Creative: Racer Media & Marketing – Laurence Foster
Client: Toyota – Don Johnson and Jarred Campbell
Post Production: SSLA – Siew Lin, Art Director
This project was to highlight the “heritage” aspect of the Toyota Land Cruiser and features a stripped-down body (no door chrome), bronze wheels, the roof rack and dark chrome accents. We took on the mountains above Silverwood Lake, as well as the rocks of Cleghorn, in the San Bernardino area of California.
The Cleghorn Ridge Trail is open to off-highway vehicles, with great desert and mountain views, including a ridge top view of Mount Baldy. Sean did a lot of preproduction with Google Earth, he plots points at locations at the exact time of day for the shoot. He sends the file to the client, so they have a virtual tour of how the actual shoot day will commence.
Sean says, “We spent half a day working with the Land Cruiser getting up these technical trails, rather than just going to a pretty location and setting the shot up on a few rocks to appear real.”
My idea behind the shoot was to really let the blackness of the vehicle be black. So often agencies insist on bringing out certain details that ultimately remove the true black state of the color of a vehicle, but with this project the vehicle was at its best being left black. If an area was dark, we left it that way. There are a lot of challenges when shooting black vehicles and I really wanted to let the body of this machine be a true reflection of everything in its surrounding.
The core challenge is the color black absorbs light. Literally, you can turn 100 strobes on to one spot of the vehicle and the color will always be black. So, I reflect light into its shiny surface to show its contour and shape. You can’t light black vehicles, that’s what makes them so challenging to shoot. The only way to see a black vehicle is seeing what the shiny surface reflects in the lit environment around it. Most car shooters I know are substantial gear-heads. I love cars too, but I really don’t know much about them. I love that giant piece of sheet metal that reflects everything around it. It’s like a landscape inside of a landscape, that’s what I love about shooting cars.”
“The beauty of working with Jarred Campbell at Toyota is that he is willing to push the vehicle to its limits in order to get the shot, as well as support and contribute to the creative. I wanted to climb the vehicle to the top of the hill to get a beautiful scenic shot overlooking the valley.” He looks at me and says, “Your shot’s right here, I love the place it’s beautiful.” He was right we stayed right there at the bottom and worked that location, I got some of the most beautiful shots I’ve ever taken.
When I’m homing in on trying to accomplish a certain shot, Jarred builds on that and takes it in another direction that I wouldn’t have thought of, and we still keep the overall cohesiveness of the entire photographic story.
As a photographer, having a client that enables you to bring out your best and build on your abilities as a creative, truly is the “dream” client/photographer relationship!