In my opinion, still life is the hardest form of commercial photography. Making an image of a lipstick or stiletto pop, without the help of model, is a rare talent. New York City-based Greg Broom is one the few photographers able to give a still-life image that boost of life to make it interesting. I first met Greg on an editorial assignment that I produced in 2007 for Essence. We clicked and I have followed his work ever since. I recently sat down in his studio and asked him how he achieves his dynamic results for clients such as Cole Haan, Barneys NY and Diane Von Furstenburg. His secret, he confided, is collaboration. Greg believes shoots are a congruous conversation between photographer, creative director, photo editor and stylist, culminating in a final image that is strong and alive.
An integral part of the creative process for Greg is the continuous flow of conceptual and technologically innovative ideas. For a story in Men’s Health about counting calories he took the magazine’s original calculator idea and twisted it by amping up the colors and spelling out “hungry” in the number window. Another intriguing shot for Men’s Health was about the dangers of sugar. Greg gives full credit to model maker and prop stylist Megan Caponneto, who spent three days working on a skull made of sugar cubes. “I merely added the drama,” he says.
© Greg Broom
Nowadays, Greg loves shooting cosmetics and has been working for brands such as Hourglass and La Prairie. “I love the challenge of lighting something so difficult and reflective while still trying to give it some edge.” Recently, for a La Prairie shoot, he called in 500 pounds of ice to shoot a jar of cream. One of my favorite shots is a close-up of a red lipstick with a ladybug, Greg and stylist Suzy Kim coaxed the insect to the top of the lipstick creating a striking visual. Images like this have a clean, contemporary quality that sets Greg ahead of the competition.
© Greg Broom
In July, Greg collaborated with Fashion Editor Virgine Dhello for Conde Nast’s Air France Madame. She had a punk theme with studded cuffs and jewelry and they decided the best way to showcase them was in a simple setting with perfect lighting and a brushed steel surface.
© Greg Broom
New ideas for personal work inspire the creative evolution, which allows Greg to keep his edge. Past projects have included recreating car wrecks using totaled cars from junkyards, with prop staging and film noir lighting. Greg also likes the idea of transformation--- a recent project included taking photographs of everyday American meals and following up several days later with another, identical shot showing a covering of mold. He called it a "twist of a pristine shot of moldy food."