Art Streiber is definitely one of my favorite photographers, and I had the honor of meeting him at an APA workshop event in which he talks about his career as a self-taught photographer and how he became known for his ways of figuring out how to light the seemingly impossible. It’s his problem-solving approach and yes-mentality that has garnered a very impressive clientele list from Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, ESPN Magazine, TIME, and just about every major studio network out there. Seriously, the list goes on and on and on.
FStoppers.com has an exclusive behind the scenes look and breakdown of what went on for Art’s shoot for Paramount’s 100th year anniversary shoot that is seen in the July issue of Vanity Fair. This shoot consisted of 116 actors, directors, producers, and other big names in the film and television industry who have been part of the Paramount family. From Robert Downey Jr to Al Pacino to Helen Hunt to yes, even Justin Beiber.
In order to evenly light 116 people on a 40 foot stage, as well as light parts of the background, Art and his team used 57 Profoto 7 heads with a mix of Magnum reflectors, zoom grid reflectors, and strip banks. Because it is such a wide, expansive shot, all the lights were hung off rafters and catwalks above the entire stage.
Surprisingly, only 5 Pocket Wizards were used. The rest were optically triggered from a bare bulb Profoto hung high enough to not affect the shot, but can still hit all the power packs. That is definitely a very smart way to solve the problem of triggering this many lights.
Be sure to read more details of this shoot at FStopper’s article on Art Streiber’s Paramount 100th year Anniversary Shoot.
In the mean time, here is a video that takes us to the shoot itself:
About Art Streiber
Behind the camera since the 8th grade, Art’s first camera was a Canon AE1 his grandfather sold to him and his brother Paul for $5. Art pursued his growing passion from high school through college at Stanford, eventually taking internships and traineeships for newspapers in the LA area. While learning his craft, Art made ends meet by working in a small, family-owned camera store. Art believes that his experiences in the camera store helped him learn client and interpersonal relationships, as there was “a lot of thinking on your feet and problem solving,” and working through those hurdles with the customers framed his interaction with clients later in his life.
Eventually Art was offered the staff photographer position for the west coast bureau of Women’s Wear Daily and W (at the time, bi-monthly) magazines in 1987, two of the largest fashion publications of the era.
Art shot fashion, portrait, food, parties, still life, anything that came down the pipe. Two years later, Art and his then fiancé and now wife, were offered the opportunity to run the Milan office of WWD and W. Needless to say, they took it. They returned to the US in 1993, and Art has been freelancing ever since.
Note: Art Streiber received special permission from Paramount Studios to take part in the interview used as the base of this article.