In 2016, photographer Tom Lindboe went to Peru and other parts of South America to work on stills for the annual report of a Danish company by the name of Maersk, who happen to be one of the biggest container shipping businesses in the world. Not only do they specialize in container shipping, but also oil, gas, energy, container harbors, and of course land transportation with trucks. Luckily, this job happened to be brand directed instead of there being agency creative involved, which allowed for a more connected relationship with Maersk.
Tom’s relationship began with Maersk when he began going along on other projects of there’s where they were shooting film, and he would take some still images alongside. He slowly began to show them how he thought they should be working with still imagery. He then began being sent out on assignments around the world to get imagery for their annual report. They use these annual reports for when they have big presentations both internally and externally, all of the media is put into it and is a great opportunity for his imagery to be showcased.
For this specific annual report that came out in 2016, Tom traveled to Maersk’s key markets in South America. They had not had any imagery of these locations, even though Peru, Columbia, and Ecuador were huge markets for them. It was Tom’s job to put his amazing landscape capturing techniques into play and head up into the Andes Mountains. He also was to spend some time in the large harbor/ terminal they have in Peru. He went and documented a few stores in the harbor and focused in on the employees before heading up to the mountains for three days.
But before one drives up into the Andes, a lot of research needs to be done, which is exactly what Tom and his team did. He then presented the location ideas to the client, and then local production companies are contacted to do location scouting and arrange all the necessities. They found the locations for Tom and his team, or something similar, planned the route and time schedule for them.
Tom works with a very small team on these types of shoots, and doesn’t even have an assistant come along with him. There is a producer, some security (specifically two police officers for this shoot), and the truck with two drivers. They had one day to location scout before they went out officially to shoot the project, but they could not drive through the entire route because it was an extremely long drive. He was able to find some of the key areas and make a plan for that first day.
In order to avoid traffic in the city, they had to leave at a specific time, and they had the help of the police officers in their entourage stop traffic for them to allow the trucks to exist alone in the final photographs. The images were to convey a story about how these trucks come to the most remote areas of the world— and how Maersk is the company that can deliver or pick up products from these far away places.
The premise in all of Tom’s still images is to always show where he is. For this assignment, even though he has these beautiful landscapes, he still needs to show he is specifically in South America. Normally he is shooting in cityscapes where you can tell where you are either by their being flags present, or iconic buildings/ areas allowing for the view to recognize where they are. But when in the mountains, it can be hard to know exactly where you are. Keeping this in mind while in Peru, Tom and his team bartered with a local farmer to borrow his herd of alpacas, an animal very traditionally attributed to the South American country. The small village was far from civilization, and their way of doing favors is not about owing money, but more about giving something to the community. Tom and his team helped make a calendar for the school as their repayment for the kind favor, as well as giving some money to those who helped handle and herd the alpaca’s back and forth to the truck and the location they were to be shot in. Everything was sorted out on set in two days, and was unlike anything he had done before, but had to accomplish it once they got the idea and were out on location.
There was slight difficulty when it came to controlling the alpacas, considering they are wild animals, but luckily Tom shot on a tripod, so he ended up with lots of images he was able to combined in post production. Even though he had a lot of images to piece together in the end, Tom ended up only having an hour to shoot because of the difficulty loading them into the truck, and a storm passing by at the same time. Some alpacas even ran away across the plateau they were shooting on and up into the mountains, taking the herders 5 hours to find them!
Many people who look at Tom’s work describe him as a beautifier, as he is able to take the beauty of his landscape and incorporate it into a commercial or corporate setting. He takes pride in his refined graphic, clean style, and his passion to make beautiful images. He finds very often that he has ample space in his images. If he has a truck he needs to capture, he doesn’t let the truck fit the whole image frame, but rather shows where we are, and the beauty of this space we are in. He finds it to be much more impactful and powerful when you can take a step back and have some more free space around the main subject. If anything, it draws much more attention to the truck and the landscape; your eyes searching the image, dreaming around and ending on the subject every time. Tom is always trying to help his clients raise the level of photography to a more campaign-like look, which sometimes means lots of post production work on the images to create a much higher quality to the images than they may normally see.