Food + Color // Test Shoot

I have always believed in test shoots. They are a way to collaborate and try our ideas, new ways of shooting and if we're lucky, a little portfolio building. I've been shooting a lot of food the last couple of years and they are some of my favorite assignments. I seem to connect with food and the culture around it so naturally, but I wanted to create a little something out of the box and new. I've had the idea of mono-chromatic food in my head for a while now. Like, what if we made food poster art? What if we photographed food in a modern, minimalist, graphic way?

I gathered some of my most talented friends and colleagues, Chef Jon Wipfli of The Minnesota Spoon, Creative Director Liz Gardner and my Editor Liz Hardt to join me and we simply had an afternoon of creating. It was fun, it was chill and I love the way these images turned out! Everyone gave their time and talents to this idea, and I am very grateful for that! Personally, test shoots like this fuel my creativity and make my work stronger and I think shoots like this are so necessary as artists. Check out the little series of Food + Color below, along with the behind-the-scene photos! 

BEHIND THE SCENES //


MSP Style Makers // September 2014

The month of September brings a new issue of MSP Magazine to the newsstands and I have been SO excited to share this for quite some time. I was asked to photograph the cover + feature story for the magazine and this turned out to be one of my most favorite projects of the year. In the magazine world, the 'September' issue is always usually centered around fashion and style. MSP chose to highlight real people, who influence the style in Minneapolis, for their issue this year. I must say - this was one room packed with powerful, successful and very creative individuals. Minneapolis always seems to constantly provide a city full of talent and I always feel so lucky that my job allows me to cross paths with many of these people. I often leave feeling very inspired. As for my crew, we pulled together our dream-team to make this happen! Special thanks to Flashlight Photo Rental, Romeny Chan and her crew for hair & makeup, Liz Gardner of MSP for art direction, design and styling,  Liz Hardt for post production and Ali Kaplan of MSP for writing the article. This issue is special, because the cover is not one - but two pages! It's a gatefold cover that highlights all of the talented people in the feature. As for the individual portraits inside the magazine, we wanted to show every person's style, so we asked them to come along with their own belongings to be styled. My job was then to capture everyone's personalities - in one frame. Below are the spreads that are published in the issue, along with some of the behind-the-scene photos from our shoot! (Special thanks to our interns, Hanna and Melissa for these!) Here's a list of our Style Makers for this article, they are people you will surely want to follow:

 Lisa Castro // Director of Design for Target

Keith Dorsett // Manager at Heimie's Haberdashery

Dahlia Brue // Owner of IDUN

Devin O'Brien // Co-founder of Search and State Clothing

Courtney Vincent // Associate Creative Director at Peterson Milla Hooks

Madelynn Furlong // Blogger of Wide Eyed Legless

Charley Brackney // Creative Director and Co-Founder of HAUS Salon

Lane Weinberg // Co-Founder and Designer of Kokoon clothing

Jim Smart // Owner of Smart Associates design firm

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Best Pizza in Minneapolis // MSP Magazine // August 2014

Before this month of August slips past us, I have to share two features that we were a part of in Minneapolis / St Paul Magazine! First, we added another cover to our roster, and I absolutely love how it turned out! August was all about the best pizza in Minneapolis and the surrounding areas. The cover pizza is from Red Wagon Pizza and I love how the beets and arugula popped out to readers and passersby on the newsstand - and props to MSP Design Director, Liz Gardner, on the great design. I think the guys at Red Wagon thought I was a little crazy, when I was moving the pizzas all around to find a great space to shoot them on. Turns out, an asphalt driveway was the winner! I've been photographing a lot of food this past year and I have really, really enjoyed it. Above all, I am able to immerse myself in the local food culture of Minneapolis, which is one of my favorite aspects of this city. This feature took me to Pig Ate my Pizza, Pizzeria Pezzo, Cossettas, Hello Pizza, Randy's Pizza, Two Pony's Pizza Farm and Red Wagon Pizza. I met so many great people, who are passionate about creating the best experience ever for their guests and I am so happy with how this turned out! The second feature in the August issue that we worked on is all about Social Media! You can read all about that here!

 

Aughg Cover

 

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Social Status // MSP Magazine

Social Media is a part of all our daily lives right now. Chances are, you found this blog post thru a link on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter! The August issue of MSP Magazine, featured a story on 10 Minnesotans who's presence on social media is helping them grow their passions. I personally knew a few of the subjects, before they stepped into the studio to be photographed, but I also met new people who are doing such cool things! From illustrators to poets, lifestyle bloggers to foodies - and even fitness - all of the people in this article have one mission: to inspire their viewers. We photographed the portraits for this article at 514 Studios in Minneapolis and it's so fun to see how this came together! A special thank you to Liz Hardt and her post-production skills for this article and to Julie Lam for styling. (I swear, it takes a village to make images look good for the final product sometimes! There are a lot of moving pieces!) Truth be told, I am SO proud of all of the people in this article and am honored to have had the pleasure of getting to know them a bit and being able to take their portrait. They are all doing amazing things and following their dreams - and this is the greatest success of all! You can read the entire article, written by Ali Kaplan here, and also make sure to check out all of the wonderful people featured in the article:

David Schwen of Dschwen

Kate Arends Peters of Wit & Delight

Ali Holman of Core Camper

Monique Volz of Ambitious Kitchen

Elizabeth Dehn of Beauty Bets

Wing Ta of Canary Grey

Amanda Rettke of I am Baker

Abraham Piper of Twenty Two Words

Nick Massahos

The Product Poet

 

 

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Red Wing Shoe Company //

This past winter, I had a dream-photo-assignment come thru my inbox. The story was all about Red Wing Shoe Company and my job was to document the process. So, on one cold, polar vortex morning, I loaded up my Volvo with the rest of the crew on this project - Steve Marsh, the writer, Drew Wood, the Digital Editor from MSP Magazine, and my intern, Liam. We all trekked on the icy roads down to Red Wing, Minnesota and began the fascinating tour, guided by Japanese designer, Akinobu Iwasaki. Hell, we even brought along the Capture Film Co. dudes to create a video for this project that you should most definitely check out! I was interested in this assignment for many reasons, but being able to see the actual process of how these boots are made, blew me out of the water.  From the tannery to the factory, well over 100 hands touch each boot before they are ready to be shipped. Now, I know that the Heritage brand has been pretty trendy these past few years among the hipsters, but Red Wing really is so much more than that. What I took away the most was the sense of pride that each worker has, working for the Red Wing Shoe Company. It was quite inspiring. Below are some of my favorite environmental portraits from our time at the company and you can read the full story here! As a body of work, these are images that I am really proud of, and I hope you enjoy!

 

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Woodchuck Case //

You have probably seen the products of Woodchuck Case around or admired them on other people's devices and thought "Whoa, this is cool!" I was definitely one of those people and when I got the call to go and photograph this team for Minneapolis / St Paul Magazine, I had no idea how inspired I would be. First, these dudes are young and they are killing it. It's pretty impressive to see the business Ben and his team have built in such a short amount of time, but what is most inspiring is their genuine excitement and passion for the business and products that they are creating. It's clear that these U of M graduates are growing as individuals and a team, just as well as their business is expanding. They are smart and have a great sense of entrepreneurship. They are kind, they are happy and they totally appreciate the hustle. Woodchuck case just launched a new website, where you can get everything from tech accessories to custom products to pocket squares (yep - pocket squares). Here are some of my favorite photos from our shoot! You can also read Ben's interview and learn more about the company here! 0C4A9177 copy 0C4A9200 0C4A9247 0C4A9310 0C4A9363 0C4A9373 0C4A9495 0C4A9497 0C4A9556 copy 0C4A9567 0C4A9569 copy 0C4A9611 copy 0C4A962921

Urban Bean Coffee //

I have really enjoyed the continued work of creating imagery for Urban Bean Coffee. The content spreads across their website, blog, facebook, tumblr, pinterest, instagram and twitter accounts! Here are some of my favorite shots from the past few months. UrbanBean_EliesaJohnson_0001 UrbanBean_EliesaJohnson_0002 UrbanBean_EliesaJohnson_0003 UrbanBean_EliesaJohnson_0004 UrbanBean_EliesaJohnson_0005 UrbanBean_EliesaJohnson_0006 UrbanBean_EliesaJohnson_0007 UrbanBean_EliesaJohnson_0008 UrbanBean_EliesaJohnson_0009 UrbanBean_EliesaJohnson_0010 UrbanBean_EliesaJohnson_0011 UrbanBean_EliesaJohnson_0012 UrbanBean_EliesaJohnson_0013

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Client // Urban Bean Coffee

Art Direction // Liz Gardner

Photographer // Eliesa Johnson

Talent // Lily Harris

Bodega ltd.

Thousand Hills Cattle Company //

This past fall, I was commissioned to photograph a story for Minneapolis / St Paul Magazine, about the Minnesota company, Thousand Hills Cattle Company. Like many of you, it's important for me to choose my food wisely and I've always been a fan of grass fed beef, but I also never really thought about it. It was a fascinating project for me to work on and I really enjoyed my time on the Thousand Hills farm. Todd Churchill, the owner of Thousand Hills is a family man, an incredibly knowledgeable farmer and above all, a respected business man. Beyond how refreshing it was for me to spend a day on a farm, I also learned so much from our small talk together. Churchill's business is one of the fastest growing beef companies in the country. Some of these portraits are amongst my favorite that were taken last year. You can still read the entire story, cleverly entitled, "What Would Jesus Grill?" online at mspmag.com. ThousandHillsCattleBlog0001 ThousandHillsCattleBlog0002 ThousandHillsCattleBlog0003 ThousandHillsCattleBlog0004 ThousandHillsCattleBlog0005 ThousandHillsCattleBlog0006 ThousandHillsCattleBlog0007 ThousandHillsCattleBlog0008 ThousandHillsCattleBlog0009 ThousandHillsCattleBlog0010 ThousandHillsCattleBlog0011 ThousandHillsCattleBlog0012 ThousandHillsCattleBlog0013 ThousandHillsCattleBlog0014 ThousandHillsCattleBlog001521