Atlanta, Georgia-based photographer Gregory Miller’s images for Swiss company Schindler offer glimpses of rapid transit modernization. The photos which were shot for Schindler’s annual report showcase the company’s renovations and upgrades to elevators, escalators, and moving walks throughout Atlanta during the pandemic.
Gregory had never worked with Schindler or Christoph Stalder, the designer on the project, before but was recommended to Schindler’s creative team by their writer. In addition to conveniently being based in Atlanta, Gregory has experience shooting people on location, and his photographic style won over the team.
The writer who was based in NYC was familiar with my work and had worked on the previous year’s annual report. She knew they were shooting in Atlanta and put my work in front of the team.
The photos were captured in MARTA rapid transit stations throughout Atlanta, which were all being renovated by construction workers at the time. Due to the pandemic, the stations were mostly empty as people stayed home, and public transit ridership plummeted.
These were active construction sites, as Schindler is modernizing the elevator and escalator equipment over a ten-year period. Our time above ground was pleasant, but underground, the stations were ghost towns.
Schindler’s creative team had an idea of how they wanted the images to look and requested that Gregory capture the feeling of movement through long exposures of people moving through the stations.
It was a little challenging because there were so few people in the stations. I ended up putting myself and my crew in a few. I’d press the start on the intervalometer with a long shutter speed, and we’d move across the frame.
Both the client and designer were based in Switzerland and weren’t attending the shoot in person, so Gregory would get the shots and share previews of the images with the designer in real-time to get feedback.
I would shoot images, take a few pics of the back of my camera using my phone and share the photos using WhatsApp. There was a tremendous time difference, but the designer was quick to reply — even when he was wrapping up his day and getting into bed!
After the shoot, Gregory edited a few images into composites to achieve the desired look and delivered all unretouched photos to the client. The images were then finalized and used to design the company’s 2020 annual report.
I delivered all the RAW images for the final post to be done in Switzerland. However, I was asked to pull together my selects and composite a few from each shot for client approval.
In addition to the photos of equipment and people within the stations, Gregory shot a few portraits of the company’s employees. This allowed him to get to know the people at work and learn more about what they do.
The people who install and maintain elevators and escalators are hard-working people with a deep understanding of engineering. And some of the stories they tell about incidents (however rare) may make you want to take the stairs!
Photographer: Gregory Miller
Client: Heidi Muff-Schelbert, Communications Manager, Schindler
Designer: Christoph Stalder
Writer: Stephanie Rebonati
Production Coordinator: Erin Kasari
Hair and Makeup: Chelsea Kimrey
Photo Assistant: Chris Spinel
Talent: Rhianna and Quinton, Ursula Wiedmann Models