As a photographer and director, Piper Ferguson’s work is defined by an electric relationship between high style and pure spontaneity. Whether she’s shooting a musician or politician, she views the world through a rock and roll lens, producing images that are compelling, bold, timeless and of-the-moment. It’s hard to imagine another photographer who could capture dynamic shots like Coldplay’s Chris Martin jumping three feet in midair at the Chateau Marmont or feminist lawyer Gloria Allred standing proudly on top of her conference table, while also giving gravitas and dignity to portraits of music icons like David Crosby and Kenny Rogers. It takes a special gift to be able to read a mood and tap into a subject’s true essence, and this is what Piper consistently brings to the table.
A Northern California native living and working in Los Angeles for two decades, Piper’s photographic journey began with the Brit pop club Café Bleu in Hollywood, which she cofounded with a friend. Here, she was booking acts like the Dandy Warhols and Maroon 5 -- and documenting every artist who stepped onto the stage. “I often shot double fisted,” she recalls, “a still camera in one hand and a video camera in the other.”
These off-the-cuff sessions led to assignments from Rolling Stone, Spin, Mojo and Filter. Piper was also the photographer for the Levi’s Fader Fort from 2002-2006, shooting performers at festivals around the country including SXSW, CMJ and Coachella. During her decade-plus collaboration with Filter magazine, her subjects have included everyone from her longtime favorites Bobby Gillespie and Primal Scream to The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas, who painted with light for one of her most beautiful magazine covers. Earlier this year, she photographed Beck in the Hollywood Hills for Mojo, resulting in a portrait that was used for a limited edition lithograph. Piper’s portfolio also features over 20 Apple/iTunes Sessions album covers of some of the biggest names in contemporary pop, including Imagine Dragons and Ellie Goulding and the L.A.-based sisters of Haim.
As a director, Piper is given the chance to truly let her imagination run wild. Her first video, for the local ska stars Hepcat, was shot by award winning cinematographer Matthew Libatique, and she has gone on to explore themes of transgender identity for the band Placebo; Warhol-style glamour and decadence for songstress Miranda Lee Richards; and the power of family with country legend Merle Haggard, in an intimate shoot at his home near Mt. Shasta. Her video for the U.K.’s Amusement Parks on Fire was the first ever shot with a 360-degree camera.
Whatever project she’s on, clients count on Piper to bring humor, calm and a sense of camaraderie to her set. “I’m a team player,” she says, noting that even difficult moments are worth it in the end. “Every day I get to work in the service of a creative vision is a perfect day.”
Collide Agency/Travel With Purpose
Universal UMG - Republic - Island - Interscope - Motown
BRC Imagination ARts
Red Light Mgmt
Jazz At Lincoln Center
Concord Music Group
The Democratic Party
O'Neill Surf Co.