Detroit based portrait photographer Jeremy Deputat is most well known for traveling the world on tour with musicians, most notably Eminem. But in the recent years he has branched out to shooting fashion— and not just here in the States, but internationally as well. Beginning in 2014, Jeremy was hired to shoot the Adidas Superstar campaign out of Taiwan and Hong Kong, in total shooting 5 campaigns for them since. While it may sound like a dream to travel the world to work for such a big brand, producing a photoshoot in a foreign country turned out to be more complicated than he anticipated.
The aesthetic for the Superstar campaigns centered around street style, but for his first campaign Jeremy was to photograph a famous Chinese celebrity, so shooting out on the actual street wasn’t an option. Instead, a set was built in studio to mimic an actual street scene, so that the campaign stayed on brand. For the building of the set, Jeremy had little room to give input, as the client was very hands on to the point where they didn’t need to involve him during that stage of pre-production.
Not only did he feel very absent from the production side of the shoot, but he found getting his usual equipment to rent was close to impossible while in Taiwan. Access to gear was a lot better in Hong Kong, but when in Taiwan he had to learn to work with the gear he was dealt, breaking out of his comfort zone. He was not given the budget to fly one of his usual assistants out for these international shoots, so instead had to work with new assistants in the cities he was shooting within. The pace at which he had to shoot was also significantly slower than what he was used to, as almost everyone on set did not speak English, and had to be spoken to through a translator. Many directions would get lost in translation, either to his assistants or his subjects.
For the second campaign he shot for them, they continued the street style aesthetic, and were allowed to shoot outside on the real street. Jeremy was heavily involved in the location scouting, and had much more involvement deciding where to take the shots. But shooting outside lead to another issue photographers everywhere who work on location face: bad weather. The last campaign he shot for them was in Hong Kong during the rainy season, and it was to be shot entirely outside on location. Jeremy had to shoot 7-8 shots, all at different locations. Lots of movement and re-setting up had to take place, along with tethering outside so the client could look at the captures. But sometimes the weather would prevail, and they would be rained out for days at a time.
While it may sound like one problem after another while shooting these campaigns, Jeremy credits all the challenges he faced with helping him become a better photographer. Everything works slightly differently from country to country, which is what all his traveling for work has taught him, so one must learn to adapt quickly. Especially when you don’t speak the language of the country you’re working in, an experience like that has the ability to make a better photographer out of anyone. But at the end of the day, all that matters is getting the perfect shot, which Jeremy credits to his subjects, who inspire him with their ability to have reached their goal of success and greatness.