Ross Cassidy + SAIC

February 20, 2017

Art students take inspired shots of our latest collection.

Photo by Brandon Blakeslee

When a collection is as cool as Ross Cassidy’s, we can’t help but come up with new ways to celebrate it. The latest concept? Collaborate with art students from SAIC (the School of the Art Institute of Chicago) to photograph Ross’s pieces from a fresh perspective.

We paired Ross with a lighting class of 11 students led by Professor Mayumi Lake, and scored warehouse spaces in the Southside of Chicago as well as the Loop to set up the shots. Both settings provided gritty, moody environments to richly contrast Ross’s clean, minimalist lines. Ross and the students spent two days styling, lighting, and photographing the pieces using interesting backdrops and props. And despite the warehouse’s chilly temperatures (layers were necessary), the shots convey a warm, welcoming vibe. Ross agrees: “The students were all really fun to work with and I think the whole project was a great success.”

Photo by Nichole Fowler

Photo by Maria Duraevsky, Joseph Goh, Blake Stenger, Seth Wheeler, Ariel Chen

Photo by Joseph Goh, Maria Duraevsky, Seth Wheeler

Photo by William Lee

Here’s what the students—and their teacher—had to say about the experience:

“As an artist I am used to producing work I can call my own, on my own. This was a collaboration—a partnership—and I think this communal aspect made it both challenging and rewarding.”

Joseph Shen En Goh

“Several times we would propose a specific setup or arrangement, but it would work out slightly differently than imagined. Working with that and then taking a shot in a different direction was great, rather than sticking to a strict method of making images in a specific way.”

Brandon Blakeslee

“Our biggest challenge was dealing with our environment; we needed to adjust the light and place the products thoughtfully to make it all work.”

Liu Liu

“I really enjoyed working with my team and working with Ross. He encouraged us to have fun experimenting with shots, such as dropping pillows and flowers from a ladder or throwing them up from the ground.”

Seth Wheeler

“Working with other students and a designer at the same time was really special experience. Since it was my first experience with commercial photography, I tried to be involved in every scene.”

William Lee

“One of my teaching philosophies is to provide as much professional practical experience to students as possible, and to seek a perfect marriage between technical skills and fine art thinking. This shooting opportunity was the perfect experience for my students and I was so proud of my students.”

Professor Mayumi Lake

Photo by Blake Stenger, William Lee, Liu Liu, Alejandra Rosales

Photo by Brandon Blakeslee

Photo by Liu Liu

Photo by Brandon Blakeslee

Photo by William Lee

Photo by Joseph Goh, Maria Duraevsky, Seth Wheeler

Photo by Joseph Goh, Maria Duraevsky, Seth Wheeler, Blake Stenger, Ariel Chen

Standing L to R: William Lee, Brandon Blakeslee, Ross Cassidy, Seth Wheeler, Maria Dunaevsky, Joseph Goh, Nichole Fowler
Sitting L to R: Sandra Malec (CB2), Blake Stenger, Ariel Chen, Mayumi Lake
Not pictured: Alejandra Rosales, Liu Liu, Lanting Qu