Keith Lanpher; Virginia Tourism “Live Passionately” Campaign

When the Virginia Tourism Corporation needed a series of illustrations, to help publicize tourism with imaginative style, photographer Keith Lanpher, based in Norfolk, was chosen for the job. This was a location project that called for seven days of shooting with numerous models as well as a passel of dogs and a large smoke machine.

Dog Walker
A dog wrangler was used to help keep order, and in their in elaborate wardrobe, the dogs posed at dusk in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. As they became more tired, they were less frisky, and Keith Lanpher was amazed they all kept their caps on.
All Photos Keith Lanpher

Lanpher knew it would mean shooting sets in various locations, plus his life would be complicated by a film crew shooting the same setups before he would be shooting stills.

He explains, “Essentially, I made images that turned out to be only partly conceivable, even when the settings were chosen, because the ambient light was not always predictable. A number of models and props were involved. In my studio I would have used my large strobes, and built sets. But our locations had to be on the oceanfront, on a battleground south of Richmond, and at other spots which were scouted in advance. Our schedule showed we had to shoot, rain or shine.

“Complicated location shots take careful planning, but on this job photography time would need to be expedient. Shooting both stills and film with time constraints could be a challenging mix, but it was my job to solve problems and make it work.”

Basket Weaver
The creative director (Keith Ireland of BCF) and Keith Lanpher explored nearby woods to find this spot in a bog where there was a canopy of trees and streaming light. A battery-powered strobe backlit the smoke for what Lanpher calls a “whimsical” feeling. In postproduction they added ribbon, spread out the background, and enhanced the smoke.

Civil War Historian
Because the film crew set the shot schedule, Keith Lanpher needed to control the light at two o’clock in the afternoon at the Richmond battlefield. He chose a background to show off the gunfire and smoke. A large scrim was placed over the seated historian, and light was reflected back into his face. Smoke specialists created a huge tube system for fog, and Lanpher strategically placed the background troops.

Each image Lanpher shot needed the attention of the prop stylist, and personnel from wardrobe, makeup, and gaffers, plus a pet wrangler for one scene. Lanpher was pleased that he would be working with a brilliant retoucher, Adam Moore at Sugar Digital in San Francisco. “That gave me freedom to shoot a number of separate elements, like water and some of the characters, to be combined later. Models could also be moved later, which was important in some concepts that were complicated and could not be made in one capture.


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The shots is bringing me to another flight most especially from the vastness of the past that is not forgotten. - Integrity Spas