Had a blast recently shooting a new ad campaign for Epson that is just starting to make its’ way into print. It was just one of those jobs where the client, the ad agency, and the shoot day just came together really smoothly.
Big part of that is the fact that we were working for Epson, and long time friend Dan Steinhardt. He’s their marketing manager for the Epson pro division. He’s also a heckuva photographer, and, as it turns out, a damn good art director as well. It was his collaboration with the terrific team from MC Saatchi LA that kept the whole deal on the rails. Which is a good thing, ’cause when you’re 20 stories up, and have people flying 15′ in the air, you want things to stay firmly on the rails.
When it started, for subject matter, the client/agency visual direction centered around kids. Maybe even…babies. Smiling through my tears, I said of course. I do lots of kids shoots, and enjoy it, and have done baby shoots, which are actually fun, if a bit stressful. (The little darlings!) But, here’s the great thing about working for another shooter. Dano mentioned that I should throw into my roster of presented ideas something I had always wanted to do. So I went to my rather lengthy photo shoot bucket list and checked one off. My ideas are often so whacked that the client immediately realizes I’m in desperate need of counseling, and they move on, or, they go…hmmm.
Dano asked for a few more notions. Back to the bucket list. What has been there, perennially, for me, is working with the Anti-Gravity dancers. I have worked with these amazing athletes, and their formidable founder and creative director Chris Harrison off and on for twenty plus years. But I had never had the chance to work with the aerial specialists (Rayshine Harris, Vitali Buza and Daniel Stover) who perform with the patented anti-gravity boots. These, once strapped onto the legs of dancers, gymnasts, and acrobats turn these already high flyers into Supermen. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!
Which is kind of the visual we created. Flying, real time, over the NY skyline.
The rubber met the road on shoot morning. We of course had two locations paid for and reserved. The rooftop, and a warehouse interior for weather backup. Had to have a fall back, as the weather report was not a total green light. Dano and I talked. Okay…..yikes….gulp. Do we risk the roof? That’s where the better picture was, so we committed. That’s another great thing about working with a team like this. They have confidence in you, and follow the picture.
Have to say, it was a privilege not just working with Epson and the gang from Saatchi, but our own team of characters in NY pulled this off in amazing fashion. I was in heaven, working actually with two of the most astonishing producers in the business. Lynn and Lyn. Lynn is our own Lynn DelMastro, who has literally made a 9,000 pound elephant appear for me in the middle of a dry lake bed. And Lyn, is Lyn Wik, the peerless producer who rolled out all the international jobs we’ve shot for FedEx in the last 5 years. I knew, with both of them on the roof with me, it wouldn’t dare rain. We had also the usual wonderful gang of New York. Rapaz and Lenz, Cali and Grippi, Andrea Kennedy, aka AK, Kim the makeup mojo, and of course Drew Gurian, who shot the production pic. It was a bit of an upside down day (not referring to the moves of the dancers) in that we spent all day crafting the shot, but that shot, the ad shot if you will, runs small compared to the production shot. We had to pay attention to both, and make sure they both worked together, as the production picture was scheduled to run big. We couldn’t just toss it off, the way you often do when just making record snaps of the set.
The finished ad, in print now.
And, here’s a historical flash….working with Anti Gravity…..for literally 20 years now. High flyer below is Salina Bartunek, who went on to American Gladiator fame.
And of course, if there’s a dance group who will embody even the stranger bits of my imagination, it’s certainly Anti-Gravity. Below is a fashion test at what the meat district in NY used to look like. Now it’s the hottest real estate in the city. This location is just down the block from a huge new Apple Store. The city never sleeps!