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Start to Complete – 4X5 Camera, 39 Minutes, Grossed over $300 Million

Yes, this image of the purple conveyor system at Sony Corporation offices in Reading Pennsylvania and was accomplished, from unpacking to done, in 39 minutes. Not by choice, but by necessity in a fully functioning electronic repair center with 300 foot-candles of light at counter top height.

Let me start at the beginning. Hytrol Conveyors, the manufacturer, wanted to use this conveyor, as designed by Larry Pardue of  IDEX, for the cover of their new capabilities brochure. So Hytrol flew Larry, myself, Ryan Witt, my assistant, and Peggy Pierce, marketing director for Hytrol, plus a rep from the printing company in their King-Air turboprop to Reading PA.

I should also note that Larry Pardue is renowned for his comps being in perfect perspective. In fact when a Pardue comp would hit my studio, I would add 50% more time because anything less than perfect would not match one of Larry’s comps. I once spent three days on a Maybelline package shot that Larry designed. It is still in my book.

After a very pleasant tour of the facility by the chief manager, which ended at the conveyor we had traveled  1,000 miles to photograph, the Sony Manager made the following statement, and I quote,

“You have 45 minutes and if you so much as alter a single footstep of one of my employees you will be asked to leave!”

Ok, I guess turning off the 300 foot-candles of light to get the dark background and the purple color on the conveyor’s black belt is not going to be in the cards!

Quick summary of my position:

  • A Larry Pardue comp (perfect composition of the approved cover)
  • Extremely well lit room
  • Shot to be done on 4X5 transparency film EPP (E-6) with view camera using full studio lighting on location
  • 45 minutes

Now let me add to the fun; the Sony manager has a 4’ x 6’ plate glass window in his office which overlooks the area that I need to photograph. Of course, he stood at his window with arms crossed watching the entire time. What happened to that pleasant manager who gave us the tour?  He surely is not pleasant now.

Did I say fun? Actually, I was having fun. I love this type of assignment. By the way, I nailed it in 39 minutes and the image you are looking at is NOT retouched. I will be happy to show you the 4by5.

Hytrol’s gross sales from the new capabilities brochure was over $300 million.

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