Duration: Two years.
Location: New York, New York.
Education: Saccenti studied photography at the School of Visual Arts, New York City.
Career path: At eighteen, Chang worked in public radio, and the spirit of supporting independent voices has never left her. This segued into a career in post-production, which taught her how to produce audio and video at a high quality—often combining practical elements (live action footage) with software (After Effects, Maya and Flame) in interesting ways to solve new problems. It also honed her appreciation for high production value and finishing; plus, it gave her the skills to work in professional, hypercollaborative environments.
In high school, Saccenti was obsessed with music and magazines like The Face and i-D. He lived near New York City where he assisted many art-directing fashion photographers, working on photography that built worlds with light, art direction and post-production. From there, he developed a style that was influenced by electronic music and the art of time. Later on, he was able to branch out into music videos and start mixing in 3-D and generative art.
Cultural influences: The culture of magazines from the ’90s—such as Mondo, The Face, i-D, Thrasher, Ray Gun and The Big Takeover—and the underground music scene in southern California. Also, science, technology and experimental art—with a deep respect for the craft of traditional photography. We are also hugely influenced by pop culture, video art, music, Egyptology and horror films.
Our core group of collaborators are more interested in pushing their media—3-D, digital art, etc.—rather than focusing on youth culture or celebrity. The biggest influences for our team are video art, fashion (to an extent), architecture and film. We buy a lot of books!
Favorite projects: Our shoot for Code Orange’s album Underneath. It is rare to have the chance to collaborate with both musicians as well as a celebrated special effects makeup artist on an incredible project, which ranged from cover art and merchandise to all of the promo images.
Work environment: When we’re shooting, it’s akin to being at a rave after 6 a.m.: smoke, lights, darkness, techno and lasers. Most of the effects are captured in-camera, so there are a lot of environmental elements happening. During the research and development phase, we usually listen to melodic music while sifting through hundreds of books for inspiration. Often, we have our friends and collaborators come by and photograph them for fun. And since we are often working with musicians, we are able to go see their shows. Being in New York City means that we have a constant list of inspiring events to attend.
Approach: We prefer to create most of our effects manually and rely as little as possible on compositing, unless we’re going in an intentional 3-D direction. Also, we both trained as print photographers, so we value the craft of making things with our hands. We’re comfortable with failing publicly, which creates a space for us to take risks without worrying how people will react.
We aren’t bound by the suffocating burden of “reality” that photography is meant to capture. We’ve rejected that notion entirely and use all our tools to create a more abstract, fantastical aesthetic. Also, since we’ve had many years of high-end commercial training, we can handle large-scale projects, so we find that mixture of experimental and professional to be unique.
Philosophy: Never stop being curious, and create things to bring happiness to yourself. Be weird.
Anything else? We both have almost two decades of experience working in the commercial advertising arena. Most of the work people see is the wilder editorial stuff. We’d like potential clients to know that we’re totally capable of doing larger commercial projects too!