We spoke with Omaha based Geoff Johnson last month as a part of our motion issue, and we have him back on the blog now to share some of the work he’s made this past year or so.
One of these jobs was a still campaign for Merck Animal Health, specifically on the equine team— their horse products line. The idea was to shoot out at two separate locations in California; one showing the Western side, the other the high end side of equestrian lifestyle. The more Western scenes involved outside arenas, chasing down cattle down, more action packed type work. The higher end type work was shot closer to Los Angeles in a horse barn that works with high level jumper/ hunter horses. The overall style of the people in these barns, as well as the horses, is pristine, where everyone is tricked out in their nice wardrobe. Geoff had a stylist on set, but the subjects were already ready to go. The trainers are as high level as their horses, the horses themselves costing anywhere from $50k to $100k.
From the Western world to the more polished side of it all, the goal of the shoot was to capture the life around the sport. Merck now has an image library of 1,800 images, which Geoff whittled down from a whopping 30,000 images he shot over the course of 4 days. This was the most he’s ever really delivered on a shoot, but most of that was due to the fact that there are a lot of different stages to capture when it comes to the horses jumping, riding, etc. He shot a mixture of lifestyle and action shots, providing Merck with a library that could work for them for a range of things.
We now travel from California to Florida, where Geoff went on assignment for Easy-Go Golf Cars. He shot the images in one of the biggest golf car communities in Florida, which exist like little villages. The communities are for people 55 and older, mainly full of retirees. And just like you may see a lane for bikers aside cars in bigger cities, these small villages have regular car lanes, with smaller lanes beside them for the golf cars. Everyone seems to drive golf cars around in these areas, and they even have golf car dealerships.
Geoff shot specific models for them— even their beefier 4x4 models that you’d use on a bigger property, not quite like an all terrain vehicle, but something one could haul stuff around on. He also captured the actual community— them on the streets, and the safety of the different varieties of engines they have. The theme was very lifestyle driven, showing people in the park, their backyard, and down on the boardwalk getting ice cream.
While Geoff is mainly an agricultural photographer, he also shoots plenty lifestyle work like this assignment for Easy-Go. At the end of the day, his approach is in some ways the same, and he is always trying to make pretty pictures surrounding his light. The biggest difference he finds is that when he is shooting agricultural work, he is mainly always working with “real people”, meaning the real farmer, the real rancher, or the real grower. Even on lifestyle shoots, if there are budget issues or constraints, they have to cast “real people”, which end up giving the work a more authentic feel. On his Easy-Go assignment, they had a mixture of “real people” and casted professional talent.
And lastly, we talked to Geoff about a self-assigned job he produced and shot on his own for Silver Car, a rental company in all major markets. In February of this year he took himself and a crew out to Nevada to work on a pitch piece for Silver Car. In partnership with Audi, the company lends you a silver Audi A4 each time you rent, allowing you to drive in style. Geoff describes the experience as amazing, where you walk up to the car, scan it with your phone, and everything is all ready to go. It is a different kind of experience than going to a regular car rental place at an airport and dealing with long lines or waiting for someone to bring you your car.
They had a social media campaign that if you can shoot their car, they would try to use the best photos. Silver Car was really trying to dian in their user base and take advantage of the social media engagement aspect. The photography being submitted was all over the map, so Geoff had the idea to go out and capture a road trip on his own in this car. He cast two different sets of talent— two couples, different in age— and shot with them the car and the car by itself. He shoots a lot of transportation for big trucking companies already, so it was natural for him to be on that side of the industry, especially when you mix in some lifestyle. He plans to make prints of the images and send it to them with a note to hopefully drum up an idea for a potential job between the two of them. it is important to create new work on your own, and to understand the process of going out into the world and finding it for yourself.