In early January, I traveled to Memphis with photographer James Weber and wardrobe stylist, Sofia Karvela for the Valentine’s Day gallery shoot at Annesdale Mansion. We photographed Nikki Bella, Naomi, Alexa Bliss and Maryse throughout the house for half the day before they went to the arena for TV. It was a beautiful shoot and location manager, Valerie Bledsoe ensured it was a wonderful experience. We shot for a photo gallery for WWE.com, behind the scenes for YouTube as well as a segment for the The Bella Twins YouTube Channel.
Who will be crowned WWE’s Favorite Couple this Valentine’s Day? Our Social Media campaign focused on having the fans vote for couples in a tournament. Designer Joelle Brito and I collaborated on art directing the campaign so it felt romantic and cute to really stand out from our standard imagery and graphics. We set a style and from there refined it as needed for each aspect of the campaign; Facebook 360, Facebook Polls, and Instagram Story. We need to constantly keep our work fresh to appeal to the 700+ milion social media followers across all platforms.
For the design, we developed a cut paper look with fine details. For the photography, we used each couple’s Instagram images to showcase them in a more personal way. All of the elements would work nicely across all applications and allow for variations. We kicked off the campaign with a Facebook 360 graphic introducing all the match ups with a bit of information about each couple. Explore it HERE.
For the Facebook Polls, we created designs for the match ups and added a VOTE pennant element to drive the concept. The voting rolled out in rounds starting with 8 couples, then 4 advanced to the quarter finals, and then 2 to the semifinals.
After voting commenced, an Instagram Story went live to recap the entire bracket and the voting leading up to the winner. We designed frames for the intro and all of the rounds and match ups. We also developed templates for the video team to populate with original video clips and gifs. It ended with an original video of the winner thanking the fans for their votes.
Kareem Black and I traveled to San Antonio to cover this year’s Royal Rumble at the Alamodome. It turned out to be a record breaking weekend for WWE with 52,000 in attendance and a 22% increase in views on WWE Network. This behind the scenes coverage tells the story of John Cena’s triumph after earning his 16th World Championship win along with documenting the powerful forces, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg as they prepared for their bout in the Royal Rumble match. Below are some of my favorite images featured in the gallery.
The gallery hit 1.6 million views on day 1 and continued to perform strong over several days. The Instagram posts all exceeded 100K+ and 200+ likes each. View the entire gallery HERE.
If looks could kill.. Paul Heyman and his client Brock Lesnar head to the ring.
Goldberg warms up prior to his entrance into the Royal Rumble match.
Ric Flair congratulates John Cena on tying his 16x World Championship record.
Everyone gathers to congratulate John Cena.
Before every big match, Natalya talks to her closest confidante, TJ, for strength and support.
A rare look at Roman Reigns out of his ring gear.
Nikki Bella moments before her six-woman tag match.
As Neville prepares for his title match, Booker T cruises the vast Alamodome on his hoverboard.
Randy Orton backstage recounting the Royal Rumble match and his win.
Chris Jericho was suspended in a shark cage!
Braun Strowman ran in through the crowd to interfere.
Charlotte Flair has a humble moment before her title match against Bayley.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson defeated Cesaro & Sheamus to win the Raw Tag Team Championship.
Cesaro and Sheamus are crushed by their loss.
Brock Lesnar shows off his strength.
On December 28th, Kareem Black and I returned to the Barclays Center to cover a WWE event. This time, however, it was a non-televised show. WWE is the largest traveling show in the world. There is no off season. In addition to the live shows each week there are many non-televised events. This was my first time covering a non-televised show and it was an awesome experience. Void of the pressure of a live show, a packed backstage and limited access to the show itself, this was an opportunity to have free rein. The same pool of photographers capture the televised shows each week, but these shows have no coverage. Kareem had never shot ringside before and that is exactly why I wanted him to. He put two assistants with strobes in the audience and directed them throughout the matches to get the lighting he needed. We wanted it to look raw and real, not the polished look that may as well be TV stills. His access to ringside was not limited by a TV crew so he was able to get an all-access peek at the matches. The fans also had greater access to the Superstars as they spent a lot of time interacting with them as they were not limited by air time. We covered both the behind the scenes of the day and ringside for a robust look at our non-televised events.
The gallery hit 1+ million views on day 1. Here are some of my favorites. View the entire gallery HERE.
Sami Zayn peeking at the show from backstage.
Chris Jericho puts Seth Rollins in the Walls of Jericho.
The legit boss, Sasha Banks shows her love for Brooklyn.
Roman Reigns on his way to the stage.
Kevin Owens was taunting the audience and Roman Reigns throughout the match.
This fan is awesome in her Roman Reigns cosplay!
Dana Brooke makes her entrance and her opponents stand ready.
Charlotte Flair warms up before her tag match.
He was happy we were photographing his custom made jacket that he spent ‘a ton of money’ on.
Goldust gives Kalisto some words of encouragement prior to their match.
Seth Rollins is determined to not lose.
Enzo’s entire family came out to support him at their local venue.
Tags: Barclays Center
For the 30th Anniversary of Licensed to Ill, The Metrograph Theater is running the Beastie Boys’ film, Awesome; I Fuckin’ Shot That! for one night. The film is a live concert performance shot by 50 selected audience members at a 2004 Beastie Boys concert at Madison Square Garden. Six of those filming were experienced principle camera operators. I was one of the lucky six! Adam Yauch’s vision to have fan created content was innovative. With everyone rolling the entire time, the concert was entirely edited from all of these cameras.
The film first screened on January 6, 2006 to the fans that shot the footage and that same month it was shown at the Sundance Film Festival. During a promotional performance on the Late Show with David Letterman, members of the audience were given camcorders to film the televised performance in a similar fashion to that of the film.
Intro to film:
Step right up and see the most beautiful and beguiling women on earth in their dark carnival photo shoot.
For the annual WWE Halloween photo shoot, we did a carnival theme. We photographed seven of the female Superstars while the shows were in Denver. In addition to the photo and video shoot, we streamed on Facebook Live and captured behind the scenes stills and videos for an Instagram Story.
Photography by Marla Rutherford
Production and Photo Direction by Christine Reilly
Set Design by Mark DalPra
Wardrobe Styling by Sofia Karvela for The Wall Group
Hair and Makeup By WWE Makeup Team
Last October, Hanksy invited 70+ artists to paint the interior of an abandoned mansion in Downtown LA over the course of 5 days. On the one night only show just under 3,000 people walked through in few hours. The next day Hanksy painted everything over. The desire to extend the show and share the experience inspired the idea to capture every room in 360. Hanksy and artist, ME captured each room. The experience is a “choose your own adventure” art show that allows users to go from room to room and see artwork that only existed for a very small window of time.
I was lucky to be there for some of the painting days and for the show night in LA. I have witnessed this project come together over the year and even was fortunate to assist in the set up of the NY VR show. Below are some images I captured on the opening.
To experience Surplus Candy on your desktop or mobile go to surpluscandy.com. If you have goggles, simply click on the goggle icon.
Photography by Christine Reilly
Customized goggles for purchase.
The 360 camera that captured it all.
JCorp with her piece from the LA show.
Security was pretty tight.
Andrew Nunes from VICE. Read his piece HERE.
The line to try the VR goggles.
Lost in VR.
Keeping the Samsung’s charged.
And it has PBR.
Sah D’Simone and Clayton Woodley
The eyes make it.
Cyrus the Vyrus with the Kaplan Twins
Imamaker’s custom painted jacket rocks.
Detail of timeline collage wall.
Crowed. All night.
The core crew who made both shows happen.
When the trash is full, the party is over.
Dega Films documentary of the project.