Sunday, December 13, 2009

15 in ONE

Any commercial photographer who has ever worked on a large production shoot knows what is involved. There is the all important producer to secure, location scouting, the talent search, assistants and digital techs to confirm, the logistic considerations for the agency personal and client, the stylist, make-up artist, props and clothing to content with, the catering to worry about, the permits to file for, etc., etc., oh and of course there's the estimate and budget to stress on! After all that the actual shooting is actually fun and relaxing.

Now imagine all the above X 15 for the same client and all part of the same
job and the stress level can jump off the charts. (Word of advice, hire a good producer!)

Partial team members:

Fortunately for me I took my own advice when DraftFCB called in behalf of their client Boeing Corporation with an assignment for fifteen different ads . Now before you think that it was fifteen shots under the same production umbrella, don't! It was fifteen separate and unique shots done under completely different circumstances and locations and requiring an almost 'start-from-the-beginning' approach for each one.

Global Corporate Citizenship was the campaign that Boeing wanted the photographs for. It's part of an outreach programs for communities around the country. Each ad was to depict a personal human story showing the efforts, compassion, dreams and humanistic side of people and to provide inspiration and hope to others. The images needed to emphasize the person more than the environment though they should depict the variety and make up of the United States. It was a tall order but as I advice earlier, take it one step at a time.

With a crackerjack producer, agency personal and team we managed to shoot the job in three stages and in three different locations, South Florida, New Orleans and Seattle. No cliches about 'long hard work', 'endless hours' or 'early wake up calls' are necessary. That's just part of the work. However, what isn't always part of the work was the incredible good times, conversations, dinners and bonding that became part of this job. The memories and hopefully the images will have a lasting impression on all of us.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Three Years in the Making

(This story comes from an assignment I shot for the owner of "Big Dog" who wants a coffee-table book to remember this once in a lifetime undertaken.)

Three years is a long time to be tied to one project, no matter how much labor of love is involved. But three years is what it took to hand build the "Big Dog", a 75' sportsfisherman motor yacht with a tall 'tuna' tower attached to the outer hull that is used by big game fishermen through out the world. The Mark Willis designed and built boat is a classic through and through. In fact I believe it's a museum piece worthy of a glass enclosed stage and not the tough and rough ocean environment.

Fortunately this boat has not been retired to the Hall of Fame and those who witness its uncanny handling ability marvel at how it plows through seas other boats would throttle back on. It's not so much the power, speed and handling of this boat that sets it apart, however, rather its the workmanship and hardcore hand labor!

Very little of this boat is production manufactured and what is was further refined and customized to fit within what amounts is a sculptured yacht both inside and out. The individuals involved in this project were highly skilled and proud and it was a education to witness their ingenuity, attention to detail and their drive to perfection.

Watching a masterpiece unfold throughout the course of three years was also awe-inspiring. I was privy to something that was unique and this pushed me to keep photographing even though the project became long and drawn out. It's funny when I started documenting this piece I was still shooting film. By the time the boat was completed I was shooting digital and had gone through four incarnations of digital cameras!

However my commitment compares nothing to that of Mark, Enrique, the gracious owner, and the many highly skilled workers from the small town of Stuart, Florida. Lots of great stories and jokes were told, after all, three years is a long time to out do the last one!