive bird headdresses to show their team spirit, so the editors at The Seattle Times wanted a cover with a degree of intensity that mirrors that fanaticism. John Lacko laughs, “The Seattle Times contacted me earlier this year to see if I might want to take on a top secret project that would capture the attention of NFL fans. I knew I was up to the challenge.”

Lacko Illustration

Starting out with pencil sketches based upon the specific contortions of an NFL defensive player combined with the massive robotic structure of the Japanese extraterrestrial super villian, Lacko began to merge the mechanical with the muscular. “I struggled to make a 1970’s era space monster look more athletic. The one unifying factor for both characters is the notion of the BOOM, the moment of impact when monsters collide or players like Richard Sherman impact the ball.”

Lacko Illustration

Lacko’s full length monster covered Washington’s largest-circulation daily newspaper on September 4th, reaching nearly 350,000 readers in the Pacific Northwest. To add a layer of excitement to the NFL season launch, Lacko also created a 20 second animated spot featuring the booming footsteps of a massive Seahawk Mechagodzilla batting away a football. The teaser spot will appear on http://bit.ly/LOB_MechaGodzilla 

Lacko Illustration

Please visit LACKO Illustration’s website and his Altpick page for more of his work.

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Bonasera Illustrates and Animates Stories From “Seat 14/C” Writing Competition

©Giulio Bonasera

Created by the X Prize Foundation, “Seat 14/C” is a worldwide challenge that lets writers from all walks of life compete against one another in order to be featured alongside some of the world’s most prominent sci-fi novelists. Focusing on an airline that gets transported 20 years into the future by accidentally passing through a wormhole, each writer gets to tell the story of a different passenger (where competitors will tackle the story of “Seat 14/C”).

But what is a good short-story without a great illustration? With this competition, several prominent illustrators also got an opportunity to shine, including our very own member, Giulio Bonasera. And not only did he illustrate a couple of the narratives, he also made sure to animate them as well! Take a look below and enjoy, as each of them represent a certain segment from each story. Links to the full versions are provided at the bottom!

©Giulio Bonasera

“Reload”, from James Smythe’s “Catharsis”:

‘Mommy said you would want to speak with me. She said that it might help you, if you ever came back.’
‘What are you? I don’t understand.’
‘I’m a memory.’

©Giulio Bonasera

“Extra Time”, from Hugh Howey’s “Full Unemployment”:

“It’s funny – I think I worked my ass off so you’d have all the things I never had, but those weren’t the things that mattered. I learned this in Tokyo. Never told you. Doubt I would have if I’d landed twenty years ago.”

AD: Colin Peartree | Client: XPrize – All Nippon Airways

http://seat14c.com/future_ideas/10E
http://seat14c.com/future_ideas/14K

Visit Giulio Bonasera’s website and Altpick page to see more of his images.

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Steele Captures the Best Moments of Surf City USA’s Beach Life

South Dakota Tourism

For his most recent collaboration, Kevin Steele worked with ad agency The Atkins Group and Huntington Beach, CA Tourism to create a series of beautiful imagery, capturing the joyous lifestyle of its inhabitants for their 2017 campaign. With years of creating cinematic shots focused on authenticity and living in the moment, Kevin was the perfect man for the job.  Creative Director, James Howe explains his choice:

“I was looking for someone who had both an understanding of Huntington Beach and an ability to capture those moments that tell a story. Kevin delivered that and more on the shoot, creating images that give you a sense of the lifestyle of HB while creating an emotional connection to it. And he is also a nice guy and fun to work with.”

Portraying family surf sessions and sunset beach bonfires in his own, unique way, Kevin truly captures what makes life so enjoyable in the original Surf City USA.

To see more of Kevin Steele’s work visit his website and Altpick.com.

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Martinez’s Lifestyle Series — An Inspiration for Summer Activities

It may sound like a reverse from the famous quote of hit TV show, “Game of Thrones”, but despite increasingly unpredictable weather changes, one fact still remains: summer IS coming. And that, for many, means putting on some comfortable shoes and heading out for a number of different summer activities. For anyone unsure about what this might entail, take a look at some of the photographs from Alex Martinez’s 2016 lifestyle shoots, all of which were recently posted with the caption “Get out and enjoy this summer!”. With these images as inspiration, how could we not?

To see more of Alex Martinez’s photography, please visit his Altpick page and his personal website.

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Morgan Follows Undercover Officer for Article on Human Trafficking

©Mike Morgan

by Andreas von Buddenbrock

In his most recent collaboration with Baltimore Magazine, photographer Mike Morgan and writer Ron Cassie got to join Cpl. Chris Heid, an undercover officer in the Maryland State Police’s Child Recovery Unit, as he was following up online leads in order to find and recover underage victims of sex trafficking. The article, titled “Children of the Night: Sex Trafficking is Maryland’s Dirty Open Secret”, underscores the fact that Maryland ranked fourth per capita in trafficking cases of 2015 – something that many of the state’s inhabitants might be largely unaware of. It also mentions that out of 396 survivors who came into contact with the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force in 2014, only eight were undocumented immigrants and 56% were aged 17 or younger.

Mike describes his experience with Cpl. Heid as such: “Working from his laptop in the front seat of his car, Cpl. Heid followed online leads and made phone calls to set up an encounter in hopes of finding and recovering an underage victim. Discovering a promising lead, we followed the team to a motel east of Baltimore where the sting operation uncovered a young mother of two in a sex trafficking situation. She wasn’t arrested, only provided with options to local resources and questioned for information that might lead to arrest of the pimp.”

The full article (a highly encouraged read) can be found on Baltimore Magazine’s website
http://www.baltimoremagazine.net/2017/2/8/sex-trafficking-is-maryland-dirty-open-secret

To see more of Mike Morgan’s photography, please visit his website and Altpick page.

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Bonnie Holland Seamlessly Blends Reality With Imagination

Bebe red coat.jpgIf there’s something Bonnie Holland knows extremely well, it’s how to fuse her subjects with breathtaking environments. Building captivating images that oftentimes mixes reality with imagination (be it somewhat idyllic or straight up fantastical), Bonnie has stated that she has “always been inspired by the beauty in our world”. This becomes quite clear when looking at some of the campaigns she’s helped create so far.

One of these, commissioned by Bebe for their line of winter clothing, had Bonnie create a series of images set in a stark, yet hauntingly beautiful landscape (created by production designer, Eddie Inda) that was inspired by the environments of the film “Dr. Zhivago”. Taking a minimalist approach to the white washed beauty of winter, the shoot featured stunning Russian model, Masha Philippova, alongside Ice, a white horse with an impressive list of film credits, including “The Chronicles of Narnia”.
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Another great example of Bonnie’s ability to capture beauty in both subjects and environments can be seen in her most recent shoot for the beauty brand, Jafra. Focusing on the love, warmth and playfulness of both her subjects and the spaces they inhabit, these images provide a happy, lively glimpse into “the heart of the Jafra business person.”

Disney Baby Teeters.jpg

The third and final example takes viewers into a whole different realm of the imagination. Shooting for Disney Baby in her Burbank-based studio, Bonnie (being a playful kid at heart) got a chance to really let her imagination run wild. The result is a whimsical playground of beautifully crafted settings where ideas and crafting harmonize uniquely with the Disney brand.

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These are of course only a few ways in which Bonnie has, through the lenses of her “rose tinted glasses”, materialized the visions of her clients. To summarize the overall feeling of her shoots, Bonnie explains it best in two beautiful sentences: “It’s romance, fashion and the promise of happy days. It’s a wink and a smile, a blend of reality and imagination.”

To see more of Bonnie’s photography, please visit her website and Altpick page.

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Jim Fiscus Shoots 360 Degree Group-Portrait For Ad Campaign

Jim4.jpegIt certainly is a “brave new world” – to paraphrase ad agency, Flying Object – when photography is no longer just a still image made for print, but a moment that can be experienced interactively by the viewer. Renowned commercial photographer, Jim Fiscus, who has created work for entertainment brands such as HBO, CBS and Channel 4, recently got an opportunity to take his photographic skills to the next level; in a collaboration with ad agency Flying Object, celebrating 17 of the U.K.’s most compelling YouTube personalities, Jim got to create a 360-degree photosphere shot which puts the viewer among its 17 subjects, right in the middle of the National Portrait Gallery in London. The portrait can be viewed online (below, through Google Maps) or, if in possession of the “Street View” app, through VR, a.k.a. Virtual Reality. Flying Object’s own explanation of their choice of medium is as follows:

Jim2.jpeg“Interactive, unprintable, native to the web and optimized for mobile through gyrometer integration; 17 creators explorable individually, in a setup that puts the audience right in the middle of things. Oh, brave new world.”

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More information about the shoot can be found in the links below.  Still were taken by both Jim Fiscus and Luca Sage.

https://stocklandmartelblog.com/2016/11/29/jim-fiscus-youtube-creators/
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2244413/britains-top-youtubers-pose-for-incredible-three-dimensional-photo/

Visit Altpick and Jim Fiscus‘ website for more of Jim’s work.

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Sending a Gift of Peace and Joy This Holiday Season

©Alberto Ruggieri

©Alberto Ruggieri

Wishing you, your friends and family a joyous holiday season filled with love, light and peace.  Enjoy some of the Altpick members’ holiday images:

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©Eddie Guy

©Eddie Guy

©Stefano Morri

©Stefano Morri

©Lynn Wellsand

©Lynn Wellsand

©Kristofer dan Bergman

©Kristofer dan Bergman

©Caitlin Alexander

©Caitlin Alexander

©David Owens

©David Owens

©Craig LaRotonda

©Craig LaRotonda

©Paul Garland

©Paul Garland

©Umberto Grati

©Umberto Grati

©Urs Knobel

©Urs Knobel

©Shane Kislack

©Shane Kislack

©Daria Kirpach

©Daria Kirpach

©Colleen O'Hara

©Colleen O’Hara

©Jing Jing Tsong

©Jing Jing Tsong

©Davide Bonazzi

©Davide Bonazzi

©Huan Tran

©Huan Tran

©Keith Barraclough

©Keith Barraclough

©Jeff Hinchee

©Jeff Hinchee

©Steven Dana

©Steven Dana

©Whitney Lane

©Whitney Lane

©Kimberley Wiseman

©Kimberley Wiseman

©Oliver Wetter

©Oliver Wetter

©Tracy Mattocks

©Tracy Mattocks

©Aaron Meshon

©Aaron Meshon

©Phil Bliss

©Phil Bliss

©Paul Garland

©Paul Garland

©Dingding Hu

©Dingding Hu

@Barbara Pollak-Lewis

@Barbara Pollak-Lewis

©Chris Kintner

©Chris Kintner

©Vlad Alvarez

©Vlad Alvarez

©Keith Dreier

©Kyle Dreier

©Beatriz Mayumi

©Beatriz Mayumi

©Andreas von Buddenbrock

©Andreas von Buddenbrock

©Urs Knobel

©Urs Knobel

©Charlo Frade

©Charlo Frade

©Daria Kirpach

©Daria Kirpach

©Ellen Weinstein

©Ellen Weinstein

©Gregory Nelson

©Gregory Nelson

©Sergio Baradat

©Sergio Baradat

©Richard Borge

©Richard Borge

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from Altpick.com and members!

To see more the Altpick members’ work, please visit: http://altpick.com

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