We recently had the privilege of working with Mercy Health on their major ad campaign “Mercy Gets Me”. The intent of this campaign was to connect with consumers and personalize and authenticate Mercy’s level of healthcare. Our job (on paper) was to shoot environmental portraits of patients who had real medical experiences with Mercy. In actuality, the job was to engage with strangers and make them comfortable enough to reveal authentic, raw and beautiful emotion in front of the camera. Jobs like these are challenging and often intense, but the payoff for all parties involved is extremely worth it.
When we are working with professional models it is their job is to portray emotion on demand. For the ‘Mercy Gets Me’ project, we were working with real people who had never experienced a full scale advertising production before. As a subject that experience can be pretty intimidating. The most challenging aspect of working with real people in a situation like that is the need to develop an instant rapport and to make them feel comfortable. If the person being photographed is uncomfortable with the photographer (or anybody on set for that matter), the photographs will read that way. So it was our job to connect with each person and build a trusting relationship with them. It is critical to keep your subject feeling at ease and comfortable so they can open up and essentially forget about the camera altogether. The entire experience should be meaningful for each person involved.
And it was.. The raw, emotional energy flowing throughout the set during this shoot was inspiring to say the least. We found ourselves in awe of these seemingly ordinary people who were their sharing extraordinary stories of strength, bravery and perseverance. The job became secondary to the real conversations and friendships being formed throughout the process, and the results were stunning. The photographs captured told stories and did exactly what they were intended to do – captivate and inspire.
Looking back on the experience as a whole, we feel honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and work with such wonderful people. We take pride in our work and the creative process and do not take for granted the special moments we are able to experience along the way.