2018 has been the year of new career experiences. I’ve shot a farm, a cruise ship, and most recently a set of train stations for GoBrightline, South Florida’s newest intercity high-speed rail train. South Floridians are practically married to their cars. Suggesting an alternate form of transportation can get you laughed out of a room. We don't exactly have a great history with public transportation. However, the privately funded services at Brightline provide one heck of an experience that will definitely alter that perception.
Having taken Brightline to Ft.Lauderdale and West Palm beach myself, I can honestly say that it’s something that should definitely catch on once the public gains enough awareness. The experience beats the hell out of being stranded on I-95 any day. Instead, you're quickly whisekd to your destination in comfort with all the free wifi you can handle. I also personally find it really cool that the stations and tracks are all located along the very same East Coast Florida Railway Henry Flagler built over a hundred years ago.
Hence my excitement for this project: Beautiful modern architecture intersecting with historical relevance. What’s not to love?
Photography can be somewhat limiting compared to other forms of art because you are bound by what’s already there. That doesn’t mean that we’re doomed to all take the same photos of the same subject. We can dramatically alter the appearance of a subject using a vast gamut of lighting, framing, and post-production techniques. But at the end of the day, the subject is still going to “look” like what it is. A portrait of Bill Clinton is going to look like Bill Clinton regardless if it was shot by Platon or if it was a selfie. Aristotle said, “The aim of art is to present not the outward appearance of things, but their inner significance; for this, not the external manner and detail, constitutes true reality.”
Obviously, the photos need to be informative. Customers need to know what to expect from the lounges and amenities. But more importantly, we want to tempt them to fall in love with the experience. So I wanted to present these spaces in ways that projected a trajectory into the future full of hope. The aesthetic needed to be bright, clean and airy with no superfluous elements in the frame. I wanted them to look like sanctuaries for the optimistic, early-rising, midnight oil burning hustler trying to make the most of every second of the day.
The designs by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill allowed for a seamless execution of this game plan because the stations themselves have a comforting, minimalistic aesthetic to them. I didn’t want to combat that by adding too many elements into the frame.
I did my usual blend of flash and ambient exposure bracketing; however, I mixed in more ambient light than normal because, to be frank, it would be a waste to not take advantage of light seeping through those massive windows. The accent lighting is already positioned to provide depth to the scene, so in spaces with less window light, again I opted to let the ambient light make its presence known. Flash was really only used to enhance it on certain fixtures and furniture and to provide that sharp, crisp polish where appropriate. I still used quite a bit of it, but it wasn't the dominant source of light that it usually is in my regular interior work. Shooting with the A7riii makes it so easy to too because of how much damn detail is in those raw files.
I couldn’t be happier with how these shots turned out, and it is my pleasure to share them now. The full gallery can be viewed here, but below are some of my favorites with a bit of insight.