Jupiterimages Photographer Profile: Ola! Communications
Dateline: August 10, 2007
In the second installment in this series of profiles of the photographers behind the images on Jupiterimages stock photo subscription sites, we asked Josée Charbonneau, Chief and Creative Team/Partner of Gatineau, Quebec-based Ola! Communications to us tell us about the firm and its approach to shooting for the Photos.com, AbleStock.com and PhotoObjects.net collections.
Can you tell us a bit about Loft 1911—why it was created and what its relation is to Ola! Communications?
The Loft 1911's initial purpose was to provide creative photographic support for Ola!'s interactive web concepts. This activity did not utilize 100% of the Loft's resources. We quickly added corporate, fashion, artistic and creative photography services.
As such, the Loft also provides potential clients a different entry point into the world of Ola!. Very quickly, photo clients also became web clients for us. We also developed important contracts, such as the one with Jupiterimages. The variety in the type of photography needed for all these projects has kept us on our toes and continually stimulated. We believe this has contributed to our very rapid growth in skill set, efficiency and expertise. The Loft's target clientele has always been corporate—we don't do weddings!
Loft 1911 shoots for clients in such areas as fashion and food. How has these areas of specialty affected your work?
These are perfect examples of two areas that required a precise skill set and eye for aesthetics. We believe this variety is of immense value. It keeps our photographers and touch-up technicians on their toes. While it can be challenging to switch quickly from one style to another, the Loft has steadily been building a library of light and camera settings (our recipe book!) that make this very smooth.
What are the advantages of having your own team, including makeup artists and stylists, available for every aspect of a photo shoot?
The Loft's main photographer is Carl Durocher—a rising star in the world of photography. We also employ two more photographers that provide invaluable support when we are on the field. This allows us to capture a wider variety of styles on the same location. This is especially advantageous when we travel abroad and every minute counts. At times, we even leave one photographer back home to continue local studio operations while the other two operate abroad.
On location at the Loft, the stylists and makeup artists are accustomed to our style and methods. They quickly grasp the concept and understand how their work affects the end product. Often, they are able to look at test shots and suggest "quick fixes" that greatly improve the end product and reduce the need for extensive touching up.
Do you have a favorite photographic topic or subject?
On a personal level, Carl is a big fan of gothic style and fashion. The Loft enjoys the challenge of creating a studio and shooting off-location. For example, the desert shoot in Vegas was an amazing experience. When we travel, we bring lot of gear with us and in this case we brought two lightboxes with us to create a studio feel—outside, next to a strip of highway. It was very challenging and we are extremely proud of the end product; it was definitely worth the trouble.
Has the globalisation of media resulted in a homogenisation of photographic style? Or is there still room for a unique approach?
We think that with globalization, photographers realise more and more that there are a lot of talented people out there. We believe that the sheer volume of photography now readily available can provide inspiration—and one must be careful to differentiate between inspiration and influence. The tendency to copy something Hot is hard to resist sometimes.
At the loft, we are fans of art and admire quality work wherever we see it. In Los Angeles, we marvelled at the billboards, commenting that people there paid a lot more attention to photographic quality. We strive to remain precise in our work, and enjoy photos that carry a lot of natural emotion. We would rather be excellent at capturing something natural than to create it in a controlled manner. To do this, we almost have to teach models to stop posing!
How many of your photos are currently available on Jupiterimages stock photo sites?
There are more than 2,000 on AbleStock.com and Photos.com, and more than 10,000 on PhotoObjects.net.
Is there a particular Photos.com/AbleStock.com photo shoot that stands out?
The Las Vegas desert shoot, on the side of the highway.
A recent batch of images for Photos.com/AbleStock.com depicts primarily young people, among which are some striking images related to maternity. Can you tell us something about those?
We are a family business—the kids often come to work. We think something deep and emotional rose to the surface for photographer and models both. The energy in the studio was perfect.
Do you have any general comments about working with the Photos.com/AbleStock.com team and having your images available as part of the those collections?
We have tremendously enjoyed working with the Jupiterimages team. The relationship has always been transparent and productive. We are always excited to see our work show up on the websites.
Can you tell us something about your current workflow? Tools, processes, etc?
So you want to know about our well-oiled machine? Well, we use synthetic oil. It's better for the engine... All kidding aside, we are all about the workflow. We follow very strict procedures and have built a set of custom tools to support the process, such as: Camera and light recipe book; Photo selection, naming and archiving facility; Website for presentation to client and selection; Etc.
What do you see in the future for your work?
We feel we are on the brink of a large volume of international, on-location work. Our team can squeeze a lot out of one location in very little time. A recent two-week trip in California yielded 13,000 initial shots, out of which we selected 4,000 for client review. 22 different models and countless locations are present in the package.
You can see more examples of the photography of Ola! Communications in its Photos.com lightbox.