Every year, the Lavazza coffee company contracts a top level photographer to shoot their branded calendar. The production involves a serious budget, and past editions have been shot by the likes of Annie Leibovitz and Steve McCurry. For 2016, Joey L. was in charge of the “From Father to Son” themed calendar, which took him and his crew to 5 different countries around the world, over the course of 40 days, to shoot portraits of the working families involved in the agricultural toil of producing coffee, and food, for the world’s consumption. The resulting images are breathtaking.
Joey L regularly releases behind the scenes videos for his shoots, and has produced a number of tutorials, all available on his site: dudeswithcameras.com. For the epic Lavazza calendar project, there was enough material available to split the video into 4 separate chapters, each detailing different locations and the working families in each locale chosen as Joey’s subjects.
The videos are much less focused on the technical considerations behind the shots, and concentrate more on the experience of taking on such an ambitious campaign, and the stories of the subjects themselves. It’s clear that Joey Shoots with several different cameras, one Canon 5D series body, and a Mamiya medium format body with a Phase One digital back, and he seems to always shoot tethered into a MacBook Pro running Capture One. Lighting-wise, he often seems to employ large Elinchrom octaboxes and Broncolor para umbrellas, as well as large panel reflectors.
However, these videos are clearly not about the meter readings and camera settings. They give us all a glimpse of what it’s like to be on a shoot with a top level photographer, and the challenges and victories that come with such an extensive project. The stories that come from such an endeavor are at times funny, moving, and powerful, and the subjects featured in the photos are often inspirational.