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Band of Outsiders' Polaroid ad campaigns: Bound for a book?

October 12, 2012|By Adam Tschorn
  • Actors Josh Brolin and Amy Adams model the Band of Outsiders' and Boy by Band of Outsiders' fall/winter 2012 collections, respectively.
Actors Josh Brolin and Amy Adams model the Band of Outsiders' and Boy… (Scott Sternberg )

Scott Sternberg's celebrity-filled look books, shot by the Band of Outsiders creative director himself on vintage Polaroid film, will likely develop into a book due out late next year.

That's the only project surrounding the brand's 10th anniversary that Sternberg has in the works (or is at least willing to discuss publicly), and one he mentioned when we spoke for Sunday's Image section profile of the leader of the Band brands.

“The book will be about the Polaroid campaigns of the last seven years,” Sternberg said. “Because they don’t make [the original] Polaroid 600 film anymore, and I’ve got a dwindling supply in my fridge at home, which means the end of the campaigns as they stand in their current form. So the book is a perfect bookend, and the plan right now is to do it for holiday season next year.”

Although the format and layouts aren’t finalized, Sternberg is far enough along in the process to know it won’t be a traditional coffee table book. “But it will be accessible," he said. "It’s not going to be this pristine thing, because that’s kind of silly.”

How much longer will Sternberg’s stockpile last him?

“We definitely have enough for [both the] men’s and women’s spring [look books], and then we might do something special for [the] men’s holiday [collection] and then it will be done,” he said.

For the fall-winter 2012 western Band of Outsiders menswear collection, Sternberg lassoed Josh Brolin, whom he photographed at Sunset Ranch Hollywood at the end of August.  “Josh actually said no when his publicist asked him," Sternberg said. "But then she called back and said he’d checked us out and decided he wanted to do it." For the Boy by Band of Outsiders women’s collection, Sternberg photographed Amy Adams at the Autry National Center's Museum of the American West in Los Angeles in late September.

The two actors are just the latest impressive gets in a series of seasonal celebrity advertising campaign shots/look book images over the last several years that have included actors Michelle Williams (fall 2008, spring 2012), Sarah Silverman (spring '09), Marisa Tomei (fall '09), "Harry Potter" cast mates Rupert Grint and Tom Felton (fall 2011), Andrew Garfield (fall '10) and artist Ed Ruscha (spring '12).

Sternberg, who chose photography as a minor in college, explained his affinity for the vintage Polaroid 600 film: “The film is beautiful. It creates this auto nostalgia, and it’s right there,” he said.

“Quite honestly, when I first started, you could buy the film at Rite-Aid, and  it wasn’t anything esoteric,” he said. “And I wasn’t shooting famous people. I was shooting friends of mine that were cute, but I just knew I didn’t have the money or the patience to do shoots where I had to hire a crew and rent lighting equipment.”

“The first famous person we shot was Jason Schwartzman,” Sternberg said, ”modeling the men's holiday 2007 collection.

“I realized this was genius,” he said. “Because these are people who are so used to being so miserable being in these long shoots – for magazines or to promote movies – and these shoots are so fast. We literally do a setup, I lay the pictures right out on the ground in front of them, and if there are shots they don’t like, I’ll tear them up right away.”

Although Sternberg says he’s well aware of the challenges – as well as the rewards – of linking brand and celebrity, especially in the Internet age, he doesn’t have any worries.

“I think [the celebrity campaign] works for us because they’re always [depicted] in this same tiny little frame, so it all becomes this level playing field, the same world.”

“They’re all in my world, so it’s O.K.”


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