Mexico City-based conceptual photographer Walter Shintani may not be able to dance the samba, but in his latest CDMX portrait and lifestyle project for international travel service CityUnscripted, there were no missteps in his meeting the client’s needs. Walter utilized his local knowledge of Mexico City and his familiarity with the client’s brand to capture ‘travel photos that don’t look like travel photos,’ but help tell a visual story of the type of insider’s perspective that sets CityUnscripted apart from other travel experiences.
I came across this project because I worked with the CityUnscipted a few years ago before the pandemic in a photoshoot in Mexico City, and then for a second shoot where I flew into Japan to shoot some videos about the experiences they offer. As we had worked together before, I had a good sense of the style the client was looking for.
CityUnscripted is a London-based travel startup that aims to help travelers become “discoverers,” not just tourists. The travel service utilizes a dispersed network of 1500+ local guides to connect clients with the opportunity for an authentic and immersive highly-personalized experience of new cities all over the world.
Walter worked with City Unscripted Co-Founder and Chief Marketing & Product Officer Yunna Takeuchi, and Administrative Assistant and Content Coordinator Chlöe Pickett, who gave directions and provided the guidelines for the photoshoot.
The client wanted to shoot a series of photos of “tourists” enjoying the city and experiencing places and food in Mexico City. The goal of the images was to make the audience feel as if they were one of them, more like a traveler. The CityUnscripted brand is to make things feel as natural and casual as possible.
As of 2020, Mexico City has a recorded population of over 9.2 million, with a land area of 577 square miles, but for Walter, this was no obstacle.
The locations were quite accessible despite the size of the city. We were all kind of familiar with the areas we walked around and shot in. The talent was great and even proposed some ideas for photos along the way.
The photoshoot took place in February, which in general is considered one of the low-temperature months of the dry season. That said, on the day of the shoot, the weather was unseasonably warm.
I was very thankful to the talent for their attitude was very positive despite the long walks we took and the very hot weather we experienced!
As the team traveled the city by foot, Walter opted for minimal gear.
We had to shoot with natural light and mostly exteriors. I had to manage to find angles and spots to work in order to achieve better lighting conditions.
Beyond the big city, the foot travel, the hot day, and the challenges of shooting with natural light, above all else, like for so many photoshoots, it’s always a matter of time.
We had to work fast and assertive. Perhaps the most challenging thing was to shoot a big number of images in a short period of time while also make the shots feel spontaneous.
Walter was happy to report that despite the project’s restraints, the client was delighted with the results!
See more of Walter’s work on his website.
CityUnscripted Co-Founder and Chief Marketing & Product Officer: Yunna Takeuchi
Administrative Assistant and Content Coordinator: Chlöe Pickett
Read more about Walter on our Published blog.
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