In advertising, there are always so many conversations about the project before anything is actually photographed. But many times, when the project is complete, we only show the images and do not tell the story behind the images. I thought it would be interesting to start a series of blog posts that do just that.
Thank you Hunter Freeman for adding to our new collection.
What was the client and agency vision for this shoot?
The client, Texture and ad agency, Hub Strategy, wanted to photographically illustrate people that were so engrossed in the client’s user experience, that the users were oblivious to the ridiculous mayhem that was happening around them
How did you contribute to this vision?
Through conversations with the creative team, I was able to offer suggestions that would A) be logical, B) be feasible to produce, and importantly, C) be ridiculous and funny. Some of the things we had to create were the illusions of a big rig truck – carrying fireworks – being on fire (no real fire in the super-dry-at-the-time Sonoma County, CA), a bathroom filling with water, and a roving band of woodland creatures invading a couple’s campsite, with Kodiak Brown bears included. None of it was simple or easy, but it was absolutely fantastic and hugely exciting to meet those challenges. I love my job, and I love the professionals I work with who help make those images come to life, to look real, like they really happened.
Did your team have to do anything unique or different on this shoot that stands out to you as something that made this shoot extraordinary?
Well, the previous paragraph says a bit about that, but the camping shoot was very challenging. It’s important to note that we had to have a pleasant, sunny, outdoor camping situation. Not a problem in California in November, right? An hour north of LA, no problem! Well, we were faced that morning (5:00am call) with 26º and blowing snow and overcast. We caravanned to the location (9 cars and trucks), zipping along at a whopping 20mph over the black-ice covered highway – twice as long as usual to get to our location and our motor home never made it at all (closed interstate). It’s important to note that there was no budget for a postponement of the shoot. We had to get something. At first, we attempted to scrape hundreds of square feet with a Caterpillar front-end loader that the location owner had, but it wasn’t looking good at all. Gray skies, brown and white ground… Suddenly, the weather gods cracked a smile and the sun began to shine. It soon cleared (hallelujah!) and although it was still 26º and blowing 20mph, at least we had the sun we needed. Woo hoo! The entire crew continued moving into action, setting props, locating the truck, getting the talent ready and into the set, positioning 6×6 scrims, and removing as much snow as we could. Btw, the sun did actually help get rid of some of the snow by causing it to evaporate (sublimate, for you chemists out there). I started shooting as soon as the major components were in the set, and adjusted as we added animals and props and finally the talent. The talent were wonderful, and I have to apologize for putting them through second degree hypothermia. They couldn’t wear a lot of clothing, because of course it was a pleasant sunny day in the ad! Ha! It took them about an hour afterwards to warm up.
How many images did you provide the client and how many days did you have to shoot the project?
I shot many elements that were used in the final ads, and many shots of talent so that there were variations on hand position and body language. Lots of fireman shots, lots of trucker shots, lots of bear shots. We had one day only for the truck ad and one day for the camping ad. We had a bit less than two days to get the bathroom ad: one day in studio for the bathtub overflowing shot, and less than a full day for the bathroom shot that would be the background for the ad.
What do you love about these images?
I love the work it takes to make them happen, and I love the reaction that people have when they look at them. People do stop and look at them, and I can’t ask for more than that. Well, I do like doing things that look ridiculous as well.
Where did you shoot this campaign and why?
I shot all of these in California, two in San Francisco and the camping one just north of LA.
Any memorable moments on the shoot?
You bet! Getting someone in a tub and then having it overflow was great, and the whole camping day was unforgettable. Meeting “Tag”, our Kodiak Brown bear was a real treat. 600 lbs., 7’ tall, and still just a kid, really, since his father is 1400lbs! Tag was just the best. Now I’ve finally photographed lions and tigers and bears. Oh, my!
To see more of Hunter Freeman’s work, please link here.