In The Field: Xi’an, China
There’s something about driving to the location site and seeing these motorized bicycles loaded to the gills with boxes (or packages or corrugated metal). It looks like the drivers had to wake up three hours before they departed just to buckle and fasten everything down for their trip.
Anyway….back in the last week in November, just after Thanksgiving, I was in Xi’an, China, with Atlanta-based photojournalist Gary S. Chapman. We were on site at my company’s location there to do some new corporate images for our image gallery.
My activity here is three-fold: I’m “the guy from corporate” who sets everything up with the local colleagues. I usually have never met them except for email, and now I’m dropping in, disrupting their days asking to be shown around and given lunch.
Another goal is to art direct the scenes. In this case, it’s working with Chinese colleagues who either didn’t speak English or spoke very little English. Gary and I try to convey the pictures we want to shoot, and then try to loosen them up enough so that we get some nice shots. I also scout for other options, see what can work, try things out and direct the photographer for specific images I KNOW our image gallery needs. We’re filling gaps here, not just randomly shooting.
We’re in a particular region, so that fulfills the “ethnic/regional” aspect. But I’m always looking for specific R&D photos, environmental scenes for those images, and people/employee shot. Again, filling gaps.
Thirdly, I act like a second-shooter at a wedding. While Gary is involved in one area, I try to get some shots in another area as well. Hey, I don’t know the next time I may get to a location with a team. May as well maximize our fire and pixel power while w are out.
I also try to shoot some “behind the scenes” stuff which is always pretty fun. Everyone likes the “BTS stuff” and it’s cool for social media too. .
Here’s some of what I shot on Day One in Xi’an.
Always looking for the image, working the scene, entire-to-detail.
Some BTS of Gary at work. (Gary uses the Sony Alpha camera system, should you be wondering, for both the still images and video b-roll we shoot. He’s switched from Nikon to Canon to now Sony and is really happy with it.)
Some short BTS video….
Can’t pass up a good mirror opportunity.
I’ve been doing these types of shoots with photographers since 1998. It’s both really fun and really tiring to be on set, working out logistics and problems, especially in a foreign country. You have to be “on” a lot, and by the end of the day, you’re bushed.
But it’s still the best part of my job and I like doing this the more I do it.
More to come from Xi’an…
(c) Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016