Gina LeVay’s Punk Portraits

Written by M. Gertz on . Posted in Commercial Photography

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Profoto GinaLeVay PeteKoller 600x400 Gina LeVay’s Punk Portraits

© Gina LeVay

The legendary New York punk club, CBGB, may have closed, but they still run an annual music festival with 700 performers, playing in over 150 venues in NYC. Photographer Gina LeVay got the gig, photographing music legends such as Krist Novoselic (Nirvana) and Duff McKagan (Guns n’ Roses) to promote the festival. The story, in her own words, follows.

The portraits were for CBGB, specifically for their first annual festival in NYC, which featured over 300 artists and 30+ venues during the four day event. Our goal was to create classic and clean portraits of the featured artists against a uniform background (white seamless) and to execute our lighting plan successfully in the different locations – each with their own environmental and space limitations.trans Gina LeVay’s Punk Portraits

Our plan was to use Profoto D1’s with a large octa softbox as the main light and have the beauty dish with grid as a pop for their faces, to bring them out more. We were shooting a mixture of portraits and 3/4 length shots. Especially when shooting musicians and artists, we had to be flexible as well accommodating towards spontaneous acts and inspired ideas! Making the lighting scenario and desired effect as consistent as possible to create a uniform campaign was the biggest challenge we faced.

In total, we shot at two outdoor venues, Times Square and Central Park, and four indoor locations/clubs, like the Highline Ballroom and Webster Hall. The BTS shots of Krist Novoselic, were at the Landmark Cinema, which was by far the most spacious and accommodating of all the venues. The project would not have been a success if it wasn’t for my all-star, incredibly talented, crew and colleagues – a perfect collaboration.

Profoto GinaLeVay DuffMcKagan 600x899 Gina LeVay’s Punk Portraits

Duff McKagan | © Gina LeVay

Profoto GinaLeVay SaraSugarman 600x400 Gina LeVay’s Punk Portraits

Sara Sugarman | © Gina LeVay

Profoto GinaLeVay MikePeters 600x899 Gina LeVay’s Punk Portraits

Mike Peters | © Gina LeVay

Profoto GinaLeVay LizaColby 600x899 Gina LeVay’s Punk Portraits

Liza Colby Sound | © Gina LeVay

Profoto GinaLeVay 02 600x399 Gina LeVay’s Punk Portraits

© Michael Bocchieri

Profoto GinaLeVay 01 600x399 Gina LeVay’s Punk Portraits

© Michael Bocchieri

Gina and her team also shot artist interviews for CBGB’s sizzle reel at each of the venues where the portraits were shot using Profoto ProTungsten lights. Below, a behind-the-scenes shot of the setup at Landmark Sunshine with Andre Costantini (DP) and The Clox and then the video itself.

Profoto Gina LeVay video BTS 600x338 Gina LeVay’s Punk Portraits

© Melanie McLean

We previously profiled Gina LeVay. You can see more of Gina’s work, including a spectacular project on the people who build and maintain NYC’s subways, at


All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©Gina LeVay, all rights reserved; story is ©Profoto. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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Comments (2)

  • Gina LeVay Photography » Profoto


    […] Nice blog feature about the punk portraits.  Thanks  Profoto! […]


  • Gina LeVay Photography | Profoto


    […] Nice blog feature about the punk portraits.  Thanks  Profoto! […]


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