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Box New York

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  #1  
Old 06-10-2009, 11:53 AM
digitalgrb8 digitalgrb8 is offline
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Box New York

Hi all,

I'm sure most on this forum may have heard or read about the famed Pascal Dangin - owner of Box in New York. Often regarded as the best retouching company in the WORLD!
I'm always hearing snippets of info / rumours etc - often very excited and secretive! Thought I would start a thread and see what you all think or have heard about their setup!
Rumours I heard / read such as:-

- They employ 70 full time retouchers
- They handle 10,000 jobs at any one time! (source - wiki)
- Each retoucher only handles one part of the image, e.g. handbags, hair, skin, clothing, then it all comes together at the end via the man himself. Upshot of this is that no single employee can say they have retouched the whole image and bugger off to another company with the knowledge.
- Pascal has helicopter land him on roof of building each day !
- Pascal works very very long days. Often longer than anyone else.
- All retouchers are kept apart from each other and on different floors, and have signed NDA's. Only the man myself has dealings with the big photographers.
- They write there own retouching software

Has anyone ever even stepped inside the famed premises????!!!
Can someone in NY photograph the outside of the building for us?

If that many retouchers work there, surely someone on here might have worked there at some point?

Just interested in dispelling some myths about this magical box..

Graeme
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Old 06-10-2009, 12:28 PM
Benny Profane's Avatar
Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Re: Box New York

- They employ 70 full time retouchers No, hardly.
- They handle 10,000 jobs at any one time! (source - wiki) Jezuz, there's barely that much work in NYC at the same time
- Each retoucher only handles one part of the image, e.g. handbags, hair, skin, clothing, then it all comes together at the end via the man himself. Upshot of this is that no single employee can say they have retouched the whole image and bugger off to another company with the knowledge. C'mon, how is that even possible, if you think about it
- Pascal has helicopter land him on roof of building each day ! That's the part where you want me to laugh, right? Anyway, it's not a helicopter, he's perfected that Star Trek transporter thing, so he goes straight from his mansion to work without even dealing with us little people
- Pascal works very very long days. Often longer than anyone else. Probably. he's a business owner. Life is tough in the Big City. But, a lot of those hours are schmoozing at parties, I'm sure.
- All retouchers are kept apart from each other and on different floors, and have signed NDA's. Only the man myself has dealings with the big photographers. What's an NDA?
- They write there own retouching software They invented Photoshop? damn.

Has anyone ever even stepped inside the famed premises????!!! Yes. It's nice. They have fresh baked cookies everywhere, and a Hot Tub and cold champagne on the roof
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:06 PM
Steve13 Steve13 is offline
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Re: Box New York

NDA=Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Hot tub on the roof? That's why he can't use the Helicopter.
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  #4  
Old 06-11-2009, 11:38 AM
pixelmonger pixelmonger is offline
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Re: Box New York

- They employ 70 full time retouchers No, hardly.
I was told they have 40 full-time retouchers when I interviewed there
- They handle 10,000 jobs at any one time! (source - wiki) Jezuz, there's barely that much work in NYC at the same time
The do a lot, 10,000 seems like hyperbole
- Each retoucher only handles one part of the image, e.g. handbags, hair, skin, clothing, then it all comes together at the end via the man himself. Upshot of this is that no single employee can say they have retouched the whole image and bugger off to another company with the knowledge. C'mon, how is that even possible, if you think about it
Agreed, ridiculous
- Pascal has helicopter land him on roof of building each day ! That's the part where you want me to laugh, right? Anyway, it's not a helicopter, he's perfected that Star Trek transporter thing, so he goes straight from his mansion to work without even dealing with us little people
He walks to work, and the building is only 4 floors high in the meatpacking district, it'd be hard to get a helicopter on there
- Pascal works very very long days. Often longer than anyone else. Probably. he's a business owner. Life is tough in the Big City. But, a lot of those hours are schmoozing at parties, I'm sure.
He's a busy busy man.
- All retouchers are kept apart from each other and on different floors, and have signed NDA's. Only the man myself has dealings with the big photographers. What's an NDA?
Retouchers all work together in a series of darkened rooms, each retoucher get 3 giant monitors, there is a healthy spirit of collaboration and collective learning
- They write there own retouching software They invented Photoshop? damn.
They have developed their own digital capture software, and I'm sure they have created a few plug-ins and custom add-ons over the years. They make a lot of money, so they have a bunch of developers working for them.

Has anyone ever even stepped inside the famed premises????!!! Yes. It's nice. They have fresh baked cookies everywhere, and a Hot Tub and cold champagne on the roof
Didn't get cookies, but the receptionist got me some green tea. And an espresso, later, too.

First floor is all flat files, cutting equipment, etc., for their prints dept. They have a books division, as well, making monographs, etc. All in all a very impressive operation. It'll be interesting to see how/if they weather the current economic downturn, as I'm sure a lot of agencies and photographers are looking to or have already turned to more affordable alternatives.

Pascal himself is super nice and very passionate about his craft. It is easy to villify him because he's the only real public figure from our field, and the closest thing retouchers will ever get to a household name, but he doesn't deserve the hate. Big ego, sure, but has the chops to go with it. Success inspires loathing, I suppose.
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:52 AM
digitalgrb8 digitalgrb8 is offline
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Re: Box New York

Very interesting, thank you - so far so good. Anymore info?
Glad that some (most) of those crazy myths are exaggerated!
I thought a lot of them were ridiculous.

I am intrigued that SO many great editorials can come out of their doors every month, never mind the ad campaigns. So many top photographers use them. I know some top photographers and starting more and more to open there own 'mini' retouch outfits. I could list a few. Might come down to costs..

I knew as well that they did try at one point to open a London branch of Box. Based in Old street sharing premises with the lab BDI. The guy who runs BDI is basically the best hand printer in London (Brian), and was doing everything for people like Nick Knight etc over 14 years ago. I think Box wanted to get involved about 8 years ago, but it never really happened.

It is also interesting how Pascal has become the most famous retoucher in the world. I read somewhere that the whole DOVE retouch thing got them in a bit of hot bother.

I think mostly we are all a bit secretive about what we all do. It takes all my courage to even post on forums like this....

I was at a party last year with have a dozen retouchers who all worked for different people. Rather interesting!...

Graeme
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  #6  
Old 06-11-2009, 12:01 PM
pixelmonger pixelmonger is offline
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Re: Box New York

Funny thing about the Dove campaign, and the idea of "not" retouching: I worked on that campaign post-post production while at Earthcolor, the megalithic printers. I got rid of one model's happy trail and was told to put it back while in the same markup was instructed to make the latina girl darker and the asian girl whiter/pinker. No retouching my ass.

Not so much courage, since I think my profile is basically anonymous
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:32 PM
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Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Re: Box New York

Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelmonger View Post

Pascal himself is super nice and very passionate about his craft. It is easy to villify him because he's the only real public figure from our field, and the closest thing retouchers will ever get to a household name, but he doesn't deserve the hate. Big ego, sure, but has the chops to go with it. Success inspires loathing, I suppose.

Hey, I'm not "loathing". Just reacting to the hype that surrounds him, which, I'm pretty sure, is already dated, because he's seen his time. And it's a hype that he has had no small part in creating and maintaining.
The interview is as far as I got, and glad to keep it at that. Very similar to a what-the-hell experience i had at a Scientology center in Boston one day a long time ago. Access me of my needs, make sure I'm dedicated to an overhyped industry (fashion/God) that needs constant attention (like an insecure 20 year old model/God), and then promise me a carrot that is on a very very long and moving stick. Brilliant. Keeps his payroll much lower than most houses and dedication high.
The new world of incredibly powerful personal computers and printers and fast broadband has killed his biz model, like most high end houses. You can do it better than him if you want to. And you don't need a very expensive building in the Village to do it from. Or, of all things, software developers. Or a staff. Or a Hot Tub. You just have to sell yourself well.

edit: What's a "Happy Trail"?

Last edited by Benny Profane; 06-12-2009 at 05:32 AM.
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  #8  
Old 06-15-2009, 09:28 AM
pixelmonger pixelmonger is offline
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Re: Box New York

I think everybody who interviews there has had similar experiences - they do their best to let you know that no matter how long you've been doing it, you're not up to their standards. They kept asking me if I'd be willing to accept a pay cut, which is funny considering they charge 10k for a single editorial image (cover shot I saw an invoice for). The cult mentality does wonders for their payroll, I'm sure, as well as keeping willing acolytes working late hours.

edit: What's a "Happy Trail"?
Happy trail is the line of hair running from belly button down the lower stomach to the pubes.
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  #9  
Old 06-16-2009, 10:35 AM
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Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Re: Box New York

I learned something today. Thank you, and, Happy Trails to you.
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  #10  
Old 06-17-2009, 02:58 AM
ftp-Jeff ftp-Jeff is offline
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Re: Box New York

Oh and his father created the earth!
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