Allstate Winter / One Cold Week in Colorado

Winter is cold.  Allstate and digital agency T3 called me to warm it up.  With color, joy, and top notch help from the A-Team crew, we did just that - and got blasted by a few joyful snowballs along the way.  'Twas one week in Colorado creating scenarios related to auto, life & home insurance, with 35 humans, 5 vehicles and 2 doggies.  (Oh, and a medic on hand with canisters of oxygen to make sure no one passed out in the high altitude . . . no one did.)

Having completed numerous library shoots like this for Allstate / T3, a trust has been cultivated between us that enables me to playfully improvise, yielding more and unexpected frames.  Fun + Productivity:  We can do this.

Cozy crew.

Cozy crew.

Me - battling the elements - in the trenches.  Okay, I fell.  (Photography by Julio Duffoo.)

Me - battling the elements - in the trenches.  Okay, I fell.  (Photography by Julio Duffoo.)

Mitch tethered to a tree.

Mitch tethered to a tree.

THE TEAM

Agency:  T3

Group Creative Director:  Carolyn Connolly

Art Director:  Nathan Trafford

Producer:  Dagdag Productions

Production Coordinator:  Kim Siedentopf

Casting:  Sylvia Gregory Casting (Denver, Colorado)

Wardrobe Stylist:  Danny O'Neill / Represented by Artist Untied

Wardrobe Manager:  Sweet

Prop Stylist:  Evan Madden / Represented by Artist Untied

Hair / Makeup:  Katelyn Simkins

1st Assistant:  Julio Duffoo

2nd Assistants:  Adam Rojo & Dan O'niell

Digi Tech:  Jon Rose

Visit the official Mitch Tobias website at http://www.mitchtobias.com

Mitch Gets Stuck on Band-Aids

Parents use Band-Aids to help heal their kid's boo-boos.  Kids use Band-Aids for boo-boos, but also for fun.  This idea that Band-Aids can be fun has only been amplified one hundred-fold since the brand partnered with kid's movie characters like Star Wars, Frozen, The Muppets, etc.  As a personal photographic exploration into the world of Band-Aids, the story I wanted to tell was this fun and creative relationship children have with the product.  It's the kid's perspective on the brand, as opposed to the parent's POV.  Very special thanks to the kiddos and your folks for the time and energy - and your houses . . .

Some trivia!!!  Band-Aids were invented by Earle Dickson, who was a cotton buyer for Johnson & Johnson back in 1920.  He improvised a crude version of a Band-Aid for his wife who had just cut herself accidentally while preparing dinner:  a piece of adhesive tape, a small square-shaped piece of cotton, and a layer of crinoline on top.  Why didn't I think of that?

Felix and mom.

Felix and mom.

Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website at:  http://www.mitchtobias.com

Pets & Their People

Do people own their pets or is it the other way around?  As a new dog owner, I was inspired to explore the intimate connections people have with their pets.  I discovered that it's a two way street.  People love their pets because the pets love their people.  Animals inform humans how to live fully and properly - filled with exercise, nature, humor, affection, and above all, spontaneity.  By extension, you could say the pets in my series dictated my photographic approach.

Frankie

Frankie

I was having a coffee inside a joint called Sweet Bar (Oakland) while my car was undergoing a smog check (it passed).  Brainstorming ideas and subjects for this project, I paused and looked out the window in thought - and I saw this guy with his pooches.  Really?  Really?  Right in front of me.  I introduced myself and we agreed to meet a week later to collaborate.  Frankie, thanks.

Roxy and Mark's right hand.

Roxy and Mark's right hand.

Our friends Caren and Mark babysit dogs.  This is one of them.  Her name is Roxy.  She's barky at first.  Then she's sweet.  Then she's a little tired of you.  Styled by Danny O'Neill.

John, the benevolent dog walker.

John, the benevolent dog walker.

John and Stacey (not pictured) are professional dog walkers / whisperers / caregivers.  They have patience and doggie wisdom.  This is a full-time gig - with their hearts and their time.  Styled by Danny O'Neill.

Stephanie and Stinky.

Stephanie and Stinky.

Steph and Stinky are dedicated companions - joined at the hip - or at least by fashion.  Steph is a dog trainer.  Stinky is trained.  

River and Dorian (in that order).

River and Dorian (in that order).

Fort Funston in San Francisco is dog heaven.  So it's people heaven, too - if dogs are your idea of heaven.

Caleb and a fraction of his Geckos.

Caleb and a fraction of his Geckos.

At 14, Caleb has become somewhat of a Gecko expert.  He has about 50 of them in his room.  He breeds them (often selling them to pet stores), cares for them when they're ill, and can identify numerous physical deformities and afflictions of their brains.  This has been his passion since he was 5.

Grim (with the 4 legs) and Julian (with the 2 socks).

Grim (with the 4 legs) and Julian (with the 2 socks).

Julian is a dear friend of mine whose passion in life (one of many) is advocating for homeless Bulldogs, active with number of rescues & shelters in the Napa and Sonoma areas - and beyond.  Grim is one of the two Bully rescues she cares for with her husband Craig.  Stylist Danny O'Neill worked with me on the shoot.  In his mind, Bulldogs didn't have the best of reputations.  At the end of the day he was delighted he was wrong.  They're sweethearts - and very muscular. 

Chris, her cat, her cat's fur, couch, and pillow.  So, mixed media.

Chris, her cat, her cat's fur, couch, and pillow.  So, mixed media.

Chris is a recent cancer survivor whose several pets served as a shining light of hope.  Soon after this was taken she traveled to Europe with a friend for a month.  Kicked that.  Styled by Danny O'Neill, this is one of my personal favorites.  Danny's approach is rooted in story - not just style. 

Tyler and his bird.

Tyler and his bird.

While small and petite, Tyler and his mom treat this Love Bird like a human member of the family, handling him with confidence, unphazed when he flies up to the ceiling fan to take a break from a photo shoot, and articulately scold him when he eats the boy's homework.

Cozy companions.  Margie and Cody know about the pleasures of fuzzyness.

Cozy companions.  Margie and Cody know about the pleasures of fuzzyness.

Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website at:  http://www.mitchtobias.com

Opera composer, Jake Heggie > UCLA Magazine

I was commissioned by Design Director, Charlie Hess, to photograph opera composer, Jake Heggie, at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco.  Charlie's directive was simple:  "Choose a location that contextualizes what he does".  I love that.

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Jake Heggie was working at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco as a PR writer when, in one moment, his professional life changed forever.  The general director of the opera tapped him to compose a score for a libretto (the text of an opera) by playwright Terrence McNally.  That opera was the wildly successful Dead Man Walking.  He's currently working on the music for a new production of It's a Wonderful Life.

Jake was game for pretty much anything photographically.  He told me after checking out my website that he had total trust in me.  Always handy - that vote of confidence from your subject!  For this particular shot (above) he's actually listening to an original guitar composition of my own.  (Yes, I write and perform music.)  A second after this shot was taken he opened his eyes and said, "This is good".  Ha!

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Pencil and paper.  Yes, there are still those of us from the old school.  Littered (in a good way) with notes, notating music by hand affords Heggie the freedom to be more spontaneous.  This is the lobby of the opera house, where a few thousand people walk up those steps to hear his music in the hall on a given night. 

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Harking back to the days working behind the scenes.

Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website:  http://www.mitchtobias.com

Elementary School Photo "Booth"

Each year I volunteer to shoot at my son's elementary school for one of the fundraisers.  The kids love it, I get to test some new lighting out, we make some $ for the school, and I get a good cardio out of it.  These kids have serious energy.  Here are a few.  (These dudes are all brothers.)

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Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website at http://www.mitchtobias.com

Cub Scouts > Pinewood Derby (Personal work)

My son is a Cub Scout.  And he likes building stuff - especially a Pinewood Derby car.  The Pinewood Derby has been an exciting and classic tradition for generations across America.  It's the Cub Scout's biggest event each year.  The kids build these primitive racing machines (with a little help from their parents and Cub Masters) from scratch:  Designing, cutting, installing wheels / axles, and painting / decorating.  Then over the course of one long evening the racing competition takes place.  Digital timers measure finishing times up to the 1/100 of a second.  There ends up being one victor out of the 150 cars, but other awards are given, too - like for the most unique design - which went to my dude.

Scrappy, Black & White, grainy, reportage-y, no stikin' tripod!

Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website:  http://www.mitchtobias.com

Coolsculpting > Agency: Evoke Health

Here's a recent ad I shot for Coolsculpting.  If you read People Magazine, you probably saw it.  Coolsculpting is a state of the art non-invasive fat-freezing/reduction procedure.  It's an innovative way to contour the body by freezing unwanted fat away without surgery.

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Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website:  http://www.mitchtobias.com