In South Carolina:
For Columbia-based photographer Sean Rayford, everything’s coming up roses (and lettuce, and peaches, and quails.) He was recently hired by Chernoff Newman Agency to shoot portraits of local farmers for the South Carolina Agriculture Commission. The portraits would be part of their new “Certified Grown” campaign and run alongside a documentary produced by Dust of the Ground.
Sean needed to shoot in between takes of filming the documentary, which meant despite long days on set, he had very little actual facetime with the farmers. They trudged through chicken coops, humid fields, and groves of trees, with Sean pulling his subjects away in five to ten-minute intervals.
Despite the time crunch and muggy weather, Sean enjoyed the chance to get an insider’s view of South Carolina agriculture.
We visited one of the world’s leading quail farms, Manchester Farms, on hatching day, where they process 100,000 baby birds. When we shot inside one of the main coops, you couldn’t lift up your feet when you walked or you’d squish the birds. The building was the size of multiple football fields and the little birds would swarm towards light and/or sound.
The entire process took place over ten days, and Sean photographed a total of ten farmers. He even received a pleasant surprise when he recognized a familiar face from his college years.
One of the farmers, who grows lettuce, I actually already knew from when he did a radio show after my time slot at the University of South Carolina station nearly twenty years ago. His show name was “Paul’s Free Form Freak-Out.”
The Department of Agriculture has integrated the final images into the online portion of the campaign as well, and the story isn’t over yet– this spring Sean will head out again to capture ten more farmers and complete the project.
Tech company Duo was once a client for Detroit-based Peter Baker, but now he works for the security startup as their Creative Director. So when they decided to create their first commercial, along with a body of supporting stills, who better than Peter himself to take the lead?
Along with his team, Peter began to plan out the ninety-second spot, which would compare Duo’s cybersecurity platform to an older, outdated mode of security. Since they were producing the entire shoot in-house, they would need to step outside their own knowledge of the company and think about the best way to make the commercial attractive to a wide audience.
In some ways, being as connected to the rest of the brand we were shooting for makes things easier, and at the same time harder. Since we all knew how our product worked, but also could get hung up on specifics rather than making the strongest concepts.
In the end, they decided to project a simple dichotomy: Duo VS. Everyone Else. Using color and parallel storylines edited side-by-side, Peter and the Duo creative team scripted a commercial that would serve as a simple, accurate explanation of how their IT security platform works better than traditional companies.
Filming itself went smoothly, and they benefited from having an easily accessible set.
We had just moved in to our new office after it was renovated, so everything was still pristine and organized, and it was great to have such an accessible and varying stage to use.
The final assets are already displayed proudly on the Duo website, and Peter is looking forward to helping Duo create even bigger and better things in the future.
San Francisco-based photographer Bill Reitzel recently saw his passion for history and professional life collide. He was hired to work on a project for the Jeremiah O’Brien, the last remaining Liberty ship from D-Day. After finishing the project, Bill discovered the ship, which has now been converted into a floating museum, was going to be dry docked for nearly a month to undergo repairs and renovations.
Building on his existing relationship with the museum, Bill secured access to the dry dock and the workers for a personal project documenting the process of repairing the ship.
Over the month I would show up a couple times a week between other shoots. It’s great when you can do that, because people get used to seeing you around and start to open up. My favorite part of the project was getting to know these guys, hearing their stories, and learning how a ship like this runs.
As he got to know the workers, Bill took their portraits in the quiet moments on the job site. The images show the workers exactly as they are: wearing goggles and hard hats, sweaty, sooty, and tired.
In between portraits, Bill spent time exploring the ship. He stood beneath the hull of the massive ship and wove in between steam pipes, power washers, and welding materials throughout the network of scaffolds and the interior renovations.
The most interesting part of the ship was the engine room. It was amazing being down there while running. It’s a triple expansion steam engine the same type used on the Titanic. In fact, they used the O’Brien’s engine room for the movie Titanic.
Bill made the most of his time with the Jeremiah O’Brien and its crew. From the original project to these self-assigned photos, he has gathered a selection of images that marries his industrial expertise with his own interests. What more could you ask for?