Portraying a Troubled ESPN for Variety
Posted on 2nd October 2018 by Austin Gould

It's Week 5 of the NFL season and sports junkies around the country are wondering whether or not their fantasy football team will live to see another day.

Amongst all the excitement, it's still hard to forget that the NFL has been riddled in controversy over the past couple of years. This trend, and the onset of online streaming services, are both factors that have put ESPN in a tough position as a company in recent years.

The very talented photographers Yasu + Junko recently created an image for Variety Magazine to illustrate the tough position that ESPN is currently in. While they are often contacted by their clients directly, Yasu+Junko were first contacted to create this work through their agent.

Yasu+Junko quickly got a sense of what the client wanted, so the first thing they had to do was find a stylist that was right for the project. They set out to find a stylist who could quickly and effectively give the helmet a proper treatment to make it look used and broken. Yasu+Junko told us, "It seems that clients are so pinched with time these days, and the stylists are usually the ones who get squeezed the most by it. With a lot of these conceptual shots, styling is as important as lighting or composing, so we want to give our stylists as much preparation time as possible."

Yasu+Junko had to be careful of how the images would match the look and feel of the magazine. Considering the subject of the article, they suggested a dark and moody feel for the images, and Variety agreed. The broken helmet was a decision that Variety made, so it was up to Yasu+Junko to establish the environment that they were going to put the helmet in. They took characteristics of the Friday Night Lights football theme including green grass, water vapors, and light flares. "We used water vapors and light flares to give the photo a little more excitement, but more importantly, to give the black background some texture rather than it being opaque black," they told us.

Yasu+Junko's favorite part of working on this project was working in the studio, where they do almost all of their projects. While their work has a "studio shot" look, this environment allows them to have a very organic backdrop. In this case, it allowed them to get the color of the grass just right.

Here is Yasu+Junko's advice to other, possibly up-and-coming, photographers and creative professionals:

"It is so much more a difficult environment for an emerging or aspiring artists these days. There is no denying that things are consumed faster and pay is getting smaller. Maybe that explains the tendency of sacrificing quality over speed... which is very concerning. We sincerely hope that people would take time and put a lot of thought and effort into what they are creating. If the job does not allow such luxury, we hope you would take the time to shoot on your own, away from work, and find out what makes you a unique individual."

For more of Yasu+Junko's incredible work, follow them on Instagram and on Dripbook .

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