The concept was to remind Sobeys customers that local growers are responsible for putting produce on their dinner table.
The creative lead on the project was Xerox Canada (who are doing a lot more than selling printers these days). The brief seemed relatively simple, to take photos of growers that Xerox would use in their design for point of sale posters. There were a few complications though:
- Growers had to be photographed in multiple provinces
- In addition to taking the photos, we had to find locations suitable to shoot, schedule the sessions, book travel and accommodation for the photographers, arrange for hundreds of pounds of photography equipment to travel and hope that everything met up in the right place at the right time.
- Xerox wanted us to interview the individuals about their experience as growers and their relationship with Sobeys. Quotes from the interviews were to be used with the photos on the posters. It sounded straightforward enough, but we didn’t have experience interviewing subjects – although we often engage in conversations and learn a great deal about our client’s businesses.
The interviews proved to be fascinating for those of us conducting them. Several of us shared that task. What could have been a 2-minute interview, sometimes stretched to a half-hour.
During the interviews there were some common themes that kept coming to the fore. In particular, the pride that everyone had in his or her chosen profession. Not surprisingly, growers felt pride in providing healthy food to the public. Many of those we spoke to also expressed pride in maintaining a business that was a central element of their family. It was really striking to see how many of the growers work on farms that have been in their families for generations and how many currently work with their parents and children on a daily basis.
The other thing that struck us was just how much science and technology goes into growing crops these days. In a business where weather can cause havoc with a season’s crop (see Weather wreaks havoc on Ontario’s apple crop), these growers use every tool at their disposal to ensure that they stay one step ahead of Mother Nature.
Often the people we meet, and the stories we hear from them, are the most interesting part of a photography project. This was definitely one of those projects.