A baby elephant guzzles a bottle of milk while under the care of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya. The elephants are part of the Orphans Project which tries to rehabilitate and release orphaned elephants into Tsavo National Park. Photographed by Ryan Heffernan. To see more of Heffernan’s work click here.
Ryan Heffernan shoots many kinds of photography: portraits, sports, travel, lifestyle and all manners of unique advertising content. So UBS knew it was getting a pro when it tapped Ryan to create conceptual imagery for its annual limited-edition fine-art piece, “Thirteen.”
Ryan’s portfolios may sound routine (plenty of photographers list “travel” and “sports” among their top genres), but they’re anything but. Everything he shoots, from basketball players’ shadows on a playground wall to New Mexico tourism ads, has a top-shelf finish, a sense of art’s finer side.
So when UBS called in October and asked the Santa Fe and San Francisco-based photographer to illustrate 13 events ranging from the Salzburg Festival (a prominent music and drama celebration) to Art Basel (a four-decade-old international art show based in Miami Beach, Hong Kong and Basel, Switzerland), Ryan knew precisely how to attack the project.
“The book showcased a number of unique UBS-sponsored events throughout 2013,” he says. “Working alongside talented creatives and designers from UBS and Scholtysik Niederberger Kraft in Zurich, we set about illustrating 13 of the most conceptual events.”
Ryan quickly decided the job had two main requirements: Each image would have to be motivational, in its own way, and each would play off the color white. “Given the importance of the color white in the UBS brand, our creative thread was to target naturally white environments,” he says, noting he paid just as much attention to identifying and photographing “inspirational environments … that were at once both vast and intimate.”
“Incorporating the human element into these unique locations expanded the opportunity for metaphor and messaging,” Ryan adds, while reinforcing UBS’s strategic theme of “staying in touch.”
The end result was a collection of artworks firmly in Ryan’s wheelhouse: crisp, rousing and dramatic, from white go-carts racing across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats to breathtaking New York City skylines to the stunning mountaintops of Zermatt, Switzerland.
Click here to check out more of his UBS work and other selections from Ryan’s next-level portfolios.