Category Blog

Showcase: Mad Patti Hat Co.

Mad Patti Hat Co

A couple of months ago, just as the weather was warming up and widespread vaccinations were becoming the norm, I met and photographed Meg Patti, owner of Mad Patti Hat Company, at her studio in Brunswick, ME for the June issue of Down East Magazine.

Meg is a hat maker, which is kind of like saying Tesla is involved in the transportation business. While true, it doesn’t capture the detailed craftsmanship or the unique, one-of-a-kind hats that Patti hand-makes and ships to clients throughout the United States.

Part of her unique process is to ‘age’ each hat, giving each–as she says–their own stories. Lucky for me, that process involves at one stage the strategic application of fire to burn off the wool peach fuzz and create other effects that, once applied, make each hat a one-off instance of wearable art.

The profile is featured in the June, 2021 edition of Down East Magazine. Watch the video below to hear Patti talk about her creative process.

 

Hatmaker
Hatmaker
Hatmaker

Fitzgerald Photo: new look, new work

female lobsterman

I’m proud and excited to relaunch the Fitzgerald Photo website with a brand-new look and lots of new work, including commercial video production.


Primarily, I’m a portrait photographer who is known for producing impactful work on location. With my photojournalism background I consider more of a storyteller—whether conveyed through environmental portraiture or in the form of a multiple-image photo essay.


On the website I’m introducing video work for the first time. I decided to add motion because of the unique storytelling aspects that motion imparts to my work. The still image is incredibly powerful, but sometimes stories are best told in sequences with motion and audio. It’s yet another set of tools that can help me to tell more impactful, powerful stories for my clients.  


Stay tuned for more motion projects, and new work from Fitzgerald Photo.

Not sure how to incorporate video into your content marketing? Contact Fitzgerald Photo. We can help!

Showcase: ReEnergy biomass energy producer

Last fall, I spent a few days photographing several biomass facilities for ReEnergy Holdings, an energy producer based in New York.  I’ve worked with ReEnergy for several years to create a library of images for use in their ongoing marketing efforts. The idea was to photograph their facilities and the work being done there in a way that captured the mood, atmosphere and scale of their various locations throughout New England.  I love being able to show the gritty details of hard work through commercial and industrial photography. My approach is to keep things as authentic and real as possible while adding light in a believable way, in order to augment and help tell the story.  As with all such work, time is always at a premium and the ability to be efficient and focused is absolutely critical.  

biomass worker

Power Generator

power worker

Energy worker

biomass

Energy Worker

Energy worker

Maine Gives Back, 2020 Edition

Linda Holtslander
Linda Holtsinger, 77, Preble Street Resource Center volunteer. ©Brian Fitzgerald

Fundamentally, making a difference starts with doing something that has an impact on someone else. This may entail something huge and world-changing (think of something like Matt Damon’s Water.Org), but more typically it’s a small kindness, a comment, a small gesture extended from one person to another. Small acts of this sort occur all around us, and they usually remain unseen and unknown except by those directly involved.

That’s why I loved being part of Down East Magazine’s annual “Maine Gives Back” feature published this November. I got to meet and photograph three remarkable Mainers whose efforts are changing the lives of others: 77-year-old soup kitchen volunteer Linda Holtsinger, who despite the pandemic never misses a day of volunteering; Rose Barboza, a mother who decided to create the nonprofit website Black Owned Maine as her contribution to racial and social justice; and Elizabeth McLellan, whose Portland-based nonprofit Partners for World Health distributes donations of needed medical supplies around the world.

Truly one of those assignments that energizes me and makes me feel better about humanity in general. Below are some of my images used in the issue, but read about many others in the November 2020 Down East Magazine feature, “Maine Gives Back”.



Elizabeth McLellan
Elizabeth McLellan in a warehouse filled with medical supplies destined for countries in need around the world. © Brian Fitzgerald


Rose Barboza
Rose Barboza, founder of Black Owned Maine. © Brian Fitzgerald

Fighting Cancer with a Warrior Spirit

Trevor Maxwell
Trevor Maxwell, founder of Man Up to Cancer.  Cape Elizabeth, ME.
© Brian Fitzgerald.

Mostly we experience all three in succession—phases, rather than permanent states. That certainly seems to be true of my friend Trevor Maxwell, the founder of Man Up to Cancer, a support network to connect men dealing with the disease.

I’ve known Trevor since we both worked as journalists at the Portland Press Herald, now officially a Long Time Ago. At different points in time and independent of each other we both ended up leaving the paper, and our journalism careers, deciding to strike out on our own—me as a commercial photographer; Trevor as a communications and media consultant.

He discovered, like me, that with age comes inevitable physical changes and health challenges. Unlike me, he was faced with a true monster—a stage IV colon cancer diagnosis in 2018 at the age of 41.

As he related later, the diagnosis hit him hard, with depression so strong on top of the physical sickness that confined him to bed on most days. Eventually, he made a promise to his family that he would get the help he needed to regain his mental and physical health.

Trevor Maxwell
© Brian Fitzgerald

Two years later—and despite the Covid-19 pandemic, no less, Trevor launched Man Up To Cancer, along with a podcast that continues to grow and support men who, like Trevor, once felt isolated and alone in their struggle. The company’s howling wolf logo and tagline, “Open Heart, Warrior Spirit” speaks to Trevor’s approach, somewhat unique among cancer support groups that tend to be softer, more feminine and involve pink ribbons.

Clearly, Trevor has decisively moved into a phase of purposeful action, even as he continues treatment for his own cancer. 

I photographed Trevor this summer near the grand oak tree that has stood on his family’s Cape Elizabeth property for decades (check out the moving, beautiful tribute created by Roger McCord). I’m inspired by seeing how far Trevor has come and how he’s made it his mission to help others using his own unique talents and voice.

In normal times that would be something special. In 2020, it seems downright heroic.

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Read more about Man Up to Cancer or  subscribe to the Man Up to Cancer podcast.

 

Showcase: The Women of the Maine Fisheries & Wildlife

Cartographer
Michele Watkins, GIS Specialist-Cartographer.  © Brian Fitzgerald

 

Beginning in 2019, I worked with the great people at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (MDIFW) to create location portraits for an ongoing recruitment campaign. These portraits were to feature the game wardens, biologists, educators, cartographers and others who together protect Maine’s wildlife, habitat and the people who enjoy them.

It’s hard to imagine it would be difficult to find people willing to sign up for a job where their office is the great outdoors, but being part of the MDIFW team also means sacrificing physical comfort—especially on winter days spent outside when the thermometer never breaks north of zero degrees. And as with any job in law enforcement, Maine game wardens must confront difficult and dangerous situations, often in remote places.

I spent some very cold days with a few of the MDIFW team members at several locations around central and southern Maine. It was a blast. My favorite kinds of portraits are those that rely on mood, connection and place to create a real moment and tell a story about a person and a place. I hope in some small way that these images successfully do just that. My hope is to capture a sense of each person’s personality while showing the variety of environments they work in—their ever-changing office—day in and day out, in every season of the year.

 
Maine Game Warden
Sarah Miller, Maine Game Warden.  © Brian Fitzgerald

 

 
wildlife biologist
Sarah Spencer, wildlife biologist.  ©Brian Fitzgerald

 

 
field biologist
Sarah Boyden, biologist.  © Brian Fitzgerald

 

wildlife biologist
Danielle D’Auria, wildlife biologist.  © Brian Fitzgerald

 

Marine Biologist
Liz Thorndike, fisheries biologist. © Brian Fitzgerald

 

Showcase: Work Lifestyle Shoot, Dunham Group

 

Tech Company
Guideline  | © Brian Fitzgerald

I’m happy to be able to show some of the work I did for NAI The Dunham Group and agency East Shore Studio & Print this past year.  The goal was to feature the commercial spaces of actual Dunham clients for an ongoing ad campaign.  Rather than photographing static rooms devoid of people, we tried to show how the spaces enable each business to do optimal work and thrive.    

When the ostensible subject of a photo shoot is an inanimate object (like a building, a space or a product), or some generic concept —technology services or real estate, for example—the best way to provide emotional connection is to show how the object, space or concept actually impacts people.  People just like you and me.    Every good sales professional knows:  focusing on features rather than benefits leads to more sales.   If you can show how something benefits people—or changes their lives, for better or worse—you create a more powerful, resonant image in people’s minds that stays with them.  

These are just simple images, but the concept and the goal are the same.  The following are part of the ad campaign, showing people at work in some prominent and growing Maine companies.  Two of those companies (clothing maker American Roots, of Westbrook and outdoor gear manufacturer Flowfold, of Gorham), have pivoted during the pandemic to produce PPE—protective gear-—for front-line workers and individuals.  The other is Guideline, a 401(k) technology solutions provider. 

Technology
Guideline, Portland, ME ©Brian Fitzgerald

 

Clothing Manufacture
American Roots and Flowfold © Brian Fitzgerald

 

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After the Shoot

construction silhouette

© Brian Fitzgerald

It’s a great feeling knowing that the shoot you’ve been planning for is complete. But just as the real work of planning begins long before the actual shoot date, there is still much work to be done after shoot day is over and the gear is packed away.

It may be days until clients get to see their images, but our job is just beginning. We start by archiving our precious files per our 3-2-1 system and scanning releases and other paperwork. Most critically, our post-shoot ritual involves a reflection on the shoot itself: the shoot post-mortem.

Post Mortem
The post-mortem is based on the After Action Report methodology used by the military and other organizations to retrospectively analyze our performance and improve it for the future benefit of our work and our clients. This is especially true when things don’t go according to plan (It’s important to note that this is a feature, not a bug; being flexible and able to pivot leads to often surprisingly great results). Discussing these unplanned events, as well as outright failures, leads to big leaps in understanding that help us when it comes to future projects.


We use checklists, write notes and have discussions about everything from subject interactions to shoot timing to gear performance. We’ll brainstorm how to improve in the future. These notes will be organized into actionable steps and to-do items that get added to our calendars and followed up on later.

Editing
Over the course of the next several days, we edit images using a multi-step culling process. First, we discard the obvious ‘bad’ images—out of focus frames, technical snafus, or closed eyes, for example. Subsequent editing rounds cull down even the largest shoots down to a manageable number that will in turn be toned and shared with clients so that they can make their final selections.

Post-Production
Once clients select their images, we process them for delivery and use. Our goal is not to make people look unrealistic and “Photoshopped”, but to apply toning and contrast, and clean up issues with skin, hair, or backgrounds. It may involve perspective correction and ‘merging’ multiple images together. More typically, it consists of mitigating skin blemishes, correcting skin tones and producing high-resolution image files that will reproduce well in print and online.

Image Delivery
Because our clients are businesses, agencies and creatives who utilize digital files for their own uses, we deliver high-resolution digital images optimized for their intended use.

We use Photoshelter.com for our client proofing galleries and also to deliver final electronic files to clients. We may utilize WeTransfer or Dropbox as well, depending on client needs. Photoshelter is a great, visual, easy-to-use system that works great for our clients in most situations.

Once files are delivered and in use, the shoot is over—yet the work of continual improvement continues. When we arrive at a shoot location, we bring with us the knowledge acquired from hundreds of previous shoots. Our clients benefit—as do we—from each part of our system having been tested and vetted through real-world application and use.

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Want to know more about our process? You might be interested in our posts on the right questions to ask yourself  before hiring a photographer ,   what to expect once you’ve hired a professional photographer  or what to expect when shoot day arrives

Enjoy it While it Lasts

Lake Kayak

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we’re already in mid-August and those of us in Maine know that means cooler days are not far away.

This summer of the pandemic has been strangely busy.   Busy,  primarily, because the work of a commercial photographer doesn’t just stop when things get slow; but also because I’ve been taking advantage of more time to start creative projects, edit my work and learn some new skills.  

Taking control of my own creativity, and reassessing the direction and trajectory of my business and my creative efforts, has been an unexpected benefit of these past few months.  


In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting some new images, along with updates on a brand-new portfolio of work that I’m pretty excited about sharing. In the meantime, as summer winds down I’m enjoying getting out and doing what I love—kayaking, hiking, and spending time with my family.

So here’s to using well the summer we have left to us, and being ready to create meaningful work when we all return. 


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