Recently Legion Photo president, Aaron Ansarov, helped one of his friends and protegés Marine Sgt. Scott Schmidt to help with a portrait of a local Marine recruiter. Here is a brief description of the shoot and what was involved.
Recruiting future Marines is no day at the beach, or at least that’s what people tell me. I knew that I wanted to show the lengths Marine Corps recruiters go through to enlist the next generation in a unique way, but the idea was somewhat fuzzy. From shooting basic environmental portraits to placing a Marine in full uniform knee high in the Atlantic Ocean, it’s safe to say the concept has evolved.
You’re probably wondering what the big deal is anyway…”It’s just a Marine in the water,” you may be thinking – at least that’s what I was thinking at first.
This is the first in hopefully a progressively marketable treatment showing the flexibility and resilience of Marine recruiters. In conversations with my friend and mentor Aaron Ansarov, Semper Gumby came to mind. A Marine will go anywhere to find the next contract.
For me, this idea seemed unreachable. I had never really explored the use of flashes or lighting equipment. I always told myself I just preferred available light photography, but the reality was that when it came to lighting a subject, I was clueless. Working with Aaron, has helped me overcome this fear.
This shoot was my first real experience with mixing available and artificial lighting and having Aaron there guiding the shoot eased the stress of messing up. It meant I didn’t have a pissed off Marine standing in the water for hours too. To get the effect I wanted, we woke early and arrived at the beach about 10 minutes before sunrise. We immediately set up the light and the Marine walked knee high into the water. After about three or four shots, we got the exposure right so that the ambient light meshed with the Elinchrom Ranger RX system we were using. As I shot, Aaron would reposition the light to play off the ambient light, which continued to change as the sun got higher above the horizon. As I shot, I was conscience of the placement of the sun in relation to the subject, but got caught up in shooting only horizontals. Aaron continued to remind me to shoot verticals as well.
The shoot was a success and besides the beautiful images I captured, it washed away my fears of artificial light. What comes of the shoot, I don’t know, but from here it’s back to the story board to complete a series of recruiters “on the job” in various locations. There will be seriousness, humor and maybe some weird all to show that Marine recruiters are versatile and ruthless.