Ilya Tsay – SF & Vanity Fair

I met Ilya Tsay when I was commissioned by Vanguard properties to update their agent portraits. He stood out from the crowd with his dashing and debonair style. At the time I was looking to add to my environmental portraits portfolio and we talked about collaborating together. I was thrilled when he contacted me a few months later to shoot his portrait for an ad that was running in Vanity Fair!

Finding the right location was important.  It needed to compliment Ilya’s personal style and support the story of “A Bespoke Approach To Real Estate.”  Ilya already had a place in mind, “The Harrison” in San Francisco,,  which commissioned famed interior designer Ken Fulk,, to add his unique vision to the property, including Uncle Harry’s, a 3,500 square foot penthouse lounge on the 49th floor. The location was perfect and Ilya had the wardrobe, so much for needing a stylist. The only thing I had to add was the right point of view and the perfect lighting.

Good luck finding this ad in a back issue. I didn’t realize how focused Vanity Fair is in their ad placement.  The ad ran as a full page in issues to subscribers in San Francisco and Marin County (north of the Golden Gate), about 30K copies.  Nonetheless, I love being in Vanity Fair. Visually I always found the publication to be an inspiration. Ilya ran the ad twice, the holiday fall issue and again in the summer.

We are discussing shooting a new portrait for the coming winter. It would be interesting to tell Ilya’s story again in new way. Stay tuned…….

I got to lend my creative input towards the ad design and thought you might like to see the various rounds we went through to find the perfect balance.

I appreciate you stopping by.


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