Posts – Trayvon Martin’s Legacy Lives On

Story via


©, Kawai-Matthews 2013

Over the past couple of months, you may have noticed a trend all over the Internet—images of people wearing a white t-shirt with a picture of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. After one of the biggest trials of this decade so far, the verdict only added fuel to the fire of debate and opinion. Kawai Matthews, who was in favor of convicting George Zimmerman, is the photographer for the One Million People United for Change Campaign, dedicated to raising awareness to all kinds of racial, ethnic and gender inequalities. Resource caught up with Matthews to learn more about how the tragic event shaped her, her experience in the campaign and how she gets the most out of her Broncolor equipment.

©, Kawai-Matthews 2013


Tell us a little bit about your history—what made you want to get into photography?

My first introduction into photography came in high school. My 11th grade year I decided to take a B&W photography class and join the yearbook. I learned about the art of photography—how to roll film, develop it and make prints. I fell in love with it. I could create and tell a visual story all on my own. I enjoyed the solitude and the focus it took to get from point A to Z.

©, Kawai-Matthews 2013

How did you get involved in

My friend Jason Lee reached out to me the day the Zimmerman verdict was delivered. A lot of people were outraged and Jason felt like he needed to do something positive to shine a light on something he felt was unjust. I was just walking out of the movie “Fruitvale Station” when he called me. That movie sort of parallels Trayvon’s story: it’s about an unarmed young man who was shot and killed. I still had tears in my eyes when Jason called me. He rambled off a couple of words about Trayvon Martin’s family and the Zimmerman verdict, then asked me if I’d be the official photographer for a campaign he was starting up. Before he could finish, I said yes. He was planning to design a themed t-shirt and wanted me to create a signature look and lighting style for a portrait series that would feature celebrities, music artists and other influencers in the entertainment industry. They would wear the t-shirt in support of the campaign’s cause. Both Jason and I have strong connections and relationships in Hollywood, so the angle was to invite out notable musicians, actors, models and executives to be part of the campaign. The response was amazing. The shirts were a hit. The social media impact was huge.

©, Kawai-Matthews 2013

How does it feel to have your work be shown in the context of one of the most controversial events in recent years?

Controversy isn’t what I would normally want to be associated with, but for me this movement isn’t about controversy. It is about oneness. It is about humanity. It is about using my energy, my creativity and my resources to communicate a positive message—to make a powerful impact. Whether you agree with the verdict or not, this campaign demonstrates how art and community can intertwine for a greater cause.

©, Kawai-Matthews 2013

I understand that you pretty much shoot using exclusively Broncolor products. What kind of Broncolor gear do you use?

I love all of Broncolor’s gear. For this campaign, I used the A2 Senso Strobe Packs 1,200 W/s with 3 litos lampheads. It was a simple 3-light setup with a white wall as our background. For my key light, I used a silver octobank, my second head had a standard zoom reflector, while my third head had an umbrella with a white interior. The A2 Senso Strobe Pack comes with a pretty cool, travel-friendly carrying case, so it made my trip to photograph the family in Florida a lot easier. I didn’t have to check my Broncolor gear, which calmed my nerves about anything being mishandled, stolen or broken. I carried it right onto the plane and it fit in the overhead bin with no hassle—I still slept with one eye open though!

©, Kawai-Matthews 2013

Why Broncolor?

The quality of light is top-notch and the product design is so incredibly cool. My A2 Senso Packs are very easy to use, compact and stress-free when it comes to transport and durability. Broncolor is quality-focused and they’ve got to be the most innovative lighting equipment company out there, continually improving their products and creating fabulous new ones that no one else can duplicate. They’re in a class of their own, making it hard to go with anyone else.

©, Kawai-Matthews 2013

How do you get the most out of your gear?

By taking care of it! No really, I get the most out of my gear by learning and understanding it—which means reading my manual first. Most importantly, I’ve got to experiment. Push the gear and push myself. I have to TRUST my gear first; then I can see what kind of creativity sprouts from my artistic inspirations. I like to try new, fresh lighting ideas. The more I shoot with, play around and test my gear, the better my relationship with it. I’ll still have technical issues, but it’s nothing a little troubleshooting and prayer can’t fix.

©, Kawai Matthews 2013

10 Things You Should Know About the broncolor Move 1200L Outdoor Para Kit



1. Everything is included:

The Move Outdoor Para Kit is one of the most comprehensive mobile power pack kits for the outdoor photographer. Included is:

– 1 Move 1200 L power pack
– 1 MobiLED lamp
– 1 Para 88 reflector
– 1 Para 88 adapter P
– 1 RFS 2 transmitter set
– 1 MobiLED continuous light adapter
– 1 weatherproof power pack protecting soft case
– 1 Outdoor trolley backpack


2. One pack for all your needs:

1200 ws of power, a range of up to 9 f-stops, absolute color stability and consistency across the entire power range due to the broncolor ECTC technology, speed mode, RFS2 flash triggering, and flash times down to 1/20,000s makes the Move 1200L a powerful system for any photographic application – indoors and outdoors, and wherever life takes you. With the Move pack you get the fastest flash duration from 4.7watts to 65watts, so you have much more latitude to adjust your settings to your situation.  The pack is also completely asymmetrical over two lamp connections, which means that you can have one head at the absolute lowest power setting and the other at the top of the power range.

3. Lithium Power:

The Move is equipped with broncolor’s proven Lithium system LiFEPo4 with integrated battery status, which ensures long periods of use, low weight, and up to 4,000 recharging cycles. The battery is designed so that after a day it cuts off its own connection to stop discharging, so you can leave the pack unattended for a year, come back to it and push the battery indication button (which gives you a visual read out of the total charge of the unit without having to turn the pack on), and the battery will read the same charge as it did a year ago when you left it.

Para 88 Inside_Litos

4. Para 88: A true parabolic:

The broncolor Para 88 joins the family of parabolic reflectors that include: the Para 170 FB, 220 FB and 330 FB. At 88 cm wide, the Para 88 is perfect for outdoor shootings and smaller studios where you don’t want to sacrifice light quality but need a smaller reflector to do the job.

5. Light and compact:

Weighing in at an incredible 13.7 lbs, the Move 1200 L is the ultimate indoor/outdoor power pack. The Para weighs in at 6.2 lbs, which makes it easier than ever to travel with all your essentials.

Para 88_left_DW

6. Para 88: Reflector with focusing system:

Despite its compact dimensions, the Para 88 can fulfill the need for a myriad of individual lighting scenarios. Similar to its Para family, the 88 can be used with a focusing system from front. However, what makes the new 88 distinctive is that it can also be used from behind with the broncolor bayonet; subsequently, the light may be mounted either facing outward toward the subject or reverse mounted to take full advantage of the parabolic shape of the reflector. This permits the mounting of a Pulso mount strobe head, Kobold DW 200, DW 400 head), or, with “adapter D” it can be fitted to broncolor continuous lights F200 and F400.

7. Para 88 – an independent reflector:

A unique feature of the Para 88 is that it can be used as an individual reflector. It can be used with both strobes and continuous lighting as a diffused light source or a directional light source. The inwardly directed light produced gives shadows, extra sharpness and the fraction of scatter can be increased to reduce contrast. Additionally, it can be used with an array of diffusers or light grids. The Para 88, therefore, becomes a creative, light shaping tool.


8. Outdoor Trolley Backpack:

This new backpack is an essential tool for the photographer on-the-run. It fits all necessary items from the kit and resembles a luggage with wheels and a collapsible handlebar. A soft protecting case is also included solely for protecting the power pack.


9. MobiLED – innovation:

This daylight balanced 30 W LED modeling lamp gives you even more flexibility. It’s compact, lightweight and energy efficient. Because of the bayonet locking device, the MobiLED is compatible with the entire range of broncolor light shapers and accessories.

10. Continuous Lighting:  And now, with the Move’s continuous lighting capability, and 5500K color temperature, the MobiLED and Move can be used for film sequences, and does so continuously for more than two hours!


Amber Gray shoots “Night Blindness” for Italian Vogue


Filmmaker and photographer Amber Gray is not shy to unique, thought-provoking concepts. Her pictures and films consist of women with rapturous beauty and bewitching qualities, and an entertaining humor that is equally as enthralling. From “Anemone,” the short film of a woman being both suppressed and empowered by a world of white walls and blood-stained china, to “Lil Bakeshop,” an underground bakeshop run by women in pastels that Gray has referred to as a “manic-panic fueled fantasy,” every intricate detail in her work becomes rapturous, an object of desire. Whether you admit it or not, you’re embarrassingly entranced.

“Night Blindness” – as the name implies, is a condition in which your eyes fail to adapt to darkness. Amber Gray’s video for Italian Vogue is named for exactly that.

The film opens with flashing lights, all-encompassing fog, and dupstep music, which adds a bit of dark, wobble-baseline grunge that is synonymous to underground London in the 2000s or driving super fast in a Red Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale (if that’s not a mouthful to say). The scene then moves to the jungle, which is a foil to the fast, speeding Gallardo, and the model’s stoic body is dragged through the greenery.

What Amber Gray says about the film:

“A lush jungle, almost oppressive in it’s beauty, serves as both a refuge and snare to the leading character. A woman at first glance cosmopolitan but on close examination feral confronts her illusions of materialism. Her deeply inhibited nature is represented by her visions of being swallowed and absorbed by the environment that surrounds her.  She erratically pilots a rarified machine,  brilliant red as it slices through the moonlight. Ultimately, it serves as a tomb, instead of what she really needs, an escape.  Plumes of psychedelic pollen free her from restraint, providing the catalyst to explore the depths of her chimera. We all have an inner monster. Through her exploration of self, the character is able to embrace the beauty and the beast.”

Technical notes:

Julian Bernstein, DP, describes the lighting setup for the shoot:

“I chose the Kobold HMIs because they’re small, light-weight and put out a ton of light. We shot everything in two days, so we had to move fast and the Kobolds were the perfect choice.

The jungle scenes were shot in our studio in NYC; every shot had a major set change and we had to be able to shut off, move, and re-strike the lights (actually just one Kobold 800) several times. The hot strike ability of the Kobold made this a breeze, no time was waste waiting to be able to re-strike the lights.

The Lamborghini scenes were shot the next day at BathHouse Studios. There, we were able to drive the car in and had proper room to maneuver it into position while still having plenty of room to work. Again, I went with the Kobolds this time – two Kobold 400’s with the Source 4 attachments. I didn’t want to do the traditional “large bank” lighting typical of car shoots. We wanted something grittier, so I decided to light the car with smoke; basically, shooting smoke over the car and hitting it with light and thus reflecting the smoke in the paint job. The optics of the Source 4’s made this super simple and quick –  no need for larger cutters that could have been bumped into and scratch the car. One less thing to worry about on a day with twelve shots and a surprisingly large car that’s always in the way.”


Amber Gray Photography


Broncolor: The Light Video Series: Optical Reflectors

Photographer and director Amber Gray, and cinematographer and lighting designer Julian Bernstein are featured in a new series of lighting videos on the Bron Video Group on Vimeo.  broncolor: The Light videos are designed to help photographers define their toolbox.  Each light shaper has a specific light characteristic; this series will explain the light quality produced by the key light shapers in the broncolor arsenal, as well as some of the advanced features and functionality of the broncolor packs.

“Opticals” is the first of a series featuring Amber Gray and Julian Bernstein. This video is an overview of the broncolor optical light modifiers including the Pulso-Spot 4 and the Flooter. The Pulso-Spot 4 is a 3200 W flash head that is compatible with broncolor packs and designed to create sharp and precise projection.  Optical spots are available for user creativity, and allows the Pulso to be used for background effects with optical attachments such as the Optical Snoot and fresnel lens. However, when a narrow light angle isn’t needed and larger objects are being photographed, the Flooter is perfect for giving you that contrast and dramatic lighting effect. The Flooter is the largest fresnel spot that broncolor has to offer, producing light with a spot characteristic that has unique qualities such as homogenous light distribution and adjustable light spread. It is compatible with Pulso and Lito flash heads as well as Kobold HMIs with the broncolor adapter.

More about the photographer:

Originally from Northern California but now based in NYC, Amber Gray is known for her eclectic taste in the photographic elements and her unique outlook on modern photography.

Gray’s photographic collection includes conceptual, beauty, fashion and ad photography as well as film and video. Among many, some of her clients include Maybelline, Sony and Marie Claire. Gray partners with Julian Bernstein, who specializes in lighting design and cinematography.

Gray’s recent work includes a series for Marie Claire China called “Waterworks” in which the photos contain an Amazon-style set with waterfalls, animals, wild flowers, and an alluring mysticism.

This is none-from-the-ordinary for Gray, however. The characters portrayed in Amber Gray’s work inhabit a world more colorful, dramatic, and whimsical than our own. Strong, beautiful women burst forth from narrow, mile-high staircases and mysterious gypsy girls conjure black stallions from fire. From “Night Swimming” to “Distorted Beauty,” Amber’s sense of humor and penchant for glam-rock peek through the controlled chaos revealing unique, memorable, and bewitching personalities.

Although she has focused primarily on photography, Amber has recently turned her attention to film with commercial video for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent campaigns. She is in the midst of directing her own short film.

Amber Gray Photography

Thank You For A Great Night! Motion and Still with Amber Gray

From the Fotocare Twitter Feed:

“I’m @FotoCare at a Photo/Video seminar presented by Amber Gray… wonderful!” – Robert Holley

“The Broncolor/Fotocare HMI event was good last night. Now I’d like to give hmi’s a try. Anyone want to let me borrow some (Fotocare)? ;)” – William Brinson

What a great night at Fotocare rentals. Thanks to Fred Blake from the Fotocare rental department for hosting. Thanks to Jim Reed from Bron Imaging group for MC’ing and giving us all an education on the science behind the lights.

Most of all we’d like to thank Amber Gray and Julian Bernstein, two very talented individuals with an unprecedented creative vision and the technical where with all to produce it.

A very successful night for the presenters and the attendees, the later walking away with a better understanding of the medium, and an expanded tool box to aid in the creation of their own visions.

Contact Fred Blake at Fotocare for rentals 212 741-2 991 or Jim Reed of Bron Imaging in NYC  917 40 27550 for additional product information.

Stayed tuned for the upcoming summer series of workshops from Bron Imaging Group and its partners across the country!

Fotocare Rental

Bron Imaging Group

Follow us on FACEBOOK.