JAKE STANGEL ON CREATING AUTHENTIC MOMENTS FOR CHEGG

I was hired to make photos for Chegg, an education technology company, focused on “listening to the learners.” As students come out of the isolation of covid, on the fringes of burnout (or fully there), Chegg wanted to cast itself as a partner, focused on the vitality of education and the range of environments students learn in. 

This was a beast of a three-day project with a lot of complex moves—physically and logistically—in order to depict a range of stories. I think folks see the photos and think I popped into a student’s home and shot some photos in situ, maybe moved a chair, and that was that. It takes SUCH a team.

We photographed real students, but not in their own homes; art department queen Chloe Kirk and her team, Rico Turrabiarte and Kevin Manny, literally moved mountains and mattresses to create some of the most lived-in, realistic-feeling student spaces. Every photo taped to the wall, every whiteboard note, every doodle in a notebook is hers. So detail-oriented. So real. You’d enter a room she created and it felt magical.

Blessings blessings to Djuna Bel and Toni Munton for the gorgeous wardrobe styling, and to my favorite LA HMU artist, Nicole Hamilton.

Cast Partner slayed on casting. Thanks to y'all and Friends at Work for pushing who is represented in front of camera.