Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.
￼Suzanne: I like to check blogs of the agent’s I respect and look at the work they are showing from their roster. I came across this campaign for Puma shot by David Stuart, represented by Blake Pearson and Visu Artists. I went to David’s website to see his work and why he was chosen to shoot this campaign. His work seem very UK to me so I was surprised to see he was right here in the States. And nice to see his conceptual work used in American advertising.
David Stuart: It’s interesting you mention that, I’m a fan of UK advertising.
Suzanne: I was pleasantly surprised to see another talented photographer from Atlanta. It seems as if the city really nurtures creativity because of The Portfolio Center, SCAD and The Creative Circus. Do you agree being around creative people nurtures creative photography?
David: Absolutely, getting to personally interact with other creatives can have an enormous influence on an artist. There’s no doubt that those schools have had a positive impact on the city and everyone here- as well as elsewhere. There are so many great talents that have come through the schools here.
Suzanne: This project was done for Puma’s in-house creative department and it is refreshing to see creative work coming from in house corporate. How did they find you? And how much input did you have in the campaign?
David: The project came through a connection within the VISU group. The concept was already approved and ready to go when the ball was handed off to me, so my job was to interpret. I collaborated with the retoucher, Scott Dorman, closely on this project and quite a bit of research went in to making sure all the technical aspects were correct; we looked at scale of car/driver in relation to people, how many pit crew members, what tools does a Formula One pit crew have, etc…. We explored angles, lighting, and last but not least, all of the little details, like how many crew members were pulling off a shoe, should a crew member be running or pointing; the details can make or break it. On an interesting side note, PUMA flew someone in from Germany to bring us the steering wheel and helmets; the price tag for a Formula One steering wheel is somewhere in the neighborhood of $140,000, a driver’s helmet $7,000.
Suzanne: I love the texture and feel of the track. What went into making the BG?
David: I went to an actual race track and photographed the track looking down from a lift, the tire burn marks and the paint lines are all real. Things were enhanced a bit in post to bring out the texture.
Suzanne: I noticed a campaign on your site with giant children running through a city. Did that campaign help you secure this campaign?
David: I’m sure it didn’t hurt having the Children’s Hospital campaign to show. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received was to show the kind of work that you want to get.
Suzanne: You have created work for many great causes like Children’s Hospital, United Way, Union for Concerned Scientists, etc. Have these non-profit campaigns helped you secure higher paying creative work?
David: I recently completed a project for Girl Scouts of America that I was awarded based on another project that I shot for a non-profit. It always feels great to help good causes and every project is an invaluable learning experience.
Suzanne: It looks like you have mixed personal work with assignment work on your website. Is that correct?
David: For the most part the work I show there is assignment, but some of it is personal.
Suzanne: I hear you’re in a band. What do you play? Has your love of music affected your photography?
David: Yes, I play guitar. Music has always been such a huge part of my life and I’ve recently begun to study jazz. I suppose I approach a photo shoot in much the same way I would a live performance; there’s a great deal of planning and preparation that go in to shoot, but at the same time ( just like in jazz) you leave room for improvisation. Music on the set can have a big effect on the mood of a shoot, I’ve found that James Brown is always a good for late afternoon pick me up.
Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.
David Stuart was just ranked by Luerzer’s Archive as one of the top 200 Advertising Photographers Worldwide. His clients include Puma, Coca Cola, New Balance, ESPN, United Way, Children’s Healthcare and Simmons and Girls Scouts of America. David is based in Atlanta and lives with his wife Lara and son Gavin.
“It took a 14-hour day, multiple Korean tacos, a two-foot tall pit crew, David Stuart, and a few spare parts to complete the PUMA Mercedes AMG campaign. David’s passion and attention to detail were critical to the outcome of the project. All parties involved – including the Mercedes drivers – were thrilled with the final images. Without David (and those tacos) this campaign would not have been possible.” Jason Woz – Art Director, PUMA Internal Creative Team
APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies.