Seattle, WA product photographer Erik Skaar‘s philosophy is a simple one. He aims to glorify everyday objects. To take something simple and make it grand. His style is “clean and technically exacting.” Every little detail thought out and painstakingly executed. It was this attention to detail that attracted the creatives at Story Worldwide. They were looking for a photographer to help bring a recent Lexus television campaign to the print realm for Lexus Magazine. The original commercial shows the engine of the Lexus LFA sonically shattering a champagne flute and they needed a photographer who could handle capturing a glass breaking in a similar manner. According to Erik, “the client really wanted the end results to be complimentary to the original.” So, they came to Erik to see if he would take on the challenge.
Watch a behind the scenes video of the original Lexus produced commercial here:
Once on board, Erik quickly got to work figuring out how to break the glass so that it would match the commercial. He had to work faster than he would have liked at first because he was under a very tight deadline.
The timeline of the project was very short—within a day or two of the initial phone call—so we decided the best approach was to shatter the glass mechanically. However, our deadline was extended a few days and, given the extra time, I decided that I wanted to replicate as closely as possible what was achieved in the commercial; to break the glass sonically.
However, this wasn’t as easy a task as Erik had hoped. He says,
After some furious research and some driving around town looking for the right gear, I was still empty handed. The audio gear that could do the job was an ‘order online’ only kind of thing with lead times that just didn’t work for the production. However, after a couple of days of hitting dead ends, I was out for blood and there was no way this thing wasn’t going to happen. Through a colleague, I ended up getting in touch with a mad scientist type industrial designer who moonlighted as a set designer/rigger. Through our conversation, we discovered that he had the right equipment just laying around his apartment.
With this new equipment, Erik was able to create the perfect setup and got some amazing shots of glasses shattering sonically, just as they had in the commercial. Not only was it gratifying to be able to successfully reverse engineer the shot, but also, according to Erik, the sounds of breaking glass are “oddly satisfying.” He adds, “there can be some pretty incredible beauty found in the deconstruction of things.”
The client recognized the beauty in his photos too and were thrilled with the results. The photos are now being used in Lexus Magazine and on the Lexus Global website.