Back in December of last year, while photographing a year end event for Mammoet, I met a man who works with an industrial barge company. Within minutes of shaking hands, he asked if I'd be interested in working with them on an upcoming project. With my LOVE of industrial work, I was quick to answer his question. His elaboration on this upcoming project is what stuck out. "Would you be interested in capturing one of our barges through a cross country journey sometime in 2018? It will take weeks. A lot will be unknown. It will require much improvisation on your part." Being a girl who's taken on an array of commercial assignments over the years that have involved traveling both within and outside of the United States, and one who thrives in high impact situations, I answered yes again. This conversation occurring within another commissioned assignment, it was kept short and ended just about there, only a few sentences, everything sounded so vague, but very interesting. All ended with exchanging business cards and his closing statement of "I'll be in touch."
I shared this unique moment with my manager Lisa the following morning and after a few days, forgot about it, knowing if it is meant to be, I'll be here ready.
June of this year, I had a message Lisa took for me that sounded almost just as vague as our initial conversation. "A man called ready to discuss an upcoming assignment. No set date. Not much else." But his name sounded familiar. It was the "barge guy" from months before!
After a few meetings, and more details, I understood the assignment: Capture the story of the daily journeys ours barges take delivering the needed pieces and equipment that their client (typically various industries either building/expanding) demands. Tell the story of the weather, the scenes, and the teamwork required of the barge company alongside their contracted towboat companies, and all involved in such a move. Tell this story visually. Using time-lapse photography, video clips, etc. From the beginning of Louisiana rivers off the Gulf of Mexico, ending just 60 miles South of Lake Erie.
Estimated time from arrival at U.S. dock to final destination: 21 days.
Distance: 1905 miles.
Start date: unknown due to weather and other variables - start date will only be able to be estimated 7 days prior
End date: 21 days after initial departure, plus your time to return the rental car and fly home.
Any suggestions/ideas/inspo video compilations you'd like to share to further communicate what you, the client, envisions the final product to look like?
Nope! It is all up for your interpretation. We trust your vision. You create and document as you see fit.
For once, I was disappointed in this answer. At first. But at first being for a good week. This immensely vague response coming from a company I have never worked for before, on an assignment I've never captured anything even close to... how do they even know I can do it?! How are they so confident in their trust through their investment in such a project?! Several days into this response rattling in my head, I even became frustrated. I just wanted more "constraints" - the project alone is so up in the air with over FORTY constantly changing variables - wind/weather/storms/weight & height of the equipment loaded/river current/locks and dam closures/YOU NAME IT. I finally gave up what I'd tried to convey to Lisa about the whole thing - the facade that I knew exactly what they meant & how I was going to pull this off - and I confessed my recent feelings on their entire confidence of trust with me on this, and no real direction as to how they expected me to capture this.
Lisa's response in a nutshell:
It makes complete sense you're feeling so anxious. But you must remember WHY you are so good at what you do within the commercial world. You have the MIND and creativity for all the assignments no one else could pull off. You are like a magician with an unending bag of tricks. I have watched you countless times, to effortlessly save the day and save the shoot, when everything goes wrong and even the client feels there is nothing left to salvage, you pull it off and astonish us all. It's just what you do. It is what you are GOOD at. It's what brings the bizarre and challenging assignments - you draw this type of work to your business, because you LOVE it. You enjoy and welcome the challenge. Because your thrive there and your work shows it. And remember - in virtually every case except now, you LOVE it when the client leaves it all in your hands for their assignment! This is no different. Except, of course, that it's completely different because you know almost nothing about anything as far as weather/time to leave/where you're going/etc... hahaha! But remember how you love just creating and immersing yourself into a long assignment... and find the faith they have in your work for yourself. You always do once you've jumped in!
**POOF** I was back on top of the project minutes later, and the anxiety turned into reminders of the Serenity Prayer, and I let go of the 90% I couldn't control and just focused on my 10% and began to prep for what I knew would be a very memorable project to come.
If you haven't seen this quick video trailer on our facebook page, I've uploaded it below! Enjoy! I can't WAIT to share the final product!
LJ's Tug Adventures - The Unofficial Official Movie Trailer
Commercial Industrial photographer Lindsey Janies from Lake Charles Louisiana was hired to track a barge cross country... here is the humorous and dramatic movie trailer created prior to completing the assignment.