having worked with Neiman Marcus, one of his first clients, for the past 20 years.
Recently, there’s been an effort to broaden the limits and experiment during shoots,
Uchitel notes. “There is more freedom, there is more trying to push the envelope.”
Christensen points out, “The rules have been thrown out the window” in fashion,
noting the emergence of a calculated nonchalance. “There’s a whole mix of dressing
high and low, a top from Target with a Valentino jacket. Neiman Marcus needed to be
much more relevant and much more current in that respect. In terms of the world and
the customer, there’s much more casualness, but still a polished quality. And in terms
of how we refreshed [The Book], that had to come through in the photography.”
Simple things like changing the photographs of the company’s president and
fashion director, who are both contributing editors to The Book, from posed por-
traits to documentary-style have been important to the new look of the publication.
“The world is a little messier, much more real, much more of the moment, a little
grittier,” Christensen says.
Neiman Marcus produces between 50 and 60 shoots a year for The Book, creating roughly ten fashion and still-life stories for each issue that range from ten to
24 pages long. The September issue, the biggest of the year, has 20 stories. Often
photographers will shoot multiple stories for each issue of The Book.
Still-life photographers find great opportunities working for Christensen
and Neiman Marcus. Still life is often overshadowed by fashion photography,
Christensen notes, because the latter involves “beautiful models, large crews, the
drama, the personalities and, primarily, the expense.” She also points out that the
“strictly representational” still-life photographs used for e-commerce make artis-
tic still-life work “even more precious.” For The Book, Christensen says, still life is a
“powerful part of the total.”
In addition to producing The Book, Christensen’s team at Neiman Marcus also
produces two print campaigns per year, which are dubbed “The Art of Fashion.”
Mark Abrahams shot the most recent edition, which starred actor Susan Sarandon
and her daughter, Eva Amurri Martino. Drew Barrymore appeared in the previous
Art of Fashion campaign, which was photographed by Norman Jean Roy. Avedon,
Helmut Newton and Annie Leibovitz are among the other photographers who’ve
shot the twice-yearly print ads.
To find photographers each season, Christensen says, “we do a deep dive into the
photography community,” looking through magazines, photo Web sites and blogs,
and contacting agencies. She and the four art directors on her team evaluate pho-
tographers based on “their sensibility, their ability to balance the art and the com-
merce to continue pushing us to that forefront, and keep pushing us ahead.”
At the end of April, Christensen and her team worked on an Art of Fashion cam-
paign with a 28-year-old photographer who shoots primarily fine art. “I had not even
heard of him until an art director came walking in with his work,” Christensen says of
the photographer, whom she couldn’t name before the campaign was announced.
In addition to The Book and its print campaigns, Neiman Marcus also produces
direct-mail pieces, in-store displays and, of course, a Web site and corresponding
digital communications. Creative director Tim Flannery is responsible for Neiman
Marcus’s mailers and online efforts. Christensen stresses the importance of having
“a coordinated feel across all channels,” which means the company sometimes uses
images produced for The Book in other channels.
The company also offers a shopping app for iPhone users, and an iPad app,
dubbed the “NM Editions,” which allows consumers to check out digital versions of
The Book and other catalogues, as well as shop.