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The fresh look of Matt Weems’ 19th Century Ink

Illustrator Matt Weems is bringing Victorian back. Dubbing his style “19th Century Ink,” he draws on the black and white woodcut and idyllic styles of the late 1800s to early 1900s, adding his own unique, sometimes subversive, point of view.

Idyllic style drawing of a girl holding a rifle and looking for her pooh bear, by illustrator Matt Weems

“There’s something rich that happens when you can tie into past work that has meaning to the public in terms of style, but used for a client’s modern purposes with original art,” he says. “There’s an inherent emotional impact.”

Three politicians drawn in the style of Maurice Sendak’s Wild Things, by illustrator Matt Weems

Matt gets inspiration from illustrators like Maurice Sendak and William Wallace Denslow, who did the original Wizard of Oz illustrations. More recently, Edward Gorey paved the way to revisit stark and startling illustrations in the classic style.

A political caricature of Donald Trump as Mr. Toad, by illustrator Matt Weems

“Sometimes an assignment – like the Antiquarian Book Fair poster – will have me actually working off a piece of existing art, adding extensions or embellishments to give it new life. Other times, I get to create from scratch,” he explains.

A guy in fashionable vest and tie sits on a motorcycle, from photographer Steve Belkowitz

“You don’t see that old pen and ink style too often anymore,” says Matt, “but I love it. It’s really challenging to strip communication down to the essentials of lines in black and white, but when you get it right, it stands out.”

A woodcut style drawing of a hand pointing, by illustrator Matt Weems

Matt is also known for his technical and photo-real illustrations. You can see more of his commercial and editorial work right here.




Photographer Steve Belkowitz creates a custom shoot for Macy’s

Preparing to launch their new custom-made men’s suits, Macy’s tapped veteran photographer Steve Belkowitz for their Tailor Square brand’s first ever photo shoot. But with an all new internal team, and no visual precedents, Steve quickly realized his shoot would have to be made-to-fit as well.


“It was a bit unconventional,” laughs Steve. “There was no producer on their side, no shot list. “They casually threw in a request to take video of every still shot. So, yeah, we had to really have our side buttoned up.”

Shot over two consecutive days, Steve and his crew of six staged at his studio each morning before heading out to cover five locations per day. “It was about a hundred degrees, pretty tough on the models. We’d finish one location, try to cool them down and dress them for the next shot. Oh, did I mention it was also raining off and on?”

A guy in fashionable vest and tie sits on a motorcycle, from photographer Steve Belkowitz

Fortunately for Tailor Square, Steve has seen, and managed, his share of challenging shoots over the years. An accomplished lifestyle and portrait photographer, he’s created high impact images for clients from Under Armour to Samsung to Wells Fargo.

A man in a suit walking and holding an umbrella, from photographer Steve Belkowitz

“Tailor Square is just launching,” says Steve, “so we had to help them show more than the clothes. It’s about the brand and the lifestyle.” The brand will use the visual assets for their inaugural lookbook, as well as online communications. “In the end, I think we got some really good shots,” Steve says.

A man in a suit comes out a revolving door, from photographer Steve Belkowitz
A man and woman play bean bag toss on a back patio, from photographer Steve Belkowitz

Next up, Steve is prepping for shoots with PECO, Pennsylvania’s energy utility as well as Vanguard Funds. You can see more of his high energy, highly-awarded work here.

Two men in suits stand against a white wall with sunlight streaming from nearby, from photographer Steve Belkowitz




Welcome photographer Christina Schmidhofer to the Freda Scott Creative team

Still and motion photographer Christina Schmidhofer does not want you to merely look at her images. “I want people to feel invited in,” she says. “You should feel the weather of the flowers, taste the cold water on the blueberries, smell the braised chicken coming off the pan.”

A hand holds a cup of coffee with beautiful latte art, from photographer Christina Schmidhofer
Waffles and pancakes arranged graphically with a variety of toppings, from photographer Christina Schmidhofer

Christina began her career in interiors and still life, making her way to food photography as a natural progression. “When I was little I either wanted to be a florist or a photographer,” she explains. “So I combined them.” Her organic, contemporary style is a natural fit for people and lifestyle work, as well.

A party table set in a garden with festive orange hanging lights, from photographer Christina Schmidhofer Flowers and botanicals shot on seamless white appear in a graphic gif, from photographer Christina Schmidhofer
Two smiling girls make ice cream cones together, from photographer Christina Schmidhofer

Christina’s pursuit of authentic visual stories propelled her into motion photography several years ago, a move she embraced both artistically and practically. “Clients don’t need just one type of content,” she says. “I love delivering a vision across different media. And with video, the storytelling possibilities are endless.”

Christina brings her soft, tangible style to clients from Williams Sonoma to Walmart, Pottery Barn to Treasury Wine Estates, working on location or from her light-infused San Francisco studio. A native of Austria, she may surprise you on set with homemade Wiener Frühstück or Eiscafe between shots. “On a shoot I’m high energy and exacting with detail, but we have to have fun, too,” she says.

Knives hang on a dark chalkboard colored wall, from photographer Christina Schmidhofer A variety of baking and pastry tools on a counter, from photographer Christina Schmidhofer

Away from work, you’ll find Christina with a camera in her hand, usually chasing her daughter around. Reflecting her professional aesthetic, she’s an avid gardener, baker, traveller and thrower of dinner parties. You can see more of her still life, food and lifestyle work here.

A girl takes pencils from a backpack, from photographer Christina Schmidhofer
A group of surfers walk down a beach, from photographer Christina Schmidhofer
Glassware and colorful drinks arranged on a white background, from photographer Christina Schmidhofer




Artist update: What we did this summer

Here’s a quick roundup of some of the latest work from our photographers and illustrators.

Graphic Artist Filip Yip: Scenes of San Francisco
Known for his versatility and deep portfolio of icons, logos, infographics and more, designer Filip Yip captured the spirit of San Francisco in his recent icon designs.

Graphic icon of a San Francisco Giants baseball player, from designer Filip Yip
Graphic icon of the Golden Gate Bridge with a fedora over one tower, from designer Filip Yip
Graphic icon of a San Francisco trolley car, from designer Filip Yip

Matt Weems: Sales Engine
No summer vacation for Illustrator Matt Weems. First he captured the entirety of monetization culture in one high-impact image.

People as sales pistons in a conceptual illustration of the ‘sales engine’ from illustrator Matt Weems

Then he channeled the classic 1930s pen and ink style, manipulating and extending existing art for the modern purposes of the Antiquarian Book Fair.

Illustrator Matt Weems adds to existing Wizard of Oz character art in 1930s pen and ink style

Will Strawser: Farm to Table
Working in evocative video snippets, photographer and director Will Strawser explores concepts of farm to table, and all the steps between. Here’s a first peek at a longer project to come.

Eggs appear on straw in this short video from Photographer and Director Will Strawser Wheat waves in the breeze in this short Farm to Table teaser from Photographer and Videographer Will Strawswer Freshly made sausages dangle in the smokehouse, from photographer and director Will Strawser

Carolyn Vibbert: Flavors of Summer
Long after the picnics and barbecues have ended, we’ll still have these tasty illustrations from Carolyn Vibbert to hold onto until next summer.

A bright iconic depiction of a ripe tomato from Illustrator Carolyn Vibbert
A woodcut-style drawing of an avocado from Illustrator Carolyn Vibbert
A cornucopia of veggies and fruits from Illustrator Carolyn Vibbert




Soak up endless summer with illustrator Carolyn Vibbert

“I do love summer,” says Carolyn Vibbert about the inspiration behind her collection of eternally sunny illustrations. “I hike, canoe, swim in the ocean. And when I’m illustrating, I combine that feeling with the message the client is trying to communicate.”

Illustration of a sea turtle and a sea star, by illustrator Carolyn Vibbert

Solving the puzzle of communication plus emotion is what has driven Carolyn’s extensive career. Her styles range from whimsical brush strokes to fine lines to cut paper, but through it all is a thread of human insight and warmth.

A whimsical beach scene bursting with color and activity, from illustrator Carolyn Vibbert
A weather vane with a whale and seagull on top, from illustrator Carolyn Vibbert

“Design principles are very important to me,” she says. “I love figuring out how to tell a story with shapes and color.” She’s done just that for notable clients ranging from Clorox to Quaker to Safeway.

A rowboat in front of a cabin in woodcut style, from illustrator Carolyn Vibbert
A ceramic pitcher, flowers, lemons and a sailboat in warm, sunny colors by illustrator Carolyn Vibbert

Want to keep Summer going? You can find more of Carolyn’s work from all seasons right here.

A woman sells pie at a pie stand, by illustrator Carolyn Vibbert
Colorful depictions of summer icons like a sun, ice cream, boat and bear, from illustrator Carolyn Vibbert

Wine & Lifestyle – Photographer Nader Khouri doubles up for Vivino.

With plenty of experience in both food and lifestyle shoots, photographer Nader Khouri always gets a thrill when he gets to combine both skill sets. “They’re two specialties that require two sets of knowledge,” he says. “I love the challenge of doing them together.”

Vivino CEO Chris Tsakalakis uses the app on a bottle of wine, from photographer Nader Khouri

For Vivino, a popular wine app, Nader planned two distinct approaches. “First we did a shoot in my studio with a hand model and the app,” he explains. “Then on day two we headed out to the bar…the wine bar, that is… to capture lifestyle shots with the founder, Heini Zachariassen and CEO, Chris Tsakalakis.”

Portrait of Vivino Founder Heini Zachariassen and CEO Chris Tsakalakis in a wine cellar, by photographer Nader Khouri

“I have to know the way light moves through liquid and how it highlights food, and also how to frame people’s faces with light and shadow,” he says, on the differences between the two specialties. “I have to be meticulous enough to bring the most out of a studio shoot, but nimble enough to guide a location shoot.”

A hand holding a phone, using the Vivino app, from photographer Nader Khouri

“And, I’m experienced enough to know when to bring in reinforcements,” he laughs. “For a shoot like this I’ll usually pull in a first AD and a digital tech who also have a balance of studio, people and location skills.”

A woman uses the Vivino app on a bottle of wine, from photographer Nader Khouri

Thirsty for more of Nader’s work? Find more proof of his ability to seamlessly glide between studio, location, food and lifestyle right here.




Sports, boats, beach – and a better world

Portrait of a Special Olympics athlete lifting a weight, from photographer Brian Smale Brian Smale for Special Olympics

On very, very good days our photographers get to partner with amazing community organizations, creating images that help them spread inspiration and impact. Here are some of our latest.

Brian Smale for Special Olympics
Special Olympics brings the joy of sport to more than 4.9 million athletes worldwide with intellectual disabilities. Working with Microsoft Story Labs, Photographer Brian Smale recently got the chance to shoot portraits with just a few of them.

Portrait of a Special Olympics volleyball playe, from photographer Brian Smale
Portrait of a Special Olympics athlete with his racket, from photographer Brian Smale
A Special Olympics athlete in mid-air doing the long jump, from photographer Brian Smale
Portrait of a Special Olympics basketball athlete, from photographer Brian Smale


Michal Venera for Spaulding Marine Center
The education and community programs at Spaulding Marine Center connect people of all ages while preserving, sharing and celebrating the Bay Area’s maritime history. Photographer Michal Venera got a behind the scenes look.

A man works on a wooden boat, from photographer Michal Venera
A huge skein of rope in a boatyard, from photographer Michal Venera
Close up on boatyard woodworking tools, from photographer Michal Venera
Close up of a hand sanding a wooden boat, from photographer Michal Venera


Thompson Homonnay for MeWater Foundation
Run by surfers and mental health professionals, the MeWater Foundation brings vulnerable young people together with positive community members and the power of the great outdoors. Ashley Thompson and Ana Homonnay spent a day at the beach with them.

A kid learning to surf, from photographer duo Thompson Homonnay
A kid puts on his goggles at the beach, from photographer duo Thompson Homonnay
A boy runs into the water with his surf board, from photographer duo Thompson Homonnay
A boy and instructor high five at the beach, from photographer duo Thompson Homonnay




Shane Johnson illustrates a musical world

Illustrator Shane Johnson’s latest job was to draw something that doesn’t exist yet. “I was asked to create visual concepts for a music-focused venue being developed in San Francisco,” he explains, “and the interior is still just studs and nails.”

Rendering of hotel and recording studio welcome area, by illustrator Shane Johnson

Called the Music City Hit Factory, the venue is slated to include a bar and casual dining, performance stage for live shows, hotel, recording studios, classrooms, and exhibits showcasing the San Francisco music scene and supporting local artists.

Illustration of stage with a live performance going on, by illustrator Shane Johnson

Dean Weldon Exhibits, the curation team involved in restoring the historic building where the venue will live, plans to use Shane’s drawings for fundraising purposes.

Rendering of the exterior entrance to Music City Hit Factory, by illustrator Shane Johnson

An avid music fan himself, Shane listened to a mix of artists from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Lord Huron for inspiration while working on the project. You can see more of Shane’s illustration and character design work here.




Retoucher Rachel Kissel scoops up Häagen-Dazs

“I love ice cream,” says retoucher Rachel Kissel, “so looking at these shots all day was the most difficult part of the job.” Rachel recently wrapped a substantial composite for Häagen-Dazs’ new non-dairy flavors.

Non-dairy frozen treat sandwiches for Haägen Dazs, from retoucher and composite artist Rachel Kissel

The packaging for their Trio product was shot in pieces: three different shots for the different layers of flavor, plus separate shots of the inclusions – that’s food industry speak for mix-ins like chocolate-covered peanuts or cookie chunks.

Haägen Dazs Trio Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies & Crème package from retoucher Rachel Kissel
Haägen Dazs Trio Dark Chocolate Crunchy Peanut Butter packaging from composite artist Rachel Kissel

Rachel meticulously optimized each individual element, then united them into one tempting visual to clearly communicate what’s inside each flavor.

Haägen Dazs marketing cling with cone, inclusions and package, from retoucher Rachel Kissel

Other elements were developed for social media and marketing purposes, like in-store posters and clings for windows or dipping cabinets.

Chocolate ingredients and flavor cues for Haägen Dazs, from composite artist Rachel Kissel

“I could never pick a favorite flavor,” laughs Rachel. “It’s whichever one I’m staring at.” In addition to food, Rachel is deeply experienced in composite and retouching work in categories including people, nature, sports apparel and more. You can see more of her highly-finessed work here.

A bowl with two scoops of a frozen Haägen Dazs treat, from retoucher Rachel Kissel




Catching cars with Photographer Eric Frazier

“Car designers are artists,” says Photographer Eric Frazier.  “I like to find the little details and subtle shapes they spend time on that most people miss.”

A silver Hyundai with a glow of purple light behind, from photographer Eric Frazier Detail of a Hyndai’s side view mirror shot from below by photographer Eric Frazier

Known primarily for his people and lifestyle work, Eric has also shot a number of car jobs over the last few years. “It’s a nice change of pace,” he says. “Cars never get tired in the middle of a shoot. And you don’t have to feed them,” he laughs.

A blue Toyota Tacoma parked against a white bridge backdrop by photographer Eric Frazier

Often called on to shoot prototypes and pre-production models no one has ever seen, his shoot prep begins with simple observation. “I like to just look at the car for awhile, get a feel for the shape and lines. There’s a personality to every car. And different personalities of the people that will buy them.”

Detail of a car door handle by photographer Eric Frazier

While not a deeply obsessed ‘car guy,’ Eric appreciates them in his own way. “They can be the perfect marriage of form and function,” he says. “The way the designers work creatively within the constraints of the vehicle’s price and purpose is so interesting to me.”

Close up of the Chrysler logo on a cream colored hood by photographer Eric Frazier A Chrysler comes around a corner in light-flooded woods, shot by photographer Eric Frazier

Eric has partnered with brands including Toyota, Lexus, Chrysler, Hyundai and Acura. You can see more of his people, places and machines portfolio here.

A sporty red Toyota shows off its curves, by photographer Eric Frazier An upward shot of a blue car door with blue sky in the background, by photographer Eric Frazier