Calm your fears of becoming like your parents with the help of Dr. Rick from Progressive Insurance. Dr. Rick’s new book, Dr. Rick Will See You Now: A Guide to Un-Becoming Your Parents, is a handy guide filled with strategies, exercises, and the advice you need to become less like your parents every single day.
The images for Dr. Rick’s book were photographed by Falmouth, Mass.-based lifestyle photographer Leah Fasten. With a background in improvisation theater, Leah has woven her experience in psychology, interpersonal relationships, and her passion for photography into a career.
Sweet Rickey, a Boston-based media production company, produced this print project for Arnold Worldwide, the Boston-based ad agency behind the Progressive Insurance advertisements. Generally, Leah partners with Sweet Rickey for motion projects and was delighted to work with them on the print project.
They reached out to me knowing that I have experience in improv theater and the local comedy scene.
Dr. Rick is a fictional “self-help coach” seen in many Progressive Insurance commercials. With a tough-love attitude, Dr. Rick’s approach is intended to help prevent millennials from making the same mistakes their parents did when buying their first home.
For the book, Dr. Rick Will See You Now: A Guide to Un-Becoming Your Parents, Leah was given the assignment of taking really “bad” photos that Dr. Rick would perceive as really good.
The photos were used to support the comedy of the book and add to Dr. Rick’s humor.
With her experience as a performing member of the improv troupe, Improv Cape Cod, Leah is able to add an element of fun and humor into her photographic work by incorporating improvisational games and techniques.
Since the creative team was looking for someone who could take “bad” photographs, Leah almost didn’t get the job because the creative team was concerned that her work was too good.
The team at Sweet Rickey knew my process and knew I would love the challenge of making “bad” pictures
Everyone involved in the project knew they wanted “bad” photographs, but they collectively had to define what that meant. Leah helped define what “bad” meant by going through her archive of outtakes, iPhone images, and other “bad” photos to come up with a treatment.
The shoot took place over two very hot summer days in a location north of Boston. For day one, Leah used a home in a suburban neighborhood, setting up shots throughout the home and yard.
The weather forecast for day two called for thunderstorms and posed a potential challenge since the day’s shot list was scheduled to take place outdoors in an urban area. Ten minutes after the production wrapped, the skies opened up.
On set were the production crew from Sweet Ricky, the agency creative team, Leah’s crew, a styling team, and talent including a few very funny improv performers as the subjects. A video village was set up so the client could stream in to be part of the fun.
I’m not sure what it says about me, but I was able to coach everyone in postures and mannerisms that were pretty unflattering, and in those poses we found comedy.
Since Leah approached this project as a character, she spent time looking at local photographers’ advertising, using their websites, brochures, and writing style as inspiration for her treatment. She studied their lighting usage and how they posed their subjects.
Looking through the shot list, Leah laughed because seeing things like Tupperware-filled draws and shell-shaped soaps in the bathroom were very familiar to her.
The biggest challenge was forgetting what I know about lighting and photography. I approached this production from the place of someone else’s idea of what good photography is, even though it was bad.
Leah enjoyed capturing images for Dr. Rick’s book, as the unique assignment allowed her to integrate her love for improv with her passion for photography, reminding her that she can approach photography with the same sense of humor that she brings to her improv performances.
While perfection can often become the defining factor in creative endeavors, taking “bad” photos allowed Leah to think outside the box and push herself even further.
Once we give up the fear of failure we can take all kinds of creative risks and then meet the new work in a new place creatively.
See more of Leah’s images on her Instagram.