Amy Lombard Talks About VICE: The Ads

People nationwide have enjoyed hilarious poster ads for VICELAND’s show, VICE LIVE, the weeknight, two-hour variety special that debuted in late February. The photographs are meant to keep you on the edge of your seat—as if you didn’t know what was going to happen next. They have been seen on billboards, subway and bus ads and in every kind of advertising format across the country. FIT alumna Amy Lombard, (Photography ’12), did the shooting. Here’s what she told us about how it all came down:

Amy Lombard for VICE

When I was approached about creating the campaign for VICE LIVE, a new late night show on their TV network VICELAND, I was really flattered. The idea was to channel older VICE magazine covers. These photographs were intense, they kept you on the edge of your seat, and they had this quality where (for better or worse) you could not look away.

Amy Lombard for VICE

The show was VICE’s first foray into live television. [VICE LIVE ended in early April.] Photographically they wanted to capture this idea that anything could happen because it’s live.

VICE was one of my first clients–so the company has always been near and dear to my heart. To watch the evolution of the company and how it has grown has been really incredible. There’s a certain level of spontaneity in my work that I think made me the right person for this job. That, and stylistically they wanted the heavy, harsh flash aesthetic.

Amy Lombard for VICELAND

In the campaign you’ll see a man’s bare foot on a dart board, a fire extinguisher on fire, a fish in a blender (don’t panic!). There’s a level of heightened absurdity that is probably a more extreme version of the essence of my work at large.

I think my favorite image is the foot on the dart board. This shot wasn’t even planned. I had really been gunning for a foot moment in this campaign, and the idea was dismissed until at the last minute the creatives wanted a dart board. The art director unexpectedly slapped his foot up onto the dartboard–and, well, now that foot is on billboards all over.

Amy Lombard for VICE

As with all the photographs for this campaign, they clearly show things that are not supposed to happen, which feeds into the larger concept.

[Note: The goldfish in the ad below currently resides in the loving home of a member of the production team.]

Amy Lombard for VICE

“We always tell students to push the thing that makes them unique. Amy seems like a very normal person but constantly makes very weird photographs. Most students make crazy work in school, but their photography gets much more palatable when they start working in the photo industry, but Amy doubled down on the weirdness.  Her first big job was shooting the Bunny Ranch in Nevada and she continues to get hired to shoot the stranger parts of the human experience.”  – FIT Photography Chair, Brad Paris

Amy Lombard for VICE

The fire extinguisher bursting into flames is probably the most realistically terrifying (because in the event of that actually happening, you’re—well, screwed!) I love this picture because you really feel that sense of “oh, shit” when you look at it.

While the images feel like they’re snapshots, it was extremely production-heavy and took five days.

Amy Lombard for VICE

The fire extinguisher shot was probably the most labor intensive. It required permits, a fire handler, a specific kind of extinguisher, a specific wall built…It’s really wild! I now know so much about lighting this on fire. It’s such a wonderful, useless bit of knowledge!

Amy Lombard is a documentary photographer and writer whose focus is on American culture. In addition to VICE her clients have included the New York Times, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, WWD, T Magazine, M Le Monde, Time magazine, WIRED, Bloomberg, Businessweek, Refinery29, Samsung, Facebook, Barneys and Swatch. To see more of her work, go to:


All images used with permission

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