• 04.10.12

See The “Mad Men” Cast In Between Takes

Over a series of set visits, photographer James Minchin III captured the culture clash that occurs when a period show stops rolling its cameras.

One of the many pleasures that the award-winning AMC series Mad Men offers is a full-scale survey of retro cool. Every hairdo, advertisement, and household appliance onscreen comes bathed in seemingly effortless period authenticity. It all looks so natural and convincing that it feels rather jarring to take a peek behind the curtain and see it coming together.


Los Angeles-based photographer James Minchin III visited the set of Mad Men a number of times and documented the experience. The resulting images, taken both on and off the set (and dating back to 2010), temporarily break the show’s spell and shed some light on how much effort it must take to turn floppy-haired actor Jon Hamm into slicked-back adman Don Draper, and a soundstage into the 1960s. Although the pictures are indeed artful and illuminating, seeing the actors hovering over a MacBook is a little like seeing the smoke and mirrors behind the stage while still entranced by the illusion.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.