Image available for use on, Shot by Alex Tan.

Image available for use on, Shot by Alex Tan.

Death To Stock and The Shape/Shift Report created a ripping visual collection together back in September 2017. Well. We decided we wanted to do it again.

We kicked off the process by landing on an issue theme everyone could relate to.


Our very own Alex Tan was the Art Director and Photographer of this shoot.

Here is what he had to say about the creative process and how purposefully produced elements make every shot in this package unique.

Hey Alex. What was shooting your first Identity-themed issue with Death To Stock like?

It was fun! It’s always fun to come up with ideas based off of one word. Identity is especially fascinating to me. A lot of my work, even from the beginning, has included a hint on anonymity coming from the subject. You end up leaving the viewer with unanswered questions about what is going on in the frame when you see a human but can’t see their face.

What were your initial pitch ideas when it came to the creative?
One of the initial explorations was leaning into unexpected forms of identity in various settings. A cowboy in the city, older man at a college party, you know, that kind of thing. I still really want to do that, but maybe when there is more time (and budget).

Can you give our audience a breakdown of how the creative came to you and the final direction we landed on?

Sometimes I still don’t believe that identical twins are a real thing. You just look at them and you’re literally looking at the same person in two different bodies. Either way, it’s fascinating to me. The idea of identity is wrapped up in so many ways. Physical appearance, age, the way you dress, what music you listen to, etc. An image of two identical twins wearing the same exact thing is a good parallel between explicit identical appearance and the exaggeration people hand out saying “You two are the same person” when drawing similarities in preferences.

[For context,] there were three different creative buckets we worked within during this shoot. The Individual, How We’re Different, and How We’re Alike. Can you break down the gist of these for our readers?

Yeah, sure thing.


Focused on the human form, without getting into the details. Sometimes we categorize people by what they wear, the way they talk, who they hang out with, etc. From afar you may think somebody is one way, but they might be another.


This focused more on the nuances that make us different. One of the twins in this series has a small mole on his face. They had the same earring when they walked in but one was red and the other was yellow. It’s just good to find the small things to celebrate in individuals. The things that make us unique and stand apart. People love to be identified along with a people group, but even more so want to be known for what helps them stand apart.


Sometimes we really are the “same” to others around us. Maybe this is how people see us before they truly get to know us. And after time, they start to see the moles on our chins or birthmarks on our arms. Often times we’re a lot more alike those around us than we are different.

Final thoughts now. How would you want people to enjoy these images on Death To Stock?

I hope people use these in whatever way they like. A touch of human without giving away too much is always nice. Let these images help shape the identity of your own work.

*Special thanks goes out to the creatives who helped make this possible by dedicating their spare time to the project. In no particular order. Models, Devin & Gabriel Higgins; Production Assistant, Jackie Tambara; HMUA, Crystal Long; Styling, Krista Guanlao; Lighting Extrordinaire, Brian Chism.





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Death to Stock and the Shape/Shift Report created a ripping visual collection together back in September 2017. Well. We decided we wanted to do it again. The images that cover this month’s Identity Issue are available for download. Yeah— you can access the rights to use them for whatever, whenever.

Our very own Alex Tan was the Art Director and Photographer of this shoot. Click the header of this section to read what he had to say about his creative processes for this collaboration and how purposefully produced elements make each shot in this package unique.

— Shape/Shift Report x Death To Stock

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creating the perfect identity online is easy

Just be as selfish as you possibly can.

Instagram, Twitter, whatever. They’re all complex apps with their own respective advantages and disadvantages, yeah, but also like they’re all about the same thing. And that thing is: pleasing people. And rewarding you for doing so.

— James Royce, Writer

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How do you define identity?

I stopped four people on the streets of San Francisco and asked them about it.

— Rae Niwa, Writer

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we’re all a bit goth in some way

…You know who the moodiest people on the planet are, though? That’s right: goths. We’ve all felt a bit goth at some point, haven’t we? Yeah, because get moody. Goths are moody. You get moody. Anyway here’s a list of the different types of goths so you know which one to self-identify as next time you’re walking around with a frown.

— James Royce on behalf of the Team at Matte Black




meet the climate change credit card

If you are serious about limiting your impact on the environment, this new credit card might be perfect for you. The DO Black Credit Card, launched recently by a Swedish fin-tech company, associates each purchase you make on the card with the carbon footprint that expense created.

how did that coffee cup make it into the episode???

Picture this.... you have the world's attention. You have created a television show that is at the peak of popular culture. 17 million people watched your last episode during the live telecast. Somehow everyone in 2019 is talking about your show that takes place in a medieval world full of dragons and magic and knights and monarchies. Yet.... you somehow left a modern to-go coffee cup in the middle of a scene of antiquated celebratory debauchery.



042 - Getting Your Art Out There with Steph DeAngelis

So you've been posting your art on what? We sat down with Steph DeAngelis, LA-based designer + illustrator who has worked with brand like Outdoor Voices, The Standard, and Man Repeller, to speak on the topic. Tune in to hear about Steph's creative journey, and her 5 tips on how to get your art out the wild, and the brands in your inbox.

SESSIONS by Matte Black