THE COLLABORATION ISSUE
When photographers partner with other creatives—journalists, directors or stylists—
their partnerships can produce projects they could not achieve alone.
Before they ever met, Megan Caponetto had aspired to work
with Mitchell Feinberg.
When Caponetto, a prop
stylist and fabricator, had
gained enough experience
and was ready to sign
with an agency, she chose
Feinberg was on its roster
of photographers. When
it came time to work with
him, she ensured there was nothing distracting her from the project.
“I wouldn’t take a job with Mitch unless I knew that I had, like,
a week to prepare,” Caponetto says, “so I knew that I would be 100
Feinberg has been shooting luxury still lifes for more than 15
years, doing commercial work for fashion houses, cosmetics and
jewelry brands, as well as brands like Nike and Coca-Cola and
editorial assignments for Numéro, T: The New York Times Style
Magazine, Vogue and Marie Claire.
Caponetto got her start in 1999, assisting the prop stylist Rick Floyd,
working on sets with Annie Leibovitz and Fabien Baron. She’s styled still
life shoots with subjects as small as dust (a “dust bunny,” shot by Jamie
Chung for Real Simple) and as large as a field of corn, like the cover shot
by Vincent Laforet that she styled for The New York Times Magazine.
The pair have only been working together for a few years, but the
partnership has already produced some of their most iconic work.
Feinberg’s compositions stand out for their nuanced touches of
humanity in an otherwise perfect scene.
“I think he and I both love very natural things, like the crooks of
a rock,” Caponetto explains. “Things are never really 100-percent
planned, so there’s this wonderful ‘What might happen on set?’
“We’ll find things that are perfect and beautiful, but they’re not
zero one perfect. There’s still a little mess in there,” Feinberg says.
“That’s what often makes photographs intriguing.”
MITCHELL FEINBERG AND MEGAN CAPONETTO:
On a recent commercial job for MAC Cosmetics, Caponetto
painted the backdrop and also fabricated plants. If it’s a particularly
time-consuming task, they will do it together, and often Caponetto