In 2016, Colorado-based photographer Matt Jones wanted to expand his portfolio and include some automotive photography. In order to do this, he put together one of his most significant automotive portfolio pieces and took his Toyota Tacoma out into the wilderness to capture some images. The results of this shoot were overwhelmingly positive and caught the attention of Redwood Agency, in London, who manages Zoom-Zoom Magazine (Mazda’s quarterly publication).
Aston Leach, at Redwood, reached out to Matt and said they wanted to put together a similar shoot for Mazda’s CX-5. The agency was looking for an editorial tourism-based shoot where they could feature the car in an article about various ghost towns across Colorado. Ghost towns are old, abandoned, often mining, towns that have become popular tourist destinations.
The agency wasn’t overwhelmingly concerned with getting a ton of technical car shots. They wanted to capture the story of driving the car on the Colorado roads and through the ghost towns.
Redwood supplied Matt with a photo brief, a storyboard, and a list of five ghost towns to visit, but allowed Matt to have fun with the shoot and express his creative freedom. He was scheduled to travel for three and a half days, and the writer of the article, Jack Baruth, would accompany him for the first two days. Matt also brought his business partner Nate Wells, who acted as a location scout, driver, and, at times, model throughout the shoot.
Since the article was to be released in the summer, they put together the shoot in May. This turned out to have both its pros and cons. Travelling off-season meant the ghost towns weren’t overrun with tourists and Matt was able to capture the empty, abandoned atmosphere that often accompanies these locations. However, obtaining a summer atmosphere when there is snow on the ground tends to be an obstacle!
Each day, they pre-scouted locations they would hit on the way to the ghost town and tried to plan based on lighting as they went. At times, they would purposefully map out a loop so they could return to specific locations later in the day when there would be more favorable lighting.
We kind of went into the shoot blind and I just did Google Earth scouting. We just hit the trails and stopped when we saw something we liked.
The images from this shoot were very well-received, and Matt has only heard positive reviews of his work. He hopes to maintain his relationship with Redwood Agency and continue to expand his automotive portfolio.
It was amazing to get the opportunity to go out and scout some locations that we may not have used in this shoot, but that I can use in future automotive shoots to help bulk up my portfolio.
To read the full article in Zoom-Zoom Magazine, click here.