Still Images In Great Advertising, is a column where Suzanne Sease discovers great advertising images and then speaks with the photographers about it.

I have always been a fan of landscape photography.  I have found that most the times when an agency shows a beautiful scenic they add people.  I think that is why I think I like this campaign so much, it is about the beautiful scenery.  This campaign is by Michael Nager who is represented by Tim Mitchell. Michael just informed Tim that the Victorinox Campaign won an IPA honorable mention. Victorinox wants to shoot 6 more stories – once again all over the world starting in Oct./Nov. 2012.

Suzanne:  I went to Tim’s site and saw a lot of the landscape images with people but on his site he shows the images that are more pure scenics.  Tim, have you found that the US market wants to see people in the landscapes?

Tim: Seeing people within a landscape is especially important in today’s advertising.  I was drawn to Michael’s work, not only for his ability to shoot epic landscapes, but also because he can include people organically within the scene. A perfect example is the woman looking out to Half Dome in Yosemite.  She’s front and center but doesn’t overpower the mystical quality of Michael’s epic landscape.

Suzanne:  And with being said, it is refreshing to see this campaign showing these landscape and scenics without.  How was Michael considered for this campaign?

Tim: Both Michael and I show an equal number of landscapes with and without people.  Either way, you can’t miss the delicate nuances in Michael’s work and how applicable his eye was for this dream assignment.

Suzanne: Did they have very specific locations in mind or was Michael a part of the concepting process?

Tim: Shooting the original locations is a very important part of the “True Story” campaign. For example, the shrimp boat story – a galveston shrimp fisherman prevented himself from drowning by cutting his net (with his Victorinox Knife) that was holding him under water. Victorinox collected stories their customers sent in over the years and now they use these stories for their ongoing “True Story” campaign.

For this reason it was super important to fly out to Galveston, charter a shrimp boat, helicopter and shoot on the authentic location. So, to answer your question, the locations were predetermined but Michael was free to find the best way to form a campaign with ONE look through out the whole campaign.

Suzanne: Did Michael do all the location scouting?

Tim: He was working very closely with scouts from all over the world – Iceland, New York, Galveston Bay, Death Valley, Portland, Hawaii, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Zurich.

Suzanne: With the vast array of locations, how much time did Michael have to get this project completed?

Tim: Preparation Time was two weeks – shooting around the world including traveling, tech scout and shooting 27 days.

Suzanne: With security being so tight, how did you all get the airport clearance?

Tim: People at JFK were very, very nice and interested in the project – cooperative and transparent from the first moment. They did their best to make this happen with short notice.  Michael discussed his creative wish list according to time and perspective and the coordinators at JFK figured out a perfect time according to the gate occupancy rate. They also checked with Government officials and after we were granted a green light everything went very fast. After 12 days of endless phone and person to person work, Michael got the permission for shooting 2 hours from a helicopter hovering over busy JFK.

Michael Nager is from a small Austrian village close to Graz on the countryside. He is the winner of several awards including the town of Berlin Art scholarship, PDN Photo Award for landscape photography in 2008 and National Geographic US Award for “best landscape photography”. He is represented in the US by Tim Mitchell.

Note: Content for Still Images In Great Advertising is found. Submissions are not accepted.

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.

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  1. Really love the colors in these images. Great interview.. thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Seth!

  2. You say that they are true stories (A true story campaign). I don’t if it is really a plus value, but it makes me feel better and like it more.

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