Earlier this Summer I was contacted by the VP of Sales/Mktg of a very large Corporation that was looking to move from a staunch corporate head shot, to photos that sang to a tune of "wicked smart people who visualize, collaborate, and realize potential in themselves and others". Said VP ended her Facebook message with a, "you game?".
A few observations: I could tell she "got it" immediately. One would be inclined to write off the informality of the method of communication (Facebook) as someone not serious. That's not how I interpreted it. What I saw was a progressive thinking, relevant, creative and energetic Corporate VP who was SERIOUS about the new rebrand of the corporate aesthetic. She came to me where I was putting most of my time and attention: Facebook. My second observation: I can do whatever I want with these photos. She reached out to me outside of the email inbox and that was a clear invite to think out of the box. This excited me. It's not every day you get to feel this free in corporate photography...if ever. I'm excited to share my approach to this photography assignment because it is an exact recreation of my immediate inspiration to her email. I knew upon reading her message that I wanted something professional, approachable, sexy*, that could be used across many platforms.*sexy: I often use this word to describe a feel and vibe in my images. It has nothing to do with the provocative but more so represents something mysterious, passionate, confident and, for lack of a better word, making someone look ridiculously good looking.Anyways, you know what to do: click and scroll --->>>
This Summer I worked on a brand campaign with 20+, a young adult movement, to create imagery for their November 17th event at Pantages Theater. To be more specific about who 20+ is, they are a Christian organization of faded denim, leather and heart. They are a group of people who love those who have been swallowed into the shadows of society. They love the famous, but even more, they love the faceless. The leadership for 20+ had a clear vision. That was to reach the heart of every young adult in Minneapolis. It's attractive to have celebrities at your event, but Jesus attracted, and was attracted to, the faceless: The outcasts, the criminals, the thugs, and the scarlet letters. To create images that resonated with this mission statement, the leadership and I came up with a riot theme! Riots are about standing up for a belief in great numbers, intensity and visibility. If you want to meet someone who is passionate about something (not always for good), go to a riot. That is what 20+ is all about. About standing up for their beliefs and the people of MPLS with great urgency, compassion, conviction and confidence.
To make this photoshoot look real, we had to make sure we found the right place! I knew of an abandoned brewery in town but knew it'd be illegal to enter. So I called my friend over at the local PD and within a few days Kirk (founder of 20+) and I had a police escort driving us around the cities, and into the brewery itself. The brewery ended up being a fit! So we called a bunch of really cool looking people, rented a 3000watt (massive) fog machine and pretty soon we were in business...or were we. You see, not everyone I photograph is comfortable or reacts naturally to being photographed. After all, it's a very unnatural thing...directing and vision is EVERYTHING when shooting concepts. In this case, having a specific vision was paramount in communicating to the "talent" what to do and what we were looking for in order to make this RIOT look real. My advice: ALWAYS have a vision. That vision is also what makes you YOU!
It was the honor of my life to collaborate with this group of passionate and talented men/women and I'm SO excited to share the images shot for this campaign.
20+ FALL w/ CARL LENTZ [HILLSONG NYC]
MONDAY || NOVEMBER 17 || 6:30PM
PANTAGES THEATER || FREE
710 HENNEPIN AVENUE, MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55403
Hundreds of young adults from the Twin Cities getting together for the greatest party of the season!