Bring In The Clouds!

I have always said “Life is good if you love what you do…” and even after all these years (and the occasional bitching and moaning I have been known to do every once and while when things don’t go exactly the way I want) I can still say that I do love what I do. I recently shot a job that could have turned out a lot different if I had simply stuck with the cards that were dealt to me, but instead I pushed a bit and turned a crappy situation into a pretty cool shot.

BusinessWeek SmallBiz hired me to shoot the founders of First Global Shipping…a kind of international messenger service that operates like FedEx, but uses commercial airlines to move their packages. FGX lives up to what SmallBiz is all about…it’s a very small business! When I checked the place out on a scout, I found that they operate their entire operation out of a small, unadorned loft in Chelsea. Nothing glitzy, fancy or even remotely interesting in terms of a photographic setting…so I had to come up with something a bit more showy. I convinced Kathy Moore, my photo editor, that I could pull off a bit of fun, but she would hafta open up the purse…I needed a backdrop and a bunch of airplanes!

When we returned, the only space big enough for our purposes was their ‘light-ops’ area…this is where they log in shipments before they get sent to the local airports for transport. This more or less meant we would be shutting them down for as long as we were setting up and shooting. And of top of everything else, we basically had to push everything in the entire area out of the way and up against the walls in order to make the space usable.

With the background in place, we then had to suspend the toy airplanes…..I hafta admit…this part of the exercise was not thought out as well as it could have been, but I always carry way more stuff than I need and we managed to rig everything…eventually!

Bo & Kaz as stand-ins….notice how Bo never looks at the lens when I fire up the ring light!

The two founders of FGX, James Dowd and Justin Brown, were really into the whole idea…..small business guys are like that…they don’t have a team of p/r guys overthinking every little thing that may or may not happen based on what they do in the public eye. I can guarantee the Chairman of FedEx wouldn’t pose with toy airplanes! But FGX ain’t that kinda company yet. In fact, their communication manager, Chevon Drew, was Twittering the entire time we were shooting and later put the whole thing up on the FGX Blog!

James & Justin lovin’ the business!

The story came out this month in SmallBiz…..you can check it out…HERE!

And this is how it all came together in the end…..

To see the BIG version of the final image, click HERE!

Long day…fun shoot…and I still get off on how I make a buck!

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10 thoughts on “Bring In The Clouds!

  1. Brad-
    I REALLY enjoyed reading this blog! Your creativity is what it’s all about. This scenario applies to so many different situations in life! Big, gigantic, huge, large, no….extra large Kudos to you! Way to go! Beautiful outcome indeed!

    Jules – just haning in Memphis.

  2. Great stuff. Been about 10 years since I liked what I did for a living. Must be nice.

  3. Very cool, Brad.

    Maybe this is a stupid question, but why go to all the trouble of hanging the toy planes? Why not PhotoShop them in later?

    Here’s the thing…sure, I could have bought one airplane and fudged it to make it appear to have been a fleet of planes in the sky, but that’s not how I operate and honestly, when you put people into a slightly weird situation like this, things tend to happen that you can’t expect. If I had just dropped them in front of a sky backdrop and told them to imagine airplanes all around them I doubt I would have been able to get the same feeling out of either of them. BT

  4. Excellent Brad!
    I have worked in big business so long, I was starting to think that people stopped thinking outside of the box. I know I do more than my fair share outside of the office, but I am not seeing any creativity inside the office any more.
    Keep doing what you love, I hope to find that one day.

  5. What a fun post this is. You, Koz and Bo did an beautiful job. Not to mention you made both Justin and James feel at ease. They had a great time during the photo shoot.

    I think the website redesign suits you. You’ll need this blog to talk to all the fans of Damn Ugly Photography;-)

    The last frontier is… Twitter. You said you weren’t into stuff like that but here you are with a redesigned site and a WordPress blog.

    Tweet,Tweet Brad!

    -Chevon

    Twitter.com/shipgreener
    http://www.FGX.com
    http://www.ShipGreener.com

  6. Nice job Photoboy!! I knew you were a little more creative than you appear. I’m sure this will go right to your head, to keep it in the sky with the planes.
    New website is fabulous…Very professional…Very cool!

  7. I loved your blog, Brad! I know you will continue to love what you are doing, because you rarely experience the same thing twice in your job and it is never boring. You shoot so many interesting people and places and get to do your own thing. You will continue to evolve!

  8. I made a mistake in my previous comment.
    Sorry Kaz, for spelling your name incorrectly!

    Please accept this rose along with my apology:

    / / \
    / / \
    \ \ /
    \_\__/
    \\
    -\\ ___
    \\ / /
    __ \\/___/
    \ \ -//
    \___\//-
    -//
    \\
    //
    //-
    -//
    //
    \\

    XoXo,

    Chevon

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