Who said corporate photography has to be boring? I truly enjoy all of the challenges that corporate work can bring whether it be headshots, environmental portraiture, or promotional work. Tucson Medical Center is a forward-thinking hospital that is dedicated to promoting healthy living to the community that they serve. To meet those ends, TMC has also challenged their employees to embrace a healthy lifestyle by opening an in-house employee fitness center.

As the anniversary of the opening of the fitness center drew near, TMC was looking for a way to both celebrate and to motivate more employees to join. I have shot a lot of photos of dancers – including a series that I have titled ‘Dancers & Dust’. We settled on a twist of this idea to shoot a series of ‘fitness-hero’ photos with actual TMC employee Fitness & Wellness Center members.  We scheduled two shooting nights in an outdoor park area on location at TMC.  The first night we would be using ‘dust’ and the second night would utilize water. 

We knew that by choosing an outdoor location we would be at the mercy of the weather (and it WAS monsoon season). Sure enough, even though the forecast looked promising it soon became clear that the chance of lightning made our first night of shooting look precarious.   At the last minute we made the decision to make a nearby parking garage our ‘studio’. There is a saying that you don’t TAKE a great photo, you MAKE a great photo, and our fitness models helped us make some GREAT photos! Shooting with dust requires commitment, and the understanding that you will be cleaning powder out of your ears for days to come.

Our second night was a first for me. I had never shot with water before, but the process was similar to our ‘dust’ photos. With some planning I was able to keep my equipment dry (but I couldn’t say the same of our talent).  Again, we had some amazing talent.  We all realized this was a ‘gritty’ shoot, not a glamour shoot.  We wanted intense – not pretty.  I couldn’t have been happier with the results.

By editing these images as black and white we were able to highlight the contrast of the dust and the water against the black background.  Black and white also accentuated the muscles of the talent.

Another aspect was deciding on the medium for displaying these images.  It was important to find a surface that was durable and showed fine details.  We decided to print the final images as 20″x30″ on metal.  The images were unveiled and displayed temporarily in a prominent location near the TMC cafeteria before being moved to their permanent location in the TMC Employee Fitness and Wellness Center.