Monday May 13th, 2013
by Wesley Kays-Henry
Recently, Brainbox GmbH was tasked by AMC Culinary Cookware to create a campaign marketing their new cookware to young adults. AMC wanted to change up their current look, preferring a clean, natural, “real life” feel. The plan was to show two young couples having fun while cooking with AMC products. To do so, they reached out to one of Wonderful Machine’s Germany-based photographers, Daniel Ziegert, who at first thought himself an odd choice. Daniel doesn’t typically shoot still life or food—but it turns out that Brainbox was right in their instinct. The shoot was a perfect fit, and Daniel ended up creating some beautifully clean photos that AMC loved. To learn more, I got in touch with Daniel to see how it all went down.
Mario Hoffman at Brainbox was hoping to give AMC—a high-end Swiss cookware brand—a fresh direction. They approached Daniel for a bid, which as stated, was a bit unexpected. However, he decided to go along with it, saying, “If a client asks you to come in for an assignment believing you are perfect for the job, you shouldn’t doubt their judgment! Take the chance.” He won the bid and was soon trying something new in the kitchen.
For the shoot, Daniel found himself in a cramped basement kitchen, with 4 models, 3 agency staffers, the clients, stylists, assistants, lights, computers, props and catering. Luckily, the abundance of prop wine got everyone loosened up; “The supply, which we had bought only based on the looks of the bottles, was well in demand.”
Interestingly, both Daniel and the food stylist are vegetarians, which created a unique problem when buying meat for the shoot. “When we learned we needed to provide meat and prep it for the shoot, we were kind of grossed out. The lady at the butcher was startled when we asked for the ‘prettiest meat.’”
After the shoot, the client was very happy with the images as well as the range of content. Daniel was curious how it would pan out with the client since the series was “miles away from their usual look.” But AMC is already talking about incorporating the style into future campaigns, which thrilled Daniel. “I’m glad to have given them material that made them think about going beyond what they’d done in the past.” So in review, never doubt the client’s eagerness to work with you, regardless of stylistic differences. You might be the Golden Ticket they were waiting for, and it just may be a perfect opportunity to try something new.
The final selects are available on Daniel’s site, danielziegert.com, go ahead and check them out!
Tuesday December 11th, 2012
by Maria Luci
Munich-based photographer Christian Brecheis is lovin’ it. Or should I say Ich liebe es? Probably not, since my German is pretty weak… But it does seem somewhat appropriate since this post is all about Christian’s recent shoot for German McDonald’s and McCafes.
This particular job came to Christian through Heye, an advertising agency based in Munich. They asked Christian to shoot a variety of “party-type” shots in McDonald’s throughout Germany. Heye’s creatives fully understood what their client wanted out of the shoot, and had transformed McDonald’s vision into lively concepts that perfectly hit the mark. Christian’s job was to cement Heye’s ideas to, making the disco party scene come to life… And lucky for them, this wasn’t Christian’s first
Christian felt the job was going to be one of his principal assignments for the year, and was happy to take on the challenge. He’s no stranger to the “party lifestyle” advertising scene, so he already had an idea of some of the shots he needed. He quickly got to work with the Heye team on pre-production, scouting tons of McDonald’s and McCafe’s in the Munich metro area for two days straight. Christian says, with a laugh, that he scouted so many McDonald’s that if he’d checked in with Foursquare at each one, he’d surely have earned the title of “Burger King.” After scouting, the team jumped right into a live casting with over 60 models—a process that Christian says made him feel like a judge on America’s Next Top Model. They ended up choosing four models per day for each of the four scheduled shoot days. Once everything was in order, the party began.
Having receiving mood boards from Heye, Christian knew they were looking for extremely upbeat, positive images of young folks having an awesome time. He made sure to shoot both positive and traditional McDonald’s customer shots along with over-the-top fun, party photos. The latter, of course, making the assignment a “fun shoot for sure!”
Christian earned a lot of very positive feedback from the final images. The photos will now be used in McDonald’s advertising across Europe.
View more of Christian’s work at christianbrecheis.com.
Thursday October 4th, 2012
Guten tag, Wonderful Machine readers! As you may have guessed it, this installment of our expatriate series has us heading to Germany to chat with our once Portland, Oregon-based photographer, Anthony Georgis. A little over a year ago, Anthony up and moved all the way to Berlin, having fallen in love with the city while on an international assignment. Below, we discuss living and working as a freelance photographer in Deutschland. Enjoy!
- Maria Luci
Where are you from originally?
My roots are on the West Coast—I grew up in California and lived in Portland for about 15 years before I moved to Berlin.
How did you first get into photography?
I took a job as a delivery driver for the local photo supply company. Photography had always been an interest, but I never had the opportunity to pursue a formal education. That delivery job was my Photo 101 because it introduced me to a wide range of working photographers. From there I went on to work as a photo assistant for a number of incredibly talented people before leaving to pursue my own work about five years ago.
How would you describe your photographic style?
My style is very natural, loose, and simple. I enjoy photographing real people and trying to capture the subtlety of a genuine moment.
How did you end up in Germany?
In the summer of 2011, I came to Berlin for a job and really fell in love with the city. I have been living here on and off for the past year.
Were there any challenges to becoming a freelance photographer in Germany?
The challenges that go along with legally coming to Germany—to live and work—have been relatively minor. I was able to obtain a freelance visa after presenting some financial information, a letter of intent, and my portfolio to the German immigration office. I also had to register to pay taxes in Germany and provide proof that I have health insurance. The bigger challenges have been adjusting to the business culture and building a new client base.
How did you start gaining clients?
I’ve actually been very lucky to continue working with a lot of my former clients and contacts from the US who have hired me to shoot in Germany. To add new clients, I am working with a German rep and a marketing team that is well connected with local agencies and clients. They are helping me set up portfolio meetings and promoting my work throughout the EU.
Any language issues?
Ja! Of course! Berlin is very English language friendly, and I do my best to keep up on my German, but there have been a few lost in translation moments during production or on set. To counter that, I’ve tried to come up with simpler, more visual ways to communicate and think. Working in another language is actually helping me refine the direction I give.
What are some of the photos projects you’ve worked on in Germany?
I’ve worked on a project for Levi’s in Berlin with Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam, a project for Nike that I landed based on my prior work with them in the US, and an editorial feature for Marie Claire in the UK, who is a new client. I’ve also continued to work on my own projects, shooting test work with local crew, refining the imagery in my portfolio and on my website.
Has your photography style changed since moving?
Yes and no. I think the style is basically the same, but I feel like the cultural context shows in the images.
What are typical assignments for you?
Most of my work is lifestyle and portraiture-based. A majority of my assignments are for advertising clients who want images that are produced and controlled, but look very natural and unscripted. I also do a bit of editorial work that is reportage based.
How is working in Germany different from working in the US?
Production here runs a bit different and there are all kinds of rules and tax codes that need to be followed. But, as always, it’s essential to have a good crew and production team backing you up. I’ve been very lucky to have a solid team to work with here.
Do you plan to stay in Germany?
Yes, I’m working really hard to build a presence here and Berlin is starting to feel like home. But I have recently written a number of estimates for jobs that would bring me back to the States, so it is possible that I would be able to travel back to the US on a regular basis for work and perhaps even split time between Germany and the US.
What do you miss about the US? What do you like about Germany?
The things I miss the most are my family and friends. I could also really go for a good taco right about now and sometimes I wish that the grocery and hardware stores were open on Sundays. Other than that, life here is pretty amazing. Berlin is changing and growing all the time so it has a great energy. Plus, there are tons of bike paths and good public transportation so I don’t need to have a car. Overall it’s very affordable for an international city and makes for a great base of operations in the EU.
If you were giving advice to a photographer moving to Germany, what would you tell them?
I think the thing to keep in mind for anyone considering life as an expat is that it takes a lot of effort to deal with the challenges of living and working in a foreign country. Not only do you have to adapt to cultural changes just to live your daily life, but you also have to build new relationships as an outsider without a common language or cultural background. Some days are really tough. You have to have patience and you have to be willing to look at all the problems and differences as an adventure.
View more of Anthony’s work at anthonygeorgis.com.
Friday October 16th, 2009
Max Dolberg / San Diego
Photojournalism / Institutional
Went to kindergarten in Geneva, Switzerland. Learned to speak fluent French in a matter of
months. Can’t speak a lick of it now. In his 20′s, Max played bass in a punk band and toured the
country in a van. Shot his 2nd book on tattooing, which is being released soon. More on that here