I can't believe it took me 25 years to get to Yellowstone, but it finally happened just a couple of months ago. Wow, what a magical place. I was blown away by the diversity and beauty of the landscape. Some of the areas, especially the geysers, were truly otherworldly. I tried to take atypical photos while there, not wanting to replicate the obvious images that you could easily find via a Google search. I focused on color and texture. I think the most important thing you can do as a photographer is to show you how YOU see the world from your own unique perspective.
I've been wanting to photograph Savannah for a while. I felt like I needed to come up with a concept that was natural to her, something suitable. This shoot is all about warmth - the warm days of summer, the golden hour, and the natural feminine beauty. The landscape I chose provided a nice, non-distracting backdrop along with complimentary colors to the outfit from Free People. We did not work with a stylist of any kind, just the 2 of us.
I teamed up with my friends at Dexterity to create a hair collection for the NAHA Salon Team category. This was definitely a team effort. The idea kept evolving up until the day of the shoot. We're all very proud of the work we did and all of the people who helped us bring this to life.
Dexterity team: Jeff Martin, Randi Schneider Hieb, Calla Hoover, Chelsey Frost, Sasha King.
Models: Nate Ries, Katy Kamahele, Mikal Moore, Calla Hoover, Jim Derrick.
MUA: Kristen Packard.
"Phillip is truly an artist. I had been wanting to work with him for quite a while after having seen shots of his in a friend's portfolio, and then reviewing his website. The opportunity arose when I needed bridal photography prior to my wedding and unique fitness shots for my portfolio following my participation in a bodybuilding competition. I am SO glad he and I connected. His work is more than comparable to any spread you might see in Vogue or W magazine. Phillip thinks conceptually and seeks to tell a story with his art rather than taking a simply beautiful photograph (which he also does). I let him take the reigns with both shoots and the photos are so much more than I imagined they would be! I highly recommend him and his work as a standout addition to one's portfolio."
I love doing personal, meaningful work. This shoot is so special due to the circumstances surrounding it. This is Travis. Travis has been wanting to do a portrait session with me for some time now. A couple of months ago Travis found out that he has cancer, and just like that, everything changed. Luckily Travis has a 95% chance of beating this awful disease, but this news has given our shoot a sense of urgency. Travis wanted me to capture him before all of his hair started to fall out, well, his hair started coming out in clumps in the shower the night before the shoot. Travis has never been in front of the camera, his state was nervous and uncertain. I wanted to capture the raw emotion of what he was feeling, but I also wanted to create some GQ-style images and make him feel his best. Travis was really wanting to get some light & shadow stuff as well, which I'm always happy to do. I'm very proud of these images and our experience doing this shoot is a memory I'll never forget. Photography is such an intimate, vulnerable experience at its best. Putting the subject at ease, establishing a trust and creating something they will cherish forever is what I strive to do each time I step behind the camera.
I've been focusing more on coming up with singular image concepts lately. Film has always been a huge influence on me, so naturally a lot of my images have a cinematic quality to them. The challenge is to create a story with just one still. My friends at Dexterity Salon wanted to do a color and style on Lex so I saw this as the perfect opportunity to collaborate. I took some behind the scenes video of Jeff and Randi working on hair along with Kristen Packard doing the makeup. A big Thank You goes out to Ron Green at The Green Ant for being so kind and accommodating in letting us use his shop for the shoot. Here's the video along with a few stills from the shoot.
I've had this concept for a couple of years. It took the right group of people, the right location, and lots of preparation. Happy Valentine's Day everyone.
This was a fun exercise of going through old iPhone photos and combining/manipulating them as well as adding some graphic/typography elements. To me it reads as a visual journal of some of my experiences.
I went back to Moscow last June for the first time in 11 years. It was great to be back.
Needless to say, a lot has changed. Here are some fragments of my trip:
A few stills from my trip to San Diego last summer.
I've always been a creative person. It all started with music for me, that was my first love. Then I discovered and fell in love with design around the time I was attending college. Photography was part of the mix, but I didn't really devote all of my energy to it until after I was laid off from my job as a graphic designer at an advertising agency. Lots of people lost their jobs in 2010 when the economy tanked. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to really focus on photography and see if I can turn it into a living, a career. The first couple of years were devoted to just getting my feet wet and trying to learn what it takes to create a descent image that actually says something. I quickly realized that I wanted to stand out from other Utah photographers, especially in this day and age when so many people are trying to get into the business. To me, the way to do it is to create interesting visuals that tell a story. I wanted to make sure that I didn't go for the very first idea that popped into my head. I alway ask myself: "Has this been done? Is this cliché? Is this just a pretty picture?" It had to be more than that, it had to be different. Off course everything has been done, but could I put my own spin on it? Absolutely. So I worked hard on creating stories, coming up with concepts, location, interesting wardrobe, hair, makeup, etc. There are so many elements that go into making an impactful image, and you can really create multiple levels of viewership and different dimensions by combining those into one picture. I always ask myself: "Who is this character? What are they doing in this picture?" I want the viewer to feel like something has just happened or something is about to happen when they look at my work. I want to build a sense of anticipation and anxiety. I'm much more interested in raising questions than giving you the answers. After all, isn't that what art is all about?
- Phillip Istomin