One of the fun things about speaking with our members is learning what they did in a past life, and how they’ve turned that prior experience into photography gigs. Many of WM’s finest worked other jobs (in modern parlance, ‘ojos — a brilliant portmanteau courtesy of one of our publicists, Lindsay Thompson) before becoming full-time photographers.
Josh LeClair is a perfect example of someone who has used his background in a specific field to land shoots based around it. Since he’s been around medical equipment before, Josh can cash out that banked experience during a shoot — and has done so on many occasions.
I used to work full-time for a hospital, so I’ve been around this equipment a number of times. There’s so much stuff! The average person (or photographer) could spend hours, if not days, learning about what’s in these rooms.
It’s fascinating because I’ve had the privilege to shoot photo and video in surgical rooms. To think that people’s lives are literally changed and saved in that area, with those tools, blows my mind. On that note, the wildest thing I’ve seen was a person having their brain operated on — they cut a square in the skull, and I got to see a real live brain pulsing. All thanks to having a career with a camera!
Alright, full disclosure, we don’t have any pictures or videos of brains pulsing, so if you’re into that sort of thing we apologize for teasing you. That’s because pictures or videos of brains pulsing don’t quite fit what UPHS Marquette was looking for in Josh’s batch of imagery. The hospital did, however, give the Wisconsinite a good helping of creative freedom.
Victor, UPHS’s marketing director, knew about my architectural work. I had reached out to them because the hospital itself is beautiful, and I wanted to create images of it.
He had a shot list of locations and subjects they wanted, but other than that he looked to me to create what I felt was best.
Josh lives right down the road from the hospital and has worked with them before, doing video projects and creating professional portraits for staff members. His proximity to the location allowed him to keep his schedule flexible, an important aspect to a shoot which featured the need to work efficiently during the “golden hour.”
We had fantastic weather, but, being that the hospital is only miles away, it made it easy to return for morning and evening to get a variety of glory shots of dawn and dusk.
As you can see from Josh’s great work, this building is gorgeous. And that’s kind of what UPH and Josh were going for, as opposed to, you know, pulsating brains and whatnot. The hospital wanted “inviting” imagery to contrast with some of the realities of being near an ER.
The dawn and dusk shots show lights on at the hospital, a beautiful sky, and magical light that really turns what is just a building into a place that portrays warmth and makes it inviting.
When you’re working with a subject that encounters rough things like pain, sickness, and death you don’t want people to view something as cold and dark.
The close-range shots appeal to me because if you’re walking into or around the hospital that’s what you would see — it makes it more personal when you’re closer.
While Josh likes the more intimate shots, this writer adores the drone work which captures the hospital’s immediate surroundings. Below, you’ll see shots featuring beautiful Lake Superior, which Josh culled within a narrow, 30-minute window of time and then spruced up in post.
Without counting bracketing, I probably took around 15-30 images per time to make sure I was getting multiple angles. It’s not until editing that I can really find the images that best speak to me, especially when you have limited battery and light to deal with. The drone was probably up at 300 feet max, under the 400-foot commercial aircraft ceiling.
The whole campus is impressive, but the inside of the building is a feast for the eyes as well. As Josh mentioned, his previous experience in architecture photography was part of why he landed the job, so him shooting the structure in this frame of mind was inevitable. Mix in some photos with people milling about, and you have a complete set of photos sure to wow any client.
The hospital itself is very roomy — it actually feels more like a modern hotel in the main areas. They got a number of the detail shots that they asked for, but I wanted to show off the images that tell more of a story of the design of the building.
Most shots didn’t have people in them, but in the main areas you can’t avoid having them. There are ways to make sure they don’t show up of course, but I like that it adds that human element of being warm and inviting.
I’m proud to show off these images because a clean architectural image might look like it would have been easy, but it takes strategy, planning, timing, and patience. Plus, it’s always great to get a very excited text from the client after they’ve seen the final images!
See more of Josh’s work at leclair.media.
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