Equal Parts Rigidity and Flexibility: Natalia Weedy, Pod-Life, and Calix
We're relying on good Wi-Fi now more than ever, but what does your Wi-Fi rely on? Calix is the leading global provider of the cloud and software platforms, systems, and services to over 800 internet service providers. While Calix provides everything from marketing kits to analytics support, Durham, North Carolina-based photographer Natalia Weedy provides her camera and sharp eye for detail to Calix.
At the beginning of 2020, I got a call from an art buyer that I'd worked with more than 15 years ago when I was a studio manager. She was working with an agency looking for a photographer for Calix's upcoming campaigns.
Natalia started working with Calix roughly a week before lockdowns began back in March 2020 to complete a shoot for their first campaign together. This was during that hectic week when only a few cities had started shutting down, and many of us thought that we might be unaffected. The next campaign shoot for Calix took place in a wildly different environment.
The second was in July, and we worked with pods of actors — largely families — who lived and worked together, giving us the chance to photograph groups of people without increasing the risk to themselves or our crew.
For two days, Natalia was working with professional talent who were also real-life families and roommates. This dynamic added an extra layer of authenticity to the shots and kept everyone much safer.
Calix stayed offsite to minimize health risks while Natalia and her team streamed their ongoing content to them remotely. The content was mostly destined for tear sheets acting as templates for internet providers to use and customize for their customers.
We definitely got inventive with these shoots! It took a lot of preparation and coordination to execute the process of sharing and approval for each shot, but our close partnership with the Art Director on set helped things go off without a hitch.
The second shoot with Calix centered on portraying how their services help support the things that keep us entertained and connected at home. Because of the shoots' remote aspect, Calix had to place much more trust in Natalia and her team, leaning into her creative vision and collaborating on a higher level than usual.
The "new normal" that so many people are experiencing is heavily dependent on tech: Zooming into class, FaceTiming with grandparents, parents multitasking as they work and supervise their kids' remote schooling. It was fascinating to see how the process of the project and its concept were shaped.
Natalia was able to practice some autonomy in this shoot, which also meant an incredible amount of responsibility: to keep the cast and crew as safe as possible, achieve the high-quality photos she is known for, and align perfectly with the client's vision.
Communication is, of course, always vital, but when working separately from the client, it becomes the highest priority. Working with the entire team on the Calix shoot, they developed some rock-solid remote streaming processes and will be utilizing these best practices in any future work.
I think that the experiences we gained will definitely benefit our future work, whether we're working from a distance for health reasons or simply to offer more accessibility to our clients.
Working as a photographer through this pandemic requires both rigidity (in terms of strict protocols) and flexibility (in terms of responding to quickly changing circumstances).
See more of Natalia's work at nataliaweedy.com.
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