On any given day, I'm very lucky to have emails like the one below sitting in my inbox: It's been a while since we spent that lovely Saturday with Leroy (Leroy Bell - the X-Factor contestant who I shot some months back)... I wonder if you might be interested in doing another cover shoot? The story is about pot... more specifically driving high... more specifically how high is too high to drive?
There was nothing more to say other than I'm in, so I got started straight away on concepting this project for Jane Sherman of Seattle Weekly.
She was quick to point out that the magazine wasn't interested in doing something too clinical but more irreverent like someone hitting a bong behind the wheel.
Think the usual expectation might be to see a 20-something in this particular role, but I wanted to turn this one a bit more on its ear.
Like for example, a grandmother character that used marijuana for her glaucoma, and -- while enroute to the grocery store to pick up a few ingredients for her weekly dinner with the grandchildren -- she crossed the center line and got pulled over by the police. My art director was receptive to the idea but said she would have to be one of the most over-the-top Grandmas in existence.
So when I wrote back to confirm my buddy Adam Schmitt's 101 year-old grandmother, Evelyn, agreed to be our model, Jane's mind was put at ease when I shared the images above and below.
I'd never met Evelyn in person, but I was well-versed with her "dramatic range." On Adam's Facebook page, I've seen her hitting bottles of whiskey and brandishing firearms for the camera, so I knew the potentially taboo topic of driving under the influence of marijuana would be a fun theme for us to explore.
Adam's sister, Jennifer -- who just so happened to be in town from Boston -- was a great help with Evelyn's wardrobe, additional propping and the general production side of things as we shot the project south of Seattle in Steilacoom.
Smoke was added with the aid of a fog machine and dry ice contained in the glass pipe. My sister-in-law's Chevy Malibu proved to be the perfect stunt car.
Super big thanks to the talented Gretchen Hilmers of G-tou for additional effects and post. Peep it below to get a sense of how it ran on the cover of the magazine.
Additional thanks to my art director, Jane Sherman, Adam Schmitt (who was also my cop), his sister Jennifer, Gregg the assistant, and especially, Evelyn, who took time out of her schedule to make this rad project the best it could be.
SIDENOTE: While in her home, I learned Evelyn was quite the canner as evidenced by the shelves of goods kept in the garage. As thanks, I arranged a portrait sitting showcasing one of her favorite hobbies that's helped to keep her 101 years young.
This was a super fun project! I look forward to posting more new work and updates in the coming days.