10 Oct 2012 --- Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peel of
ca. 2006 --- Flea --- Image by © Dale May/Corbis Outline
ca. 2009 --- Slayer --- Image by © Dale May/Corbis Outline
14 Mar 2012 --- Seth Meyers --- Image by © Dale May/Corbis Outline
ca. 2010 --- Jared Leto of 30 Seconds To Mars --- Image by © Dale May/Corbis Outline
ca. 2004 --- Motorhead singer and bassist Lemmy (left) and singer Wino (right) work with Foo Fighters drummer Dave Grohl (center) on his heavy metal project, Probot. --- Image by © Dale May/Corbis Outline
Dale May is a man possessed by hyperreality. His ongoing fanboy-meets-fashionista pop art photo series, “Lego Wars,” stamped quite an imprint on the creative hive mind. Last year’s Daniel Day-Lewis cover portrait for Vanity Fair was undeniably luminous. Yet another facet of May’s richly stylized and character-driven fixations is his alter ego, Dale Mayhem, the lead singer of Satanicide. May(hem’s) vocal acrobatics give Dio and David St. Hubbins a run for their money, while inspiring the masses to reach for their codpieces. He took a moment to take us inside his mind.
How long have you been shooting the Lego Wars series? What was your inspiration?
The first piece was created in 2011. Since then, I’ve had two shows at Samuel Owen Gallery, who continue to represent the series. My Lego Wars series was somewhat serendipitous. I had been searching for a personal project that I could work on, in between Ad jobs, that didn’t rely on a large crew or big production. One day I was running a test on a macro lens and needed a small object, so I picked up my Stormtrooper LEGO key chain and approached it how I would one of my celebrity portraits. The figure came to life and I started thinking what it would be like if these tiny figures were alive. That’s when I created my X-ray series. The ideas kept coming.
Have any of these iconic brands reacted or contacted you?
We’ve had people who work for some of the fashion brands and Lego, come by the gallery, who have all loved the work. I’m hoping one day, my work might inspire a new line of high fashion Lego accessories. CoCo Vader is in desperate need of a Chanel belt and sunglasses. Maybe a Louis Vuitton briefcase too!
Has fashion always interested you? Been part of your life?
As a photographer, it’s important to take an interest in fashion, since wardrobe is such an important part of the process. I’ve always loved couture and costume for film. I’m sure it all started when I was 5, right after my first Kiss concert.
Who makes for a tougher shoot, celebs or animals?
Shooting celebrities and animals is always fun! The toughest part of shooting animals is keeping them on set. But the beauty of shooting animals is the amazing expressions you can get from them, that seem so human at times. Animals will genuinely react to various stimulation. I did an editorial shoot with animals going on dates around Manhattan – dogs drinking in a bar, kittens watching the circus. We used untrained animals from shelters and when the story ran, all of the animals were adopted,
Who have been some of your favorite celebrities to shoot?
I really loved working with Jared Leto and Elizabeth Banks. Both of them gave so much of themselves to their shoots and really took an interested in what I was going for. Comedians are always fun because they’ve usually had some experience with improve – Key & Peele were hilarious! One of the most memorable but challenging shoots was Daniel Day-Lewis, mainly because I only had 10 minutes with him. I figured if I only have 10 minutes with one of my idols, I’m going to make it count. I set backgrounds at various angles and lit it in a way, so I only had to change my position to get a different background and look from the image. I was able to get three completely different setups, within 10 minutes and Daniel looked amazing.
See all of Dale’s work on Corbis.