In case you’re wondering where that title comes from, allow me to explain. Stevie Chris’ studio is in Philly, and Diadora’s U.S. headquarters are just down the hall. Over time, Stevie got to know some of the people who work at Diadora and, after a few bonding sessions, began to land work with the Italian athletic brand.
Like with many jobs, it starts with meeting someone and creating a relationship. My man with Diadora, Bryan, and I started talking and connected about work and, funny enough, music. We both grow up in the northeast punk and hardcore scene. Once you connect with anyone about that history, you risk talking for hours at a time. Suffice it to say, we had like minds and vibed both idea-wise and visually.
While Diadora has been in the U.S. for some time, their main home is Italy, which makes the fact that Stevie got this gig pretty unique.
The creative pitch was pretty simple: clean and bold. Italy usually takes care of their stuff over there, so this was a good step for hopefully continuing to create visual branding assets for the company.
One of the neat aspects of being in the same building as a client of yours is it gives both parties the chance to spitball and exchange ideas at a moment’s notice. It can even happen in the middle of our photographer answering questions for the blog!
It’s great that they’re so close. It creates opportunities to toss around ideas on the fly somewhat often. In fact, as I’m writing this, they popped into my studio to throw something my way. Sometimes, the ideas are liked, [and] sometimes it’s kind of a, ‘that’s cool, but let’s keep it closer to this’ kind of deal.
Although Diadora is tring to gain a foothold in the U.S. market, this shoot was somewhat low-budget and had a loose, DIY feel to it. For example, Stevie himself served as the location scout, “riding [his] bike around [Philly] looking for something that popped.”
Because we are working with them from the ground up to grow the U.S. side of things, this shoot was a run-and-gun sort of scenario.
Hopefully, this leads to us getting more creative assignments sent over from Italy.
If Diadora’s reception of this imagery is any indication, Stevie will be working with them for years to come. The photos are set to appear in both the U.S. and Italy, giving Stevie’s work some intercontinental exposure. Another positive from this assignment was the fact that Stevie had all the creative freedom in the world. The next step was linking up with runners, and the people Stevie worked with were comfortable enough in their roles that he didn’t have to give much direction.
Diadora tries to make sure their subjects are people who actually participate in the sport at hand. [The runners] took direction on where to run, and honestly that was pretty much it. At times, I had to direct them with spacing and pace, but not too much.
With any sports work, I also generally try to shoot someone who knows the sport and can give me what I want energy-wise. I’m looking for someone who actively participates, whether they’re pro or amateur. If it’s just clothing in the studio where no real action is needed, I’ll probably use a model.
Even with the shoe-string budget, Stevie produced work that satisfied both him and the client. When I asked the commercial and advertising photographer which image was his favorite, he mentioned a couple of shots before settling on one in particular.
I love how everything came out. Out of the shots [Italy] selected for final delivery, there are a couple that I go back and forth on as far as which is my favorite.
I think I like the one of the subjects running past the cone-looking structure. I like how the light hits and that they’re in a good position to one another. As a whole, the tones of the composition worked out nicely.
It’s not often you get to call a client your next-door neighbor, never mind hitting it off with one of the client’s employees about specific musical tastes. Sometimes, things just work out. But what’s most important is that Stevie knows exactly how to elicit the proper emotion from his subjects, giving his imagery an air of authenticity that should lead to even more work with Diadora.
I can always direct for expressions, but the raw passion and energy you get from the athlete, that you simply cannot direct out of them. THAT’S what I look for subject-wise.
Diadora U.S. Marketing: Runhouse
Assistant: Jon Kuntz
See more of Stevie’s work at steviechris.com.
Explore our global network of photographers on our Find Photographers page!