A&S To Forming the Leifer-Stieffel Business Alliance Specializing In Home Fashion Design
While working for the local New York City department store A&S on a product photography account Peter Leifer met Cheryl Stieffel who he hired to produce photo realistic illustrations for a line of fashion jewelry. The two shared a like vision and Leifer-Stieffel was formed as a conceptual photo company with prestigious home fashion companies like Springmaid, Westpoint Stevens, Hunter Douglas and American Standard as their primary accounts. Their role was to photograph product, produce catalogs and sell design concepts in photo interactive formats. Their success in utilizing computer technology to promote sales and branding led to many accounts and recognition for their insight into the relationship between design style and product integration.
The advent of the digital age led to extensive early exploration with digital cameras to produce quality photographic results, an idea that was overtly ridiculed at the time. Their first objective in this medium was the creation of the most comprehesive web site on Central Park. This included extensive landscape photography along with a touted illustrated map of the entire park created by tracking every single path for absolute accuracy. The final photo catalog in an early digital format is the largest catalog of images of Central Park to date.
With mounting success in the field of home fashion, Leifer-Stieffel expanded their business into the magazine and entertainment industry with clients like
Time, Warner Bros. Fortune Americas and Time Americas.
This also included work for GTE and its fledgling and highly innovative interactive TV startup. Work in this medium was also done for Clairol at its professional color division. Their first fashion campaign including photography for print advertising was done for Wacoal lingerie. This included a Macy's in store video and promotional magazine pages for Bloomingdales and Nordstrom.
At Time and Warner Bros. Peter and Cheryl applied their photographic sensibility to the task of integrating photography into multimedia to facilitate promoting those prestigious brands to the advertising community. Their proven capabilities won them the right to use those prestigious and coveted brands in many projects.
The work at Time Inc also included Peter’s skilled video interviews with some of the county’s most prestigious intellectual elites at Time including the then Editorial Director and Steve Jobs future biographer, Walter Isaacson, Editorial Director TIME Inc., E. Bruce Hallett President TIME Magazine and Jim Kelley Managing Editor TIME Magazine. His ability to parse subjects of concern to the magazine and direct incisive questions allowed for the evolution of many highly praised interviews.
The tragedy of 911 brought an end to many things including the desire to remain in a city undergoing radical change where fellow artists and intellectuals were fleeing to find new places to express their creative vision.
Though Leifer-Stieffel had evolved in name to New York Focus, the true focus the city was no longer New York itself, but would instead shift to all the positive things that New York had to offer by instilling the vision, drive and determination to do the best and most professional work in their field.
New York for them meant excellence and that was exactly what they intended to bring to Miami and the rest of the country. Leifer-Stieffel and New York Focus played an active role in that transition.
The first major client of the newly founded company was Taubman Centers which, initiated a photographic production for the sale of sponsorship for all the company's malls from coast to coast. This experience brought to the forefront a knowledge of large scale retail and the visual mechanism required to tell such a vast story. Miami In Focus is still providing Taubman with photography most recently of University Town Center in Sarasota and The Mall of San Juan, two truly magnificent contributions to the retail environment.
For Peter and Cheryl that place was Miami, a city on the edge of a great renaissance. They knew instinctively that Miami was the place in which their architectural photography could flourish and innovation in the digital medium could evolve.
It was there that Miami In Focus eventually came into existence at a moment when their newly adopted city had its own energy to impart to the creative process. It was also the place where photography became the absolute centerpiece of their existence. It had everything to nourish the creative flow, the endless summer and pristine light and of course a wave of new and exciting architecture and construction.
It was here that a mutual devotion to digital photography would open the door to a new vision in photographic excellence where film would no longer be the restrictive medium it had been over the years.
Now there were no limits to the possibilities of using the photograph to explore extensive narratives and complicated stories that needed to be unveiled in a visual essay.
The Final Return To Formalism
And here for Peter, the cycle of creative growth went full circle back to an early age of life when formalism reigned in the eyes of a 12 year old.
It was reborn in Miami that many years later with a body of work that is still unveiling in a long and tireless effort to find the essence of form in the vision of many great architects and designers and in the effort of some very extraordinary builders without whom there would be no true realization of any artists formalist vision.
MIF’s client designers, architects and builders benefit immensely from Peter and Cheryl’s collective insight into their business needs. This insight has been gained through years of intimacy with demanding marketing executives and has offered a unique and first hand insight into the most effective visual ways to reach out to the business community.
Peter and Cheryl call this ultimate evolution of their goal and persistent endeavor, visual marketing.
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