If you're passing Gugulethu Taxi Rank's way, or JHB Taxi Rank, you will notice a 6x9m billboard with a Bronx ad on it. Above is the Gugs one and the Jozi one.
Now, if you've wondered what goes into shooting something like this, well here goes.
Client: Bronx Shoes
Agency: Traffic Integrated Marketing - www.trafficintegrated.co.za
Photography: Danie Nel Photography - www.danienel.co.za
Post and Design: Bianca at Traffic Integrated Marketing
Model: Bobby Roache - Base Models - www.basemodelagency.com
The concept was of a guy sitting perched somewhere, so one can see a Afro-entric urban landscape in the background, dramatically lit. The product shots of shoes (I shot those later in studio) would then be dropped onto the image along with copy, logo's and catchline. Also, a JHB skyline, shot by another photographer, would be dropped into one of the shots for the JHB billboard.
First you quote and get approval and get that out of the way. Then you go for a recce mission to get a suitable location.
Bianca on recce somewhere in Woodstock. I needed a model to demonstrate the lighting technique. So. As these things go, the locations we chose were not available, and others were sourced later. I saw them first when I arrived on the shoot. No worries, though, we were ready.
Shoot day: 2pm - Make-up finished at Traffic offices. Arrive at location #1. Strand Street Cape Town, roof, 7 storeys to street below. (This will become relevant soon.) Quick set-up, have a Coke, discuss all the nittiy-gritty, sweat (about 35 deg C) in the sun, talk and test lighting.
Now, what is behind Bobby? A safety net? Some invisible, cleverly hidden safety harnass, mattress, anything? Nope. Just 7 seven stories of cleanish freshish air and a warm north-westerly breeze to keep things interesting. Bobby is a star football player from the States, gone model, so he's brave and gets up onto the 15cm wide wall. Bianca holds his feat down (that'll really help when a 90kg guy starts flailing backwards, but we'd all rather have her do that than regret not trying). Bobby notes that her grip felt like cement bags on his feet as he was getting up. Tests his balance and we're good to go.
Arrive at location #2: Ok, so 18 storeys to the right (with a 30cm wide ledge, should you decide to fall), a little less wind, and a slightly wider edge, maybe 30cm or so. No harnass, just guts. Someone says something about "chutzpah". I agree. Bobby gets up. At this stage we've made loads of jokes about falling, dying, flying and related matters. We also note that in the States or Europe, you'd need 715 forms filled out to do this.
Jeremy (BMX-er, surfer, all-round adrenaline madman) decides he'd like a shot of himself up on the wall before we pack up. As I shoot he jumps up, kicks out Mr Miyagi-style and lands on the other foot. We all but die right there screaming and asking him to come down and then..... wait a minute - why don't you do that again, but this time just jump towards us...?
Jeremy digs, thus Jeremy does. Important to note that while in my service he even dislocated his shoulder in a scooter accident.I ward off some anxious 3rd party law-suit and COIDA and Department of Labour gets-tough-on-me-thoughts.
Special thanks to Bobby for his bravery, willing to die for art and all that, Bianca and Traffic Integrated Marketing for great design to wrap my images in, and the location people being cool about us using the sites, public liability insurance and God, for creating a location such as the Cape. Oh, and Jeremy for being the mad instigator.