Stefan Sagmeister’s 2008 art exhibition at Dietch Projects in SoHo was the original inspiration for my series of graphic designer portraits. I’ve photographed a dozen other prominent designers since then and Stefan is the first one that I’ve photographed twice. The impetus for that was his new partnership with incredibly talented designer Jessica Walsh.
I spent one afternoon photographing Jessica with Stefan and my favorite portrait is shown above. Sagmeister & Walsh is famous for its use of aphorisms, so it seemed fitting to incorporate one into the portrait. Their faces were lit very simply by the digital projector used to project the STEP UP TO IT sign. The soft evening light falling on the firm’s fourth floor deck provided the only other light source.
Both members of this new partnership garnered a lot of attention by baring all in some arresting and humorous photos of themselves announcing their professional alliance.
The photos received so much attention that I couldn’t help but feel that my portraits of this duo would be the first ever of them wearing clothing. Not true, of course.
Photo by Christian Parsons
Inside the design studio my assistant and I had to gingerly set up our lighting around a number of their designers who were working on a fascinating project involving thousands of vividly painted pencils, hot glue guns, and styrofoam forms spread out all over their floors and desks.
A very low key street entrance illustrating one of their aphorisms: “3rd world offices, 1st world prices”
Encouragement for photographers and their assistants who are schlepping equipment up four flights of stairs.
Past projects including Stefan's famous Lou Reed poster.
The S&W team happily at work.
The view looking out onto 23rd St., one of the busiest streets in Manhattan.