One fine day back in 2013, Eli Meir Kaplan came for a San Francisco jaunt and decided (thank goodness) to give us a call at Dwell. It’s very rare for east coast photographers to actually be on the west coast and then actually have time to stop by the scarce few [art buyer/photo editor] offices located here and show their work. What first caught our eye about Eli was his series on Drag Queens. Yes, we hired him for architecture/lifestyle shoot all based on this great studio series.
It’s always essential to meet a photographer whenever possible so that you know WHO you’re sending on-set, especially when there’s subjects involved. Since Dwell photography is primarily residential, it’s very important that a commissioned photographer, who is not only kick-ass at making images, but also friendly, patient and kind.
As most editorial shoots go, we hired him because of his location. Eventually, he ended up shooting three Washington D.C./Virginia homes for Dwell. It’s rare that an assignment for Dwell is known ahead of time how many pages and how many images, at what size if it’s a cover is known. For his first assignment, he photographed writer Dan Pink and his family’s D.C. home. This shoot turned into all full page photos with captions. It was a new thing Dwell was doing at the time, so it looked more like a photo essay then an article. This was a huge deal for any photographer, and we were so excited that Eli’s work was showcased in this style layout.
We quickly learned that Eli will do anything. We have our specific art direction, of course, but Eli goes beyond. He shot everything on the shot list, plus had a little extra fun and shot things he knew would make an amazing photo (which of course, we ended up publishing). There was one shoot which was pitched, produced and shot all within a couple days all because Eli was ready and able. A house was pitched and the family was only going to be around for the next couple of days, but Eli squeezed us in. It was awesome, and then sent his edit like the next day- which is unheard of. We also featured his Soul 51 series on Dwell“Promo Daily.”
© Dwell/Eli Meir Kaplan - Washington, D.C. shoot.
© Eli Meir Kaplan/ Soul 51 Series