Sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time. Our Chicago photographer David W. Johnson can attest to this, as he was recently and serendipitously hired for a Motorola campaign that took him around the globe.
After launching his photography career, David tried to get as much commercial work as possible—picking up the odd portrait or editorial job along the way—but it was a difficult task with the economy. However, as luck would have it, a big commercial opportunity arose when David’s friend and mentor was named global creative director at Motorola Inc. He’d seen David’s overseas projects—his travels through East Africa, Central America, and India—and expressed interest in using David for a few future campaigns.
Shortly after, David was hired to photograph a Motorola engineers fire training workshop. Unbeknownst to him, this job was an unofficial audition to be part of a global Motorola campaign that would ultimately change the direction of David’s photography career.
Usually known for their phone and consumer sales, the bulk of Motorola’s revenue comes from their government and public safety business, including communication devices which are used worldwide. They needed to execute an advertising and branding campaign that represented all the primary regions in which these products are used.
After passing his “audition” with flying colors, David was hired for an assignment to do just that, produce images from around the world. David explained,
This new campaign would feature imagery using real workers in real public safety scenarios. We would be traveling to three continents, five countries, and 15 cities including Shanghai, Toronto, and Sao Paulo. Each region we visited, we worked with government and public safety workers and photographed them in their everyday environment. This involved everything from shadowing bike police in Brazil, to high speed chases with the coast guard in Toronto.
David visited amazing places and met a lot of fun people, including some female fans in China (his tall stature made him a hit).
The experience was life-altering, and the results of the campaign were a career changer. David’s photos were displayed on billboards in Times Square, appeared on CNN, and were featured all over Motorola’s website. In the end, David learned a lot from this global assignment. The biggest thing for him though was how he got the job in the first place,
Overall, I thought this project was a testament to how valuable the right relationship at the right time can be in the life of your career.
Read more about David on our Published Blog.
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