There was no “we’ll fix that in post” the shoot needed to be perfect first time
It all started with cars. After being bored with fashion photography, I moved on assisting a car photographer.
After the oil shocks of the 1970s, the 80s were a favorable time for cars, especially the smaller and more fuel-efficient European makes, as compared to the American “gas-guzzlers”. So things were going well for advertising and thus for us. Jobs got bigger and more sophisticated than just picking up a car in Munich and driving it down to the Côte d’Azur for the fine weather and posh backdrops. I liked the logistic part, though, and rather suddenly and unprepared, I was thrown into organizing whole projects from scouting, budgeting and controlling and all the other loose ends associated with productions.
And there were a lot of “loose ends” before the times of Digital and Photoshop, everything had to be perfect on location – no wires, no trees, perfect orientation and a smooth surface for rig and driving shots. There was no “we’ll fix that in post,” in those days.
The shoots got longer and often involved shooting on other continents. For some years I had an office on Melrose Av. in Los Angeles, simply because I spend more time in the US then at home . A lot of stuff for nostalgia, though:
Death Valley, Mount Tam, US101, Valley of Fire, CHP, Denise Wheeler, Tropicana Motel, Sultans of Swing, Duke’s coffee shop, Hyatt on Sunset, Samy’s Camera, Monument Valley, Lake Mead, Vergil Bedoni, Las Vegas, 17-Mile Drive,…the American dream.
A few times I travelled across the country with trucks full of Benzes, Toyotas or a van with BMW motorbikes. We organized the permits as we went and this meant sometimes on the doorstep of million-dollar homes, where we asked owners, if we could take some shots at their driveway. All this was much easier then, before 9/11. Well, those were the old-days.
New times, new continents. South Africa , South America and Asia were next destinations.
Now it’s more CGI shoots without cars but with rights management. We don’t need labs anymore, but AC power and an Internet connection … including at some lonely place in the desert, of course.