About Robin Finlay


Posts by Robin Finlay :

AARP’s Great American Diet

AARP asked us to create the shape of the United States out of food. Yeah, easy, we can do that. No problem! Then the curve ball…they wanted each state defined. By color. Even Rhode Island… and Alaska… and Hawaii.

If you’ve never been grocery shopping by color, try it. It’s worth it to watch the cashiers face when you go through with one monochromatic cart after another. Also, a big thanks to our UPS delivery guy who is from Alaska and showed up about the time we were styling that state. We had formed the inside passage wrong and he corrected our green beans.

Texas Secession?

We LOVE this image. So simple, yet so clever.

I wish we could say it was our idea but it was not. Thanks TJ, Leslie, and the rest of the art crew at Texas Monthly for such a great visual and for letting us execute it.

T is for Texas

As in Texas Monthly, who recently launched a redesign. Part of their new look includes this front of the book touts page which sums up parts of the mag like an extra TOC section. We were tasked with creating this ongoing series each month. The idea is to highlight the typography while using images from the magazine. The challenge is to do creative things without distorting the type, and to do it in the last day or so before the issue ships (since we can’t start until all of the art is in).

We started the project very straightforward to establish the idea with readers, and I’m hopeful that we will be able to go more abstract as the project progresses. The possibilities here are really exciting. So far, the jigsaw puzzle is my favorite.


We Got Milk!

The Dairy Council of California approached our good friend and wonderful art director & designer Emily Kimbro to create a brochure for them. And lucky for me, Emily asked if we’d help come up with some photos for her project.
We shot a whole bunch of stuff, but some of my favorites (as usual) will never see the print press. So I get to share them here. I’m a fan of moody splashes of milk flying across the studio, but maybe moody doesn’t sell milk?
However the images at the bottom are ingredients for making chai, swirling around in simmering milk. Those did make the cut, and are some of my favorites (best smelling) from the day.
Now that that’s done, and I have ten more gallons of milk… if I only had a good recipe for milk steak….


Details – Still Life Shoot; How to Sleep & Intravenous Vitamins

Stacey DeLorenzo rang us up and asked if we’d like to make some more photos for Details. The assignment focused on sleep and pretty much ran the gamut of our favorite things to photograph; human brains (although not real this time), an exploded view of an alarm clock, and chaos (a pillow with feathers flying around the studio, although the cleanup wasn’t quite as much fun).
The brain was the tricky one. We only had 24 hours from the assignment conformation to the shoot. Robin wanted to cast the brain from acrylic resin, but unsure if it would set in time she made two additional brains out of sugar. Yes, that is a giant hard candy brain you see below.
Additional we made an image for an article on people using IVs to get their vitamins. That’s right, no need to chew those pesky Flintstones multivitamins anymore. Now you can get your daily vitamins and minerals with the ease of a needle and an intravenous drip.

Tribeza Style Week Posters

Avalon McKenzie, a designer at Free People in Philadelphia, just a few months ago was the designer of Tribeza magazine here in Austin. Avalon came up with the idea of violating iconic accessories for Fashion Week’s promo images. Although she didn’t get the chance to oversee their execution, it was a pleasure to bring her idea to fruition.

For the execution of these images, I’d have loved to have spray-painted a Chanel bag, or sliced up a pair of Louboutin shoes. But Neiman Marcus wasn’t so into the idea. Instead we cut type into matching red leather and sprayed the stencil onto black paper. Then we put the pieces together and voila. Two images I like a lot.

Austin Distillers & the Tipsy Texan’s bar kit

Austin has gone from a town exploding with micro breweries to a town full of micro distilleries. And they are damn good too! So for Tribeza’s nightlife issue Robin and I pitched the idea of highlighting local booze distillers.

After the magazine went for the story I managed to convince them to let me do portraits. Anyone who is familiar with my work isn’t familiar with my portraiture, because there isn’t any! I do however have a passion for the classic styles of Yousuf Karsh and am a fan of contemporaries such as Nigel Perry. It’s something I hold in high regard.

For this project I wanted to create traditional portraits that would be flattering to these artisans and their brands, and then create a matching still life that flows in layout. The color, light, environment and mood should all match. Each still life features a cocktail, and I was concerned with the quality of the drinks, so I decided to make them myself. For weeks I diligently drank my fill and fine tuned these recipes. It was quite the sacrifice!

Also, this issue featured a ‘still life portrait’ of Austin drink aficionado David Alan, AKA The Tipsy Texan. There just isn’t enough of this in the world. Photos of people through objects. I love it. I want to see more of it!

Texas Monthly – Water & Drought

TJ Tucker, creative director at Texas Monthly, asked me to photograph a single drop of water refracting the Texas flag just as the droplet breaks free. The idea was to do this all in camera and emphasize the strange things that happen when light meets liquid in motion.

John Deere 175th Anniversary Poster

GSD&M was working on a poster for John Deere’s 175th Anniversary and they wanted a collection of logos from across the years with different degrees of age and wear. When they first called the idea was to try and get some merchandise from ebay and hopefully get enough to do the poster. Little did they know Adam’s father in law and his family have been farming central Texas land for over 100 years, and most of the time with John Deere gear. They asked if we could deliver at least 20 logos. In the end we came away with over 60 unique John Deer emblems spanning decades of farming.

It was a beautiful day to be out of the studio, roaming the fields with camera and lights in hand, searching for that little jumping deer.

American Photography 28 – WE’RE IN!!!!

Question: What’s the most exciting email the studio received this week? Answer: The one from Ernie Monteiro of Time Inc. custom publishing letting us know an image we created for Proto Magazine was chosen to be in American Photography 28 along side some really amazing work. All we can say is Woo-Hoooo!!!! Read the original blog post about the image and see construction pictures of the wire brain here.