Bloomberg Businessweek - Zoran Popovic Innovator

In case you've been sleeping under a rock for the last couple years, Bloomberg Businessweek is one of the most incredibly designed publications around.

Can't tell you how many times I've been in the airport passing the newsstands when one of their covers jumps out.

They've got a brave editor in Josh Tyrangiel who allows the Creative Director, Richard Turley, to go in some pretty interesting directions.

That’s Turley above wearing a hot dog suit at this year's SPD Awards Gala where the mag took home the gold medal for magazine of the year. He's aided and abetted by a great number of talented photo editors, designers and graphic artists - including one Jennifer Daniel (a design crush of mine).

With their adventurous creative team as my spiritual guide, I started scouting my location, the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, in anticipation of my subject, Zoran Popovic, Director at the Center for Game Science.

His innovation is, Foldit, a game/community responsible for decoding proteins leading to important advancements in treating diseases like AIDS.

Going in to the project, one of the challenges would be how best to show an abstract concept like amino acids and proteins in the real world.

Pretty much everything I was expecting in a computer science building was there.

Dudes/dude-ettes on computers? Check.

Whiteboards? Check.

Computer labs? Check.

Nerd fuel? Check (said with pride due to nerdist traits and my track record with Doritos).

Genius computer scientist office aka Zoran's office? Check.

While walking around, I had this other thought: looking for things that folded, i.e. paper, laundry, dollar bills, one piece of bread folded into a sandwich?

Paper folder? Check.

A ping pong table that 'should' fold (now broken)? Check.

All along, I didn't spend too much time chasing that idea since there would only be an hour of availability at best. That said, I wanted to get looser with this assignment and do some available light portraits.

Guys like Zoran can be incredibly busy, and as expected, he had a few things come up last minute.

Wasn't a problem since I'd already thought about modifying the shoot into two, shorter sessions: the unlit images here and the ones we'd do later in the labs.

Really like how these turned out, but we let him run to a meeting while we prepped the other scenario.

In the end, they went with the image below.

It was the only frame of him holding a model/representation of an amino acid that just happened to be lying around.

In fact, Zoran said, "they're probably going to run that one, aren't they?!" To which I replied, "no, I doubt that" knowing all along it showed a fun side of his personality.

Couple weeks later, I got a call from the photo editor to do another project for them. Had I not been already booked, I would've jumped at the chance since working for their creative team was a blast!

Hoping to do it again sometime soon.

More always,

Clinard