BTS With Gary S. Chapman
You may remember a post from back in January where I described a trip to Georgia. Cornelia, Georgia, in fact.
It was a quick, yet productive, out-and-back to this little town about an hour and half outside of Atlanta.
The trip was all in pursuit of a really interesting story that we were putting together for the big project I was working on. I was excited to tell the story that took me out there. But I was excited about working with Georgia-based photographer, Gary S. Chapman.
I don’t quite remember when I first became acquainted with Gary and his work. I love his NGO work and photojournlistic style. He’s been on my radar to, hopefully, work with for quite some time. Then, last October, just before Hurricane Sandy blew through, in a small coffee shot in Hell’s Kitchen, I got the chance to meet Gary and his wonderful wife, Vivian. For more than an hour, we talked family, photography, NGO work, J&J work, a host of other things. I could have sat there all day with them. RGP’s, both of them – Really Great People.
I knew I wanted to work with Gary. The question was… where and when.
When this story for my project started to shape up, I knew I’d be heading to Gary’s home state. I also knew that he wouldn’t be there there – he’s be shooting an NGO story in India at the same time. Still, I shot Garyan email, seeing if he knew any good shooters in the Atlanta area I could call.
To my surprise and delight, he came back with the name of a great shooter: Himself. As my luck would have it, his India trip had been postponed and was free for the job.
Perfect! I love it when a plan comes together.
And so, one rainy early January day, we met up in Cornelia, Georgia, to tell the story about reliable supply – how the passion of the people at this manufacturing plant help keep up with the demand for the world’s supply of sutures and needles.
Here are some behind-the-scenes snaps I took of Gary at work….
Ultimately, the best shoots are when you not only get some great photographs, but when you learn something in the process as well. I think myself, Gary and Vivan were all amazed at what we saw while at the plant in Georgia. This is a around-the-clock facility helping to provide imporant products for doctors around the world. Since I was there on the shoot as art director, what I wanted was to combine photos and video to help people get a sense of the place, and tell this story.
Gary, shooting with Nikons, did a great job of switching between still and video to help me do this. We didn’t have a lot of time there – just a few hours – so after an initial briefing in a conferene room, we hit the plant floor shooting for the rest of the day.
By the time I got back to New Jersey the next day, there was an online photo gallery of still and video waiting for me. I edited the photos and turned the video over to the production team at work.
Here is the final piece we all put together. Click here to watch it on YouTube.
This wasn’t an easy shoot for Gary and Vivian. He drove a couple of hours from his home to Cornelia. The plant is…well, it’s a plant. It’s loud. We had to wear hair and beard covers (well, Vivian didn’t have to wear a beard cover). We wanted to get good shots that tell the story…without interrupting the normal workflow. While Mike was to be our subject, we soon realized that it was a lot of the other people – those working the lines – that were the stars too. They were all passionate about what they did, and we could have spent all day just learning about it. Instead, we all got a crash course then got to work.
And it’s not like these folks were models. They had a job to do, and here we are with cameras and whatnot saying “Hey can you do that again?” and “Ok, hold it there.” And, “Just a couple of more.” (The looks that this one gal, Dolly, kept giving us were priceless. But she was fantastic – a star and she didn’t even know it.)
Many, if not all, of the photoshoots I go on are with people that aren’t used to being in front of a camera, taking direction. That’s why I love working with pros like Gary, the ones that can step into a situation, immediately make it seem like they’ve been there before, put people at ease, and get great shots.
Also, Gary worked light. A couple of camera bodys, a long and short lenses, no flash, no lightstands. He made it all work. And when we switched to video, after a short discussion about what was in my head, he got exactly what I wanted and delivered. When I saw the first cut of the final piece I thought “Yes! He brought my vision to life!!”
This is one of my favorite stories from the report. Not just because it defines the passion of the people doing this work, but I got a chance to work with Gary and Vivian, the video production team did a great job pulling the clips together, and, as I said, it turned out like I had it in my head.
Storytelling and photojournalism at its best.
I love it when a plan comes together.
© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2013