Since I fell in love with portraiture I've daydreamed about traveling the world to take pictures of people. It's not a unique dream and it's not an overly farfetched dream, but it isn't a job that often comes up. One of the ways in which artists get commissioned to do something along those lines, however, is the Lavazza Calendar. It has seen the likes of Mark Seliger, Annie Leibovitz, and Steve McCurry behind the camera for them in recent years and this year, Joey L got the nod.
The pictures are -- without question -- utterly stunning. What makes this particular calendar project so great is the inclusion of Dudes with Cameras and the BTS videos. What strikes you first with this series of videos is the sheer work and coordination that goes in to such a task. It's far flung from five star suites and champagne brunches, and the conditions at times are clearly testing. I think I might be a little on edge working with equipment that expensive in the rain and the dust! That said, it's the conditions and the weather that help to give such a great sense of atmosphere to the images (in conjunction with a fog machine admittedly).
One element to almost every image that is particularly noteworthy is the capturing of the light. It seems to be far too often that images of distant communities and travel portraiture are assaulted by prevalent strobes and the resulting images, while beautiful, become closer to studio work. Joey's images for the calendar avoid that and appear to use strobes as fill lights on their subjects rather than ways to light the whole scene.
The BTS videos by Dudes with Cameras is a four part series walking you through each shoot and process involved in this calendar they are all well worth watching. A lot of the shots are achieved through relatively modest methods and without enormous quantities of gear. That could be down to the location of the shoots being difficult to take a lot to, or it could be so the shoots themselves were more mobile and comfortable; either way, the ends justify the means in this case. Joey and the team have created a spectacular set of images for Lavazza whose previous calendars most certainly added large amounts of pressure. You can watch the four BTS videos through the links below as well as checking out Joey L's portfolio and Dude with Camera's channel which are well worth your time.