C3 | Thyssen Italien | Balsamini

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The assignment required to take a portrait of engineer Katia Trevisan at the Berco/Tyssenkrupp a production plant in Copparo, Italy.  This needed to be an environmental portrait of Mrs. Trevisan in a new production are of the plant.

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As usual I looked up how to reach the location, and tried to get as much as possible a precise brief from the art director/photo editor. I understood we were going to have limited time with her and decided to bring very little equipment, to also move more freely on location with my assistant. I used a Canon 5dmkIII with a 24-70mm lens and a Profoto Acute power pack with a Profoto Medium Deep Umbrella.

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The assignment, being part of a series of portraits, had already a defined direction in terms of mood and attitude of the subject. What really needed to be standing out was the interaction between the surrounding space and Mrs. Trevisan. To do this the right background had to be picked, something that spoke about the place and of course not an office.

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Once entered in the production plant and more specifically in the area Mrs Trevisan designed, I wanted to identify what kind of backdrop she was going to interact with. Being a highly automatized plant, many areas in which robots worked were of course protected by safety barriers which didn’t allow to see what was happening inside – so it became clear we had to get inside one of the barriers.
To do this it was necessary to stop the production for a couple of minutes -this being always a delicate subject, Berco agreed to stop one of the robots for 4 minutes.
Before interrupting the robot, I set up the lighting with my assistant as stand-in, outside the protective barrier. Measured the distance and direction of the light that needed to match once we could enter in the working space and once everything was confirmed I asked the staff at Berco to stop the robot with its arm in an upright position, in order to be visible.

Preparing as much as possible before Mrs. Trevisan had to pose as the subject, allowed me to concentrate on her mood and expression, which had to be serene and somewhat dreamy. This is definitely not that easy to do for someone not used to be in front of a camera and to be photographed next to their colleagues. Mrs. Trevisan nonetheless was a great subject, the situation being extra ordinary created the mood for quick fun shoot.

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We didn’t take that many frames, perhaps about 15-18, my favorite image is the third one we took, which is also the one selected to be published – where Mrs. Trevisan was laughing with my assistant about how strange it was to be standing for 5 min to get one image.

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The collaboration with Fotogloria was great, I appreciated the good communication between the Client and them, which reflected in a clear brief and a good preliminary production.