Art Streiber shoots A&E’s striking “Be Original” campaign

A&E recently rebranded itself, replacing its tagline “Real Life Drama” with a catchy new one: “Be Original.” Art Streiber was commissioned to shoot the images that anchor the print component of the campaign.

Art’s job was to create a single, signature image for A&E shows Bates Motel, Longmire, Duck Dynasty, and Those Who Kill—a photo that would communicate the unique tone and content of each of these disparate shows while still working together cohesively in the network’s rebrand effort. We think he more than met the challenge. Below, Art talks about how the project came together…

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Art Streiber_Be Original_Bates Motel

Photo by Art Streiber for A&E.

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Taking on the print campaign for the rebranding of a television network is an honor and a challenge, and the A&E “Be Original” project forced me and my crew to up our game.

Over the course of five weeks in September and October, we traveled to Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Monroe, Louisiana, and Canyon Country, California, to photograph the casts of Those Who Kill, Bates Motel, Duck Dynasty, and Longmire (and my existing photography was used for the rebranding look for Storage Wars).

The shot list for every show was long; we were tasked with two variations of the rebrand look, publicity portraits, multiple still lives for the video version of the rebrand, and in the case of Those Who Kill and Bates, the key art for their upcoming season premieres.

Each shoot was heavily layered, with two production companies, a design agency, our stills crew, the on-air motion crew, and the clients from A&E—all of us working with limited time with the talent but all on the same page: creating an original and memorable rebrand campaign for the network.

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Art Streiber_Be Original_Duck Dynasty

Photo by Art Streiber for A&E.

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I worked very, very closely with the motion production team from Troika and the print design team from And Company. For brand consultancy Troika, our team engineered still lives of iconic props and textures, all of which were captured with a lighting scheme that echoed the feeling of each individual show: toppy and flat for Those Who Kill, frontal and poppy for Duck Dynasty, dramatically shadowy for Bates Motel, and broadly directional for Longmire.

For the print campaign (and key art) we collaborated with the awesome folks at And Company.  In order to make the campaign consistent, we used the same lighting schema on every shoot, even as the backgrounds and environments changed from show to show.

And boy, did they change. For Bates, we were on their very intricate and crowded set east of Vancouver. For Those Who Kill, we worked in an abandoned warehouse in Pittsburgh. For Longmire, we shot on a mesa and in a western movie studio north of Los Angeles and for Duck Dynasty, we worked in an airplane hangar and a swamp in Monroe, Louisiana.

The key to the success of the portrait series was finding a posture for, and eliciting an appropriate performance from, the stars of A&E’s most important shows. Making iconic portraits of each of the actors created a collectively iconic campaign for the network.

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Art Streiber_Be Original_LONGMIRE

Photo by Art Streiber for A&E.

Art Streiber_Be Original_Those Who Kill

Photo by Art Streiber for A&E.

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