I bought my first home during the inflation of the recent real estate bubble. Prices were soaring and the common prophecy was, ‘Buy now. Double your money tomorrow.’ In retrospect this logic was flawed for millions whose dream homes didn’t align with realities of the future. Fortunately for me I bought a home I loved and could afford. I still live there today. This hindsight is the backbone of an advertising campaign I contributed to for Re/Max real estate and Leo Burnett called, Dream With Your Eyes Open, art directed by the ever optimistic Flavio Pina. A whimsical TV spot art directed by Flavio is posted here.
My contribution were two magically real print concepts about buying a home both unique and just-right for you. Like many of my projects, the earliest conversion with the client was about how we were actually going to do it? I saw it required some creative problem solving and wanted to create as much of the image in-camera as I could, adding digital elements sparingly.
Creating “Castle of Cards” was possible with the steady hand of master prop builder Rich Schiller who designed with me the massive structure, which could stack and grow as necessary. I researched photographs of European castles but found that children’s toys were a better guide for how to build ours. Custom cards were printed with tiny Re/Max logos and assembled in sections on set. The castle and the talent were shot on location in a cozy loft apartment. A bike ride through downtown Chicago with my camera yielded the train seen outside the window, shot at a picturesque location where the elevated tracks tracks turns 90 degrees.
To begin “Dog Door”, my digital tech and I flew to Orlando. After getting our rental SUV we stopped at Home Depot and loaded up on landscaping supplies and shrubs used to style the home I rented. It wasn’t a big job so we just did it ourselves. The next week I brought into studio a custom made dog door and shot it along with the animals I cast. Although I shoot animals of all kinds, Great Danes were new and I learned quickly how lumbering and slow they are, cautious not to fall. Fortunately we had two dogs on set and the female was more willing to push her limits. To take advantage of each pass of the dog, I shot with strobe at 8 frames per second (thanks Broncolor and Canon). By the end of the day I was covered to the elbow in the salmon we used to reward the dog. Again, sometimes you’ve just got to do it yourself. The only piece of CGI was the rubber dog door made by Fred Muram at Paradigm color and integrated in post-production by Tim Blokel of Stick Digital.
It was the kind of shoot I love because it was both technical and production intensive, but required a great deal of flexibility and adaption-something I love about photography. The client trusted my lead on producing each aspect and together we made a nice companion to the larger campaign.
Client: Re/Max, Agency: Leo Burnett Chicago, Art Director: Flavio Pina, Art Produce: Mariana Perin, Props: Rich Schiller, Retouching: Stick Digital, CGI: Paradigm Color, Producer: Monica Zaffarano, Styling: Courtney Rust, Hair and Make up: Gina Ussel, Location: Levinson Locations