This year’s push to help create unique and beautiful content beyond the bottle shot is off to a great start with some recent work for Fetzer Winery. They have their 50th anniversary this year and wanted to feature their winemaker John Kane as a central piece of their story.
In shooting this job we needed to create a set of portraits and a small library of lifestyle images that could help tell the story through the various outlets the company is using to advertise. I couldn’t have been happier with the brief and set to work creating an aesthetic that would hold up in any arena.
It seemed necessary to create a much more contemporary feel to things - after all, Fetzer is a progressive winery with a strong forward leaning ethic in sustainability. It’s so easy for wine to be predictable and stuffy - a more modern look makes this story more accessible to a broader audience. The last thing I wanted was pretentious, stiff portrait of a man holding a glass of red wine in a vineyard. That’s so done and does nothing, in my mind, to tell a story about a brand or the people that inhabit it. Wine marketing is evolving, and it’s visuals are evolving with it.
I knew from previous work up at the facility in Hopland that we’d be shooting in the barrel rooms - a dark and foreboding place for photography that needs to capture movement and life for a “lifestyle” shoot - so I drafted up some ideas of lighting scenarios that I could create with a minimal footprint. Normally for a lifestyle look, keeping the light super soft is key, but in this scenario I wanted to bring the textures of the space alive and opted for more direct, bare light, softened and mixed only when it interacted with the subject. It was a tricky mix, but I’m very pleased with the result (and with the energetic hustle of my assistant, Tim, who helped keep everything moving and firing in this dynamic shoot).
Keep an eye out for this work as the conversation around this anniversary evolves this year :)