Best of CH 2012: People + Photo Ops

Words and images with the designers, photographers and innovators that inspired us

You won’t ever find a “Person of the Year” on Cool Hunting. We’re influenced by too many people and meet more every day that keep us motivated to do and create. When we have the opportunity to interview—and, if we’re lucky, to photograph—one of these outstanding individuals, those become some of the most rewarding stories. Here are seven people who kept us inspired in 2012.

Matthew Dear


“I have this hyperactive brain that needs to create to feel like I’m doing something valuable… That’s what makes me feel like my life is worth being awake for.”

DJ, co-founder of Ghostly International and all-around renaissance man Matthew Dear is an endlessly impressive individual. On the eve of a performance at London’s Boiler room, Dear talked to us about Detroit, the genesis of Ghostly and his source of motivation. During the performance, we were around to capture Dear in his element.

Thomas Keller


“I’ve been butter-poaching lobster for over twenty years, and it all comes from my memory of eating lobster with my mother.”

One of the most enlightening conversations of the year came while speaking with and photographing Chef Thomas Keller in the garden of The French Laundry. We had come for food but ended up leaving with sound advice from Keller on education, working with a team and, of course, butter-poached lobster.

Ruvan Wijesooriya and LCD Soundsystem


“The pictures of LCD were literally what I wanted to do while hanging out with them. I can’t help but take the pictures. Very few of the pictures in the book were planned or discussed.”

For seven years, Ruvan Wijesooriya followed legendary band LCD Soundsystem as they toured around the world, amassing in the process thousands of images. The photographs depart from Wijesooriya’s well-known fashion and nightlife style, showing instead honest and personal moments with the band. We spoke with Wijesooriya on the occasion of the release of “LCD,” a book that collects the best shots from over the years.



“Curiosity is the glue for me. That’s what makes it stick. If I’m not curious I’ll lose it in two seconds, it just falls off.”

An impromptu rendezvous with Pharrell this year during Miami Art Week turned out to be a great opportunity to pick the young mogul’s mind and photograph him with the help of our friend Ruediger Glatz of BHP. The conversation centered around Pharrell’s Artst Tlk series, and we learned a bit about what makes him tick.

Michael Beirut


“I think the conference brings out the best in the speakers. You feel the energy from the audience, and the people on stage really feel an obligation to make a connection.”

Acting as emcee for this year’s Design Indaba, Michael Beirut shared thoughts with us on the evolution of the conference based on his involvement since 2005. The graphic designer mentioned highlights from past years as well as his thoughts on what makes the conference a cultural force for Cape Town, South Africa and the design community at large.

Lauren White and The Rolling Stones


“After extensive research, I came to find that these are unpublished, never-before-seen photos of one of the most legendary bands in rock ‘n’ roll history.”

One of the greatest photo ops of the year came from an unidentified source. On the occasion of the opening of the exhibition “Found,” we spoke with curator Lauren White about her chance encounter with never-before-seen photographs of The Rolling Stones at an LA Flea Market.

Philippe Starck


“I am not an artist. I am just trying to be a designer, but it is not enough.”

The godfather of single mould injected polycarbonate, designer Philippe Starck has left an indelible mark on furniture design and acted as exporter of the Italian aesthetic. During Milan Design Week, Starck reflected on the history of Kartell and the relationship between art and design.