Interview: PDN Photo Annual Winner Sarah Silver Discusses Shooting with Sub Rosa for Pantone

Interview: PDN Photo Annual Winner Sarah Silver Discusses Shooting with Sub Rosa for Pantone


Sarah Silver, photographer for Pantone’s 2014 brand campaign produced by Sub Rosa discusses her reaction to being chosen as a winner of the PDN Photo Annual 2015.

"Pantone is incredibly proud of the team at Sub Rosa and the brilliant campaign photos Sarah Silver created for our Make It Brilliant Campaign."

Pantone: Can you tell us a little about your background in photography?

Sarah: In my family artistic creativity was something that was always encouraged. I’ve always had a camera in my hand for as long as I can remember. My grandfather was even a professional portrait photographer. Hence, the concept of shooting studio photography and darkroom printing was something I was very well versed in from an early age. As a young girl I used to sit on a bench in the living room for him during midnight portrait sessions. The following day we would go down to the basement to develop the film and print it. I was mesmerized by these early experiences in photography, and it made perfect sense for me to take on the family “business,” so to speak.

I always believe that the best photos stem from the photographers’ passion for the subject matter. In my case, I always wanted to be a professional ballerina but I lacked any actual skill for dancing or memorizing dance step combinations. Photographing movement of all forms creates a way for me to be a dancer without ever breaking a sweat. Instead, I am able to collaborate with the dancers and really be a part of the creation of the movement.

PDN Photo Annual Winner: “Make it Brilliant” photographed by Sarah Silver, produced by Sub Rosa.

Pantone: How did you become involved with Pantone’s 2014 “Make it Brilliant” campaign?

Sarah: I remember where I was standing when I got the call from my agency telling me that Sub Rosa was asking for me to come in for a meeting to discuss the project. I did a little dance and then hopped in a taxi and headed towards their office. The entire concept blew me away. Literally, I walked out of the meeting with my head full of visuals and my imagination running wild. Pantone color is something we utilize every day in the studio, from Color Guides to Swatch Libraries on the computer.

"It’s really fantastic to bring to life a campaign for a company like Pantone that so many artists and creatives use on a daily basis."

Pantone: Lighting played such a major role in this campaign. What type of camera/lens combination did you employ to achieve this look?

Sarah: I shot with a Canon 5D Mark III with a 45 mm lens and a shift lens attachment to make all the shapes perfectly “square.” The camera was locked down on tripod and shot at a high ISO (800) and at 1/320th of a second to freeze the motion.

The lighting was one of the most interesting aspects of creatively building this campaign, because of the fact that they were so different than what photographers traditionally use for stills shoots. Once the lights were physically moved into place they were controlled by an operator on a main control board.

"I felt like I was in some sort of high-tech light show. The art director, Diego, would say “more cyan” and then the lighting tech would push a button and move a dial and voila: more cyan!"