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How'd You Do That, Timothy Devine?

Posted on | October 12, 2010|No Comments<Back
Posted by Rachel Hulin


You ever see a picture in a magazine and think, “wow, now that’s a tricky assignment”. Me too. I had that x 100 when I saw Timothy Devine’s image for New York Magazine’s “Come Here Often?” column last week.

The wrangling for this thing alone would leave me in tears.

But Mr. Devine didn’t cry. I asked him how he stayed sane and got the shot. Here’s what he said:

“The people in the photo were all actual clubgoers at Lavo — the idea was to get real patrons interacting in a real scene. I showed up before the club opened on a busy Thursday night and spent the time setting up lights so that when the doors opened, I’d be ready to go. I hard lit the booths from the front with five or six grid spots and then used a couple of custom-built pencil lights to light the back alcove. We sectioned off a corner of the place where I set up my camera and equipment and tweaked the lighting using the waitstaff as stand-ins. With the help of the writer and a few interns from the magazine, we wrangled patrons of the club. I staged them and gave them direction within the scene.

The shoot was challenge after challenge. As soon as the doors opened, the club got packed. The management were really tolerant, but they wanted the shoot to happen quickly because they were having celebrities come in later in the evening who wouldn’t want cameras around. The music was deafening and made communicating really hard. My assistant was standing right next to me and couldn’t hear a word I was saying. So I kept having to run back and forth between my camera and the people in the shot to speak with them. It was pretty insane. Thank goodness for alcohol, it definitely helped to lubricate all the subjects.”


Thank goodness for alcohol, indeed. I hope you got a nightcap, Tim. Here’s the image with the copy the mag ran.


The Place: The latest Cristal-pouring, Vegas-channeling subterranean ultralounge from the guys behind Marquee and Avenue.
The Time: Thursday, 11:42 p.m.
The Mission: Chat up every reveler in sight.

32, hairstylist
“I know one of the managers, so he invited me to host a table. Basically, they pay you to bring 30 or 40 people, and you’re just there to make the party look cute. I don’t usually go places like this—it’s a little mainstream, but it’s beautiful.”

45, banker
“Fifty-Eighth Street used to be a pretty hoppin’ place, then a grimier crowd came in, so this is good. Barnaby works across the street and said, ‘Let’s have one drink after work.’ But it’s never just one drink.”

29, banker
“This is a very impromptu night, and pretty innocuous to begin with. I have a girlfriend, but she’s not here. No flirting—I’m just enjoying the company. I’ve had a couple martinis.”

25, PR specialist
“There were a lot of people outside, but my friends are friends with some of the managers, who let us in. I’ve been going to Marquee and Avenue for a while, and I usually cut the line because they remember me.”

22, fashion-sales rep
“I live on the Upper East Side, and instead of spending $20 on a cab home from downtown, you spend $6 from here. It’s pretty early, so I’ll assume the crowd will get better as the night goes on. Right now, it’s a little old for me.”

24, marketing manager
I’m out with like ten of my girlfriends. We had dinner at a friend’s place at the Plaza and were dancing there, and then we kept on dancing here. It’s good exercise, especially in heels—a way to save money on the gym.”

“ageless,” entrepreneur
“I’m at the age where I don’t want to be surrounded by 20-year-olds, and this is an age-appropriate, older-money crowd. I’m currently single, and it’s like a candy store of good-looking, successful men.”

38, real-estate project manager
“This crowd is very eclectic, which I like. If I feel like going after a young guy, there’s a young guy; if I feel like going after an older guy, there’s an older guy. It’s always a goal to find one of each.”

30, talent manager
“Before this, we went to dinner at Tao, and we walked outside and saw all these fashionable people across the street. And we were like, ‘Those are the elite crowd, and we’re the elite crowd, so let’s go join them.’ ”

See the full piece at NYMag. See more of Timothy Devine’s work.

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