Monday, February 22, 2010

Photo District News

USA Track & Field Spots Strength and Beauty with Olympic Medalists

Jan 19, 2010

Harold Lee Miller

Photo by Harold Lee Miller

Last December, USA Track & Field brought in Olympic medalists Sanya Richards, David Oliver, Kerron Clement and Hyleas Fountain for a series of billboard images to run in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Des Moines, Iowa to coincide with the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships and the USA Track& Field Outdoor Championship, both part of its Visa Championship Series. Creative Director David Stanton of Indianapolis agency Williams Randall, USATF's Sr. Director of Marketing Ivan Cropper and Nike's Federations Manager Rob Lotwis wanted images that conveyed strength and dominance, the qualities that put these athletes at the top of their sports.

Stanton recommended advertising photographer Harold Lee Miller of Chicago, Illinois. "I've been a fan of Harold Miller's work for many years, and I've worked with him numerous times. He's flexible, creative and always delivers amazing images," says Stanton. When USATF saw Miller's Web site, they knew they found the right photographer and team player for the job. Miller is known for imagery that is dramatic and employs interesting lighting. His work shows emotion, strength and power, combined with beauty - all the attributes needed for a series of photographs of Olympic-medal winners.

Needless to say, the job presented quite a few challenges to Miller. Cropper and his marketing team selected the athletes to be photographed and handled all the schedule coordination. Miller photographed the athletes while they were in Indianapolis for the December 2009 USATF Annual Meeting. The client needed to walk away from the shoot with graphic images that were simple yet bold, and they had to be versatile for outdoor and print for event-promotion usages. They also needed images that could be used for selling team gear and fan merchandise.

Miller had only four hours to shoot multiple images of the athletes. Hair, makeup, wardrobe changes all had to done very quickly. He and his production team shot the athletes on a white sweep in different groupings and then individually and had to pose everyone for various images that the clients wanted. Cropper of USATF wanted the billboard images to show strength and dominance, but he also wanted versions for their Web site that would project a sense of fun and friendliness. This meant that Miller had to direct both the posing and facial expressions to achieve all the required attitudes. He tried to shoot them in such a way that he could marry them with backgrounds that would work with the athletes' expressions and poses, and create a compelling image - not just a bunch of pictures stripped into stock backgrounds. This meant a variety of expressions, camera angles and poses to give him some flexibility in post production. Stanton adds, "We found the athletes relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera as we experimented with a variety of poses and expressions. Harold did a great job capturing both their serious competitive spirit and their lighter side."

Miller had the studio shots CGI'd with backgrounds he shot in Arizona and altered color, contrast and brightness between the studio and background images to create the low-key, dramatic images he had visualized.

"These athletes are conscious of their own, personal 'brand' as champions, and they were definitely interested in how they looked, as well as how the images portrayed them," says Miller. Collaboration among everyone was a must during the shoot in order to achieve the desired objectives, while also keeping the athletes comfortable with what was being asked of them. Miller managed it all and met everyone's expectations with great success. A true team effort and his magic can be seen in the final images.


Anonymous said...

Nice pic!!

KM Johnson MPLS

ejheat said...

Very intersting picture! They certainly captured you perfectly with your smile, laugh, and your hercules hurdling body! Coach E has been jumping up and down in his diaper and slip sliding on ice up up and away in Vancouver while he continues on his quest for his miracle on ice with the USA Hockey Team! Coach E commented that he has a nice smile too which I call Coach E's enzyte Bob smile! Coach E in his red, white, and blue diaper with his red, white, and blue baton has already had a hat trick as he has shooted and scored and he hopes this continue thru the weekend! Coach E expects his miracle on ice gold this weekend, and he expects a David Oliver 60m indoor hurdling championship putting those Oliver Ones up in the air! DO it up BIG Oliver! Your blog father has spoken!!!!

Me and Coach E both thought that Kerron looked like he had been smacked by 1 of Coach E's OOM-PA-PA smackers from 1 of my EJHEAT indoor track and field rollaway beds! Kerron must have had half his body on and off the bed and woke up on the wrong side of the bed! Ouch for Kerron! Maybe Kerron will win the championship in his race from my outstanding EJHEAT rollaway beds! Yes, Oliver, I want a King David size victory EJHEAT championship rollaway bed to give you with a good winning positive smack on your OOM-PA-PA with your Oliver Ones up in the air and half your body on an off the bed as you prepare to do my EJHEAT dystonic dance celebration with your hip swivel OOM-PA-PA twist and shout! Coach E wants to do his miracle on ice celebration dystonic dance just like me and you Oliver, and we all can yell from 1 corner of the USA to another and into Western Canada and back, "GOALLLLLLL!" Can you hear us all now? That is the bottom line because I'm so excited me and miracle on ice enzyte Bob smile Coach E said so!!!!