One big light from the left of the frame. A small amount of fill from the right. And a soft wash across the background. Once the lights are set I could spend the rest of the two days meeting my subjects. Talking to them about their jobs, their kids, their amazing work and even their favorite cars. Whatever it took to develop some mutual touch points so we could connect and serve this common purpose for just a few minutes.
The next time I walked into the building the posters were everywhere. 24 by 36 inches. Beautiful colors. And warm smiles.
When I looked at the posters I could remember the exact moment of each exposure. I knew it was time to click the shutter because, in that one moment, there was a real connection that I could feel. And I hope my subjects could feel it too because it was genuine.
True feelings that drive a collaboration can't be faked, or contrived. In work like this you really have to live the emotion to create the energy that needs to be part of the process.
I've been thinking about what parameters must exist in order for jobs like this to be so successful and what I've come to understand (after subduing my incredible ego) is that it is the unsung heros of the business that really provide the agar that grows the right culture.
In this case I was lucky to work with two creative heads who understood that it would work best to apply the reins gently. Heather Grant laid out the assignment to me and then stepped back to let me do the work. But I could feel her guidance at every step I took. And I think I felt it because she trusted me and I needed to show her that the trust was not misplaced.
Whatever the reason it is work I'm proud to have been part of. And when I walked away on the final day of the shoot I realized that it's never the talent of the photographer alone but the willing complicity and collaboration of people who are willing to be part of a process instead of needing to ride roughshod over the whole thing.
I'm thankful that those people are out there. And I know that a healthy dose of humility breaks down a lot of barriers........
If you are reading this, thank you!