2015-12-16 The mission: to produce an exclusive series of stills images around the cast of the latest blockbuster Star Wars movie for a full feature and the front cover of TIME Magazine. The photo-sessions to take place on two continents and to be orchestrated and executed by one of planet Earth’s most accomplished portrait photographers – using Hasselblad medium format cameras.
Marco Grob for TIME: R2-D2 and BB-8 on the cover of the Dec. 14, 2015 issue of TIME
The man chosen for ‘The Force Awakens’ shoot mission was New York-based, Emmy award-winning Hasselblad Master, Marco Grob.
Marco, who was also TIME Magazine’s choice to shoot and direct the seminal ‘Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience’ project to mark the tenth anniversary of the 2001 Twin Towers terrorist attack, says: “My relationship with TIME Magazine is very much based on mutual trust and respect. We exchanged ideas for this shoot to get to a ‘jump-off’ point. But then the brief simply morphed into: ‘OK Marco just go and do your kind of photography’. And that is the best brief a photographer can ever have.”
Marco Grob for TIME
He adds” Of course there is real pressure. This movie has massive global expectation and websites have been crashing all over the place due to unprecedented ticket demands.
To fulfil this brief I had two shoots in Los Angeles; a shoot the next day in New York; then back to L.A; then over to Madrid; then Marseilles and then Pinewood Studios, London. Yes it was hectic! And sometimes people don’t realise just how much we have to improvise.
Marco is a real Hasselblad fanatic. “My weapon of choice for portraiture is my trusty H4D-60 but also for this shoot, the H5D-50.” he notes. “For me it’s not just about pixel size – it’s the pure aesthetic of the larger chip. I just do not want to shoot portraits with the 35 mm format. Ever.”
Something special happens on the bigger Hasselblad chip. It has a really different feel and sensation. It has to do with the signature look and a much more specific depth of field scenario. And then there is also the sheer comfort I always feel when I work with these amazing cameras.
The control, the functionality, the ergonomics – a Hasselblad is simply the perfect tool. For me it’s not really a resolution question because that is a given with Hasselblad. It’s genuinely an aesthetics question.”
After sharing studios with BB-8 and R2-D2 Marco is set for a new (and secret) photo-assignment in London – where again he insists the ‘Hasselblad force’ will be with him.
Team R2-D2 or BB-8? Vote for your favourit cover and see the BTS video at time.com