James Porto is the artistic genius Simon & Schuster commissioned to bring to life the world of Becca Fitzpatrick's Patch Cipriano & Nora Grey.
You may not recognize his name but you have most likely seen Mr. Porto's work. His client roster varies with well known names like Chick-Fil-A, Pepsi and the Radio City Rockettes to Forbes, GQ, Rolling Stone and Time.
James takes responsibility for all aspects of his work, from pre-planning to the photo shoot, through editing and production of the final image. Be sure to visit his website, www.jamesporto.com, where you can view some of his vast portfolio full of amazing work designed to challenge viewers' sense of reality.
FallenArchangel is pleased to have had the opportunity to interview James about his work on the cover of our beloved HUSH, HUSH.
FallenArchangel: How did you get involved in this project?
James Porto: Lucy Cummins, Senior Art Director at Simon and Schuster saw one of my photographs, a romantic image of a couple on the subway, and went to my site. She saw some of the winged figures there and decided to commission me for the cover.
FA: You have said (in an earlier interview with the YA book review blog Wondrous Reads) "the manuscript evoked dark haunting images around the character of Patch, a fallen angel, and I began to imagine a brooding black and white image of the moment when he is thrust from heaven, his wings shredding on the way down" Was there a single portion of the book that helped you really define the design of the cover?
JP: It was an image that started to emerge in the first chapter and grew as I got into the story. I had several other ideas that came from specific passages but this more general, evocative composition felt the most substantial.
FA: Did you decide to use black feathers for Patch's wings or was that part of the creative direction?
JP: I never really considered using white wings as they've been overused in Angel metaphors. Lucy was with me on this all along, she wanted an intense image.
FA: Were you involved in selecting the model?
JP: Yes, I reached out to several model agencies and Drew seemed perfect, Lucy and Emily Meehan, the editor, agreed.
FA: We have heard that a trampoline was used in the shoot. Are there any other fun facts or stories about the HUSH, HUSH shoot you'd be willing to share?
JP: It's all true, I do own a full size trampoline and it's perfect for figures in flight, or falling for that matter. The model is incredibly athletic, totally ripped in fact, and he had no problem doing all kinds of acrobatic moves on the trampoline. The outtakes that you won't see are those of Lucy and Emily jumping before he showed up. : )
FA: How long did it take to get the right shots?
JP: It was a full day studio shoot, around 6 hours with the model, then another day we shot feathers and wings.
FA: The finished product is beautiful. Can you take us through a little bit of the editing portion of the cover design once the photo shoot is over?
JP: Thank you. Well, a little background on my interest in this type of imagery; I've been working on a series of b/w nude female winged figures for 15 years (see image above). The image for the cover is only the second male figure I've done but the mood and intensity is similar to the ongoing series of winged women. The first thing I did was choose background skies and a light source and light direction. Once that was established, it was easy to light the model and make him appear as though he lived in the cover environment.
FA: Are you doing the cover for Crescendo? Any hints?
JP: Actually, yes, I'm working on it as we speak, but I better not tell you anything about it, at least not until they pay me. : )
A little about JAMES...
FA: How long have you been doing this sort of work?
JP: I've been doing multi image manipulated photography since I first learned how to print in 1971 (I was 11).
FA: How did you get into photography?
JP: A teacher in my school taught me how to develop film and I got hooked on working in the darkroom. I knew from as early as 14 that I would be a photographer, and in retrospect that certainty has resulted in an incredibly rewarding career, I've been doing this work for 25 years here in NYC and the best part is that I still love making images.
FA: Are you a reader? What sort of books do you read? Favorite book?
JP: Not as much as I'd like, super busy with work and family, but I like different genres of literature, science fiction when I was younger, mindless thrillers when I fly on planes, Hemingway, Henry Miller, and lately have been reading a lot of Bukowski, he's great.
FA: Have you done any other book covers? Are you doing any others you can talk about?
JP: I'm working on two other covers now but can't disclose yet.....
We would like to thank James, not only for bringing Patch to life for all the world to see, but for taking time out his busy schedule to speak to us. It'’s safe to say we speak on behalf of all the fans when we say how excited we are to see what he creates for the cover of the follow up to HUSH HUSH, CRESCENDO, due out next fall.
The Official FanSite of Becca Fitzpatrick's HUSH HUSH Saga