Photographer shares the story behind the iconic Columbia Pictures logo

May 31, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photographer shares the story behind the iconic Columbia Pictures logo

May 31, 2023

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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The Columbia Pictures logo is one of those images we’ve all seen hundreds of times. You may know that it was based on a photo – the photograph and the painting side-by-side image has been circling the Internet ever since I can remember. But few people know the story behind the reference image and the photo shoot when it was taken.

Photographer Kathy Anderson recently revealed what it was like to take the photo that became the iconic logo we’re all familiar with. Not only she shared the pretty DIY setup, but also some more personal and interesting situations that occurred during the shoot.

[Related reading: This is how a piece of photographic gear became the iconic Star Wars prop]

Recreating the Columbia Pictures logo

The Columbia Pictures logo has evolved throughout the years. The current iteration is probably the best-known one, and it’s been around for over three decades. In 1992, the production company commissioned New Orleans artist Michael Deas to update the logo. They wanted to bring back the “classic” look it’d had before, and it was Deas’s job to repaint it digitally.

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The artist hired Jennifer Joseph as the model and Kathy Anderson to take the photos. Both women worked for The Times-Picayune, Joseph as the graphics artist and Anderson as the photographer. Deas reportedly interviewed a few models before deciding on hiring Joseph. His friend at The Times-Picayune said that she was the right person for the shoot, and it turned out that he was right. I found it really fun to learn that the whole thing was organized during a lunch break. Not just making the plan – but actually the entire shoot!

The photoshoot

The trio got together during lunchtime in Anderson’s apartment, where they did the photoshoot. “After moving my dining room table out of the way and converting the living room of my apartment into a studio, I set up a mottled gray backdrop,” the photographer recalls. “I placed a couple of boxes on the floor to let the fabric drape. I put a Polaroid back on the Hasselblad camera to start with some test shots.”

Anderson also remembers that Deas brought a few props, including “sheets, fabric, a flag and a small lamp with a light bulb sticking out of the top, “along with a box of warm croissants straight from his favorite bakery. Those were not props, though. The artist had a clear vision of how he wanted the photo to look, including the choice of lighting.

So, after eating up those croissants, the small team got to work. “The lamp vaguely resembled a torch,” Anderson recalls, and she wrapped blue fabric atop a white sheet over Joseph’s body. “The materials were carefully arranged, and so, we began a fun-filled and creatively fused couple hours of shooting, studying Polaroid test prints and rearranging the bed sheet wrapped around Jenny.”

“They wrapped a sheet around me and I held a regular little desk lamp, a side lamp,” Joseph recalled in a 2012 interview with 4WWL. Anderson says that Joseph was indeed perfect for the job, and shares an incredible moment from the shoot:

“At some point she just started listing a bit and she very politely said, in her beautiful British accent, ‘Do you mind if I sit down?’ And she sat on the edge of the dais and announced that she had just discovered that she was pregnant.”

After the short break, Joseph stood up and went on posing, so they could finish the shoot. “And I guess the rest is history,” Deas said. In the 2012 interview, Joseph jokingly said that her daughter was able to claim that she was at the shoot too.

Deas worked on the painting for two months, day and night, relying on the reference image Anderson had taken. But imagine this: in the past 20 years, he’s only seen the finished product once! What’s even more incredible – Jenny Joseph had never seen it until a showing at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. That was the first time that the artist and model saw it together.

The Columbia Pictures logo today

“I never thought it would make it to the silver screen and I never thought it would still be up 20 years later,” Deas said in the 2012 interview with 4WWL. “And I certainly never thought it would be in a museum, so it’s kind of gratifying.” Columbia Pictures has used Michael Deas’s painting for its logo for 31 years now – and counting!

It’s incredible that everything was so seemingly random: from finding the right model to organizing a shoot. All of this resulted from a DIY photo shoot during a lunch break. It was Joseph’s first and last time modeling – and she ended up in a painting that became iconic. “You never know how paths cross and what’s going to come out of events,” she told 4WWL. “I always tell my kids if something comes along, just go for it, you know.”

[via Yahoo!]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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