Behind the Scenes with The Karma Underground: Ransom & Mitchell “It Will Be Ours”

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Ransom & Mitchell are director-photographer Jason Mitchell and his partner both in business and in life, art director-photo illustrator, Stacey Ransom, who together run Purebred Studio, a San Francisco based film and sound stage which doubles as their art studio. Friends of CARTWHEEL, the couple spent time with Cindy during ArtPadSF, and are participating in The Karma Underground’s upcoming “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” Charity Art Auction.  (Last year’s TKU auction for Karmablast raised over $10,000 to help that organization, and this year Tibet House will be the beneficiary).

Ransom & Mitchell provided us with their artists statement and insight into their process, plus a behind the scenes look at their latest set of images “It Will Be Ours,” one of which will be in the TKU auction on August 8, 2013 at Angel City Brewery. Here are Ransom & Mitchell in their own words and images.

Our latest set of images, “It Will Be Ours” acknowledges nature’s unarguable importance in an increasingly man-made world. The work(s) celebrate nature’s complex beauty as well as it’s immense power. Scientist Jonas Salk once said, “If all the insects on the planet disappeared, life on earth would end. If all the humans on the planet disappeared, life on earth would flourish.” To ensure mankind’s survival we must find ways to live in better harmony with nature. It is clear, our actions (and non-actions) will determine whether humans will flourish or become extinct. If we can all shift away from thoughtless mass-consumption, careless disposal and negligent destruction of the natural world, we will have hope.

We are thrilled for one of these works to be a part of TKU’s 2nd annual art auction fundraiser “Oh Brother Where Art Thou.” We believe our theme of respect and balance are synonymous metaphors with the importance of honoring the Tibetan people, and the need to preserve their culture and spiritual practices.


The creation of all Ransom & Mitchell photographic images is a multi-stepped process that involves a great deal of planning and coordination. The creation of our recent set of images “It Will Be Ours” is no different.

Prior to shooting we custom create props and sets, work closely with talented wardrobe designers, and hair & make-up artists to create the elements needed for our concept. We also meticulously cast for talent who have the emotional range and look for the piece we are creating. During the day of shooting, we follow a tight schedule and shoot anywhere from 1-4 images. Unlike a typical fashion or lifestyle shoot, all of our scenes are tightly pre-composed and there is very little left to chance. It’s not uncommon for us to have subsequent shoots to capture additional imagery that we add into the main image. After we have acquired all the images we need, we digitally merge them together so that the piece fits with our original vision (which often defies what is physically possible in the “real” world). We then bring the image through a form of digital painting to push the color and light to a more fantastical place than could ever be possible using traditional photograph. In the end, we hope our pieces blur the lines between photography and paintings and make the viewer question what is “real.”

Our website is

You may also follow our process on instagram, twitter and facebook.
Ransom & Mitchell – @ransom_mitchell
Stacey Ransom – @hld4ransom
Jason Mitchell – @impureacts

Our behind-the-Scenes / how-to / tips n tricks blog is

– makeup & hair artist JiHyun Kim
– wardrobe designer Kaytee Papusza
– model Alexzandria Jade
– gaffer Joe Mendoza of Little Giant Lighting & Grip ( )


Make-up & hair designer JiHyun Kim applying the finger cuffs on model Alexzandria Jade  


Here are Stacey’s finger cuffs applied by the make-up artist JiHyun Kim. It also shows JiHyun’s hair designs with sticks and lots of faux hair.


The foliage dress was created by couture designer Kaytee Papusza. It included a palm bark bodice and a burlap skirt that had pockets to hold live plants.



The set was built by Ransom & Mitchell in stages. It had a custom painted tile floor and real branches on the wall to create a sense of movement. Bland institutional colors were chosen to emotionally contrast with the verdant foliage that would soon be pouring into the room. The painting process can be seen on her instagram


The sense of endless depth was achieved by placing black panels behind the set. The edge of the set had been painted a deep Mars black to complete this trick of the eye.
Faux grime and cracks were added to give the room a sense of despair.


Photographer Jason Mitchell cracking jokes between shots.



An on-set view of the model in wardrobe in the scene.


An on-set view of the model in wardrobe in the scene.

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