A car in the darkness...
Having spent fifteen years covering the major annual European motor shows for our client at Geneva, Frankfurt and Paris, the company began to shift emphasis away from the vast European exhibition halls where they were competing with all the other motor manufacturers for attention on hugely expensive and complex stands, to hosting special tailored events with one core theme for invited staff and motoring journalists in unique venues around Europe under the banner ‘Go Further’.
The last event, before the dreaded Covid put paid to all events, was at the magnificent Sugar Factory in Amsterdam in a 3 day series of shows and exhibitions to highlight the new electric range of vehicles the company was bringing to market.
A vast stage, big enough to allow a variety of vehicles to actually drive on from the wings, and complemented by huge screens, was quite a challenge to photograph, with pictures needing to be signed off by the client before being rapidly posted on various social media outlets to publicise the ongoing event live, being made available online for journalists on the client's own press websites, and being shown as part of the show on the vast screens surrounding the spectacle.
Restricted to working only during the show rehearsals because it would be important not get in the way of the live show camera angles, and I would have almost certainly got in the way of the audience's view. I used some of the down time to take over the stage to get some posed portraits of senior business leaders that could then be projected on to the vast screens, rumored to be one of the largest dot matrix screens assembled. Watching the show later, and seeing some of these ridiculously enlarged picture files projected onto the screen made me smile as I remembered that some clients worry themselves about the supposed resolution of digital files from cameras not being 'high enough' for their website use, when they can be easily used across 75 metres of stage.
The key vehicle reveal to the waiting motoring press had to be photographed half hidden as it was still partially in the concept stage and bot ready for a full hands on media rampage. The stage display used key spot lighting and lasers against a dark background with the idea of to giving a hint of the outline of the vehicle buried in the shadows. Great for a stage show, but hopelessly too dark for meaningful photography. Happily the lighting engineers on hand were more than willing to help set up our picture in rehearsals for distribution to the media, while not revealing too much, and being aware of the client brief: Just a ‘teaser’ for social media.