Lupine Hammack: Evolving Capabilities in the New Creative Climate

The effects of COVID-19 and its ongoing shelter in place orders have prompted many of our artists to take stock of their capabilities and evolve them. Lupine Hammack is no stranger to change, having grown up in a nomadic family where home became a state of mind. We asked Lupine to share how his mindset has shifted and what he and Creative Partner, Sarah James, have done to put safety and efficiency, at the forefront, while still bringing the same magic they always have to the creative process. “When things change, and we find ourselves in a new place, there is an opportunity. Our philosophy is to lean in and question the unknown with an open mind.” Here is our conversation about the creative culture within Lupine Hammack Photography.

You have always been positive in your outlook, believing that anything is possible. To that end, your environment is of paramount importance. What was your overarching goal in evolving your capabilities and creative habitat while building safety into the mix?

Our goal has been to embody a visual artist mindset. This mindset affords us the opportunity to evolve our capabilities and have a voice in the creative culture conversation. Our goal is to think of every project as an experience. To create an authentic connection and engagement, we have to immerse everyone in an experience from the get-go.  

You have evolved how you create by adding in even more flexibility than you already offered. Can you give us an example of this flexibility in action?

What is being asked of us now in advertising and in the visual arts overall is to offer more. Giving more to the viewer traces back to how we can successfully support our partnerships in all the ways that brands are trying to connect and speak to their community. Being flexible is not just an answer to an ask; it’s an offer. It’s what we want to be a part of. Every project is unique to each brand, to the landscape they play in, and how we, as visual artists, can support them in bridging the gaps. Taking their vision and amplifying the story as far out as we can is the fun of it.  

In terms of safety and efficiency, what is the client experience like now? What safety protocols have you implemented? 

For our Sodastream shoot, we wanted to show that we could work safely without compromising the creative process. By pre-planning, marking out our workspaces, having a Health and Safety officer on set, carefully following CDC and health department guidelines, and the use of PPE, we were able to keep our whole team focused on doing our jobs. Through having clear protocols and systems in place, we were able to maintain social distancing and move about the space knowing that we were doing so safely. Having the protocols and safety measures in place is our way of reinforcing trust within the creative process.   

Can you tell us how you plan to keep the client in-the-know while remote?

We’ve always had clients whose work we do entirely remotely, and those who are present at every shoot. What we aim to do is align earlier and be fluid in our communication throughout the process. Being proactive with our communication from the very start by jumping on calls and Zoom meetings, and making pre-viz a priority is how we get on the same page before we’re on set. This is what sets us up for success and leaves room in the experience for experimentation and spontaneity. Once on set, we leverage our tech and communication skills to craft a cohesive client experience.

You have always had your own resources with multiple studios and your own equipment. Has any of that changed?

The reason for all of the tools and the spaces is so that we can communicate in any way that feels authentic to the project — to the overall vision. It’s less about the tools themselves, but rather what their infinite combinations make possible. Being able to create these universes and invite you inside is what we are really after. If anything, our understanding of how the tools can be used has changed. The conversation now focuses on what we’re saying first and then choosing the right tool to tell the story.   

Has your skillset and what you offer changed as a result of the quarantine?

Staying positive and creative during quarantine was super important to our team. Along with Sarah, my Creative Partner, we absolutely pushed at what is possible from a team of two. Within our combined skill sets, we can tap into a huge range of options that help clarify and expand the creative vision at hand. Creative writing, sketching, storyboarding, and concepting were always tools we used internally but now are really at the forefront of how we can offer more to our partnerships going forward.

With your evolved capabilities in place, what did you learn in doing the Sodastream shoot that you will take into future projects?

We’ve learned to think of ourselves as creators of culture. Our capabilities have evolved over the past year and will continue to evolve as we move forward into the next chapter of brand storytelling. Combining bits from here and there to create something new is where we find our magic. We’re looking forward to expanding into more motion, audio, and interactive spaces, and genuinely trying to unlock as many barriers as possible to deliver real, impactful experiences for people to engage with.  

Follow Lupine on Instagram for more imagery charged with alchemy.

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