Did you know that Akron, OH is/was home to the 4 largest tire manufacturers, including Goodyear? Which brings us to this post. ESPN the Magazine sent me to the “rubber capital of the world” to photograph the newly unveiled Goodyear Blimp. I wish I could say we went up for a flight but it was anchored down in the hangar but it was OK. They keep that hangar as clean as german porsche garage, immaculate. The new blimp is supposedly all teched out. This one has a bathroom! You’d think all of them would have a bathroom but they didn’t. I have a good friend who is a sports photographer, Rob Tringali, and he was in the blimp for a baseball all-star game one year. That particular game went into extra innings and they were up there for hours. He asked “what if I have to go to the bathroom”? The answer he got was “bring a gatorade bottle”. Awesome.
Thanks to Kaitlin Marron for the assignment.
In the year 1938 Frank Lloyd Wright proposed a plan for a convention center in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin called Monona Terrace. The plan was initially canned by the county. Wright continued to revise his design (FLW is notorious for changing his design. I visited his home/studio in Oak Park and he was constantly changing the design, experimenting with new ideas. I think that’s pretty awesome) and garner support for the project but the money just wasn’t there and then WWII broke out, project shelved.
In 1990, 52 years later, a new mayor pulled Wright’s proposal back off the shelf. After years Wright’s proposal finally passed and in 1994 construction began.
At the end of last year I got a call from Jay Gullixson, an art buyer at Hiebing who holds the Monona Terrace marketing account. They asked me to work on an advertisement for the convention center. They liked the fact that I shoot architecture and people and how the two relate to one another (score!). I was awarded the job and worked with Jay and the art director, Rich Matheson, and we shot it this past January. I had a blast working with those guys and hoping to visit Madison again very soon. Hopefully when it won’t be -15 degrees outside.
The challenging aspect of shooting small, furnished interiors are exactly that, they’re small and furnished (furnished in this context means that there is existing furniture and I don’t have the option to switch out anything). It’s these restrictions that I enjoy. Limited space, limited light, specific client needs etc… It’s figuring out how all of these pieces fit together and how it works best. Remember that scene in Apollo 13 where they have to create an air filter out of existing parts from the lunar module? It’s sort’ve like that but the consequences are different, only by a little.
This was the challenge when the good people at mcgarrybowen asked me to shoot the national branding images for Residence Inn’s newly redesigned hotel rooms. All of the interior images, and fire pit image, are from out shoot. The goal was to convey the spaciousness of the rooms. As far as hotel rooms go they are quite spacious but photographically, not so much. Personally I do not like extreme wide angle lenses and the drastic perspective they create. I knew I needed to figure out a way to shoot the rooms so they appeared spacious without that exaggerated perspective (ah, the restrictions, albeit, partly self imposed.) When it comes to composition it’s the very minor perspective shifts that aren’t even noticeable, without close examination or trained eye. I believe it is a subconscious reaction that something is different but you’re not sure what. Subtlety is the key (this is more evident in the one point perspective compositions). By using a tilt/shift lens system, with a mid-wide lens, I was able to shift around capturing different pieces of the room, but the lens stays in place, and we stitched those views together. This has multiple effects. By using a longer lens the room appears compressed and your eye is able to focus on all aspects of the room plus we achieve our wide view. The compression does make the room seem a little smaller, compared to using a super wide lens, but we found the right balance that we were happy with. Not too small, no exaggerated perspective, just right. Not all of the images were captured using this technique but we did utilize it on the “hero” image you see on Residence Inn’s homepage.