Category On Assignment

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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Showcase: Portland Boxing Club

I’m fortunate that I get to meet a lot of very interesting and very cool people in the course of my daily work as a commercial photographer in Maine.  Every person has their own unique story and are fascinating in their own special way.  

Some just happen to work in environments that take ‘interesting’ to another level.  The Portland Boxing Club, a 1900s-era former wood-drying kiln set tucked behind Morrell’s Corner in Portland, is one such place. It’s there, enclosed by thick brick walls and floors of concrete, sweltering in the summer and freezing in winter, that Head Coach and owner Bob Russo has honed fighters of all ages and sexes for almost 30 years. On concrete and on the canvas, they strengthen their bodies and toughen their minds.

I’m excited to release this short video profile of Coach Russo. This was originally done as part of a larger piece on the gym for Inspire Maine several years ago but edited recently. Enjoy!

Client Work: ReEnergy Holdings

Renewable Energy

With the latest boom in commercial and residential construction, have you ever wondered what happens to all of the tons of used (or unused), broken or left-over materials used in the building industry?  Some of it ends up in landfills, but much of it—wiring, piping, metals, wood—can be recycled, resold and reused.

I recently finished a project for ReEnergy Holdings, photographing their recycling operations throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. These facilities process tons of construction material and repurpose what they can.  It’s often a dirty, dusty, mucky job but one I’m glad they are there to do.

Location work like this is challenging because it requires creating great images no matter the situational challenges that arise.   At busy industrial facilities like these, the machinery can’t just stop while I set up lights and get everything just right. It’s more of a run-and-gun situation, photographing people and processes as they happen and making lemonade out of lemons (I’m into recycling, too). The primary challenge is to take advantage of the visual opportunities that are there—even when they don’t easily present themselves—and stay on the move….all while dodging moving trucks, loaders, and spinning machinery.

The shoots were done indoors and outdoors, in dry, extremly dusty conditions and on days that it was pouring rain and the mud was several inches thick. I’ve found that extreme situations such as these, though unforgiving on cameras and lenses, offer plenty of visual gold.  Enjoy!

 

 



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.

Showcase: Tyler Technologies

 

Tyler Technologies
Tyler Technology’s new expansion at their Yarmouth campus totals more than 94,000 square feet.

 

Happy to be able to show some of the work I’ve been doing for Freeport-based Zachau Construction. They recently had me photograph the recently-completed $24 million expansion of Tyler Technologies’ Yarmouth, ME campus, looking to capture the unique feel and design both inside and out.

Architecture seems like a departure from my portrait work, but I think it’s not as different as it seems. Location and context have always been key components of my work, whether featuring people or spaces (sometimes with people in them). Creative use of light is always an important element as well, as is the combining of existing, ambient lighting with flash in an artful, storytelling way.

Buildings and spaces tell stories about the people who design them, live in them and and work in them. The process of architecture work is a bit different, and often more technical, than portrait photography but the goalto convey a mood and a feeling, and to capture a moment.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Arrested: Stories Behind the Badge

Maine Cops
Pete Herring, District Game Warden with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, photographed at Lake Arrowhead in Southern Maine.  Herring retrieved the drowned body of 15-year-old Jaden Dremsa in the lake after a nine-day search.  “It takes you out of the uniform of a game warden and into the clothes of a parent,” he said of the case. “The search united the community. It touched the whole community. Being able to watch the family process it, it helped me to process things too.”  Herring spent 18 years in the Maine Department of Corrections as a prison guard and an investigator before becoming a game warden in 2009.

I didn’t initially set out to photograph Maine cops.

As a newspaper photojournalist I spent years covering fatal car accidents, fires and the occasional armed standoff. My interactions with police were polite, professional and purely transactional. It’s fair to say that we viewed each other with a healthy wariness that at times seemed adversarial. My job as I saw it, on the behalf of the public’s right to know, was to make the images that would best tell the story. As far as I could tell at the time, a cop’s job was to thwart my ability to easily do so. To be fair, I imagine that to them I was a pain in the ass at best, an annoying gnat with a press pass. A problem that sometimes made their jobs a lot harder.

We coexisted, at times uneasily. I certainly encountered many officers who treated me fairly. They taught me a lot about professionalism and coolness under pressure. I realized: It takes a certain kind of person to put on a badge, strap a gun to their hip and patrol dark streets. Cops are like you and me, but they aren’t. They belong to a unique tribe of men and women that is often closed to outsiders. Whether seen as heros or opressors the reality is that a badge carries more weight than the metal it’s made of.

Maine Cops
“I had two goals at that point: I wanted to try to help this woman get out of this life and I wanted to find the guy that did this to her. I just thought to myself, this is supposed to be a peaceful place and it’s so isolated, dark, and pitch-black down here. She must have been scared to death.”
Detective Sgt. Steve Webster (ret.), a 30-year veteran of the South Portland police department, discussing an incident where a female prostitute was beaten by her john and left for dead among the gravestones at South Portland’s Forest City Cemetery.

Back in 2004, I was embedded with Army Reserve’s 737th Transportation Company in the Middle East. I found the soliders, wary of my presence at first, relaxed once they got to know me. The stories I wrote were less about what they did and why they did it—why they had made the choice to serve thousands of miles from home, to say goodbye to their families for months or years at a time. I enjoyed getting to know the people they were and no matter my personal thoughts on the war it changed my perspective on soliders—and by extension, cops—forever.

Years later, living in Maine, I met and photographed South Portland Detective Sgt. Steve Webster (now retired) for a book he’d written about a case involving a little girl who he’d promised to find justice for (he did). He handed me a signed copy of his book and I read it. Somewhere in the back of my mind, the idea of making portraits of officers at the exact locations where they had experienced life-changing, career-changing incidents was born.

I met with Webster and the idea gelled further. He encouraged me to expand the idea—to photograph officers from various types of agencies across the geographic span of the state.

“The biggest problem you’ll have,” he said, “is that cops don’t like to talk.” That was an understatement. He agreed to introduce me to Pete Herring, a Maine Warden. Pete introduced me to York County Deputy Steven Thistlewood. And one opened the door for another, as slowly I met and photographed officers from Acton to Ashland.

It remains an incomplete project. There are 146 law enforcement agencies in Maine, employing more than 2500 police officers, according to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics’ 2008 Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies.

I’ve photographed less than a dozen.

I’ve had conversations with them about events that happened months or in many cases years before, but it might have been yesterday. The trauma is still fresh, the wound still raw: moments where time is measured in milliseconds and layered with sound, color and smell. Winslow Chief Shawn O’Leary recalls the moment he fired at a man threatening him with a knife, the slide of his weapon ejecting spent casings and smoke as if in super slow motion; the billowing puffs of the man’s shirt as the rounds impacted. One. Two. Three.

Maine Cops
Shawn O’Leary, Chief of Police for Winslow, Maine. O’Leary started his career as a patrol officer in Brunswick, Maine and eventually retired as a lieutenant. He later worked as a captain for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department before becoming Winslow’s police chief in 2014.
In 1997, O’Leary shot and killed a man who attacked him with a knife. Later he was sued by the man’s family.
“I felt that the experience made me grow even though it was really hard. I think the toughest things that you go through in life make you stronger, and I’m a fighter. I hit some deep low places for some years with my career and with my wife and my kids. But I (wasn’t) going to let the bastard win. I think I also owed it to everybody that was still [in the police department] because in the event that it happened again, I’d be there.”
I chose to photograph them in the same locations where the painful or meaningful events happened to them—either the same spot or as close to them as possible. Forest Ranger Bill Greaves stands on the gravelly outline where the trailer once stood that housed the man who shot him and a deputy in 1989. Marine Patrol Corrie Roberts sways on the deck of her bobbing patrol boat, the Protector, yards from the spot where she leapt onto the deck of a runway lobster boat whose owner had died of a heart attack at the helm.

Sgt. Steven Thistlewood wipes tears from his eyes on the spot where 12 years earlier—almost to the day—he and his partner shot and killed a man who was trying his best to end their lives. It’s the first time he’s revisited the site.

Maine Warden Pete Herring braces himself in a blowing snowstorm on the shores of Lake Arrowhead, where months earlier he had recovered the body of a drowned teenager.

All of these men and women have incredible stories, each tied indelibly to the places in Maine where they happened. Each story, and each officer is as unique and varied as the geography of this state.

It’s my hope that seeing the stories and viewing the images will give a better connection to, and understanding of, the men and women who put their bodies and lives on the line for the public good.

Cops are people, which means there are good ones and bad ones. Lucky and unlucky ones. But read the stories and look at the portraits and ask yourself: if you wore that badge and were in their shoes, what would you have done?

To see the images, please click here.

Maine Cops
“That’s the thing about law enforcement officers. We file things. I have seen, smelled and touched so many things that people could never imagine. We just file it. We deal with it. At some point it starts to eat at you.” ⠀ ⠀ Sgt. Steven Thistlewood has spent 18 years with the York County Sheriff’s Department. He found himself reflecting on an incident in 2003 when he was forced to use deadly force on a mentally-ill man attacking him with a gun. “I grew up wanting to be a flight paramedic. That was what I was going to do. You know—save lives—and here I (was) taking a life.” ⠀ ⠀ Part of a photo project on Maine law officers and the hazards they encounter on duty.

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

Client Showcase: Architectural Images for Zachau Construction

maine architectural images

I’m happy to show off architectural images I recently completed for Freeport, ME-based Zachau Construction, a builder of some very cool and unique properties in Maine and elsewhere.

The wide-ranging project included architectural imagery of some of their projects to showcase on their website.  Some of the images involved photographing people in the environment and others were more ‘straight’ architecture.

Now that the work has been published, I can release some of it here. I really enjoy the technical challenges inherent in doing this kind of work for my clients.

 

maine architectural images

 

 

maine architectural images

 

maine architectural images

 

maine architectural images

 

maine architectural images