Much of the inspiration for the upcoming Extreme Rules network special originated with ECW. Paul Heyman lead the creative end of the promotion out of Philadelphia in the early 90s where he famously changed the E in Eastern Championship Wrestling to Extreme. The bulk of ECW’s shows were at a former warehouse secluded under a section of Interstate 95. It was pretty down and dirty in all aspects. And so was this shoot. Armed with weapons and props of this era, we produced photos that harked back to ECW themes, with a fresh spin. In ECW, there were virtually no rules so we had no rules. Mark DalPra brought everything we’d need to adjust our set or prop out the existing space as Kareem Black shot back to back talent for 4 hours. I love these raw often ugly backstage areas. Sofia Karvela pulled wardrobe inspired by the ECW talent and even had some custom pieces made.
Today’s WWE Superstars paid tribute to ECW’s hardcore trailblazers like The Sandman, Tommy Dreamer and Sabu. The gallery we put together was comprised of our original photography in addition to archival photos from WWE, PWI and George Tahinos. This feature hit 5.5 million views on the website in one day. See the FULL gallery including the ECW icons who inspired it HERE!
It was 95° at 10am in Highland Park, Il and only one of us was in a bathing suit. Mandy Rose is a former WBFF Bikini World Champion and in WWE is known as The Golden Goddess. So, we went with black, gold and white themes in a modern location for this National Bikini Day shoot. I worked with Kate Levinson to find a great location that hit all of our marks and yet wasn’t too far from the arena. Sofia Karvela nailed 4 great looks and Mark DalPra dressed our location with palms, throws and pillows to make it more personal. And how could we resist some golden inflatable wings! Kareem Black and his team moved quickly to get as many shots as possible in an hour and half at the location. I loved being able to play with the various levels of the house to get unique shots.
On this shoot, I also captured a 360 video for YouTube.
View the full gallery HERE and 360 HERE.
June 17th, WWE was in Chicago for Money in the Bank. I was there with photographer, Kareem Black to capture the Superstars backstage. Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss won their respective Money in the Bank Ladder Matches, with Alexa interrupting Ronda Rousey’s singles match debut to cash in on Raw Women’s Champion Nia Jax and capture her fifth Women’s Title.
See the full gallery HERE.
Gooooooooooooal! The 2018 Fifa World Cup kicked off today! To celebrate, I put together a photo shoot with Superstars from countries or regions in the playoffs. The goal (haha) of this shoot was to do something vibrant and edgy. Wardrobe stylist, Sofia Karvela killed it with these custom looks. See the full gallery HERE.
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Nom Wah Tea Parlor teamed up Adam Lucas (aka Hanksy) for a two-day pop-up in Chinatown called Neighborhood. Adam designed a capsule collection that includes Nom Wah branded clothing, totes, and enamel pins. He also painted large scale works on paper inspired by specific blocks in Chinatown. For the promotion of Neighborhood, I worked with Adam to direct a photo shoot of the collection. He wanted the photos to feel candid and have them capture the spirit of Nom Wah. I brought on Kareem Black to shoot. We’ve collaborated on many shoots like this before so I thought he’d be a perfect fit. All of the models were friends or fans of Nom Wah or Adam and some were local business owners. Everyone brought their own personal style and personality to the project. We were lucky to have such great access to the restaurant during a busy Sunday dinner. Below are a few from the shoot.
Neighbors opens on May 22, 7pm at 168 Bowery.
The ADC Annual Awards is the oldest continuously running industry award show in the world. Now in its 97th year, these Awards celebrate the very best in advertising, design, illustration, photography, packaging, motion and digital media, all with a focus on craftsmanship and innovation. It was a tremendous honor to sit on the photo jury with so many talented people reviewing a range of stellar work. Additionally, I was happy to present all of the Photography awards on behalf of the photo jury before a packed house at Industria as part of The One Club for Creativity annual Creative Week. The photo jury awarded 1 Gold, 3 Silver, 5 Bronze, 25 Merit in total.
Below are the awards I presented at the show. Full list of winners can be found HERE.
ADC Gold Cube winner in Photography and a winner Best of Discipline: Lauren Greenfield, Venice, CA, USA “Generation Wealth” for Evergreen Pictures in Photography, Book-Series
ADC Silver Cube winner in Photography for a Magazine/Newspaper Spread: The New York Times Magazine for “Horror Show”
ADC Silver Cube winner in Photography for a Magazine/Newspaper Spread: The New York Times Magazine for “The Voyages Issue” This issue also won a Bronze Cube for Magazine/Newspaper Cover
ADC Bronze Cube winner in Commercial Product Photography Series and for Brand And Communication Design Traditional Posters: Knot Tokyo For “Yamaha Speaker VXS, VXL, and VXC” created for the Yamaha Corporation
ADC Bronze Cube winner in the Wildcard Category: Viceland For “Things”. This also won a Bronze Cube for social media Instagram campaign
ADC Bronze Cube winner in Photography for a Magazine/Newspaper Spread: Dentsu, Amana and Taki Corporation for “Sumo Girls” created for Hokkoku Shimbun
Greatest Royal Rumble, featuring the first-ever 50-man Royal Rumble Match and the first-ever live streaming WWE network special from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia was a huge success. 60,000 excited fans cheered on John Cena, Undertaker and all their heroes at the King Abdullah Stadium. Three of the WWE photographers documented the entire behind the scenes experience for my photo gallery. Covering behind the scenes of any major event is not only an awesome look at more than just the show, but it’s important to document these historic WWE events. In another landmark moment for Saudi Arabia, women and children were free to attend and enjoy the show. It’s the first step in a push to change the perception of the kingdom worldwide. It was unprecedented, and it was memorable.
The photographers captured great behind the scenes moments and beautifully captured the energy of those in attendance.
See gallery HERE.
Photography by Rich Freeda, Craig Ambrosio, and Mike Marques
Coordinating production by Christine Reilly
Ever year at WrestleMania, I hire one of the regular staff photographers to cover all of the behind the scenes content for us. It’s packed weekend of shows so working with one photographer already scheduled to be there for the week is the most efficient way to work. I noticed over the past year that Heather McLaughlin was really great at reportage. It was not an assignment she was given much from the Creative Services Photo Department, but it was obvious to me that she was good at it. So this year, I requested her to shoot for us. You could see in her photos how much people enjoyed having their photo taken by her and that she was having fun. I couldn’t be happier with the BTS moments she captured for the Digital Media Team at Hall of Fame, NXT Takeover and WrestleMania 34. We were lucky to have a second photographer shooting for the entire company at WM34 as well. That gallery was a mix of Heather and Craig Ambosio’s work. From all of the content captured, we ran an exclusive BTS gallery from each of these shows as well as a Best of WrestleMania Week BTS with unseen photos to close out the week and we posted photos and an Instagram Story on our official IG account.
Below are some of my favorite photos from these galleries.
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During WrestleMania Week our WWE Digital & Social Content Team collectively had incredible successes. We delivered a lot of new and original content in support of all the events and shows throughout WrestleMania Week. Here are some standout achievements:
640 million video views across digital & social (best WrestleMania Week ever for WWE)
13.1 million hours of consumption on digital & social (also the best WrestleMania Week ever for WWE)
WWE’s most viewed day ever on YouTube
WWE’s YouTube channel hit 25 million subscribers
Two Superstar holograms in AR (a first for WWE)
WWE’s first, second and third most viewed days ever for Instagram Stories
Localized content for our fans in German, Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, and Hindi
A season finale for Mixed Match Challenge (a first for professional sports and WWE)
More live WWE Now content than ever before