by Arthur H. Bleich
September 01, 2010 — When the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau wanted to get the word out that Miami offered more than beaches, bunnies and boozing, and that arts and culture also had their rightful place in The Magic City, their agency, Turkel, hired Pete Barrett to shoot the re-branding campaign and have a hand in its postproduction.
“We were tasked with combining the art of a selected artist with a location that could represent a particular part of Miami,” recalls Barrett, who worked with a painter, sculptor, chef, dancer and other local artists to shoot the campaign’s eight images.
The art of urban dancer Zedric Bembry called for multiple shots of him composited to create an orchid. Barrett chose Everglades National Park as his first location. “I wanted an area where I could flank the dancer on either side with a border of mangroves and have a visual path to guide your eye into the shot to give it visual depth and dimension,” he recalls. He shot five images there that would later become the background.
An appropriate orchid was then chosen from about a hundred species. Barrett remembers being enthralled with one that had vibrant colors and fluid shapes. It, and two siblings, made the cut—literally—and ended up in the studio. “The flower and stem was created from these three plants for the shape and composition we wanted,” remembers Barrett. “Where the flower bud meets Zedric was actually a blend of the bud and part of his body to start the premise of him being the flower.”
During a daylong studio shoot, Zedric jumped and hit various dance poses, which Barrett output into low-res comps to create, as close as possible, each piece needed to emulate the flower. Custom-made body suits and materials were used to achieve the colors he wanted and to create the illusion of flower petals.
“I styled the centermost prominent image of Zedric in a more urban fashion to fit who Zedric really is,” says Barrett. “We opted for the more serious expression as it showed the concentration he exhibits when dancing. Smiles looked too posed and cheesy.”
When all the elements had been shot, Barrett turned over the compositing to Michael Kerbow of Skeleton Digital Art Studio. Then he did the finishing work—final color palette exploration, illustration and painterly effects. Recalls Barrett, “The client loved it.”
Arthur H. Bleich (email@example.com) is a photographer, writer, and educator who lives in Miami. He does assignments for major publications both in the U.S. and abroad, and conducts digital photography workshop cruises. Visit his Digital PhotoCorner at www.dpcorner.com and his workshop cruise site at www.
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