Monday, February 21, 2011

Shooting Lawyers…

20101125_0166iNow, I’m sure there are people in other areas of business who would gladly, or scornfully, like to post a blog with a title like this. Maybe along the lines of someone being taken down for signing sureties on a business ten years ago and having sold it since just to have it burn the bank for millions, or being wrongfully tried or ….ok ok….as I’m typing this I’m watching “Law Abiding Citizen”, hehe, but honestly, my experience of attorneys have been good. Especially photographing them. Why? Generally they have a firmer grasp on word-play, irony, quick-on-your-feet humour and general knowledge than the average guy I end up photographing. In the span of 3 weeks, I photographed a total of 12 attorneys. I think a great many jokes were made on my expense, but luckily it would’ve been so clever, I don’t even realize what they were.

I’m going to start with the first group. Or firm. By the way, The Firm, by John Grisham, the book, is way better than the movie. Doesn’t even seem like the same story. But I digress. In this particular case, I had the privilege of shooting the good people at WWP . I have photographed them before, a couple of years ago, when they were still trading as DWP. Anyways, same offices, just one or two extra faces, and a new feel. Traffic was the agency responsible for hooking us up.

I was able to twist some arms and get us to also photograph the senior partners in a restaurant below their offices, for a bit of Parisian/New York style lifestyle shots. Again, I’m impressed by companies and corporates, specifically, with enough gutzpah to go ahead an try something new. Just how much more this does for your corporate profile spread is priceless.

20101125 Comp2If you have a nice location, go ahead, show it off. Especially a typically colonial restored corner building, situated over a nice little Italian restaurant. Run by a real Italian. And the best scrambled eggs you’ll have the honour to eat. And if you break a glass, don’t sweat it. Have another coffee.

Since the Ally McBeal TV-show hit screen world-wide in the 90’s, law has become suave, even quirky, modern, fun and somewhat likeable. LA Law in the 80’s and early 90’s just gave the impression of people earning too much money, living completely immoral lives and being just a tad sleezy. Ok, lots sleezy with the convertibles and the light grey suits. Since then Boston Legal has added just more humor, and Law & Order has restored some of the legal fraternity’s moral dignity.

So what was I after? Well, let’s say Boston Legal suave and Law & Order dignity. And whatever WWP is. And I can sincerely say that they were both, and genuinely nice and co-operative to boot. First-off it was the senior partners to be shot. Groups and singles. Have I mentioned I love shooting corporate portraits?

20101125_0046ii 20101125_0152i20101125_0211i   20101125_0263i 20101125_0202i20101125_0156  20101125_0180ii     20101125_024720101125_0232ii 

Then some junior/article clerks:    20101125_0281i 

Again, superb guys.And then, we get to go down to the restaurant, get them coffees and play around with a long lens. The great thing about putting people in lifestyle situations is that you get to see another angle, also you make them more approachable to the average viewer. Also, it makes for better pictures. The subject – geek speak for the person on the business end of the lens – is also more at ease, shows more of the real them, and gives you more options than the normal guided portrait session.


As a last thought. The shot from the street into the window was good fun, with sun-light from the front and wireless triggered flashes in the back, shooting from the opposite pavement. Too clever? I’m not sure, that’ll be up to the viewer. I liked it though. Apart from the branding and faces being put together in an actual picture, the attitudes of the respective subjects also just says a lot about the company, their seriousness about the business they’re in and all those feel good qualities you need in your legal partner.


Anyways, wouldn’t mind shooting some more attorneys soon. Good fun.


Fiona said...

Hi Danie

I found you on Kiki. I was amused to read your post as my boyfriend is a corporate lawyer here in London and I do find that they are a much maligned breed... Mostly the ones I know would be really dynamic and cultured but generally are always at work! I particularly liked the pics of them in the coffee shop. Were you using natural light or the same wireless lights set up?



Danie Nel said...

Hi Fiona, thanx for checking in. Yes, it's funny how humor and TV influences our thoughts on careers. For some reason, as a photographer you're either a bohemian or a womanizing fashionista.

RE the lighting. 2 flashes, wireless just to fill in natural light.