A few months back I had chance to work with Sports+Lifestyle Unlimited model Alex on-location and in studio. This series was by far my favorite from the shoot.Originally I had it lit a lot more, but after taking a look at the images, I’m glad I switched to a simpler, more dramatic lighting setup.
The night before the big race while documenting the spaghetti dinner celebrating all the athletes who would be competing in the Baltimore Running Festival the next day, I setup a seamless to shoot portraits of the racers with their bikes. It was tough to position a bike and the subject on a 9 foot seamless, but we were able to get it done. It was also a chance for me to get to know each of them better and to know a few who were not able to be a part of the reportage series. Here are the few that are my favorites from the night.
One of the most rewarding projects I had in 2015 was documenting the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Spinal Cord Injury Center’s hand cycling team training and competing in the Baltimore Running Festival. I spent 4 days during the month of October documenting their training rides and marathon day. Our goal was to show their patients as athletes. You think this would be obvious, but after talking with Erin and the team throughout the planning process, the general public doesn’t see their work, dedication, and that they are in fact athletes because they spend their days in a wheelchair. We wanted to change that.
For those of you who haven’t been in Baltimore for a Marathon Day, you are missing out because it’s amazing. People line the streets to watch thousands file by while in agony, usually beer in hand; Em and I live right on the Marathon’s path; our neighbors also throw a great party. It’s definitely worth experiencing in person.
Some of them have raced (running to dirt bikes) before their injury, while others have found it as an outlet after injury. Most of the racers are mechanically inclined due to constant fixing issues with their chairs or bikes to solve daily life issues. There’s something about working with these athletes that I have yet to articulate well, other than I’m always truly inspired by their attitude, work ethic and determination.
Tomorrow I’ll share the studio portraits of the team. Here’s a link to the full story – http://www.ebrianschneider.com/handcycle/
Back in August, I had a chance to work on another personal project, this time documenting and creating portraits of lawn mower racers competing at the United States Lawn Mower Association’s National Race at Bowles’ Farm in Clements, MD. The story really starts 2 years before when I was driving home from covering collegiate sailing at St. Mary’s, MD and saw this billboard surrounded by cornfields saying simply, “Lawn Mower Racing, first weekend of August.” Immediately I pulled out the phone, marked the location the best I could and sent myself an email to follow-up on this to explore and experience. I was intrigued and I don’t know how you couldn’t be as a living, breathing person in what this might be.
Growing up in the South, there’s always these niche cultural sports/events/things and I was fortunate to go push myself to go experience or document these things as I found them. After some basic research I found it, but the only problem was Em’s oldest sister was getting married that weekend, so it hit the list of possible projects in the future. As the schedule came out for the whole series (they race almost every weekend around the country), I put it on my calendar. As it got closer into July I called up Bruce Kauffman, also known as Mr. Mow-It-All and talked with him about the project and was granted access to the event. For those of you who have been following me on Instagram, we’ve been working on the back bathroom, also affectionally known as “the outhouse.” About two weeks before the race weekend, Em and I have a conversation that goes like this:
Em – “What is this lawn mower racing thing on your calendar? Who’s the client?”
Me – “It’s exactly what it says it is, lawn mowers racing each other; I’m the client. Should be awesome!”
Em – “My parents are coming down to work on the outhouse, can this be moved or how are we going to do this? Why do you need to shoot this?”
Me – “It’s been on the calendar since January and I already got access and told them I’m coming, I can’t bail now. I’m planning on using this for the website and possibly a special mailer out to people next year.”
After some discussion, it ended up working out perfectly. We’d start working on the house at 7am and I’d work until 11am or so, get in the car and drive 2 hours south to shoot. I’d shoot until it was over, around 11pm, and then drive back. It was exhausting, but also an adrenaline rush to make the schedule work and shoot the project. After seeing the images, I’m so happy Em and I could figure out a happy balance to do this project.
Mr. Mow-It-All gave me a bit of the run down about the weekend, but I was still flying blind and had no idea what to expect. Fortunately the location and weather were picturesque and couldn’t be better. Everyone was awesome, friendly and open to letting me hang out, document and shoot portraits for the two days. People came from all over the East Coast and Midwest, from Michigan, to South Carolina, to New Hampshire. The racers ranged in age from 14 to 73 and in some divisions youth competed against adults. It was a $10 entrance to raise money for charity and all your regular fried foods to pair with $3 Bud heavy, Bud light, Michelob and Miller. I think the coolest part is people are racing for a plaque, there is no prize money, only pride.
I setup the studio on pit road, which was in front of possibly my favorite background ever – cornfields and blue sky. Out of 80 racers we shot 30 portraits, in between the 16 hours+ of racing over the two days.
Here’s a few of my favorites from the project. You can find the whole project on my website – www.ebrianschneider.com/ready-set-mow. Let me know if you want to be on the mailing list when this hits mailboxes in 2016.
Now that the year is coming to a close – projects shot and delivered; client gifts and promos mailed; and finshed work has started hitting the wild, the blog will be a bit more active. Goal for next year is to stay on-top of it a bit better, but it’s been tough with work, travel, bathroom renovation and fostering to stay on top of the blogging.
This summer I had a chance to work with TRUE Lacrosse (a subdivision of True Temper) to capture and produce the first set of brand imagery as they launched their first handle this fall. They already had a great line – “Play TRUE” – so we wanted to find, document, and show these true moments of lacrosse. Taping a stick, putting on eye black, pre-game moments, and thrill of victory. It’s always exciting as a creative to do something first and put your own stamp on the brand through the collaborative process.
We shot the campaign in one-day, both boys and girls, using local high schoolers playing on a local club team. Myself and the agency location scouted and decided to use Boy’s Latin HS, which is not only one of the best lacrosse teams in the country, but also has some of the best facilities and a killer two-story concrete wall that was perfect for multiple shot looks. Since this was the brand’s first shoot we needed to cover a fair amount of ground to get a variety of images for boys and girls, so we went with a larger crew. Big shout outs to Tom, Grant, Matt, and Yacouba (no particular order) for going above and beyond to make the production a success. While I might take the photos, it’s definitely takes great planning and a team effort to accomplish the client’s goals.
Here’s a few of my favorite photos from the day, you can see a wider take on my website. You can skip even farther down to see some behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot:
I’m pretty fortunate to make visuals for a living. It allows me to go places and meet people I wouldn’t have otherwise. This time lululemon sent me into the Chesapeake Bay on a gorgeous morning to create images of Annapolis ambassador Kate Grove as she performs stand up paddle board yoga. I have to admit, I’d never heard of this type of yoga and it also seems absolutely crazy. Balancing on the board and then doing some crazy yoga move, very cool and challenging. Kate was awesome and up for anything for the shoot. She teaches a variety of yoga classes, but her speciality is stand up paddle.
The only thing I hate about the ocean, jellyfish. My client gave me a heads up and so I’m dressed head-to-toe in workout compression, though you can’t tell from the behind-the-scenes photo below. Here are a few of my favorites from the shoot.
A few months back I started working with lululemon athletica on various social media and ambassador projects. Now that they are out in the wild I can finally share some of the work. Esther is probably one of the most open, nice and quietly intense person I’ve met. We have had a chance to work together over the last year on a few shoots, but as an official ambassador shoot we really wanted to capture her intensity in her own element. I’ve heard stories about her classes from friends and the local lululemon Harbor East crew, but I had never experienced one in person until the shoot. Her classes are intense, loud, sweaty. This is what we were looking to capture.
While I mainly CrossFit now, I got back into a physical routine with spin classes and biking. I enjoyed the darkness of the room, loud music, and the pedaling. Since we were going into a regular class, we didn’t want to destroy the atmosphere with strobe lights popping off, so I went and rented large hot-lights that are typically used for video productions to mimic her studio’s lighting. The camera, lights, modifiers, they are just tools to best accomplish the goal of finding story-telling images. Here are a few of my favorites from the day.
Back in June I had a chance to work on a project documenting a friend of mine, Adam Durham, who is an Olympic hopeful and a top-10 400m hurdler in the World. We worked together a few years ago, but as my vision and skills have evolved, I wanted to work with him again documenting his training routine as he prepares to qualify for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Over two days, I met him at a local high school track, where he stretches, drills, and runs. I was impressed by the simplicity and intensity of his training. He has a singular focus on improving his technique and speed to become a better hurdler. He’s a great athlete and person, I’ll definitely be rooting for him.
A few months back I had an opportunity to work with Messiah College on a two-part project photographing local alumni in their office spaces for their publications. Emily’s non-profit has a great, modern office space in Alexandria, VA so it gave us a chance to hit a few different setups for the assignment. I had a fun time learning about their mission fighting for human rights, especially women’s rights in third-world countries. Here are a few of my favorites from the shoot.
Back in the spring I had the opportunity to work with two great founders of a web design firm here in Baltimore. They were in the process of re-designing their website and needed a small custom image library to use across various mediums and collateral. It was a fun project to capture their personalities (left-brain and right-brain), approachability and work environment. We chose to do it in my studio in Highlandtown to give their “office” an industrial chic feeling, but so it was also a bit more general. We propped the studio and went to work capturing portraits, lifestyle, and details for the website. Here are a few of my favorites from the project.