Way back last spring I photographed Mod Pizza CEO Scott Svenson and his wife Ally Svenson at one of their Seattle locations of the wildly successful Mod Pizza chain. The shoot was just published (my first of the year!) on the latest cover of Franchise Times. Beth Ewen’s great piece details how Mod Pizza is willing to take a chance and provide meaningful employment to people from difficult backgrounds, encouraging loyalty and fostering a healthy workplace. I had a short amount of time to make multiple portrait options for a potential cover, inside opener, and a planned set of pages inside. Fortunately, Scott and Ally were super nice and easy to work with. So were their ace employees, who helped showcase this important story!
It seems that many of my assignments for the Seattle PI bring me in touch with normal people doing unusual things. Whether it is people moonwalking as it was last week, or people raving at a concert the week before, I am often photographing very cool events and people. Often times though, it can be difficult to create pictures of these people, without them being “in character.” They either want to pose for the camera, smile when I need them to ignore my presence, or look straight into the camera and ruin the moment. So I decided to try a different approach on this assignment.
Last Saturday, I photographed an attempt in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, to break the Guinness World Record for Largest Zombie Gathering. Talk about being in character — there were literally thousands of zombies walking, flailing, and moaning down the street. It was both hilarious and frustrating.
I wanted to create pictures which showcased the hilarity of the event, but also the people behind it. Not just zombies, but the people themselves. So before I started documenting the day as a news event for the PI, I set up some portable flashes and created a mini-studio where the participants were lining up. I was going to create some zombie portraits. Lighting on these was from two Nikon SB28 flashes, one at back camera-left and bare for rimlight, and the mainlight was a small softbox at a slight angle to the subjects. Triggered with Pocket Wizards.
With thousands dressed up in a variety of costumes (as you can see) it was not difficult to find interesting subjects. Once I put them in front of my camera, most of them dropped their act, which is exactly what I wanted. This was a deeply fulfilling assignment because I have always wanted to do something like this. I love making portraits and the enthusiasm of my subjects made the portraits a true success.
Thanks for looking!
I photographed Sammy, a music student with culinary school aspirations, at his school in Shoreline.
Lighting on this was a softbox from near overhead, with another speedlight providing rim-lighting. This is in the back of the school’s cafeteria kitchen.
You can check out more of my work at www.bermanphotos.com