Moving Donuts With My Mind: The Adam McKay Story

All Images © Emily Shur

What I think might be my favorite shoot of the year so far has just come out in the August issue of Maxim.  Back in May, I had the pleasure of photographing Adam McKay, whose new movie The Other Guys opens August 6th.  These are my two favorite set ups from the shoot, and I wanted to write a little bit about why.

It’s not everyday that I pitch an idea like “What if Adam was levitating donuts with his mind?” and get a positive response.  It takes a special kind of person to see the good in that, to not be afraid of doing something different,  and to trust someone they have never worked with before enough to say “Great idea!”.  The other important element to a concept coming to fruition is that the magazine must also say yes.

I’ve been having a bit of an inner battle with editorial lately.  As much as I want to pour my heart out about it, I realize this blog might be read by people who might want to hire me, so I will keep it short, sweet, and politically correct.  I don’t think it’s breaking news that editorial shooting has changed significantly.  I, along with many other photographers, have had to adjust to the smaller budgets and amount of shoots.  The shoots that do happen are more work for everyone (photographers, photo editors, producers, etc.) because no one can afford to do things the way they used to, therefore we all have more work to do ourselves.  There comes a time to take a step back and make sure that the work and time we are putting into the shoots bear some fruit.  I love magazines so much, and it saddens me that so many good ones have died slow and painful deaths over the past few years.  However, sometimes when I do editorial shoots nowadays (and I have no interest in naming names or getting into any type of specifics), I realize why magazine land is having such a hard time.  It’s a circular problem where magazines operate out of fear – fear of folding, losing advertisers, whatever many number of things they should rightly be afraid of today – and that fear translates into not very interesting artwork.

I want to continue to shoot editorial.  I’m fine to work hard and have it be worthwhile.  Good pictures are worth working hard for.  Thank you so much to Adam McKay and Maxim for allowing me to make what I think are good pictures.

4 comments to Moving Donuts With My Mind: The Adam McKay Story

  • Hi,
    These are good pictures and well worth the time spent.
    Thanks for sharing and I hope we all get through to the other side.

  • nina

    I don’t now who Adam McKay is, but I love the pics and now want to know who he is. I wish there was more editorial magazines with work like that out there. Good photography will make me buy a magazine and it will even make me read the article.

  • Wonderful shots. I like the first the best. I can make donuts disappear. :-)


  • Edie

    Absolutely brilliant work. Keep doing what you’re doing Emily.