Category Client Work

Cinematic, environmental portraits

I love creating environmental portraits.  That’s good, because I make an awful lot of these as a commercial photographer.

One challenge when doing such location portraits is that the benefit—the environment, which can offer very cool, very visually striking contextual cues—can also be a severe liability.  Imagine showing up to a shoot to find you are limited to shooting portraits inside a tiny conference room with orange walls, or in the middle of summer using an interior of a steel shipping container (both are recent examples).

So what do you do when the environment detracts from,  instead of adds to, your portraits?

I opt to shoot portraits with very shallow depth of field, in order to throw my distracting backgrounds out of focus.  Then I carefully add in lights to create depth and color as needed. Given the time of day or the situation, this may require using ND (neutral density) filters or high-speed sync to achieve this look, but it’s worth the extra effort.

The results are tack-sharp portraits that pop from the soft background, minimizing the things I don’t want while giving a sort of cinematic feel that I love.

 

 

 

 

Mass Casualty Drill at Maine Med

mass casualty drill

Early last fall, I completed a fun (but hectic) project for Maine Medical Center that I can now share. It was a readiness drill simulating a mass casualty incident involving biological or chemical contamination, as in a spill, industrial accident or terrorist incident.  Involving dozens of medical staff, doctors, students volunteering as mock patients, observers and hospital administration, these types of drills give the hospital staff hands-on practice coordinating assets to triage, decontaminate and treat an overwhelming number of patients.

 Much of my daily work is very purposeful and planned, so going into a large scenario like this one was like stepping back into my newspaper photojournalism days.

It was fast-paced and fun, at least for me (I’m not sure the college kids being scrubbed down in decontamination showers would say the same).

These images became part of the documentation used by the hospital to certify their ability to respond to significant mass casualty events.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Image Library

The best thing about my job as a photographer—aside from the interesting and creative people I get to work with on a daily basis—has to be the cool locations I get to photograph in.

A few months ago, I photographed a project for a large medical advocacy group that involved the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. I’ve photographed hospitals on both coasts but I’ve never seen a medical lab setup like they have at the Laboratory for Clinical Genomics and Advanced Technologies (CGAT)—two wings full of technicians, scientists and analysis equipment.

I finally can show some of the work from that quick—but very intense—shoot, all done while the busy lab remained in full operation:

 

dartmouth medical center

 

 

 

 

Annual Report Imagery: Maine Technology Institute

Annual reports are a comprehensive report on a company’s activities over the past year. As such, they can be dry and tedious to read. The right imagery and a talented team of graphic designers, therefore, are critical to making an annual report something special: at once a showcase and a way to powerfully communicate the company’s core mission and impact.

I’m excited to be able to share the results of a collaboration with Portland-based branding firm Visible Logic last year: annual report images for the Maine Technology Institute (MTI).

MTI offers funding (primarily loans and grants, but also investments) to innovative Maine companies for research and innovation projects. To date, they have funded more than 2,000 projects across the state and invested close to $230 million.

Showcase: SMCC Marine Sciences

SMCC
Brian Tarbox, Marine Science instructor at SMCC.

Most of the work I do involves telling the story of people at work, usually in changing and varied environments. I can think of few environments nicer than being out on Casco Bay on a hazy, sunny spring morning.

Recently I spent a morning on a boat operated by the Southern Maine Community College Marine Science program. Instructor Brian Tarbox led a group of students as they performed a routine survey of Casco Bay, sampling water temperatures and collecting other data.

Many people might be surprised to know what a great, and affordable, educational resource SMCC is. Situated on a beautiful stretch of waterfront in South Portland (formerly the site of Fort Preble) it offers coastal views that any college–community college or university–would envy.

Here are some more images of SMCC.

 

Students aboard the SeaWolf pass by Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse.

 

 

 

 

 

Crystal Williams, Boston University

Boston University

I had the pleasure of photographing poet Crystal Williams, just recently named as Boston University’s first associate provost for diversity and inclusion.  Williams, previously a professor at Bates College in Lewiston, is a talented poet (here she is reading one of her powerful works).

 

The assignment was to photograph Williams with just a simple, plain background, relying purely on expression and pose to convey her personality.   I love getting to know and work with people in this way.   Here are a few of the images I liked most from our session, below.

 

 

 

Boston University

 

Boston University

 

Boston University

Client Work: People and Spaces, reimagined

Dunham Group

I recently wrapped up an ad campaign for NAI The Dunham Group in Maine that I’m so happy to be able to share.

If you were to look through my portfolio you’d find…people.  Portraits, candid moments, people doing interesting things.    I’m often called on to photograph locations and spaces for my clients, as well—everything from straight architectural views to images that show spaces being used—lived in, enjoyed, worked in.    While architectural work is technically challenging and I enjoy making images that showcase the feel and mood of a space, I loved this campaign for The Dunham Group because it humanizes the spaces in a unique way.

The concept was to photograph marque properties in the Portland, Maine area in a way that showed how they integrate into the neighborhoods around them.  Instead of focusing on the buildings themselves, my idea was to show the way life—people—flowed around them.  The structures ended up being a key element of each image, but they served more as the backdrop to the activity and life that was the real focus of the image.  I worked with East Shore Studio and Print to conceive of and execute the plan, which involved shooting hundreds of images of the spaces and then compositing them together in an interesting way.

From my perspective, the results achieve the main goal of any image I make: to convey a certain feeling and a sense of context and connection.  Doing so  takes an image from just a static ‘beauty’ shot to something that tells a compelling story.

Here are a couple of the images from the now-complete campaign.   Enjoy!

Dunham Group

Client Work: iBec Creative

ibec creative

One of my favorite things about commercial photography is working with agencies like iBec Creative, a web design and digital marketing agency located in Portland, Maine. I’ve worked with iBec and owner Becky McKinnell to create original imagery for their clients for several years and it’s always been an enjoyable partnership.

The difference this winter, of course, is that I had the opportunity to turn my lens on iBec itself. The company has grown impressively over the past decade and now wanted some imagery that showcased their greatest assett—their people—and the environment in which they do their work.

I spent just a portion of one day with the team; with the goal of producing editorial-style images and portraits that captured the energy, environment and feeling of working there.

Some clients prefer having a firm shot list in mind for a shoot, but iBec was comfortable with letting me photograph whatever I wanted, and to tell their story in my own way.

Here are a few of the final images—a sort of a ‘day in the life’ of a modern creative workplace.  Enjoy!

 

ibec creative

ibec creative

ibec creative

ibec creative

ibec creative

iBec Creative

 

 

Showcase: GMRI

GMRI

I’m excited to share a small project I worked on last year with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), based in Portland, ME.

I’m used to working with education clients, but GMRI is unique. They manage to blend their missions of performing world-class science and cultivating scientific literacy, all while working with Maine’s coastal communities whose economies rely on Maine’s coastal fisheries.

The institute’s facility stands along a stretch of Portland’s working waterfront.  It’s a busy stop for fifth-grade schoolchildren from around Maine who experience the hands-on, high-tech lab known as LabVenture.  Meanwhile, researchers collect samples of acquatic life in Casco Bay, do cutting-edge research on the marine ecosystem, and work with fishermen, retailers, restaurateurs and others whose livelihood depends upon the health of the coastal waters.

GMRI