Atlanta-based photographers Bagwell + Protasio delight the senses with a sweet and savory seasonal produce campaign for Publix grocery stores. The food photography enthusiasts, Iain Bagwell & Victor Protasio, enticed the palette through a flavorful assortment of crisp and fresh imagery in a campaign for Publix’s promotional recipe banners.
I’ve shot a considerable amount of editorial over the years and have always been enthusiastic to give the mundane, everyday objects a life of their own.
Bagwell + Protasio have enjoyed working with Publix for many years and have a great understanding of their needs and expectations. While the client has quite a few talented food photographers they work with regularly, Bagwell + Protasio always appreciate when they are commissioned to collaborate on a high profile shoot such as this one.
At the project’s onset, Publix asked the photographers to create promotional material for their seasonal produce. While there were quite a few different types of produce up for consideration, the southeastern American company wanted to create recipe images using their local hero produce: pears, peaches, squash, and radishes. Bagwell + Protasio were asked to pitch ideas for the range of Fall colored fruits and vegetables, while also maintaining the familiarity of the food in recipe form.
The main approach for the campaign consisted of using light and shadow to create depth which paired well with Bagwell + Protasio’s stylistic technique. During the course of his career, Iain was Director of Operations & Executive DOP at one of the world’s largest cookbook and magazine publishing companies. He’s also had the privilege of working with the entire range of stakeholders in the industry; from business owners, Presidents, VP’s, managers, and creative directors. Iain’s wealth of experience shooting for major global brands provides a level of expertise that enabled the client to trust he would take this project to the next level.
The client intended to use the images for hanging banners in store — with the still-life on the front side and the recipe on the back — which meant they would need to avoid having the same kind of food (i.e. desserts or entrees) and keep the impact of the photos as both still-life & recipes. They also had to keep in mind the banners were likely to have keywords printed over the image – taking up the centre of the image – so it made sense to create recipes that had a lot of repetition in them. After many different recipe ideas were pitched, the art director ultimately deferred to Iain for his vision and expertise.
To take an idea and be able to work so closely in tune with the food stylist, prop stylist, and art director, to create such stunning images is always rewarding.
The biggest challenge of the shoot was finding a common ground among what the brand manager envisioned versus what Iain and Victor found aesthetically pleasing as artists. While the unique irregularity of an item’s shape, color range, texture, etc. may be appealing to the photographers, sometimes a Brand Manager’s point of view can conflict with their vision.
The project took place five months ahead of the campaign which meant the fruits and vegetables were out of season – making it difficult to find acceptable produce to shoot. As it turned out, only about 10% of the shipped products ended up being usable.
Despite a few challenges, Bagwell+ Protasio’s knowledge of food photography coupled with the creative efforts of all involved resulted in a beautiful display of images – complementing the color and textures of the produce in both still-life and recipe form.
Victor & I have been doing this for so long, and seen so many trends come and go, I feel like we have always been on the crest of a creative wave.
Photographer: Bagwell + Protasio
Art Director: Jaime Mejia
Producers: Virginia Celoria & Jason Stephens
Food Stylists: Tami Hardeman & Keila Riveira
Prop Stylist: Lisa Mallot
Assistant: Alberto Filho
In-house Coordinator: Laurel Bozeman