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  • NYFA Los Angeles Holds Social Media Networking Night

    _DSC7452Chair of Industry Outreach and Professional Development Barbara Weintraub held a Social Media Networking Night at NYFA Los Angeles in late July. Over 220 students from the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus attended the event held in the Riverside Building.

    The lobby was filled with film companies like Film Independent and New Filmmakers LA. They were there to share opportunities for students, membership experiences, and career paths.

    A color-coded system helped students get in touch with other students. Small dots on name tags indicated whether the attending was an actor, filmmaker, photographer, or game designer.  

    “There are so many students that I hadn’t met,” said acting student An Phan. “I’m at the Barham building most of the time while the photography and filmmaking students are at Riverside. I never get to interact with them. I saw a lot of portfolios and I was blown away by how talented everyone was. It was great interaction. I had a lot of fun.”

    The New York Film Academy would like to wish all the students applying for professional memberships and those students teaming up to work on a project success on their next venture.

  • NYFA Photography BFA Student Omar Alturk Featured on Al Arabiya

    Thamer_0217_0040-2New York Film Academy BFA photography student Omar Alturk has been busy creating visual stories on two continents, but the 25-year old photographer recently found the time to appear on-camera for a spotlight on Al Aribiya, to share his perspective as a Middle Eastern photographer working in the U.S. media capital of Los Angeles.

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    Photo by Omar Alturk

    Still in the midst of his studies at NYFA Los Angeles, Alturk has already built a diverse portfolio as a photographer, working as a behind-the-scenes photographer on film sets as well as creating editorial and fashion stories in the U.S. and in his home country of Saudi Arabia. Recently, he created a campaign for Royal Legacy.

    He told Al Aribiya’s audience in the Middle East that he believes photographers in Saudi Arabia stand a great chance of making the crossover to the American market. “The thing that makes you different from the rest of the photographers here is to make a Middle Eastern touch on the photograph or the model or anything you have,” said Alturk. “That I think is what makes you different and creates a different opportunity for you as a photographer in the U.S.”

    We had a chance to catch up with Alturk to hear more about his approach to photography and what has been inspiring him lately.

    NYFA: Can you tell us a little bit about your journey and what made you decide to leave Saudi Arabia to attend the New York Film Academy?

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    Photo by Omar Alturk

    OA: After I graduated from high school, I honestly didn’t know what I should do. I’ve studied in three colleges but I didn’t finish a semester in any of them, so I decided to work. I worked in customer service at a rent-a-car company, then after a while I got a job at the NBC Bank. All that time I wasn’t really happy with what I was doing, even though I was in a good status at the Bank. I had this feeling that this is not what I’m born for.

    So I decided to move to the U.S., but before I went I decided that I wanted to study something I love and I care about. I had photography as my number one interest on my list. After some research I found NYFA, and I found that I can get BFA in photography in Los Angeles California, where everyone wants to be!

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    Photo by Omar Alturk

    NYFA: What inspired you to become a photographer?

    OA: Since I was a kid, I was obsessed with photography.

    I think what made me crazy about it was that my mom used to take a lot of picture of me and my sisters with film camera, and whenever I had the time I used to check the prints of the film and look at it. Every time I checked the pictures, I liked the fact that I could remember everything in that moment: my age, the way I looked, what my interests were. That’s what made me become a photographer: to keep these moments of life in my hard drive and my memory.

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    Photo by Omar Alturk

    NYFA: How has your experience in the photography school been?

    OA: When I started studying at NYFA my experience in photography wasn’t perfect. I knew how to use a camera, but I had never touched any lighting equipment before. So when I started, I was so happy that the school provides any equipment I could ask for.

    That helped me a lot in the learning process, and I became knowledgeable in lighting and how to use it in proper way — what lights I should use if I want some type of style in mind.

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    Photo by Omar Alturk

    NYFA: Can you tell me about some of the campaigns and projects you’ve worked on?

    OA: There are many projects I have done through 2016 until today. I’ve worked on over 10 short films as behind-the-scenes photographer, and on one feature film as behind-the-scenes photographer, too.

    There are also many small gigs I’ve worked on that gave me a good experience in photography in Los Angeles. Lately I photographed the owners of a clothing store in Beverly Hills and their collection, which was a big thing for me.

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    Photo by Omar Alturk

    NYFA: Are there any projects that particularly stand out for you, that you’re the most proud of?

    OA: For me, I am proud of all of them. But I would say the project which I enjoyed the most was the feature film I’ve worked on. The shoot was 21 days, for 12 hours a day. It was a lot of fun and a challenge at the same time, since I had school on some days of the shooting, but luckily it all worked for the good!

    NYFA: Do you plan on returning to Saudi Arabia to continue your photography career, or rather stay in the U.S.?

    OA: This is still a big decision to me since I’m still studying, but I would say that I can work on both and that what I’m aiming for. I don’t want people to know me only as a Saudi photographer, and that’s it! I’d rather be an international photographer who’s traveling all over the world for photography, and I want to be known worldwide — not only in my city or my country, or even only the U.S.

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    Photo by Omar Alturk

    NYFA: Can you tell me about your upcoming project taking place in Saudi Arabia?

    OA: The project I’m trying to do is to use my skills I gained at NYFA in photography to show different sides of the holy cities in Saudi. I’m starting at Madina, which is my hometown, then to Mecca, where the Grand Mosque is.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Omar Alturk for taking the time to share some of his story with the NYFA community.

     

    July 7, 2017 • Academic Programs, Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1310

  • NYFA Summer Camp Students Enjoy Special Screening of “Top Gun”

    _A4A1610On Saturday, July 1, teens and tweens participating in the New York Film Academy Summer Camp in Los Angeles took a break from the hard work of filmmaking to see a summer blockbuster classic. “Top Gun” was screening in the field at the Autry Museum.  

    Usually, the students are hard at work developing their film projects. Most days, they are learning the difference between camera lens sizes, rehearsing a new acting technique, experimenting with the latest 3D technology, revising a script or shooting on a professional backlot. On this night, however, their hard work was rewarded with a special screening.

     

    _A4A1611This screening was unique because it was surrounded by some of the top food trucks in Los Angeles. For many of the students, this was the first time they had seen a movie under the stars. The combination of live music and multicultural food trucks made the night an event.

    The head of Summer Camps, Ale Salinas said, “This is a unique and fun experience.
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    The New York Film Academy is proud of the great strides out Summer Camp students are making and hope their night off was a fun one.  

     

  • June Graduation for NYFA Teens and Kids Summer Camps

    On Friday, June 27, the first New York Film Academy teen and kids summer camp programs came to an end. As students waited for their graduation ceremony to start, they took selfies while their parents banded together.

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    As the lights dimmed, the acting students presented their one to two minute monologues. Their head shots were projected before the video began. Filmed against a white background “audition style,” each actor chose a unique piece to perform.

    Then, the student’s short films were screened. Their backdrop was the Universal backlot, the same place “Hairspray” was filmed. Students were given a challenge to make a movie without dialogue. They wrote, directed, filmed, and edited their own productions from start to finish.

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    Their instructors and councilors were in attendance and issued certificates of completion. In their farewells they offered words of encouragement. Camera Instructor Bart Mastronardi offered the wise words of Helen Keller: “Life is either an incredible journey or it’s nothing at all.”

    “In five days you’ve done an amazing job. This is one of the best one-week programs. You’re all so ambitious. Parents and grandparents keep pushing these kids. They really appreciate it. Even if they don’t always show it,” said NYFA Instructor Martin Thompson.

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    After they collected their certificates each student was given a copy of their work to use for reels or to share with friends and family. The graduates and their families finished the night with cupcakes and dancing by the pool.

    Head of programs Ale Salinas described the programs objectively in her farewell, stating, “Some of you may have learned that this isn’t what you want to do at all, that’s valid, too. But I’m being honest when I say we’re going to miss you.”  6B2A0062

    The New York Film Academy would like to congratulate all of the students in finishing their first film. We look forward to the seeing second film real soon.

  • NYFA Welcomes Hire Heroes USA

    On June 24, The New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) Veteran Services Department was fortunate to collaborate with Hire Heroes USA (HHUSA) to host a daylong exclusive employment workshop for NYFA’s veteran students. The NYFA military students also benefited from one-on-one time with the Transition Specialists from HHUSA.

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    Hire Heroes visits the New York Film Academy

     

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    Hire Heroes USA is a nonprofit that provides free, expert career coaching and job sourcing to hundreds of transitioning U.S. military members.

     

    Hire Heroes USA is a nonprofit that provides free, expert career coaching and job sourcing to hundreds of transitioning U.S. military members, assisting veterans and spouses with finding employment.

    The first half of the eight-hour workshop was a practicum related to resume theory, networking techniques, and how to affectively prepare for an interview. Representatives from Hire Heroes USA, Jamie Rimphanli and Walter Serrano, coached veteran students on how to properly format their resumes and discussed, in-depth, the importance of networking and how to prepare for a job interview.

    For the second half of the workshop, industry professionals from Disney Studios, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Legendary Entertainment, and Plan A Locations joined the workshop for a moderated Q&A panel discussion. Panelists discussed how they began their careers in the entertainment industry and how they’ve navigated their careers for success.

    Highlights from the day included an exercise that had all of the participants do a speed networking session. Also, HHUSA brought a photographer who took professional head shots for the veteran students’ LinkedIn pages.

    “We felt that this training and these types of vet student-centric activities are increasingly important because they help prepare our students to meet with HR/Talent Acquisition teams from the major studios,” explained NYFA Director of Veterans Services Department John Powers.  

    Retired Army veteran and MFA cinematography student Bryan Hudson stated, “The Hire Heroes USA workshop was a fantastic forum to introduce veterans with industry insiders and provide the opportunity to learn from them. The event was beneficial to everyone involved about learning the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of the interview process and how to break into the entertainment industry. One thing that I learned from the workshop is to establish relationships that will be beneficial to both parties. Thank you to the NYFA Veterans Department for putting on this marvelous event, and I hope that this will be the first of many events with Hire Heroes USA.”

    The NYFA Veteran Services Department is extremely grateful to Hire Heroes USA for partnering with us to bring this wonderful opportunity to NYFA veteran students.

  • MFA Photography Graduate’s “Coming out Stories” Featured on BuzzFeed

    While those who identify as LGBTQ+ can often share a common bond remembering the moment they officially “came out,” the way in which he or she comes out is hardly ever a similar experience. After discovering this through a conversation with a friend, New York Film Academy MFA Photography alumnus Alejandro Ibarra decided that he would dedicate his class project to individuals’ “Coming Out Stories.” His series, in which Ibarra photographs his subjects and asks them to write about their “coming out” experience, has recently caught the attention of BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post.

    We recently had a moment to chat with the graduate about his inspirational “Coming Out Stories,” his time at NYFA, and what’s to come in his photography career.

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    Alejandro Ibarra

    Can you tell us where you’re from and what made you decide to attend NYFA’s MFA Photography Program?

    I’m from San Diego, CA — although I’ve lived kind of all around the States — and was raised primarily in Mexico. I had been a commercial photographer for about five years, and my knowledge of the medium was strictly technical, so I decided to pursue an MFA because I wanted to broaden my understanding of photography, and to go beyond the technical so that it would enhance my work.

    When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?

    I honestly don’t remember ever making that decision or anything; in a way, it sort of just happened. I began taking pictures, portraits specifically, after my brother passed away. This was before smartphones were the norm and everyone had countless pictures and selfies, and we realized we didn’t have a single decent picture of his to use for the funeral. We ended up cropping him out of a family photo that was taken with a tiny point-and-shoot and then blowing it up. It didn’t look great, and it didn’t do him justice, so I decided to begin shooting everyone in my life after that; not in case anyone died or anything, more-so because I think I realized back then the importance and the power of capturing at least part of someone’s essence in an image.

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    What inspired you to create “Coming Out Stories” as one of your NYFA projects?

    The inspiration for the series came after a friend of mine told me about how he came out to his family. My own experience was very different from his, but I somehow really related to it. I realized that there’s an entire community who has experienced this key moment in various ways, and that it would be potentially appealing to other people who didn’t identify as LGBTQ+, because the themes are universal. At the same time, for a final in one of my classes in my first semester, we had to come up with a book project that we were actually going to have printed. The series then made sense to do as a book because of the narrative element of the handwritten text over the images.

    Can you tell us a little bit about the process of finding your subjects? Was there any pushback or did you find that most people were proud to participate?

    At first, I photographed a couple of friends as a way of testing the concept. Once I finalized the aesthetic, I put them out on social media and invited people who wanted to participate. It was all word-of-mouth and social media up until BuzzFeed and other media outlets began publishing articles on the series. Now it’s mainly people messaging me through instagram. There have definitely been several people whom I approached who didn’t feel comfortable doing it, especially now that there’s a larger audience for it on social media.

    A few people I had shot over a year ago actually didn’t give permission to appear in any articles because the amount of attention it would receive. The people who did give permission, however, have been as happy and grateful as I am, and it’s been so wonderful seeing their friends and family now saying how proud they are of them.

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    Would you say your NYFA experience was useful in terms on working on this project?

    Oh, definitely. Having critiques when the series was in its early stages was super helpful in terms of figuring out how to get the right look, and how to make the text pop without it being hard to read, and all sorts of details and ideas that might’ve never occurred to me. Furthermore, I was able to pitch the project to BuzzFeed while attending the Palm Springs Photo Festival last month with the school, so the exposure she series has had never would have happened had I not been invited by the school.

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    Is all of your work this personal?

    All of my work is personal, whether in film or still photography, so all of my projects deal with themes of equality and identity, specifically from the Latin-American and LGBTQ+ perspective. “Piece by Piece,” which was my thesis project, was about challenging the terms “non-traditional” and “traditional” families, and addressing the irrelevancy of sexual orientation as it pertains to what constitutes a family. It originated after a series of pro-traditional families (a.k.a. anti-gay rights) nation- wide marches that took place in Mexico last year. It’s currently showing at Bergamot Station in a group exhibition.

    Do you have any other projects coming up that you’d like to share with us?

    Other than focusing on my celebrity editorial work, my goal right now is to turn “Coming Out Stories” into a book. Furthermore, I want to keep telling stories of real people in real life situations, similar to this project.

    June 9, 2017 • Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 2171

  • NYFA Invites Students and Alumni to Submit Work for Brooklyn’s Photoville

    The New York Film Academy invites you to submit your photographic artwork for consideration in our 2017 Photoville Exhibition. Now in its sixth year, Brooklyn’s waterfront photography exhibition provides photographers of all stripes to come together and interact with a diverse audience — a veritable cross-section of the world’s photographic community. This year’s Photoville will once again take place at the Brooklyn Bridge Park from September 13-24, 2017.

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    All NYFA students and alumni, from campuses worldwide, are invited to apply. There is no fee to submit work. Current faculty members are not eligible. If accepted, the New York Film Academy will handle the final printing and presentation of the accepted artwork, at no cost to the artist.

    Please visit the NYFA FAQ sheet for more info.

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    Submission Requirements:

    Please submit up to 5 jpegs, no larger than 2,500px on the long edge at 72 dpi of your best photographic images. Please also include a brief statement, in 500 words or less, explaining what the artwork is about. Final high resolution tiff image size should not be smaller than 16” x 20” at 240 dpi.

    Submissions are open now. CLICK HERE for Submission information and forms.

    The DEADLINE for submitting images is Midnight EST Monday, July 10th, 2017.

    Notification of acceptance: Monday, July 17th, 2017.

    June 8, 2017 • Community Highlights, Contests, Photography • Views: 1832

  • NYFA BFA & MFA Photography Student Showcase at Bergamot Station

    The Los Angeles campus held an exciting showcase of the New York Film Academy’s top BFA and MFA graduating photography student’s work entitled Tracing Nuance. Held at the historic Bergamot Station in Santa Monica from May 27th to June 7th the exhibition highlighted the range of talent emerging from NYFA’s student body.

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    MFA graduate Alejandro Ibarra’s, “Piece by Piece,” challenges the terms “traditional” and “non-traditional” families and addresses the irrelevancy of sexual orientation as it pertains to what constitutes a family. His work explores the themes of equality, sexuality, family and identity.

    This is Ibarra’s first gallery showcase. He said of the experience, “Exhibiting in a gallery is a new experience for me, and it’s mind-blowing to see how different the work feels as a proper object hanging on a wall; it becomes more real somehow and elevates the piece. Seeing people react to your work as they make their way through the gallery is slightly nerve-racking because you keep wondering what they’re thinking and if the message of the work is being conveyed.”

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    Though his nerves may have been on edge the experience has been eye-opening, “It’s also incredibly inspiring to be in a group exhibition because you can find relationships between your work and another artist’s work, while also noticing the uniqueness in the artist’s voices.”

    MengMeng Lu, BFA Photography, is also showcasing for the first time. Her series of photographs explores visual dichotomy. She said of her work, “My project explores the connection between external appearance and internal sense of self… searching for a common ground among a diverse group of people. Each photograph proves that it is impossible to replicate perfectly. We are each our unique selves.”

    MFA Silvia Catalina Quintero Torres was also moved by seeing her art hang at the Bergamot. “Having this piece shown in a gallery means more than I can put into words,” she said. “It shows me, and others, that work that makes a statement against the status quo is not only relevant but also interesting. It shows that the boundaries of the art world are still yet to be determined and that we all have a space in that world.”

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    Torres selection entitled, “Tras los Muros,” is a collaborative piece that explores the concepts of shared authorship, social commentary and a critique towards the prison institution; by allowing people who have been in prison to photograph their realities after being released.

    There are many more outstanding artists being featured. The exhibit closes today (June 7) so don’t delay in getting to Santa Monica to see all of our talented graduates.

    Featured Artists:

    MFA

    Alejandro Ibarra

    Silvia Catalina Quintero Torres

    Seham Sultan

    Sara Alsahaly

    Ebtehal Akram Farhat

    Chun Hsun Huang

    BFA

    Wai Yan Lau

    Edward Vincent Rubia

    Kivansh Choksi

    MengMeng Lu

    June 7, 2017 • Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1487

  • NYFA Photography Alumna’s Work Featured in Miss Vogue Turkey

    Born in Izmir and growing up in Istanbul, Turkey, Didem Civginoglu says she has always wanted to take the photos that she had imagined in her mind for so many years.

    “I had been working in corporate life for the last nine and half years and I was feeling as if I was missing something in life,” said Civginoglu. “I wanted to be out there to catch all of those instant unexpected moments, knowing life changes in an instant. I wanted to be present in the moment.”

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    Miss Vogue Turkey

    In order to accomplish her photographic aspirations, Civginoglu decided to move to New York where she attended the Photography School at the New York Film Academy.

    “I was lucky to be a part of an amazing class of talented people who were so willing to learn and share and be as curious as I am,” said Civginoglu about her experience at NYFA. “They were all from different disiplines and cultures, so it made it even more authentic. In addition to our creative and supportive spirit in our class, our instructors and teachers were very open and tolerant. They shared their attention with us generously and patiently.”

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    Didem Civginoglu

    Since graduating, Civginoglu has worked on numerous projects including Miss Vogue Turkey and Xoxo Guillaume Canet. “My agency 85|90 Projects showed my portfolio to the Vogue team and they offered to do the photo shoot with Sima, Miss Turkey,” said Civginoglu. “For the XoXo Guillaume Canet photo shoot, they needed a photographer together with an interviewer, so my journalist friend who was assigned to do the interview recommended me as a photographer and it happened.”

    While she continues to work on projects in Turkey, Civginoglu is currently based out of New York. She recently worked on a cookbook project called Teldolap, which incorporates backstage photos into a story, as well as a documentary called “Kim Mihri.” She is also working on an upcoming publishing project with a fashion designer.

    For more of Civginoglu’s work, visit her website at didemcivginoglu.com.

    June 5, 2017 • Photography, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1089

  • An Evening with Chris Buck and His “Uneasy” Photos at the New York Film Academy

    The Photography Department at the New York Film Academy hosted an evening with Chris Buck, one of the most captivating voices in celebrity portraiture. NYFA Photography Chair David Mager introduced the prolific photographer to a room full of photography students and avid fans of Buck’s work. Buck has been creating a unique space within the world of celebrity portraiture for three decades. His charming, odd, and captivating photos from 1986 to 2016 have now been compiled in a cohesive collection entitled “Uneasy,” which he will be signing before and after the event. The new book features his portraits of some of today’s most famous celebrities including Jay Z, Mary Tyler Moore, President Barack Obama, Louis C.K., Mac DeMarco, Lena Dunham, Snoop Dogg, George Clooney, William Shatner, Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer, and many others.

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    photo by Alejandra Arias

    Buck began the evening with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his photo shoots. He joked that while the production process may look easy and glamorous in a short film, most of the time he is freaking out and obsessing on whether he will be able to get the right shots.

    He soon recalled his early childhood where he didn’t have many friends and began to cling to pop culture through movies and music. It was his increasing interest in pop culture and the fact that his father worked at Kodak that led to his passion for photography. As a young photographer Buck would follow local bands in Toronto and take photos. Initially, Buck was so “uneasy” around his subjects that he would only take photographs of their feet rather than a proper portrait.

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    photo by Alejandra Arias

    While known for his work with high profile individuals and celebrities, Buck says he’s also interested in exploring regular people and working in advertising. “My real mission is to project my wounded ‘damage’ personality onto the photography,” said Buck.

    As Buck’s confidence and experience grew, he soon learned that being a great portrait photographer requires a focus on making an image for the audience and yourself — not the subject. As a professional with 30 years of work under his belt, Buck says its his ability not to act like “buddies” with his subject that creates an atmosphere in which the subject sees him as a serious professional. This is typically when his best work comes through.

    After elaborating on his work and wisdom through a series of videos and slides, Buck signed copies of his new book, “Uneasy,” which constructs a road map of contemporary culture, featuring a wide range of subjects, including many of the most recognizable names today: President Barack Obama, George Clooney, Joaquin Phoenix, Lena Dunham, Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Louis C.K., Judd Apatow, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William Shatner, Aziz Ansari, Kristen Stewart, Jay Z, Cindy Sherman, Jimmy Fallon and Donald Trump.

    May 19, 2017 • Guest Speakers, Photography • Views: 1338