Denver portraiture photographer Sean F. Boggs was a medic and a firefighter for twelve years, all while running his photography business. When Sean stepped away from serving, he knew that his connections with the departments would not disappear. Recently, Sean stepped back into the flames to create some dynamic portraits of firefighters. His access to exclusive equipment and real fire made for a shoot that most couldn’t easily produce.
I was after the culture of fire, to make iconic firefighter portraits that could be used to promote the adventure of being a firefighter.
The preproduction and production of the shoot would have been significantly more difficult for someone without Sean’s background. But for him, preparing for and gaining access to the training fire wasn’t a problem. He joined firefighters as they ran simulations with test fires, the heat from the flames as real as the sweat on their skin. Sean was familiar with the heat as he worked quickly to capture the firefighters, the fires, and the fast-paced action between the two. He also made sure to capture the other essential members of the life-saving crew, the paramedic response team.
The challenges of shooting at a real fire are numerous and mostly obvious but what was very dynamic was working around teams of firefighters actually working an active fire. They were super tolerant but it was essential that it be a training fire and not a real emergency fire.
Post production for Sean was pretty minimal. It involved some standard optimization and some logo clean up, but all of the fire is real and the models are actually on location. Having experienced the heat firsthand, Sean can especially appreciate how amazing it is that these heroes can keep their cool under such extreme conditions.
As with all his environmental portrait photography, Sean especially enjoyed being able go behind the scenes and get a glimpse into his subjects’ lives.
The best part of the project is getting into the culture of the industry where I shoot environmental portraits. I love that part. It’s like a backstage pass to cool stuff.
Sean’s images were shot for iStock photography and picked up by Getty. He’s definitely pleased with the outcome of the project, and ready for his next hot shoot. Just, hopefully not too hot.
To view more of Sean’s work, check out seanfboggs.com.