Earlier this year, Russia-based photographer Stanislav Solntsev, also known as Stas, was approached by the McCannEricksson Agency from Moscow to do a project for Coca-Cola in Eastern Europe and Russia. Impressed by Stas’s brand narrative and lifestyle work, along with his overall photographic style, the client knew he was perfect for the job. Stas, excited by the opportunity to work with such a reputable brand was eager to begin.
This project was to be used across many different platforms with a special focus on social media. The campaign was to run throughout Russia and other Eastern European countries. The concept behind the project was to show the youth subculture of skiers and snowboarders as they enjoyed Coca-Cola. Stas wanted to display the young adults celebrating springtime on the slopes, wearing swimwear and t-shirts as the sun got hot during the day.
One of Stas’s goals for the project was to maintain a high level of authenticity throughout the pictures.
I was going for a ‘mountain beach’ vibe. I wanted the subjects to reveal their true selves, showing their exuberance, joy and even their sexuality. I wanted it all to look as natural as possible.
None of the shots were simple, and they faced a lot of adversity and challenges along the way. Stas had to operate within a tight budget and shoot schedule. There was only one day available for location scouting, and there was a lot of debate over wardrobe choices. The location they ended up choosing was Sochi (Krasnaya Polyana) Russia, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 2014. They also needed to use street casting for the models because of the low budget. Stas did bring on two models that he worked with in the past, so he knew they’d be reliable and a positive force on set.
Stas said they did an awesome job cheering everyone up and making the others feel comfortable. This was a necessary asset as Stas wanted the models to remain as open as possible in order to achieve the most natural results.
The next big challenge was the weather conditions. They had to cancel one of the days due to weather, which only provided them with two good days of shooting. Two key shots on their list was a sunrise and a sunset. In order to capture both of them, they needed to rent a special truck to take them from a 500m altitude to a 2200m altitude each morning. This meant they had to be up and out by 3 am and get to the top.
Sunrise at such altitude isn’t that fun – the nights are really cold and once the sun was up, the gusty winds start to blow you over!
Although the job wasn’t without its challenges, Stas enjoyed every second of the experience because this kind of assignment was his dream job. He has “been through it all before” and was able to rely on his technical know-how and talent to get the best shots.
Stas was very grateful for his team’s professionalism and the effort they put in each day. He knows the conditions and tasks were not easy, but they all handled each obstacle professionally. The models did especially well considering the attire they had to wear during the harsh weather conditions.
At the end of the day, the project was a big success, and Coca-Cola loved the campaign. Stas continues to receive great responses from the agency and was recently short-listed to shoot an upcoming campaign for the European market.
See more of Stanislav at stanislavsolntsev.com!